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In This Edition

Norman Solomon returns with, "Why Bernie Sanders Delegates Should Keep Fighting."

Ralph Nader exclaims, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi Writes To Me!"

Glen Ford says of, "Political Prisoners: 'Say Their Names.'"

Jim Hightower visits, "The Exceptional Greed Of Healthcare Executives."

William Rivers Pitt thinks, "Congressional Republicans Use COVID Relief As A Pawn In Fight For Power."

John Nichols finds, "The Spectre Of Socialism Haunts Mike Pence."

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

Bernie Sanders returns with, "The Science Is Clear: Our 'Masks for All' Plan Will Save Lives."

David Suzuki returns with, "Language Shapes Our Relationship With Nature."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "'Congress' Is Not Flailing. Republicans Are."

Juan Cole explains, "How Trump Broke America: A Story of Unparalleled Economic Pain and Human Death."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "How Mitch McConnell's Republicans Are Destroying America."

Medea Benjamin returns with, "US Cold War China Policy Will Isolate The US, Not China."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Fauci Would Have Thought Twice About Career In Medicine Had He Known It Meant Someday Talking To Jim Jordan," but first Uncle Ernie gives, "Lying Donald's Week In Review."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of RJ Matson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Saul Loeb, Alex Wong, USFWS - Pacific Region, Caroline Brehman, Bill Clark, Lucy Lambriex, Herman Cain, Tasos Katopodis, Kevin Dietsch, Code Pink, 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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Lying Donald's Week In Review
By Ernest Stewart

"Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts. It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots" ~~~ Lying Donald

It's Natures way of telling you something's wrong!
Natures Way ~ Spirit

"We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid, and we want to make sure there's the right incentives [to get back to work]. In certain cases where we're paying people more to stay home than to work, that's created issues in the entire economy." ~~~ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

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

In case you're wondering what Lying Donald has been up to this week one of thing is to suspend the payroll tax thus defunding Social Security and Medicare. Donald assures us that he can do it by imperial fiat. Lying Donald explains, "We're also looking at various other things that I'm allowed to do under the system, and-such as the payroll tax suspension. And so we're allowed to do things." Methinks he's been snorting bleach again as defunding social security without Con-gress'es approval is unconstitutional! And even as far right as the House is, it's not going to happen.

Lying Donald also declared this week that, "the coronavirus pandemic is under control and that U.S. deaths reaching 1,000 people a day 'is what it is.'" Is what it is? WTF?

I'm sure you've heard that when asked to reflect on John Lewis's contributions to the civil rights movement, Lying Donald said "nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have," and that Lewis "chose not to come to my inauguration." Trump also declined to say whether he found Lewis's life story "impressive," and again said "He didn't come to my inauguration. He didn't come to my State of the Union speeches. And that's OK."

Lying Donald also claimed he has the authority to issue an executive order addressing mail-in voting in the November election despite the Constitution expressly giving states the right to run their elections. Lying Donald, however, said he hadn't ruled out doing so, but didn't elaborate on what an executive order on mail-in voting would entail.

I could go on and on, but life is short and while that's just the tip of the iceberg in Lying Donald's week I'm sure you get the point!

In Other News

Hurricane Isaias is currently an active tropical storm that has struck Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas and is currently impacting the East Coast of the United States and threatening Eastern Canada. While at it's strongest it was just a category 1 hurricane that stayed off the coast until it made landfall around the North and South Carolina border. While it effected mostly the shore area with tidal surges, like most hurricanes it's spun off at least two dozen tornadoes, one of which, found the tornadoes favorite target, a trailer park, not to mention water spouts over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Most of Isaias damage was caused by heavy rainfall and flooding, but fortunately for all, it is a fast mover unlike hurricane Hanna that was the first hurricane this season that stalled out for a time over southern Texas.

Meanwhile, out west the "Apple Fire" just east of Los Angeles is burning about 42 square miles of dry brush and chaparral in the Riverside County mountains. This seams to be the first major fire of the season which in itself is strange because by this time there should have been dozens of fires. I'm guessing that there is not much left to burn since the hundreds of fires that have struck the area this century!

They say the smoke from this fire has drifted over western Arizona and the Phoenix area.

CAL Fire said "the Apple Fire was ignited by a vehicle that 'appeared to have mechanical problems' and was traveling along Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, Calif., just before 5 p.m. Friday.

"Specifically, a diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system," the agency said. "The determination is reinforced by multiple independent witnesses, as well as supporting physical evidence."

Both of these hurricanes and the fire were made so much worse by Covid-19. It's natures way of telling us something's wrong!

And Finally

Then there is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who is holding up more money for Covid-19 relief because people aren't going back to work because of the $600 unemployment benefits, they were getting. He's offering $200. Did I mention that Steven is worth $400,000,000?

The $trillion dollar plan that the Rethuglicans are offering has no money for states or school systems or post offices to deal with Covid-19 but does spend over half of the money on the Airforce, the rebuilding of the "West Wing" and other boondoggles that have nothing to do with Covid-19 but there is plenty of money for their pork projects. The end results of Mnuchin will be millions of Americans losing their homes or apartments. I'm guessing it's all part of Lying Donald's plot to limit the vote turn out as you have to have a permanent address to vote!

Ergo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award.

Keepin' On

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So how do you like Trump so far?
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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.

Just as Biden's chances of winning the presidency would improve if he embraced Medicare for All,
his prospects would also be enhanced by adopting popular positions that are especially important to racial minorities.

Why Bernie Sanders Delegates Should Keep Fighting
Polls in swing states show 12% of Sanders supporters do not plan to vote for Biden.
By Norman Solomon

As a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention beginning Aug. 17, I feel two main responsibilities. One is to help defeat Donald Trump. The other is to keep fighting hard for a progressive agenda. With the presidential election looming, those goals might seem to conflict. But they don't.

Conventional political wisdom says that now is a time to set aside differences and simply rally behind the presumptive nominee. "Unity" is the drumbeat from the Democratic Party leadership. But genuine unity - the kind that pays off against Republicans at election time-can't be forced. It must be actively created.

Four summers ago, the warning signs were abundant for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Overconfidence-and thinly veiled hostility toward the left-glossed over and shrugged off the disaffection among Sanders supporters, especially young voters. Instead of selecting a vice-presidential candidate who might attract progressives, Clinton chose a pillar of the Democratic establishment, Sen. Tim Kaine.

Today, many "Berners" are frustrated and angry. It's not only that hopes for a Sanders nomination and presidency were abruptly dashed. More corrosive and significant is a common feeling that, despite his recent nods leftward, Biden remains largely oblivious to social imperatives-most notably, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare for All.

Virtually every exit poll of Democratic primary voters this year reflected strong majority support for Medicare for All, often by lopsided margins, even in conservative states. National polling has continued to show that two-thirds of all registered voters want Medicare for All.

While Biden is now calling for a "public option" that would be an improvement on the 10-year-old Affordable Care Act, he hasn't budged from his opposition to making Medicare universal - at a time when tying medical coverage to jobs has been exposed as a grim travesty. A new study says that 5.4 million American workers lost their health insurance due to losing their jobs between February and May.

While touting his "Build Back Better" program, Biden declared in a July 9 speech: "Let's finish the job of Obamacare by ensuring everyone has access to quality, affordable health care." By clinging to timeworn and evasive buzzwords like "access" and "affordable," Biden affirmed his alignment with the multi-trillion-dollar health care industry more than with Americans who want health care to be treated as a human right in reality instead of in mere rhetoric.

Just as Biden's chances of winning the presidency would improve if he embraced Medicare for All, his prospects would also be enhanced by adopting popular positions that are especially important to racial minorities. For instance, he could do the right thing by finally supporting the legalization of marijuana, which would be a major step toward ending racist law-enforcement practices.

Young African-Americans share with other young people a distinct lack of enthusiasm-and a likelihood of low turnout-for Biden. A similar problem exists with Latino voters, who heavily backed Sanders in the 2020 primaries and caucuses.

While the former vice president can take comfort in recent polling among Sanders supporters that looks better than previous survey data, even current poll numbers in swing states indicate that 12 percent of Sanders supporters do not plan to vote for Biden in the general election. In those states, such voters could make all the difference.

The imperative of defeating Trump calls for Biden to adopt progressive positions that appeal to disaffected voters and have majority support nationwide. That means Sanders supporters should keep the pressure on.

(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."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 7, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Writes To Me!
What political ambition it takes to defend expensive Obamacare (that still left 30 million people uninsured and more than double that number underinsured), instead of bucking up to support full Medicare for All.
By Ralph Nader

Years ago, Elizabeth Brennan Moynihan told me about her disgust with the Democratic Party's outside consultants. These consultants were not competent. They were arrogant, costly, and looking out first for their interests, not the candidates they were supposed to advance. She threw them out and personally took over her husband, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan's successful re-election campaign.

Bill Curry, former counselor to President Bill Clinton and later a cogent critic of the "Arkansas sweet talker" said these consultants stay hired even after losing election after election. They blame the candidates, not themselves, nor the way they misshape the strategies and insipid television ads (from which they take a 15% cut).

Curry said these repeat offenders, whom he noted, make much of their money from corporate clients, have a clear conflict of interest, and are an ongoing menace to the Party.

I was reminded of their observations when I received two fundraising letters from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Elected politicians long ago stopped writing their own appeals for campaign dollars. This chore is farmed out to well-paid and wealthy consultants flaunting their supposed smooth expertise. They must have scoured their brilliant insights to come up with this doozy on the envelope- "R.Nader, I Won't Back Down. Are You With Me?" I wonder how much the consultant was paid to think that defensive and vague message would tempt voters to tear open their mail and lunge for the return envelope to send the dough.

Bear in mind, this is the age of a Trumpian criminal enterprise and a destructive, rampant lawlessness, a hyper-corrupt Trump regime stiff-arming the people daily on the behalf of the giant corporate supremacists. And Nancy tells us she's not backing down. Wow-what political ambition it takes to defend expensive Obamacare (that still left 30 million people uninsured and more than double that number underinsured), instead of bucking up to support full Medicare for All. The Medicare for All Act, (H.R.1384) would create a system that is more efficient and lifesaving with free choice of doctors and hospitals.

Playing defense embeds itself in Nancy's survey included in the fundraising appeal. We are asked to rank the following:

1. Defending choice (without adding maternal, neonate, and childcare).
2. Stopping voter suppression (without expanding known ways to surge voter turnout).
3. Protecting social security (instead of also expanding this lone barrier to severe elderly poverty and repealing the huge Trump tax cut for the rich and corporations. Note that both were pressed for by the ignored Bernie Sanders campaign).
4. "Fighting climate change and opposing Trump's weakening environmental laws" (instead of displacing fossil fuels and recognizing the objectives of the Green New Deal advanced by Democratic Party Progressives).
No mention of law and order for corporate crime and runaway costly corporate welfare, and no mention of telling bungling, dangerous Trump to step aside to let pandemic scientists, doctors, and managers run the federal effort to suppress the spreading Covid-19 disaster.

Of course, a letter can only contain a few top defensive issues. So, the House Speaker gives us a line titled "other," "to hear from" us as, she adds, our "opinions are important."

Fair enough Nancy, see the four letters by me and constitutional law specialists with important opinions that were not even acknowledged much less responded to by your office.

I believe our proposals-available to all incumbents and challengers - will help citizens and Congress take America closer to the just rule of law and constitutional observance which will enable a better life for the people and the environment of our country.

Granted your letter was very focused on winning elections. But winning elections without enabling basic mandates that translate into good livelihoods can leave voters with that familiar empty post-election letdown malady. May we hear from you?

(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).

Political Prisoners: "Say Their Names"
By Glen Ford

Unless folks are under the delusion that victory over the fascists" is imminent, the condition of political prisoners should be a deeply personal, as well as political, concern to all activists.

It has become a righteous ritual: the recitation of the names of those whose lives were snatched away by the armed agents of the U.S. state. Mass movements were assembled around the names Oscar Grant (2009) ,Trayvon Martin (2012) and Michael Brown (2014), prompting women of the movement to launch the #SayHerName campaign in 2014, to "lift up" the stories of Black women victims of police violence, "who they are, how they lived, and why they suffered at the hands of police."

The ancient ritual of "pouring out" libations on the ground to memorialize the beloved dead was popularized by Boyz II Men and Tupac Shakur in the Nineties, and has long been incorporated in formal and informal recognition of the deceased heroes and heroines of the Black liberation struggle.

But what of the scores of political prisoners that the U.S. state has condemned to a social death in the world's largest gulag? These men and women still struggle under the most hellish conditions against the same enemies of humanity that hundreds of thousands rallied against in the George Floyd mobilizations. "Free Huey," "Free Bobby" and "Free Angela" were once rallying cries that energized millions. But seldom are political prisoners' names shouted during today's mobilizations against the murderous U.S. mass incarceration state or the global imperialist killing machine. Who is "lifting up" their stories and telling a new generation "who they are, how they lived, and why they suffered at the hands of police" and jailors?

This is a grave political error, not an oversight. Movement activists of today will inevitably become the political prisoners of tomorrow. Some have already been sentenced to long terms in prison for alleged "crimes" in Ferguson and Baltimore during the rebellions of 2014-15, and agents of the state have doubtless drawn up lists of "Black Identity Extremists" (whatever the current official categorization) and their non-Black allies, for surveillance and arrest when the political time is right. Others have died mysteriously. Unless folks are under the delusion that victory over the "fascists" is imminent, the condition of political prisoners should be a deeply personal, as well as political, concern to all activists and their families and friends. The cage doors will clang shut for many of us before this struggle is over, in addition to all the libations that will be poured for the dead.

Neglect of our political prisoners exposes a discontinuity in the Black Liberation Movement, revealed in the shouting of "orphan" slogans, whose political ancestors seem unknown to the sloganizers. The men and women that fought for Black community control of the police and self-determination for all peoples half a century ago are Malcolm's children, and therefore the political grandfathers and mothers of today's George Floyd protest organizers. Whenever marchers chant, "Whose Streets? - OUR Streets!" or some variation on that theme, they are building on the struggles of a previous generation of fighters, some of them in their 80s and still locked up. Say their names, goddamit!

If you need help finding these still living, breathing, fighting political ancestors, the Jericho Movement has a list:

Abdul Azeez
Mumia Abu Jamal
Sundiata Acoli
Imam Jamil Al-Amin aka H. Rap Brown
Jalil Muntaqim
Joseph Bowen
Veronza Bowers
Kojo Bomani Sababu
Fred "Muhammad" Burton
Byron Chubbuck Shane (Oso Blanco)
Bill Dunne
Romain "Chip" Fitzgerald
David Gilbert
Jeremy Hammond
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Hanif Shabbazz Bey
Kamau Sadiki
Larry Hoover
Abdullah Malik Ka'bah aka Jeff Fort
Maumin Khabir
Jaan Karl Laaman
Ruchell Cinque Magee
Malik Smith
Marius Mason
Ed Poindexter
Rev. Joy Powell, community activist
Mutulu Shakur
Russell Maroon Shoats

Although the bulk of the Jericho Movement list are former Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army members, there are also Republic of New Africa activists; the former SNCC leader once known as H. Rap Brown; surviving members of the Virgin Island 5; a community organizer serving life plus 16 years -- the lone woman on the Jericho list; Native American and Chicano freedom fighters; and class war, anti-imperialist and anarchist political prisoners - enough still-living political ancestors to engage the voices of all the social sectors that have been mobilized around George Floyd's death and the deepening crises of the capitalist imperial order. "Black August" is the month when genuinely "woke" activists redouble their efforts to free our political prisoners - for all of our sakes, and for the continuity of our struggle. The Black Is Back Coalition is therefore dedicating its annual conference, August 15 and 16, to the fallen and imprisoned. As the Call to Conference states:

"If today's resistance appears unusual it is only because the U.S. has succeeded in hiding evidence of our anti-colonial struggle in the 1960s when, unlike the movement of this era, protest achieved a revolutionary character.

"During that time courageous men and women boldly stepped forward, sometimes with arms in hand, to challenge the cruelest and most powerful opponent of our freedom, the hegemon that bestrode the world of poverty and broken dreams it had created."

Half a century later, the carceral state refuses to set these aged freedom fighters loose. The Black Is Back Coalition is honored to Say Their Names.

Go to to see how you can participate.

Power to the People!

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

The Exceptional Greed Of Healthcare Executives
By Jim Hightower

Sometimes I don't know whether to weep uncontrollably, laugh hysterically, or just throw up.

I recently did all three when I saw another gusher of greed pouring out of corporate America. This one is especially nauseating, given today's raging health crisis, for the culprits are major healthcare corporations!

One perpetrator is Larry Merlo, CEO of our country's largest drugstore chain, CVS. In this time of COVID-19, customers are surging into the chains 10,000 stores for everything from medications to masks. Yet, the boss has blithely left many of the pharmacies so severely understaffed that they pose a danger to public health.

CVS pharmacists tell of frantically scrambling to keep up with filling prescriptions, answering ever-ringing phone inquiries, giving shots and COVID tests, stocking toilet paper, tending the drive-through, etc. - while also having to meet ceaseless corporate demands for cost-cutting and more profit. The result has been a dangerous work overload, with many pharmacists handling nearly 200 prescriptions in a six-hour shift, about one every two minutes. Unsurprisingly, there's been an alarming rise in serious errors and week-long delays in providing critical medications for customers.

Adding to the exasperation of local managers, who are allowed no say in staffing, is the infuriating level of heedless greed at the top. The New York Times reports that while CEO Merlo has failed to fund the staff his pharmacies need, he has generously funded his own needs - he paid himself $36.5 million last year alone. Then there is the mountain of interest payments and fees that CVS is paying to Wall Street bankers and lawyers who engineered Merlo's monopolistic deal to take over the Aetna health insurance giant last year.

So, while you're being underserved at a local CVS, just remember that Bossman Merlo and his merger mercenaries are making a killing. How comforting is that?

(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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with reporters as he
walks from the Senate floor to his office after a vote on July 30, 2020.

Congressional Republicans Use COVID Relief As A Pawn In Fight For Power
And it's an invitation to organizers to keep pushing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on progressive priorities.
By William Rivers Pitt

"April is the cruelest month," T.S. Eliot wrote. He was right about last April, but if the numbers hold - and alas, there is no reason to think they won't - the August before us promises to leave the cruelty of springtime in deep, dark shade.

At the close of July, worldwide COVID-19 infections surpassed 18 million cases. The World Health Organization reports the number of new infections is doubling every six weeks. Here in the U.S., where our government's main line of defense against the pandemic has been to wish it would go away, the number of total cases approaches 5 million people, far and away the most in the world. Nearly 2 million new cases were recorded here last month alone, and the number of dead has surpassed 154,000 souls.

COVID-19 is basically everywhere now. Portions of the country that have been spared the ravages of the virus due to isolation and low population are now being infected at a high rate, and many of these areas lack even the most basic medical infrastructure needed to combat the disease and preserve life. Any vaccine is months away from being useful, and will not be a silver bullet under even the best of circumstances.

"Gone is any sense that the country may soon gain control of the pandemic," reports The New York Times. "Instead, the seven-day average for new infections hovered around 65,000 for two weeks. Progress in some states has been mostly offset by growing outbreaks in parts of the South and the Midwest.... Even finding out who has the virus is a challenge, as testing programs have frustrated many Americans with lengthy delays in providing results."

The rush to reopen schools completely is beginning more and more to resemble a suicide pact most people did not sign up for and will not participate in. A camp in Georgia was forced to close recently after nearly 300 children became infected with COVID there. A single school district in Georgia reports 260 employees currently absent due either to infection or exposure.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly suggests that the belief children are mostly immune is dangerous fiction. Meanwhile, school administrators all across the country wrestle with this momentous decision, waiting desperately for guidance that is not coming.

Why is no guidance coming?

The president of the United States is a cruel, self-absorbed, disinterested TV fraud who lives within his own cracked shell like a bird that refuses to depart the egg. Donald Trump is everything we warned he was and more, aided and abetted by agenda-driven lickspittles like his son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose greatest contribution to the COVID fight was the argument that the pandemic can be safely ignored because it was, at the time, only affecting "blue" Democrat-controlled states.

"In an attempt to boost his mood, Trump's advisers scrambled to assemble a scaled-down political event on a baking Florida tarmac on Friday," reports CNN, "where Trump addressed a mostly mask-less crowd standing inches from one another.... The event illustrated what White House officials describe as an ad hoc effort to schedule appearances for Trump that allow him to bask in at least some adulation as his campaign rallies remain on hold and after an in-person convention acceptance speech was scuttled." That is why no guidance is coming.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress continue to flail against the barbed necessities of the moment, gumming up the works of a new COVID relief package so completely that a desperately needed $600 emergency unemployment supplement has disappeared, leaving millions of workers in peril of hunger and eviction. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have their aid package ready to go, but can only sit and watch in despair as the bodies pile up around the GOP's impenetrable ideological armor.

The most pressing question for congressional Republicans at the moment is not about helping the people. It is, of course, about power.

The GOP is beginning to encompass the possibility that Trump may be defeated in November, and worse (for them), that the Democrats may take control of the Senate. Thus, like dogs fighting over the marrow in a pile of bones, various GOP factions are jockeying for leadership positions should the worst (for them) come to pass. The COVID relief package currently under consideration has become a pawn in that power game.

That, too, is why no guidance is coming.

The great James Baldwin once said, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain."

The long consequences of hate, fear and greed have come to a head here in the United States, and the rampages of COVID are but one example of how steep the butcher's bill has become. As August chews through our lives and livelihoods, followed by September, October, and the terrifying promise of a bleak and lethal winter, pain is something we will all be dealing with. It's very, very bad now. It is going to get worse.

(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.

Vice President Mike Pence in the White House.

The Spectre Of Socialism Haunts Mike Pence
The GOP's founders included abolitionists, radical land reformers, and activists who had joined "an experimental socialist community."
By John Nichols

Vice President Mike Pence made another desperate campaign swing through the battleground state of Wisconsin in July, hoping to revive the flagging fortunes of the Republican Party that he and President Trump have turned into a vehicle for racism, xenophobia, economic inequality, and a rejection of science that currently endangers all Americans.

In an attempt to reconnect with the better angels of Republicanism, Pence traveled to the college town of Ripon, where the party was founded in 1854.

There, with his now-familiar aplomb, the vice president offered a false narrative that was at odds with not just contemporary reality but American history.

"The American people have a choice to make. And the choice has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher," announced the vice president in what was billed as a major address on July 17. "I came here to the city of Ripon, Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was born, to describe that choice."

Speaking in a time of mass unemployment, layoffs, scorching income inequality, and painful losses of incomes and livelihoods for working farmers and small-business owners, Pence declared, "Our economic recovery is on the ballot, but also are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country."

If the "economic recovery" as it presently stands were the only thing on the ballot, Trump and Pence would be headed for overwhelming defeat.

That may explain why the vice president chose to emphasize what he referred to as his "far more fundamental and foundational" concerns.

Unfortunately for Pence, he got tripped up by ignorance of his own party's history.

"Like those first Republicans," he chirped, "we stand at a crossroads of freedom. Before us are two paths: one based on the dignity of every individual, and the other on the growing control of the state. Our road leads to greater freedom and opportunity. Their road leads to socialism and decline."

Pence was trying to suggest that "Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline"-which, if you know anything about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's record, is absurd. Biden beat this year's democratic socialist prospect, Bernie Sanders, for the nomination. It's true that the former vice president and the senator from Vermont have found some common ground, but Pence's attempt to portray Biden as a political pushover who has "capitulated to the radical left-wing mob" was an epic rewrite of reality.

Even more epic was the rewrite of history that the vice president attempted when he suggested that he and Trump are "like those first Republicans."

The first Republicans were radicals, who sought to upend the politics of the country at a time when the existing parties were capitulating to the demands of Southern slaveholders and their political patrons.

If you visit the Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon, which is emblazoned with the words "Birthplace of the Republican Party," you will be introduced to the story of how Alvan Earle Bovay "called a meeting of 53 form a new party." The historical record tells us that the meeting was organized "to protest the Senate's passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits of the Missouri Compromise. The protest resulted in the formation of a new, albeit local party, drawn from the ranks of disgruntled Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats."

Among those initial petitioners were a number of people like Jacob Woodruff, who moved to the Ripon area as "a member of the Wisconsin Phalanx." And Hiram S. Town, who "joined the Wisconsin Phalanx in 1846." And Robert Mason, who is recalled for "joining the Wisconsin Phalanx." And William Dunham, "one of the incorporators of the Wisconsin Phalanx," who served as a moderator of the first of the meetings that gave rise to the Republican Party.

What was the Wisconsin Phalanx? The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency that advises the president and Congress on national historic preservation policy, describes it as "an experimental socialist community" that was established on the edge of what is now Ripon in the community of Ceresco. It was founded by followers of Charles Fourier, the French philosopher who was one of the founders of utopian socialism. Fourier's ideas were popularized in the United States by Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, which for a number of years employed Karl Marx as its European correspondent.

Bovay, a friend and associate of Greeley, had moved to Ripon a few years before he called the 1854 meeting. A veteran organizer who had led militant movements for land reform-with the slogan "Vote Yourself a Farm"-Bovay had long advocated the formation of an independent political movement with the purpose of gaining control of legislatures and the Congress in order to enact radical reforms.

At Bovay's urging, Greeley popularized the new party, which drew in partisans from many political camps who were united in their opposition to the spread of slavery. Among the first Republicans were many allies and associates of socialist causes, including Joseph Weydemeyer, a former Prussian Army officer who would continue to correspond with Marx as he rose through the ranks as a military officer during the Civil War.

Decades after the founding of the new party, the great trade unionist and Socialist Party leader Eugene Victor Debs would reflect on this history in his speeches. Though he dismissed both major parties of the early 20th century as "wings of the same bird of prey," Debs allowed as how "the Republican Party was once red."

There may have been a measure of hyperbole in that remark. But the fact is that the Republican Party that was founded in Ripon included plenty of people whose familiarity with radical ideas would alarm Mike Pence.

(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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) 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.

Our Masks for All legislation will instruct the Trump administration to utilize the Defense
Production Act to produce and deliver three high-quality, reusable masks to every person in
the country via the U.S. postal system. The masks would also be made available free at testing sites,
post offices and pharmacies, as well as homeless shelters, jails, detention centers and other congregate-care settings.

The Science Is Clear: Our 'Masks for All' Plan Will Save Lives
The coronavirus pandemic is raging out of control under Trump's leadership, but there are common sense solutions we must urgently implement.
By Bernie Sanders

It is an absolute tragedy, and embarrassing, that the United States is practically the only major country where the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening by the day. Coronavirus has killed 155,000 Americans. States like California, Texas and Florida are registering their highest daily death tolls ever. The economic horrors of this pandemic are also escalating, as our gross domestic product plunges by an annual rate of nearly 33% and $600 weekly unemployment benefits expired for 30 million workers.

If we are to have any hope of turning this economy around, opening schools safely, and preventing countless more deaths, we must first get this virus under control. That is why, in late July, with 14 other senators and dozens of United States representatives, I introduced common-sense, practical and inexpensive legislation to protect Americans during the coronavirus pandemic: Masks for All.

This legislation will substantially increase the production of high-quality masks in this country and distribute three reusable masks to every single person at no cost-including the many who have never owned a mask. It will also end our dependency on China and other countries for this life-saving product now and in the future.

The science is clear: Wearing a mask not only saves lives, but the widespread use of masks will get Americans back to work sooner and reunite families who have stayed apart.

The experts agree

This is not a political or a partisan issue. In fact, in a recent Senate health committee hearing, I asked Trump administration experts whether they agreed with my Masks for All proposal. Dr. Anthony Fauci replied, "There's no doubt that wearing masks protects you and gets you to be protected. So it's people protecting each other," he said. "Anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it is giving out free masks or any other mechanism, I am thoroughly in favor of."

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has agreed. "If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six to eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control," he said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It's time we finally listen to our public health experts. Doctors Fauci and Redfield understand that evidence is mounting from around the world that wearing masks curbs the spread of COVID-19 and saves lives. South Korea, one of the more successful countries to date, began procuring masks as early as February and provided them affordably to its people. Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Germany, Vietnam and dozens of other countries have shown us that COVID-19 spread can be contained with widespread mask wearing.

Only when the virus is contained can the economy be revived. One estimate suggested that widespread use of masks could be worth up to $1 trillion to our economy by preventing shutdowns and getting people back to work earlier. And in terms of public health, the act of mask wearing, as simple as it is, is a matter of life and death. One projection predicts that universal use of masks could save more than 30,000 American lives by Nov. 1, as compared to our current trajectory.

Distributing masks nationwide

Unfortunately, with the Trump administration incapable of acting in a competent and scientific manner, Congress-in a bipartisan way-must take the lead. Our Masks for All legislation will instruct the Trump administration to utilize the Defense Production Act to produce and deliver three high-quality, reusable masks to every person in the country via the U.S. postal system. The masks would also be made available free at testing sites, post offices and pharmacies, as well as homeless shelters, jails, detention centers and other congregate-care settings.

The first priority would, of course, be front-line health care workers. It is beyond comprehension that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, doctors and nurses continue to lack enough high quality personal protective equipment they need to protect their lives and their patients. This legislation directs the government to produce and provide the needed surgical masks and N-95 respirators to all health workers in the country. It will also prioritize the needs of other essential workers.

This legislation will not only increase the availability of masks, but also the quality. With large-scale production and strong research and development, within months, we will be able to produce and distribute masks that are high quality, comfortable, easy to fit, and washable for continued use. These high-quality masks will protect both the wearer as well as the people they come into contact with.

The American people are with us. One recent poll found that 3 in 4 Americans-including 58% of Republicans-support requiring mask wearing outside the home. The majority of U.S. states, D.C., and Puerto Rico have passed mask mandates. It is only fair that the federal government now steps in to make these requirements as easy, effective and costless as possible for the American people.

Given the urgency of the moment this bill should be passed as quickly as possible by being incorporated into major coronavirus legislation currently being negotiated. Providing high quality masks for all is an effective disease prevention tool that must be immediately implemented. Every day we delay, lives are needlessly lost.

In this unprecedented moment in American history we need to come together-government and private sector, manufacturers and workers, scientists and ordinary citizens-to combat this horrific pandemic. Making sure that every American has a high-quality mask, and wears it, is an important step forward in achieving that goal.

(c) 2020 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. Sanders ran to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee in both 2016 and 2020 and remains the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders and @BernieSanders

Loggers call old growth trees that aren't as profitable when logged as younger trees "decadent" -
even though they provide habitat to at-risk species and have critical ecological functions.

Language Shapes Our Relationship With Nature
By David Suzuki

As natural environments and geographies shape language, so too does language shape the way we see nature and, subsequently, the impacts we have on the lands and waters that surround us.

Western culture and the English language primarily view nature as something owned by humans that can be exploited. That's why Canadian agencies tasked with governing nature are referred to as departments or ministries of natural "resources."

It's not uncommon even for those who appreciate nature beyond its exploitative value to reduce it to a thing with monetary worth through language. For example, we refer to protected areas in Canada as "our" "national treasures," "jewels" and "gems."

Western science has also shaped the way we employ language to describe nature by advancing the reduction of living, functioning ecosystems to things best studied under a microscope. Recall Jane Goodall, admonished by her male academic compatriots for naming instead of numbering the chimpanzees she studied.

As Indigenous botanist and writer Robin Wall Kimmerer notes, "the English language is made up primarily of nouns, somehow appropriate for a culture so obsessed with things.... English encodes human exceptionalism, which privileges the needs and wants of humans above all others and understands us as detached from the commonwealth of life."

Industry's use of language brings the point home. Operators use words in novel ways to describe natural impediments to profit. Loggers call old growth trees that aren't as profitable when logged as younger trees "decadent" - even though they provide habitat to at-risk species and have critical ecological functions. In oil and gas, vegetation above oil-shot rock - no matter how diverse or life-supporting - is called "overburden." Some developers refer to off-limit conservation areas as "sterile."

Nature's vital life force is, to some extent, like Voldemort: that which cannot be named. As Nature Institute senior researcher Steve Talbot writes in "The Language of Nature," words inevitably diminish nature because containing it is impossible: "The world breaks every fixed template into which we try to pour it."

How can we change the ways in which our language abets destruction of nature?

Let's start by investing more in our relationships with nature - and recognizing the role of language. (One way we wield language is to blanch at the notion that we humans are "animals," when we're just as much an animal as the raccoon digging in our garbage.) We can pay more attention to nature. We can stop talking for a moment and listen.

According to Talbot, "If we took the fact of the world's speech seriously - the world speaks there would be none of the usual talk about a mechanistic and deterministic science, about a cold, soulless universe, or about an unavoidable conflict between science and the spirit. Confronting the many voices of nature, we would inquire about their individual qualities and character, we would look for the direction of their expressive striving, and we would struggle to grasp the aesthetic unity of their various utterances - all of which is to say: we would listen for their meanings.... The trouble, however, is that we often fail to pay attention; we never learn the language of the world we inhabit. We try to master nature while becoming increasingly deaf to her complex symphony."

As Kimmerer notes, in her traditional language, Potawatomi, "There is no it for nature. Living beings are referred to as subjects, never as objects, and personhood is extended to all who breathe and some who don't. I greet the silent boulder people with the same respect as I do the talkative chickadees."

She continues, "Beyond the renaming of places, I think the most profound act of linguistic imperialism was the replacement of a language of animacy with one of objectification of nature, which renders the beloved land as lifeless object, the forest as board feet of timber."

We can create new language. Language is always evolving. (For example, our use of pronouns has recently expanded to recognize those who identify as non-binary and gender neutral.)

It's our job as global citizens to continually reimagine a better world. We can also undertake the challenge of reimagining new ways to describe the world, using language to craft stories that recognize and honour the myriad living and nonliving entities with which we share the planet.

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

'Congress' Is Not Flailing. Republicans Are
With whom, exactly, are the Democrats supposed to negotiate here in Bedlam?
By Charles P. Pierce

No, goddammit, Washington Post, Enough of this nonsense. "Congress" is not flailing. The Republican majority in the Senate is flailing because the Republican majority is made up of Republicans, and the Republican Party is made up of hyper-ambitious lunatics. It's not "Congress" that's stiffing the millions of Americans who need relief in this perilous time of tangled national emergencies that are feeding off each other. It's the Republicans. Why is that so hard to say?

The crisis that forced lawmakers to act with unusual speed in March and April to pump an unprecedented $3 trillion into the economy has not abated. By some measures, after a brief leveling off in infections and some positive economic indicators, things have gotten worse. What has faded is the sense of bipartisan urgency that existed in the spring and propelled Congress to act with near unanimity. At that time, the new virus that was wreaking economic havoc around the nation was so alarming it seemed to startle lawmakers out of their partisan corners. But now the election is nearing, and the novel coronavirus is not so novel. The partisan divisions are back on Capitol Hill, and they appear to be as intractable as ever.
Oh, FFS, as all the kidz abbreviate these days. The Democratic House has passed a relief package that deals with all aspects of the current crises, from aid to schools to help for the states with balloting this November. But the Republican president* is in Cloud Cuckoo Land on the pandemic, and the Republicans in the Senate, desperate to hold onto their majority, can't figure out if there are more votes to be had by helping the folks back home, or by pumping more hot-air into the leaky balloon of "fiscal responsibility." And Mitch McConnell has so lost control of his caucus that he went home this past weekend having accomplished nothing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) waited months over the late spring and summer to act, saying he wanted to see what impact the programs already approved were having before agreeing to anything more. During that time the virus itself frustrated widespread hopes that the situation might improve and began to surge in states that had reopened too aggressively. McConnell finally released a $1 trillion bill last Monday as the GOP's answer to the much larger bill passed by House Democrats in May, but he struggled to get consensus within his party and with the Trump administration, including complaints from members of his own conference about everything from the price tag to a new round of stimulus checks.
Between the people afraid of losing their seats, and the senators who want to run for president in 2024, McConnell is paralyzed. Of course, you will never guess what the real problem is.
Democrats have consistently rejected the notion of a short-term fix, and in face of the GOP's disunity they have shown little willingness to compromise on their push for the most generous relief bill possible, with an array of provisions that Republicans reject, such as $1 trillion in new aid for cities and states. Republicans say they do not think Democrats want to pass anything at all because they'd rather have a political issue; Democrats angrily reject that accusation.
Yes. Yes, they do. You know why? Because it's bullshit, that's why. McConnell can't even get his caucus to listen to either the White House chief of staff or the Secretary of the Treasury, let alone himself. With whom, exactly, are the Democrats supposed to negotiate here in Bedlam?
"Our politics is such that there must be significant political pain before hard things can get done," said Brendan Buck, who was a top adviser to former Republican House speaker Paul D. Ryan. "That's our forcing mechanism, and the political pain will be starting very soon."
Just shut up, OK? It's not "our politics," dude. It's your politics. Own it.

(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-

"I actually took one when I -- very recently, when I -- when I was -- the radical left were saying, is he all there? Is he all there? And I proved I was all there, because I got -- I aced it. I aced the test."
~~~ Donald Trump

Herman Cain, who died this week from complications related to Covid-19, pictured
at President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June.

How Trump Broke America: A Story of Unparalleled Economic Pain and Human Death
Historic 33% economic crash, 1,500 Covid-19 deaths per day, and tens of millions out of work and on verge of losing their homes.
By Juan Cole

Trump's refusal last winter to pull out all the stops to mount an effective national coronavirus response has broken the legs of America. On Wednesday, over 1500 coronavirus deaths were reported nationwide, a tally not seen since May. Over 150,000 Americans have died of the disease, and the prospect is that tens of thousands more will succumb.

In Germany, 9,000 people have died, which is equivalent to 36,000 in U.S. terms (the U.S. is four times more populous). There were 839 new infections in Germany on Thursday, equivalent to 3,356 in U.S. terms. Meanwhile, there were over 60,000 new cases a day here in the United States. That is, new U.S. cases were eighteen times more than Germany's. This is because the German government and health system are better than ours.

The gross domestic product, the measure of goods and services produced, fell by nearly 33% in the second quarter. That unprecedented percentage is four times worse than any quarter in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Republican senate went home without passing a new unemployment relief bill, which will reduce the unemployed to only some $1,200 a month to live on. The average rent in the U.S. is $1,463 per month.

The U.S. is on the verge of a massive homelessness problem, as rents come due on August 1 and in some states, eviction moratoriums are expiring. If things go on like this, 40 million Americans could lose their homes.

Herman Cain, the pizza mogul and former presidential candidate, died Thursday of Covid-19. He defiantly attended Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, proudly un-distanced and un-masked, and came down with the disease 9 days later. He could have gotten it elsewhere, but the timing is right for Tulsa. Cain tweeted arrogantly attacking the wearing of masks just before he fell ill. RIP. But dude, you should have listened to the science.

Cain's death underlined the problem the Republican Party has, of an anti-science bias and a disdain for anything they perceive as bad for business (Cain could not sell many pizzas if people avoided closed spaces and wore masks; but then Cain will never sell another pizza anyway).

Hong Kong, a city the size of New York where 98% of people wear masks, has had 10 coronavirus deaths.

The United States needs a national coronavirus response, and it has been denied one by Donald J. Trump. The president treated the pandemic like one of the women he sexually assaulted, who could safely be ignored or paid off with a little sum under the table to go away. It will all disappear, he said, by April. It will just go away one day. His irrational opposition to mitigation efforts-closing down public gatherings for long enough to start the virus on a downward spiral, wearing masks, testing and contact tracing, nationwide provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the medical system-all of this obfuscation deeply wounded the national response. States were thrown on their own devices, but had over the past 15 years deeply cut their county health departments. They were made to compete with one another for needed resources.

Trump thumbed his nose at CDC guidelines for public gatherings, insisting on a mega campaign rally in Tulsa and tried (though he failed) to get 100,000 people to attend. About 6,000 showed up, sitting in a stadium with no social distancing and no masks. There was subsequently a spike in coronavirus cases in that county, and who knows how many people were infected? Initially the stadium had tried to reserve every other seat in the stadium so as to keep at least a little distance between the attendees, but Trump campaign workers removed the stickers so as to cram them in tight for a good camera shot.

As the cases of Germany and South Korea show, the coronavirus challenge can be dealt with by a reasoned and efficient national public policy. Trump has none.

Trump has broken America.

(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-

Steven gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Finanzminister Mnuchin,

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 make millions of Americans become homeless to keep them from voting, 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 Mnuchin, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

How Mitch McConnell's Republicans Are Destroying America
By Robert Reich

Senate Republicans' shameful priorities are on full display as the nation continues to grapple with an unprecedented health and economic crisis.

Mitch McConnell and the GOP refuse to take up the HEROES Act, passed by the House in early May to help Americans survive the pandemic and fortify the upcoming election.

Senate Republicans don't want to extend the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits, even though unemployment has soared to the highest levels since the Great Depression.

Even before the pandemic, nearly 80 percent of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Now many are desperate, as revealed by lengthening food lines and growing delinquencies in rent payments.

McConnell's response? He urges lawmakers to be "cautious" about helping struggling Americans, warning that "the amount of debt that we're adding up is a matter of genuine concern."

McConnell seems to forget the $1.9 trillion tax cut he engineered in December 2017 for big corporations and the super-rich, which blew up the debtdeficit.

That's just the beginning of the GOP's handouts for corporations and the wealthy. As soon as the pandemic hit, McConnell and Senate Republicans were quick to give mega-corporations a $500 billion blank check, while only sending Americans a paltry one-time $1,200 check.

The GOP seems to believe that the rich will work harder if they receive more money while people of modest means work harder if they receive less. In reality, the rich contribute more to Republican campaigns when they get bailed out.

That's precisely why the GOP put into the last Covid relief bill a $170 billion windfall to Jared Kushner and other real estate moguls, who line the GOP's campaign coffers. Another $454 billion of the package went to backing up a Federal Reserve program that benefits big business by buying up their debt.

And although the bill was also intended to help small businesses, lobbyists connected to Trump - including current donors and fundraisers for his reelection - helped their clients rake in over $10 billion of the aid, while an estimated 90 percent of small businesses owned by people of color and women got nothing.

The GOP's shameful priorities have left countless small businesses with no choice but to close. They've also left 22 million Americans unemployed, and 28 million at risk of being evicted by September.

For the bulk of this crisis, McConnell called the Senate back into session only to confirm more of Trump's extremist judges and advance a $740 billion defense spending bill.

Throughout it all, McConnell has insisted his priority is to shield businesses from Covid-related lawsuits by customers and employees who have contracted the virus.

The inept and overwhelmingly corrupt reign of Trump, McConnell, and Senate Republicans will come to an end next January if enough Americans vote this coming November.

But will enough people vote during a pandemic? The HEROES Act provides $3.6 billion for states to expand mail-in and early voting, but McConnell and his GOP lackeys aren't interested. They're well aware that more voters increase the likelihood Republicans will be booted out.

Time and again, they've shown that they only care about their wealthy donors and corporate backers. If they had an ounce of concern for the nation, their priority would be to shield Americans from the ravages of Covid and American democracy from the ravages of Trump. But we know where their priorities lie.

(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

"The sad truth is that 30 years after the supposed end of the Cold War,the U.S. military-industrial
complex has failed to reimagine itself in anything but Cold War terms, and its 'New' Cold War
is just a revival of the old Cold War that it spent the last three decades telling us it already won."

US Cold War China Policy Will Isolate The US, Not China
The U.S. must stop pursuing its counterproductive effort to undermine China, and instead work with all our neighbors on this small planet.
By Medea Benjamin

Tensions between the United States and China are rising as the U.S. election nears, with tit-for-tat consulate closures, new U.S. sanctions and no less than three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups prowling the seas around China. But it is the United States that has initiated each new escalation in U.S.-China relations. China's responses have been careful and proportionate, with Chinese officials such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly asking the U.S. to step back from its brinkmanship to find common ground for diplomacy.

Most of the U.S. complaints about China are long-standing, from the treatment of the Uighur minority and disputes over islands and maritime borders in the South China Sea to accusations of unfair trade practices and support for protests in Hong Kong. But the answer to the "Why now?" question seems obvious: the approaching U.S. election.

Danny Russel, who was Obama's top East Asia expert in the National Security Council and then at the State Department, told the BBC that the new tensions with China are partly an effort to divert attention from Trump's bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic and his tanking poll numbers, and that this "has a wag the dog feel to it."

Meanwhile, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has been going toe-to-toe with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a potentially dangerous "tough on China" contest, which could prove difficult for the winner to walk back after the election.

Elections aside, there are two underlying forces at play in the current escalation of tensions, one economic and the other military. China's economic miracle has lifted hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty, and, until recently, Western corporations were glad to make the most of its huge pool of cheap labor, weak workplace and environmental protections, and growing consumer market. Western leaders welcomed China into their club of wealthy, powerful countries with little fuss about human and civil rights or China's domestic politics.

So what has changed? U.S.high-tech companies like Apple, which were once only too glad to outsource American jobs and train Chinese contractors and engineers to manufacture their products, are finally confronting the reality that they have not just outsourced jobs, but also skills and technology. Chinese companies and highly skilled workers are now leading some of the world's latest technological advances.

The global rollout of 5G cellular technology has become a flashpoint, not because the increase and higher frequency of EMF radiation it involves may be dangerous to human health, which is a real concern, but because Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE have developed and patented much of the critical infrastructure involved, leaving Silicon Valley in the unfamiliar position of having to play catch-up.

Also, if the U.S.'s 5G infrastructure is built by Huawei and ZTE instead of AT&T and Verizon, the U.S. government will no longer be able to require "back doors" that the NSA can use to spy on us all, so it is instead stoking fears that China could insert its own back doors in Chinese equipment to spy on us instead. Left out of the discussion is the real solution: repeal the Patriot Act and make sure that all the technology we use in our daily lives is secure from the prying eyes of both the U.S. and foreign governments.

China is investing in infrastructure all over the world. As of March 2020, a staggering 138 countries have joined China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive plan to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks. China's international influence will only be enhanced by its success, and the U.S. failure, in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the military front, the Obama and Trump administrations have both tried to "pivot to Asia" to confront China, even as the U.S. military remains bogged down in the Middle East. With a war-weary public demanding an end to the endless wars that have served to justify record military spending for nearly 20 years, the U.S. military-industrial complex has to find more substantial enemies to justify its continued existence and budget-busting costs. Lockheed Martin is not ready to switch from building billion-dollar warplanes on cost-plus contracts to making wind turbines and solar panels.

The only targets the U.S. can find to justify a $740-billion military budget and 800 overseas military bases are its familiar old Cold War enemies: Russia and China. They both expanded their modest military budgets after 2011, when the U.S. and its allies hi-jacked the Arab Spring to launch covert and proxy wars in Libya, where China had substantial oil interests, and Syria, a long-term Russian ally. But their increases in military spending were only relative. In 2019, China's military budget was only $261 billion compared to the U.S.'s $732 billion, according to SIPRI. The U.S. still spends more on its military than the ten next largest military powers combined, including Russia and China. Russian and Chinese military forces are almost entirely defensive, with an emphasis on advanced and effective anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems. Neither Russia nor China has invested in carrier strike groups to sail the seven seas or U.S.-style expeditionary forces to attack or invade countries on the other side of the planet. But they do have the forces and weapons they need to defend themselves and their people from any U.S. attack and both are nuclear powers, making a major war against either of them a more serious prospect than the U.S. military has faced anywhere since the Second World War.

China and Russia are both deadly serious about defending themselves, but we should not misinterpret that as enthusiasm for a new arms race or a sign of aggressive intentions on their part. It is U.S. imperialism and militarism that are driving the escalating tensions. The sad truth is that 30 years after the supposed end of the Cold War, the U.S. military-industrial complex has failed to reimagine itself in anything but Cold War terms, and its "New" Cold War is just a revival of the old Cold War that it spent the last three decades telling us it already won.

"China Is Not an Enemy"

The U.S. and China do not have to be enemies. Just a year ago, a hundred U.S. business, political and military leaders signed a public letter to President Trump in the Washington Post entitled "China Is Not an Enemy." They wrote that China is not "an economic enemy or an existential national security threat," and U.S opposition "will not prevent the continued expansion of the Chinese economy, a greater global market share for Chinese companies and an increase in China's role in world affairs."

They concluded that, "U.S. efforts to treat China as an enemy and decouple it from the global economy will damage the United States' international role and reputation and undermine the economic interests of all nations," and that the U.S. "could end up isolating itself rather than Beijing."

That is precisely what is happening. Governments all over the world are collaborating with China to stop the spread of coronavirus and share the solutions with all who need them. The U.S. must stop pursuing its counterproductive effort to undermine China, and instead work with all our neighbors on this small planet. Only by cooperating with other nations and international organizations can we stop the pandemic-and address the coronavirus-sparked economic meltdown gripping the world economy and the many challenges we must all face together if we are to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

(c) 2020 Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of the new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Her previous books include: Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control; Don't Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart, and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide). Follow her on Twitter: @medeabenjamin

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ RJ Matson ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Anthony Fauci testifies.

Fauci Would Have Thought Twice About Career In Medicine Had He Known It Meant Someday Talking To Jim Jordan
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday that he would have "thought twice" about pursuing a career in medicine had he known that it would lead to his talking someday to Representative Jim Jordan.

Speaking to reporters after his congressional testimony, Fauci said that, during his appearance in the hearing room, he had been revisiting the series of life choices that had resulted in his being forced to hear Jordan speak.

"I could have done so many other things with my life,"the esteemed virologist said. "I could have been a firefighter. I was actually a pretty good dancer back in the day. I could have given that a shot."

Reflecting on those roads not taken, Fauci added, "Had I chosen any of those fields, you can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn't have spent today having to listen to Jim Jordan. Those are minutes I'll never get back."

Fauci clarified that he was "very grateful" for his career as an an epidemiologist but added, "Let's not kid ourselves. If I were a professional dancer, there's about a zero-per-cent chance I would ever be in the same room as Jim Jordan. Oh, well-it is what it is."

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 32 (c) 08/07/2020

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