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In This Edition

Norman Solomon explains, "Why A Former Green Party Candidate Is On A Very Long Fast-Urging Progressives To Vote For Biden To Defeat Trump."

Ralph Nader finds, "Corporatist Judge Barrett-Two More Senate Abstentions Needed To Stop Trump."

Glen Ford examines, "Peace, Black Self-Determination, And The Duopoly Trap."

Jim Hightower is, "Bringing A Rich, Aloof Congress-Critter Down To Earth."

William Rivers Pitt returns with, "Trump Got The Best COVID Treatment. For The Rest Of Us He Wants 'Herd Immunity.'"

John Nichols tells, "What Joe Biden Can Learn From Jacinda Ardern."

James Donahue reports, "News Stories Reflect Growing Human Lunacy."

David Swanson counts the, "Top 12 Reasons Biden Is Not My Fault."

Bill McKibben returns with, "Vote Like The Future Of Humanity Depends On It - Because It Does."

Charles P. Pierce says, "We Deserve Justice In Our Time. This Is Not A Job For History Professors."

Juan Cole says, "America Is Complicit, As Yemen Spirals Toward Mass Starvation."

Dr. Scott Atlas wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich considers, "The Public, The Personal, And The Utter Hypocrisy Of The GOP."

Thom Hartmann asks, "How Does A Nation Best Deal With A Leader Who Intentionally Kills Its Citizens?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Trump So Busy He Almost Forgot To Have Ghislaine Maxwell Killed," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Open Up The Door!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Sack, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Demetrius Freeman, Michael Bradley, Alex Edelman, Robert Gauthier, Stephen Lam, Drew Angerer, Mohammed Huwats, Jim Watson, Joe Raedle, Los Angeles Times, CNN, 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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Open Up The Door!
By Ernest Stewart

"Somehow people must be free, I hope the day comes soon."
Chicago ~~~ Graham Nash

"What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" ~~~ Henry David Thoreau

"Colleagues said they regard (Atlas) as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest." ~~~ Dr. Angela Rasmussen

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 was watching Netflix's "The Trial Of The Chicago Seven" and talk about a flashback. Wow! Suddenly I was again a 19 year old SDS member running for my life through the park being chased by Chicago's "finest," smelling the tear gas and cannabis with my eyes stinging with sweat and enjoying every minute of it. What a rush!

Truth be told, I had joined the SDS not so much for the politics but that was where all the hot hippie chicks were on campus, but gradually the more I learned the madder I got. I had some how escaped the Army without killing anyone, which was harder than you would think! I still had LBJ on my mind so soon the politics overcame my lust for the ladies, well, just a little bit, and I was thinking of taking the war back home to Washington D.C., where it belonged, so I was certainly up for the Demoncratic convention and some fun and games.

Then I realised that today it's almost the same as it was then, nothing really has changed! The people are revolting about our current police state, police are rioting, just the same as they were then. You'll recall that the year before, all the riots that burned down a dozen American cities. Then in 68 after they murdered King and Kennedy the cities burned again, just like today. 52 years later and it's the same ole, same ole. In fact, in a lot of ways, it's worse.

May mighty Zeus protect us all if Lying Donald is allowed to steal another election and put all of his evil plans for this country in play. To see what maybe just around the corner watch the "Trial Of The Chicago Seven." Now, join me in a singalong with Graham Nash:

In Other News

I see where global warming has become a forgotten crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. But a year that has set worrying climate records also shows how we can remake the world for the better.

Global warming hasn't stopped because of a global pandemic. Yet our turbocharged heating of Earth has become an almost forgotten crisis. "Climate change has been put on the back burner," says climate scientist Corinne Le Quere at the University of East Anglia, UK, who advises the UK and French governments.

In the meantime, the world has seen hundreds of uncomfortable records or near-records this year on measures related to global warming, from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice loss, with ever-clearer consequences for global health, wealth and happiness.

"It's understood the covid crisis is a short-term public health crisis and an economic crisis for a few years," says Petteri Taalas at the World Meteorological Organization. "But it's very well understood that the magnitude of crisis we face if we fail with climate mitigation would be something very different.

"Coronavirus is far from over, but it is time to think what we want the world to look like 10, 20 and 30 years down the line." What has been happening with the climate crisis while the world's attention has been diverted? How has the pandemic changed the game, and what can be done about it as time goes by.

Even Moscow Mitch is beginning to see the light, well Amy McGrath is making him see the light as McConnell now says, "The question is how do you address it? The way to do this consistent with American values and American capitalism is through technology and innovation. And there is no question that is the way to get results, not to shut down your economy, throw people out of work, make people reconstruct their homes, get out of their cars ... this is nonsense." Yes Mitch, you are nonsense and hopefully come November 3rd your nonsense will become a thing of the past.

Hopefully Kentucky's new Senator Amy McGrath will fight for what she says she believes in. Amy, a retired Marine fighter pilot views climate change through the lens of her military background, seeing it much as the Pentagon does, as a national and international security threat. She likes the Biden climate plan, "the most aggressive put forward by any Democratic or Republican Party presidential nominee in history," but says she still has questions about it. And Amy, so do we, but anything has to be better than Lying Donald and Moscow Mitch, doesn't it, America?

And Finally

Lying Donald's choice to head the coronavirus task force is Dr. Scott Atlas. Scott a neuroradiologist with absolutely no experience in virology, immunology or public health was gathered from Fox Spews to take over the task force. This follows Lying Donald's perplexity of putting people with no knowledge and outright hostility of departments to head them.

Scott is certainly qualify as Lying Donald sees it. You may recall that "Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials."

He is part of the reason that instead of having 15,000 to 20,000 covid deaths we have over 222,000 covid deaths. So guess what? No, let's not see all the sames hands, that's right, Scott Atlas 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!


06-04-1964 ~ 10-17-2020
Thanks for the film and stage!

07-17-1939 ~ 10-19-2020
Thanks for the music!

12-21-1957 ~ 10-19-2020
Thanks for the music!

09-02-1919 ~ 10-21-2020
Thanks for the music and film!

03-16-1942 ~ 10-23-2020
Thanks for the music!


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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.

I urge Green Party members in battleground states to do the right thing and vote not for Hawkins but for Biden.

Why A Former Green Party Candidate Is On A Very Long Fast-Urging Progressives To Vote For Biden To Defeat Trump
A very large number of people on the left who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren have come around to
an understanding that Trump and his accomplices are such a dire threat to any hope of forward progress in this country.

By Norman Solomon

In ordinary times, Ted Glick would hardly be someone you'd expect to hear urging fellow progressives to vote for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

During the first 18 years of this century, Glick was an active member of the Green Party. He ran for the U.S. Senate as the Green Party's nominee in New Jersey and put in a long stint co-chairing a local branch of the party. In fact, he recalls, "I have been a member of organizations working to build a political alternative to the Democrats and Republicans since 1975."

Now, Glick is more than two weeks into a water-and-vitamins-only fast that he plans to continue until voting ends on November 3. As a headline says over his daily postings, it's all about "Fasting to Defeat Trump."

Glick told me that he thinks "a very large number of people on the left who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren have come around to an understanding that Trump and his accomplices are such a dire threat to any hope of forward progress in this country"-understanding that leads to voting for Biden. In the process, progressives "could play a decisive role where the vote is very close" in swing states.

Why the 30-day fast? The purpose, Glick says, is "to encourage Americans who are still unsure about the importance of voting, or unsure about the importance of voting to remove Trump from office, to consider seriously how critical it is for the world that Trump be defeated."

Going into his fast, Glick wrote: "I'm doing this because I think that Trump's re-election represents a huge threat to the world's already-disrupted ecosystems, people of color and low-income people, our struggling democracy and just about everything else that is important to decent people. I feel the need to do all I can to help generate the massive voter turnout essential to ensure that he and many of his Republican accomplices are defeated. Our situation is urgent, and I feel the need to respond accordingly."

I asked Glick about the role of today's Green Party, which is actively seeking votes for its presidential candidate Howie Hawkins-even in some of the most tightly contested battleground states, where a small number of votes could make the difference between whether Trump wins or loses. "I appreciate why people join it and work for an alternative to the two corporate-dominated parties," Glick replied. "But their electoral strategy of always running someone for president has alienated large numbers of people who agree with their principles and program."

After devoting nearly two decades of his activist life to the Green Party, Glick was cogent and clear: "They have shrunk significantly over the last 15 years as far as the number of Green Party members elected to local office. On its own terms, this always-run-for-president strategy is a big loser. And this year it's particularly problematic because of the necessity of removing Trump. I urge Green Party members in battleground states to do the right thing and vote not for Hawkins but for Biden."

(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."

The hearings were truly a travesty.

Corporatist Judge Barrett-Two More Senate Abstentions Needed To Stop Trump
It's time for the rising movement of elected and grassroots progressive to take over.
By Ralph Nader

In a 1995 book review published in the University of Chicago Law Review, Elena Kagan (now Justice Kagan) wrote about judicial nominees avoiding disclosing their views on legal issues. She said, "[T]he safest and surest route to the prize lay in alternating platitudinous statement and judicious silence. Who would have done anything different, in the absence of pressure from members of Congress?"

This week, nominee to the High Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett followed the "say-nothing" playbook, through injudicious and repetitious filibustering, essentially claiming that it was improper for a judge "to opine" on matters outside the judicial process.

Really? Judge Barrett "opined" in lectures, interviews, and articles as a judge as have many sitting Supreme Court Justices. Her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia regularly made controversial declarations at law school addresses and all kinds of other public appearances.

Judge Barrett's hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee were consistently defiant. She refused to answer questions about the legality of intimidating voters, or whether all losing presidents should commit to a peaceful transition of power. Judge Barrett even refused to say whether she accepts the science on the climate crisis because she lacks the expertise on this issue and because it is a controversial topic.

Senator Pat Leahy said, "President Trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself. Would you agree, first, that nobody is above the law - not the president, not you, not me - is that correct?" Judge Barrett said she agreed no one is above the law but could not answer the question about a president's pardon powers because "it had never been litigated."

She would not even say that a President cannot unilaterally change the date of the election. Perhaps Judge Barrett should review Article II of the Constitution which empowers Congress to choose the timing of the general election and a law enacted by Congress that requires the election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

The hearings were truly a travesty. Too few hearing days, exclusion of prominent civic and scholarly critics of her record and statements, and remarkably, the defeatist position by the Democrats. Their repetitive political campaign-related focus on Roe v. Wade and access to abortions, Obamacare, and the Second Amendment was directed to the voters back home. The Republicans did their things for the elections too, led by Chair Lindsey Graham. (This is an important reason why nomination hearings should not be conducted close to elections).

It gets worse. Chair Lindsey Graham pronounced victory for the judge in his opening statement and by their behavior the Democrats largely agreed, using the occasion to share their political views without exposing how a Judge's corporatist ideology can let corporations prevail over workers, consumers, the environment, and the electoral process. Republican Justices on the Supreme Court, most notoriously, in the Citizens United case opened the floodgates to corporate cash further corrupting our elections.

As constitutional law expert, Bruce Fein noted, Judge Barrett maintained no distance between her and her nominator, President Trump, who stunningly has said, "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president." As a presidential tyrant, Trump knew how to choose a judicial nominee who is not likely to reject tyranny.

Except for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Democrats, as they have in previous Supreme Court nomination hearings, declined to question Judge Barrett about rampant corporate crime, and corporate personhood harming all Americans. Corporate power and control are scraping the rule of law with worsening brazenness, privileges, and immunities.

A 6 to 3 corporatist Court will install an era of corporate supremacy over real people that has no foundation in our Constitution. There is no mention, whatsoever, of the words "corporation" or "company" in the Constitution, the juridical foundation of our Republic. Treating corporations as artificial entities - as "persons" is based on a headnote in the 1886 Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road. The headnote that was not even part of the Court's opinion. This judicial unfortunate and legally suspect twist has been relied on and expanded by generations of corporatist Supreme Court Justices.

Senator Whitehouse went to the root of the choice of Judge Barrett. It's about power by the few over the many. The long-driven goal of the Koch Brothers and the Bradley Foundation.

The Democratic Party should have avoided all these losing nomination battles over Trump's, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and now Amy Barrett. How? By handily winning half a dozen Senate seats in 2016 and 2018 that they botched big time. They even lost seats of sitting Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) the latter to then-Governor Rick Scott. Rick Scott, prior to being governor, was the CEO of Columbia/HCA which under Scott engaged in one of the largest Medicare frauds in history. The federal government fined Columbia/HCA $1.7 billion for this outrageous behavior.

In their own ways, these Senators tried to be Republican-lite by avoiding front-burner issues such as higher minimum wages, law and order for corporate outlaws, full Medicare for All, and the creation of good community-based jobs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. These and other much-needed programs could be paid for by restoring corporate taxes to the level they were in the more prosperous nineteen sixties.

Because of the two-party duopoly, our country has been cornered with the "choice of the lesser of two evils" as both parties were dialing for the same corporate/commercial campaign dollars. In 2016, Bernie Sanders showed that big amounts of money can come from many small donors. The Democrats are outspending the Republicans in many races, but more than money is needed to win elections. What's their excuse for letting the worst Republican in Party history win, again and again, control the Congress with one or both Houses, and entrench their clenched-teeth judges for decades?

Look in the mirror Democrats. Start self-examining why collectively you've let the American people down? It's time for the rising movement of elected and grassroots progressive to take over.

(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).

Peace, Black Self-Determination, And The Duopoly Trap
By Glen Ford

Corporate institutions and their Black servants conspire to hide the fact that the Black American worldview is profoundly Left on issues of peace and social justice.

Homo sapiens make a very big deal of the species' vaunted intelligence, but no group of chimpanzees would allow themselves to be ensnared for generations in a binary trap without exploring ways to escape. Sadly, the same human capacity to imagine a near-infinity of life scenarios (dramas, comedies, satires, election forecasting, best-selling volumes of lies) can also conjure constellations of reasons to believe that a trap is not a trap.

In the national electoral process that will culminate on November 3, the vast majority of Black voters will invest their (very limited) franchise in a Democrat who has never been on their side of the issues and vows to continue standing in the way of national health care and even the most modest "reforms" of policing. Joe Biden does, however, occasionally rouse himself from geriatric torpor to promise a kind of imperial military reparations: that he will repair Washington's alliances that have become frayed during Donald Trump's erratic years at the helm, with the aim of standing up to Russia and China. It's the Democrats' very understated way of signaling to the ruling class that endless austerity (the Race to the Bottom) and war will be the operative policies once Trump is gone.

Kamala Harris did not write the 1994 crime bill that condemned additional millions of Black people to the prison gulag, but she was a dedicated prosecutorial disciple of the Biden-Clinton lock-up-the-(Black)-"predators" doctrine. Having taken all sides of the issues in the primaries, Harris now speaks only the language of "Joe" and mouths the Democrats' sacred promise to "Build Back Better" - possibly the most noncommittal campaign slogan ever concocted. But she is Black, and has a heartbeat, and will therefore be only a heartbeat away from the presidency if her ticket wins - which some Black folks and women claim is reason to be excited about November 3. They have so devalued the franchise, they are satisfied with a choice of physical "role models" - like the "right" to buy your child a Black Barbie doll for Xmas/Kwanza - only these role models kill and imprison millions.

The hegemony of (white) big capital allows for very few cracks in the corporate-mediated public discourse that might reveal Black folks' actual worldviews, beyond the excruciatingly narrow left-right choices presented by the two corporate parties. Where do Black folks really (want to) stand on issues of war and peace and social justice? We all know what most Black people fear: four more years of the "red meat" race-baiting that brought Trump into the White House, and which stampeded Blacks deeper into the duopoly trap. But corporate pollsters earn their fees by asking questions that are carefully framed to indicate preferences for one duopoly party or the other; that is, the questions themselves produce answers that appear to reinforce the legitimacy of duopoly rule, the binary straightjacket. However, we do know that the Black American worldview is profoundly Left - a reality "discovered" to the surprise of the Bay Area Center For Voting Research, in 2005. As Bruce Dixon reported in The Black Commentator, the Center's leftish political scientists assumed that the the white intellectual bastions of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Madison, Wisconsin, were the most left-leaning cities. The Bay Area think tank concluded that:

"...Detroit is the most liberal city in the United States and has one of the highest concentrations of African American residents of any major city. Over 81% of the population in Detroit is African American, compared to the national average of 12.3%. In fact, the average percentage of African American residents in the 25 most liberal cities in the country is 40.3%, more than three times the national rate.

"The list of America's most liberal cities reads like a who's who of prominent African American communities. Gary, Washington D.C., Newark, Flint, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Birmingham have long had prominent black populations. While most black voters have consistently supported Democrats since the 1960s, it is the white liberals that have slowly withered away over the decades, leaving African Americans as the sole standard bearers for the left...."

But independent Black politics is not a subject of corporate discussion, and is derided by the Democratic operatives that have infested every civic institution in Black America - including the AKA sorority, whose main political project is boosting their member, top-cop Kamala Harris.

The most comprehensive political survey of Black folks took place in 1994-95, under Black political scientist Michael C. Dawson. The National Black Politics Study found that 50 percent of Blacks thought of themselves as a "nation within a nation" (although only 11 percent wanted to separate from the U.S.); 50 percent wanted Blacks to form their own political party; 51 percent saw the police as just another gang; and 74 percent viewed corporations as "unfair to the Black community." (See Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African American Political Ideologies, Dawson, University of Chicago Press, 2000.)

Dr. Dawson, a pioneering Black political demographer, used the survey to delineate the ideological affinities of Blacks in the U.S. It is a profoundly left-leaning polity.

True Believers True Haters (very opposed)

Black Nationalism: 37% 4%

Black Feminism: 19% 2%

Black Marxism: 34% 2%

Disillusioned Liberalism 40% 2%

Black Conservatism 1% 20%

Dr. Dawson tracked the divide that separates grassroots Black political thinking and the positions taken by Black politicians (almost all of whom are Democrats). "[A]s black elected officials began to have aspirations that require attracting votes outside the black community, they (with the exception of Jesse Jackson and Harold Washington) deemphasized both their explicit racial appeals and political agendas that included economic redistribution-historically a fundamental political demand of the black community.... Finally, many black elected officials became incorporated into the new ruling regime of race relations management, which functions as a regulatory buffer dedicated to incremental changes in race relations and even smaller changes in the economic plight of the poor."

There has been no sea change in the Black American world view since 1995, although eight years with a Black family in the White House clearly enhanced -- during Barack Obama's tenure, at least -- Black folk's identification with the U.S. State. When Obama threatened to bomb Syria in 2013 for allegedly carrying out a chemical attack on civilians, more Blacks (40%) than whites (38%) and Hispanics (31%) favored bombing Damascus. (see BAR, 18 September, 2013, "Black America More Pro-War Than Ever.") However, majorities of all three groups were opposed to bombing Syria: Blacks 56%, whites 58%, Hispanics 63%.

A much clearer picture of Black anti-war sentiment - when not clouded by racial loyalties - was revealed by a Zogby poll conducted in early February of 2003, just a month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The pollsters asked: "Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties?" A solid majority of white men answered in the affirmative, as did more than a third of white women. Only seven percent of African Americans favored a war that would kill thousands.

Hispanics lost some of their bloodlust when confronted with the prospect of mass Iraqi civilian casualties; only 16 percent are willing to support such an outcome. (Text from The Black Commentator, February 18, 2003.)

If only 7 percent of Blacks could countenance mass carnage of Iraqi civilians, then war fever was an entirely marginal sentiment in the Black polity, which was fundamentally different than white America on issues of war and peace. Specifically, Blacks saw Arabs as human beings, even after two years of Arab-demonizing in the wake of 9/11. We at BAR maintain that the Black American consensus remains overwhelmingly anti-war, in both comparative and actual terms.

But you won't get that kind of insight from #BlackLivesMatter name-giver Alicia Garza's Black Census, which is the largest survey of Black public opinion in history but asked not one question on U.S. foreign policy -- as if Black people have no positions on war and peace. The Census was paid for by the corporate philanthropy that has poured into Black Lives Matter-labeled coffers to yoke the movement into the Democratic Party - which prefers that Black people let white folks do foreign policy. Garza is glad to oblige and has become a major player on the corporate side of the Party. (See BAR, 5 June 2019, "Black Lives Matter Founder Launches Huge Project to Shrink Black Lives." And BAR, 3 Oct 2019, "The Corporate Democrats' (and Alicia Garza's) Get-Sanders Slanders.")

So, while too many of BAR readers, including some of our closest friends and collaborators, will on November 3 be rewarding one of the duopoly parties for its record of opposing and actively stifling the vast bulk of Black public opinion on war and peace and social justice issues, please also consider giving support to those organizations that reflect the actual majority - and profoundly Left -- Black American worldview.

Below is posted the Black Is Back Coalition's ground-breaking 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination, a document that will be highlighted at the Coalition's November 7th and 8th "Black People's March on the White House," an annual event since the organization's founding in the first year of the Obama Administration; and the Black Alliance For Peace's demands for all elected officials and candidates in the 2020 elections. (I am a co-founder, and member, respectively, of BiB and BAP,) The anti-war positions taken by BAP and the self-determinationist stance of Black Is Back reflect the opinions of large majorities or very strong pluralities of Black people, as measured by the surveys and studies cited in this article. Those sentiments are marginalized and muted by the corporate duopoly with the collaboration of the mostly Democratic Black Misleadership Class, who are the undeserving recipients of Black and Left votes every election cycle - recurring cycles of despair and fear.

Black Alliance for Peace Demands of Candidate and Elected Officials The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has determined climate change and the interlocking issues of war, militarism, and the now-normalized and still illegal U.S. interventionism pose the greatest threats to humanity.

That is why we have launched a campaign demanding all 2020 candidates for local, state and federal offices in the United States take a position on U.S. interventionism (read our official statement). BAP's campaign has been making the connection between U.S. foreign interventions and the domestic war on African people and other oppressed groups (see No Compromise, No Retreat: Defeat the War Against African/Black People in the U.S. and Abroad).


Oppose the militarization of U.S. police through the Department of Defense's 1033 program
Oppose Israeli training of U.S. police forces
Call for and work for the closure of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)
Advocate for the closure of 800+ U.S. foreign military bases
Oppose Trump's "Operation Relentless Pursuit"
Commit to opposing all military, economic (including sanctions and blockades) and political interventions
Advocate for an end to U.S. participation in NATO
Support efforts to cut the U.S. military budget by 50%
Demand the U.S. Department of Justice document and investigate the use of lethal force by domestic police officers
Commit to passing resolutions that commit the U.S. to uphold international law and the U.N. Charter
Sponsor legislation and/or resolutions to support the U.N. resolution on the complete global abolition of nuclear weapons
See our social media campaign @blackallianceforpeace on Instagram.
Please encourage organizations you work with to endorse the pledge at . There, orgs and individuals can also download and distribute the candidate pledge.
To help you mobilize any organizations you are involved with, find the campaign social media resources, an example email, and the candidate pledge attached below. Please share our 2020 Candidate Accountability Pledge with any aligned organizations or individuals to demand that our representatives oppose global militarism, imperialism and repression and tag us in any photos you share!

Black Is Back Coalition National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination

19 Points

1. Black Women. With this National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination, the entire black or African nation declares our commitment to facilitate the elevation of African women to full, equal partnership in our struggle to create a new world of freedom and socialist democracy for a united black community and a world shorn forever of bosses and workers and slaves and masters and where African women will share the power to guarantee that African women are adequately empowered as equal architects of our new world. 2. The Black Family. We demand an immediate halt to attacks on the Black family, a genocidal campaign rooted in the Atlantic Slave Trade and embedded in U.S. public and private policy. The United States has waged ceaseless war on the Black family: from the slaveholder that sold Africans as units of private property with no claims to family ties that he was bound to respect; to the denial of adult Black people the human right to protect our families. To the deliberate exclusion of heads of Black households from employment sufficient to provide for our families' needs. To the systemic undermining of Black family structures through public "welfare" programs, such as the foster care system, in which Black children are disproportionately taken away from families and in which parental rights are being stripped from Black parents at an alarming rate. To the criminalization of all Black adults and children by the current mass Black incarceration regime. These intentionally-inflicted harms can only be repaired through the achievement of Black self-determination.

3. Black Community Control Of The Police. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all domestic military occupation forces from Black communities. This democratic demand assumes the ability of Black people to mobilize for our own security and to redefine the role of the police so that it no longer functions as an agency imposed on us from the outside.

4. Free All Political Prisoners. This includes "politicized" prisoners who may have originally been imprisoned for non-political reasons, but whose achieved political consciousness after imprisonment resulted in political acts or statements that were punished by specialized treatment and, sometimes, additional prison time. The definition of political prisoners is also extended to all those activists and militants who have been detained, or arrested during the most recent wave or resistance in places like Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We reject the authority of the U.S. State to imprison persons whose imprisonment is rooted in their defense of Black people's democratic and self-determination rights. Black people ourselves have the right and responsibility to designate those individuals and categories of prisoners to be immediately released from U.S. confinement and control.

5. Roll Back and End Mass Black Incarceration. The U.S. mass Black incarceration regime is designed to contain, terrorize and criminalize an entire people, with the result that one out of eight prison inmates on the planet is a Black person in the U.S. As a minimal demand, every U.S. incarcerating authority must take immediate steps to roll back the national prison and jail population to 1972 levels, resulting in the release of four out of five current inmates in a process overseen by representatives of the imprisoned peoples' communities--primarily people of color. As a maximum demand, all Africans must be immediately released from U.S. prisons and jails and our community given the democratic right to determine their fate.

6. Reparations. We demand reparations consistent with international norms regarding redress for crimes against humanity. This includes the enslavement, colonialism and apartheid from which we suffer up to today. The totality of the repair, according to international law, must include policies, programs and projects that cease ongoing racial crimes; offer restitution and return us to wholeness; provide compensation that allows for a quality standard of life as well as individual and collective wealth creation; ensure satisfaction that returns our dignity and achieves rehabilitation for the heart, mind, body and spirit injuries resulting from the centuries of trauma and abuse.

7. Self-defense. We declare our human right to armed self-defense from the violent attacks by white citizens and the assaults and murders by the domestic military occupation forces that include various police organizations. We fully recognize that in a struggle for self-determination any act of resistance by the oppressed is an act of self-defense.

8. Nationalize the Banks And End Forever The Rule Of Capital, which has been central to the enslavement, extermination, colonization and denial of self-determination to peoples, worldwide. The process must begin with creation of a National Development Bank as the primary engine of commerce and development, and a Black-directed public bank to finance developmental paths chosen by Black communities.

9. Full Employment and A National Minimum Income. We demand that the U.S. government ensure the provision of living wage jobs for all, and a guaranteed minimum income sufficient to support a life with dignity for every household and individual. This goal is immediately achievable and is intended not only to totally eliminate poverty--beginning with historically super-exploited and deprived communities--but to provide families and individuals with the resources and free time to fully contribute to our community's social, cultural, economic and political development. This minimum demand for full employment and a national minimum income is not a concession to the existing system of capitalist economic domination, it is not an assumption of the permanence of the worker-boss relationship that helps to define capitalist exploitation. Our ultimate aim continues to be total black self-determination and socialist democracy that empowers the workers at the expense of the capitalist class.

10. Right to Housing that is safe, secure, habitable and affordable, with freedom from forced eviction and the process of red lining, traditionally used to deny housing to black people. In addition, we demand reparations for the loss of billions of dollars in Black wealth due to home foreclosures stemming from the U.S. government-supported subprime mortgage scam. Just as the financial institutions that perpetrated the scam were rescued through the massive infusion of federal dollars, so too must the victims of this crime be made whole through a reparations process overseen by representatives of the families and communities that were most grievously harmed.

11. Halt Gentrification through the empowerment, stabilization and restoration of traditional Black neighborhoods. Black people have the right to develop, plan and preserve our own communities. No project shall be considered "development" that does not serve the interests of the impacted population, nor should any people-displacing or otherwise disruptive project be allowed to proceed without the permission of that population. Peoples that have been displaced from our communities by public or private development schemes have the right to return to our communities, from New Orleans to Harlem.

12. Black Business Must Be Nurtured by public development banks and protected from strangulation by corporate chains and monopolies. Black community planning agencies must protect and give preferential access to local entrepreneurs and cooperatives willing to operate in harmony with the community's developmental plans, with a special emphasis on agriculture. Accordingly, we demand immediate reparations for Black farmers and an end to the land theft and discriminatory laws and practices used against Black farmers in the U.S.

13. Right To Free Education Through Post-graduate Level. Public schools must meet the highest standards of excellence, under the supervision of educational boards directly elected by the communities they serve. We oppose both for-profit schooling and philosophies of teaching that put profit over human development, and we support democratic educational values and strategies that empower students and their communities to determine their own destinies. In the immediate term, Black people in the U.S. need education that facilitates our liberation from white supremacy and corporate hegemony.

14. Free, Universal, Quality Healthcare For All by a public system that serves the health needs of entire communities, as well as individuals. Given that group health outcomes are closely linked to group political and economic status, past and present, a universal healthcare policy must provide both equal care to all, regardless of social and financial circumstances, and restorative care to historically oppressed communities, which require political self-determination to achieve social and biological wellness.

15. Voting Rights. We believe the right to vote, to effectively express a preference for political candidates, parties or social policies, is an inalienable right, the deprival of which results in a kind of social death. In this sense, the vote belongs to communities and peoples, as much as to individuals. Therefore, in addition to an irrevocable right to vote, we demand the use of proportional representation voting systems that more effectively reflect Black people's political aspirations and opinion. Winner-takes-all voting, as practiced in the U.S., is inherently undemocratic and incompatible with Black people's right to self-determination.

16. U.S. Out of Africa, Asia And Latin America, where U.S. imperialism and support for European colonialism has caused tens of millions of deaths and vast social and physical destruction. In addition to U.S. military withdrawal to within its own currently-recognized borders, we demand an end to U.S. proxy wars, drone attacks and political subversion of governments and people's movements around the globe. Given that the U.S. was the first nuclear power, is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and has never renounced First Strike, we demand U.S. nuclear disarmament without preconditions--unilaterally, if necessary.

17. The West Must Pay Its Debt To Africa and Its Descendants Africa and the rest of the colonized world owes nothing to European and U.S. governments or financial institutions. Rather, reparations should be flowing in the other direction as payback for half a millennium of slavery, colonialism and imperialist underdevelopment. We reject the suggestion that debt "forgiveness" or "relief" should be considered as reparations. We demand the U.S. immediately drop all debt claims against the formerly-colonized regions of Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, and begin negotiations for restitution to those countries.

18. Free Palestine, Down With Israeli Apartheid. We demand recognition of all rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent, sovereign Palestinian State and the right to return for all Palestinian refugees. The U.S. must immediately end all monetary aid, trade relationships and military cooperation with the Apartheid Zionist State of Israel, until that uniquely barbaric affront to human civilization is dismantled and abolished.

19. Climate Change and Toxic Pollution Created By Capitalism Must End. We demand that the capitalist countries take responsibility for the destruction of the environment through policies based on the parasitic profit motive. We recognize that capitalist-induced climate change for our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa is a matter of life and death due to the resulting drought, death, famine and starvation. We recognize that capitalist pollution and toxic waste dumps in Africa as well as in our communities throughout the U.S. endangers the health of African people everywhere. We recognize that the same system that built itself through colonial occupation, genocide and enslavement has no regard for the safety of the planet and the health of our communities.

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

Bringing A Rich, Aloof Congress-Critter Down To Earth
By Jim Hightower

Some people who get elected to Congress grow in office, others just bloat. Michael McCaul is a bloater.

A self-absorbed, right-wing Trumpeteer, this Texas lawmaker is about the richest guy in the US House, wallowing in some $113 million in personal wealth. McCaul made his money the old-fashioned way: He married it. With his wife's inherited fortune, Michael decided to become a congressman, winning a grotesquely gerrymandered GOP district in 2004.

Even by the low standards of Congress, McCaul has been unaccomplished, unless you count championing tax breaks, regulatory favors, and corporate subsidies that have bloated his family's net worth by 940 percent since he's been in office. He's mostly known in Congress for his love of jet-setting, limousine service, and posh dining - and for billing an unseemly number of these luxuries to us taxpayers or paying for them with the big political contributions he takes from Big oil and other giant corporations he serves.

But here's an even starker measure of his character: His water meter. The McCaul's live in a sprawling $7-million mansion in the scenic-but-arid hills of West Austin, water conservation is an essential community ethic - unless you're a narcissistic politico. While the average Austin home uses 70,000 gallons of city water a year, McCaul glugs down a million-and-a-half gallons, even winning Water Hog of the Year in 2017. Rather than cutting back, he has simply directed the city to stop revealing his actual usage.

But the high-flying plutocrat could be coming down for a splash landing. The district's demographics are rapidly changing (60,000 more Latinx residents since 2012, for example), and Mike Siegel, a young civil rights champion, has rallied a popular grassroots uprising to pull into a tie with McCaul. For workaday folks long disdained by the aloof incumbent, the sweet scent of comeuppance is in the fall air.

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

President Trump gestures as he speaks during a campaign event at Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 14, 2020.

Trump Got The Best COVID Treatment. For The Rest Of Us He Wants "Herd Immunity."
By William Rivers Pitt

The Great Barrington Declaration. Sounds heavy, yeah? Thunder of drums, hushed silence, and behold: A jagged stack of cruelty passing itself off as science that claims "herd immunity" is the way to get out from under the grinding crisis of COVID-19. In truth, it sounds like just more preposterous ooze from the primordial swamp of the far right, but for the fact that the White House has embraced it as the Trump administration's defining COVID policy.

The idea is as simple as it is ruthless: It's just too hard to wear masks, social distance and test people. The preppers and tough guys who swell the ranks of Trump's most loyal supporters didn't make it through April before unspooling at "freedom" rallies because they wanted a slice of pizza and a haircut. This Trump-promoted self-harm has grown into the Great Barrington Declaration, a bag of deeply dangerous quackery.

The bump in the road is the millions who have to die of COVID before this level of immunity is achieved. The declaration advocates for what is an almost casual sort of genocide that would disproportionately affect people of color, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the unlucky tens of thousands who are healthy yet would still succumb to the virus, as so many otherwise-healthy people have already.

The math is utterly appalling. At present, the U.S. has endured nearly 8 million COVID infections and almost 217,000 deaths. To reach the level of "herd immunity" advocated by the declaration, and now the White House, would require 156 million more people to become infected to reach the 50 percent herd immunity threshold. Under these circumstances, the death toll would skyrocket to more than a million people at the most conservative estimate.

Who are these alleged 9,000 signatories to this declaration? That's actually a funny question, if you like fart jokes scrawled on the stall of a middle school bathroom. This thing that has been embraced by Trump and his people comes off for all the world like some elaborate prank.

As Truthout reporter Chris Walker noted, some of the names advocating the lazy slaughter of millions of people include Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename and Dr. Johnny Bananas. One of the names, reports Walker, "is that of Harold Shipman, a doctor who was arrested in the late 1990s for killing 200 of his patients."

With a minimal amount of effort, you can get 9,000 people to sign a petition stating that John F. Kennedy and Jim Morrison are living in sin with Amelia Earhart in a cold-water Paris flat. That does not make it worthy of national policy, especially when it is positively certain to get millions of people killed.


The Lancet, among the most widely respected scientific journals on the planet, was swift and severe in its condemnation of the Great Barrington Declaration, and of any who would espouse its poisoned ethos:

The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable. This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.

Any pandemic management strategy relying upon immunity from natural infections for COVID-19 is flawed. Uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population. In addition to the human cost, this would impact the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of health-care systems to provide acute and routine care.

Furthermore, there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection, and the endemic transmission that would be the consequence of waning immunity would present a risk to vulnerable populations for the indefinite future. Such a strategy would not end the COVID-19 pandemic but result in recurrent epidemics, as was the case with numerous infectious diseases before the advent of vaccination.

It would also place an unacceptable burden on the economy and health-care workers, many of whom have died from COVID-19 or experienced trauma as a result of having to practise disaster medicine.

"This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence." When The Lancet comes down the mountain in so unequivocal and plain-text a fashion, it is time to stand up and pay attention.

"Despite the outbreak at the White House that also infected the first lady, their son and nearly a dozen top aides, Trump and his allies continue to downplay the virus, arguing that the country is 'turning the corner' and holding campaign events with thousands of supporters even as cases are increasing rapidly, especially in the Midwest," reports The Washington Post. "Several advisers hoped Trump's experience would move him to speak more empathetically about a virus that has killed at least 215,000 Americans and infected nearly 8 million. Instead, Trump has seemed further emboldened, flouting public health guidelines to convince voters that life is returning to normal."

Trump's championing of this Great Barrington nonsense is a desperation election-year tactic vomited up by Trump himself - to the dismay of most of his own people - meant to help him sidestep the catastrophic lack of testing and contact tracing taking place amid this still-uncontained pandemic. Pretty much the only people who embrace the "herd immunity" butchery approach are the ones who still believe COVID is a hoax, because Trump told them that was true, too. That is who he is talking to with this lethal nonsense.

Also, and not to be forgotten, this campaign push by Trump to consign millions to death as a means of papering over his failures is coming from a man who caught COVID, and likely only survived it because of the medical knowledge gleaned from those who were killed by his incompetence in those first bleak months of the crisis. "Trump is still breathing because of the medical data gathered from people he allowed to die," I wrote on Tuesday. I stand by that assessment.

Trump is alive because he got the best treatment science can deliver, buttressed by data gathered from the corpses he has already caused. Upon recovery, he declared his intent to abandon millions more to a choking, solitary death so he can keep his job and salvage his junkyard ego. Not for one second does he think this Great Barrington Declaration will do anybody but him any good. It gets him out from under, and that is all that matters.

Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

(c) 2020 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at the Labour Election Day party

What Joe Biden Can Learn From Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand's prime minister just won a historic victory. Her formula for success was simple: science and solidarity.
By John Nichols

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepted her landslide reelection win Saturday with a message for her country and the rest of the world: "We are living in an increasingly polarized world, a place where more and more people have lost the ability to see one another's point of view. I hope that this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are. That as a nation, we can listen and we can debate. After all, we are small to lose sight of other people's perspective. Elections aren't always great at bringing people together, but they also don't need to tear one another apart."

Ardern, the 40-year-old leader of New Zealand's social democratic Labour Party, did not explicitly mention the highest-profile election of this fall. But it was hard not to recognize in her victory speech a nod to voters in the United States, especially when she said, "This has not been an ordinary election and it's not an ordinary time. It's been full of uncertainty and anxiety. And we set out to be an antidote to that."

Since the former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth took office three years ago as a relative newcomer to national politics who cobbled together an unlikely multiparty coalition, Ardern has governed as the alternative to Donald Trump. She has confronted white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia. She has responded to a mass shooting that killed 51 Muslim worshippers by leading the charge to ban semiautomatic weapons ban and implement meaningful gun control regulations. And she has met the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic with the necessary combination of "science and solidarity" that United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has identified as the formula for success.

That response has been so starkly distinct from Trump's lies and neglect that the New Zealander has become a folk hero for thinking Americans.

The New York Times, which editorialized last year that "America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern," summed up in April the prevalent feeling about New Zealand's response to Covid-19:

As the pandemic has spread fear, disease and death, national leaders across the globe have been severely tested. Some have fallen short, sometimes dismally, but there are also those leaders who have risen to the moment, demonstrating resolve, courage, empathy, respect for science and elemental decency, and thereby dulling the impact of the disease on their people.

The master class on how to respond belongs to Jacinda Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister of New Zealand. On March 21, when New Zealand still had only 52 confirmed cases, she told her fellow citizens what guidelines the government would follow in ramping up its response. Her message was clear: "These decisions will place the most significant restrictions on New Zealanders' movements in modern history. But it is our best chance to slow the virus and to save lives." And it was compassionate: "Please be strong, be kind and united against Covid-19."

Ardern's approach to the pandemic has not been a radical one. It's been a necessary one. And it has worked. New Zealand flattened its Covid curve by early May, and it has maintained its safe-and-healthy status with considerable success since then. A country with just under 5 million people, New Zealand has reported fewer than 2,000 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths. A relatively comparable US state, Wisconsin, with a population of 5.8 million, has had more than 175,000 cases and roughly 1,600 deaths.

New Zealand has been so successful in controlling the virus that-at a time when the United States is struggling with a deadly surge that has seen hot spots develop in Wisconsin and other states-the island nation has in many senses returned to normal. Now, New Zealand voters have placed a big stamp of approval on Ardern's efforts. In a country where prime ministers have historically had to pull together multiparty coalitions in order to govern, Ardern's Labour Party won 64 of 120 seats and could govern without a coalition. Noting that "the Jacinda Ardern-led New Zealand Labour party has swept to its largest election night victory since 1946, winning 49.1% of the party vote and 64 seats in parliament," Massey University professor Claire Robinson declared the result "one for the history books."

The Green Party, one of Labour's 2017-20 coalition partners that ran to the left of Ardern's party this year, won another 10 seats. Progressives hope Labour and the Greens will align to form a more clearly left-leaning coalition that will encourage and embolden Ardern to reject caution and compromise when it comes to addressing inequality and the climate crisis.

The size of Labour's win, and the nature of any coalition that extends from it, will matter because, while Ardern managed crises well during her first term, she will now be called on to keep a bold promise to "build back better from the COVID crisis." The prime minister recognizes that her government must seize "our opportunity to build an economy that works for everyone, to keep creating decent jobs, to up-skill and train our people, to protect our environment and address our climate challenges, to take on poverty and inequality, to turn all of the uncertainty and hard times into cause for hope and optimism."

"Build back better" sound familiar? It should. Biden has framed much of his fall campaigning around the same message. As Election Day in this year of Covid-19 approaches, he should double down on it.

New Zealand and the United States are different countries, and Ardern and Biden are dramatically different political figures. Yet, the New Zealand result offers a lesson that an unapologetically bold response to the pandemic, and to the economic challenges that extend from it, is both practically and politically wise. In the final weeks of the United States' 2020 campaign, Biden and Democrats running at the federal and state levels-especially in battlegrounds such as Wisconsin-should amplify their commitment to take every necessary step to control the virus that has killed 225,000 Americans, infected almost 8.5 million, and is currently surging at record levels in states across the country.

People are sick and tired of the lies, the mismanagement, and the grotesquely irresponsible behavior not just of Donald Trump but of Republicans at the federal and state levels. Biden and the Democrats must recognize this in the waning days of the election and finish the 2020 campaign with a politics of science and solidarity that aims not just to beat Trump but to secure a result that is "one for the history books."

(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.

News Stories Reflect Growing Human Lunacy
By James Donahue

Columnist Thom Hartmann recently posted a column in which he argued that America's failed education system and a subsequent dumbing down of the people has been responsible for the destructive mess that has been going on throughout our country in recent years.

He wrote: "Many of today's biggest political issues, like our privacy rights, would not even be up for debate today had it not been for the attack on education. If more Americans had a strong understanding of our history, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would never been able to pull off the Patriot Act, we would never have put a radical character like Donald Trump in the president's office. Most of all we wouldn't be sitting idle while the current administration proceeds to dismantle the great government we had in place."

Hartmann raises a powerful point in his column. But the general stupidity of the citizenry is reflected more and more regularly in everyday news headlines.

Here are just a few we offer as examples:

Former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has never quite had both oars in the water at the same time, blamed the ISIS extremists for inspiring the deadly shootings of two New York police officers. That there was a general public anger over a series of stories reporting aggressive police actions, including the killings of various citizens throughout the nation at about that time didn't seem to cross Bachmann's mind. The increased violence by police and citizens against each other has been a troubling indication that people have begun to behave erratically for unexplained reasons.
The very existence and rise of the ISIS movement in the Middle East, North Africa and Indonesia has been another issue that goes beyond understanding. This group appears to be another radical spin-off of the Islamic faith. Its members appear with their faces covered much like the American Klu-Klux-Klan, only dressed entirely in black. And they are capturing citizens from all over the world and for a while were publicly beheading them in front of video cameras. What has been their purpose and why must they murder innocent citizens?

Not only are the ISIS members a growing problem, the organization also appears to be attracting new members from unexpected places. What is the appeal that is drawing teenagers from the U.S. and Canada to run away from home and attempt to join ISIS as "terrorist brides" and warriors? Many of the young men, those who have been captured in their efforts to leave the country, say they planned to carry the ISIS fight to the homeland.

What is it about such an extreme terrorist organization that attracts the youth? And why is it that extremists have emerged so frequently from the fringes of a religious belief system like the Islamists? Followers of Mohammad have been known for their peaceful ways. Yet the terrorist movements originating among the Moslems and especially those who carried out the 9-11 attack on the U.S. are giving all Moslems an undeserving black eye.

In the United States, we are watching a fierce political battle going on between newly elected "Tea-Party" conservative Republicans and the Democrats, headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama, that has been raging since the day Mr. Obama entered the White House. That he is the first Negro to ever be elected to the presidency appears to have stirred up racial hatreds in the country. This rekindling of racism is now dominating the nation with Trump stirring the pot from his perch in Washington. This seems to be what the Tea Party is really about. Because of the in-fighting, little legislation is getting passed. Government offices are not getting financed. Consequently, government programs are failing to serve the public as well as they should.

Case in point: Efforts to curtail the COVID-19 virus that is currently sweeping the world is not considered a success in the United States due to constant political in-fighting between Trump supporters and his opponents. Issues like wearing face masks and keeping social distance in public are being hotly debated. Police killings of black men and women are stirring public riots. President rump appears unwilling or incapable of leading a nation in total distress.

President Obama and his team succeeded in pushing through a new federal health care system despite fierce resistance by Republicans. Consequently, the program lacks the bells and whistles designed to benefit the general public. And mistakes have been made in this department. The wrong information about health care benefits under the new program was mailed to an estimated 800,000 Americans that signed up. This information was needed for income tax filing that year. Because of the error the government was forced to allow for delays in income tax filings.

Was this sabotage or an honest mistake? We had to wonder since the Republican conservatives have spent most of their time in Congress voting on bills designed to repeal what they call "Obamacare." All of the attempts to date have failed.

The militant Republicans pushed through a bill to approve and fund the controversial Keystone pipeline that would carry costly raw crude oil extracted from shale in Canada and the Northern Western United States, south to Gulf ports. The need for such a pipeline was questioned, and strongly opposed by environmentalists. A pipeline rupture would cause extensive damage to the environment. Also, the opponents argue that the production of this oil is too costly to be a benefit to anybody. President Obama wisely vetoed the bill. Trump, however, reversed Obama's veto and the $5.2 billion pipeline was completed.

The legislators would agree to pay for a useless pipeline and expand our military but seem to have trouble passing bills that would reach out to migrants seeking entry to the United States, finance badly needed public works improvements or seeking solutions to global warming. What is going on in their heads?

On the commercial front, it appears that as the value of the dollar declines, people are paying more and more for products that are not only smaller in packaged size, but manufactured with inferior grade materials. Many products are being made in China and India and shipped to the U.S. People's pets are falling ill and dying from toxic pet foods. There are growing reports that generic drugs, which are being forced on American patients by insurance companies, also are lacking in quality and may even contain flour or sugar. The Supreme Court recently ruled that drug companies may not be sued over issues involving generic drugs.

Should we wonder why more and more people are walking into crowded buildings with guns blazing? Why citizens are rioting in the streets? Why the KKK and other radical racial and political groups are rearing their ugly heads? The general insanity is spreading. The illiterate masses are angry and confused. They have no idea what to do about these things except to pick up signs, clubs and firearms and demonstrate.

(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.

Top 12 Reasons Biden Is Not My Fault
By David Swanson

When the Democratic Party decided it preferred Trump to Bernie and would rather nominate to run against Trump a more corporate-friendly candidate who was polling more weakly against Trump, there were - in theory - at least two choices.

First, millions of people could have publicly announced that they would not vote for either rotten candidate but only someone who stood for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, public education through college, demilitarization, and massive taxation of corporations and billionaires - or at least one of those things. Either a candidate would have credibly changed or a message would have been sent very loudly to all future candidates. I tried promoting this plan, and a relative handful of people mumbled their agreement. Apart from the Green Party doing its thing, and a new party being started, there was no more organizing around this than there was to reject the Supreme Court handing George W. Bush the crown.

Second, people could vote for a lesser evil while organizing educational and activist campaigns to try to save the world from that evil. There's a credible, though uncertain and muddy case, that the lesser evil is Joe Biden. Thousands of people have enthusiastically screamed this case at me at the top of their lungs, and accused me of racism, sexism, and working in the employ of the Russian government - even though my actual, real-world employment includes working for an organization pushing just this approach. I've pushed just this approach because it's my second choice and my first choice above has gone nowhere. I've also maintained honesty about the rottenness of both candidates, which has angered and confused many supporters of both who believe that part of supporting a candidate is lying about him.

Now, when/if Biden loses or has the election stolen, I would like to point out just a few of the reasons that it's not my fault or Russia's or Ralph Nader's or the Green Party's.

1) There is no evidence that Russia has had any influence over the 2020 (or 2016) U.S. election. (But please do send me hundreds of angry evidence-free denunciations of the supposed lunacy of saying so.) (I would much rather you blame me than Russia because I don't have any nuclear weapons.)

2) The Green Party got a teeny tiny bit of the vote and probably gained Biden as many votes in Maine and places that have ranked choice voting as it cost him elsewhere, and is the most likely party to challenge any of Trump's election-related crimes.

3) I supported Bernie.

4) I didn't advise campaigning on a promise to keep fracking. I didn't even pretend that campaign was a mistake driven by ignorance of polling rather than subservience to funders.

5) I didn't declare "The Party c'est moi!" and run screaming from every popular position.

6) I live in a non-swing state.

7) The notion that I decided the election through my failure to push scheme #2 above aggressively enough is exposed by my utter inability to advance scheme #1.

8) I didn't create the electoral college - I'm trying to abolish it.

9) I don't run the corporate media outlets that bow before Trump - I'm trying to break them up and regulate them.

10) I didn't tolerate Trump's hateful instigation of violence and intimidation. I've been trying to get him impeached, removed, and prosecuted for it since before his first inauguration - but a certain political party preferred a bunch of dangerous lies about Russia and a Ukraine story that made their own guy look bad.

11) I didn't lie about voting by mail, strip names off rolls, create long lines, or utilize unverifiable machines and scanners. That was your elected officials.

12) I didn't kneel down and let Trump put a George W. Bush election thief on the Supreme Court. I proposed impeaching Trump for a legitimate offense from the long list of indisputable public outrages, and forcing the Senate to deal with it.

Now, if you want to spend the next couple of weeks telling everyone for the 10 millionth time to vote for Biden, knock yourself out. I've had a job doing that for months. But let me offer three pieces of unsolicited and unwanted advice:

1) Bring back honesty as soon as possible. Every bit of bad news about your candidate is not false, is not created by Russia and therefore in need of being ignored regardless of whether it's false, and is not an assertion of equivalence between your candidate and the other one. If you go into a Biden presidency believing your own BS about him, his presidency will turn out as putrid and disastrous as Clinton's or Obama's and lead straight to one as openly fascist as Bush's or Trump's.

2) Bring back understanding of activism as soon as possible. Restore remembrance of the nonviolent activist campaigns that created the right to vote, rights for various groups, fair treatment and humane policies and peace. Voting is an important tiny bit of civic duty that alone will never change the world.

3) Bring back politeness and respect as soon as possible. Stop all the screaming and denunciations and baseless accusations and xenophobic coldwarism so you can work with people to do the things actually needed to turn the U.S. government into what it's nice but dangerous to imagine voting for one lousy candidate over another will do.

(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.

Castle Snider, 8, looks on as flames engulf the hillsides behind his backyard as the Bobcat
Fire burns near homes on Oakglade Drive in Monrovia, California on September 15, 2020.

Vote Like The Future Of Humanity Depends On It - Because It Does
By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3rd - and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4th the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Trump's withdrawal benefited oil executives, who have donated millions of dollars to his re-election campaign, and the small, strange fringe of climate deniers who continue to insist that the planet is cooling. But most people living in the rational world were appalled. Polling showed widespread opposition, and by some measures, Trump is more out of line with the American populace on environmental issues than any other. In his withdrawal announcement he said he'd been elected "to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris"; before the day was out, Pittsburgh's mayor had pledged that his city would follow the guidelines set in the French capital. Young people, above all, have despised the president's climate moves: Poll after poll shows that climate change is a top-tier issue with them and often the most important one - mostly, I think, because they've come to understand how tightly linked it is not just to their future but to questions of justice, equity, and race.

Here's the truth: At this late date, meeting the promises set in Paris will be nowhere near enough. If you add up the various pledges that nations made at that conference, they plan on moving so timidly that the planet's temperature will still rise more than 3 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels. So far, we've raised the mercury 1 degree Celsius, and that's been enough to melt millions of square miles of ice in the Arctic, extend fire seasons for months, and dramatically alter the planet's rainfall patterns. Settling for 3 degrees is kind of like writing a global suicide note.

Happily, we could go much faster if we wanted. The price of solar and wind power has fallen so fast and so far in the last few years that they are now the cheapest power on Earth. There are plenty of calculations to show it will soon be cheaper to build solar and wind farms than to operate the fossil fuel power stations we've already built. Climate-smart investments are also better for workers and economic equality. "We need to have climate justice, which means to invest in green energy, [which] creates three times more jobs than to invest in fossil fuel energy," United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said in an interview with Covering Climate Now in September. If we wanted to make it happen, in other words, an energy revolution is entirely possible. The best new study shows that the United States could cut its current power sector emissions 80 percent by 2035 and create 20 million jobs along the way.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris haven't pledged to move that quickly, but their climate plan is the farthest-reaching of any presidential ticket in history. More to the point, we can pressure them to go farther and faster. Already, seeing the polling on the wall, they've adopted many of the proposals of climate stalwarts like Washington Governor Jay Inslee. A team of Biden and Bernie Sanders representatives worked out a pragmatic but powerful compromise in talks before the Democratic National Convention; the Biden-Harris ticket seems primed to use a transition to green energy as a crucial part of a push to rebuild the pandemic-devastated economy.

Perhaps most important, they've pledged to try to lead the rest of the world in the climate fight. The United States has never really done this. Our role as the single biggest producer of hydrocarbons has meant that our response to global warming has always been crippled by the political power of Big Oil. But that power has begun to slip. Once the biggest economic force on the planet, the oil industry is a shadow of its former self. (You could buy all the oil companies in America for less than the cost of Apple; Tesla is worth more than any other auto company on Earth.) And so it's possible that the hammerlock on policy exercised by this reckless industry will loosen if Trump is beaten.

But only if he's beaten. Four more years will be enough to cement in place his anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. The world's climate scientists declared in 2018 that if we had any chance of meeting sane climate targets, we had to cut emissions almost in half by 2030. That's less than 10 years away. We're at the last possible moment to turn the wheel of the supertanker that is our government. Captain Trump wants to steer us straight onto the rocks, mumbling all the while about hoaxes. If we let him do it, history won't forgive us. Nor will the rest of the world.

(c) 2020 Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, co-founder of His most recent book is Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

We Deserve Justice In Our Time. This Is Not A Job For History Professors.
The crimes of this administration* were committed against the people of this country who are alive now. There's a reason why criminal prosecutions begin with The People of (Wherever) Against. They do not begin The People of the Year 2051 Against.
By Charles P. Pierce

If you were feeling pretty good about justice coming (and soon), right on schedule, a couple of Very Serious People came along to be the wettest of wet blankets. They laid out how we're all going to turn the page next January and leave to history the messy work of delivering judgment on the last four years of malfeasance and thievery and arguable treason, because to do so in real time, through the government institutions tasked with that job, would scare the horses, wake the children, and engage the poor suffering populace in "divisiveness." Mission accomplished, Jill and Cass. Mellow...harshed!

Cass Sunstein has been a nuisance ever since Barack Obama appointed him as Obama's czar of government regulation, in which post Sunstein seemed content to lecture the unwashed masses on the excesses of, say, the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. His column is an appeal to progressives not to run with scissors to re-establish environmental and economic sanity. The piece is a tangled, haunted forest of unintended consequences. Don't raise the minimum wage because you'll hurt low-wage workers. Don't re-regulate on clean water or companies will go out of business and not hire people. Don't overtax the wealthy because they won't create jobs any more. Let him go to St. James Parish in Louisiana and make these arguments.

But Jill Lepore is a gifted historian, a beautiful writer, and, in this case, a profound disappointment. From the Washington Post:

Many Trump critics will find this suggestion maddeningly insufficient. Given the scale of the administration's mendacity and cruelty, taking back the White House, if that happens, doesn't seem like quite enough of a victory. But the appetite for vengeance is a symptom of the same poison. After Watergate, the parties pursued what the political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg has called "politics by other means" - the politics not of elections but of investigations and indictments of members of Congress and other elected officials, including the president. Beginning in 1981 with Ronald Reagan's presidency, members of Congress have introduced impeachment resolutions against every single president. Democrats brought Supreme Court nominations to the public, in 1987, running television ads against Reagan nominee Robert Bork. Getting rid of a political opponent by these means might work, but it comes at the price of faith in democratic institutions, including elections. Do that kind of thing long enough, and before you know it you get people carrying signs reading ""ot My President, meaning first Obama, and only then Trump. Journalism has become more prosecutorial, too. "Democracy dies in darkness" became The Washington Post's motto weeks after Trump's inauguration, but under Obama it was, effectively, the motto of Fox News. "Lock him up" cannot be the answer to "Lock her up."

Oh, dear, is this paragraph a mess. Embedded in it is the myth of Poor Robert Bork, his nomination to be the biggest crank in the history of the Supreme Court denied by the public explication of his record and the votes of six Senate Republicans. There's a thick slice of tasty Both Siderism; the Post and Fox News as rough equivalents and, worse, the argument that the "Not My President" trope was aimed at Barack Obama and El Caudillo Del Mar-a-Lago for roughly the same partisan purposes. (Pro Tip: one of these is not like the other because, you know, racism.) "Lock him up" must be the answer to "lock her up" if He is actually a crook.

Joe Biden's administration must be prepared to hold people accountable.

Moreover, as the record has shown, and just as this president* should have been impeached over his attempts to enlist Ukraine in ratfcking his way to re-election, Ronald Reagan should have been impeached over Iran-Contra. He presided over a criminal enterprise in which missiles were sold to Iran and the profits funneled to an illegal war in Central America. (The reason you know these were crimes is that, as one of the last acts of his own presidency, George H.W. Bush saw fit to pardon a bunch of people who could incriminate him.) It is at least arguable that letting these crimes slide because too many people were gun-shy about impeaching another president after running Nixon out of town, which Mark Hertsgaard conclusively demonstrates in his book about the press coverage of the Reagan years, led to the excesses of the second Bush administration. Hell, a lot of the same people were involved. And those excesses-and worse-opened a lot of doors through which this administration* stormed.

(It is here where we point out that conservatives were not gun-shy at all about impeaching Bill Clinton for private conduct. And it is also here where we point out that "looking forward, not back" did not succeed as a strategy for the Obama administration to overcome Republican intransigence.)

For example, we currently are in a tizzy over the use of the institutions of government to ratfck the 2020 election, especially the use of the Department of Justice. Again, this is not new. During the second Bush administration, seven U.S. attorneys were fired because they declined to pursue spurious "voter fraud" investigations at the behest of the White House political operation. There were congressional hearings, but no real consequences. In fact, while we're on the topic of a politicized DOJ, one of the U.S. attorneys installed by Karl Rove, Tim Griffin, got his start as an oppo guy at the Republican National Committee. He's been a congressman and, today, he's the lieutenant governor of Arkansas.

My point is that history's judgment is incredibly slow. In the years 1860 to 1865, half the country committed armed treason against a lawfully elected president, and we're only now going about the business of taking down monuments to those crimes. And, of course, the abandonment of Reconstruction in favor of a bustling new economy and the expansion of the country, is the worst example of looking-forward-not-back in American history. The crimes of this administration* were committed against the people of this country who are alive now. There's a reason why criminal prosecutions begin with The People of (Wherever) Against. They do not begin The People of the Year 2051 Against. We deserve justice in our time, and we are obligated to reckon with our own complicity while we're still alive, and not leave the job to history professors and grad students yet unborn.

(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

Huthi rebel fighters inspect the damage after a reported air strike carried out by the Saudi-led
coalition targeted the presidential palace in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 5, 2017

America Is Complicit, As Yemen Spirals Toward Mass Starvation
This is an American war, and Americans have Yemeni blood on their hands
By Juan Cole

Mark Lowcock of the United Nations gave an impassioned and apocalyptic speech on Thursday warning that 4 million Yemenis who had been receiving aid no longer are, because of a shortfall in donor contributions, and the country could be on the cusp of mass starvation.

There already is widespread malnutrition in Yemen, fueled by the war and more recently by the economic downturn of the coronavirus pandemic.

The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen largely stems from the war on that country launched in 2015 by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is backed to the hilt by the Trump administration. This is an American war, and Americans have Yemeni blood on their hands. A third of Yemen's infrastructure has been destroyed, mostly by Saudi and UAE air strikes, and over 100,000 have been killed.

The United Arab Emirates, led by Mohammed Bin Zayed, is giving nothing to aid Yemen this year, despite its invasion having caused many of the problems the country is facing. The Saudis and Kuwaitis were also called out by Lowcock, and they did proffer new donations, with Kuwait offering $20 million. But the aid effort has fallen from being funded at over 60% of requested contributions to only 42%.

Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said:

"Aid agencies are now reaching only about 9 million people a month in Yemen - that's down from more than 13 million at the start of the year. What is to be the fate of the 4 million we no longer have the money to help? I said earlier that the window to prevent famine in Yemen is closing."
The country's problems are worsening along several fronts, Lowcock reported. The nationalist government of Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, has long contested the insurgent Houthis or Helpers of God for the port of Hodeidah, which is key to the provisioning of the northern part of the country. Its fighters have been preventing gasoline from being offloaded, presumably in a bid to deprive the Houthis of the ability to use armored vehicles. The Houthis are local guerrillas from the northern Zaydi Shiite branch of Islam. Although they are often called "Iran-backed," the Iranian involvement in Yemen is not extensive, and the Houthis have local Arab grievances. The billions of dollars of high-tech weaponry sold to the Saudis and the UAE for use against Yemen dwarfs the small Iranian contributions to the Houthis by orders of magnitude. Zaydis often feel that Saudi Arabia was trying to dominate them and convert them to its hardline Wahhabi sect.

Lowcock noted, "Only 20,000 metric tons of commercial fuel entered Hudaydah in September - that's the third lowest figure ever recorded, and 76 per cent less than in August. Currently, 20 commercial fuel ships are waiting to enter the port and discharge the equivalent of three months of imports."

The problem is that it isn't only the Houthis who are being starved of fuel, but ordinary people, who need it to drive to market or to hospital when ill, and farmers who need it to deliver their crops to towns.

Likewise, the basket-case condition of the country has driven the Yemeni rial down to 850 to the dollar, a historic low. This exchange rate makes it impossible for many Yemenis to afford imports, and much of the country's food and other staples are imported.

Famines are not typically caused by a complete lack of food, but by food prices being too high for people to afford to buy it. If the nationalist government cannot find a way to put back up the value of the rial, large numbers of people could starve.

The war is also getting worse, despite this week's prisoner exchange between the Houthis and the nationalists.

Lowcock warned, "There are now 47 active front lines across Yemen - the most ever recorded. Over several recent weeks, the heaviest clashes have occurred in Hudaydah, Marib and Al Jawf."

This year, another 150,000 people were displaced from their homes by the fighting, 80% to homeless shelters, bringing the total in the country to a million. The country's population is about 30 million.

Last month,the UN announced that it was forced to slash aid to 300 medical facilities in Yemen, after a third of humanitarian programs in the country were closed in spring-summer this year.

(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-

Scott looks at his puppet master for approval

Heil Trump,

Dear Leiter der Task Force Atlas,

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 parroting of what ever der Fuhrer says about covid-19, 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 Atlas, seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's opposite approaches, discouraging masks and other Covid restrictions while seeking government intrusion
into the most intimate decisions anyone makes, have become the de facto centerpieces of his campaign.

The Public, The Personal, And The Utter Hypocrisy Of The GOP
It is nonsensical to argue, as do Trump and his allies, that government cannot mandate masks or close businesses during a pandemic but can prevent women from having abortions and same-sex couples from marrying.
By Robert Reich

Trump and many Republicans insist that the decisions whether to wear a mask, go to a bar or gym, or work or attend school during a pandemic should be personal. Government should play no role.

Yet they also insist that what a woman does with her own body or whether same-sex couples can marry should be decided by government.

It's a tortured, topsy-turvy view of what's public and what's private. Yet it's remarkably prevalent as the pandemic resurges and as the Senate considers Trump's pick for the Supreme Court.

By contrast, Joe Biden has wisely declared he would do "whatever it takes" to stop the pandemic, including mandating masks and locking down the entire economy if scientists recommend it. "I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists," he said.

And Biden wants to protect both abortion and same-sex marriage from government intrusion. In 2012 he memorably declared his support of the latter before even Barack Obama did so.

Trump's opposite approaches, discouraging masks and other Covid restrictions while seeking government intrusion into the most intimate decisions anyone makes, have become the de facto centerpieces of his campaign.

At his "town hall" on Thursday night, Trump falsely claimed that most people who wear masks contract the virus.

He also criticized governors for ordering lockdowns, adding that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer "wants to be a dictator." (He was speaking just one week after state and federal authorities announced they had thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap and possibly kill Whitmer.)

Attorney General William Barr - once again contesting Trump for the most wacky analogy - has called state lockdown orders the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history" since slavery.

Yet at the very same time Trump and his fellow-travelers defend peoples' freedom to infect others or become infected with Covid-19, they're inviting government to intrude into the most intimate aspects of personal life.

Trump has promised that the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, establishing a federal right to abortion, will be reversed "because I am putting pro-life justices on the court."

Much of controversy over Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court hinges on her putative willingness to repeal Roe.

While an appeals court judge, Barrett ruled in favor of a law requiring doctors to inform the parents of any minor seeking an abortion, without exceptions, and also joined a dissenting opinion suggesting that an Indiana state law requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains was constitutional.

A Justice Barrett might also provide the deciding vote for reversing Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision protecting same-sex marriage. Only three members of the majority in that case remain on the Court.

Barrett says her views are rooted in the "text" of the Constitution. That's a worrisome omen given that earlier this month Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opined that the right to same-sex marriage "is found nowhere in the text" of the Constitution.

What's public, what's private, and where should government intervene? The question suffuses the impending election and much else in modern American life.

It is nonsensical to argue, as do Trump and his allies, that government cannot mandate masks or close businesses during a pandemic but can prevent women from having abortions and same-sex couples from marrying.

The underlying issue is the common good, what we owe each other as members of the same society. During wartime, we expect government to intrude on our daily lives for the common good: drafting us into armies, converting our workplaces and businesses, demanding we sacrifice normal pleasures and conveniences. During a pandemic as grave as this one we should expect no less intrusion, in order that we not expose each other to the risk of contracting the virus.

But we have no right to impose on each other our moral or religious views about when life begins or the nature and meaning of marriage. The common good requires instead that we honor such profoundly personal decisions.

Public or private? We owe it to each other to understand the distinction.

(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

People watch as President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One for his campaign event
at the Orlando Sanford International Airport on October 12, 2020 in Sanford, Florida.

How Does A Nation Best Deal With A Leader Who Intentionally Kills Its Citizens?
Regardless of his motivations, Trump is engaging in and encouraging behavior that is killing and disabling Americans by the millions.
By Thom Hartmann

Covid-19 infections now represent the third leading cause of death in America. This is an extremely contagious, crippling, and deadly disease.

On top of that, there's a growing legion of people who call themselves "long haulers," who have been seriously disabled by Covid and are unable to live a normal life because of severe chronic fatigue, screaming nerve pain, and other chronic conditions. And that doesn't mention all the COVID survivors who've had strokes, heart attacks, and permanent heart, lung, kidney, and brain damage.

Facing this simple reality, every developed country in the world is encouraging social distancing and the use of masks to reduce the number of people who are injured, disabled, or killed by this disease.

Every country, of course, except America.

The coronavirus has spread heavily across the American Midwest, and new epidemiology shows that much of that spread came from a half-million bikers gathering in South Dakota two months ago.

Now the President of the United States is encouraging the further spread of this disease with his rallies, bringing untold pain, misery and death to tens of thousands of Americans. All because he wants his ego massaged and he thinks somehow this bizarre and deadly behavior will help him win an election.

Some psychologists speculate that Trump might be purposely exposing his followers to this deadly virus because deep down inside he hates anybody who trusts him. They point to his behavior against his three wives, and the thousands of people in business who have sued him for breaking agreements and contracts as examples of this.

Others suggest that he's simply so lazy that his new pitch for "herd immunity" is just a rationalization for doing nothing so he can continue to spend most of his days watching television and playing golf.

And some political cynics think Trump is simply trying to make the national level of infection as severe as possible so he can hand off a screaming disaster to Joe Biden, and then spend four years criticizing him for how he handles it. Trump recently attacked his opponent, saying if Biden is elected the former Vice President "will listen to the scientists," which gives more credibility to this theory.

Regardless of his motivations, though, Trump is engaging in and encouraging behavior that is killing and disabling Americans by the millions. We've lost more people to Covid than all the Americans who have died in every war since World War II.

That, in and of itself, would instantly disqualify any normal politician from holding elective office in any normal time: inciting people to die or kill others could even land most Americans in prison.

American history is filled with stories of presidents and their cronies getting away with immoral, stupid, and even criminal behavior. But nothing has ever risen to this level.

Whether America ends up with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission like South Africa did, or we simply put Trump and his enablers on trial for their crimes and all the deaths they caused, we must hold these people accountable.

In the madness of the election and its aftermath, let us never forget this. We must decide soon the best way to make sure this never happens again.

(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
~~~ Steve Sack ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-


Trump So Busy He Almost Forgot To Have Ghislaine Maxwell Killed
By The Waterford Whispers News

PRESIDENT Donald Trump has reacted with horror to the news that a judge has ordered that interview transcripts from friend-to-the-billionaires Ghislaine Maxwell be made public, as he had been certain that it was no longer something that he had to worry about.

Maxwell, ex-girlfriend of disgraced sex-offender and Trump buddy Jeffrey Epstein, had been expected to commit suicide earlier this year following her arrest, something that Trump had been certain was 'done and dusted'.

"A court case for a dead woman... wait, is she still... is she still alive?" asked an incredulous, increasingly stressed Trump this morning, reading that transcripts of Maxwell's interviews with lawyers are to be released as soon as possible by order of a judge.

"I thought we... no? Christ, with this election and the Covid bullshit and the Biden and all that crap, this has completely slipped through the cracks. What's a president got to do to get a good night's sleep around here, eh? If you know what I mean. What's a guy got to do to get some peace of mind, eh?"

Trump went on to make a number of hand gestures to signify his requests, including a 'little bit of [throttling action], or how about an old [injecting large amounts of heroin into a vein action], hell I'd even settle for a good old [hanging from a ceiling by the neck action] or even a [dying from Coronavirus action, complete with lots of coughing], or even get the Brits involved, Prince Andrew should be able to get us someone who can [drive very fast into a wall action]'.

Maxwell, meanwhile, insists that she's feeling fine, not suicidal in the slightest, loving life and everything about it, happy to be of service to the courts.

(c) 2020 The Waterford Whispers News

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 42 (c) 10/23/2020

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