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In This Edition

Norman Solomon returns with, "Time To Defeat Trump -- Without Make-Believe About Biden."

Ralph Nader demands, "Democrats Must Demolish Trump's Delusional Law-Breaking Dystopia."

Jesse Jackson says, "America's Greatest Athletes Are Standing Up, Calling This Country To Change."

Jim Hightower says, "Trump Dishes Up 'Chicken A La Avian Leukosis.'"

Jake Johnson returns with, "'The President Just Committed a Felony': Trump Tells NC Residents to Vote Twice, Openly Encouraging Voter Fraud."

John Nichols finds, "Jacob Blake Was Shot In Kenosha, A City Adrift In A Moral Desert."

James Donahue explores, "Our Eroding Bill Of Rights In America."

Frank Scott returns with, "Billionaires Lives Matter Far, Far More Than Yours."

David Suzuki says, "We Are Living In A Plastic World."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "It's On All Of Us Not To Help This President* Wreck What's Left Of This Country."

Juan Cole says with, "6 Million Stricken With COVID-19: Trump Has Turned The US Into A Sh*thole Country."

Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "What The Fact?! Reacting To The RNC."

Eric Alterman returns with, "The 'Abomination' Of A Convention Makes Clear The GOP Threat."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "'Oh Jeez, Oh Jeez, Oh Jeez,' Says Eric Trump After Accidentally Bringing Father's Sexual Assault Victims To RNC," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "When The War Comes The Cops Will Be On Their Side."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joel Pett, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, KasH, Nathan Howard, Melissa Sue Gerrits, Kevin C. Cox, Jonathan Newton, Spencer Platt, Evan Vucci, Pexels, Washington Post, 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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When The War Comes The Cops Will Be On Their Side
By Ernest Stewart

Get you a foxhole, a place to hide
'Cause when the war comes the cops will be on their side
Looking Back ~~~ Bob Seger

"People are becoming more vulnerable as this COVID crisis goes on, as more people get laid off or run out of savings. We have frankly been failing to serve the most vulnerable, and the people who have been made vulnerable by these cascading catastrophes." ~~~ Andreanecia Morris

"For him to even be able to shoot somebody and still walk away from the scene. I mean, they talked about finding a knife inside of the car, not even on Jacob Blake's person, but [if] this guy's carrying a long gun and kills somebody just walking freely, was able to get back home to Illinois, then we've got a much bigger problem on our hands." ~~~ Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes

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

Lying Donald is running hither and yon around America trying to stir up fear, hatred and violence and leaving all three in his wake. He has all but started a new civil war thinking that angry cops and right-wing violence will help him steal another election. And it looks like, he maybe right!

I've only known of one liberal cop in my life and he was sherriff of a little town in central Michigan with a large college nearby. He used to dress like a lady policemen on Halloween much to the delight of his wife and local citizenry. Yes, one in a million, indeed! Trouble is most police departments are a little to the right of... guess who... wait for it... that's right... Darth Vader! The boss sets the rules and the temperament so for the most part the cops that rape and murder are only following ze orders. Now, where have I hear that before?

The Kenosha cops are a good example of this so I wasn't surprised at all when Lying Donald made a bee-line to Kenosha to congratulate this week's Vidkun Quisling Award winner Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis for his fine work of having an unarmed black man shot in the back 7 times or for letting a Lying Donald supporter get away after gunning down two people and wounding another. Lying Donald praised the Chief, the force, and the killer. As soon as he did a number of Rethuglicans came out from under their rocks to praise the gunman as being some sort of twisted patriot.

Time after time, after time, after time, after time, after time fascist policemen gun down innocent black men and women without a care in the world, knowing all they have to say is the 'magic words', "I was in fear for my life," and everything will be okay and if anyone was watching they'll just place one of their throw away guns to back up their lies as why they murdered someone. After all, their victim was guilty of being black, which in America is a crime in itself! How dare they show up on the street while being black?

And may mighty Zeus protect you, even if you are white and dare to peacefully protest these crimes. If it's too peaceful they got some undercover cops that will turn it violent if the cameras are rolling. Not to mention their friends like the "proud boys" or any other fascist group who is ready to come in, guns a blazing amongst the protestors while the cops look the other way. There is a meme going around that sums it up, and says it all, reminding us that Charlie Manson never killed anyone, but talked his followers into doing the dirty deeds. Now, who does that remind you of, America?

In Other News

The trouble with global warming is that everyone alive is destined to experience unprecedented disasters. The most powerful hurricanes, the most intense wildfires, the most prolonged heat waves and the most frequent outbreaks of new diseases are all in our future. Records will be broken, like 133 degrees F in Death Valley.

But the predicted destruction is still shocking when it unfolds at the same time.

This week, Americans are living through concurrent disasters. In California, more than 200,000 people were under evacuation orders because of wildfires, and millions are breathing smoky air. On the Gulf Coast, people weathered a tropical storm at the beginning of the week. Two days later, about half a million were ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Laura. We're six months into a global pandemic, and the Earth is on track to have one of its hottest years on record. Still think that global warming is a Chinese/Democratic hoax?

Climate scientist Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii says if our collective future were a movie, this week would be the trailer!

"There is not a single ending that is good," he says. "There's not going to be a happy ending to this movie."

Mora was an author of a study examining all the effects of climate change. The researchers concluded that concurrent disasters will get more and more common as the Earth gets hotter. That means we will live through more weeks like this one - when fires, floods, heat waves and disease outbreaks layer on top of one another.

"Keep in mind that all these things are related," Mora explains. "CO2 is increasing the temperature. As a result, the temperature is accelerating the evaporation of water. The evaporation of water leads to drought that in turn leads to heat waves and wildfires. In places that are humid, that evaporation - the same evaporation - leads to massive precipitation that is then commonly followed by floods."

Disease outbreaks are also more likely. The most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment warns that changing weather patterns make it more likely that insect-borne illnesses will affect the U.S. Climate change is also causing people and animals to move and come in contact with one another in new and dangerous ways.

Mora says helping people connect the dots between the current disasters and greenhouse gas emissions should be every scientist's priority. "That's the million-dollar question. How do we speak to people in a way that we get them to appreciate the significance of these problems?" Good question indeed Doc, as Americans are incredibly dumb! Just look at the numskulls following Lying Donald!

Remember global warming is making the air and water hotter, and that means more power for hurricanes.

"Whenever you get ocean temperatures that are much above average, you're asking for trouble. And we've seen some of the warmest ocean temperatures on record for the Atlantic basin this year," meteorologist Jeff Masters explains.

Masters continues, "That's an alarming trend. We're not very good at forecasting rapid intensification. That's critical because that gives you less time to prepare if there's a storm rapidly intensifying right before landfall." We got lucky with Laura as it didn't stall out when it reach landfall but moved quickly inland. Had it stalled like many hurricanes do they were predicting tidal surges going 30 miles inland!

Ergo, I must ask that question again, "How long can you tread water coastal America?"

And Finally

I see where breaking the curfew is punishable by death in Kenosha Wisconsin or so says Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis. If some psychopathic teenage gunman shoots you, it's your fault! Not to mention if that happens our cops may give him a high five but they won't arrest him!

Danny said, "Last night, in a situation that began peaceful and turned somewhat unruly ... persons who were out after the curfew became engaged in some type of disturbance and persons were shot. Had persons not been out involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened." The situations became unruly when the cops let a bunch of Lying Donald supporters caring assault rifles wander around threatening people and when they opened up and killed two and wounded another they let them go! The same cops that shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back for daring to be out on the streets while being black!

Therefore, Kenosha Wisconsin Police Chief Daniel Miskinis 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!


11-29-1976 ~ 08-28-2020
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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.

Time To Defeat Trump -- Without Make-Believe About Biden
By Norman Solomon

One result of the Republican convention will be a drop in the number of progressives who are in denial about the Trump regime's momentum toward fascism. This week's relentlessly unhinged GOP gathering has probably done more to win votes for Joe Biden from the left than last week's Democratic convention did. And that points up a problem.

The people running the Biden show have been trying hard to woo Republicans, while the affection remains largely unrequited. Mainstream media keep featuring VIP anti-Trump Republicans, but few registered voters have defected from Trump. Recent polling data continue to show the electoral folly of messaging to cultivate "Biden Republicans" while damaging the turnout prospects from the Democratic Party's progressive base.

Neither the Democratic nominee nor his media echo chambers have much use for Bernie Sanders supporters or genuine progressives overall, who now rarely get words in edgewise -- even though they represent a major chunk of the electorate (many times that of the phantom "moderate Republican voter").

During the spring, the Biden campaign extended a few olive branches in a progressive direction, but some of them morphed into sticks in the eyes of Bernie convention delegates and their constituencies -- whether in the form of the eleventh-hour deletion of a platform provision to end fossil-fuel subsidies and tax breaks, or the suppression of the delegates' vote tally that had more than 1,000 voting against the platform mostly because it lacks Medicare for All. In a non-virtual convention or a country with less corporately biased media, such dissent from a party platform would have been big news.

The imperative of preventing a second Trump term is roaring at us every moment. Some progressives mistakenly believe that means we should melt into the ranks of Biden boosters and otherwise keep quiet until after the election. On the contrary. For instance, continuing to insist that the Democratic Party must take a clear stand for Medicare for All is not only the morally right thing to do; it's also good politics in 2020, as polling clearly shows.

Nor should we pretend that Biden doesn't have a five-decade record that is very far from progressive. Reasons to distrust him are profuse. But this presidential election isn't really about Biden, who's a garden-variety corporate Democrat. It's about a clear and present threat to democratic capacities in the United States.

The irreversible fork in the historic road of this election was aptly summed up by an activist and scholar with a long history on the left, H. Bruce Franklin, who concluded a new article this way: "Even in these dark days, light is visible. In my 86 years as an American, I have never witnessed a progressive movement as broad and deep as the one sweeping across the nation today. If Biden and the Democrats win in November, this movement will have room to thrive. If not, it will be crushed."

Progressives should be a leading force in a united front against Trump for the next 10 weeks. We must go all out, so that we -- and progressive movements -- are not crushed.

There's no point in arguing about whether progressives should vote for Biden in "safe states" like New York or California; such discussions are at best a waste of time. Whether Trump can remain president for another four years will hinge on the votes in a dozen swing states.

Professor Franklin takes aim at the disconnected-from-facts argument sometimes heard (disproportionately in reader comments on some progressive websites) that the two parties are, in essence, indistinguishable: "Really? If you can't see glaring differences between the Supreme Court justices chosen by the two parties and their votes crucial to our lives, your name might be Magoo."

And Franklin added: "Compare the Democrats: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer (Clinton appointees); Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan (Obama appointees) to the Republicans: Clarence Thomas (appointed by George H. W. Bush to take the place of the great Thurgood Marshall, appointed by LBJ); Samuel Alito and John Roberts (appointed by George W. Bush); and Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh (appointed by Trump). I agree with Mitch McConnell that there is no more important outcome of presidential elections than the composition of the Supreme Court, an outcome that will probably be crucial for decades after the four- or eight-year term of Donald Trump. For starters, who will get to appoint the successor to the heroic Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? The same president who will get to appoint the successor to the 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer. If it's Trump, those two will be replaced by two more Kavanaughs, or worse if possible. Whatever Trump wants to be the law of the land will be validated by that truly supreme court."

Franklin makes a broader point: "On health care, public education, voting rights, civil rights, the environment, abortion rights, immigration, minimum wages, union rights, and taxation of the wealthy, every vote in the House and Senate splits right along party lines. And these party lines are drawn along the lines of the voting bases of the two parties. The Republican Party today is the party of white supremacy."

Denial of such realities is dangerous. As my colleagues at the #VoteTrumpOut campaign point out, "For every undocumented family seeking asylum, for every woman seeking access to reproductive healthcare, for every young person fighting to avert climate catastrophe, for every parent afraid of gun violence at their children's school, for every working class family hoping for some relief from the medical and economic fallout of the coronavirus, life will be very different under a Biden presidency than under four more years of Trump.

"And crucially, Biden is moveable. We've already shown that with mass pressure, we can push him to support more progressive policies. Trump, on the other hand, is immune to public persuasion or protest. With a Biden presidency, a disciplined and mobilized left could extract significant victories. With another Trump presidency, the left would have few options and could face new levels of government repression. Our democracy, our planet, and our human rights would continue to sustain enormous -- and potentially irreparable -- damage."

This is our political crossroads.

(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."

President Donald Trump speaks on the fourth and final night of the Republican National
Convention with a speech delivered in front a live audience on the South Lawn of the White House.

Democrats Must Demolish Trump's Delusional Law-Breaking Dystopia
The Democrats are not matching Trump's own or his party's propaganda
By Ralph Nader

Donald Trump continually breaks multiple laws. Yet the serial lawbreaking, lying Trump is playing the "law and order" card against street protestors reacting to fatal cases of police brutality. Armed pro-Trump provocateurs are attending civic protests and generating casualties and property damage, as was the case recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Trump uses such mayhem to attack Joe Biden and his hyped "radical leftists." This is grotesque, but then that is how corrupt, dangerous, devious Donald operates when cornered by falling polls, and growing opposition from leading retired military leaders and national intelligence officials. Trump's attack on the U.S. Postal Service is also producing a nationwide backlash and even red-state conservatives are troubled by delays in deliveries of medicine and Social Security checks.

Devious Donald has a practice of doing exactly what he mostly falsely accuses his opponents of doing. It is puzzling, though not surprising, that the Democrats have not repeatedly restated the highlights from corrupt Donald's rap sheet. Shining a spotlight on Trump, with specific indictments, would demonstrate that his actions suspend law and order in favor of dictates.

Every day Trump is committing crimes and civil violations of federal law. Every day Trump is violating the Constitution with serious impeachable offenses (December 18, 2019, Congressional Record H-12197). Do the Democrats think that the American people do not care about the rule of law and observing the Constitution that are the bulwarks against destructive dictatorial power by an ego-obsessed delusional wannabe monarch?

Yesterday's acceptance speech to the Republican Party by Trump turned the White House into a federal crime scene. The Hatch Act states that having federal employees enable, with federal property, the political campaigns of the President is a criminal violation with serious jail time. Why? Because Congress did not want the power of the federal government to be used to further an incumbent's political objectives against challengers. When Trump ordered Treasury Department staff to place his signature on the memo line of millions of relief checks, that was also a criminal violation of the Hatch Act. Attorney General William Barr, a Trump toady, is not about to prosecute. Barr refuses to respond to demands that he investigate this and other Trump administration violations of law.

But lawless Donald has gotten away with more serious violations such as seizing, unconstitutionally and illegally, the Congressional power of the purse and the power to tax in our Constitution. Trump moves money for purposes, not approved by Congress, from one agency to another, as for building the wall, thereby violating the Anti-Deficiency Act, which carries a criminal penalty.

Trump has defied over 100 Congressional subpoenas and more formal demands for his subordinates to testify. These are first-class impeachable offenses. The Founding Fathers provided Congress with the power to compel the disclosure of information that is critical to all other Congressional authorities.

President Richard Nixon was on the way, in 1974, to being impeached and convicted in the Senate, during the Watergate scandal, for defying just one subpoena and one count of obstruction of justice. Trump obstructs justice, the processes of law enforcement, all the time, as documented in part by the Mueller Report.

Trump talks about supporting law enforcement on the streets, while inciting his supporters to violence, yet he fires and intimidates prosecutors and Inspectors General who investigate or expose violations of law by Trump and his Trumpsters. Both his current government and personal businesses, as well as his previous ongoing personal business and taxation entanglements are under investigation by federal and state prosecutors.

The list goes on. Trump unlawfully nullifies statutory mandates by executive orders. His failure to enforce environmental, health, worker safety, and consumer protection laws is a direct violation of federal laws and the Constitution. He is dismantling these protections, driving out civil servants and scientists, and abandoning law and order for corporate crooks by defunding the corporate crime police.

Trump's outlaw regime brags about destroying controls on pesticides (especially harmful to children), coal ash, and other sickening emissions that will attack the health of all Americans. Trump and his henchman also recently shredded controls on the release of methane, a global warming gas many times worse than carbon dioxide.

Why don't the Democrats use what even the Wall Street Journal has regularly exposed about Trump's riddance of law and order to allow runaway big businesses to cheat, pollute and overcharge people, as well as to defraud the federal government big time with procurement rackets? Trump is pushing for 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance, with no substitute proposal, and weakening nursing home safety regulations - in the middle of a giant pandemic!

One answer may be that the Democrats have done some similar things when in power, especially in the area of unauthorized wars and mass surveillance of the people. However, Trump sinks to utterly unprecedented levels of outlawry and openly embraces the monarchical boast that "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."

The daily tweeting, lying King, the man who boasted about abusing women, and behaving as a sexual predator, is a ruler who brings out the worst from this country. Trump deliberately divides America and stokes conflict and disruption. Trump is a reality denier and chaotic bungler who is aiding and abetting the climate crisis and preventing scientists and public health managers from controlling Covid-19, the cause of the worst global pandemic in our lifetimes. He is also blocking relief for a crashing economy and still escapes accountability.

The Democrats are not matching Trump's own or his Party's propaganda. In 2004, author, and former prominent Republican political analyst Kevin Phillips, argued that the Democrats go for the capillaries while the GOP goes for the jugular. By not going full force against dictator Trump, the Democrats are not overwhelmingly countering the most criminally, unconstitutionally culpable, vulnerable, and dislikable president in US history. With just over two months until the November 3rd election, a strong, independent, civic drive to oppose and vote out Trump/Pence is required. Standing on the sidelines hoping that the Democrats will retire the failed gambling czar didn't work in 2016 and it won't work in 2020 either.

(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).

Members of the Los Angeles Lakers kneel during the national anthem before the start of Game Five of the
Western Conference First Round against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2020 NBA Playoffs on August 29, 2020.

America's Greatest Athletes Are Standing Up, Calling This Country To Change
Despite unprecedented, multiracial demonstrations across the country protesting police violence against African Americans, the horrors keep on coming.
By Jesse Jackson

The greatest athletes in America are standing up for justice at a critical time.

Despite unprecedented, multiracial demonstrations across the country protesting police violence against African Americans, the horrors keep on coming.

Last week, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a policeman in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the anger has grown, some of the protests have been marred by vandalism and looting. Now armed right-wing militia groups are escalating the tensions. In Kenosha, two demonstrators were murdered and one wounded by a 17-year-old Trump supporter illegally wielding an assault weapon.

It is into this cauldron that the professional basketball players of the NBA stood up, forcing a suspension of the playoffs, to support the call for justice. Their example was picked up by others-the WNBA, baseball players, tennis champions like Naomi Osaka and more.

This takes courage. Great athletes are taught to focus on their sport and to ignore their power in the culture. Owners, agents, managers and fans see them as entertainment, not as citizens or leaders.

Yet the very God-given gifts, discipline and skills that make a great athlete contribute to their capacity for leadership. In the Old Testament, little David honed his skill with a sling. When an oppressive horde led by a giant named Goliath threatened the Hebrew people, David stepped up, hurling the stone that slew the giant and saved his people.

Now America's greatest athletes are standing up, calling this country to change. They know that they will face criticism and abuse. They know that they could be risking their careers and livelihood.

When LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat players stood up in response to the death of Trayvon Martin, Americans across the country took notice. The same is true now as the current athletes focus on Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake and the others they name.

They know the risks, but they also know that when they leave the court or playing field and return to their families, they are just another Black person to the police, and must worry about how to protect their sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, or even themselves. Both Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks and Thabo Sefolosha of the Houston Rockets were victims of police lawlessness.

Here the example and leadership of LeBron James has been critical. Athletes across the world look up to him. When LeBron uses his platform to speak out-even in the face of insults from the president and others-he sets a tone and an example for others. In my opinion, he uses his gifts and platform so responsibly because it is his way of thanking God by serving others.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used his gifts and platform to change the culture. Today, athletes are using their commitment to call this country to its senses.

Great athletes have often been pacesetters. When Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson stood up to racially biased and arbitrary social mores, he impacted the culture. When Joe Lewis defeated Max Schmeling, he pummeled the entire Nazi theory and racist ideology. When Jesse Owens became the world's fastest man at the Berlin Olympics, Adolf Hitler wouldn't shake his hand, but when Owens came home, he told me President Roosevelt wouldn't shake his hand either. Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier in baseball and bore the physical and psychological scars from doing it.

At the height of his career, Muhammad Ali, became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, and paid the price of years stolen from his career. Every athlete should be grateful to Curt Flood for ending the reserve clause and gaining athletes the right to free agency to negotiate the best deal they could. Colin Kaepernick launched his nonviolent campaign against police killing of Black people four years ago that has cost him his career.

The athletes had to stop business as usual to gain attention. They have been in intense meetings figuring out how they can most be effective. They understand that the murders can't go on; the system must change. They are calling on others to join them. They are putting their time and their resources on the line. They've now convinced NBA owners to turn their arenas into polling places where people might vote safely.

Their actions have already had effect. It is too easy for cynical politicians and entrenched interests to turn attention from the injustice to the excesses that mar those protesting it. The players have forced our attention back to the injustice and to the core demand that Black Lives Matter. For that, they deserve our respect and our support.

(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.

Trump Dishes Up 'Chicken A La Avian Leukosis'
By Jim Hightower

Top regulatory officials in Trump's government keep chanting the same one-word mantra: "Deregulate... Deregulate... Deregulate..." Day after day, these agency bosses have been "liberating" greedy business interests to do their damnedest to us consumers, workers, the environment... and even to our chicken dinner.

Yes chicken. Instead of Kentucky-fried or tacos con pollo, they're serving up "Chicken a la Avian Leukosis." That's chicken infected with a virus that produces cancerous tumors and lesions on the birds. In July, the US Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service rubber stamped a demand by Tyson Foods and other multibillion-dollar meat conglomerates to deregulate chicken processing rules so they can sell chickens diseased with Avian Leukosis for human consumption. And, no, the huge brand-name marketers would not even be "burdened" by having to put a right-to-know label on the package so we consumers could know what we're buying.

As always, the industry line is: "It's perfectly safe... trust us!" Uh... no. Their claim is that slaughterhouse line workers can simply cut out any tumors they see, then process the rest of the animal. There are two problems with this claim: First, Avian Leukosis can be a systemic disease passing through the blood, so slicing tumors doesn't necessarily eliminate the virus. Second, line workers don't have time to see tumors, much less remove them, since Trump's corporate hugging regulators have also allowed poultry factories to speed up their processing lines to 175 birds per minute. This means each worker handles up to three chickens a second!

Trump & Co. assert that their policy of relentless deregulation is necessary to make the system fair for corporations. However, as Lyndon Johnson used to say about such political hokum, "They can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t." To learn more, go to Food & Water Watch:

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

President Donald Trump speaks to a small crowd outside the USS North Carolina on September 2, 2020 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

'The President Just Committed a Felony': Trump Tells NC Residents to Vote Twice, Openly Encouraging Voter Fraud
Voter fraud is nearly nonexistent. And the only one encouraging it is Donald Trump, in a desperate attempt to create chaos and sow doubt.
By Jake Johnson

It is a felony under North Carolina law to vote more than once or "induce" others to do so, but that didn't stop President Donald Trump from openly encouraging residents of the state to attempt to cast two ballots in the November election in an interview with a local reporter Wednesday.

"They are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates, then they won't be able to do that," Trump said, apparently urging residents to test their state's mail-in voting system. "So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote [on Election Day]. If it isn't tabulated, they will be able to vote. So that's the way it is, and that's what they should do."

"I'm not happy about it," the president said of expansions of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic. "At the same time, we're in court with a lot of it. We're going to see if it can be stopped. But send your ballots, send them in strong, whether it's solicited or unsolicited. The absentees are fine. But go to vote and if they haven't counted it, you can vote. That's the way I view it."


"The president just committed a felony," Marc Elias, an attorney and voting rights advocate, tweeted in response to Trump's remarks, which come after the president spent weeks fearmongering over virtually nonexistent voter fraud in what critics dubbed a blatant effort to preemptively cast doubt on the results of the November election.

Under election law in North Carolina, where an estimated 600,000 voters have requested absentee ballots for November, it is illegal for "any person with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election."

"So he's trying to make his conspiracy theories about voter fraud come true even if it means urging his supporters to commit a felony?" asked Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) following the president's comments.

Sean Eldridge, founder and president of advocacy group Stand Up America, tweeted late Wednesday that "voter fraud is nearly nonexistent."

"And the only one encouraging it is Donald Trump," Eldridge added, "in a desperate attempt to create chaos and sow doubt."

(c) 2020 Jake Johnson is an author and staff writer for Common Dreams

Jacob Blake Sr., father of Jacob Blake, during a rally against racism and police brutality in Kenosha, Wis., on August 29, 2020.

Jacob Blake Was Shot In Kenosha, A City Adrift In A Moral Desert
The crisis of policing in one Wisconsin city illustrates a national calamity. Yet, Republicans-both nationally and in Wisconsin's capital-block even modest reform.
By John Nichols

KENOSHA, WIS.-Reverend Jesse Jackson came to Kenosha last week on a moral mission. He stood in the parking lot of Bert and Rudy's Auto Service in the heart of this shaken Wisconsin city, near the locations where two nights earlier a 17-year-old white vigilante shot and killed two men who were protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who is now paralyzed from the waist down. Jackson's anguish was evident. He decried "a system of racism in law enforcement" in Kenosha and nationwide.

The veteran civil rights leader spoke Thursday, following the arrest of the gunman who was charged with multiple counts of homicide in the shooting of the protesters: Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36. Huber and Rosenbaum were gunned down on the third night of demonstrations that had rocked Kenosha since the Sunday evening shooting of Blake, whose three young sons watched from the back seat of his vehicle.

Yet, Jackson noted, the police officer who "shot Jacob seven times in the back-seven times, seven times in the back" remains free. Jackson called for accountability for that officer and two others who were at the scene. "We must protest until the three of them have been indicted," he said.

Jackson spoke, as well, of a crisis that extends far beyond Kenosha. "Today, there's a moral desert, top-down. The acid rain is coming, top-down," he said. "That kind of moral desert hurts all of America."

Jackson was addressing President Trump, who referenced Kenosha on Thursday night in a "law-and-order" rant at the Republican National Convention in which the commander-in-chief declared, "In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha..."

The president did not bother to mention Jacob Blake's name last week. Yet, this week, according to the White House, Trump will swoop into Kenosha. Trump is set to meet with local law enforcement officials and "survey damage from recent riots."

Concerns that Trump's visit will open wounds in the city and the state led Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, to urge the president not to come to Kenosha. "Now is not the time for divisiveness," wrote Evers, in a remarkable letter sent Sunday evening. "Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state instigators who want to contribute to our anguish."

Trump's trip to Kenosha is steeped in politics. Kenosha Country is a swing county in a swing state, as Trump and his campaign strategists well understand. "They're coming to shoot the commercial," says Representative Gwen Moore, a Democrat who represents Milwaukee and who was born in the neighboring city of Racine. Recalling the appeals to backlash votes by Republicans in the past, Moore portrayed Trump's trip as "a page torn straight out of [Richard Nixon's] playbook."

Trump's name is the most prominent one on a long list of powerful national and state Republicans who have prevented action to address police brutality and systemic racism in the three months since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Even as millions of Americans have joined Black Lives Matter demonstrations in cities across the country-including Kenosha, where there was significant organizing and activism before the shooting of Jacob Blake-policing reforms remain stalled at the federal and state levels. That's a source of profound frustration for activists who have protested and petitioned over the course of a long hot summer.

Now, after the shooting of another Black man, there is a demand for action. Thousands marched through the city Saturday, behind a banner that read: "Justice for Jacob Blake." They were answering the call of Jacob Blake Sr. and the Blake family for a response that recognizes the need to address police violence and systemic racism. That message was framed earlier in the week by Letetra Widman, Jacob Blake's sister, when she recalled that:

So many people have reached out to me telling me they're sorry this happened to my family. Well, don't be sorry, 'cause this has been happening to my family for a long time-longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till-Emmett Till is my family. Philando [Castile]. Mike Brown. Sandra [Bland]. This has been happening to my family, and I've shed tears for every single one of these people that it's happened to. This is nothing new. I'm not sad. I'm not sorry. I'm angry, and I'm tired. I haven't cried one time [since Jacob Blake's shooting]. I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years. I'm also a Black history minor. So not only have I been watching it in the 30 years that I've been on this planet, but I've been watching it for years before we were even alive. I'm not sad. I don't want your pity. I want change.
Much change is needed in Kenosha, a historic industrial city of 100,000 located south of Milwaukee. Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, an elected Republican who two years ago claimed that "society has to come to a threshold where there's some people that aren't worth saving," announced Friday that he had not watched the video of the Blake shooting. That statement led Representative Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat who was born and raised in Kenosha, to say, "He's either lying or an incompetent law enforcement officer."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has called on Beth to resign, explaining: "Sheriff David Beth's deputies not only fraternized with white supremacist counter-protesters on Tuesday, but allowed the shooter to leave as people yelled that he was the shooter. The group also wants the resignation of Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, noting, "During the Kenosha Police Department's first press conference in response to the Blake shooting and subsequent murders committed at protests, Police Chief Daniel Miskinis blamed the unidentified victims in Tuesday night's shooting for their own deaths, saying the violence was the result of the 'persons involved violating curfew.'"

"Their actions uphold and defend white supremacy, while demonizing people who were murdered for exercising their First Amendment rights and speaking out against police violence," says Wisconsin ACLU executive director Chris Ott. If they don't resign, argues Ott, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian should demand that Kenosha's Police and Fire Commission remove the chief and Wisconsin's governor should remove the sheriff.

But it will take more than resignations and removals to repair law enforcement in Kenosha-and Wisconsin as a whole. While media scrutiny has focused on Kenosha in recent days, the crisis extends far beyond its city limits. "What happened in Kenosha is an example of our policing system continuing to go wrong," argues Pocan.

Referencing Wisconsin's "inequities in criminal justice and policing, in health care, or in economic well-being," Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, a Democrat from Milwaukee, says, "The social and economic consequences of these deep-seated inequities reach every community in our state and eliminating them will require action at every level of government."

A major barrier to action in this politically-divided state can be found in the farm country 25 miles west of Kenosha. That's the home district of Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican with a Trump-like determination to exploit crises rather than address them.

In June, Evers proposed legislation to establish statewide use of force standards for all law enforcement agencies, making clear that:

...the primary duty of law enforcement is to preserve the life of all individuals; that deadly force is to be used only as the last resort; that officers should use skills and tactics that minimize the likelihood that force will become necessary; that, if officers must use physical force, it should be the least amount of force necessary to safely address the threat; and that law enforcement officers must take reasonable action to stop or prevent any unreasonable use of force by their colleagues.
Vos blocked legislative action.<>P This week, Evers asked that a special session of the legislature address reforms. Vos again objected.

Frustration with legislative inaction was a focus of a high-profile protest by Milwaukee Bucks team members who refused to play game five of their first-round NBA playoff series in Orlando. The basketball players declared that it "is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform."

While the leader of the Republican-controlled state Senate suggested he will let months pass before acting, Vos proposed another task force to examine issues that have already been reviewed. Stalling tactics don't sit well with Kenosha's state representative Tod Ohnstad. "We need real change and now," says the Democrat. "The special session legislation that has been proposed is an important first step that we should take immediately."

Ohnstad wants "urgent action to address the very issues brought forward by the shooting of Jacob Blake." Unfortunately, the moral desert that Rev. Jackson describes extends from the White House to the speaker's chair in the Wisconsin legislature.

(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.

Our Eroding Bill Of Rights In America
By James Donahue

The document we refer to as the Bill of Rights is, in effect, published as the first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution.

This document, which assures individual rights, was created early in the history of our nation, back when states were still living under the promises of the Declaration of Independence that assured state sovereignty as countries within themselves. The constitution, framed in a national convention in 1787, was perceived as a contract among the states to provide a central headquarters to deal with such common issues as national defense, common currency and a federal judicial system.

The goal, at least in the minds of many of the men who framed those first documents, was to maintain strong state governments, and allow for a central government that had little power. The central government, established in the District of Columbia, a small territory located outside the jurisdiction of the 13 original states or colonies, did not collect taxes directly from the people. Its operating money and the members of the U. S. Senate were delegated by state legislators. Only members of the U. S. House of Representatives were elected by the public at large.

Thus our first presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, while they are portrayed as larger than life in our history books, were no more than token leaders operating a government that took its powers at the discretion of the individual states.

After the invention of the printing press and establishment of newspapers, people throughout the states became more and more informed about the issues of the nation. Among the hotly debated issues of the early Nineteenth Century was that of slavery. The issue led to pressure from the northern states on the southern states to prohibit slavery. Rather than submit to demands of the north, and reflected through the central government, the southern states rebelled, declared their own independence, and formed the Confederate Union.

Under the rules of the Declaration of Independence, the south had the right to succeed. But the central government under Abraham Lincoln, waged war on the south and thus crushed any further actions by states to withdraw from the union. In effect, our own Declaration of Independence, while considered a hallowed document throughout American history, would be considered a terrorist creed if drafted by any group of individuals within the nation today.

All of this involved months and years of political maneuvering by early leaders who clearly had differences of opinion as to just how to forge a government to run this nation.

A recent article by J. B. Campbell claims that the Masons, who comprised many of the men involved in writing our Constitution, sabotaged the promises written in the Declaration of Independence. They fought reference to "enumerated rights" arguing that the people should trust their government to preserve these rights.

But patriots like Patrick Henry and George Mason saw the Constitution as a blueprint for empire building and they fought it. Their efforts led to the addition of the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Campbell article said.

The Masons, who operated their own organization through a strong central system of leadership, used their own system as a pattern for framing the United States government. They wanted a strong national government, Campbell said.

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the two ideologies clashed in open debate, and the concept of federalism was established, although at the time it was weak.

Since the Civil War, the federal government has grown in power, while state powers have been slowly eroding.

When states approved the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, providing for the direct election of Senators, the state governments lost their representation in Washington. Campbell argued that this amendment, alone, rendered the Constitution null and void, and that the United States has been "a sham government ever since.

"The Constitution is a fraud on the people and should be abandoned. It has not protected us from civil or foreign wars, from inflation and federal corruption. It is in fact the engine of all these crimes, authorizing such racketeering as the private Federal Reserve Corporation and its collection agency, the IRS," Campbell wrote.

He notes that the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War declares that all people born in the United States are citizens of the country. It also establishes the federal government's right to establish debt, and denies the right of individuals to question it.

He continues to say that the Bill of Rights is now being eroded, mostly through rulings by the federal judges who "protect the Constitution" but do not protect the Bill of Rights.

These key Amendments, and what has happened to them in recent years are as follows:

Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

There are efforts underway, even at the time of this writing, to control free expression in printed form, in public statements and on the Internet. The proponents of such control are listing such things as pornography, terrorism and spam, or the flooding of e-mail with unsolicited advertising, as reasons for these controls. Also people have been fined and jailed in recent months for making "inappropriate statements" in public places.

Amendment II

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

This amendment has all but been declared void by legislative and court actions that prohibit the carrying of concealed and unlicensed weapons, make certain firearms illegal to own and use, and prohibit the establishment of local militias. A movement has been threatened, and furiously defended, that would remove the individual's rights to bear arms of any kind.

Amendment III

"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

Amendment IV

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Under the rules of the Patriot Act, adopted after the 9-11 attacks, authorities were given the right to enter and search homes, seize personal items and even make arrests without probable cause. The searches, upheld by the courts, are being conducted under the cloak of anti-terrorism and anti-drug laws. Legislators have since amended but not erased this phase of the Patriot Act despite extreme controversy.

Amendment V

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."K

The arrest and jailing of alleged "terrorists" have been conducted under the Patriot Act and by military forces, not only in the United States, but overseas. Many were not given due process of law until after President Barack Obama came into power. There are rumors that so-called "illegal aliens" also have been detained by police and government forces on American soil without due process.

Amendment VI

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

Again, the Patriot Act has overridden this amendment under the guise of a war on terrorism. Also the "War On Drugs" launched under the Nixon Administration, has clogged U.S. Courts and filled American prisons and jails so that there no longer is such a thing as a "speedy and public trial" for the accused.

Amendment VII

"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

Due to inflation, this rule has been violated constantly. Traffic fines far exceed this $20 limit, set at a time when twenty dollars was considered a considerable sum of money. Most courts will still allow for a trial upon request by the accused, although it is discouraged due to the press of work by the courts. Instead, prosecutors use a plea-bargain system to rush cases through the courts, encouraging defendants to plead guilty to reduced charges rather than take the chance of being found guilty or the more serious crime.

Amendment VIII

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Overloaded courts have slowed the process of criminal prosecution to such a crawl that there can be no such thing as a speedy trial. Courts set bail according to the nature of the offense. Bail can often be set at thousands of dollars, although in many cases the accused is allowed to post a portion, usually 10 percent of the amount which is furnished by a loan from a bondsman at high interest. Sentencing follows guidelines set by law.

Amendment IX

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This might be the "equality" amendment. And it is obvious that minorities in America have not been and continue to be denied equal and fair treatment on jobs, in the courts, and by society in general. Sometimes the disparage is subtle, but it exists.

Amendment X

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

The final two amendments, designed to retain a portion of states powers, appear to be ignored by the courts and the U.S. Congress.

(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.

Billionaires Lives Matter Far, Far More Than Yours
By Frank Scott

As we stagger towards the ultimate expression of our fake democracy in November it's important to acknowledge what won't be changing a bit whichever of the two parties of capital come out ahead with a minority of the American electorate's support. The richest people in the nation, an ever-smaller group as inequality, showing massive growth of poverty, disease and the profits of warfare, will not only maintain their historic control but also exercise more of it than ever in the past. The capitalist pandemic and economic collapse will get worse before things get better and they won't get better until we stop swallowing the republican-democratic party line about what high ideals this nation stands for in contradiction to the low reality of what it is. You know, all that stuff many are upset about, divided over and struggling to understand without needing more therapy, drugs, religion, guns, shopping, voting and other distractions.

Let's get this straight: our country began in the 15th century and was officially founded by the original 1% in the 18th and has been controlled by that same percentage ever since. When the upper class was given land grants and whatever else the theft of a "new world" was labeled, it looked around at millions of acres and demanded that the mother country send help to do the work necessary to build a prosperous colonial outpost. Our nation of peasants and slaves started with a giant influx of cheap labor first coming from economic bondage in England and later in physical chains from Africa. The immigration policies that cause division in our modern society pitting those who profit from it against those who bear the loss for it has not changed a bit in economic essence. Cheap foreign labor is more profitable to capital than higher paid nationals and when some of those cheap foreigners eventually become national they tend to resent the newest shipment of foreigners who cheapen their wages and threaten their security.

That was true when the original English immigrants became greatly upset as Germans began flocking into America back in the 17th century. At one point in the 20th century people of English and German descent represented a majority of the American population. The national origins of present generations of immigrants may have changed but the economic system guaranteeing profit they create for investors at loss to native workers is exactly the same as it was back then. It's capitalism, no matter how much cosmetic language is used by those who disguise it with flowery fiction about freedom, democracy and other euphemisms for injustice to humans and the natural environment, and crippling insults to intelligence. Calling a terminal cancer ward a health spa doesn't mean everything is okay for the residents just because investors in a multi-billion dollar market brand - cancer - are doing quite well, thank you.

And no matter how American some immigrants eventually become, most can be and are replaced when the need arises for more profit and capital ships jobs to foreign lands with cheaper labor or opens doors here to newer, lower cost help, whether as farm workers, coal miners, janitors, gardeners or silicon valley programmers -cheaper than our own college grads - and the folks who clean their toilets in silicon valley's country club workplaces.

Current generations of humane and sincere supporters of immigration who have bought the mythology of America opening its arms to the poor and suffering in order to give them the right to vote for lesser evils and live in slums, ghettos and foreign language speaking isolation might as well learn how to make power-less salutes as they march to the polls or mailboxes to vote for lesser evils who represent the same economic system of private profit and public loss. Some electeds are slightly more kind about just how low the losers are allowed to sink while war and pet care take precedence over peace and health care in our great democracy, which has always rhymed with hypocrisy, especially at the present moment when it is more expensive, treacherous and dangerous than ever.

As divisions of class grow uglier and more obvious, with a handful of billionaires increasing already bloated and incredibly immoral wealth while millions sink into hardship and poverty, awareness of racial discrimination has finally come to the surface of American society, even beyond the earlier awakening in the civil rights era of the 1960s. The progress from those days, while enormous by comparison to earlier reality, has only meant better lives for some, not all dubbed with the evil racist labels denoting skin tones that erase the essence of humanity. Still, the newer consciousness promises much more substantial change than that of a past which, according to market dictates of profit and loss, only affirms some while negating most and seeing to it that those who have the most stay above it all. And just as in the days of slavery when class came to the plantation and house negroes lived at a much higher standard than field negroes, today there are professional people "of color" in government, industry, finance, whose lives matter far more than the majority in ghettos, prisons and poverty, just as with the rest of the population living with economic barriers every bit as damaging and anti-social. The fact that there are rich "people of color" has no more bearing on the society's goodness than that there are rich immigrants. They are still a tiny minority among Americans who are native born, foreign born, of color, no color, bi-sexual, bi-polar, agnostic or religious and are part of the more than 90% who are not rich except in their dreams or hallucinations. Even indigenous people who are wealthy hardly means that Indian reservations are not still the most poverty suffering communities in the nation.

The facts are undeniable and being seen and understood by far more than in the past, and so authority is working extra hard to somehow obscure them before the people band together and conduct a truly revolutionary transformation of society that benefits the overwhelming majority of people, instead of the historical and present reverse which blesses a tinier minority than ever before. Dedicated and well meaning advocates of social change are engaged in trying to achieve short term gains at a critical moment by working in the capitalist parties but they are only assured what happened in the sixties if they maintain that program. There will be more supposed minorities rising to professional and upper middle class status while things will get worse for the majority of all Americans in a disintegrating social and natural environment with policies to extract minority profit guaranteed to inflict more grievous and deadly loss to the majority.

While we are being driven further apart by both major and minor anti-social media that highlight the worst aspects of society and focus on individuals and minority groups, a fast growing number are becoming more aware of the lies and distractions and are dedicated to working together, across artificial lines created by rulers and adhering to humanitarian and democratic ideals that best serve the majority. It remains to be seen if the rising forces of real democracy and opposition to political economic domination by minorities, which can only guarantee failure for humanity, are transformed into a new day and age not only for America but the much wider world. The present sinking global status of the American empire whose only remaining strength is ability to murder is a good sign but change has to come from within and not just from outside since the pending and greater collapse is not simply threatened nationally.

The global environment under assault by profit motives which operate for the dollar before any other consideration does not have a nationality; it speaks a universal language of all of us who breathe, eat, form communities and attempt to assure a future for our race. That race is not confined to one or another identity or national group created by dominating minorities; it is composed of all of us and if it doesn't succeed in transforming material reality, far more than any minority will be lost. The sooner we realize that and work, together, to create a reality of public cooperation to benefit public good before any thought of private profit, the sooner our success. It will take longer than an election and certainly beyond this one in November, but the work being done by those who already operate on that principle can help bring the necessary numbers along for the next attempt. It will have to be much more radical and involve much more than a simple vote, but all positive steps will lead in the right direction. That direction is directly opposite to the present rulers and the capitalist system that wont even ultimately benefit them, but will certainly be disastrous for all of us if we do not make the changes necessary to not only see to it that black lives matter, but that until billionaires lives stop mattering so much more than all of ours, no lives will have a future of any hope.

(c) 2020 Frank Scott writes political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienate.

The massive volumes of plastic we throw away end up in landfills, waterways and oceans, devastating
wildlife and marine health. It breaks down into smaller particles that end up in the food web.

We Are Living In A Plastic World
By David Suzuki

Almost every product and material we refer to as "plastic" is made from fossil fuels. Most of it hasn't been around for long - a little over 70 years for the most common products. North American grocery stores didn't start offering plastic bags until the late 1970s.

Over that short time, plastics have become ubiquitous. A Center for International Environmental Law report says global plastic production exploded 200-fold between 1950 and 2015 - from two million to 380 million tonnes. Plastic is everywhere, from the ocean depths to mountaintops, from Antarctica to the Arctic - even in our own bodies.

As the report points out, almost every piece of plastic begins as a fossil fuel. This creates greenhouse gas emissions throughout its life cycle, from extraction and transport to refining and manufacturing to managing waste and impacts. The report projects these emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year by 2030 - "equivalent to the emissions released by more than 295 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants."

There are good reasons for plastic's popularity. It's lightweight, durable, inexpensive, easily shaped and can be used to safely store many materials, from water to chemicals. That it's long-lasting is part of the problem.

Plastics don't decompose like organic substances. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, much of which ends up in oceans, where it is consumed by marine life and birds. These "microplastics" work their way through the food web and eventually to humans.

There's still much to learn about microplastic's health effects, but exposure in animals has been linked to liver and cell damage, infertility, inflammation, cancer and starvation. The 50,000 plastic particles that each of us breathes and eats every year and the microplastic pollution falling on some cities undoubtedly have an impact, especially as many of the chemicals in plastics are known to cause a range of health problems.

A recent study also shows the ocean plastics problem is worse than thought - although with tonnes of plastic debris and particles swirling in massive ocean gyres, it's hard to imagine it could be. The study, from the U.K.'s National Oceanography Centre, found the Atlantic has 10 times more plastic than had been estimated. Researchers previously calculated the amount entering the Atlantic between 1950 and 2015 to be from 17 million to 47 million tonnes. New measurements show it's closer to 200 million.

Another report, from the World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey and Company, estimated the oceans could hold more plastic by weight than fish by 2050 if trends continue. Because most plastic doesn't get recycled, researchers also estimated that 95 per cent of plastic packaging value - worth $80 to $120 billion annually - is lost.

It also found that by 2050, the entire plastics industry will consume 20 per cent of total oil production, and 15 per cent of the world's annual carbon budget.

The study, "The New Plastics Economy," outlines steps whereby circular economy principles could resolve many issues around plastics in the environment. These require eliminating all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure the plastics are reusable, recyclable or compostable, and circulating all plastic items to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.

And while individual efforts are helpful, they don't go far enough. As Carroll Muffett, lead author of the CIEL report, argues, we can't "recycle our way out of the plastics crisis." Instead, we must stop producing fossil fuels and unnecessary disposable plastic items. Reducing use is key, but shifting to plant-based plastics and other products is also crucial.

As we've written before, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in our outdated economic systems, but it's also provided an opportunity to pause and figure out how to build back better. Our constant rush to exploit resources, burn fossil fuels and create disposable plastic products for the sake of short-term profits is putting all life and health at risk.

We should have started phasing out fossil fuels and their byproducts decades ago when we realized they were creating massive amounts of air, water and land pollution and heating the planet to temperatures that put our health and survival at risk. The longer we delay, the more difficult change becomes. It's time for new ideas. It's time for a just, green recovery.

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

It's On All Of Us Not To Help This President* Wreck What's Left Of This Country
Unfortunately, the side with legitimate grievances will have to be the ones to de-escalate the situation in the streets. Donald Trump is all but encouraging the chaos.
By Charles P. Pierce

Let us be clear for those with carefully cultivated-and ominously utilitarian-reading comprehension problems. Looting is bad. Arson is bad. Burning down something that isn't yours is bad. (Burning down something that is yours, for the insurance money, say, is also bad, but a topic for another day.) We all clear on that? Fine, now we can talk.

On Saturday, a caravan of armed people in pick-up trucks formed up in the parking lot of the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Clackamas, Oregon in the sight of god, TV crews, and (presumably) local law enforcement. (The Cinnabon Taliban, on the march.) Local law enforcement was familiar with this mall because, in 2012, a guy named Jacob Roberts brought his trusty Armalite to the food court there and killed two people and then himself. So one would think that local law enforcement would be wary of any gathering of the sort they saw on Saturday in that particular location. Nevertheless, the caravan was allowed to assemble itself, move out, and then drive 10 miles across county lines to raise hell in downtown Portland. One person ended up dead. Where the hell were the cops? I mean, in 2014, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department bought $800,000 worth of military equipment including an armored vehicle. I am unalterably opposed to militarized police forces but, if you have one, wouldn't this be the time to use it? Oregon Public Broadcasting provides one piece of the answer:

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office vehicles blocked intersections around the mall to allow the parade of vehicles to pass through, but officials told OPB they were not providing an escort for the group. Multiple Oregon state troopers were positioned along Highway 224, the pro-Trump caravan's primary route to Portland.

I honestly don't know where this all leads. The president* is all but encouraging this behavior. (His planned trip to Kenosha on Tuesday already is grotesque.) It's becoming more clear by the day that many law enforcement officials have chosen sides. It's come to guns already and who's to say we won't have armed and rowdy caravans turning up at polling places on election day? Will the cops block intersections to let them pass through? I certainly wouldn't bet against it. And what would the reaction to this be from the other side? I hope nobody's counting on the Feds to maintain order the way they did in Mississippi in 1962, because the teams have switched jerseys. The only short-term answer I can see is de-escalation and, unfortunately and unfairly, that may have to come from the side with legitimate grievances. I have been fairly nauseated over the past few days as white pundits instructed black people on proper civil disobedience etiquette. But I have no problem telling the Caucasian auxiliaries/hangers-on/vandals to back the hell off.

De-escalation doesn't mean surrender. It doesn't mean you abandon the field. It means discipline and intelligence and a willingness to sublimate your emotions to both. A former Black Panther once told me that "Spontineity is the art of fools." That still holds. It is incumbent upon all of us not to help the president* wreck what's left of the country.

(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-

"We have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power. They are afraid to act. They are afraid to lose their pension. They are afraid to lose their jobs, and by being afraid they are not able to do their jobs. And those who suffer most are the great people who they want so desperately to protect."
~~~ Donald Trump

It is hard to explain just how bad the US death rate under Trump from the novel coronavirus is.

6 Million Stricken With COVID-19: Trump Has Turned The US Into A Sh*thole Country
Out of 194 countries in the world, only 10 have had a worst per capita death rate than the United States
By Juan Cole

The US reported its sixth million coronavirus case, and deaths are headed toward 200,000. It is hard to explain just how bad the US death rate under Trump from the novel coronavirus is.

It isn't only that it is worse than other industrialized democracies. It certainly is that. In South Korea, 324 persons have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The US is a little over six times more populous than South Korea, so that would be like 2,070 Americans dying.

As of Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported US deaths as 183,057.

So Americans under Trump are dropping dead at 88 times the rate of South Korea.

From South Korea's competent point of view, they are now having an alarming spike of new cases in Seoul, with about 300 cases reported yesterday. So they have decided to close back down some entertainment venues such as karaoke bars and fitness gyms, and to further limit restaurant seating. The thing that strikes you about a news report like the one below is that the South Korean government authorities come across as highly competent, as watching the pandemic like a hawk, and as prepared to take efficient measures to deal with outbreaks. They have an excellent rapid testing and contact tracing system. In contrast, Trump wants all businesses open all the time and sent the Michigan Militia after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because she was in his view too cautious.

The US has had 6 million coronavirus cases. South Korea? 19,947, the equivalent of about 130,000 US deaths.

As a result of the South Korean government's competence, South Korean manufacturing has bounced back.

Germany has had 9,300 coronavirus deaths, the equivalent of 37,400 US deaths. The US death rate is nearly five times that of Germany.

Canada has had 9,164 pandemic deaths, the equivalent of about 82,000 US deaths given the difference in population of the two countries.

Canada is five times better on cases and over two times better on deaths, even though the population of Canada and that of the United States are of similar backgrounds, their governmental systems are both rooted in the British, and they both have national health apparatuses. Canada is better.

The big difference between the two? Trump.

Out of 194 countries in the world, only 10 have had a worst per capita death rate than the United States. Some are also in thrall to right wing business classes, like the United Kingdom. Others are populist/fascist and also lack a proper national health system, like Brazil. Others just don't have strong governance systems, like Italy and Spain.

It could be that the US has better health statistics tracking than some of the countries that appear to be doing better. That is not true of South Korea and Germany, which put us to shame. But even if some countries are not capturing some proportion of deaths because many old people are dying at home and country physicians are not reporting the deaths as from Covid-19, there are few countries where you can hide 180,000 corpses from the public. Statistics do not explain it.

What explains it is that Trump is bad at his job.

What do we make of the failures of the US in comparison with less developed nations?

Argentina has had 8,457 deaths, the equivalent of 62,000 or so US deaths. The United States under Trump has had three times as many deaths as Argentina under Alberto Fernandez. Argentina has had 408,000 cases. That is the equivalent of about 3 million cases, or half as many as the US has had. Argentina's statistics may be under-counting a little. But by a factor of three with regard to deaths?

Turkey has reported 6,326 deaths, the equivalent of about 25,000 US deaths. Turkey has a sophisticated government bureaucracy and health system, and while it may not be counting all the deaths, is it really off by a factor of 7?

That the US is doing so much worse than South Korea, Germany and Canada is galling enough. But there is a real possibility that it is doing worse than Argentina and Turkey.

Remember, too, that US testing capacity has been hobbled by Trump's inaction or incompetence or malignant intentions, so a lot of old people are dying in bed uncounted in this country, too.

Trump's casual racism in dismissing countries beyond the US and Europe as sh*thole countries looks more and more like unwarranted hubris. Trump has managed to turn the US into the sh*thole country.

(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-

Heil Trump,

Dear Polizeichef Miskinis,

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 (Sammy the con) Alito.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your covering up for trigger happy cops and protecting rightwing hit men, 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 Miskinis, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

What The Fact?! Reacting To The RNC
By Robert Reich

In this video, I debunk some of the most egregious lies from the 2020 Republican National Convention.

There were so many that the selection was difficult. From pretending the coronavirus pandemic is over to claiming Trump built the "best economy ever," there was no shortage of misinformation and outright falsehoods during the RNC. I reacted to the most outrageous whoppers and provided some fact-based rebuttals.

Vote the liar-in-chief and his enablers out in November, and share this video with anyone you think watched this dangerous misinformation parade.

(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

Donald Trump speaks in front of the White House on the fourth day of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

The 'Abomination' Of A Convention Makes Clear The GOP Threat
Where does pundit savviness end and an invitation to fascism begin?
By Eric Alterman

Eight years ago, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave a dishonest speech in which he blamed President Barack Obama for the closure of a Wisconsin General Motors factory that began shutting down during the George W. Bush presidency. Even so, Washington Post lead fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave Ryan a pass. What's more, he objected to the fact that anyone else thought it significant. The headline above Kessler's column read: "The truth? C'mon, this is a political convention." In it, Kessler wrote that "the whole point is for the party to put its best foot forward to the American people. By its very nature, that means downplaying unpleasant facts, highlighting the positive and knocking down the opposing team."

He did not explain why a vice presidential candidate lacked the option of doing so without lying. But he did have an idea as to why "Ryan was so quickly labeled a fibber by the Obama campaign." One suspects, he mused, that "it was a deliberate effort to tear down his reputation as a policy expert." As it happens, Ryan's reputation as a "policy expert" was invented by a conservative-leaning punditocracy that was desperate to find a Republican, any Republican, they could admire in those days. But what is rather incredible about this episode was that it apparently did not occur to the Washington Post fact-checker that Ryan was "so quickly labeled a fibber" because he was fibbing.

In what deserves to be one of the founding documents of the history of journalistic false equivalence or "Bothsidesism," Kessler then went on to complain that during Obama's entirely accurate convention speech four years earlier he had "knocked McCain for voting 90 percent of the time with his own party," but failed to mention that during his own brief Senate career, Obama had "voted 97 percent of the time with Democrats." Got that? The Democratic nominee for president, according to Kessler, was guilty of not attacking himself at a Democratic convention for being a loyal Democrat. This was the edifice upon which he rested his judgment that the 2012 GOP convention "was strictly in the mainstream for such party celebrations."

Now scroll forward eight years to Thursday and check out a report appearing in the same newspaper about this year's Republican convention. Beneath a headline reading, "GOP convention spins alternate reality with torrent of falsehoods aimed at rebooting Trump's flagging campaign," the Post's Toluse Olorunnipa explained that "the Republican National Convention this year has stood out for its brazen defiance of facts, ethical guidelines and tradition, according to experts on propaganda and misinformation. While Trump, a former reality television star, has long trafficked in mistruths and innuendo, the broad cast of characters who took up his tactics during prime-time speeches underscores how his brand of politicking has taken root in the GOP."

There is a direct connection between so many supposedly savvy pundits' equating four decades of brazen Republican lying with Democrats' normal political desire to put their best foot forward and the current threats to the Republic. (I happen to have just published a new book on this topic.)

It's not just Trump's lying, of course. In fact, as the Post story above indicates, the mainstream media is finally on to the lies as a feature-rather than a bug-of Trump's campaigning and governance. (It only took more than 20,000 of them.) There's also the racism, the comical level of hypocrisy, the naked nepotism, the cultishness, and, perhaps most importantly, the lawlessness. There was barely a moment during the entire four-day fiesta that did not involve a violation of both the Hatch Act, a law barring federal employees and property from being used for political purposes, and common decency. Incredibly, former right-wing Republican foot soldier William Kristol compared Thursday night's festivities to one of Hitler's Nuremburg rallies. Walter Shaub, the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, called this "abomination" of a convention "the most visible misuse of official position for private gain in America's history. It is an abuse of the power entrusted to this man, the breach of a sacred trust. It is the civic equivalent of a mortal sin-maybe a religious one too. And it is a harbinger."

It's the "harbinger" part that worries me. When the convention was only two days old, Politico's smartypants "Playbook" described all the obvious violations of law in place in Trump's plans and then proceeded to dismiss them-just as Kessler had done with Ryan's lying. "But do you think a single person outside the Beltway gives a hoot about the president politicking from the White House or using the federal government to his political advantage?" its writers asked. "Do you think any persuadable voter even notices?"

In addition to the contempt it demonstrates for the rule of law, it also makes clear that this kind of faux-sophistication-while endemic among insiders-is purposefully stupid. They have zero evidence for their "single person" thesis. But even leaving aside the obvious hyperbole, if it is accurate, is this not a choice of the press to treat it as such? Does anyone think voters would have cared about whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton read her e-mails on an iPad or a secure phone without being beaten over the head about it more than all other "issues" combined in 2016? Did voters decide on their own to focus relentlessly on the security arrangement of the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, before being instructed to do so by a similarly obsessed media? Campaign "issues" do not arise out of thin air. They are pushed by one side and adjudicated within the media. We already know that Fox News, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and their boosters on Facebook are fine with Trump and the Republicans' consistent disdain for the rule of law. Does that mean that it is by definition unimportant? And what other laws do the smart folks at Politico and elsewhere consider to be unimportant? Do they agree, for instance, that it's OK to encourage white militia men to murder peaceful protesters? Is it also cool for cops to shoot unarmed Black men in the back seven times in front of their families (and then handcuff them to their hospital beds)? Where does savviness end and an invitation to fascism begin?

Finally, while the coverage of the dishonesty of the convention has been heartening-making a hero, finally, of CNN's incredible lie tracker, Daniel Dale-I want to call attention to one aspect of the show that has gone under the radar: the dog-whistle anti-Semitism. Pompeo's illegal speech from the roof of the US Embassy in Jerusalem-about whose cost, by the way, Trump lied by a factor of 40, according to Dale-was clearly aimed not at Jews but at the Republicans' evangelical base. Sorry to say it, but a lot of these folks love Israel but hate and fear Jews. Yes, the Republicans managed to put the kibosh on their Protocols of the Elders of Zion–spouting speaker at the last minute, but we were still treated to a crazed Kimberly Guilfoyle complaining of "cosmopolitan elites," together with Senator Tim Scott promising that Democrats "want to take more money from your pocket and give it to Manhattan elites, and Hollywood moguls."

Just who do you think they have in mind?

Oh, and one more thing: Literally no one, during the entire convention, made reference to how many Americans have died from the coronavirus. Not one.

(c) 2020 Eric Alterman is Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism, Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is also the "Liberal Media" columnist for The Nation, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, and the Nation Institute and the World Policy Institute in New York, as well as former columnist for The Daily Beast, The Forward, Moment, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the Sunday Express (London), etc. Alterman is the author of 10 books, including the national bestseller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. He has been called "the most honest and incisive media critic writing today" in the National Catholic Reporter and author of "the smartest and funniest political journal out there" in The San Francisco Chronicle. A winner of the George Orwell Prize, the Stephen Crane Literary Award, and the Mirror Award for media criticism, he has previously taught at Columbia and NYU and has been a Hoover Institution Media Fellow at Stanford University. Alterman received his PhD in American history from Stanford, his MA in international relations at Yale, and his BA from Cornell. He lives with his family in Manhattan, where he is currently at work on a book about the history of the Israel/Palestine debate in the United States for Basic Books. More information is available at

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Joel Pett ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

'Oh Jeez, Oh Jeez, Oh Jeez,' Says Eric Trump After Accidentally Bringing Father's Sexual Assault Victims To RNC
By The Onion

CHARLOTTE, NC-Rocking from one foot to another while fanning his fingers in anxiety, Eric Trump was overheard saying "Oh jeez, oh jeez, oh jeez" Tuesday after accidentally bringing all of his father's sexual assault victims to the Republican National Convention.

"Shoot, shoot, shoot, I remembered we did something like this in 2016 and I thought everyone was going to be so excited that I did it again, but I messed up and now they're all gonna be mad," said the president's second-eldest son between sobs, tugging on the jacket sleeve of Stephen Miller as he begged him to do something.

"Come on, come on, we need to get them off the stage, but there's so many of them! You gotta fix it! Oh no, oh no, Dad's gonna yell at me and he's not gonna let me give any more cool speeches and I'm gonna have to just stay in New York and run the business. Why can't I ever do anything right?"

At press time, a smiling Miller assured Eric Trump that no one watching the convention was even remotely concerned about the president's history of sexual assault.

(c) 2020 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 36 (c) 09/04/2020

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