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In This Edition

Chris Walker reports, "Trump Said It Was 'Common Sense' For His Backers To Want To Hang Pence On Jan. 6."

Ralph Nader finds, "New Book Shines Ways To Rebound Our Historic Postal Service."

Margaret Kimberley warns, "U.S. Threatens Regime Change In Nicaragua."

Jim Hightower wonders, "Should Apple Profit By Blocking Our Consumer Rights?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "As Damning New Memo Shakes Trump's Defense, January 6 Committee Turns Up Heat."

John Nichols explores, "The Mess Democrats Are In."

James Donahue gives us his, "Thanksgiving Message 2021."

David Swanson considers, "The Persistence of Pinkerism."

Thomas L. Friedman returns with, "Want to Save the Earth? We Need a Lot More Elon Musks."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Trump Administration Created Its Own Reality On The Pandemic And Failed The Country."

Juan Cole examines, "All Trump's Cover-Ups: From Syria Airstrike On Civilians To US COVID Genocide."

Robert Reich asks, "What Happens When A Congressman Threatens A Colleague With Violence?"

Jessica Corbett joins us with, "Artists, Rights Groups Denounce 'Invasive' Palm-Scanning of Concertgoers By Amazon."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports,"Biden Social Spending Bill Whittled Down To $10 Billion Check To Joe Manchin," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Sorry Don't Feed The Bulldog!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Christo Komarnitski, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Shay Horse, Melina Mara, Detlev van Ravenswaay, Chip Somodevilla, Jim Watson, New York Times, Michael Mayhew, Sportsphoto/Allstar, Fight for the Future, Jim Hightower, Pexels, 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 -
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To End On A Happy Note -
Have You Seen This -
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Sorry Don't Feed The Bulldog!
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"The planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe... it is time to go into emergency mode - or our chance of reaching net zero will itself be zero." ~~~ UN Secretary -General Antonio Guterres

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

Was anyone surprised by how COP 26 turned out? Methinks climate activist Greta Thunberg summed up the conference best with, "The #COP26 is over. Here's a brief summary: Blah, blah, blah."

The Glasgow Climate Pact is the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases.

The deal also presses for more urgent emission cuts and promises more money for developing countries - to help them adapt to climate impacts.

But the pledges don't go far enough to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.

A commitment to phase out coal that was included in earlier negotiation drafts led to a dramatic finish after India and China led opposition to it.

India's climate minister Bhupender Yadav asked how developing countries could promise to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies when they "have still to deal with their development agendas and poverty eradication."

In the end, countries agreed to "phase down" rather than "phase out" coal, amid expressions of disappointment by some. COP26 President Alok Sharma said he was "deeply sorry" for how events had unfolded. As I'm fond of saying "Sorry don't feed the bulldog!" Swiss environment minister Simonetta Sommaruga said, "We would like to express our profound disappointment that the language we agreed on, on coal and fossil fuels subsidies, has been further watered down. This will not bring us closer to 1.5C, but make it more difficult to reach it."

Sara Shaw, from Friends of the Earth International, said the outcome was, "nothing less than a scandal."

"Just saying the words 1.5 degrees is meaningless if there is nothing in the agreement to deliver it. COP26 will be remembered as a betrayal of global South countries."

Lia Nicholson, delegate for Antigua and Barbuda, and speaking on behalf of small island states, said: "We recognise the presidency's efforts to try and create a space to find common ground. The final landing zone, however, is not even close to capturing what we had hoped."

Shauna Aminath, environment minister for the low -lying Maldives, said: "We have 98 months to halve global emissions. The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us."

I hate to be the bringer of doom and gloom but we are sooooooooo screwed, America!


01-20-1930 ~ 11-12-2021
Thanks for the film!

04-01-1941 ~ 11-13-2021
Thanks for the music!

06-23-1977 ~ 11-14-2021
Thanks for the film!

03-23-1931 ~ 11-17-2021
Thanks for the music!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 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.

Trump supporters near the U.S Capitol, on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Right -Wingers Demand "Right" to Choose - But Only for Vaccines, Not Abortion
By Chris Walker

Recently published audio of a conversation between former President Donald Trump and ABC News journalist Jonathan Karl reveals that Trump was unconcerned about his loyalists' calls to hang former Vice President Mike Pence on the day of the U.S Capitol breach.

The conversation between Karl and Trump, which took place in March of 2021, is detailed in Karl's new book about the final days of the former president's tenure, Betrayal: the Final Act of the Trump Show. An audio of the conversation was published on Axios Monday morning.

In the interview, Karl asked Trump whether he was concerned about Pence when it became apparent that Trump loyalists were violently overrunning the Capitol. Trump said that he wasn't worried because Pence was "well -protected" and in "good shape."

Karl then mentioned the chants against Pence, calling them "terrible." Trump, in his reply to Karl, sympathized with his loyalists' feelings, saying that "the people were very angry."

Karl reiterated what the people were chanting, noting that they had said to "hang Mike Pence."

"Because it's common sense, Jon," Trump responded, saying that Pence was "supposed to protect" the election from being won by Biden.

"How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?" he added.

As vice president at the time, Pence had the constitutional duty to oversee the certification of the Electoral College on January 6. However, Trump and his loyalists had been pushing Pence to illegally interfere in that process by refusing to count electors' votes - a power the vice president isn't even granted.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump wrongly asserted on Twitter during the week of the certification.

Of course, there has never been any evidence suggesting that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. In the months after the election, the former president and his allies lost dozens of lawsuits when judges found that their allegations had no merit; some of these judges included Trump appointees.

Despite having no evidence to support his claims, Trump continued to blather on about election fraud in the interview, telling Karl that he had spoken with constitutional scholars who told him that Pence had the authority to overturn the outcome.

At the time, a plethora of reporters and fact -checkers had published articles indicating that Trump's assertion was incorrect. Many of these articles included the opinions of constitutional scholars who disagreed with Trump's claims.

The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that "the President of the Senate" - who is the vice president - "shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted." No other powers are granted to the vice president during the counting process.

The recently published interview is only the latest indication that Trump was concerned with "winning" the election at all costs - even if it was through inappropriate, illegitimate and disturbing means.

On the day of the attack, Trump told a crowd of his loyalists, gathered just outside the White House, to air their grievances in person at the Capitol building, saying that they'd "never take back our country with weakness." At the same rally, Trump told his followers that they could win the election if Pence did "the right thing" - by this, he meant if Pence ignored the will of the American electorate.

Trump's disregard for his former vice president's life was also apparent on the day of the attack. As his loyalists were breaking into the Capitol building and threatening Pence's life, Trump tweeted that "Mike Pence didn't have the courage" to interfere in the Electoral College's certification process.

(c) 2021 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analyzing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

New Book Shines Ways To Rebound Our Historic Postal Service
By Ralph Nader

The preventable plight of the U.S. Postal Service, with its over 30,000 post offices, is an important issue for all Americans. When President Donald J. Trump's donor and henchman Louis DeJoy became postmaster general in 2020, he started to dismantle the agency. Thousands of citizens responded by participating in demonstrations that revealed a deep civic commitment to preserving the people's post office.

While DeJoy triggered a crisis that threatened the presidential election process, attacks on the Postal Service have been ongoing for decades. The anti -postal campaigns by corporate interests have remained a continuing source of frustration to those of us who have observed the Postal Service's decline due to unimaginative management, a deck stacked to favor for -profit rivals such as FedEx and UPS, and unfair financial obligations and delivery prohibitions (for example, on wine and beer) imposed by Congress.

The Postal Service is facing a manufactured financial crisis that is primarily the result of a congressional mandate dating back to 2006 that required the agency to pre -fund the next seventy -five years of retiree health benefits in one decade. This pre -payment requirement is something that no other federal government agency or private corporation attempts to do -not to mention that there is no actuarial justification for such an accelerated payment schedule. The pre -funding requirement effectively forces the Postal Service to finance a $72 billion retiree health benefits fund for future employees who have not even been born yet. Despite these facts, Congress has refused to correct the host of problems resulting from its requirements.

The financial pressure resulting from the burdensome pre -payment schedule has led to negative impacts on service for all postal patrons. Postmaster General DeJoy's ten -year plan proposes saving the agency money through cutting service and raising prices, which is a formula for sabotage. He already introduced service changes that have delayed the delivery of all first -class letters on a permanent basis. As a result, mail is now being delivered up to two days later than before.

Unlike DeJoy, our first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, was known for his can -do verve and his appreciation of efficiency and innovation. Franklin was eager to find ways to have the mail delivered more quickly. As a stand -alone structure, he never would have imagined that someday post offices would mutate into a counter or kiosk inside a Staples store -or some other big -box store or shopping mall -as recent postmasters general have urged and widely advertised.

The need for postal reform is not just a matter of endangered post offices, disappearing blue mailboxes, slow mail delivery, or the fight to maintain delivery on Saturday, important as these issues are. Instead of disabling and eventually dismantling the Postal Service, this is the moment to expand postal services. Congress especially must act to protect rural communities, small businesses, the elderly, and the disabled, among others, by reasserting its authority over the Postal Service and putting a stop to irresponsible cutbacks. These policies not only threaten the future of the Postal Service in the long term; in the short term, they harm the ability of small businesses to carry out their operations in a timely manner and inhibit the elderly's ability to receive essential medications by mail. They also drive ever more consumers away from the Postal Service and toward commercial delivery corporations such as UPS and FedEx.

Post offices ought to offer an honest notary service (badly needed in an era of robo -signings), sales of fishing and hunting licenses, and an option to have gifts wrapped, among other new services. The Postal Service should accept wine and beer for delivery as FedEx and UPS do, and start delivering groceries as well. In addition, there is the widespread need for postal banking, given many millions of Americans are without bank accounts. This service actually existed until 1966 when the political lobbying of bankers terminated the successful and accessible program in communities throughout our country. The Postal Service recently started a pilot program to test check -cashing services in four select post offices on the East Coast. This program needs to be expanded to more post offices and be better publicized.

The future potential of the Postal Service is made clear in the just published book First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat (City Lights Books) by Christopher W. Shaw, which could not be more timely. Shaw investigates why this essential service is in danger, explains how to fight back against its dismantling, and explores what can be done to improve and expand our postal system and have more consumer representation on the Postal Service Board of Governors.

Ninety Members of Congress have called on the Postal Service Board of Governors to remove Postmaster General DeJoy. In addition to DeJoy's ruinous USPS policies, he is under investigation by the FBI over illegal political fundraising tactics, and DeJoy's family has financial ties with XPO Logistics, a company that in April the Postal Service awarded a multi -million -dollar contract. With the terms of two Postal Service Board of Governors expiring in one month, it's time for President Biden to appoint new members who will not behave like rubber stamps for DeJoy and his destructive time in office.

The Postal Service is a fundamental institution that binds our country together. It can and should be updated and freed from the shackles of corporations. Showing up is half of democracy, so the question for citizens today is: "Are we going to show up for our post office?" Shaw's book lights the path forward for all Americans.

(c) 2021 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).

Elections And The Illusion Of Black Political Power
By Margaret Kimberley

Nicaragua has been a target of U.S. aggressions since the 1850s. The Biden administration's attack on the newly elected government is the latest chapter in a long and sordid history. Eyewitness accounts of the electoral process reveal the manipulations and lies concocted by the U.S. and its corporate media partners in this latest regime change effort.

The United States has continuously carried out acts of aggression against Nicaragua and its people for more than 150 years. Joseph Biden's effort to undermine that country's sovereignty is part of a long history of invasions, coups, and support for U.S. puppets.

The Biden administration declared the recent election fraudulent before it had even taken place. The corporate media repeated lies about an "authoritarian dictatorship" that came straight from the State Department's script. The United States congress voted overwhelmingly to pass the RENACER Act, a regime change plot featuring the imposition of sanctions meant to create misery for Nicaraguans. Sanctions are war by other means, the modern -day version of sending the marines.

The U.S. has done just that, occupying the country from 1912 to 1933. But that was not the first time that U.S. forces were sent to undermine Nicaraguan governments. In 1856 an American named William Walker invaded the country with a mercenary army and declared himself president. Walker was supported by the American slavocracy and sought to create new slave holding nations in the region. During his year long reign, he revoked Nicaragua's abolition law and he was recognized as president by the Franklin Pierce administration.

The next bout of American aggressions began with an occupation by the U.S. marines in 1912 which lasted until 1933. Augusto Cesar Sandino fought a guerrilla war against the occupation before being executed under orders of Anastasio Somoza. The Somoza family ruled until 1979 and always with the backing of the United States.

The Sandinista movement (which took its name after Sandino) emerged triumphant in 1980 against Somoza's regime and quickly came under attack from the Ronald Reagan administration. The opposition groups known as "contras" were given millions of dollars and were assisted in fund raising through the sale of cocaine in the United States. The crack cocaine epidemic began as part of a U.S. imperialist plan. The war waged in Nicaragua was also carried out against communities of color in this country too.

President Daniel Ortega was re -elected on November 7, 2021 and Washington once again declared war on his nation. The RENACER Act passed by a vote of 387 to 35 in the House of Representatives, a huge majority indicative of bipartisan support for war by other means.

The Biden administration acted quickly in denouncing the election before it took place, and repeated their claims of a "pantomime election" on the day that Nicaraguans went to the polls. They followed up by orchestrating an Organization of American States (OAS) rejection of the Nicaraguan people's electoral decision.

As a member of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) delegation in Nicaragua, this columnist witnessed the determination of Nicaraguans to choose their own government without interference. More than 200 representatives from 27 nations, were designated as acompanantes, companions, to the electoral process.

The BAP delegation travelled to the Caribbean coast city of Blue Fields where African descended Garifunas and Creoles reside with Mestizos and the Miskito, Rama, and Olwas indigenous communities. Voters from all these groups came out to well managed polling places, where all presidential candidates were listed on the ballot. The process was transparent and orderly, unlike the voting process in the United States, where eligible voters can be stricken from the ballot or be forced to wait for hours to cast their votes.

Despite what the white house and the corporate media claimed, opposition parties were able to campaign freely. Their signage and literature were quite visible, and no one can truthfully say that the public were unaware of the variety of electoral choices.

The Frente Sandinista para Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) emerged triumphant because they endeavor to meet popular needs. The Afro -descended citizens of the Caribbean coast were recognized as a group with distinct needs that were enshrined in the FSLN constitution. That region was excluded and quite literally isolated from the rest of the country without access to transportation and lacking basic infrastructure such as electricity and clean water. BAP delegates heard the consistent message that support for the FSLN is a result of concrete improvements in people's lives. Despite the determination of the U.S. to undermine them, the FSLN now provide free health care and increased educational opportunities throughout the nation.

The 19th century Monroe Doctrine is alive and well in the 21st century. Whoever is in power in Washington considers other nations in this hemisphere to be its "backyard." Nicaragua's population of 6.5 million is smaller than that of New York City. Yet those few people are not allowed to exercise their rights to self -determination without raising Uncle Sam's ire. Nicaraguans are not the first to feel imperialist vengeance. Tiny Grenada was undermined and invaded when it sought to determine democracy for itself. Venezuela is also under the sanctions hammer and Haiti is allowed to do nothing that Washington doesn't approve.

The corporate media may be under the dictates of the state, but the people have no reason to follow suit. The presence of companion delegations in Nicaragua was an important step in revealing how the hybrid warfare playbook is put into practice.

Nicaraguans are well aware of their history. The lies are intended for a different audience. The United States seeks to fool its own people and thereby gain support for whatever form of aggression that it may choose. The plan is a consistent one which starts with media amplifying narratives that will gain support for interference. Creating falsehoods of human rights abuses is a reliable ruse to keep Americans complacent about their government's activities.

The collusion between government and media explains why "trolls" are active on social media, attacking anyone who questions what Washington says. Facebook continued its work on behalf of the state by removing accounts expressing any support for Nicaragua's sovereignty. The marriage of big tech companies and the Democratic party showed itself once again, proving that claims of freedom and democracy in U.S. politics are indeed an elaborate "pantomime."

It may seem odd that a small nation can be the focus of so much determination to destroy its independence. But it isn't hard to understand that Nicaragua threatens the U.S. should it be allowed to determine its own fate. The people who think they live in a democracy do not. They do not have access to free health care and are told they cannot expect to ever have it. Nicaragua is an example of what people in the U.S. could have if they were as free as they like to believe.

The drive to subjugate is as old as the republic, with the United States acting as a hegemon around the world, creating conflict and great suffering. The evil commitment to destroy Nicaraguan democracy is not unexpected but it must be vociferously opposed. Doing so is a litmus test which determines who is really on the left and who is not. There can be no compromise on the anti -imperialist stance. The human rights of people around the world must be respected and any United States government effort to violate them must be met with equivalent resolve.

(c) 2021 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e -mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Should Apple Profit By Blocking Our Consumer Rights?

By Jim Hightower

At least since the invention of the wheel, people have fixed, tinkered with, and improved every device they've possessed. It's been a human right.

But after several thousand years, suddenly legal clauses are being tucked in purchase agreements saying that today's owners of products MUST NOT even peek, much less poke inside the inner workings of our devices. Makers of anything with a computer chip in it (everything from your car to your toothbrush) have been especially vehement about this, rewriting human nature by outlawing our right to repair. Yes, they assert, you own the thing, but we own the intangible ideas that make it work, so if the product malfunctions, you must return it to us - and pay us a premium - to repair it. Plus, they prattle, you could hurt yourself trying to do -it -yourself, so trust us.

Bovine Excrement, barks Steve Wozniak: Companies inhibit your rights so they can have "power, control, over everything." Is he, some consumer radical? No, Wozniak is the co -founder of Apple, the multibillion -dollar global goliath that is the world's biggest producer of consumer electronics. He's appalled that Apple has now become a fierce opponent of self -repair. He says "We wouldn't have had an Apple" except that early innovators like him grew up "in a very open technology world." From the start, Wozniak points out, openness helped spread innovation and consumer demand.

"So, why stop... the self -repair community," he asks? Two big reasons: Besides letting corporations lock in monopoly profits from the repair industry, it also dissuades customers from bothering with repairs - just throw the thing away and buy a new one!

If you wonder where such massive, deadly levels of pollution by bead, mercury, plastic, etc. come from, look to the gross throw -away ethic of big tech profiteers like Apple.

(c) 2021 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

Attorney General Merrick Garland, right, and FBI Director Christopher Wray hold a press
conference at the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building on November 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

As Damning New Memo Shakes Trump's Defense, January 6 Committee Turns Up Heat
By William Rivers Pitt

Like an Ent of the woodlands hauling its trunked legs from the rooty firmness of the soil, Attorney General Merrick Garland's Justice Department finally bestirred itself on Friday and rose against the castled walls of the previous presidential administration. After weeks of bated silence, Garland secured two charges of contempt of Congress against former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who had saucily refused to comply with subpoenas for testimony and documents.

"Since my first day in office," noted Garland in a Friday statement, "I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law. Today's charges reflect the department's steadfast commitment to these principles."

Fine words, but not the actual message. The actual message telegraphed by the deeds and words of the attorney general was far simpler: Mark Meadows? Yes, you'll be next. Earlier that same Friday, former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows likewise blew off subpoenas for testimony and document production produced by the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack. Scant hours later, the Bannon indictments were announced, and the elevator in Meadows's stomach probably went all the way down to the basement.

The fate of these subpoenas now rests with the courts, which will have to decide if Trump's all -encompassing legal theory on executive privilege has any bearing in reality or the law. However that turns out, the Justice Department laid down an unmistakable marker for any other potential witnesses wishing to make nice with Trump by defying congress: Be prepared to trade subpoena compliance for legal charges.

"Mr. Meadows's actions today - choosing to defy the law - will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena," said committee chair Bennie Thompson and committee member Rep. Cheney in a joint Friday statement. "If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President's spurious claims of privilege."

On Monday, Bannon surrendered to federal authorities and was charged with two counts of contempt. "On the way into the FBI's Washington Field Office to turn himself in," reports ABC News, "Bannon cut a promo on one of his social media accounts for his radio show, advising his supporters to not 'take their eye off the ball.'"

Bannon and Meadows are but the first on the select committee's long list. "This week the committee released 16 new subpoenas over two days," reports The Hill, "encircling Meadows by demanding depositions from a number of those he worked closest with at the White House.... The tension with Meadows is coming to a head as the committee seems determined to trace his involvement in Trump's election efforts at the Department of Justice; in Georgia where Trump pressured the secretary of state there to 'find' 11,780 more votes; and in the planning of rallies just before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol."

These latest developments come as new revelations about the Trump administration's involvement in the 1/6 Capitol attack continue to emerge. On Sunday, ABC News reported on the existence of yet another memo, written by another Trump lawyer, offering another detailed roadmap for how to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. The lawyer in question is former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, and the memo she penned was emailed by Meadows to the top aide of then -Vice President Mike Pence scant days before the insurrection. According to ABC News:

Ellis, in the memo, outlined a multi -step strategy: On Jan. 6, the day Congress was to certify the 2020 election results, Pence was to send back the electoral votes from six battleground states that Trump falsely claimed he had won. The memo said that Pence would give the states a deadline of "7pm eastern standard time on January 15th" to send back a new set of votes, according to [author Jonathan] Karl. Then, Ellis wrote, if any state legislature missed that deadline, "no electoral votes can be opened and counted from that state."

Such a scenario would leave neither Biden nor Trump with a majority of votes, Ellis wrote, which would mean "Congress shall vote by state delegation" - which, Ellis said, would in turn lead to Trump being declared the winner due to Republicans controlling the majority of state delegations with 26.

This Ellis memo, in combination with the now -infamous Eastman memo, serves to underscore the enormous pressure that was brought to bear on Pence. The vice president was the fulcrum upon which the entire plot depended; without his deliberate interference in the vote certification happening the day of the attack, Trump's designs could go nowhere. Trump leaned hard on Pence to acquiesce, but in the end, and after some stern advice from fellow former Indiana senator and Vice President Dan Quayle, Pence stayed the constitutional course, and was nearly murdered for it by an infuriated Trumpian horde.

In the meantime, and serving as further proof of the vise grip Trump holds on the Republican Party, a predictable clot of GOP officeholders has risen in defense of Bannon. They do not declare his innocence, or try to buttress the gossamer privilege claims he clings to. No, they simply threatened the government with further chaos - "they will go after Biden's aides for unspecified reasons if they take back the House majority in next year's midterm elections," according to The Washington Post - if their man is not let go.

"Power in Washington shifts slowly, but when it shifts, it shifts with great force," Esquire blogger Charles P. Pierce wrote after the events of last Friday. "You can feel it moving now, and when the former president looks out the window at Mar -a -Lago, he'll notice that, out on a lake, the ducks are suddenly all in a row."

We shall see. At long last, the Ents of the Justice Department are on the march. Whether they're headed toward a wood -chipper or not remains to be determined.

(c) 2021 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.

US President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 28.

The Mess Democrats Are In
If they fail to get their act together, they will suffer a defeat in the midterms that increases the likelihood of Donald Trump's return to the White House.
By John Nichols

Democrats were sleepwalking toward disaster in the 2022 midterm elections before they got the proverbial wake -up call on November 2. The party's off -year election losses in the supposedly blue state of Virginia, along with setbacks in other regions, confirmed the very real prospect that next year's voting could cost Democrats control of Congress and multiple statehouses. But President Biden and his partisan allies in D.C. and the states face more than the indignity of a disempowerment along the lines of what Bill Clinton experienced in 1994 and Barack Obama confronted in 2010. If they fail to get their act together, Democrats will suffer a defeat that increases the likelihood of Donald Trump's return to the White House as a full -blown authoritarian.

Let's face it: Trump is running for president in 2024. He's already rallying backers in the first -caucus state of Iowa. Despite the last gasps of GOP dissenters like the primary -targeted Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, he'll have no trouble claiming his party's nomination. Then, whatever the numbers on the evening of November 5, 2024, Trump will claim that he's won the presidency.

That's why 2022 matters like no midterm election in modern times. If Trump -aligned Republicans take Congress and statehouses across the country, thanks to their own gerrymandering and voter suppression strategies and Democratic fumbles, they won't let the presidency go just because their candidate lost the popular vote. They will challenge the Electoral College results on January 6, 2025, just as they did on January 6, 2021 -and they could well do so more successfully.

Those are the stakes in November 2022, when 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, and 36 governorships will be chosen. Both parties will try to game the post -2020 Census redistricting process, but Republicans have an overwhelming advantage: Their control of statehouses positions them to draw 187 House seats, versus 75 for the Democrats.

Midterms are always tough for the party in power. But this one will be tougher than usual for the Democrats, who will go into it with an advantage of fewer than 10 seats in the House and a 50 -50 split in the Senate. If there is a GOP wave, of the sort witnessed in the first midterms of every Democratic president for the past 50 years, Biden and his party are screwed. So, too, is the country.

Can that dire circumstance be averted? Of course. But Democrats must recognize the fight they're in. They cannot continue to come off as dysfunctional, which is what happened when they let months go by amid the wrangling over the infrastructure and reconciliation bills. Biden's image, and that of the party, took a huge hit as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema tripped up the 96 percent of congressional Democrats who wanted to deliver on the party's 2020 campaign promises. Unfortunately, Democrats are stuck with Manchin, Sinema, and the corporate -aligned House "centrists" who will exploit their ability to tip the balance.

Heading into 2022, the Democrats must bring clarity to a chaotic national discourse that Republicans are gleefully disrupting with their rants about vaccination mandates and "critical race theory." That won't be done by abandoning basic premises of economic, social, and racial justice for centrist compromises that disenchant and disengage base voters. And it won't be done by opting for bland Terry McAuliffe -style candidates, with messages so muddled that voters can't get excited about showing up in November. In 2020, Georgia Democrats nominated a pair of progressives for Senate seats in a Deep South state that had voted Republican for decades. The Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff didn't just beat the Republican incumbents; they shifted control of the Senate to the Democrats and made the promise of a Biden presidency real. To maintain that promise, Democrats need to recognize that nominating dynamic progressives is essential to closing the "enthusiasm gap" that haunted them in these off -year elections.

They also need to talk about why 2022 matters. Democrats have to put the fights over gerrymandering and voter suppression into perspective: as part of a renewed push to break the filibuster and enact the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Their blunt focus must be on the reality that if they lose next year, the future of American democracy will be suddenly and severely imperiled.

(c) 2021 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.

Thanksgiving Message 2021
By James Donahue

Millions of Americans this weekend are gathering with their families to stuff themselves on rich food before retiring to the status of couch potato while their television poisons their brains.

They may joke about what they are doing, knowing at least subconsciously that it is misguided. Since Thanksgiving has become an American tradition they are using herd mentality and doing it anyway. It is the beginning of a month -long holiday season filled with gluttony, spangles and pure ugliness all committed in the name of Jesus.

This is the way Americans celebrate this particular holiday. It is a day of over indulgence with rich food, a day of family feuding, a day of televised football. Of belching, farting and feeling bloated. At least that is how it is for those who still have jobs.

Those numbers are dwindling.

For many this is not a day of celebration. America is the only nation that marks a day like this to commemorate the conclusion of the year's harvest (did you forget?), there are more people than ever living in dire poverty.

Because of run -away inflation people with low -paying jobs barely have the price of a can of beans. For them: forget the turkey dinner, unless some public charity comes to their aid or they can find a Salvation Army kitchen within walking distance.

More people are said to be living on the streets of America today than at any time during the Great Depression. The concept of Thanksgiving was established by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, but was never made a nation holiday by Congress until 1941. Thus the holiday is not an old one and there really is no tradition. Contrary to public myth, it did not originate with the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

The celebration of the autumn harvest, however, is ancient. It falls near the Autumn Equinox and is part of man's relationship to the natural cycles of the Mother Earth.

(c) 2021 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.

The Persistence of Pinkerism
By David Swanson

I'm old enough to remember when you couldn't do a speaking event related to war and peace without being asked numerous reasonable and not so reasonable questions about 9/11 (each accompanied by a stack of DVDs and flyers presented to you as a revelation from on high). There was a long period when you could count on the inevitable question about "peak oil." I've been around enough to know that you can't talk to peace -oriented people without a question about creating a Department of Peace, or to non -peace -oriented people without a question about good humanitarian wars against irrational foreigners who can't be reasoned with, or to any group at all in the United States and some other countries without "What about Hitler?," or to any self -selected audience at a peace -related event without the question about why the other people in the room are disproportionately old, white, and middle -class. I don't mind terribly the predictable questions. They let me refine my answers, practice my patience, and appreciate the unpredictable questions when they come. But, my God, if people don't stop with the out -of -control Pinkerism I may just pull all my hair out.

"But isn't war going away? Steven Pinker proved that."

No. He didn't. And it couldn't. War can't arise or go away on its own. People have to make war expand or continue or decline. And they are not making it decline. And this matters, because unless we recognize the need for human agency to abolish war, war will abolish us; because unless we recognize the horribly unpeaceful time we are living in we will not care about or act on behalf of its victims; because if we imagine war going away as military spending climbs steadily through the roof, we'll likely imagine that militarism is irrelevant to or even supportive of peace; because misunderstanding the past as fundamentally different and universally more violent can and does lead to excusing immoral actions that should be condemned if we want to do better; and because both Pinkerism and militarism are propped up by the same exceptionalist bigotry - if you believe the people of Crimea voting to re -join Russia is the most violent crime yet this century, you'll likely also believe that threatening war on China is good for children and other living things (but doesn't count as war).

There have been serious critiques of Pinker's Better Angels of Our Nature since day 1. One of my favorites early on was from Edward Herman and David Peterson. A recent collection is called The Darker Angels of Our Nature. But people who ask the Pinkerism question seem never to have imagined that anything Pinker claimed has been doubted at all, much less thoroughly debunked by countless professional historians. I think this is, in part, because Pinker is a smart guy and a good writer (he has other books I like, dislike, and have mixed opinions on), in part because we all know that long -term trends can be the opposite of what we think (and, specifically, that U.S. corporate media creates false beliefs in rising crime rates simply by filling "news" shows with crime), in part because enduring exceptionalism creates certain blinders, and mostly because people have been taught to believe in Western capitalist progress since they were toddlers and they enjoy believing in it.

Pinker does not get every possible fact in his whole book wrong, but his general conclusions are all either wrong or unproven. His selective use of statistics, extensively documented at the links above, is driven by two overlapping goals. One is to make the past dramatically more violent than the present. The other is to make non -Western culture dramatically more violent than Western. So, the violence of the Aztecs is based on little more than Hollywood movies, while the violence of the Pentagon is based on data approved by the Pentagon. The result is Pinker's agreement with the U.S. academic fantasy that the mass slaughters of the past 75 years constitute a great period of peace. In reality, the unprecedented war deaths, injuries, trauma, destruction, and war -created homelessness of the 20th century have rolled right on into the 21st.

How to characterize the damage of wars depends on whether you choose to include non -immediate deaths (later suicides and deaths from injuries and deprivation and environmental contamination due to wars), and whether you choose to include death and suffering that could have been prevented with the resources spent on the wars. Even if you're willing to go with the most credible studies on immediate deaths, they are only estimates; and you're lucky if you can get even credible estimates on less -immediate war killing. But we can be sure of enough to know that Pinker's portrait of war's evaporation is nonsense on its own terms.

I think it's important for us to consider the death and suffering caused by sanctions and economic injustice and environmental destruction, whether or not Pinker does, and whether or not we label such things "violence." The institution of war does a lot more damage than just wars. I also think it's rather insane not to consider the ever -increasing risk of nuclear apocalypse that would not exist without war and all the "progress" made on how it's waged and threatened. But mostly I think we need to recognize that the rosy world of peace and nonviolence Pinker imagines himself in is in fact 100% possible if and only if we work for it.

(c) 2021 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.

Despite "Code Red," Governments Continue To Support Fossil Fuels
By Thomas L. Friedman

If I am brutally honest, there is only one motto I would give to the movement to stem climate change after the Glasgow summit: "Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die."

On the one hand, liberal greens will tell you that the world is ending - but that we must not use nuclear power, an abundant source of clean energy, to stave it off. On the other hand, conservative greens will tell you that the world is ending, but that we can't burden people with a carbon tax or a gasoline tax to slow global warming.

On a third hand, suburban greens will tell you that the world is ending, but that they don't want any windmills, solar farms or high -speed rail lines in their backyards.

On a fourth hand, most of today's leaders will tell you that the world is ending, so at Glasgow they've all decided to go out on a limb and commit their successors' successor to deliver emissions -free electricity by 2030, 2040 or 2050 - any date that doesn't require them to ask their citizens to do anything painful today.

This is not serious - not when you're talking about reversing all the ways that we have destabilized Earth's systems, from ice caps and ocean currents to coral reefs and tropical forests to the density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is pretend.

Serious was how we responded to Covid -19, when it really did feel like the world economy was ending: We fought back with the only tools we have that are as big and powerful as Mother Nature - Father Profit and New Tech.

We combined innovative biotech firms - like Pfizer -BioNTech, Moderna and some small start -ups - with today's massive computing power and a giant market demand signal, and what did we get? In a little over a year after first being locked down by the virus, I had an effective mRNA vaccine against Covid -19 in my body - followed by a booster!

That was an amazing feat of biotechnology and computerized logistics to develop and deliver vaccines. And I hope the scientists, employees and shareholders of those vaccine innovators make boatloads of money - because it will incentivize others to apply a similar formula to stem climate change.

I have nothing against Glasgow. I admire those leaders who are trying to inspire the world to cut CO2 emissions, preserve biodiversity and hold each other to account. But we will not decarbonize the global economy with a lowest -common -denominator action plan of 195 countries. Not possible.

We will get there only when Father Profit and risk -taking entrepreneurs produce transformative technologies that enable ordinary people to have extraordinary impacts on our climate without sacrificing much - by just being good consumers of these new technologies.

In short: we need a few more Greta Thunbergs and a lot more Elon Musks. That is, more risk -taking innovators converting basic science into tools yet to be imagined to protect the planet for a generation yet to be born.

The good news - it's happening. Two examples:

The first is, which I alluded to briefly in last week's column from Glasgow. Founded in 2010 by three former NASA scientists based in San Francisco, Planet has some 200 earth -imaging satellites in orbit, most the size of a loaf of bread, to observe the entire global land mass every 24 hours in high resolution - in order to make the changes unfolding on the ground "visible, accessible and actionable." No government in the world has this capacity.

With these new deep transparency tools we can begin to reshape capitalism. For years, the rules and incentives of capitalism enabled oil and coal companies to extract fossil fuels - and industries to use them - without paying the true cost of the damage they were causing. That was easy to do because nature was hard to value; destruction was often hard to see in real time; and consumers had no tools to react. They had to wait for the courts. "Capitalism has produced enormous wealth, but in part that's because it has been able to treat nature as self -replenishing, hyper -abundant and free," explained Andrew Zolli, Planet's chief impact officer.

That will not be so easy anymore. Satellites are now "enabling us to put natural capital on every company and every country's balance sheet," so it will not take account of just your business profits and losses, "but all of your impacts" on the environment as well, Will Marshall, one of Planet's three co -founders and its C.E.O., said to me.

Planet's satellites plus AI, Marshall explained, can track a country's trees, farmlands, coral reefs, coastal mangroves and smokestack emissions with incredible precision - down to three meters - and provide transparency to show which trees are being illegally logged by whom and whose factories are violating their carbon dioxide emissions promises.

That data can then be used - in theory - to trigger consumer boycotts, spread through social networks, against the government or the food or mining company doing the damage, or it can stimulate foreign aid or investment in the country or community protecting its natural resources.

For instance, Planet, with a group of scientific and philanthropic partners, has helped create a detailed map - the Allen Coral Atlas - of all the world's remaining coral reefs. The Philippines is using the atlas's data about sea grass to plan nine new marine -protected areas throughout the country. At the same time, in a partnership paid by Norway, Planet is tracking deforestation in 64 tropical rainforest countries, including Brazil. Using Planet's pinpoint accuracy, the Brazilian government has vastly increased the number of cease -and -desist citations against illegal loggers, according to Planet's Brazilian partner, MapBiomas.

Even more important, Marshall said, is how Planet's commercial business also helps by, for example, enabling farmers to do precision agriculture by giving them fine -grain images of their crops so they know exactly where to add water and fertilizer or when to harvest. "This may have the biggest ecosystem impact of all," he said. More efficient crop yields that use less water and fewer fertilizers end up "reducing the need to plow up more tropical forest and strengthens the environment generally."

The other company I am watching is Helion Energy, based in Redmond, Wash., which is working on "the world's first fusion power plant." Fusion energy has long been the holy grail for clean power generation - and it always seems 20 years away. As the International Atomic Energy Agency notes on its website: "The sun, along with all other stars, is powered by a reaction called nuclear fusion. If nuclear fusion can be replicated on earth, it could provide virtually limitless clean, safe and affordable energy."

Last June, as the website New Atlas reported, Helion published results confirming that its latest system had managed to heat a fusion plasma to a temperature over 100 million degrees Celsius, "which is significant, since it's around the point at which there's enough thermal energy to create large amounts of fusion."

On Nov. 5, in the midst of Glasgow, Helion, across the Atlantic in Redmond, announced that it had raised $500 million in new financing in a round led by Sam Altman, C.E.O. of OpenAI and former president of Y Combinator, along with a Who's Who of tech entrepreneurs.

The current generation of Helion's system, reported, "wouldn't be able to replace your Tesla Powerwall and solar panels - the size of a generator is roughly the size of a shipping container. But at 50 megawatts, the generators could power around 40,000 homes." As New Atlas pointed out, "Helion projects it will generate electricity at rock -bottom prices of around $10 per MWh ... less than a third the price of coal -fired power or today's solar PV installations."

Is Helion THE holy grail? Don't know. There are other companies with promising approaches - like Commonwealth Fusion Systems - all racing to the same goal. I just know this: We got into this hole thanks to the worst of capitalism - letting companies privatize their gains from despoiling the environment and warming the climate - while socializing the losses among all of us.

We can get out of it, in part, by accelerating the best of American capitalism. We need to re -energize our innovation ecosystem to where government funds basic research that pushes the boundaries of physics, chemistry and biology and then combines that innovation with immigration policies that amass the world's best pools of engineering talent and then unleashes that talent - propelled by risk -takers - to invent new clean technologies to slow global warming at the warp speed and scale we need.

(c) 2021 Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and, columnist -the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of seven bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

The Trump Administration Created Its Own Reality On The Pandemic And Failed The Country
New documents demonstrate a sheer contempt for active national leadership and a disregard for the public health that has no parallel in American history.
By Charles P. Pierce

There was only one story worth coverage in our politics as the week began. The story was that, for four years, the United States of America, the world's oldest democracy, was governed by monsters, and that a substantial portion of the population seems to want some of the monsters back. These were death -dealing scum who dealt their death on their own people and then, having dealt death far and wide for their own cheap political purposes, they covered up what they did, also for their own cheap political purposes. I have no illusions about what other American administrations have done. Nobody my age does. But there's an element of penny -ante nihilism behind the events of 2017 -2021 that make the death dealt by that administration* look more casual and, therefore, infinitely more cruel.

Politico looked through emails and documents released by the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis and found a stunning amount of evidence that arraigns the previous administration* for its moral responsibility in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The emails and transcripts detail how in the early days of 2020 Trump and his allies in the White House blocked media briefings and interviews with CDC officials, attempted to alter public safety guidance normally cleared by the agency and instructed agency officials to destroy evidence that might be construed as political interference. The documents further underscore how Trump appointees tried to undermine the work of scientists and career staff at the CDC to control the administration's messaging on the spread of the virus and the dangers of transmission and infection.
The previous administration* gagged its own scientists, buried its own reports, bullied its own agencies, soft -pedaled its own data, and created its own reality to sell to the country, all at a crucial time when the pandemic could have been fought seriously and at least partly arrested.
Christine Casey, one of the leaders of the CDC team that publishes weekly scientific reports, also known as Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, told the House committee that at one point in August 2020 she received instructions to delete an email reflecting political interference.

Casey said Paul Alexander, the former temporary senior policy adviser to the assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, instructed her to stop publishing the weekly reports, insinuating her team was trying to make Trump look bad in public. After conversations with leadership at the CDC, including then -Director Robert Redfield, Michael Iademarco, one of the CDC's leaders overseeing epidemiology and laboratory services, told Casey to delete the email.

"I believe he said that the director [Redfield] said to delete the email and that anyone else who had received it, you know, should do as well," Casey said in her testimony.

One particularly egregious example involves the country's meatpacking industry, which was slammed by the pandemic early on. The workers in that industry were largely poor, many of them were of questionable immigration status, and those circumstances made them vulnerable to being forced into dangerous conditions by their employers. This made some people curious as to why the Centers for Disease Control were not sending out specific guidance to that specific industry.

In an April 2020 email released by the committee Friday, then -Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought emailed Redfield, raising questions about why the CDC was not planning to send public health guidance on meatpacking plants through the White House. At the time, the White House was at odds with CDC about what steps meatpacking plants should take to protect workers from contracting Covid -19. The virus had infected several plants in the Midwest, causing disruptions to workflow. Also disruptions to some workers' lifeflows, by making them dead.

"Bob -Your team (Kyle McGowan) is saying that they are not going to send the meat packing guidance through the normal OIRA channel in order to serve Taskforce. We need to make sure it comes in as normal to run our clearance process," Vought wrote. At the urging of top White House officials, including Marc Short, former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, Redfield softened the language of the guidance.
The sheer contempt for active national leadership and the sheer disregard for the public health illustrated by this material has no parallel in American history. For the sake of their own public image -which, ironically, was headed for the storm drain anyway -members of the administration* abandoned even their most rudimentary obligations as public servants. The country was denied the information it desperately needed because some time -servers and coat -holders were trying to avoid a tantrum from the Oval Office. We are lucky we survived this long.

(c) 2021 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote -

"The rich and large corporations get richer, the CEOs earn huge compensation packages, and when things get bad, don't worry; Uncle Sam and the American taxpayers are here to bail you out. But when you are in trouble, well, we just can't afford to help you, if you are in the working class or middle class of this country"
~~~ Bernie Sanders

All Trump's Cover-Ups: From Syria Airstrike On Civilians To US COVID Genocide
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - The US Founding Fathers had a cynical side. They did not think people in government could be trusted to do the right thing. They though people often do what they can get away with. The point of James Madison's checks and balances was not just to guard against tyranny but also against corruption.

In the Trump era, the checks and balances broke down. The Republican hold on Congress and increasing dominance of the federal courts allowed Trump literally to get away with murder. This corruption was not a foregone conclusion; Republicans voted against Nixon once upon a time. During the Trump regime, most Republicans submitted to a cult of personality that had widely and fanatically been embraced by their constituents. Trump was the epitome of shamelessness even before his attempted coup on January 6, hinting around to his cronies who did fall afoul of the law that if only they would, organized -crime style, keep mum about Trump's own criminal deeds, he would use the presidential pardon to rescue them.

Trump's cover -ups infected the whole of government during his watch. Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt at The New York Times revealed this weekend that a war crime ordered by the secretive Task Force 9 during the last days of the war on ISIL in Syria was covered up by the Pentagon. All the generals knew what the president wanted. No scandals. Bomb'em back to the stone age with no apologies. That is what he got.

The strike "in self defense" wiped out some 80 women and children huddling by a river bank. Pilipps and Schmitt found that 80 percent of Task Force 9's strikes claimed self -defense.

When Trump came in as president in 2017, by which time President Obama had all but defeated ISIL, he was reported to have loosened the military's rules of engagement, and reports of civilian casualties immediately rose on his watch. The NYT has perhaps given us a glimpse of why. The reporters wrote, "Hundreds of military assessment reports examined by The Times show the task force was implicated in nearly one in five coalition civilian casualty incidents in the region." Entire towns, they say, were reduced to rubble. If it were not for a whistle-blower, we wouldn't know about the massacre at Baghuz. There are many massacres we don't know about still.

Also this weekend, a congressional committee investigating the Trump administration's response to the pandemic, as Peter Wade at Rolling Stone notes, show how the Trump administration muzzled the Centers for Disease Control in 2020 concerning the pandemic.

After Nancy Messonier angered Trump by saying in public that the coronavirus pandemic had the potential to disrupt life in the US, which caused the stock market to fall, Trump muzzled the whole institution. Wade writes, "For three months after the February briefing, the administration banned CDC officials from conducting any public briefings at the very same time the virus was rapidly spreading throughout the United States." Reporters couldn't get information on the pandemic from the government institution whose job it was to . . . control disease!

Trump was fanatical in honing in on numbers - good numbers and bad numbers. He wanted COVID numbers low. So his quack -in -chief Dr. Scott Atlas, made the CDC stop recommending that people who were exposed to the virus but developed no symptoms be tested. Since this virus is characterized by asymptomatic transmission - you can pass it on even if you don't have a cough or runny nose - that was exactly the wrong guidance.

Dr. Deborah Birx estimated that Trump's policies just in fall, 2020, were responsible for 130,000 to 160,000 needless US deaths from COVID-19. That is a genocide. The Nazi genocide against the Romani people killed about 130,000 people.

Trump routinely overruled government rules and overruled science, all to get his poll numbers up and pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.

At least a majority of people had the common sense not to be taken in by Trump's cover -ups and propaganda. The worrisome thing is that in today's America, common sense seems to be a dwindling and increasingly rare commodity.


Bonus Video:

CGTN: "Airstrike concealed by U.S. killed dozens of civilian in Syria: Report"

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He 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.

Alexandria Ocasio -Cortez. 'Censure is not enough for Gosar. He should be expelled from the House.'

What Happens When A Congressman Threatens A Colleague With Violence?
By Robert Reich

Last week, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar posted on Twitter and Instagram a photoshopped animated cartoon in which he assassinates Representative Alexandria Ocasio -Cortez and attacks President Joe Biden.

Gosar says it "symbolizes the battle for the soul of America" when Congress takes up the president's economic package, which he said includes immigration provisions he opposes.

Gosar represents Arizona's 4th congressional district. Until 2012, a dear friend of mine, Gabrielle Giffords, represented Arizona's 8th congressional district.

I got to know Gabby shortly before she entered politics as a member of the Arizona state house of representatives in 2001. She then became the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona senate and then, in 2006, the third woman in history to be elected to represent Arizona in the US House of Representatives.

On 8 January 2011, during a public gathering outside a Safeway grocery store in Casa Adobes, Arizona, Gabby was shot in the head by a man firing a 9mm pistol with a 33 -round magazine.

He hit 19 people and killed six, among them federal judge John Roll and a nine -year -old girl, Christina -Taylor Green. The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was detained by bystanders until he was taken into police custody. Eventually, after facing more than 50 federal criminal charges, Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 of them to avoid a death sentence.

Gabby was evacuated to the University Medical Center of Tucson in critical condition. By the time I was able to see her the following week, she could say a few words. But even now, a decade later - after the most intense and courageous personal effort at rehabilitation I have ever witnessed - she continues to struggle with language and has lost half her vision in both eyes. Gabby resigned from Congress in 2012.

Why did Loughner try to assassinate her? No one will ever know for sure. Authorities found in his safe an envelope that bore the handwritten words "Giffords", "My assassination" and "I planned ahead." By all accounts, including his own, he was growing increasingly delusional. He had amplified on his social media accounts several extremist rightwing tropes.

In March 2010, 10 months before the shooting, former vice -presidential candidate Sarah Palin had posted a map of 20 congressional districts she and John McCain won in 2008 but whose representatives in Congress had voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act. The map marked each district with a set of crosshairs. Palin promoted the map by tweeting "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD." One of those crosshairs targeted Gabby.

Although no direct connection was ever established between Palin's map and Gabby's shooting, surely Palin's violent rhetoric contributed to a climate of political violence in America in which a delusional man would mark Gabby for assassination. Gabby herself had expressed concern about Palin's map.

Just as surely, Palin's inflammatory post was a step toward increasingly violent political rhetoric on the way to Donald Trump and the insurrection of 6 January.

Last Friday a group of House Democrats introduced a resolution to censure Gosar for posting his video. The motion was introduced by Representative Jackie Speier, co -chair of the Democratic women's caucus, and nine other lawmakers. "For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale," the group said. "As the events of January 6th have shown, such vicious and vulgar messaging can and does foment actual violence."

The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, has so far been silent on Gosar's video. The group of House Democrats who introduced the resolution condemned McCarthy's silence, calling it "tacit approval and just as dangerous."

America is experiencing increasingly virulent politics and violent political threats. The New York Times reports that at a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats. "When do we get to use the guns?" he said, as the audience applauded. "How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?" The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a "fair" question.

According to the Times, violent threats against lawmakers are on track to double this year. Republicans who break party ranks and defy Trump have come to expect death threats - often incited by their own colleagues, who have denounced them as traitors.

Unless those at the highest levels of government who foment or encourage violence - or who remain conspicuously silent as others do - are held accountable, no one in political life will be safe.

Censure is not enough for Gosar. He should be expelled from the House.

(c) 2021 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

Artists and rights groups are urging Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to ditch its Amazon palm-scanning technology.

Trust Is Hard To Find At The U.N. Climate Summit In Glasgow
Thousands visit Red Rocks every month to experience amazing performances, not to be part of some dangerous biometric surveillance experiment.
By Jessica Corbett

More than 200 musical artists and 30 human rights groups on Tuesday endorsed a Fight for the Future-led campaign opposing the use of Amazon palm-scanning technology at Colorado's famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is owned and operated by the city and county of Denver, began using the technology-called Amazon One -as an optional replacement for physical or digital tickets earlier this year.

"Amazon signed a deal with entertainment company AEG to bring the technology to Red Rocks, which sells tickets on AEG's ticketing site, AXS," Fortune reports, noting that "it will be available at other venues in the coming months."

The new campaign includes an open letter calling on the venue and its ticketing partner to "immediately cancel all contracts with Amazon for the invasive Amazon One palm scanning technology, and ban all biometric surveillance at events and venues once and for all."

Signatories include Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigr, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Gramatik, and Mannequin Pussy, as well as the organizations Access Now, American Friends Service Committee, Jobs With Justice, Kairos, Media Justice,, and United We Dream.

"The spread of biometric surveillance tools like palm scans and facial recognition now threatens to destroy" concertgoers' experiences, the campaign warns, by transforming venues into "hotspots" for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, false arrests, police harassment, and identity theft.

The letter notes that in 2019, over 40 major music festivals "responded to activists' demands to reject invasive facial recognition technology," and that "AEG is one of the many companies that has taken a strong stand" against the use of such technology.

"Red Rocks, AXS, and AEG must now go one step further and refuse palm -scanning devices and all other forms of invasive biometric surveillance," the letter continues. "Our privacy, safety, and lives are at stake."

An Amazon spokesperson called the new campaign's claims "inaccurate" and said that "Amazon One is not a facial recognition technology-it is an optional technology designed to make daily activities faster and easier for customers, and users who choose to participate must make an intentional gesture with their palm to use the service."

The spokesperson added that "safeguarding customer privacy is a foundational design principle," explaining that "Amazon One devices are protected by multiple security controls, and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area we custom -built for Amazon One in the cloud where we create your palm signature."

For some supporters of the campaign, concerns about the technology outweigh any convenience.

Evan Greer is director of Fight for the Future, which not only is spearheading this effort against Amazon -long criticized by rights groups for various business practices -but has also led similar efforts, such as a campaign launched earlier this year to end U.S. retailers' use of facial recognition technology.

Greer -also a musician who recently released an album titled Spotify is Surveillance -said in a statement Tuesday that "I don't want anyone coming to one of my concerts to have to worry that they'll be subjected to invasive surveillance, or coerced into handing over their sensitive biometric information to a corporation."

"Music festivals and many concert venues are already unsafe, exclusive, and inaccessible for many marginalized folks, including trans and nonbinary people," she added. "Introducing biometric surveillance technology at events, even just for the marginal-at-best 'convenience' of making the line move faster, makes music fans less safe."

Fight for the Future campaign director Caitlin Seeley George, who lives near and has attended events at Red Rocks, said that "it pains me that this palm -scanning technology is being used in such a special place, on people who just want to go and enjoy a live show and likely don't understand the risks of giving over their biometric data-risks like identity theft and having data passed on to abusive law enforcement agencies or marketing companies."

"We have to stop this technology from spreading before it becomes impossible to avoid," she said, "and we expect places like Red Rocks to champion the safety of music lovers over this dangerous and invasive surveillance."

Siena Mann, campaign manager for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, pointed out that "biometrics collection is central to Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) and police departments' surveillance infrastructure," and expressed concern about law enforcement gaining access to the data.

"Thousands visit Red Rocks every month to experience amazing performances, not to be part of some dangerous biometric surveillance experiment," Mann said. "Amazon using the guise of convenience to convince droves of concertgoers to offer up their biometric data is twisted, disturbing, and unacceptable. Simply put, palm scans and other forms of biometric data collection, like facial recognition, are tools of state violence."

(c) 2021 Jessica Corbett

The Cartoon Corner -

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Christo Komarnitski ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Biden Social Spending Bill Whittled Down To $10 Billion Check To Joe Manchin
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-At last striking a compromise that unites all 50 Democrats in the Senate, the White House announced Wednesday that it had enough votes to pass a streamlined version of President Joe Biden's social spending bill that had been stripped of every provision except for a $10 billion check for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

"While we didn't get everything we wanted, the important thing is that we reached an agreement that represents this country's largest-ever public investment in Joe Manchin," said Biden, noting that he ran for president as a consensus candidate and that the revised legislation -which removes broadly popular sections of the bill including a clean energy program, paid family leave, and a tax on billionaires' assets-apparently reflected Senate consensus.

"This is how you get things done in a democracy. These funds will go out immediately and provide assistance to a lawmaker who is currently struggling in West Virginia and will now, thanks to our efforts over these many months, see his net worth increase many, many times over. We still have more work to do, but this is an important first step."

Administration officials added that they still believe Senate Democrats can use the budget reconciliation process to push through an additional measure addressing "whatever the hell it is" that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wants.

(c) 2021 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 46 (c) 11/19/2021

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