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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explores, "The Man Who Would Be President: Mike Pence, Corporate Theocrat."

Ralph Nader concludes, "Ginsburg Institute For Justice Needed For Our Depleted Democracy."

Glen Ford compares, "Bidens And Trumps, Foxes And Wolves."

Jim Hightower explains, "How To Arm Nature Against Corporate Profiteers."

Glenn Greenwald returns and asks, "Why Are Democrats Praying For the Speedy Recovery Of A 'Fascist Dictator'?"

John Nichols demands, "AG Josh Kaul Should Throw The Book At Those Who Engage In Voter Suppression."

James Donahue examines, "A House Divided . . ."

David Swanson lectures, "Top U.S. Enemy Was Its Ally, The U.S.S.R."

David Suzuki finds the old, "Blame Game Hurts Wildlife."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Pope Francis's Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Confronts Our Present Moment Directly."

Juan Cole says,"Mask-Mocking Donald Trump Tests Positive For Covid-19."

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich wonders, "Trump's Covid: Empathy For The World's Least Empathetic Person?"

Eric Alterman wonders, "How Do You Cover an Administration That Has Lost Touch With Reality?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports,"Pence Grateful That Plexiglass Shield At Debate Will Protect Him From Woman," but first Uncle Ernie sez it was, "Just As I Expected!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Rob Rogers , with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, The Atlantic, Michael Kovac, Colin Durfee, Steve Benson, Franco Origlia, Jim Watson, (J. Scott Applewhite, Mandel Ngan, 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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Just As I Expected!
By Ernest Stewart

"The President and I are fighting every day in courthouses to prevent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from changing the rules and creating this universal mail-in voting that'll create a massive opportunity for voter fraud. So let me just say, I think we're going to win this election, I believe in all my heart that president Donald Trump is going to be reelected for four more years." ~~~ Mike Pence

"Public discourse has been polluted now for decades by corporate-funded disinformation - not just with climate change but with a host of health, environmental and societal threats. The implications for the planet are grim." ~~~ Michael E. Mann

"I was never a liberal. I was radical. I was cynical. I was negative. But, I was never a liberal. I always saw that as too lukewarm for me." ~~~ Clarence Thomas

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

I wasn't a bit surprised by Wednesday's debate, were you? Former TV host and pretend religious zealot Mike Pence was ducking and weaving and answering no direct question with a direct answer. Of course, neither was Kamala Harris. She was as apt as Pence for not answering a direct question, and choose; like Pence, to run out her time by changing the subject. She seemed to not want to rock the boat, and upset her and Joe's double digit lead by bringing her prosecutional powers to light and tearing Pence a new one! I'm pretty sure that the debate changed nobodies mind on who to vote for.

According to the "buzz" on Facebook the highlight of the debate wasn't anything either candidate said, but a fly that landed on Pence's hair. Apparently, flies can detect sh+t better than most Rethuglicans!

For those of you who missed the debate and have a strong stomach here it is in its entirety!

Oh, and to end on a happy note, White House adviser Uberfuhrer Stephen Miller has tested positive for Covid - 19!

In Other News

I see where global warming is making the oceans more stable, increasing surface temperatures and reducing the carbon they can absorb, according to research published Monday by climate scientists who warned that the findings have "profound and troubling" implications.

Man-made climate change has increased surface temperatures across the planet, leading to atmospheric instability and amplifying extreme weather events, such as storms.

But in the oceans, higher temperatures have a different effect, slowing the mixing between the warming surface and the cooler, oxygen-rich waters below, researchers said.

This ocean "stratification" means less deep water is rising towards the surface carrying oxygen and nutrients, while the water at the surface absorbs less atmospheric carbon dioxide to bury at depth.

In a report published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the international team of climate scientists said they found that stratification globally had increased by a "substantial" 5.3 percent from 1960 to 2018.

Most of this stabilisation occurred towards the surface, and was attributed largely to temperature rises.

They said this process is also exacerbated by the melting of sea ice, meaning that more fresh water - which is lighter than salt water - also accumulates on the surface of the ocean.

Study co-author Michael Mann, a climate science professor at Pennsylvania State University, said in a commentary published in Newsweek that the "seemingly technical finding has profound and troubling implications."

These include potentially driving more "intense, destructive hurricanes" as ocean surfaces warm.

Mann also pointed to a reduction in the amount of CO2 absorbed, which could mean that carbon pollution builds up faster than expected in the atmosphere.

He warned that sophisticated climate models often underestimate ocean stratification and may also be underestimating its impact!

With warmer upper waters receiving less oxygen, there are also implications for marine life.

By absorbing a quarter of man-made CO2 and soaking up more than 90 percent of the heat generated by greenhouse gases, oceans keep the population alive - but at a terrible cost, according to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

Seas have grown acidic, potentially undermining their capacity to draw down CO2. Warmer surface water has expanded the force and range of deadly tropical storms.

Marine heatwaves are wiping out coral reefs, and accelerating the melt-off of glaciers and ice sheets driving sea level rise.

Last year, research published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences calculated that climate change would empty the ocean of nearly a fifth of all living creatures, measured by mass, by the end of the century.

Oh, and did I mention that about 2 billion people depend upon the oceans as their only source of protein? As bad as Covid 19 is, it is nothing when compared to global warming!

And Finally

Wall Street Joe's favorite Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is all hot and bothered with his perceived chance at over turning Obergefell v. Hodges. This landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

You'll recall Wall Street Joe, who at the time (1990), was Senate Judiciary Committee chairman helped Papa Smirk put Clarence on the court even after Clarence's hank-panky with i.e., sexual harassment charges by Anita Hill and others who Wall Street Joe dismissed with a grin as he owed "The Crime Family Bush" a favor.

So you know what happens next, huh? That's right, SCJ Clarence Thomas 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!


01-06-1952 ~ 10-04-2020
Thanks for the film!

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Thanks for the film!

01-26-1955 ~ 10-06-2020
Thanks for the music!

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Thanks for the music!

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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.

The Man Who Would Be President: Mike Pence, Corporate Theocrat
By Norman Solomon

If President Trump dies from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans largely due to his deliberate negligence, the man replacing him will be no less dangerous. While Mike Pence has eluded tough media scrutiny -- in part because he exhibits such a low-key style in contrast to Trump -- the pair has been a good fit for an administration that exemplifies the partnership of religious fundamentalism and corporate power.

The vice president, a former Indiana talk-show host who went on to become a six-term congressman and then governor, has described himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order." But he remains at cross-purposes with the biblical admonition (Matthew 6:24) that "you cannot serve both God and money." Whether Pence has truly served God is a subjective matter, but his massive service to money -- big money -- is incontrovertible.

Pence ranks high as a Christian soldier marching in lockstep with Trump on all major policy issues, a process that routinely puts business interests ahead of human lives. Whatever his personal piety might be, the results of Pence's fidelity to right-wing agendas have further consolidated a de facto coalition of those seeking ever-lower taxes on wealth and corporations; denial of LGBTQ rights; a ban on abortion and severe restrictions on other reproductive rights; voter suppression and barriers to voting by people of color; obstruction of healthcare for low-income people; and on and on.

Pence embodies the political alliance of very conservative evangelical forces with anti-regulatory forces of corporatism. In the arenas of elections and governance, that coalition is the present-day Republican Party, dedicated to imposing the edicts of religious dogma, rolling back democratic reforms and serving the rich at the expense of everyone else.

"As vice president, Mike Pence is doing everything in his power to control people's bodies," the Planned Parenthood Action Fund declares. Meanwhile, those who are inclined toward racism or outright believers in white supremacy are bolstered. And Wall Street has never had a better friend in Washington.

Pence's most consequential role during 44 months as vice president has been as chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Since late February, he has functioned -- in effect -- as Trump's willing executioner, standing by and blowing smoke while Trump obfuscated and lied as the death toll kept mounting.

"The truth is that we've made great progress over the past four months," Pence proclaimed in a mid-June statement, "and it's a testament to the leadership of President Trump." Pence charged that "the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a 'second wave' of coronavirus infections" -- but "such panic is overblown."

To underscore his full devotion to Lord Trump's downplaying of the virus, the vice president concluded with a blame-the-messenger flourish: "The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success. We've slowed the spread, we've cared for the most vulnerable, we've saved lives, and we've created a solid foundation for whatever challenges we may face in the future. That's a cause for celebration, not the media's fear mongering."

Pence's June 16 statement made its way into the Wall Street Journal as a prominent op-ed piece whistling past Covid graveyards. "It was so clearly wrong back then and has turned out to be so clearly wrong since that I hope there's some part of him that's embarrassed," Ashish Jha, the head of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said in late summer. "I had already been seeing data for a good week that things were really heading in the wrong direction." The Washington Post editorial board immediately responded with a denunciation under the headline "Mike Pence Is a Case Study in Irresponsibility."

No one with any discernment would associate Trump with religiosity because he held up a Bible at a photo op. But the other half of the ticket is a very different matter. Days after the November 2016 election, Jeremy Scahill wrote that Trump is "a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors."

Scahill quoted an author of books on far-right fundamentalism, Jeff Sharlet, who said that "when they speak of business, they're speaking not of something separate from God, but they're speaking of what, in Mike Pence's circles, would be called biblical capitalism, the idea that this economic system is God-ordained."

What does all this mean for progressives? The case of Mike Pence should be an ongoing urgent reminder that -- as toxic and truly evil as Donald Trump is -- the current president is a product and poisonous symptom of an inherently unjust and anti-democratic status quo.

Instead of focusing our rage on the persona of one destructive leader, we should remember that corporate domination provides an endless supply of destructive leaders. While they come and go, the system of corporate power remains -- and we must replace that system with genuine democracy.

(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."

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appears at the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center on Sept. 21, 2016 in New York City.

Ginsburg Institute For Justice Needed For Our Depleted Democracy
Is there any better way to compliment Justice Ginsburg's legacy and carry forward her foundational work for the American people?"
By Ralph Nader

Jean Monnet - a founder of the European Union once said: "Nothing is possible without men, but nothing is lasting without institutions."

I'm reminded of his observation each time our country loses a "just" Supreme Court Justice. So, what will follow after the few days of prominent encomiums at memorial events and editorial praise of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Historians will record her decisions, writings, and advocacy. Many people will celebrate her groundbreaking contributions to equal rights for women and other civil rights. Justice Ginsburg's fervent admirers, however, should look not only at past accomplishments but to creative ways to build on a great and enduring legacy.

Johnn Paul Stevens' former law clerks (many of whom became successful lawyers) to enlist their colleagues in establishing a "John Paul Stevens Institute for Justice." In 2014, retired Justice Stevens, at age 94, had just published another book - Six Amendments: How And Why We Should Change The Constitution. This book was then the latest product in his vigorous retirement period of writings and addresses.

I wrote to Justice Stevens urging him to give a nod to his 100 or more clerks, many of whom were wealthy attorneys. He was too modest. A few former clerks showed interest, but not to the point of initiating action.

A similar attempt to persuade supporters of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor fell flat. At the time, she was pressing hard for full legal aid for poor people seeking justice and real civic education in the nation's elementary and secondary schools.

After she retired from the Court, she criticized the 2010 Supreme Court decision - Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission - that opened the floodgates for corporate campaign cash. Her former clerks did not envision an "Institute for Justice" in honor of their adored mentor. Justice O'Connor was also honest enough to publicly acknowledge regret about her vote in the 5-4 decision to install George W. Bush as president.

Was I just engaging in fanciful dreaming about adding these new institutional oak trees for justice to replenish our depleting democratic forest? Not at all. A vibrant Brennan Center for Justice has been on the ramparts for justice since 1995. Located at New York University Law School, it was founded by the family and former law clerks of Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, who was nominated to the Court by President Eisenhower.

With an annual budget of $26 million, the tough Brennan Center for Justice has produced a remarkable output on ways to advance improvements in criminal justice, electoral procedures, and broader public participation in the circles of power.

The Center has been described as "part think-tank, part public interest law firm [that litigates] and part communications hub," working to advance "equal justice for all."

It started when one former law clerk stepped up, followed by more who joined the effort to create this institutional tribute to Justice Brennan. Together, they raised the seed money and this new institution was launched to implement the law as if people mattered first and foremost.

The same kind of institution can be created quickly, should Justice Ginsburg's over 100 law clerks, from her many years as a federal circuit court judge and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, heed Jean Monnet's words.

Given the immense goodwill and unprecedented popular fame of Justice Ginsburg, especially among women, as a pioneering lawyer and jurist, raising the basic funding should be easy. Moreover, foundations would line up to back this initiative and its projects.

For this to happen, the energy from the huge outpouring of accolades since her passing on September 18, 2020, need to be promptly transformed into an operating vision and not left as a nostalgic memory.

Some of the former law clerks who could form the core group are Amanda L. Tyler, professor of law at the University of California-Berkeley; Kelsi Corkran, who heads the Supreme Court practice at a large law firm; Ruthanne Deutsch, an appellate litigator; Elizabeth Prelogar, a Supreme Court and appellate litigator; Trevor W. Morrison, Dean of New York University School of Law; Neil S. Siegel, professor of law and political science at Duke University School of Law; Paul Schiff Berman, professor of law at George Washington University Law School; and many others who revered and were so inspired by the feisty, resilient, kind Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I'm sure that Brennan Center's president, Michael Waldman, would be pleased to share his experience in furthering such a noble and lasting mission.

Is there any better way to compliment Justice Ginsburg's legacy and carry forward her foundational work for the American people? It is really entirely in the hands of Justice Ginsburg's admirers to accomplish this worthy goal.

Perhaps the creation of the Ginsburg Institute for Justice will jumpstart the now influential former clerks of Justice Stevens and Justice O'Connor to follow the example of Justice Brennan's clerks. It is never too late for more institutional infusions toward a just society.

(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).

Bidens And Trumps, Foxes And Wolves
By Glen Ford

The fox and wolf parties - both corporate canines - debate how best to acclimate the masses to their deepening state of precarity.

"The white conservatives aren't friends of the Negro either, but they at least don't try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the 'smiling' fox. One is a wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they'll both eat you." - Malcolm X
Malcolm's analysis of the U.S. duopoly electoral system still holds true. Donald Trump is the wolf that put a mind-lock on a majority of American whites in 2016 by showing his teeth and snarling at Blacks, Muslims and non-white immigrants, stampeding Black folks deeper into the Democrats' open fox-jaws. If Trump is defeated at the polls in November, much of Black America will thank Joe Biden for their salvation, just as African Americans credited President Bill Clinton for resisting Newt Gingrich's racist Republican congressional hordes and their far-right Contract with America, back in 1994. Positioning himself as the only alternative to a Confederate revival - and with the help of Biden, then a young carnivore -- Clinton abolished welfare as we knew it, vastly expanded the U.S. prison gulag, and deregulated the Wall Street banks, smiling through his teeth the whole time.

Clinton's second term coincided with a hi-tech boom that briefly brought the Black-white wage gap to its narrowest point in decades -- for which the fox from Arkansas took credit. But a President Joe Biden will have no such luck. The current Covid-initiated depression - the second U.S.-centered global breakdown of the young century -- has set in motion a deep restructuring that is once again accelerating the hyper-concentration of wealth and power that has characterized capitalism since the late Seventies, under both the wolf and fox parties. As an Oxfam America study reported in July:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deep systemic inequalities and massive failures in our economic system, leaving tens of millions of people in the United States without jobs, devastating public services, and bankrupting countless small businesses. Yet as we face our deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, a subset of companies is experiencing dramatic, windfall profits.

"Seventeen of the top 25 most profitable US corporations, including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Pfizer, and Visa, are expected to make almost $85 billion more in 2020 super-profits compared to previous years, new Oxfam estimates show."

In truth, capitalism has always moved inexorably towards greater concentration of wealth. "Disaster capitalists" take advantage of the system's periodic crises to restructure the economy to their further advantage. The fox and wolf parties - both corporate canines - debate how best to acclimate the masses to their deepening state of precarity, so as to avoid a popular revolt. Appeals to white racism - the wolf's howl --have always been effective in channeling the anger and pain of much of white America, although that diversion may not be sufficient to save Donald Trump from eviction, next month. The Democratic foxes, having beaten back a threat from their confused, captive and ineffectual left in the primary process, have assured the ruling oligarchy that, in Joe Biden's words, "nothing would fundamentally change" when he is elected.

When the foxes promise to return the nation and world to stability after the tumultuous Trump years, they do not mean stability in domestic living standards or peace among nations, but a continuation of the neoliberal policies of endless war and austerity -- the Global Race to the Bottom - minus Trump's constant incitement of the "deplorable" half of the white population. For Black people, that augurs a bleak future of deepening immiseration tempered only by the rulers' assurances that Black lives finally do matter.

The job of the Black Misleadership Class - who are the 21st century version of Malcolm's "house Negroes," only now holding high executive and elected positions -- is to vouch for the sincerity of their white corporate overlords and to keep the Black masses in check.

However, Malcolm never despaired of our people's will to resist:

"I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation." - Malcolm X, from an extended interview in the final weeks of his life, in March-April, 1965.

(c) 2020 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

How To Arm Nature Against Corporate Profiteers
By Jim Hightower

There's a hunter's nightmare in which a group of them flush some rabbits out of the brush. But rather than scampering away, the furry bunnies turn toward their stalkers. "Run," shouts one of the hunters. "Run for your life - the rabbits have guns!"

Arming animals would make the sport of hunting a bit more sporting, wouldn't it? Well, what if we did give all wildlife a fighting chance against the destructive firepower of profiteers who so carelessly ravage their habitats and kill them off? Of course, we can't arm nature with guns, but we could recognize that other species and ecosystems are living creatures with intrinsic legal rights to exist and flourish, thus giving nature its day in court to defend its well-being.

Like us humans, the lakes, forests, wildlife, etc. could have legal status to sue and be represented by lawyers to protect themselves from mindless exploitation, injury, and death. This Rights-of-Nature concept is already being applied in such countries as Ecuador and New Zealand - and more than three dozen US cities and towns have passed ordinances acknowledging that various natural resources in their areas have inherent rights to take polluters and other despoilers to court.

Ironically, the corporate powers - who have perverted law, logic, and nature to have their lifeless, profiteering entities declared "persons" - are aghast that Mother Nature can have rights that can counter the corporate claim that their right to profit is absolute.

At its core, the Rights-of-Nature movement is asserting the obvious: Earth's biosphere is not a free candy store for our taking. We are one with the natural world and must find ways to cooperate fully with it for our own survival. To learn more and connect to action, go to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund:

(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

House Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), on CNN, August 2, 2020

Tax Returns Show Trump Looting Treasury To Stave Off His Own Financial Disaster
People typically rejoice over, not lament, the death of someone they genuinely believe is a fascist dictator.
By Glenn Greenwald

The typical reaction to the death of a tyrant - whether by revolutionary violence or natural causes - is not one of grief and sadness but joyous celebration. It is not hard to understand why: when a nation and its oppressed citizenry are finally liberated from the suffocating, savage grip of fascist dictatorship, they feel joy for themselves, their families and the future of their nation. That is the same reason people have always hoped for, or work toward, the death of despots: they want to rid themselves of those who impose tyranny on them.

When Romanians learned in 1989 of the summary execution of their despised dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, "residents t[ook] to the streets to celebrate the downfall of the dictator." In 2006, "many Chileans celebrated the death of dictator Augusto Pinochet," as "a cacophony of horns sounded as hundreds of thousands took to streets and plazas across the country when it was announced the man who ruled ruthlessly for 17 years had died at age 91, a week after suffering a heart attack." "Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is dead, so celebrate we will," read a 2016 South Florida Sun-Sentinel op-ed by a Cuban-American who appeared to genuinely believe that Castro was a vicious dictator, and thus expressed the natural, normal reaction of someone who believes a country has been freed from the grip of a despot. So typical is this reaction to the death of a leader perceived as a dictator that history is replete with countless similar examples over many decades and across the world.

Yet in the U.S., a radically different dynamic is playing out. Over the past several years, but particularly in the months heading into the 2020 election, it has become extremely common for prominent Democrats and their media allies to refer to President Trump as a dictator, a fascist, a tyrant hellbent on destroying U.S. democracy, a genocidal racist, and even a Nazi. And yet, the overwhelming reaction in those mainstream precincts to the news that the fascist dictator has contracted a potentially lethal virus is to hope and pray that he makes a speedy recovery whereby he can resume his democracy-destroying, genocidal, tyrannical, fascist rule.

In March of last year, as CNN put it, "two powerful House Democrats invoked Adolf Hitler's actions in Germany and the treatment of Jews during World War I and in the 1920s to warn against the direction the US is moving in, with both saying Donald Trump's presidency presents an unprecedented threat to democracy." One of the Democratic lawmakers who explicitly invoked Nazism and Hitler as the proper prism to understand Trump's rule was House Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina. Just two months ago, Clyburn went back on CNN and warned that Trump was preparing to hold despotic power even if he loses, pronouncing: "I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini, Putin is Hitler."

Yet when Clyburn learned this week that our modern-day Hitler who is on the precipice of ending democracy had contracted a fatal virus, he did not celebrate but instead, for some reason, lamented the news, wishing "the First Family a speedy and complete recovery." Why would you possibly wish a speedy recovery - rather than a quick demise - to someone you believe is a Hitler-like perpetrator of genocide whose recovery would enable fascism to continue? That seems counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow began invoking Nazism and Hitler in connection with Trump as early as 2016, when Politico reported that, once Trump secured the GOP nomination, the on-air personality "has been reading up lately on Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany, the MSNBC anchor told Rolling Stone, because that's where she thinks the United States could be headed." Maddow has notoriously spent the last four years manically obsessed with the claim that Trump has such a corrupt relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is the Kremlin, thanks to Trump, which secretly runs the U.S. and is using that power to plot harm to large numbers of Americans by, for instance, seizing the power to cut off their heat in the dead of winter. Maddow was explicitly linking Trump to classic fascism as early as 2015.

Yet upon learning that the fascist, Kremlin-controlled, Nazi-like dictator had become ill, Maddow launched a one-woman crusade demanding that her fellow liberals pray earnestly for his recovery. She first posted an extremely effusive tweet: "God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery..." Presumably in response to widespread liberal confusion and criticisms - wait, you spent four years telling us he's a fascist racist Nazi-like despot and now you insist that we pray for his health? - Maddow devoted a segment on her show in which, with great passion and emotion, she urged her viewers to react to Trump's COVID diagnosis with the same compassion and through the same prism as if a friend who smokes cigarettes learned she had lung cancer:

These sentiments were not unique to Maddow. Indeed, that all decent people should hope and pray for Trump's speedy recovery was the virtually unanimous consensus of leading Democratic Party figures, expressed by Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. "Jane and I wish the President and First Lady a full and speedy recovery," said the Vermont Senator.

How is this messaging - we hope the racist fascist genocidal Nazi-like dictator gets well soon and returns to work? - not creating extreme cognitive dissonance among those who believed that they actually were sincere in their maximalist denunciations and invocations of fascism and Nazism regarding Trump? Shouldn't liberals not just be confused but overtly disgusted at their leaders who want Trump to survive and return in full health to imposing fascism and genocide on Americans?

Here, for instance, is the fairly representative reaction of a left-wing political operative - the Democratic Socialist of America's Jack Califano, who served as the 2020 Sanders Campaign's Deputy Distributed Organizing Director - to Maddow's segment urging that all good liberals pray for Trump's recovery and avoid wishing ill on their fellow human being:

That reaction makes logical sense on its own terms. If one really does believe that Trump is a "genocidal Nazi" - a Hitler-equivalent fascist dictator engaged in the deliberate mass slaughter of a particular ethnic or religious group (genocide) - then it would be not just irrational but madness and moral bankruptcy to hope that the Nazi genocidal fascist makes a speedy recovery and returns to work. But that's exactly what virtually every prominent Democratic Party leader is doing. Is Califano regretful about having worked for the presidential campaign of someone who sends warm wishes to a genocidal Nazi?

There are a few potential explanations that may account for this extremely unusual and confounding behavior of praying for, rather than against, the well-being of a fascist dictator. Perhaps Democratic leaders are simply pretending to be hoping for Trump's well-being for political purposes while secretly hoping that he suffers and dies. Or perhaps national Democratic politicians have ascended to a state of spiritual elevation rarely seen in modern political history, in which they are capable of praying for even those they most dislike, including ones they believe are imposing fascism on their nation? Or perhaps, maybe more likely, Democratic leaders do not really believe the things they have spent four years saying about Trump and, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before him, are applying such labels of historic evil to him for political advantage but still see him as one of them, whom they intend to rehabilitate and honor once he is out of power.

Whatever else is true, their behavior upon hearing that someone they claim to regard as a genocidal racist fascist tyrant has contracted a fatal virus is extremely unusual when compared to how people throughout history react when learning of similar news. It is worth interrogating what accounts for such a baffling dynamic.
(c) 2020 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Josh Kaul

AG Josh Kaul Should Throw The Book At Those Who Engage In Voter Suppression
By John Nichols

Deliberate efforts to suppress the vote in battleground states were not taken seriously enough by law enforcement officials in 2016.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is throwing the book at those who would derail democracy in 2020.

Her approach should serve as a model for law enforcement officials across the country, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Last week, Nessel filed charges against a pair of prominent political operatives - Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl - for allegedly attempting to discourage voters from participating in the general election by creating and funding a voter suppression scheme targeted at Detroit and other areas with substantial Black populations.

As part of the scheme, recorded robocalls featured a message that amplified President Trump's lies about voting by mail, with a warning to voters and potential voters about being "finessed into giving your private information to the man" and urging them to "beware of vote by mail."

"The caller, who claims to be associated with an organization founded by Burkman and Wohl, falsely tells people that mail-in voting, in particular, will allow personal information to become part of a special database used by police to track down old warrants and by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts," explained Nessel's office. "The caller also deceptively claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the information to track people for mandatory vaccines. However, none of that is true."

Along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Michigan was one of the trio of states where extremely narrow wins by Donald Trump allowed the Republican to claim an Electoral College majority despite losing the national popular vote by 2.9 million ballots. Since 2016, there have been multiple reports linking voter suppression efforts by foreign and domestic operatives to turnout declines in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Detroit.

Nessel, who was elected in 2018 as an outspoken champion of voting rights, rejects the casual approach that too many law enforcement officials have taken in the past to voter suppression.

"Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences," she said. "This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election. We're all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built. Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that."

Nessel is serious about the swift and severe consequences. Burkman and Wohl have each been charged with:

* One count of violating election law - intimidating voters, a five-year felony;

* One count of conspiracy to commit an election law violation, a five-year felony;

* One count of using a computer to commit the crime of election law - intimidating voters, a seven-year felony; and

* Using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy, a seven-year felony.

Michigan is embracing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's call for "zero tolerance for anyone who would seek to deceive citizens about their right to vote." Benson, who was also elected in 2018, says Nessel's immediate response is "putting anyone else who would seek to undermine citizens' fundamental rights on notice that we will use every tool at our disposal to dispel false rhetoric and seek justice on behalf of every voter who is targeted and harmed by any attempt to suppress their vote."

Zero tolerance for voter suppression should be the national standard. Unfortunately, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has refused to act. So it falls to state attorneys general, including Wisconsin's Kaul, to charge and prosecute people who engage in voter suppression. If criminals break the law as part of an assault on democracy, lock'em up.

(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.

A House Divided . . .
By James Donahue

Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus when he gave his famous "house divided" speech before the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois, on June 16, 1858. He went on to win the Presidency against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas.

Lincoln's speech was controversial when he said it. Yet it was clearly prophetic because of the looming Civil War that was to literally tear the nation apart during his term in office.

That war was fought over the issue of state's rights and slavery. Today, a century and a half later, America is once again a house divided, and the rift may be even more severe than it was in 1858. Not only are Americans divided over racial issues, but Lincoln's grand old party was battling a Democratic black president; the first ever to be elected to the White House. The party is now hosting a president who has made it clear he despised the fact that a black president preceded him. Mr. Trump has gone out of his way to erase the work accomplished by President Barack Obama and his Vice President Joseph Biden.

That Mr. Biden is now opposing Donald Trump for the presidency this year appears to be intensifying the ongoing conflict that clearly has racial undertones.

The fighting on party lines has been so severe that President Obama had to use every trick in the book to get important legislation passed. Many of his appointments to vacant political and judicial seats remained unapproved by the Republican controlled Congress. Because of gerrymandering and trickery in key voting districts the Republicans also gained control of the Senate, thus creating a political block against just about anything Mr. Obama had on his plate for his final years in office.

While unable to get much done on the home front, the Obama Administration focused on issues in the Middle East, which have always been ugly.

Vice President Biden, who was personally involved in negotiations with Iranian leaders, justifiably exploded in anger when 47 Republican Senators sent a letter to Iran which questioned the authority of President Obama to negotiate his nuclear deal with Iran. Mr. Biden accused the Senate Republicans of undercutting "sensitive international negotiations" and acting "beneath the dignity of an institution I revere."

The letter suggested that any deal the Iranians make with President Obama would likely be scuttled by Republican legislators, and that a successor to Mr. Obama might choose to invalidate its terms. And this is exactly what happened after Mr. Trump entered the White House in 2017.

Biden warned in his statement that the letter "ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States.

" "As the authors of this letter must know, the vast majority of our international commitments take effect without congressional approval," Biden wrote.

Indeed, the United States is currently steaming through perilous times and it appears imperative that the President and the other branches of government stand united in efforts to negotiate peaceful solutions.

Since it is clear that the Republican legislators have been resisting everything President Obama was attempting to accomplish, and the Judicial branch has been muddying the waters with controversial decisions, this house . . . the United States government, is clearly divided in almost every front. That Mr. Trump and his gang of thugs appear to be succeeding in appointing yet another extreme right-wing thinker to the latest Supreme Court vacancy, the conflict may remain unresolved for many years ahead.

That Mr. Trump and many of the people working close to him have now been stricken with the COVID-19 virus appears to be putting the brakes on the rush to appoint Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court before the election.

It is no secret that America has made enemies in all corners of the world. The Republican senators . . . many of them greenhorn Tea Party extremists have been joining Trump in placing our nation in great jeopardy. Could they collectively pull themselves up for a united front in the event the United States comes under an attack by a foreign power?

Operatives for ISIS, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and China might be asking this very question as they watch events unfold in Washington.

(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.

U.S. poster from 1953.

Top U.S. Enemy Was Its Ally, The U.S.S.R.
By David Swanson

Excerpted from Leaving World War II Behind Hitler was clearly preparing for war long before he started it. Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, annexed Austria, and threatened Czechoslovakia. High-ranking officials in the German military and "intelligence"plotted a coup. But Hitler gained popularity with every step he took, and the lack of any sort of opposition from Britain or France surprised and demoralized the coup plotters. The British government was aware of the coup plots and was aware of the plans for war, yet chose not to support political opponents of the Nazis, not to support the coup plotters, not to enter the war, not to threaten to enter the war, not to blockade Germany, not to get serious about ceasing to arm and supply Germany, not to uphold the Kellogg-Briand Pact through court proceedings like those that would happen after the war in Nuremberg but could have happened before the war (at least with defendants in absentia) over Italy's attack on Ethiopia or Germany's attack on Czechoslovakia, not to demand that the United States join the League of Nations, not to demand that the League of Nations act, not to propagandize the German public in support of nonviolent resistance, not to evacuate those threatened with genocide, not to propose a global peace conference or the creation of the United Nations, and not to pay any attention to what the Soviet Union was saying.

The Soviet Union was proposing a pact against Germany, an agreement with England and France to act together if attacked. England and France were not even slightly interested. The Soviet Union tried this approach for years and even joined the League of Nations. Even Poland was uninterested. The Soviet Union was the only nation that proposed to go in and fight for Czechoslovakia if Germany attacked it, but Poland - which ought to have known it was next in line for a Nazi assault - denied the Soviets passage to reach Czechoslovakia. Poland, later also invaded by the Soviet Union, may have feared that Soviet troops would not pass through it but occupy it. While Winston Churchill seems to have been almost eager for a war with Germany, Neville Chamberlain not only refused to cooperate with the Soviet Union or to take any violent or nonviolent step on behalf of Czechoslovakia, but actually demanded that Czechoslovakia not resist, and actually handed Czechoslovakian assets in England over to the Nazis. Chamberlain seems to have been on the side of the Nazis beyond what would have made sense in the cause of peace, a cause that the business interests he usually acted on behalf of did not completely share. For his part, Churchill was such an admirer of fascism that historians suspect him of later contemplating installing the Nazi-sympathizing Duke of Windsor as a fascist ruler in England, but Churchill's more dominant inclination for decades seems to have been for war over peace.

The position of most of the British government from 1919 until the rise of Hitler and beyond was fairly consistent support for the development of a rightwing government in Germany. Anything that could be done to keep communists and leftists out of power in Germany was supported. Former British Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party David Lloyd George on September 22, 1933, remarked: "I know there have been horrible atrocities in Germany and we all deplore and condemn them. But a country passing through a revolution is always liable to ghastly episodes owing to the administration of justice being seized here and there by an infuriated rebel." If the Allied powers overthrew Nazism, Lloyd George warned, "extreme communism" would take its place. "Surely that cannot be our objective," he remarked.[i]

So, that was the trouble with Nazism: a few bad apples! One must be understanding during times of revolution. And, besides, the British were tired of war after WWI. But the funny thing is that immediately upon the conclusion of WWI, when nobody could have possibly been more tired of war due to WWI, a revolution happened - one with its share of bad apples that could have been magnanimously tolerated: the revolution in Russia. When the Russian revolution happened, the United States, Britain, France, and allies sent first funding in 1917, and then troops in 1918, into Russia to support the anti-revolutionary side of the war. Through 1920 these understanding and peace-loving nations fought in Russia in a failed effort to overthrow the Russian revolutionary government. While this war rarely makes it into U.S. text books, Russians tend to remember it as the beginning of over a century of opposition and insistent enmity from the United States and Western Europe, the alliance during WWII notwithstanding.

In 1932, Cardinal Pacelli, who in 1939 would become Pope Pius XII, wrote a letter to the Zentrum or Center Party, the third largest political party in Germany. The Cardinal was worried about the possible rise of communism in Germany, and advised the Center Party to help make Hitler chancellor. From then on the Zentrum supported Hitler.[ii]

President Herbert Hoover, who lost Russian oil holdings to the Russian revolution, believed that the Soviet Union needed to be crushed.[iii]

The Duke of Windsor, who was King of England in 1936 until he abdicated to marry the scandalously previously married Wallis Simpson from Baltimore, had tea with Hitler at Hitler's Bavarian mountain retreat in 1937. The Duke and Duchess toured German factories that were manufacturing weapons in preparation for WWII, and "inspected" Nazi troops. They dined with Goebbels, Goring, Speer, and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. In 1966, the Duke recalled that, "[Hitler] made me realize that Red Russia was the only enemy, and that Great Britain and all of Europe had an interest in encouraging Germany to march against the east and to crush communism once and for all . . . . I thought that we ourselves would be able to watch as the Nazis and the Reds would fight each other."(iv)

Is "appeasement" the proper denunciation for people so enthused about becoming spectators to mass slaughter?[v]to mass slaughter?[v]

There's a dirty little secret hiding in WWII, a war so dirty that you wouldn't think it could have a dirty little secret, but it's this: the top enemy of the West before, during, and after the war was the Russian communist menace. What Chamberlain was after in Munich was not only peace between Germany and England, but also war between Germany and the Soviet Union. It was a longstanding goal, a plausible goal, and a goal that was in fact eventually achieved. The Soviets tried to make a pact with Britain and France but were turned away. Stalin wanted Soviet troops in Poland, which Britain and France (and Poland) would not accept. So, the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, not an alliance to join in any war with Germany, but an agreement not to attack each other, and an agreement to divide up Eastern Europe. But, of course, Germany didn't mean it. Hitler simply wanted to be left alone to attack Poland. And so he was. Meanwhile, the Soviets sought to create a buffer and expand their own empire by attacking the Baltic states, Finland, and Poland.

The Western dream of bringing down the Russian communists, and using German lives to do it, seemed ever closer. From September of 1939 to May of 1940, France and England were officially at war with Germany, but not actually waging much war. The period is known to historians as "the Phoney War." In fact, Britain and France were waiting for Germany to attack the Soviet Union, which it did, but only after attacking Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, and England. Germany fought WWII on two fronts, the western and the eastern, but mostly the eastern. Some 80% of German casualties were on the eastern front. The Russians lost, according to Russia's calculations, 27 million lives.[vi] The communist menace, however, survived.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, U.S. Senator Robert Taft articulated a view held across the political spectrum and by civilians and officials in the U.S. military when he said that Joseph Stalin was "the most ruthless dictator in the world," and claimed that "the victory of communism . . . would be far more dangerous than the victory of fascism."[vii]

Senator Harry S Truman took what might be called a balanced perspective, though not so balanced between life and death: "If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances."[viii]

In line with Truman's view, when Germany moved swiftly into the Soviet Union, President Roosevelt proposed sending aid to the Soviet Union, for which proposal he received vicious condemnation from those on the right in U.S. politics, and resistance from within the U.S. government.[ix] The United States promised aid to the Soviets, but three-quarters of it - at least at this stage - didn't arrive.[x] The Soviets were doing more damage to the Nazi military than all other nations combined, but were struggling in the effort. In lieu of promised aid, the Soviet Union asked for approval to keep, after the war, the territories it had seized in Eastern Europe. Britain urged the United States to agree, but the United States, at this point, refused.[xi]

In lieu of promised aid or territorial concessions, Stalin made a third request of the British in September 1941. It was this: fight the damn war! Stalin wanted a second front opened against the Nazis in the west, a British invasion of France, or alternatively British troops sent to assist in the east. The Soviets were denied any such assistance, and interpreted this refusal as a desire to see them weakened. And weakened they were; yet they prevailed. In the fall of 1941 and the following winter, the Soviet Army turned the tide against the Nazis outside of Moscow. The German defeat began before the United States had even entered the war, and before any western invasion of France.[xii]

That invasion was a long, long time in coming. In May of 1942 Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov met with Roosevelt in Washington, and they announced plans for the opening up of a western front that summer. But it was not to be. Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to instead invade North Africa and the Middle East where the Nazis were threatening British colonial and oil interests.

Remarkably, however, in the summer of 1942, the Soviet struggle against the Nazis received such favorable media coverage in the United States, that a strong plurality favored a U.S. and British opening of a second front immediately. U.S. cars carried bumper stickers reading "Second Front Now." But the U.S. and British governments ignored the demand. The Soviets, meanwhile, kept pushing the Nazis back.[xiii]

If you learned about WWII from Hollywood movies and popular U.S. culture, you would have no idea that the vast bulk of the fighting against the Nazis was done by the Soviets, that if the war had any top victor it was certainly the Soviet Union. Nor would you know that huge numbers of Jews survived because they migrated east within the Soviet Union prior to WWII or escaped east within the Soviet Union as the Nazis invaded. Through 1943, at enormous cost to both sides, the Russians pushed the Germans back toward Germany, still without serious help from the west. In November of 1943, in Tehran, Roosevelt and Churchill promised Stalin an invasion of France the following spring, and Stalin promised to fight Japan as soon as Germany was defeated. Yet, it was not until June 6, 1944, that Allied troops landed at Normandy. By that point, the Soviets had occupied much of Central Europe. The United States and Britain had been happy for the Soviets to do most of the killing and dying for years, but did not want the Soviets arriving in Berlin and declaring victory alone.

The three nations agreed that all surrenders must be total and must be made to all three of them together. However, in Italy, Greece, France, and elsewhere the United States and Britain cut Russia out almost completely, banned communists, shut out leftist resisters to the Nazis, and re-imposed rightwing governments that the Italians, for example, called "fascism without Mussolini."[xiv] After the war, into the 1950s, the United States, in "Operation Gladio,"would "leave behind" spies and terrorists and saboteurs in various European countries to fend off any communist influence.

Originally scheduled for the first day of Roosevelt's and Churchill's meeting with Stalin in Yalta, the U.S. and British bombed the city of Dresden flat, destroying its buildings and its artwork and its civilian population, apparently as a means of threatening Russia.[xv] The United States then developed and used on Japanese cities nuclear bombs, a decision driven, in part, by the desire to see Japan surrender to the United States alone, without the Soviet Union, and by the desire to threaten the Soviet Union.[xvi]

Immediately upon German surrender, Winston Churchill proposed using Nazi troops together with allied troops to attack the Soviet Union, the nation that had just done the bulk of the work of defeating the Nazis.[xvii] This was not an off-the-cuff proposal. The U.S. and British had sought and achieved partial German surrenders, had kept German troops armed and ready, and had debriefed German commanders on lessons learned from their failure against the Russians. Attacking the Russians sooner rather than later was a view advocated by General George Patton, and by Hitler's replacement Admiral Karl Donitz, not to mention Allen Dulles and the OSS. Dulles made a separate peace with Germany in Italy to cut out the Russians, and began sabotaging democracy in Europe immediately and empowering former Nazis in Germany, as well as importing them into the U.S. military to focus on war against Russia.[xviii]

When U.S. and Soviet troops first met in Germany, they hadn't been told they were at war with each other yet. But in the mind of Winston Churchill they were. Unable to launch a hot war, he and Truman and others launched a cold one. The United States worked to make sure that West German companies would rebuild quickly but not pay war reparations owed to the Soviet Union. While the Soviets were willing to withdraw from countries like Finland, their demand for a buffer between Russia and Europe hardened as the Cold War grew and came to include the oxymoronic "nuclear diplomacy." The Cold War was a regrettable development, but could have been much worse. While it was the sole possessor of nuclear weapons, the U.S. government, led by Truman, drew up plans for an aggressive nuclear war on the Soviet Union, and began mass-producing and stockpiling nuclear weapons and B-29s to deliver them. Before the 300 desired nuclear bombs were ready, U.S. scientists secretly gave bomb secrets to the Soviet Union - a move that may have accomplished just what the scientists said they intended, the replacement of mass slaughter with a standoff.[xix] Scientists today know much more about the likely results of dropping 300 nuclear bombs, which include a worldwide nuclear winter and mass starvation for humanity.

The hostility, the nuclear weapons, the war preparations, the troops in Germany, are all still there, and now with weapons in Eastern Europe right up to the border of Russia. World War II was an incredibly destructive force, yet despite the role played in it by the Soviet Union it did little or no lasting damage to anti-Soviet sentiment in Washington. The later demise of the Soviet Union and end of communism had a similarly negligible effect on ingrained and profitable hostility toward Russia.

Excerpted from Leaving World War II Behind.

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

On July 31, the Ontario government announced a 106-day fall hunt on double-crested
cormorants starting September 15, allowing hunters to take 15 birds daily with no
obligation to report kills and no provincial oversight of total birds killed.

Blame Game Hurts Wildlife
By David Suzuki

Most of us can remember a time in childhood when we were caught doing something wrong and pointed a finger at someone else for the misdeed. We might even still feel guilty about it.

Research shows blaming others doesn't only harm the wrongfully accused; it can also harm those who blame, especially when it becomes pervasive in a culture. "Groups and organizations with a rampant culture of blame have a serious disadvantage when it comes to creativity, learning, innovation, and productive risk-taking," according to the Harvard Business Review.

Blame culture is rampant in wildlife "management." Throughout Canada, governments are implementing culling programs, blaming predators for declining wildlife populations, even though humans are at the root of the problem.

Nature is complex. It's difficult to determine whether culling even works, and some studies show tampering with nature by isolating and killing one species can do more harm than good.

Yet on July 31, the Ontario government announced a 106-day fall hunt on double-crested cormorants starting September 15, allowing hunters to take 15 birds daily with no obligation to report kills and no provincial oversight of total birds killed. The hunt is likely a result of lobbying. Ontario's cormorant management review states, "Ontario sport and commercial fishermen have expressed concerns that increasing DCCO [double-crested cormorant] numbers are having adverse effects on fish stocks and that steps should be taken to control cormorant populations."

The same review, though, finds cormorants haven't been the main cause of dwindling fish populations: "Historical declines in the Great Lakes fish populations that led to the DCCO control program appear to have been caused by overfishing, invasion by sea lamprey, and loss of aquatic habitat (e.g., loss of spawning grounds and contamination by pesticides and other toxic chemicals)." Clearly, an untargeted, non-localized, unmonitored approach is not a good solution to perceived problems today.

Along the Pacific Coast, seals and sea lions are often blamed for declining salmon populations. The U.S. recently granted permission for hundreds of sea lions to be killed. According to a spokesperson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is considering similar actions here. But sea lions and seals eat dozens of other fish, including some that prey on salmon.

More than 100 marine predators eat salmon and sometimes predators become prey, depending on size. According to David Suzuki Foundation senior scientist Scott Wallace, "There are about 140 different species in the ocean that eat salmon, and we've chosen to highlight seals and sea lions. There's a long history of villainizing and scapegoating seals and sea lions, but I think it's quite short-sighted to think that we can manipulate an ecosystem to enhance a single species."

In Alberta and B.C., governments have sanctioned and paid to kill wolves, bears and cougars in efforts to keep"no detectable effect" on recovering caribou. It's true that wolves and other predators are affecting struggling caribou populations, but it's mainly because roads and other industrial disturbances increase overall predator success by providing sightlines and travel corridors.

Industrial activity is the primary cause of boreal woodland caribou decline, but wolves and other predators are taking the hit. In Alberta, strychnine is often used to poison wolves, with impacts cascading throughout the food web.

The role of any animal within its ecological niche is far more complicated than the single predator-prey interaction that culling purportedly tries to control. Cormorants and other birds eat fish, but scientists say that, globally, bird excrement provides nutrients for coral reefs, which close to one-quarter of ocean fish depend on to survive.

Our blame game is growing tired. It's preventing the creativity and innovation that allows us to recognize nature's complexity. In a September 1 open letter to Ontario's environment minister, 51 scientists called for a "science-based, detailed and peer-reviewed approach" to address cormorant stewardship.

Humans need to recognize when we're failing to effectively "manage" the natural world that supports us - when our actions are harming or destroying ecosystems and need to be rethought. We must grow up, take responsibility and stop scapegoating other species for our mistakes.

Wildlife has co-existed for thousands of years, predators and prey each playing their part in a complex, symbiotic dance. It's our actions that are out of step.

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

Pope Francis's Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Confronts Our Present Moment Directly
These aren't the words of Bernie or AOC.
By Charles P. Pierce

Papa Francesco has had a nice month for himself. First, he tells Mike Pompeo to pound sand. And, over the weekend, he issued an encyclical entitled Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers), a title drawn from the "admonitions" of St. Francis of Assisi, from whom the pope took his papal name. Among its other elements, the encyclical pretty much aligns the Church against the death penalty more firmly and finally than it ever has before. But its overarching theme is to confront our present moment and to do so directly and in the language of our time.

"The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes ... the magic theories of 'spillover' or 'trickle' - without using the name."
That's not Bernie Sanders. That's the pope.

"Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of 'them' and 'those', but only 'us'. ... If only we might keep in mind all those elderly persons who died for lack of respirators, partly as a result of the dismantling, year after year, of healthcare systems."
That's not AOC. That's the pope.

As is customary, the encyclical is broken into numbered parts. This is a particularly relevant passage, at least to me.

Things that until a few years ago could not be said by anyone without risking the loss of universal respect can now be said with impunity, and in the crudest of terms, even by some political figures. Nor should we forget that "there are huge economic interests operating in the digital world, capable of exercising forms of control as subtle as they are invasive, creating mechanisms for the manipulation of consciences and of the democratic process. The way many platforms work often ends up favouring encounter between persons who think alike, shielding them from debate. These closed circuits facilitate the spread of fake news and false information, fomenting prejudice and hate."
The most interesting thing about this section of the encyclical is its number.

It's 45.

(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 it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine"
~~~ Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump holds a face mask as he speaks during the first presidential debate at
the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020.

Mask-Mocking Donald Trump Tests Positive For Covid-19
When Joe Biden said during Tuesday night's debate that the CDC said mask-wearing between now and January could save an estimated 100,000 lives, the president falsely interjected, "but they've also said the opposite."
By Juan Cole

Donald Trump and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus and have gone into quarantine, the president said by Tweet on Thursday evening.

Even before the positive test, Trump and his wife had initiated a "quarantine process" after counselor to the president Hope Hicks, 31, fell ill with the novel coronavirus. Ms. Hicks had been traveling with the Trumps and vice president Mike Pence, and photographs indicate that the Trump circle has not been wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Hicks was with Trump on Air Force One on Wednesday to attend a rally in Minnesota. Trump's rallies have been controversial because the audience facing him often does not wear masks or keep six feet between the attendees.

In Tuesday's debate, Trump boasted with regard to Joe Biden, "I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask." Trump argued that his large rallies are not dangerous because they are held outdoors.

But the top Tulsa health official is convinced that a Trump rally this summer in that city caused a surge in infections. Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain attended it, without a mask, and later was diagnosed with Covid-19, dying of it. It is not clear where exactly Cain contracted the disease, but it could easily have been at the rally.

Being outdoors is safer than being indoors, but only if social distancing rules are observed. The novel coronavirus is a respiratory disease, and if someone infected with it breathes on your face, or sneezes in your face, or coughs in your face, you are not protected by virtue of that happening outside. Because many carriers don't show symptoms, you can never know if the person breathing in your face is infecting you.

Masks have been proven to cut transmission of the deadly disease by 80%, and physicians estimate that if all Americans wore masks in public, we could save over 100,000 lives through the rest of this year. The head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield, has pointed out that widespread mask-wearing is more effective than a vaccine is likely to be. Countries with very low case and death counts from the novel coronavirus are typically those, like South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where mask-wearing is nearly universal. In Hong Kong, a city nearly the size of New York, 98% wear masks, and they have had 105 deaths. New York city has had nearly 24,000 deaths. Only an estimated 48% of Americans are willing to wear a mask when they go out.

I don't wish Covid-19 on any human being. We still have no idea what the long term effect so the disease are. I hope everyone who fell ill with it and survived has a complete recovery.

There is increasing evidence, however, that even people who recover from the disease and who had mild cases may suffer effects later on in life.

The Mayo Clinic warns that there may be long-term adverse health consequences of the coronavirus, especially on heart, brain and lung health, though the liver, kidneys and other organs can be effected:

Heart. Imaging tests taken months after recovery from Covid-19 have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who experienced only mild Covid-19 symptoms. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.

Lungs. The type of pneumonia often associated with Covid-19 can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.

Brain. Even in young people, Covid-19 can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome-a condition that causes temporary paralysis. Covid-19 may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Blood clots and blood vessel problems

Covid-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots. While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by Covid-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.

Other organs affected by blood clots include the lungs, legs, liver and kidneys. Covid-19 can also weaken blood vessels, which contributes to potentially long-lasting problems with the liver and kidneys.

These are the reasons for which universal mask-wearing and social distancing are crucial, and should not be disregarded even by the young and healthy. Where they contract the disease, they risk long-term damage to heart health and other complications. Moreover, they may inadvertently kill their grandparents.

(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-

Clarence gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Richter am Obersten Gerichtshof Thomas,

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 intention of over turning the gay marriage law, i.e., (Obergefell v. Hodges) 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 11-28-2020. We salute you herr Thomas, seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Covid: Empathy Eor The World's Least Empathetic Person?
By Robert Reich

Trump's Covid: Empathy Eor The World's Least Empathetic Person? Sunday, October 4, 2020 For about a minute today I found myself feeling sorry for Donald Trump. The poor man is now "battling" Covid-19 (the pugilistic verb is showing up all over the news). He's in the hospital. He's out-of-shape. He's 74-years old. His chief of staff calls his symptoms "very concerning."

Joe Biden is praying for him. Kamala Harris sends him heartfelt wishes. President Obama reminds us we're all in this together and we want to make sure everyone is healthy.

But hold on: Why should we feel empathy for one of the world's least empathetic people?

Out of respect. He's a human being. And he's our president.

Yet there's an asymmetry here. While the Biden campaign has taken down all negative television advertising, the Trump campaign's negative ads continue non-stop.

And at almost the same time that Biden, Harris, and Obama offered prayers and consoling words, the Trump campaign blasted "Lyin' Obama and Phony Kamala Harris" and charged that "Sleepy Joe isn't fit to be YOUR President."

Can you imagine if Biden had contracted Covid rather than Trump? Trump would be all over him. He'd attack Biden as weak, feeble, and old. He'd mock Biden's mask-wearing - "See, masks don't work!" - and lampoon his unwillingness to hold live rallies: "Guess he got Covid in his basement!"

How can we even be sure Trump has the disease? He's lied about everything else. Maybe he'll reappear in a day or two, refreshed and relaxed, saying "Covid is no big deal." He'll claim he took hydroxychloroquine, and it cured him. He'll boast that he won the "battle" with Covid because he's strong and powerful.

Meanwhile, his "battle" has distracted the nation from revelations that he's a tax cheat who paid only $750 in taxes his first year in office, and barely anything for fifteen years before that; and that he's a failed businessman who's still losing money.

And from his vicious, cringeworthy debate performance last week, in which he didn't want to condemn white supremacists.

It even takes our mind off the major reason Covid is out of control in America: because Trump blew it.

He downplayed it, pushed responsibility onto governors, and then demanded they allow businesses to reopen - too early - in order to make the economy look good before the election.

He has muzzled and disputed experts at the CDC, promoted crank cures, held maskless campaign events, and encouraged followers not to wear masks. All of this has contributed to tens of thousands of unnecessary American deaths.

Trump's "battle" with Covid also diverts attention from his and Mitch McConnell's perversions of American democracy.

This is where the asymmetry runs deeper. McConnell is now moving to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, after having prevented Obama's nominee from getting a Senate vote for almost a year on the basis of a concocted "rule" that the next president should decide.

Yet Biden won't talk about increasing the size of the court in order to balance it, and Democratic leaders have shot down the idea.

Nor do Biden and top Democrats want to suggest making Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico into states - a step that would remedy the bizarre inequities in the Senate where a bare majority of Republicans representing 11 million fewer Americans than their Democratic counterparts are able to confirm a Supreme Court justice.

It would also help rebalance the Electoral College, which made Trump president in 2016 despite losing the popular vote by more than 3 million.

Democrats worry this would strike the public as unfair.

Unfair, when Trump won't even commit to a peaceful transition of power and refuses to be bound by the results?

When he's already claiming the election is rigged against him and will be fraudulent unless he wins?

When he's now readying slates of Trump electors to be certified in states he'll allege he lost because of fraud? When he's urging his followers to intimidate Biden voters at the polls?

Whether responding to Trump's hospitalization this weekend or to Trump's larger political maneuvers, Democrats want to act decently and fairly. They want to protect democratic norms, values, and institutions.

This is admirable. It's also what Democrats say they stand for.

But the other side isn't playing the same game. Trump and his enablers will do anything to retain and enlarge their power.

It's possible to be sympathetic toward Trump during his "battle" with Covid-19 while acknowledging that he is subjecting America to a profound moral test in the weeks and perhaps months ahead.

What kind of society do we want: one based on decency and democracy, or on viciousness and raw power?

(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

Former Donald Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney
Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee
staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election

How Do You Cover an Administration That Has Lost Touch With Reality?
In Trump's Washington, ignorance, arrogance, and deliberate deception come together to destroy our democracy.
By Eric Alterman

This column is almost always critical of journalists and spotlights the many mistakes, malfeasances, and misunderstandings that characterize so much of our political coverage. But today I just want to offer my condolences. We have had presidential administrations run by criminals before. It would be fair to call certain past presidents con men. (See my new book, Lying in State, for details.) This administration is all that and more, but there's a new problem: Donald Trump's White House, the party it represents, and its most prominent supporters in the media are untethered from reality. How do you cover one of the two major parties-the one that controls the Oval Office, the Senate, and increasingly the courts-and the most popular (and most profitable) cable station in America when their arguments consist almost entirely of dangerous lunacy?

A test case arose recently when Michael Caputo, the top spokes­person for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experienced what he eventually said was a breakdown. In a video of a meeting posted on Facebook, -Caputo-who, the historian Heather Cox Richardson notes on the Public Seminar website, had been "a long-time Republican operative, an associate of Roger Stone who had worked for Russia's Gazprom Media to improve the image of Vladimir Putin in the U.S."-accused the Democrats of planning to steal the presidential election. He predicted that when that happened and "when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin." He then advised gun-carrying Trump supporters to immediately buy ammunition. Caputo claimed that "there are hit squads being trained all over this country" and predicted that "they're going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that's where this is going." He knew this because, he told The New York Times, "since joining the administration, my family and I have been continually threatened" by people who have later been prosecuted. "This weighs heavily on us, and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe."

In a nearly perfect illustration of the Trump administration's modus operandi, when Caputo made these statements, he was both sabotaging the CDC's ability to keep Americans safe from the coronavirus and plotting to spend $250 million in taxpayer money to praise his agency for having done the exact opposite. His aide Paul Alexander instructed CDC director Robert Redfield to tamper with previously issued reports that Caputo judged to be "hit pieces on the administration." Caputo also demanded to review CDC scientific reports in advance. As Politico reported, he supported efforts to rewrite the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports on the coronavirus in order to purposely mislead the scientific and public health communities, and his aide pressured Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, to downplay the virus's risk to children. Presumably to mask this anti-science, pro-coronavirus agenda, Caputo, who lacks any scientific training, insisted that the CDC's scientists walk "around like they are monks" and engage in "rotten science." And in what sounds like an imitation of Napoleon and Squealer, the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm, Caputo pronounced, "Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science-based data, drives policy through this pandemic-not ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of CDC."

Caputo appeared to have an inkling of how strange he sounded, because after making these suggestions, he said that his "mental health has definitely failed." And to her and her paper's credit, The New York Times' Sharon LaFraniere wrote an unusually context-driven account that demonstrated the degree to which this fish was rotting from its presidential head. She added the important information that Caputo's comments "were simply an amplified version of remarks that the president himself has made," given that "both men have singled out government scientists and health officials as disloyal, suggested that the election will not be fairly decided, and insinuated that left-wing groups are secretly plotting to incite violence across the United States." What's more, "There were no obvious signs from administration officials on Monday that Mr. Caputo's job was in danger. On the contrary, Mr. Trump again added his voice to the administration's science denialism. As the president visited California to show solidarity with the fire-ravaged West, he challenged the established science of climate change, declaring, 'It will start getting cooler.... Just watch. I don't think science knows, actually.'" Her article further noted that Trump's ravings "dovetailed in part with those of Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime confidant of both Mr. Caputo and Mr. Trump. Mr. Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress was commuted by the president in July, told the conspiracy website Infowars on Friday [September 11] that Mr. Trump should consider declaring martial law if he lost re-election."

Two days after LaFraniere's article appeared, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Caputo had apologized to the CDC staff and would be taking a 60-day medical leave of absence from his job "to focus on his health and the well-being of his family." Caputo called his unwillingness to see a doctor previously "a mistake" and attributed his remarks "to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo." Alexander was said to be on his way out.

This well-reported story should be an example for other journalists. Unfortunately, it is also an exception to the far more common normalization of the crazytown comments that characterize Trump's Washington: a place where ignorance, arrogance, and deliberate deception come together to destroy our democracy, undermine our freedoms, and now kill our citizens.

(c) 2020 Eric Alterman is a longtime Nation media columnist and a CUNY distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College and the author of 11 books.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Rob Rogers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Pence wearing mask


Pence Grateful That Plexiglass Shield At Debate Will Protect Him From Woman
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Mike Pence said that he was "extremely grateful" that the organizers of Wednesday night's Vice-Presidential debate would be providing a plexiglass shield to protect him from a woman.

Speaking to reporters, Pence said that the Commission on Presidential Debates had taken "appropriate measures" to shield him from exposure to a female during the Salt Lake City face-off.

"I've read all the relevant literature, and from what I've learned a plexiglass shield provides adequate protection from a woman," he said. "Knowing that this barrier exists between me and a member of the opposite sex, I feel comfortable about moving forward with the debate."

The Vice-President added that, if he makes it through Wednesday's debate without being exposed to a woman, he may start bringing a portable plexiglass shield with him on the campaign trail.

"Despite all of my precautions, in my travels across this great land of ours I have unfortunately encountered women," Pence said. "Plexiglass might be the answer."

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 40 (c) 10/09/2020

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