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In This Edition

Pepe Escobar returns with a must read, "Everything Going According To Plan In China."

Ralph Nader sums up the, "Democratic Convention: New Faces, Similar Policies But Sharp Contrast With Trumpism."

Glen Ford concludes, "Biden Offers Nothing But More War, Austerity And White Supremacy - Without Trump."

Jim Hightower says, "Save Our Post Office... And Our Right To Vote."

William Rivers Pitt finds, "Biden Isn't A Progressive. The Question Is How Far He Can Be Pushed."

John Nichols warns, "Ron Johnson's Ready To Wreck The Postal Service."

James Donahue warns of, "Yellowstone - Super Volcano In The Heartland."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "Democrats Must Ace The Agenda Test."

David Suzuki concludes, "True Recovery Means Looking To The Future, Not The Past."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Republican Platform Is A Pledge of Allegiance To The Flag Of Unreason."

Juan Cole says, "Former US Allies Britain, France, Germany Join Russia And China In Forcefully Rejecting Trump Iran Sanctions."

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson R/Wisconsin wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich foresees, "The Post Office Crisis To Come."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Why Is Trump So Enthusiastic About Americans Dying?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Trump Calls Biden's Pro-Empathy Message Offensive To Sociopaths," but first Uncle Ernie asks, "Remember 1936, America?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jack Ohman, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Win McNamee, Stefani Reynolds, Olivier Douliery, Chris Carlson, Pete Marovich, Donkey Hotey, Brendan Smialowski, Pixabay, 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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Remember 1936, America?
By Ernest Stewart

"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." ~~~ Adolf Hitler

"All he wants to do is appeal to his base. He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you'd want to help people. Not do this." ~~~ Maryanne Trump Barry ~ speaking about her brother Donald "Melting faster and faster': Greenland lost 1 million tons of ice for each minute of 2019!" ~~~ Vincent Wood

"I have no doubt the Democrats are ginning these issues up into a false narrative designed to extract a political advantage. I'm sorry that you're the target of those." ~ Ron Johnson to Louis DeJoy in Senate committee hearings.

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

Have you been watching Lying Donald's song and dance convention? Neither have I, nor will I ever. Except for his tweets, which I have to do for this job, I wouldn't watch anything with him in it as I might have a tendency of throwing a brick through the flat screen and as a poor man I couldn't afford to replace!

Sure, I know what's been happening, as I read dozens of columns each day some for the magazine but most that I can't republish or even legally quote. Long gone are the days that we got enough donations to pay those "heavenly bills" like we once did, c'est la guerre!

I'm so old that I can remember when the Rethuglicans had an actual platform that was surprisingly fair towards the poor and working classes (imagine that) but those days are long since gone. This time they don't even have a platform, except, whatever Lying Donald wants, Lying Donald gets. No matter how many times he commits treason, or sedition they will back him to the hilt, regardless of the consequences.

As a historian I'm having a deja vu about Lying Donald's favorite person from history, yes I'm talking Adolf Hitler and the 1936 election. That was derr Snifters last election as after that one, there were no more elections until after Germany was bombed back to the stone age and Hitler was dead. If Lying Donald manages to steal this election like he did last time around, expect the same results!

In Other News

I see where thousands of lightning strikes have sparked hundreds of fires across California in recent days, producing several major clusters burning around the San Francisco Bay Area.

The blazes quickly ripped through hundreds of thousands of acres, forcing thousands to evacuate, filling the skies with smoke, and raining down ash across much of the region. Since most of this was on federal lands shouldn't Lying Donald have been out there with a rake making the forrest safe from fire? I mean, what goes around, comes around, doesn't it?

The fires follow a bone-dry winter in Northern California and a stretch of record-setting summer heat waves across the state, conditions that effectively turned grasslands and forests into tinder. The infernos come on the heels of several of the most destructive and deadly fire seasons in California history.

All of which raises the question, once again: Is human-driven global warming to blame? Did it make the latest fires more likely or more severe? Well, duh!

Climate scientists, who long resisted linking global warming to any specific extreme event, now say its influence is all but certain!

David Romps, director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center, said in an email that we're living in a fundamentally climate-altered world. He noted that average daily highs for this time of year are now about 3 degrees or 4 degrees F warmer in Berkeley, California, than at the beginning of the 20th century. He was also the lead author of a 2014 Science paper finding that every additional 1 degree C (1.8 degree F) of warming could increase lightning strikes over the US by about 12%.

"To cut to the chase: Were the heat wave and the lightning strikes and the dryness of the vegetation affected by global warming? Absolutely yes," Romps said. "Were they made significantly hotter, more numerous, and drier because of global warming? Yes, likely yes, and yes."

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that the prolonged lightning storms in recent days are such a rare occurrence in Northern California that it's hard to assess whether climate change played a role in sparking the fires.

But so-called extreme weather attribution studies have clearly and repeatedly found that global warming exacerbates heat waves, which help create the conditions for wildfires to burn intensely and spread rapidly.

"The answer is basically always that climate change played a large role in the severity or likelihood [of heat waves]," he says. "It's almost just a question of how much."

Friederike Otto, acting director of the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute and co-lead of World Weather Attribution, echoed that view in an email: "There is absolutely no doubt that the extremely high temperatures are higher than they would have been without human-induced climate change. A huge body of attribution literature demonstrates now that climate change is an absolute game-changer when it comes to heat waves, and California won't be the exception."

Meanwhile, away down yonder, this weeks second tropical storm Luara is about to hit the Texas/Louisiana border area as a Cat 4 hurricane. Laura also brings an unsurvivable storm surge, which could impact areas up to 30 miles inland! So, the longer we stall about fighting global warming the faster we reach the point of no return, which we've already reached for things like melting glaciers. Like the song says, "Do you know the swim, you better learn quick Jim. Those who don't know the swim, better sing the hymn" or get out of "Dodge" while the getting's good!

And Finally

Wisconsin's rethuglican Sinator Ron Johnson who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee apologized for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy having to come before his committee to defend himself for the acts of treason and sedition that he's committed. As you know both Johnson and Dejoy are both Lying Donald's puppets who will do and say anything for the traitor who pulls their strings!

Johnson said, "It is Postmaster DeJoy's commendable attempt to reduce those excess costs that are now being cynically used to create this false political narrative." Yet Johnson didn't mention what was really going on, that Dejoy's actions were what Lying Donald's plans for a coup d'etat come November 3rd and nothing to do with saving money. As Lying Donald said in a rare moment of truth, "They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting, because they're not equipped to have it!"

Ergo, Ron Johnson 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!


11-14-1951 ~ 08-20-2020
Thanks for the music!

01-04-1982 ~ 08-23-2020
Thanks for the music!

08-15-1933 ~ 08-28-2020
Thanks for the film!

08-22-1932 ~ 08-28-2020
Thanks for the adventure!


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.

Xi Jinping

Everything Going According To Plan In China
By Pepe Escobar

Let's start with the story of an incredibly disappearing summit.

Every August, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) converges to the town of Beidaihe, a seaside resort some two hours away from Beijing, to discuss serious policies that then coalesce into key planning strategies to be approved at the CCP Central Committee plenary session in October.

The Beidaihe ritual was established by none other than Great Helmsman Mao, who loved the town where, not by accident, Emperor Qin, the unifier of China in the 3rd century B.C.E., kept a palace.

2020 being, so far, a notorious Year of Living Dangerously, it's no surprise that in the end Beidaihe was nowhere to be seen. Yet Beidaihe's invisibility does not mean it did not happen.

Exhibit 1 was the fact that Premier Li Keqiang simply disappeared from public view for nearly two weeks -after President Xi chaired a crucial Politburo gathering in late July where what was laid out was no less than China's whole development strategy for the next 15 years.

Li Keqiang resurfaced by chairing a special session of the all-powerful State Council, just as the CCP's top ideologue, Wang Huning -who happens to be number 5 in the Politburo -showed up as the special guest at a meeting of the All China Youth Federation.

What's even more intriguing is that side by side with Wang, one would find Ding Xuexiang, none other than President Xi's chief of staff, as well as three other Politburo members.

In this "now you see them, now you don't" variation, the fact that they all showed up in unison after an absence of nearly two weeks led sharp Chinese observers to conclude that Beidaihe in fact had taken place. Even if no visible signs of political action by the seaside had been detected. The semi-official spin is that no get-together happened at Beidaihe because of Covid-19.

Yet it's Exhibit 2 that may clinch the deal for good. The by now famous end of July Politburo meeting chaired by Xi in fact sealed the Central Committee plenary session in October. Translation: the contours of the strategic road map ahead had already been approved by consensus. There was no need to retreat to Beidaihe for further discussions.

Trial balloons or official policy?

The plot thickens when one takes into consideration a series of trial balloons that started to float a few days ago in select Chinese media. Here are some of the key points.

1. On the trade war front, Beijing won't shut down US businesses already operating in China. But companies which want to enter the market in finance, information technology, healthcare and education services will not be approved.

2. Beijing won't dump all its overwhelming mass of US Treasuries in one go, but -as it already happens -divestment will accelerate. Last year, that amounted to $100 billion. Up to the end of 2020, that could reach $300 billion.

3. The internationalization of the yuan, also predictably, will be accelerated. That will include configuring the final parameters for clearing US dollars through the CHIPS Chinese system -foreseeing the incandescent possibility Beijing might be cut off from SWIFT by the Trump administration or whoever will be in power at the White House after January 2021.

4. On what is largely interpreted across China as the "full spectrum war" front, mostly Hybrid War, the PLA has been put into Stage 3 alert - and all leaves are canceled for the rest of 2020. There will be a concerted drive to increase all-round defense spending to 4% of GDP and accelerate the development of nuclear weapons. Details are bound to emerge during the Central Committee meeting in October.

5. The overall emphasis is on a very Chinese spirit of self-reliance, and building what can be defined as a national economic "dual circulation" system: the consolidation of the Eurasian integration project running in parallel to a global yuan settlement mechanism.

Inbuilt in this drive is what has been described as "to firmly abandon all illusions about the United States and conduct war mobilization with our people. We shall vigorously promote the war to resist US aggression (...) We will use a war mindset to steer the national economy (...) Prepare for the complete interruption of relations with the US."

It's unclear as it stands if these are only trial balloons disseminated across Chinese public opinion or decisions reached at the "invisible" Beidaihe. So all eyes will be on what kind of language this alarming configuration will be packaged when the Central Committee presents its strategic planning in October. Significantly, that will happen only a few weeks before the US election.

It's all about continuity

All of the above somewhat mirrors a recent debate in Amsterdam on what constitutes the Chinese "threat" to the West. Here are the key points.

1. China constantly reinforces its hybrid economic model - which is an absolute rarity, globally: neither totally publicly owned nor a market economy.

2. The level of patriotism is staggering: once the Chinese face a foreign enemy, 1.4 billion people act as one.

3. National mechanisms have tremendous force: absolutely nothing blocks the full use of China's financial, material and manpower resources once a policy is set.

4. China has set up the most comprehensive, back to back industrial system on the planet, without foreign interference if need be (well, there's always the matter of semiconductors to Huawei to be solved).

China plans not only in years, but in decades. Five year plans are complemented by ten year plans and as the meeting chaired by Xi showed, 15 year plans. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in fact a nearly 40-year plan, designed in 2013 to be completed in 2049.

And continuity is the name of the game - when one thinks that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, first developed in 1949 and then expanded by Zhou Enlai at the Bandung conference in 1955 are set in stone as China's foreign policy guidelines.

The Qiao collective, an independent group that advances the role of qiao ("bridge") by the strategically important huaqiao ("overseas Chinese") is on point when they note that Beijing never proclaimed a Chinese model as a solution to global problems. What they extol is Chinese solutions to specific Chinese conditions.

A forceful point is also made that historical materialism is incompatible with capitalist liberal democracy forcing austerity and regime change on national systems, shaping them towards preconceived models.

That always comes back to the core of the CCP foreign policy: each nation must chart a course fit for its national conditions.

And that reveals the full contours of what can be reasonably described as a Centralized Meritocracy with Confucian, Socialist Characteristics: a different civilization paradigm that the "indispensable nation" still refuses to accept, and certainly won't abolish by practicing Hybrid War.

(c) 2020 Pepe Escobar is a Brazilian journalist. He writes a column - The Roving Eye - for Asia Times Online, and works as an analyst for RT and Sputnik News, as well as Press TV.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, his wife Dr. Jill Biden, Democratic Vice
Presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff raise their arms on
stage outside the Chase Center after Biden delivered his acceptance speech on the fourth night
of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Democratic Convention: New Faces, Similar Policies But Sharp Contrast With Trumpism
The Democratic Party avoided the issue of what to do about the gross maldistribution of power between the tiny few and the rest of the people in America.
By Ralph Nader

A national political nominating convention, as the Democrats have just completed, is, to be sure, a mutual admiration event. A steady stream of speakers led to the finale with the acceptance speech by the presidential candidate, Joe Biden. But the Convention has another declared purpose: to show the country what the Democratic Party stands for and the future it wishes to shape for the American people.

Repetition is expected and it was no surprise that speaker after speaker attacked "inequality" and the injustices of discrimination against minorities, women, and the poor.

Intriguingly was what the three-day talkfest left out. The Democratic Party avoided the issue of what to do about the gross maldistribution of power between the tiny few and the rest of the people in America. This glaring omission signaled that the aggressive progressive wing of the Party - led by Bernie Sanders and youthful incumbents in Congress could have their priorities excluded with impunity by the Party bosses. The overriding desire for unity against Trump became the muzzle for most of the progressive delegates.

When unity, as if any Democrat had anything else in mind in stressing the defeat of dangerous and corrupt Donald, becomes a tool to demand unanimity on policies, alas, the Party is up to its old establishment ways.

The Biden/Harris Democratic Party looks like it will repeat the Clinton/Obama practice of avoiding major hurdles to peace and justice. Here are some glaring omissions:

Trump shreds the Constitution daily with numerous impeachable offenses. He is getting away with these abuses because of the AWOL Congress's indifference to his unprecedented dictatorial seizure of legislative authority, including his recent brazen executive usurpations of Congress's power of the purse and taxation. Some of Trump's acts include criminal violations of federal law.

The gross distortion of the federal budget with over 50% of operating expenditures going to the Pentagon, the bloated military contractors, and the pursuit of a boomeranging, draining Empire. Speakers could have felt secure by quoting President Eisenhower's farewell warnings regarding the military-industrial complex. Empires starve their country's necessities and the U.S. is no exception to such misallocation of funds.

There was much talk of expanding social safety net programs, but little or no discussion about how to pay for these vital programs, but no demand, other than a passing reference in Biden's speech, to repeal the $2 trillion Trump tax cut for the super-wealthy and giant corporations like CEO Tim Cook and Apple. There was no demand to cut enormous corporate welfare payouts - crony capitalism and no push for a financial sales tax on Wall Street trading, notwithstanding recent support for that huge source of new revenue from Michael Bloomberg and Wall Streeter Robert Rubin.

The corporate crime wave keeps roiling higher and higher with immense costs to regular people and their families. It would have been easy and popular to call for more law and order and adequate enforcement budgets to catch corporate crooks. Billing fraud and abuse, just in the health care industry, costs consumers and taxpayers one billion dollars a day! One would think that the unconstitutional, illegal, mass surveillance by federal agencies, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, would be worth a shout out. Privacy destruction is on people's minds. Is this deemed too controversial for the Democratic Party?

What about telling people about changes the Democrats want to make in the country's foreign policy? What about the role of monopolistic corporations escaping taxes by using overseas tax havens, fomenting trouble, and exploiting indigenous people in foreign lands?

Wouldn't you think Convention speakers would report the crimes, misdeeds, and corporate takeovers of our government's agencies and departments by Trump's big-business henchmen? Look at EPA, OSHA, the CFPB, and the Departments of Interior, Labor, Agriculture, and other health/safety regulatory agencies and the life-saving and economic protections Trump and his cronies have shut down. In Minneapolis on Monday, Trump, in one fast minute, strung together his serial madcap attacks on the Democrats, who in the hours at their Convention, did not adequately return the favor.

It would have been extraordinary had the Democrats addressed the Trump voters, especially those blue-collar workers who left the Democratic Party because the Party deserted them on economic/trade matters. Barack Obama did mention "white factory workers" whose jobs were displaced. But the tens of millions of low-income whites did not hear the Democrats directly saying much about working-class grievances.

It is standard practice for the presidential nominee's team to clear drafts of all Convention speeches to make sure none stray too much from the permissible positions and non-positions of the candidate. If Joe Biden followed this practice, then what Convention speakers said and did not say reflects Mr. Biden's range of proposed action and inaction.

However, the Democratic Convention's embrace of replacing Trump's deliberate chaos and confusion with recovery and rebuilding the country did seem to come through persistently over three days. The Democrats presented a contrast to the crazed, bungling, ego-maniacal Trump spewing hate, inciting violence, and emitting hourly lies.

(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).

Biden Offers Nothing But More War, Austerity And White Supremacy - Without Trump
By Glen Ford

Biden is an unreconstructed racist and warmonger who has been in the forefront of austerity, and Harris is a party hack and mass Black incarcerator who became a prosecutor with police union endorsement.

The corporate Democrats are once again running as the Not-Trump Party, the second consecutive election in which they have succeeded in suppressing every issue except the fitness for office of one very wretched man. The only way a party wholly-owned by oligarchs can deflect attention from its own culpability in dragooning its constituents into a Race to the Bottom amid never ending war, is to set up a straw man to be knocked down, leaving the machinery of racial capitalism and armed-to-the-teeth imperialism intact -- Hillary Clinton's gambit in 2016.

She lost, but the oligarchy did just fine under the Orange Menace, as stocks and profits skyrocketed. In the interim, however, popular demands for relief from the duopoly's bipartisan regime of austerity and war escalated, and a Black-led movement took to the streets in unprecedented numbers. China's economy, which had already eclipsed the United States in purchasing power parity, continued to roar ahead, as Beijing countered U.S. military encirclement with the most ambitious multinational infrastructure project in world history: the Belt and Road initiative, formerly the New Silk Road.

With the bulk of the U.S. ruling class and their servants in the national security apparatus now aligned with Democrats, Trump was made the scapegoat for both Black anger at institutional racial oppression and for imperial decline. Black Democratic elected officials played their assigned role, waving American flags as they pretended that only Trump stood in the way of racial "healing" in a nation born of native genocide and Black enslavement. Recent history was quickly rewritten, positing the rise of Trump as the demon who taunted Blacks into resurrecting a grassroots movement that had been dormant for two generations, when in fact the Black Lives Matter phenomenon arose to demolish a bipartisan Mass Black Incarceration regime under his predecessor, the First Black President.

Having strangled the anti-austerity (but loyal imperialist) internal challenge from Bernie Sanders, the oligarch-aligned Democrats and their media chose Joe Biden as front man: a political hack with impeccable corporate credentials and an architect of the "New Jim Crow" and white northern massive resistance to Black urban intrusion. His Black female running mate is a pure product of the corporate Democratic machine, who launched her electoral career with the endorsement of police unions.

But neither of them is Trump, and that's all that matters.

With Biden, the "white working class" champion carrying the corporate torch, there will be no talk of baskets of "deplorables" - because he is a certified denizen of the basket. Rather, Biden promised in his acceptance speech to "choose a different path, and together, take this chance to heal, to be reborn, to unite. A path of hope and light."

Trump is darkness, the Democrats are light - ad nauseum for 3,000-plus meaningless words.

Biden acknowledges that the U.S. responded to the Covid-19 epidemic with "the worst performance of any nation on Earth." But it was all the fault of the unmasked man, Trump. The methodical privatization and shrinkage of the public health system, a thoroughly bipartisan policy, had nothing to do with mass death. The austerity regime, of which Biden is a founding member, which apportions health care based on race and class, is blameless. There can be no true national health care system absent a single payer program, but Biden vowed to veto Medicare for all if it ever crosses his presidential desk. Biden joins Trump in scapegoating China for the coronavirus, promising "we will never again be at the mercy of China and other foreign countries in order to protect our own people." Yet, he is the light.

Biden assures us that his "economic plan is all about jobs, dignity, respect, and community" -- a claim that flies in the face of his history as budget-slasher. As journalist Branko Marcetic writes, "Biden is uniquely susceptible to budget-cutting dogma. He quickly became a fiscal hawk after entering the Senate in 1972, introducing the Federal Spending Control Act five years later to potentially put all federal spending programs on the chopping block, and musing that Reagan's 1980 victory was 'more consistent with the budgetary thrust that a guy like me ... has been going for.'"

In his speech, Biden called Social Security a "a sacred obligation, a sacred promise made." But, again citing Marcetic, Biden has proposed to means-test Social Security and, from the 1980s on "has called for and introduced legislation aimed at slashing federal spending, including by cutting Medicare and Social Security." Vice-President Biden was point man for Barack Obama's partially consummated "Grand Bargain" with Republicans, during which the administration offered four trillion dollars in cuts, mostly to social programs, including Social Security - a program that Obama put on the cutting table, along with Medicaid and "all other entitlements" at the very beginning of his presidency.

Biden has always been a soldier for austerity, a war against the poor. Why should anyone believe he has reversed course in his old age?

Biden is an unreconstructed racist, as is proven every time he makes a remark even remotely related to race. His acceptance speech put forward not one word that hinted at programmatic change on racial matters. However, he did mention the name of George Floyd's daughter, and seemed to think that John Lewis' ghost will cause us all to "see the light."

But Russia shall be consigned to darkness, along with Trump. Biden repeated the wholly unsubstantiated and historically bizarre charge that Moscow put "bounties on the heads of American soldiers" in Afghanistan, despite Russia's longtime and invaluable assistance to maintain the U.S. presence in that country.

War. Austerity and White Supremacy are all that Biden/Harris offer - but without Trump. If that's enough for you, then say "Hallelujah" -- and then tighten your belts and pass the ammunition.

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

Save Our Post Office... And Our Right To Vote
By Jim Hightower

As progressive champion John Lewis warned, your right to vote "is not guaranteed. You can lose it."

You see, it's one thing to "have the right" to cast your ballot, but it's quite another thing to be able to exercise that right. During the past decade, Republican officials and operatives have become experts at voter-suppression, using legal technicalities, poll closures, fraud, fearmongering, and plain old thuggish intimidation to shut out voters who're inclined to support Democratic candidates. Rather than winning votes, their game is preventing votes.

And now comes Donald Trump with a pernicious scheme to keep millions of us from having our say in November's election. Here's the story: Because of the spreading COVID-19 health crisis, a majority of Americans are reluctant to risk their lives by voting in crowded polling places. Shouldn't be a problem, though - just let everyone who's concerned use our nation's excellent, reliable, trusted postal service to cast their votes by mail.

But such a sensible solution panicked Trump. Eeeek, he shrieked, mail-in-voting will increase turnout, and that's bad for me! Yet, he can't just ban voters from using the mail. So he came up with a maniacal Plan B: Simply defund the US Postal Service so it can't do its job, thus forcing everyone to vote in person - or give up their voting rights.

Sure enough, in March, he personally killed a bipartisan provision in the national economic rescue package that would've assured timely delivery of our mail. Then, in May, he installed one of his partisan mega-donors as Postmaster General, and he is now sabotaging delivery times by arbitrarily slashing the hours of postal workers.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Like a tin-hatted third-world potentate, Trump is willing to destroy this prized national asset to cling to power. To help save our public post office - and our right to vote go to:

(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

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden interact with
supporters via video teleconference on the fourth night of the Democratic
National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden Isn't A Progressive. The Question Is How Far He Can Be Pushed
By William Rivers Pitt

By now, teeming bacteria on the volcanic floor of the Mariana Trench have heard that last night was the speech of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's life. It was, and he exceeded expectations.

At his best, Joe Biden gives speeches the way good carpenters build bookcases: All sturdy right angles and nothing too fancy. Last night, certainly in awareness of the stakes, Biden found a new gear. His rhetoric did not soar, but he was evocative in his passion. He did not say the words "Donald Trump" once, but left his opponent in tatters all the same. On a night requiring maximum performance, Biden built the bookcase with no wood screws left over.

Nowhere was this more evident than when Biden put on pads and a helmet and charged straight at the COVID-19 crisis. In a country filled with millions of voters who are bone-weary of bad news, Biden gave them some more with no varnish, splinters and all. It was a risk, but after months of bald-faced lies and equivocation from the administration, it was grimly satisfying to hear the straight dope, finally, from someone who calls himself a leader.

"As president, the first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that's ruined so many lives," said Biden. "Because I understand something this president doesn't. We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back, until we deal with this virus."

Biden reeled off a litany of actions he will take to confront the pandemic if he wins in November, many of which should have happened months ago: Rapid testing, personal protective equipment for all who need it (in a bleak historical counterpoint to "a chicken in every pot"), safely opened schools, experts who can speak without fearing for their jobs, and a national mask mandate until the virus is under control.

Biden's November opponent, by contrast, spent yesterday blundering around the country like a bat lost in the daylight. At a rally just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Trump said of Biden, "He left. He abandoned Pennsylvania. He abandoned Scranton. He was here for a short period of time, and he didn't even know it." Joe Biden was 10 years old when his family moved from Scranton to Delaware after his father lost his job.

Things got positively apocalyptic from there. "If you want a vision of your life under [a] Biden presidency," Trump snarled, "think of the smoldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America."

It reminded me of George W. Bush-era Republicans who claimed Bush protected us from terrorism while omitting the hole in the sky above Lower Manhattan. Trump fans don't like masks, but they do blinders like a catwalk model does heels.

The four days of the Democratic National Convention came off like they were on rails, technologically seamless and deeply moving in places. The delegate roll call, the 17-person keynote, the children speaking their hearts and minds, punctuated by towering speeches from Michelle and Barack Obama and other party heavyweights, all came together in what may very well become the prototype for conventions in the 21st century.

Yet all the championing of Black Lives Matter, of better health care for all, the warnings of looming climate catastrophe, and the shouted alarms on the existential threat to democracy itself posed by the president of the United States, does not change the fact that this convention was run by a center-right Democratic establishment for the sole purpose of nominating a center-right ticket.

It is what it is, as Trump says of the dead and Michelle Obama says of Trump. It was a magnificent TV show that will be the measuring stick for next week's Republican mayhem convention - I mean, would it surprise you if the GOP had a convention panel featuring Kid Rock and Scott Baio coughing on each other to "prove" COVID is fake? - but as every adult except Trump knows full well, TV shows are not reality.

A Biden administration would have to be pushed, and pushed hard, by progressive activists from day one. I can only laugh into my sleeve whenever Trump tries to describe Biden/Harris as some secret Trojan horse for socialism; he may as well accuse Biden of being Batman. BLM showed us how effective grassroots protest can be in the face of entrenched power, and we will all likely need to flex those muscles again.

That being rightly said, I have been giving a great deal of thought lately to an article written last March by Esquire's Charles P. Pierce. "Biden has been an influential Democrat through all of this. He has been a loyal party man," wrote Pierce. The thrust of his argument is that Biden wallowed in the muck of Clinton-era economic neoliberalism and Republican "law and order" brutality because that is where the party was headed, and he went with it.

This is no excuse for the gruesome pieces of legislation bearing Biden's name from those years, but that blade also has a keen second edge. "[H]ow sincere do you believe Joe Biden is in his newfound adoption of positions that would have been unthinkable 20 years - or 20 months - before[?]" asked Pierce. "If he thinks that's where the party's headed, he will go along. His history proves that he will, and that he likely will do it with gusto."

Thin gruel, to be sure, but progressive House leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies have a great deal of momentum at present, evidenced again by this year's round of primary victories. Biden reads the wind well. If it continues to blow leftward, and if Mitch McConnell finds himself either in the Senate minority or fully unemployed, a President Biden may decide to blow with it.

Stranger things have happened, and if COVID has taught us anything, it is that government does the most damage when it does nothing in a crisis. That lesson will still have teeth in January, and for many long years to come.

(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.

Wisconsin's rightwing US Senator Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson's Ready To Wreck The Postal Service
Johnson is playing the fool on Trump's behalf.
By John Nichols

Everyone in America is angry about the dismantling of the Postal Service by Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Except, of course, for Ron Johnson.

The Republican senator from Wisconsin heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that should be getting to the bottom of allegations of political scheming on the part of the Trump administration to slow down the mail in advance of a COVID-19 election where most people expect to cast their ballots by mail. But Johnson is, as always, just fine with whatever nefarious activity in which the president engages.

Performing his usual role as the president's political valet, Johnson greeted DeJoy at a hearing on Friday with lavish praise and a nutty conspiracy theory.

"I have no doubt the Democrats are ginning these issues up into a false narrative designed to extract a political advantage," chirped Johnson, before soothingly telling the scandal-plagued postmaster general, "I'm sorry that you're the target of those."

Pronouncing himself to be "highly supportive" of efforts to trash sorting machines and blue mailboxes, cut overtime and more generally reduce service, Johnson claimed, "It is Postmaster DeJoy's commendable attempt to reduce those excess costs that are now being cynically used to create this false political narrative."

The problem with Johnson's conspiracy theory is that DeJoy's mangling of the Postal Service has already caused such a national outcry - from Democrats and honest Republicans - that the postmaster general has suspended some of the most egregious abuses. And, of course, President Trump has acknowledged to Fox Business News that he's been messing with Postal Service funding because "they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots."

So, once again, Johnson is playing the fool on Trump's behalf.

Thankfully, responsible representatives are treating the crisis seriously. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, is leading a congressional effort to hold DeJoy to account. With Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark and 88 other House members, Pocan has signed a letter asking the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors to immediately remove DeJoy.

"Mr. DeJoy has used his time as Postmaster General to sabotage the United States Postal Service (USPS) and he must be removed immediately to protect this critical institution," they point out. "Despite recent claims by Mr. DeJoy that implementation of certain changes may be delayed, he has already done considerable damage to the institution and we believe his conflicts of interest are insurmountable."

Those conflicts of interest are political and personal.

"Mr. DeJoy holds a significant investment in his former company, XPO Logistics, a USPS contractor. Since becoming Postmaster General, he has also invested tens of thousands of dollars in stock options in another USPS contractor and competitor," the letter notes. "Both investments represent a tremendous conflict of interest. We cannot trust that Mr. DeJoy will act in the best interest of the USPS or the people who rely on it."

DeJoy is also a major donor to Trump's campaign and to Republican causes, which is as good an explanation as any for why Ron Johnson is praising the worst postmaster general in American history.

(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.

Yellowstone - Super Volcano In The Heartland
By James Donahue

Many of us have had the privilege of visiting Yellowstone National Park, a vast wilderness in the mountains of Wyoming that offers lakes, rivers, geysers, hot bubbling springs, deep gorges, wild buffalo, moose, elk, bear and breathtaking scenery.

Of all the national parks in the United States, Yellowstone is probably the most popular. And if geologists and other scientists are right, it may be among the most dangerous. That is because it rests about 125 feet directly over a hot bubbling cauldron of lava linked to what is believed to be one of the largest volcanoes in the world.

Almost the entire park hides a huge magma chamber located just below the surface. The steam vents, the hot bubbling mud lakes, the steaming pools of clear water and the geysers, including Old Faithful, are all caused by a constant release of pressure from everything going on below.

Experts refer to Yellowstone as a "Super Volcano." They have determined that it erupts once every 700,000 years, and when it does, it sends enough molten lava, rock, steam, smoke and ash shooting for miles into the atmosphere to kill every living thing for hundreds of miles in every direction, block out sunlight all over the Northern Hemisphere, and affect not only the climate but all life, possibly all over the world, for months if not years.

Experts say the last major eruption occurred about 640,000 years ago. Diedtra Henderson of the Denver Post once wrote that geologic forces have been active at Yellowstone for millions of years. At least three different eruptions have created mountains and erased landscapes over time.

A research team from the University of Utah recently reported to the American Geophysical Union during a meeting in San Francisco that the volcano's cauldron is much larger than it was once believed. Professor Robert Smith said the caverns of molten lava stretches over 55 miles wide and contains from 200 to 600 cubic km of molten rock.<> It is a giant monster that has been lying quietly. A recent rash of earthquake activity in the area has sounded alarms that Old Faithful may be getting prepared to blow. No one knows when it might erupt. But research teams are keeping a constant vigil, recording temperature changes and other signs of possible activity.

Alarms were sounded about ten years ago when the water temperature at one hot pool rose about 20 degrees, and park officials discovered a bulge on the lake floor that rose 100 feet and stretched the length of six football fields. They said the floor of the lake was acting like a lid on a pressure cooker. The concern then was that a hydro-thermal explosion could occur at any time.

Not only has the surface remained elevated, but there has been a sudden rise in the release of Helium-3, a rare type of Helium that is known to be present before a major eruption.

Yet another indicator that something is afoul at Yellowstone this spring . . . herds of bison have been seen running along public highways, all going in the same direction. We assume it is away from the core of the volcano.

The park area also has been the scene of many minor and a few major earthquakes in recent years. A 7.5 quake in 1959 killed over 28 people, caused $11 million in damage, and a landslide blocked the flow of the Madison River and created what is now called Quake Lake.

Science writer Natalie Wolchover addressed the Yellowstone threat in a recent article. She says we don't need to worry because "a rough estimate based on geological records indicates there's a 1-in-10,000 chance of a 'super eruption' at Yellowstone during our lifetimes."

Wolchover calculates that if the volcano does blow and spews over 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma, it would be enough to cover most of North America in a blanket of ash. The damage would be worse in a 2,000 mile radius but beyond that the ash blanket would be at least a trace.

She quotes Stephen Self, director of the Volcano Dynamics Group of Open University in the UK. He said the worst problem would be the ash hanging in the air for days after the eruption, making it difficult for people and animals to breathe. "And that blanket of ask covering the country would smother vegetation and pollute the water supply, quickly leading to a nationwide food crisis. A lot of people would perish," Self said.

The ash cloud and sulfur gas would wrap around the entire world, casting the planet in shadow and altering the very chemical composition of the atmosphere for at least a decade. But if there is enough natural rainfall to clear the ash off the land, new vegetation will start to grow about 10 years after the eruption.

Yellowstone's super volcano probably can't wipe out all life on Earth. But if it blows, the impact will certainly mean a significant reduction in population everywhere. It would change our lives as we know them for a very long time.

(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.

Biden and Harris must be aggressive in putting forth their agenda, explaining its import
and defending its elements.Trump has already made it clear that his campaign will
be based on lies and libels about the Democratic agenda.

Democrats Must Ace The Agenda Test
They need to argue the case for the bold agenda that this country desperately needs, and challenge Donald Trump for his policy failures.
By Jesse Jackson

In last week's Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris passed the character test.

: Now as Trump rolls out his virtual convention, they must ace the agenda test. They need to argue the case for the bold agenda that this country desperately needs, and challenge Trump for his policy failures.

The Democratic National Convention focused on the character test. Speaker after speaker contrasted the decency of Joe Biden against what Trump's own sister called the "phoniness" of Donald Trump, a man she said of "no principles, none."

The convention introduced Kamala Harris to the country, highlighting her remarkable journey from the child of immigrants, the student at Howard University, California attorney general and senator to the presidential ticket. Jill Biden demonstrated her commitment to family and to teaching.

The convention displayed the character of the party-its diversity, its inclusiveness, its concern for justice. In powerful presentations, Michelle and Barack Obama made the case about why Trump is just not up to the job of president, particularly in a time of crisis. "It is what it is," as Michelle concluded.

"In the immediate short-term, Trump's catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic must be replaced by a comprehensive national strategy to get the pandemic under control so lives are saved and the economy can start up again." That left little time to address the agenda. It's not that it does not exist. The Democratic platform-largely a product of the task forces put together by Biden and Bernie Sanders-details a broad, progressive agenda for change. Biden's own web page and speeches over the course of the nominating process have presented elements of his program. But no one but political junkies read party platforms, and few probe candidate websites. It is now up to Biden and Harris to lay out their case-and contrast it with Trump's failed administration.

The priorities are clear. In the immediate short-term, Trump's catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic must be replaced by a comprehensive national strategy to get the pandemic under control so lives are saved and the economy can start up again.

The 30 million people who have been forced onto unemployment-disproportionately lower wage workers, disproportionately Black and Hispanic-need immediate assistance. Trump and the Republican Senate stood in the way of the needed rescue package, objecting to continuing the $600 a week enhancement to unemployment insurance, aid to the U.S. Postal Service to manage the expected surge in voting by mail, aid to cities and states facing massive layoffs of police, teachers, transit workers and more after their budgets were busted by the economic collapse and the costs of dealing with the pandemic.

Already another round of layoffs is expected, and 20 to 30 million families are threatened with eviction or foreclosure in a pandemic. Schools are struggling with reopening without the resources needed to pay for the protections health officials say are necessary. Yet Trump and McConnell refused even to meet Democratic House leaders halfway to get a bill done.

We need a bold initiative to rebuild America's infrastructure and make it sustainable, a transition to renewable energy to fend off already costly climate change and create millions of good jobs.

"In the longer run, major changes are needed to make this economy work for working people." We need major investment in science and technology so America can regain its lead in innovation and job growth. We need a new trade strategy and industrial policy that rebuilds good jobs at home, ensures we make essential products here in the U.S., and demands a balanced playing field from China and other countries that trample trading rules.

At the same time, we need to ensure that workers gain a fair share of the profits and productivity that they help generate. Biden has promised to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour. We need to empower workers to organize and crack down on labor rights abuses by corporate managers. The economic bill of rights for essential workers should be detailed and readied for passage. Paid family leave and sick leave is vital. Affordable, high-quality child care essential for working parents and their children.

The health care gap must be closed, with affordable health care for all guaranteed. The education gap must be closed, with resources for public schools from pre-K through college. Biden has promised tuition-free education for all students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year in contrast to Trump's lack of concern for the burden mounting student debt. The wealth gap must be addressed, with progressive taxes helping to reverse the extreme inequality that now threatens our democracy.

We must address the constitutional right to vote. The right to vote should be protected, with restoration of the Voting Rights Act, automatic voter registration, expanded vote by mail and early voting, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and limits on big money in politics. Biden should support the constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to vote in America.

The systemic racism built into our criminal justice system must be redressed. Equal pay for women should no longer be an issue.

The priorities are many. Biden and Harris must be aggressive in putting forth their agenda, explaining its import and defending its elements. Trump has already made it clear that his campaign will be based on lies and libels about the Democratic agenda. He has already called Biden the "puppet of the radical left," who wants to "defund the police and abolish the suburbs." He'll burlesque the Democratic agenda across the country. It is vital that Biden and Harris argue their case. If they do, there is no question that they will ace the agenda test that Trump has already failed. They have little more than two months to get that done.

(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.

The longer we delay phasing out fossil fuels, the tougher it will become.

True Recovery Means Looking To The Future, Not The Past
By David Suzuki

The global call for a just, green recovery from COVID-19 will require planning for the short and long term. One immediate need is to stop subsidizing the polluting, climate-altering fossil fuel industry - other than to create opportunities for workers displaced by automation, market forces and now this pandemic.

That isn't happening.

According to research by a consortium of 14 organizations on the Energy Policy Tracker website, Canada has pumped more than $12 billion into supporting the fossil fuel industry since the pandemic started, but only about $2 billion into clean energy. (More than $10 billion of the fossil fuel money is unconditional, whereas only about $260 million of the clean energy money is unconditional.)

That's a wider gap than the G20 overall, with $165 billion for fossil fuels and $137 billion for clean energy.

The subsidies can be in the form of tax breaks, relaxed regulations and reporting requirements, direct investments in infrastructure like pipelines, and more.

It's not that people running fossil fuel companies are having a tough time. Shareholders may be getting poor returns, but many senior executives are being awarded millions of dollars in "performance-based" bonuses on top of their generous salaries.

It isn't just about money and economics. Clean tech creates more and better jobs than the fossil fuel industry, and shifting support toward it can spark innovative solutions to the problems we've created by indiscriminately burning oil, coal and gas.

Bailing out an industry that should have started winding down decades ago is no way to build societal resilience in the face of climate, biodiversity and health crises.

Providing support for displaced workers is necessary, including to help people transition to other industries. Even funding a workforce to clean up some of the many orphaned oil and gas wells throughout the country - as the federal government is doing - is a start, although industry should be responsible.

As an International Institute for Sustainable Development report says, "There is also a need to support those who are unemployed, under-employed, or in precarious work situations."

But pipeline subsidies, relaxed regulations and reporting requirements and tax breaks for industry shouldn't be on the table. We need to move away from fossil fuels, not ensure their ubiquitous persistence.

When we see the money flowing to this outdated, destructive industry, and the lengths authorities here, in the U.S. and elsewhere go to crack down on land defenders and peaceful protesters while protecting fossil fuel infrastructure, it's hard not to think industry has captured governments and other parts of society.

According to the Guardian, a recent U.S. investigation found large oil and gas companies, private utilities and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels are supporting police foundations, which raise money for training, weapons, equipment and surveillance technology throughout the U.S.

For decades, people have been saying, "We can't get off fossil fuels overnight." But unless we start now, we'll run out of time.

While the climate emergency and dropping prices and demand had the fossil fuel industry struggling even before COVID-19, Canada's clean tech sector has been especially hard hit during the pandemic, as many companies are startups and small enterprises that rely on investors.

The sector - which includes everything from renewable energy and recycling technology to electric vehicles and charging stations - was doing well before the pandemic, but mounting job and revenue losses are putting it at risk.

If governments are to subsidize corporate Canada in their pandemic recovery efforts, especially energy-related industries, they should look to the future, not the past. Canada could be a leader in 21st century innovation rather than continuing to prop up and rely on sunset industries the world has agreed must be phased out quickly to keep global heating from exceeding catastrophic levels.

The longer we delay phasing out fossil fuels, the tougher it will become.

Pursuing a wasteful, endlessly growing consumerist fantasy has distanced us from our true natures and from the things that bring true joy - like spending time with loved ones, and experiencing nature - all while wreaking havoc on air, water and land and everything that makes this planet habitable for us and other life.

These are difficult times, but they're also times of opportunity. We can and must do better.

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

The Republican Platform Is A Pledge of Allegiance To The Flag Of Unreason
It is a loyalty oath to a government of witchcraft.
By Charles P. Pierce

On Sunday, the country was in receipt of the final proof that the Republican National Convention, due to kick off tonight from various bunkers, hideouts, and undisclosed locations here and around the globe, is going to be a profound test of whether or not the American republic has been rendered a vapid puppet show by the malignant moment through which it is now passing-a moment which is, in itself, the product of four decades of malignant moments that we all were asked to tolerate and applaud. Meeting in Charlotte, the RNC's platform committee announced that, this year, there will be no party platform, per se. Instead, the convention will be dedicated to acts of fealty to El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago. It is giving him his own private North Korea.

WHEREAS, The RNC, had the Platform Committee been able to convene in 2020, would have undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party's strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration;

WHEREAS, The media has outrageously misrepresented the implications of the RNC not adopting a new platform in 2020 and continues to engage in misleading advocacy for the failed policies of the Obama-Biden Administration, rather than providing the public with unbiased reporting of facts; and

WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President's America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order. Ever helpful, the president* provided a second-term "agenda"consisting largely of Great Stuff I Plan to Lie About Next Year. This is my favorite:

Return to Normal in 2021.

Not bloody likely.

"We want whatever this guy wants."

(Freed from the obligation of producing a platform, the delegates in Charlotte busied themselves passing resolutions on a number of pressing national talk-radio concerns. It passed a resolution condemning the Southern Poverty Law Center for "putting conservative groups or voices at risk of attack." It passed another one supporting the continued celebration of Columbus Day, and a third inveighed, "Freedom of speech is trampled on daily with the notions of 'political correctness,' the plan to eliminate so-called 'hate speech,' and the promotion of a 'cancel culture,' which has grown into erasing of history." I'm surprised they didn't include a commercial for auto-glass replacement or male enhancement potions, followed by a resolution announcing Traffic On The Threes.)

This is an altogether remarkable political document, at least in my experience. Platforms are generally written to be ignored, but this is different. This is a loyalty oath to a government of witchcraft, a pledge of allegiance to the flag of unreason. And what will open on our various screens on Monday night will tax the ability of the media and all the rest of us to cling to reality as though our kayak has capsized in rock-strewn rapids. It will be a severe test of our ability to recognize what is right in front of our eyes. It well may be one of the last chances we have.

(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-

"The Wall Street Journal always 'forgets' to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are 'through the roof' & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!"
~~~ Donald Trump

The Trump administration is perfectly capable of maintaining publicly that international
UNSC sanctions on Iran have been restored even if no one goes along with Washington.

Former US Allies Britain, France, Germany Join Russia And China In Forcefully Rejecting Trump Iran Sanctions
Trump walks alone.
By Juan Cole

According to LeMonde reports that France, Germany and Britain have rejected the Trump administration's attempt to reimpose UN Security Council sanctions on Iran that were revoked in early 2016 with the signing of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA).

Their joint statement said, "France, Germany and the United Kingdom note that the United States ceased to be a participant in the JCPoA in the wake of its withdrawal from the accord [in 2018]."

Their foreign ministries underlined that they could "not support this initiative, which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPoA . . . We remain engaged in favor of the JCPoA in spite of major challenges engendered by the withdrawal of the United States, and we are convinced that we must treat the question of the systematic non-compliance by the Iranians with their obligations under the JCPoA via a dialogue between the participants in the accord. We call urgently on Iran to reverse all its steps that are incompatible with its nuclear obligations and to return without delay to full compliance."

This is a stronger stance, and a more vigorous rebuke, to the US that the informed and canny Crisis Group had expected from the Europeans, and sounds precisely like what Russia and China have been saying.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo accused Europe of siding with Iran's ayatollahs. I'm not sure what he expects to accomplish with this ayatollah-shaming, except to further anger his erstwhile allies, whom Trump has decisively alienated. Iran is elated.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015, including the United States. It offered Iran an end to all international sanctions if it would mothball 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program, which was for making fuel for its three nuclear reactors to produce electricity.

In May, 2018, the Trump administration breached the treaty. The document contains a provision that allows any signatory to invoke "snapback," restoring the UNSC sanctions on Iran enacted in 2007, if it can show that Iran did not fulfill its obligations under the treaty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has argued that since the US is a signatory, it can still invoke snapback.

Europe is raising one eyebrow and exclaiming, "You must be joking, monsieur!" The US ceased to be a participant in the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and has no standing to now invoke the snapback clause.

The wild and wacky Trump administration is perfectly capable of maintaining publicly that international UNSC sanctions on Iran have been restored even if no one goes along with Washington, of course. But it is simply a form of political theater.

Since the US is already threatening third party sanctions on countries that deal with Iran, Washington is unlikely to be able to find new ways to twist Europe's arm.

For its part, Russia is openly defying the Americans and continuing to deal with Iran. China's Xinhua news service reports that Russia's Sergei Riabkov, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, declared Thursday that Russia will not cease its cooperation with Iran, despite American threats of sanctions. He said, according to the RIA Novosti press agency, "We are guided exclusively by our own interests and our obligations to international law." He was indirectly responding to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo's threat to sanction countries that opposed US efforts to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Riabkov said that Russia condemns the US intention to reestablish UN sanctions against Iran. He accused the US of tying the UN Security in knots with its "irresponsible enterprises," and preventing the world body from undertaking a large contingent of questions relevant to its mandate. Nevertheless, he said, Russia would continue its dialogue with the US.

China called the US move "illegitimate." Beijing is preparing a wide-ranging program of investment in and trade with Iran valued at a mind-boggling $400 billion over 25 years, and clearly does not intend to allow Trump's antics and Pompeo's posturing to get in the way.

Iran fully complied with the letter of the treaty until Trump breached it and imposed a financial and trade embargo on Iran that destroyed its petroleum industry and left it penniless. Europe was threatened with third party sanctions by the US Treasury Department and so was dragooned into going along with Trump's blockade of Iran, much to the dismay of Tehran. Iran's government can't see why it should perfectly comply with a treaty when it has not only received none of the sanctions relief promised but has actually had much more severe sanctions imposed on it than when it had the full enrichment program.

So, Iran has acted out a bit to pressure Europe, but in relatively minor ways. It wasn't supposed to enrich higher than 3.67% but it went to 4.5%. This is a merely symbolic protest. You can't do anything with 5% enriched uranium but use it for reactor fuel, same as 3.67%. The European members of the Security Council seem to me to be quite unreasonable in wanting Iran to remain in complete compliance even though they are complicit with Trump in destroying the Iranian economy. Where are Total S.A.'s and BP's investments in Iran? What have the Europeans bought from Iran, as the standard of living of its people has plummeted under Trump's tender mercies. Would France put up with being treated this way?

Anyway, as with the vote last Friday in which the US could only find one ally (the tiny Dominican Republic) among the 14 other UNSC members for its resolution extending an arms embargo on Iran, so in this snapback move, Washington will go down to defeat. As for sanctions, the UN Security Council members likely believe that they only have to hold out until mid-January, and President Biden will rejoin the JCPOA, saving it and allowing them to jump into Iran trade and investments with both feet.

(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-

Ron gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Johnson,

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 hard work trying to destroy the USPS, 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 10-10-2020. We salute you Herr Johnson, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Post Office Crisis To Come
By Robert Reich

Its no secret Donald Trump will do anything to hold on to power. His latest strategy is to sabotage the United States Postal Service, courtesy of his handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

A Republican mega donor with no postal experience, DeJoy instituted sweeping measures that have caused massive mail delays across the country. As national outrage reached a fever pitch, DeJoy announced he would delay policy changes that slow down mail delivery, until after the election.

But the USPS is still very much under attack.

DeJoy's statement is nothing more than empty rhetoric. He didn't even list which policies he would postpone. One of the few policies he did mention was overtime pay, which he said would be paid "as needed," but guess who decides what's needed? He does.

DeJoy also needs to repair the damage he's already done. He told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he has "no intention" of replacing removed mailboxes and sorting machines, and instructed USPS employees to not reconnect or reinstall the sorting machines.

And nothing is forcing DeJoy to follow through even on his weak promises. If the past three and a half years have shown us anything, it's that we can never count on Trump officials to follow through on their promises.

Trump openly admitted he was sabotaging the post office to stop people from voting. Now his political stooge postmaster general is basically saying "trust me."

Sorry, Mr. DeJoy, we don't trust you.

Congress must step in and do four things to protect the Postal Service and the integrity of mail-in voting before it's too late:

1. Provide needed funding for the Postal Service in the next COVID-19 relief bill.

2. Force DeJoy to repair all the damage he's already caused, returning the USPS back to full capacity.

3. Fully investigate DeJoy's conflicts of interest. DeJoy still has at least a $30 million stake in his former company XPO Logistics, which directly competes with the Postal Service - putting him in a position to profit directly from any loss of Postal Service customers.

4. Pass legislation specifically blocking the Postal Service from instituting any changes that would slow mail delivery in the lead-up to November.

Trump and DeJoy will stop at nothing to sabotage the USPS and steal the election - and there's no telling the damage Trump will wreak if he's able to swindle a second term.

Call your members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and demand your representatives take these urgent steps to save the USPS and protect the election. The stakes couldn't be higher.

(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

Why Is Trump So Enthusiastic About Americans Dying?
Will Americans Buy It Again?
By Thom Hartmann

Two weeks after America diagnosed its first case of COVID-19, Republicans in the United States Senate (with the single exception of Mitt Romney) refuse to vote to impeach Donald Trump.

They decided he couldn't do much more damage than he already has, and, as Senator Susan Collins suggested, he would back down from his most outrageous behavior because his hands had been slapped by the House of Representatives.

Now, newly empowered and feeling invincible, he seems hellbent on a crusade to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Nobody knows why Trump is so enthusiastic about encouraging people to get sick and die from COVID-19, although there are a couple of possibly viable theories.

Trump's and Republicans' rhetoric all shifted a day or two after April 7, the day that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and other national media reported that Black and Hispanic people were dying of COVID at about twice the rate of white people. Is it possible Trump and the racists in his Party think this is a good way to reduce the Black and Hispanic population, or at least that it's not an issue for white people?

Another possibility has to do with Freedomworks, the group that was largely raised to prominence by rightwing billionaires and helped fund the so-called Tea Party movement. Billionaires want their people back at work, be they in refineries or meat processing plants or retail stores, and they know that if some of those workers get sick and die there's a never-ending supply of poor, unemployed people willing to replace them.

A third possibility is that Trump simply loves the idea of people dying. This is the most bizarre of all these possibilities, but it appears to be a characteristic shared by strongman governments around the world, from Duterte in the Philippines who encourages police to murder drug users to Bolsonaro in Brazil who is enthusiastically taking actions that are killing indigenous people in the Amazon.

As we hit what CNN is calling "apocalyptic levels" of coronavirus infections, it would be really useful to know why Donald Trump is so enthusiastic about so many Americans dying.

Why did he refuse to allow America to use the World Health Organization coronavirus test kit back in January, February, March - and to this day?

Why did he spend two months denying the obvious fact that this virus was coming to the United States and was deadly, leaving us utterly unprepared?

Why does he refuse to set a good example for Americans by wearing a face mask? Is he more concerned about smearing his makeup than the death of 200,000 Americans?

Why did he order his goons to intercept shipments of personal protective equipment and ventilators going to blue states? Where is all that equipment that he hijacked, and does he plan to offer it exclusively to red-state governors? Is all this death just about politics?

Why is he shutting down testing sites in multiple states next week after bragging in his Tulsa rally that he told his people to "slow down" the testing?

Is it possible he's trying to let things get so bad that a vaccine in the fall will be seen as an effective October Surprise? Is that why the vaccine companies have gotten billions of federal dollars in what Trump calls "Operation Warp Speed" while rural hospitals across the country continue to close?

Since the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister just after the American Civil War, the world has known how to deal with infectious diseases. Why has Trump worked so hard to convince his followers to ignore almost 200 years of medical science?

And what is it about right-wing leaders embracing death by pandemic? If Trump was the only leader in the world doing this, it might make it easier to figure out. But wealthy oligarchs who have taken over countries around the world are doing the same thing.

Why do these leaders want their people to die? Why does Trump want more Americans to die?

Americans - and the world - deserve answers.

(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
~~~ Jack Ohman ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Former Vice President Joe Biden Democratic presidential nominee speaks during the Democratic National Convention.

Trump Calls Biden's Pro-Empathy Message Offensive To Sociopaths
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Calling it "hurtful and insulting," Donald J. Trump on Friday said that Joe Biden's pro-empathy speech at the Democratic National Convention was "deeply offensive" to the nation's sociopaths.

Blasting Biden's incendiary pro-compassion rhetoric, Trump said that the "roomful of sociopaths" with whom he watched the speech found it "alienating and divisive."

"I was watching with Jared, Stephen Miller, and Mitch McConnell, and when Biden started in on the empathy stuff, we all felt very alone," he said. "He said that he wants to be a President for all Americans, but I guess that doesn't include sociopaths."

Calling Biden "a puppet of compassionate extremists," he demanded that the former Vice-President apologize to every sociopath in the country.

"Sociopaths have feelings, just not for other people," he said.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 35 (c) 08/28/2020

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