Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "All Left Hands On Deck. Step 1: Defeat Trump. Step 2: Challenge Biden."

Ralph Nader sees, "'Loser' - Pence Bullies Fabrications Through Debate Time Rule."

Glen Ford points out, "The Useful Tool: Kamala "Heartbeat Away" Harris."

Jim Hightower reports, "Trump Judges Require That Ex-felons Pay To Vote."

Jesse Jackson finds, "Donald Trump Was Complicit In The Plot To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer."

John Nichols says, "It's Time To Put Some Muscle Behind The 25th Amendment."

James Donahue reveals, "The Haunting Visions Of Psychic Jeane Dixon."

David Swanson reports, "Top Poisoner Of Pacific Is U.S. Military."

David Suzuki concludes, "Humility, Caring And Wisdom Make A Better Future Possible."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The 2020 Elections Do Not Require Armed Vigilantes Outside Polling Places."

Juan Cole wonders, "With Crushing Sanctions On 18 Iranian Banks, Is Trump Trying To Leave A War Behind For Biden?"

Judge Amy Coney Barrett wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich foresees, "The End Of Trump's Fifth Avenue."

Thom Hartmann returns saying, "It's Time To Unpack The Court."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "John Bolton Seething With Jealousy After Trump Gets To Become Living Biological Weapon," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Has Been Egging The Nazis On!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mark Bryan, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Jim Watson, Noam Galai, Caroline Brehman, Jeff Kowalasky, Tory Johnson, Jeff Dean, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Tom Williams, 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."

Visit me on Face Book

Lying Donald Has Been Egging The Nazis On!
By Ernest Stewart

"You have good genes, you know that right? You have good genes. A lot of it's about the genes, isn't it? Don't you believe? The racehorse theory you think was so different? You have good genes, Minnesota." ~~~ Donald Trump

"We have already awoken the giant at the southern pole. We are already at a point of no return if we don't do anything." ~~~ Anders Levermann, ~ professor at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

"Being called the N-word does not constitute a hostile work environment!" ~~~ Judge Amy Coney Barrett

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

Let me show you how my mind works! The other day I was recalling some things that happened when I was living in Hollywood. For example, one day I was cruising up Benedict Canyon Drive towards Mullholland and off to my right was a guy hitchhiking and I started to slow down to give him a ride but this guy was the spitting image of Charlie Manson and even though I knew Charlie was in prison I sped up and passed him by.

Then I recalled that Charlie had never killed anyone, what got him life in prison was that he convinced his "family" to go and kill others. Are you having a deja vu yet? The big story in Michigan is the plot to go and kidnap our Governor Gretchen Whitmer then put her on trial, and then kill her for daring to try and save Michigan lives from Covid-19. How dare she indeed!

These thirteen fascist losers who were part of the plot That had been egged on by Lying Donald saying to "Liberate Michigan" and "Stand back and stand by," and "they're some very fine people," and the like. So every right-wing whacko in America sees Lying Donald as giving them the green light for their various acts of treason. My point, of course, is that Lying Donald, like Charlie Manson is guilty of egging others on to do mayhem and murder. The reason that Lying Donald refuses to condemn White supremacists is that he considers himself to be one of them! So, after next January, shouldn't Lying Donald be put on trial for doing the very same thing that Charlie Manson did?

On the plus side, at least the "Proud Boys" are finally coming out of the closet! Don't you wish that Lindsey Graham would come out of the closet too?

In Other News

I see where coastal cities and cultural sites around the world could soon be submerged in water if the melting of ice in Antarctica reaches an "irreversible" level. If global warming is allowed to continue unchecked, most of Antarctica will be gone forever, a new study warns.

"The melting of ice in Antarctica can make glaciers the size of Florida slide into the ocean," said Anders Levermann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and a co-author of the study. The team ran computer simulations to identify "where exactly and at which warming levels the ice in Antarctica would melt."

"We find that already at 2 degrees of warming, melting and the accelerated ice flow into the ocean will, eventually, entail 2.5 meters (8 feet) of a global sea-level rise just from Antarctica alone. At 4 degrees, it will be 6.5 meters (21 feet) and at 6 degrees almost 12 meters (39 feet) if these temperature levels would be sustained long enough," Levermann said in a press release. Of course this is nothing new, I've been telling you this for over a decade!

"The cultural sites in danger of being submerged include the Copacabana Beach in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro and Sydney's Opera House. Cities including London, New York City, Tokyo, Mumbai in India, and Hamburg, Germany, are also at risk," the researchers say. And let's not forget about most of Florida and coastal cites all around America sliding under the waves.

Antarctica holds more than 50% of fresh water on Earth," Ricarda Winkelmann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said in the press release. Human activities, most particularly greenhouse-gas emissions, heat the ocean water and atmosphere. This leads to the melting of snow on the South Pole, which eventually cracks and glides into a warming ocean.

The only solution the researchers see at present is to bring the world's temperature back to pre-industrial levels. "Fat chance of Fong" of that happening!

"Indeed, temperatures would have to go back to pre-industrial levels to allow its full recovery - a highly unlikely scenario. In other words: What we lose of Antarctica now, is lost forever," Leverman said.

So I'll ask again, "How long can you tread water coastal, America?"

And Finally

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Lying Donald's Extreme Court nomine is a little to the right of Lying Donald, as Lying Donald is a little to the right of, Darth Vader. She loves business and Lying Donald and Jesus in the order. When Moscow Mitch puts her on the Extreme Court next week that will be the end to a lot of things for the next 30 years or so. Goodbye women's rights, and ladies if Amy has her way get ready to become a hand maids as Amy was. You can kiss the environment goodbye and a take full embrace of Global Warming! Say hello to bible based laws, Lying Donald in office for life, more tax cuts for the rich and everything that corporate America wants!

How do we know such things? For two reasons. One her record on the court since Lying Donald put her on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and her intent is clear as a bell! Her love and embrace of everything that "Atonin (Fat Tony) Scalia" stood for and embraced. And from words right out of her mouth in her Senate hearing. We are soooooooo screwed, America.

Therefore, the board of regents at Issues & Alibis magazine have voted, and Amy Coney Barrett is this week's winner of the 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!


01-04-1962 ~ 10-09-2020
Thanks for the music!

03-23-1943 ~ 10-12-2020
Thanks for the film!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

All Left Hands On Deck. Step 1: Defeat Trump. Step 2: Challenge Biden
By Norman Solomon

The extreme dangers of this political moment have forced leftists to face contradictory truths about Joe Biden. At once, he can be seen as dreadful and essential. A longtime servant of corporate America and a politician of last resort. The current top functionary for neoliberalism and the presidential candidate for a united front against neofascism.

Such contradictions should lead to clear analysis and strategic action. We need approaches that respond to imminent emergencies -- first, bailing out the boat before it sinks, and then charting a course toward where we want to go.

The Trump regime must be brought down, or the left will be up against the wall. As Cornel West says, "A vote for Biden is . . . a way of preserving the condition for the possibility of any kind of democratic practice in the United States."

No one has described the current crossroads more astutely than Naomi Klein, who tweeted last month: "Vote for a more favorable terrain. Our struggle goes way beyond elections. We're in the streets. We're talking to our neighbours and co-workers. But who controls the presidency changes what's politically possible for our struggles."

Under the Trump regime, the terrain has a stone wall around what's politically possible for progressives. And Trump is becoming more and more authoritarian, week by week, as he manipulates and expands executive-branch power.

With three weeks of voting to go, the race between Trump and Biden is likely much closer than the forecasts usually presented by corporate media. Biden's lead in virtually every swing state is appreciably smaller than in national polling. Over the weekend, even while reporting that Biden is 12 points ahead of Trump nationwide in the new ABC-Washington Post poll, ABC noted that four years ago Hillary Clinton had a polling lead with the identical 12-point national margin a mere 17 days before her loss to Trump.

A recent open letter signed by 55 progressive activists and writers (including me) asserted that "voting for Biden in swing states is essential." We added: "Protestations that Biden is beholden to elites are true but beside the point. The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts."

The left should play a leading role in defeating Trump, the off-the-charts evil. That's the first step. And if Trump is defeated, the second step is to confront President Biden from day one.

With systemic injustices now screaming out to all who are open to hearing, the left would have a historic opportunity under Biden to expose and confront the Democratic Party -- which talks a good game while often helping corporate elites to rip off the public and pollute the planet. The coronavirus pandemic has "laid bare the inequities, corruptions, and cruelties of our political life -- features that the [Trump] administration did not originate but which it has magnified and exploited," The New Yorker declared two weeks ago in an editorial endorsing Biden.

The editorial acknowledges that returning to a pre-Trump status quo would not be enough: If Biden wins, "he will have to govern with boldness, urgency, tenacity, and creativity. In the face of such challenges, realism and radicalism are not so far apart." The left will need to insist that "radicalism" can be the utmost of realism.

That will require persistently challenging the reflexive stances of corporate media and corporate Democrats. Helping to defeat Trump is the current imperative. An election victory would make it possible to immediately confront the Biden presidency with grassroots movements -- relentlessly organizing against the fossil-fuel industry, systemic racism, income inequality, corporate power, militarism and so much more. As the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said days ago, "the chance of having some influence on his administration is just incomparably greater than the zero chance of influencing the Trump administration."

In a cogent new video, Ellsberg offers clarity: "As a leftist, and antiwar and antinuclear activist for half of a century, I share all of the left-wing criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. That means that I expect to have a lot of oppositional activity ahead of me in the next four years whoever is president. I want Joe Biden to oppose as a president in my activist activities rather than Donald Trump."

(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."

People attend a drive-in watch party for the 2020 United States Vice Presidential debate
in Queens Drive-In at The New York Hall of Science on October 07, 2020 in New York City.

"Loser" - Pence Bullies Fabrications Through Debate Time Rules
By Ralph Nader

Vice President Pence "debated" Senator Kamala Harris in a way that reminded voters of how he and his boss, Donald Trump, have lawlessly misgoverned since 2017. Pence arrogantly and continually broke through the time rules that he and the Republicans agreed to obey.

Again and again, Pence blew through the two minute, one minute, and 30-second limits so he could extend his fabrications and phoney promises. Again and again, moderator Susan Page of USA Today would say "Thank you" five or six times to get Pence to stop each infraction. Pence also interrupted Harris in mid-sentence, against the rules.

This boorishness should have been anticipated by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD has put on presidential debates since its creation by the Republican and Democratic Parties in 1984 to replace the League of Women Voters when they couldn't control the League's independence (See No Debate by George Farah and his website,

That said, what about Susan Page, known as an aggressive veteran journalist (especially against Third-Party candidates)? Why did Page allow Pence to run over her repeatedly and violate the time rules? Why after several overtimes by Pence did she not admonish him to stay within the agreed-to time limits?

It was only after an exasperated Harris went briefly overtime twice near the end of the session that Ms. Page told both speakers to follow the rules. Pathetic. She lost control of the debate to abuser Pence and owes the public an explanation.

On the substance of the presentations, Senator Harris used three arrows in her quiver when she had a dozen, well known to her, that went unused.

Most astonishing was Harris not nailing Trump/Pence and Mitch McConnell for blocking the House-passed stimulus and relief bill (last May under Speaker Nancy Pelosi) that is desperately needed by tens of millions of Covid-19 impacted Americans and by hard-pressed millions of small businesses. This callous trio is willing to keep furloughed or laid-off workers from receiving $600 a week until January and stall the delivery of aid to hard-pressed local agencies, schools, healthcare facilities, the Postal Service, and other stimuli to a sagging economy.

As a lawyer and former California Attorney General, Harris avoided calling out Trump/Pence for breaking and bending the law and committing many ongoing impeachable violations of our Constitution. While Pence kept touting "de-regulation," Harris didn't decode that deception by illustrating the many health, safety, and economic protections destroyed by the Trump/Pence regime that favors Wall Street over Main Street. Where was the talk about the "kitchen table" necessities on the minds of Americans daily?

Harris stressed health care, but not full Medicare for All, and let Pence get away with lies about how clean our air and water are and the overall health of the environment. Under Trump - law enforcement has been brazenly abandoned. Protecting our food, drugs, air, water, soil, and controlling greenhouse gases have been left to the whims of greedy corporate outlaws putting profits over safety.

Pence would totally ignore Page's questions and go off on rehearsed and deceptive shout-outs. He used this escape tactic to refuse to answer Page's crucial question about agreeing to a peaceful transition of power should the Republicans lose the presidency. Page chose not to follow up or even say "You didn't answer the question, but we have to move on." Once Harris used this brushoff technique when asked where she and Biden stood on expanding the number of Supreme Court Justices.

After the "debate" ended, it occurred to me that Harris completely ignored the progressive agendas of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and millions of their supporters. There was no mention of the corporate crime wave and accelerating control over the people by immune global corporations. There was no mention of strengthening union organizing laws (such as the simple "card check" promised and forgotten by Obama/Biden in 2008). There was not even a mention of a federal $15 minimum wage, lifting the stagnant wages of millions of women and men, passed last year in the House and blocked by the Senate Republicans satisfied with the frozen $7.25 per hour

If Bernie Sanders ever thought his massive mobilization of voters for the primaries in 2016 and 2020 was going to move the dominant corporate Democrats, he must be having second thoughts after both Biden and Harris, in two debates before huge audiences, turned their backs on the fast-growing progressive wing of their Party. There was not even a nod to Bernie and his many supporters.

Biden/Harris may not be able to be so dismissive of progressive Democrats and Independents should they take control of Congress next year. But don't bet on it.

(c) 2020 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Useful Tool: Kamala "Heartbeat Away" Harris
By Glen Ford

If Biden wins, Kamala Harris will be put forward as a kind of "co-president," as a palliative for the lack of substantive relief from the forces that are plaguing Black lives.

If the Democrats prevail in November, Kamala Harris will likely become the highest profile vice president of the post-Vietnam era - but only partly due to Joe Biden's obvious infirmities. The new regime can count on a brief period of sheer giddiness as their base finally exhales after four years of overt racist rule, but it will be a short honeymoon. Although Donald Trump's Covid-19 fiascos surely added some tens of thousands to the U.S. death toll, the pandemic would have plunged the world economy into depression (except for China) and killed in excess of 150,000 disproportionately Black Americans, no matter which of the corporate parties was in the White House - and the people know it. The same super-majorities that supported Medicare for All before the pandemic hit (and who told exit pollsters so, even as they voted for Biden in the pivotal primaries), are now acutely aware that the United States has no healthcare system worthy of the name. Having endured two economic catastrophes in just twelve years, the great bulk of Americans have also come to understand that the corporate consolidation, hi-tech profiteering and general employment insecurity that has so catastrophically accelerated during the Covid depression, is built into the system. They want desperately to call a halt to the 40 year-long Race to the Bottom.

The corporate Democrats are no less committed than Republicans to endless austerity and war - the only future the ruling Lords of Capital can envision and, therefore, the common commitment of both halves of the corporate electoral duopoly. Since both parties are wedded to the Race to the Bottom and U.S. imperialism, the major cleavage that separates these political partners in crime, is race - or, in corporate language, "diversity" among the faces in high places. The duopoly electoral configuration requires that the Democrats absorb and smother all popular movements that might threaten the corporate militarist, austerity agenda, while retaining the loyalties of their multi-racial base by posturing as the bastion against Republican racism and reaction. That's why Hillary Clinton's campaign instructed its operatives and friendly media to encourage Donald Trump's bid for the Republican nomination in 2016, as revealed by Wikileaks. Clinton thought Trump's overt racism made him the easiest Republican to beat. That turned out to be a bad call, but it's the only formula that allows corporate Democrats to pretend to champion their multi-racial constituency while doing nothing of substance to halt the steady deterioration of working people's living standards. If Trump is gone in January, then the Democrats must find ways to accentuate the "great victory" that has been won on the racial front, since Biden has promised the donor class that "nothing will fundamentally change" for them under his presidency.

Nothing will change for the vast majority of Black and brown people, either -- which is why Kamala Harris will be put forward as a kind of "co-president" with Biden, as a simulation of Black Power. This is not to say that Harris will wield the influence VP Dick Cheney was said to enjoy under George W. Bush (some believed Cheney was the actual policy formulator in that administration), but hers will be a much higher public profile than Barack Obama permitted his number two, Joe Biden. Harris can be trusted to please Power while advancing her personal ambitions, as she has since her inaugural electoral run as a law and order, police union-endorsed candidate for San Francisco prosecutor. Harris will gladly play the role of Biden's Black alter ego and as physical evidence that African Americans are getting their reward for turning out in huge numbers for the Democrats. She'd better be convincing, because her presence, along with Black appointees to the cabinet, is all that Black America will get from Biden's "nothing fundamental will change" administration - unless the power of the street intervenes.

With a race-baiting president and a Covid-driven economic depression as a backdrop, the George Floyd protests put more than 20 million people in motion under Black Lives Matter banners. Although the movement came into existence under a Black president, causing Barack Obama considerable embarrassment, BLM has since become recipient of many millions of corporate philanthropic dollars that are largely administered by movement notables who have chosen to become Democratic Party players and operatives. If the movement fails to separate from these corporate party collaborators, it will join the "controlled opposition" and cease to be a transformational force. That would be an epoch-shaking tragedy, but not without precedent. Devouring social movements is the Party's specialty. In place of people's politics, the Democrats present a simulacrum of popular power that poses no threat to the Lords of Capital and their dictatorship. Kamala Harris' opportunistic career has taken her to center stage of U.S. corporate political theater where, if the polls are right, she will soon share a starring role in the long running production, Saving Racial Capitalism from Its Deserved Demise, the late stage version. We may soon be seeing more of her than even her fans and AKA sisters can stomach.

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

Trump Judges Require That Ex-felons Pay To Vote
By Jim Hightower

How nasty is the Republican Party's massive campaign to thwart democracy? Ask the good people of Florida.

This was one of only three states that permanently took away the voting rights of felons - who'd completed their punishment. In 2018, though, a whopping 65 percent of Floridians voted for a state constitutional amendment that finally struck this malicious bit of legal ugliness from the books, thus restoring the political personhood of about a million people who'd served their time.

But, led by Ron DeSantis, Florida's right-wing goose of a governor, the GOP demanded that an appeals court of hyper-partisan federal judges overrule 2018's landmark vote by the people and slam the door once more on the rights of discharged felons. They're not entitled to vote, squawked these vindictive ballot suppressors, unless and until they've paid off the full amount of court costs and fees they were assessed.

Money, asserted Republican leaders, must trump social justice, human decency, and political rights for these mostly indigent people who're unable to pony up a thousand bucks or so. Even if ex-felons are regularly making payments to clear the debt - tough luck say the Republican repressors, no vote until every penny is paid.

It's a flagrant case of rigging the system to steal the votes of a low-income constituency generally inclined to support Democratic policies and candidates. It also amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax, made more intolerable by applying it to one class of citizens (largely people of color) specifically to disenfranchise them.

The court's six-judge Republican majority (five appointed by Trump) cynically defied the US Constitution and the Florida electorate just weeks before November's presidential election, effectively incarcerating some 774,000 potential voters in a partisan debtor's prison. Yet, the people's battle for justice goes on - to say connected, go to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition:

(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

Armed protesters provide security as demonstrators take part in an "American Patriot Rally," organized
on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.

Donald Trump Was Complicit In The Plot To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Right-wing domestic terrorism doesn't fester in a vacuum.
By Jesse Jackson

Political rhetoric can incite. Incendiary posturing can trigger those who carry matches.

We've now seen this play out dramatically in Michigan.

Last week, six men, members of a right-wing militia group calling themselves the Wolverine Watchmen, were arrested and charged with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan before the November elections. Seven others were charged under Michigan's anti-terrorism law for allegedly seeking to recruit an army of 200 to storm the Michigan Capitol and ignite a "civil war."

The plot went far beyond the Facebook bluster. The defendants, according to the complaint, held "field training exercises," purchased a taser for use in the kidnapping, tested an explosive device, possessed and trained with firearms, and conducted surveillance of Whitmer's vacation home, and of a bridge that might be blown up to impede police response.

One argued that they should put the governor on trial for treason. Another allegedly urged: "Snatch and grab man. Grab the f**** governor. Just grab the b****. Because at that point ... it's over." Another suggested, "Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her."

This right-wing domestic terrorism doesn't fester in a vacuum. Faced with the pandemic, Gov. Whitmer acted to protect the citizens of her state, closing down private facilities, requiring the wearing of masks and social distancing. She pushed publicly for needed protective equipment in the face of the federal government's disarray.

Donald Trump, who seems to be threatened by strong women leaders, repeatedly called her out personally. Republicans in the state legislature called her a "tyrant" and railed against her actions, though most Michigan residents supported her efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The festering anger broke out in a stunning demonstration in April when a large rally, featuring Trump posters, swastikas, Confederate flags, Hawaiian shirts (symbol of the anti-government "boogaloo" movement) surrounded the capitol. Men in fatigues carrying assault rifles filled the galleries of the Capitol yelling threats at the legislators below. According to police, NRA-promoted "open carry" laws left them powerless to stop them.

The Republican speaker of the House said, "There's nothing more American than people coming together to ensure their voices are being heard." Trump responded not by criticizing the demonstrators, but by tweeting "LIBERATE MICHIGAN."

Though Trump chose not to create national standards and left the states to operate on their own, he continued to criticize Whitmer and others for not opening their economies faster. He spewed out tweets as though he was an adolescent shooting spitballs when the teacher's back is turned.

Only he isn't an adolescent; he's president of the United States. And his incendiary words incite.

Republican legislators in the state took up Trump's follies, joining in scorning masks as oppressive, and denouncing the governor in harsh terms, calling her actions to stop the spread of the pandemic "tyrannical," comparing them to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, labeling her a dictator. Signs like "tyrants get the rope," "Ditch the Witch" and "Heil Whitler" began to appear alongside Confederate flags and calls to "Let us free from tyranny."

A Republican leader in the Senate joined with the armed demonstrators in a rally. One of those on the stage was later indicted as part of the plot against the governor.

Asked to denounce white supremacy and the right-wing militia Proud Boys in the first presidential debate, Trump memorably called on them to "stand back and stand by." The Proud Boys took that as a mandate and a slogan. The plotters were emboldened.

When the plot came out, Whitmer drew the inescapable connections: "When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."

"Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups," Whitmer said, noting that those who were plotting to kidnap her had "heard the president's words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry-as a call to action."

Rather than apologize, the head of the state Republican Party released a letter criticizing Whitmer for not warning legislators about the plot. Trump complained that she hadn't thanked him for the work of the FBI, and sniped once more at her, "Gov. Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities."

As a former Trump Homeland Security official, Miles Taylor, has argued,

"[T]he president's rhetoric has served as a loaded gun for those groups who have since taken his words as sort of permission to do what they're doing."

American politics is often bare-fisted. In the heat of a campaign, rhetoric can get overheated. When the country is as polarized as this one, the rhetoric can go over the top. But responsible leaders seek to bring us together, not drive us apart; they appeal to the better angels of our character, not our worst fears or prejudices. They try to find ways to reach out to those who are alienated or fearful.

What a leader cannot do is fan their hatred or appear to give them permission for violence.

(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.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi listens to Representative Jamie Raskin discuss legislation to create a commission to allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment.

It's Time To Put Some Muscle Behind The 25th Amendment
Representative Jamie Raskin has long advocated for structures to assess the fitness of presidents. Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees.
By John Nichols

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee member Jamie Raskin appeared before reporters Friday and proposed a plan to evaluate the mental fitness of presidents, they were peppered with predictable questions about Donald Trump.

The president's Covid-19 diagnosis, his increasingly erratic behavior, and concerns about his response to his prescribed medications, including the powerful steroid dexamethasone, made those questions inevitable at a press conference on legislation to clarify how the 25th Amendment works. The amendment was added to the Constitution in 1967 to establish contingencies for circumstances in which presidents die or are physically or mentally incapacitated.

Raskin, a constitutional scholar who was a law professor before Maryland voters elected him to Congress, has long advocated for the establishment of an independent and nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office. Now, the House Speaker is talking up Raskin's legislation that would act on the section of the 25th Amendment that empowers Congress to establish a permanent "body" that, with the concurrence of the vice president, can declare that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

But in the era of Trump, everything is always about Trump. And with the presidential election less than a month away, the questions about whether Pelosi and Raskin were merely trolling a troubled president framed the discussion even after the speaker explained, "This legislation applies to future presidents. But we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president."

So be it.

If Trump's irrational presidency, and the politics surrounding it, have brought us to the point where we might finally resolve fundamental questions about presidential incapacity and succession, that's a good thing for the future. This country leaves too many constitutional questions unanswered until crises develop-and that, Raskin reminds us, is dangerous.

"Look, we understand that, in politics, people point fingers of blame back and forth," the congressman said Friday. "But the issues raised are of such gravity and central importance to the nature of our government that we've got to think of this in constitutional terms. This is why we need to set up an institution composed in a bipartisan fashion, in bicameral fashion, that will be able to make judgments, whether it is five months from now, five years from now, 50 years from now, whatever it might be. We're living in an age of a lot of chaos-and I want to say I appreciate what the speaker has to go through on a daily basis dealing with the chaos of politics, which has been been made especially intense recently-and I appreciate her seeing that we need to create some constitutional and institutional foundations for dealing with the chaos. Our forebears, who wrote the 25th Amendment, gave us the tools we need to deal with these kinds of crises."

Trump's presidency has been so chaotic that discussions of invoking the 25th Amendment have arisen numerous times during his tenure. His recent Covid diagnosis has brought that conversation back, as he's engaged in grandiose and irrational behavior and made pronouncements so contradictory that the commander in chief often seems to be arguing with himself. It makes sense to talk about the 25th Amendment at a time when Trump is calling into right-wing talker Rush Limbaugh's radio show and threatening in the midst of a rambling discourse on the Iran nuclear deal, "If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before." In fact, Trump's two-hour call to Limbaugh on Friday was so unfocused, and at times delusional, that the host was actually trying to wind it down with plaintive hints to the president: "I know you've got a jam-packed day left on your schedule..."

But anyone who thinks that Raskin is just jumping on the 25th Amendment bandwagon does not know enough about the longtime American University's Washington College of Law professor who now serves as the vice-ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Since 2017, he has been making a compelling case for consideration of how best to utilize the 25th Amendment-which outlines procedures by which "the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office..."

Raskin has calmly and consistently explained that "the 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967, does not leave this judgment solely to the Cabinet."

"Under the 25th Amendment, the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet or the Vice President and a majority of 'such other body as Congress may by law provide' can determine that the President is-for reasons of physical or mental incapacity-'unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,'" the congressman from Maryland said in 2018. "Because an unstable President might fire his own Cabinet, Senator Birch Bayh, who sponsored the 25th Amendment, wanted to empower Congress itself to set up an independent 'body' to act with the Vice President in the event of presidential inability."

Three years ago, Raskin sponsored a bill, HR 1987, the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act, which sought to have Congress define the "body" that is outlined in the 25th Amendment.

That legislation proposed to establish a permanent standing body, which would be available to act during any presidential administration. As Raskin explained, "this body will consist of a panel of elder statespersons (former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General and so on), physicians, and psychiatrists-all of them selected in a scrupulously bipartisan and bicameral manner by Congressional leadership. The body will select an eleventh member as the Chair. It will only act to conduct a medical examination of the President at the explicit direction of Congress. And Congress always has the last word under the terms of the 25th Amendment."

"Congress has a constitutional duty under the 25th Amendment to define the process by which a judgment of presidential incapacity can be made if circumstances render such a judgment necessary, in this administration or any other," Raskin explained two years ago, when he observed that getting clarity with regard to the amendment was of "pressing and enduring importance to the security of our nation."

Congress did not step up when Raskin raised the issue in 2017 and 2818, as it should have. So Raskin is back to reintroduce his legislation, and he is now appearing at the side of the speaker of the House to speak a necessary truth: "The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it."

(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.

The Haunting Visions Of Psychic Jeane Dixon
By James Donahue

An Internet entry a few years ago by a person identified only as Brother V sparked some research into the strange visions of the late psychic Jeane Dixon.

Dixon, many will remember, was said to have gained fame because of her accurate prediction of the death of President John F. Kennedy. But this woman saw numerous other things that came true. Some of the events she predicted may still be of great interest to the contemporary world.

The writer wrote that he believed Dixon also was the mysterious "Madam X" that made occasional predictions during calls to live radio shows, mostly disk jockeys with open telephone lines in the 1960s.

I recall one warm summer afternoon when I was painting the home of a friend at South Haven, Michigan. I had a portable radio with me as I worked and was listening to one of the stations in nearby Chicago to get music and news of the day. That was the first and only time that I ever heard Madam X.

It was the year 1960, when Kennedy was among the contenders for the Democratic Party presidency. America was enthralled by Kennedy's amazing charisma, right from the first, and many predicted that he would win the nomination during the looming party convention. But America had never had a Catholic president prior to Kennedy, and that seemed to be a major bone of contention.

When Madam X called, it was clear that the radio host recognized her voice, and that they had spoken before. "John Kennedy will be our next elected president," she said. "But he will be our last real president. After that, America will have something else."

In the light of the fact that Kennedy became a martyred president, murdered under mysterious circumstances in Dallas, Texas only three years later, I never forgot that prediction. It also led me to follow the conspiracy theorists with great interest, and carry a deep suspicion of every American president that has held office since.

Truly, if one studies the path America has followed since that fateful day in Dallas, it has been one primarily favoring big business and organized crime. Some times I have difficulty distinguishing between the two.

As a newspaper reporter I noticed a slow but steady shift in policy as smaller, independent and family-owned news organizations were gobbled up by big national corporations. Today, few if any newspapers, radio and television stations operate outside the cloak of one of these major corporate giants. This has led to controlled news that pitches subtle but constant propaganda into the minds of the masses.

Kennedy succeeded Dwight D. Eisenhower when he took office. It was Eisenhower, a popular general that successfully oversaw the Allied Invasion of Europe during World War II, who launched American adventures in Vietnam. But our involvement in Vietnam by the time Kennedy took office was only on an advisory capacity, helping the South Vietnamese fight against Communist Viet Cong forces that were attempting to take over the country from the north.

Kennedy appeared to oppose this war, which was still being called a "police action." It is said that he had plans to start scaling down American involvement and bringing troops home. After his death, Lyndon B. Johnson took us on a completely different tack. He escalated our involvement, turning Vietnam into a national disaster.

Our involvement in Vietnam continued until March, 1973, when the South Vietnamese lost the war and U. S. troops were withdrawn in defeat. By the time the conflict ended, 58,202 servicemen and women were dead. This total includes those missing in action and soldiers that died from injuries sustained in battle. Another 303,704 were injured with an estimated 75,000 soldiers left disabled.

While U.S. generals claim we never lost a battle, in the end, the war was lost. American GIs and even high-ranking officers complained that they were unable to win because the entire operation was controlled from Washington. They never could use the full strength of American forces to flush out the Viet Cong and drive them north into China. Thus the war raged for year after year, with our finest young men coming home in body bags. Few American communities escaped the agony of having to bury a casualty of that war.

At the time, however, big business interests in America thrived. They were geared up to produce all the war machinery needed to keep this war operating for years. Also, the drug trafficking was noticeably on the increase. Our soldiers were an easy prey to drugs that were readily available in Vietnam. That hot jungle was a terrible place to fight a war and many of our troops went into battle under the influence of narcotics.

They brought their love of drugs home with them.

The president following Johnson was Richard M. Nixon. It was Nixon that launched the first salvo of the nation's war on drugs. It was during his term that Congress went along with him, passing laws banning amphetamine and LSD. Marijuana already was banned. It was President Ronald Reagan that put the final stamp on the War on Drugs. He openly declared this a national war, and persuaded our legislators to begin pouring money into anti-drug educational programs and giving money to police for special drug task force units to stop the black market sales of narcotics on the streets of America.

All of this forced the price of marijuana, LSD, amphetamine, and all of the opiate drugs so high that organized criminals were getting very rich. It was all a farce. The only people being arrested and jailed were the local junkies that were peddling a few joints of marijuana and bags of cocaine on the streets to help feed the price of their habits. The real marketers of the stuff were rarely caught.

Then under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the movement appears to be giving similar favors to big business interests. While there always was an undercurrent, it was never as blatant as it has been since the Bush Administration.

It was under the two Presidents Bush that America got involved in wars in the Middle East. We invaded Iraq in 1990 under George H. W. Bush, and returned to unending conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Bush "War Against Terrorism." It is in Afghanistan that the poppy flowers that produce most of the world's opiate drugs are grown.

In a nutshell, the big picture has been to tax the masses, send their children off to war, and permit gross pollution of the environment and a rape of the world's natural resources in the interest of huge financial rewards. While Mr. Obama promised to end the Middle East conflicts and bring troops home, he has only succeeded in pulling forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are still in there with American forces, and Obama is expanding the conflicts to include Syria and the ISIS terrorist group. ISIS appears to have evolved among the Suni Moslem tribes in retaliation to the American involvement in the territory and is quickly growing to become a world threat.

Novelist George Orwell mapped this contemporary scenario with amazing accuracy in his book 1984.

Recent Supreme Court decisions that altered national election rules, and the stunning defeat of Democrats in 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 Presidential election made it clear that our nation is being run by a few very wealthy gangsters who own Washington, lock-stock-and-barrel.

Thus Madam X, alias Jeane Dixon, was quite right when she said Kennedy would be our last real elected president. After Kennedy, we have, indeed, had something else.

One other thing: Ms. Dixon also predicted the end of the world in 2020.

(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.

Okinawans have endured PFAS foaming for years.

Top Poisoner Of Pacific Is U.S. Military
By David Swanson

"We're number one!" The United States famously fails to actually lead the world in anything desirable, but it does lead the world in many things, and one of them turns out to be the poisoning of the Pacific and its islands. And by the United States, I mean the United States military.

A new book by Jon Mitchell, called Poisoning the Pacific: The US Military's Secret Dumping of Plutonium, Chemical Weapons, and Agent Orange, tells this story. Like all such catastrophes, this one escalated dramatically at the time of World War II and has continued ever since.

Mitchell starts with the island of Okunashima where Japan produced chemical weapons during World War II. After the war, the United States and Japan dumped the stuff into the ocean, stuck it in caves and sealed them shut, and buried it in the ground - on this island, near it, and throughout various parts of Japan. Putting something out of sight was apparently going to make it disappear, or at least burden future generations and other species with it - which was apparently just as satisfactory.

"Between 1944 and 1970," Mitchell tells us, "the U.S. Army disposed of 29 million kilograms of mustard and nerve agents, and 454 tons of radioactive waste into the ocean. In one of the codenames beloved by the Pentagon, Operation CHASE (Cut Holes and Sink 'Em) involved packing ships with conventional and chemical weapons, sailing them out to sea, and scuttling them in deep waters."

The United States didn't just nuke two Japanese cities and a wide area to which the radiation spread, but also numerous other islands. The United Nations actually handed islands over to the United States for safe keeping and the development of "democracy," and it nuked them - including Bikini Atoll which the world had the decency to name a sexy swimsuit after, but not to protect, and not to compensate the people forced to evacuate and still unable to safely return (they tried from 1972 to 1978 with bad results). The islands of various atolls, when not utterly destroyed, have been ruined with radiation: the soil, the plants, the animals, and the surrounding sea and sealife. The radioactive waste produced was not a problem, thank goodness!, since all that was required was to hide it out of sight, for example under a concrete dome on Runit Island that was guaranteed to last for 200,000 years but is cracking already.

On Okinawa some 2,000 tons of unexploded WWII ordnance remains in the ground, periodically killing, and likely to take 70 more years to clean up. But that's the least of the problems. When the United States was done dropping Napalm and bombs, it turned Okinawa into a colony that it labeled "the junk heap of the Pacific." It moved people into internment camps so that it could build bases and ammunition storage areas and weapons testing areas. It displaced 250,000 out of 675,000 people, using such gentle methods as tear gas.

When it was spraying millions of liters of Agent Orange and other deadly herbicides on Vietnam, the United States military was sending it its troops and weapons from Okinawa, where a middle school suffered from a chemical weapons accident within 48 hours of the first troops being sent off to Vietnam, and it got worse from there. The USA tested chemical and biological weapons on Okinawans and on U.S. troops on Okinawa. Some of the chemical weapons stockpiles it shipped off to Johnston Atoll after Oregon and Alaska rejected them. Others it dumped in the ocean (in containers that are now wearing out), or burned, or buried, or sold to unsuspecting locals. It also dropped nuclear weapons into the sea near Okinawa accidentally, twice.

Weapons developed and tested in Okinawa were deployed to Vietnam, including napalm strong enough to burn flesh under water, and stronger CS gas. The color-coded herbicides were used in secret at first, because the United States didn't know that it could count on the world to accept its claim that targeting plants rather than humans (except as collateral damage) made it legal to use chemical weapons. But the herbicides killed all life. They made the jungles go silent. They killed people, made them ill, and gave them birth defects. They still do. And this stuff was sprayed on Okinawa, stored on Okinawa, and buried in Okinawa. People protested, as people will do. And in 1973, two years after banning the use of deadly defoliants in Vietnam, the U.S. military used them against nonviolent protesters on Okinawa.

Of course, the U.S. military has lied, and lied, and lied some more about this sort of thing. In 2013, in Okinawa, people working on a soccer field dug up 108 barrels of Agent this and that color of poison. Confronted with the evidence, the U.S. military just kept lying.

"Although U.S. veterans are slowly receiving justice," Mitchell writes, "there has been no such help for Okinawans, and the Japanese government has done nothing to help them. During the Vietnam War, fifty thousand Okinawans worked on the bases, but they have not been surveyed for health problems, nor have the farmers of Iejima or the residents living near Camp Schwab, MCAS Futenma, or the soccer field dump site."

The U.S. military has been busy developing into the planet's top polluter. It litters the globe, including the United States, with dioxin, depleted uranium, napalm, cluster bombs, nuclear waste, nuclear weapons, and unexploded ordnance. Its bases generally claim the right to operate outside the rule of law. Its live-fire (war rehearsal) sites poison surrounding areas with deadly water runoff. Between 1972 and 2016, Camps Hansen and Schwab on Okinawa also caused almost 600 forest fires. Then there's dumping fuel over neighborhoods, crashing planes into buildings, and all variety of such SNAFUs.

And then there's firefighting foam and the forever chemicals often referred to as PFAS, and written about extensively by Pat Elder here. The U.S. military has poisoned much of the ground water in Okinawa with apparent impunity, despite knowing about the dangers since 1992 or earlier.

Okinawa is not unique. The United States has bases in countries around the Pacific and in 16 colonies where people hold second-class status - places like Guam. It also has hugely destructive bases in places that have been made into states, like Hawaii and Alaska.

I urge you to read and sign this petition:

To the Governor of the State of Hawai'i & Director of Lands and Natural Resources Do Not Extend $1 Lease on 23,000 acres of Hawai'i State Lands in Military Pohakuloa Training Area!

(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.

In the face of uncertainty, nature brings solace and sustenance

Humility, Caring And Wisdom Make A Better Future Possible
By David Suzuki

For many, the pandemic has renewed our innate appreciation for and connection to nature. People have taken to growing food on windowsills and in backyard and community gardens. We're cultivating yeasts to bake bread and getting outside more to walk, run, swim and cycle.

In the face of uncertainty, nature brings solace and sustenance. Research shows time spent in forests - and even just looking at trees or photos of them - boosts immune systems, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood and ability to focus, and increases energy levels and sleep quality.

As we consider the natural world, we must remember that how we talk about it matters. Steven Nitah, former elected chief of Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation and four-time member of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly, says shifting our language can help shift our understanding. "We need to re-do land use plans. We need to rebuild those plans as land-relationship plans," he says, urging us to re-imagine and re-orient our relationship with nature - to manage for abundance based on reciprocity and to recognize our responsibilities to the land, water and air.

As a society, we continue to exceed biological limits, which increases our species' collective exposure to risk. With climate disruption, our refusal to contain carbon emissions has put our well-being and survival at risk.

In his essay "The year America melted down," Omar El Akkad observes, "Mask-wearing has become politicized, just as school shootings became politicized, just as climate change became politicized, just as any instance of communal survival at the expense of personal profit inevitably becomes politicized."

Things that shouldn't be politicized are, but El Akkad argues battle lines continue to be drawn around issues that pit individual rights against responsibilities to uphold the common good. Individual rights only matter in the commons, though, and so must include responsibility.

In times of compounded crises - a pandemic, crippling racism, rising inequity and escalating climate risk - we can no longer afford to listen to advocates of narrow self-interest or those who falsely claim that favouring the wealthy and powerful will send benefits trickling down to the rest. In Canada, the most affluent 0.5 per cent of families now holds 20.5 per cent of the wealth - some $2.4 trillion - and income inequality continues to grow.

If, as El Akkad says, polarization is rising between those who champion individual rights to profit and those who believe in collective responsibility to people and planet, we must make explicit choices to work toward equity, inclusivity and a more balanced relationship with the natural world.

We have the chance to invest in and create a better future. Why wouldn't we choose this path? What stands in our way?

To envision new ways and to act differently, we need to co-create stories of what is possible and worthwhile.

In her book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, ethnobotanist, professor and Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages us to recognize the world as a gift. Humility, she says, will help us make better choices.

Stories have always helped humans make sense of the world, and Kimmerer says they're strong tools for restoring the land and our relationship to it. "We need to unearth the old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones, for we are storymakers, not just storytellers." We have the power to tell different stories that help right our relationships and better enable us to work for the good of all.

Although everyone can benefit from the wisdom in Indigenous Peoples' stories, Kimmerer cautions against wholesale appropriation. We must take inspiration from the old stories and build more balanced narratives about relationships between people, place and planet.

The choice isn't as complex as some might have us believe. We can choose humility, caring and wisdom based on knowledge gained from Indigenous Peoples, scientists and experts, and shoulder the responsibilities to each other and Earth through our actions - creating a better future for all. Or we can continue on as we have, knowing that the crises we face will worsen.

Humanity's ability to take the first path lies in the values we choose, the stories we tell ourselves and the strength of the relationships we are willing to build with each other and Earth.

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

A member of a right wing patriot militia blocks traffic as other members march in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, on september 5, 2020

The 2020 Elections Do Not Require Armed Vigilantes Outside Polling Places
If we had a functioning federal government, instead of a madman's puppet show, someone would be concerned enough to do something about this.
By Charles P. Pierce

The upcoming elections are devolving into something out of Gangs of New York. If we had a functioning federal government, instead of a madman's puppet show, someone would be concerned enough to do something about this. From the Washington Post:

A private security company is recruiting a "large contingent" of former U.S. military Special Operations personnel to guard polling sites in Minnesota on Election Day as part of an effort "to make sure that the Antifas don't try to destroy the election sites," according to the chairman of the company. The recruiting effort is being done by Atlas Aegis, a private security company based in Tennessee that was formed last year and is run by U.S. military veterans, including people with Special Operations experience, according to its website.

The company posted a message through a defense industry jobs site this week calling for former Special Operations forces to staff "security positions in Minnesota during the November Election and beyond to protect election polls, local businesses and residences from looting and destruction."

Me? I think it's a dead giveaway in a week where white-supremacist goons get busted for plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan to say that you're recruiting Special Ops guys to "protect" polling places from Antifa.
The prospect of armed guards outside election sites alarmed election officials in the state. It is illegal in Minnesota for people other than voters and elections staff - or those people meeting the requirements to be a registered election "challenger"- to be within 100 feet of polling sites. There are also laws against voter intimidation that could prevent armed civilians from being in the area even if outside the buffer, according to election officials in Minnesota.
It's as though the election is Altamont and it's a buyer's market for Hells Angels. This cannot end well.

(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-

"Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don't matter, social distancing doesn't matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them."
~~~ Joe Biden

So Iran gave up most of its latent nuclear deterrence and not only got nothing in return,
it got the most crippling sanctions ever applied to one country by another in peacetime.

With Crushing Sanctions On 18 Iranian Banks, Is Trump Trying To Leave A War Behind For Biden?
The Trump strangling of Iran could produce a war.
By Juan Cole

As the dying Trump administration, literally on a sickbed, contemplates losing power, its hawks are lashing out at Iran in an attempt to ensure that the 2015 international nuclear deal is dead and buried, and that the US and Iran remain on a war footing. Trump's two main allies in the Middle East, Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, want at the least a rollback of Iranian influence in the region and at best regime change. They are small countries and have no hope of accomplishing the latter. Only a US war on Iran, repeating the 2003 invasion of Iraq could reliably change the regime and end the country's civilian nuclear energy program.

The US Treasury Department has blocked financial transactions of 18 Iranian banks, and threatened anyone who does business with them with third party sanctions. This means that if a small French firm wanted to sell toasters to Iran, it can't use these banks to do so. There really aren't any banks left in Iran that aren't sanctioned by the Trump administration. So the message is to Europe, don't trade with Iran.

This policy is unilateral and is ordered by one man, Trump. Congress has passed no such law. The United Nations Security Council is against these sanctions.

Although the announcement is accompanied by the usual demonization of Iran, these sanctions will make no difference to Syria or Iraq in their trade with Iran and will have no effect on the Iranian role in the Middle East. Nor will they force Iran to cease its civilian nuclear energy program, with which the UN Security Council has made its peace.

What the sanctions will do is make it impossible to send humanitarian aid to Iran during a crippling pandemic. They will make it impossible for Iranians to import needed medicines. During a pandemic.

The smarmy Secretary State Mike Pompeo alleges that the US is not sanctioning medical supplies, but this is a half-truth that functions as a Big Lie. Sanctioning all the banks means that the medical supplies can't be imported because Iran has no way to pay for them.

Veteran Iran observer Barbara Slavin called the new measures "sadism masquerading as sanctions."

The relentless Trump attempt to bend Iran to his will has failed for 3 and a half years, and is unlikely to succeed during the three months he has left in office.

The purpose of this new financial blockade on Iran is to hammer the last nail in the coffin of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal approved by France, the UK, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. Trump breached the treaty in May, 2018, and is attempting to strongarm the other signatories into reneging on it, too.

Iran mothballed 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program in 2015 in order to get total relief from all sanctions. That never happened, because the Republican Congress refused to remove US sanctions, and the US measures threaten third parties. The French automobile firm Renault had had a factory in Iran and planned to restore it, but was dissuaded by US threats of massive fines. The French energy firm Total S.A. had planned to develop Iranian natural gas, but pulled out under US threats.

So Iran gave up most of its latent nuclear deterrence and not only got nothing in return, it got the most crippling sanctions ever applied to one country by another in peacetime.

Iran refuses to go quietly. It has responded to Trump's economic war on it in several ways:

1. Tehran has made clear that it won't be strangled while hostile neighbors like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia prosper. It has launched covert operations that are hard to trace directly back to the Ayatollahs against UAE tankers and the Saudi Aqaiq facilities. The more pain the US inflicts on Iran, the more likely it is that there will be a spiral of violence.

2. Iran has cozied up to China in an unprecedented way. With the world's second-largest economy and a much faster recovery from the pandemic than the US, Beijing appears to believe it can stand up to the US and avoid sanctions. Some of the trade conducted by the two countries is nevertheless in the form of undeclared oil purchases. The US can't sanction what it can't prove. In addition, China can spin off companies that have no dollar assets and do no business with the United States. They can use the piles of soft currency China has accumulated from Asia and Africa in selling its goods to developing countries. For Iran to accept payment in e.g. Angolan Kwanzas is a perhaps 30% loss, since Iran will have to convert them to Euros or another non-dollar hard currency at a discount. But that is still substantially better than doing no business at all. The US Treasury Department can't sanction firms doing business in currencies other than the dollar and which do no trade with and have no assets in the US.

3. Iran has found other countries to do business with that have already been cut off and sanctioned by the US, such as Venezuela. This development demonstrates why broad sanctions are a blunt tool with ever-decreasing returns. Iran has offloaded three tankers worth of natural gas concentrates at Venezuelan ports in the past month. The concentrates are used in refining raw crude into gasoline, and Venezuela has little natural gas of its own. It used to get the concentrates from the US, but has been cut off. So, US sanctions on one country helped undermine US sanctions on another. The US has attempted to stop this trade by engaging in piracy on the high seas and confiscating Iranian tankers, but they have gotten wise and have turned off their satellite communications, making it difficult to track them.

4. Iran has stood its ground. It seems to be forcing the US out of Iraq successfully. Trump just announced all US troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year. Tehran will celebrate that it is no longer surrounded by the US military. Iran shows no sign of abandoning its diplomatic and military position in Iraq, Syria or Lebanon. (The Saudis would add Yemen but I don't think Iran gives any significant amount of money to the Houthi rebels there).

Still, the Iranian currency has collapsed against the dollar, and oil income has fallen from over $100 bn a year to more like $7 bn (non-oil exports are now much larger, over $30 bn a year). The people are under severe economic pressure. The regime is cushioning itself with smuggling to China and Venezuela.

The Trump strangling of Iran could well produce a war. The new sanctions are intended to destroy completely the 2015 nuclear deal, making it impossible for the Europeans to salvage it.

Without that safety valve, a war could be the only response left.

Is Trump attempting to bequeath an Iran conflict to Biden, as a poison pill?

(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-

Amy gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Richterin Barrett,

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 keeping the Fuhrer in power, 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 frau Barrett seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The End Of Trump's Fifth Avenue
By Robert Reich

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump boasted in 2016.

Trump's 5th Avenue principle is being tested as never before. So far, more than 214,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, one of the world's highest death rates - due in part to Trump initially downplaying its dangers, then refusing responsibility for it, promoting quack remedies for it, muzzling government experts on it, pushing states to reopen despite it, and discouraging people from wearing masks.

Yet some 40 percent of Americans have stuck by him nonetheless. They've remained loyal even after he turned the White House into a hotspot for the virus, even after he caught it himself, and even after asserting just days ago that it's less lethal than the flu. A recent nonpartisan study concluded that Trump's blatant disinformation has been the largest driver of COVID misinformation in the world.

They've stuck by him even as more than 11 million Americans have lost their jobs, 40 million risk eviction from their homes, 14 million have lost health insurance, and almost one out of five Americans with kids at home cannot afford to adequately feed their children.

They've stuck by him even though more Americans have sought unemployment benefits this year than voted for him in 2016, even after Trump cut off talks on economic relief, even though he's pushing the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, causing 20 million more to lose health insurance.

Trump is in effect standing in the middle of 5th Avenue, killing Americans.

Yet here we are, just a few weeks before the election, and his supporters still haven't budged. The latest polls show him with 40% to 43% of voters, while Joe Biden has a bare majority.

The most egregious test of Trump's 5th Avenue principle is still to come, when he tries to kill off American democracy. He's counting on his supporters to keep him in power even after he loses the popular vote.

He's ready to claim that mail-in ballots, made necessary by the pandemic, are rife with "fraud like you've never seen," as he asserted during his debate with Biden - although it's been shown that Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.

He'll likely allege fraudulent election results in any Republican-led state which he loses by a small margin - such as Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.

Then he'll rely on the House of Representatives to put him over the top.

"We are going to be counting ballots for the next two years," Trump warned at a recent Pennsylvania rally, noting "we have the advantage if we go back to Congress. I think it's 26 to 22 or something because it's counted one vote per state."

He was referring to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides that if state electors deadlock or can't agree on a president, the decision goes to the House. There, each of the nation's 50 states get one vote.

That means small Republican-dominated states like Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming (each with one House member, who's a Republican) would have the same clout as large Democratic states like California (with 52 House members, 44 of whom are Democrats).

Trump does have the advantage right now: 26 state congressional delegations in the House are now controlled by Republicans, and 22 by Democrats. Two - Pennsylvania and Michigan - are essentially tied.

But he won't necessarily retain that advantage. The decision would be made by lawmakers elected in November, who will be sworn in on January 3 - three days before they'll convene to decide the winner of the election.

Which is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is focusing on races that could tip the balance of state delegations - not just in Pennsylvania and Michigan but any others within reach.

"It's sad we have to have to plan this way," she wrote in a letter to her colleagues last week, "but it's what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen."

Trump's 5th Avenue principle has kept him in power despite deprivation and death that would have doomed the presidencies of anyone else. But as a former New Yorker he should know that 5th Avenue ends at the Harlem River at 142nd Street, and the end is near.

(c) 2020 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) conducts a news conference after the
Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Hart Building on Tuesday, July 21, 202

It's Time To Unpack The Court
Mitch McConnell has been packing the federal courts for six years now, and, as a result, the nation is calling out for rebalancing.
By Thom Hartmann

Donald Trump was bragging a week or so ago that Obama had "left me 128 judges to fill" as if Obama was just sloppy. The actual number was 105, but Obama didn't "leave" them; he'd appointed genuinely qualified people, many women and minorities, to fill every single one of those judicial slots, and Mitch McConnell simply blocked them in the senate for the last two years of the Obama presidency.

McConnell even blocked Obama's appointment of a brilliant Black attorney, Myra Shelby, to the Seventh Circuit Court just to keep the seat open for Amy Coney Barrett, who now occupies that stolen seat in her first job as a federal judge.

McConnell also blocked Obama's appointment of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nearly a year before the election so rightwing hack Neil Gorsuch could get the seat instead, as soon as Donald Trump was sworn in.

As a result, Trump and McConnell have gotten over 200 federal judges and two Supreme Court Justices through the Senate, meaning over a quarter of all federal judges have been packed into our court system by Trump and virtually 100% of them have been straight and white, the overwhelming majority men.

This is court-packing on a scale that is nearly unprecedented, and refusing to even hold hearings on Judge Garland is totally unprecedented.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln wanted to get a solid vote on the court against slavery, so he and his Republican colleagues who controlled the Senate and the House increased the number of Supreme Court justices all the way up to 10.

Two years later, when Lincoln was assassinated and slaveholder Andrew Johnson became president, Congress reduced the size of the Court specifically to deny Johnson an opportunity to appoint any justices.

After Johnson left office, Republican President Ulysses Grant oversaw Congress increasing the size of the Supreme Court back up to nine.

Similarly, after the brutal "Revolution of 1800" election, President Thomas Jefferson increased the size of the Court so that he could put a new justice on it after former President John Adams, during the lame duck session, had packed the federal judiciary on his way out of office.

During times of national crisis, changing the composition of the Court by changing the number of justices has been done repeatedly.

Court packing and unpacking have a long tradition in America.

Mitch McConnell has been packing the federal courts for six years now, and, as a result, the nation is calling out for rebalancing.

Biden and Harris need to stop avoiding the question and point out that six years of unprecedented partisan actions by Mitch McConnell have left our courts, particularly our Supreme Court, badly out of balance.

There are a variety of ways to restore that balance, and all need to be examined, including blocking the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett and increasing the size of the Supreme Court.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mark Bryan ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-


John Bolton Seething With Jealousy After Trump Gets To Become Living Biological Weapon
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Expressing frustration that the president was able to attain what he himself never had, former National Security Advisor John Bolton was reportedly seething with jealousy Tuesday that President Trump got to become a real-life living, breathing biological weapon.

"If only I had stayed in the administration, I could've been the one to get infected with a deadly virus capable of defeating all of America's enemies," said Bolton, growing increasingly incensed that the president had so easily stumbled into such an efficient method of viral warfare.

"It's particularly galling because Donald Trump is totally wasting this golden opportunity just hanging out in the White House when he could bring Iran to its knees with one indoor face-to-face with Rouhani. The president has a moral imperative to fight for American interests by coughing repeatedly in the face of Kim Jong-un or at the very least wandering through a crowded North Korean market to infect as many civilians as possible."

At press time, a desperate Bolton was reportedly rubbing used hospital scrubs against his face and inhaling deeply while booking a flight to Tehran.

(c) 2020 The Onion

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 41 (c) 10/16/2020

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use"copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use"provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."