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In This Edition

Norman Solomon concludes, "Corporate Democrats Are to Blame For Congressional Losses -- So Naturally They're Blaming Progressives."

Ralph Nader sends a, "Letter To FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson."

Glen Ford reports, "Black Misleaders Back Susan Rice As Top Diplomat."

Jim Hightower is, "Finding Hope In Americas Progressive Core."

William Rivers Pitt explores why, "Mitch McConnell Is Sacrificing The Entire Economy To Impede Biden Administration ."

John Nichols explains, "What Bernie Sanders Could Do As Secretary Of Labor."

James Donahue wonders, "Could Alien Intelligence Be Found Under A Microscope"

David Swanson examines, "The New U.S. War On Western Sahara."

David Suzuki says, "U.S. Election Shows Need To Bend The Arc Toward Justice."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "Emily Murphy Holds The Key To the Transition Vault, And Of Course, Is Not Cooperating."

Juan Cole returns with, "Trump's Requested Strike On Iran Could Kill More People Than Atomic Bombing Of Nagasaki."

Stephen Dickson, Administrator Federal Aviation Administration wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich is, "Debunking Trump's Post-Election Lies."

Thom Hartmann returns with, "This Election Was Rigged."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "New Trump Lawsuit Seeks To Overturn Obama's 2008 Election," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Lying Donald Wants To Commit War Crimes, And Start WWIII!!!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Scott Stantis, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Brian McFadden, Tom Tomorrow, Frederic J. Brown, R. D. Ward, Keith Bedford, Tom Williams, Mark Wilson, Tim Dennell, Bill Clark, Michael Fleshman, DoD, 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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Lying Donald Wants To Commit War Crimes, And Start WWIII!!!
How dare we not reelect him
By Ernest Stewart

"When the shit hits the fan, we're on our own!" ~~~ Vice News

"What the study does draw attention to is that reducing global carbon emissions to zero by 2050"-a goal championed by the UN and embraced by a growing number of countries-"is just the start of our actions to deal with climate change." ~~~ Mark Maslin, ~ professor of climatology at University College London.

"But as I mentioned earlier, safety is a journey, not a destination." ~~~ Stephen Dickson ~ FAA head

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 a story (Doomsday & The President | WHILE THE REST OF US DIE) on Vice the other night where they brought up what I've been worrying about since last summer, i.e., what happens when Lying Donald loses the election. I'm afraid we're about to find out and I'm sure it won't be pretty. From declaring martial Law to suspending democracy and rounding his every conceived enemy and sending us all off to the Happy Camps. Don't say he hasn't the power, because he does! Here are the laws that aren't secret laws, but are on the books! Juan Cole reports on a story from The New York Times that may answer the question, if not this, something just as bad or worse! Juan reports that "last Thursday, in a meeting with his senior advisers, Trump abruptly asked them if there were options for a US strike on Iran's civilian nuclear enrichment facilities."

I'm going to repeat that again for those of you are on drugs!

"Lying Donald wants to commit war crimes, and start WWIII!!!"

If you thought his response to Covid-19 i.e., murdering Americans for fun and profit was bad, that could well be just a drop in the bucket compared to what maybe coming next! Juan continues: "They say that vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Mark Milley all sought to dissuade Trump from this course of action, on the grounds it could kick off a major war in the last weeks of his presidency. They are alleged to have come away from the meeting convinced that they had succeeded." Did they? When those three stooges are the voice of reason methinks we are really screwed, America! Perhaps they did convince Lying Donald to forget about this plan, but do you think Lying Donald is through with his "mischef makings?" He's got another two months to do something equally wicked and may mighty Zeus protect us all from his madness!

In Other News

I see where according to a new modelling study published Thursday. Even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, Earth will warm for centuries to come and oceans will rise by metres. According to this study we've already passed the point of no return!

The "natural drivers" of global warming, i.e., more heat trapping clouds, thawing permafrost, and shrinking sea ice already set in motion by carbon pollution will take on their own momentum, researchers from Norway reported in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

"According to our models, humanity is beyond the point-of-no-return when it comes to halting the melting of permafrost using greenhouse gas cuts as the single tool," lead author Jorgen Randers, a professor emeritus of climate strategy at the BI Norwegian Business School. "If we want to stop this melting process we must do something in addition-for example, suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it underground, and make Earth's surface brighter."

The core finding, contested by leading climate scientists, is that several thresholds, or "tipping points," in Earth's climate system have already been crossed, triggering a self-perpetuating process of warming, as has happened millions of years in the past.

One of these "drivers" is the rapid retreat of sea ice in the Arctic.

Since the late 20th century, millions of square kilometres of snow and ice, which reflects about 80 percent of the Sun's radiative force back into space are being replaced in summer by open ocean, which absorbs the same percentage instead.

Another source is the thawing of permafrost, which holds twice as much carbon as there is in the atmosphere. The third is increasing amounts of water vapour, which also has a warming effect.

Of course, nothing is really new here, as I've been reporting the same causes and effects for the last decade! It's just that more and more scientists are coming to the same conclusions. The longer we keep doing nothing about it, the worse it's going to be, and like rust, global warming never sleeps!

Meanwhile, down in the Caribbean, Category 5 Hurricane Iota breaks records as the latest Atlantic Category 5 Hurricane beating out a 1932 storm that happened on November 8th. Iota is also the strongest storm so far this year and the 30th named storm this year!

And Finally

Stephen Dickson, Administrator Federal Aviation Administration had just approved the 737 Max jet to fly again even though he knows what the likely outcome of recertification will mean to those dumb enough to fly in them. My guess is that only Lying Donald supporters are that stupid so that's not much of a loss! Boeing has updated the software or so they say, but even if fixing the software that made the planes fly into the ground works, that's still not the real problem with the jet.

The real problem is that the engines sit too far forward on the wings making the plane out of balance, not to mention the cables that control the plane having many of the sames problems that the original 737s had when they first came out in the late 60's. Of course, Stephen is well aware of these risks but like any other Lying Donald pick, he early on saw the profit from Boeing if he went along and played ball instead of making them fix everything. I'm guessing Boeing paid him the traditional 30 pieces of silver for his deed?

Ergo, Federal Aviation Administration head Stephen Dickson win's this week's Vidkun Quisling Award.

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


01-12-1932 ~ 11-14-2020
Thanks for the laughs!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Corporate Democrats Are to Blame For Congressional Losses -- So Naturally They're Blaming Progressives
By Norman Solomon

Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement "moderate" strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Biden's victory "came with no coattails down ballot." Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives.

The best members of Congress are pushing back -- none more forcefully or eloquently than Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan congresswoman who just won her second term in one of the nation's poorest districts. She was the most outspoken against an anti-progressive pile-on during a Nov. 5 conference call of House Democrats. And she continues to hold high a shining lantern of progressive principles.

Tlaib has pointed out that "Democratic candidates in swing districts who openly supported progressive policies, like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, won their races." And she refuses to retreat.

"We're not going to be successful if we're silencing districts like mine," she told Politico days ago. "Me not being able to speak on behalf of many of my neighbors right now, many of which are black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can't be silent."

Politico reported that Tlaib was "choking up as she expressed frustration" near the end of an interview as she said: "If [voters] can walk past blighted homes and school closures and pollution to vote for Biden-Harris, when they feel like they don't have anything else, they deserve to be heard. I can't believe that people are asking them to be quiet."

In an email to supporters, Tlaib was clear: "We've got to focus on working class people. We are done waiting to be heard or prioritized by the federal government. I won't let leaders of either party silence my residents' voices any longer."

Tlaib offers the kind of clarity that should guide progressive forces no matter how much "party unity" smoke is blown in their direction: "We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer. And if we truly want to unify our country, we have to really respect every single voice. We say that so willingly when we talk about Trump supporters, but we don't say that willingly for my black and brown neighbors and from LGBTQ neighbors or marginalized people."

When Rashida Tlaib talks about "pushing the Democratic Party to represent the communities that elected them," she actually means what she says. That's quite a contrast with the usual discourse coming from dominant Democrats and outfits like the Democratic National Committee.

Let's face it: Most of the nearly 100 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are not reliable when corporate push comes to shove, assisted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. What has been startling and sometimes disturbing to entrenched Democrats is that Tlaib -- along with House colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ro Khanna and some others -- repeatedly make it clear that they're part of progressive movements. And those movements are serious about fundamental social change, even if it means polarizing with Democratic Party leaders.

Anyone with a shred of humane values should be aware that Republican lawmakers are anathema to those values. But that reality shouldn't blind us to the necessity of challenging -- and, when feasible, organizing to unseat -- elected Democrats who are more interested in maintaining the status quo that benefits moneyed interests than fighting for social justice.

While satisfying their impulses to blame the left for centrist failures, corporate Democrats and their mildly "progressive" enablers -- inside and outside of Congress -- are striving to paper over basic fault lines. The absence of a functional public-health system, the feeble government response to the climate emergency, the widening and deadly realities of income inequality, the systemic racism, the runaway militarism and so many other ongoing catastrophes are results of social structures that constrict democracy and serve oligarchy. Those who denounce the fight for a progressive agenda are telling us that, in essence, they don't want much to change.

(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."

Letter To FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson

By Ralph Nader

November 13, 2020

Stephen Dickson, Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
U.S. Department of Transportation
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591

Dear Mr. Dickson,

It is now abundantly clear that instead of clearing out top Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operatives who have worked to make the FAA safe for Boeing, you have thrown in your lot with Ali Bahrami and Daniel Elwell and unwisely kept aviation industry apologists in positions of authority. You have effectively joined the top corporate culture of the FAA's management that is infatuated with the Organization Designation Authorization Program (ODA) abdication to Boeing, while too often overruling the agency's own engineers, just as Boeing has done with their engineers who objected to unsafe decisions down to the shop floor.

Safety advocates have waited in vain for you to address the strip mining of the FAA's budget over the years and the decline in its technical capacity, even though you have a receptive Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Congressman David Price who can assist you in restoring and rebuilding FAA's competence and reputation.

The recent House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure staff report on the Boeing 737 MAX released by Chairman Peter DeFazio excoriated the FAA's secrecy, its symbiotic relations with Boeing, and the specific failures of personnel (singling out Mr. Ali Bahrami - a former aerospace lobbyist in residence at the FAA). You have so far shrugged off this report with a couple of disingenuous sentences. In addition, you have apparently dismissed the two top committee Democrat's letter of October 1, 2020, insisting, unfortunately without a subpoena, that you "release all documents related to design revisions or evaluations related to the aircraft's safe return to service. This should include, but not be limited to, system safety assessments, related analysis, assumptions about pilot response times, and key test data concerning the safety of the aircraft." (See attached letter and report summary).

Your continued refusal to accede to this latest request for crucial safety information indicates your confidence that Senator Roger Wicker, Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, will shield your wholesale allegiance to Boeing's demand for secrecy. Boeing wants to fly the 737 MAX again on Boeing's proposed conditions.

The FAA keeps alluding to the past safety record of commercial airlines in the U.S. (eleven years - one fatality), but fails to recognize that the two crashes of the 737 MAX killing 346 people were caused by a flawed shortcut called MCAS that has never been used in commercial aviation before. The MCAS applied haphazardly to address a flawed aerodynamic design, which wrongfully positioned an engine on an aircraft fuselage to cause instability in flight, had never been experienced in the industry nor approved by the FAA before on any commercial aircraft. In addition, the increasing domination of software-controlled flying and of automation replacing pilot control and skills, ushers in a new era of aviation safety. These are challenges that the FAA is not presently technically equipped to meet even if it had the will to do so. Concerns about these issues come from independent experts, but also from informed unions, airline executives, and consumer groups such as Flyers Rights and Consumer Reports.

You, however, are privately expressing your opinion that blames the unalerted pilots who were sabotaged by stealth software taking control of their aircraft causing two fatal crashes and the loss of 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Can you not absorb the human factors engineering analysis in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, along with other official evaluations? The NTSB concluded: "the assumptions that Boeing used in its functional hazard assessment of uncommanded MCAS function for the 737 MAX did not adequately consider and account for the impact that multiple flight deck alerts and indications could have on pilots' responses to the hazard."

The human factors and the unstable aerodynamics of the 737 MAX have made it inherently unsafe. Because you flew the (tweaked) 737 MAX for two hours, do you really think you have covered the range of prudently foreseeable scenarios that thousands of 737 MAX planes will encounter around the world with an inadequate MCAS fix serving as a decoy that will distract the flying public from the other real problems with the 737 MAX known to your agency?

Reliable sources report that you are ready to unground the 737 MAX while ignoring the basic aerodynamic problem of the plane's "quick and dirty" engine position/fuselage mismatch, the cable/rudder vulnerability, and other non-flight control issues. Both Captain Sullenberger and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) have said "not so fast." The union for FAA's safety engineers who work on certifying new aircraft has called for substantial upgrades, including the rescinding of several exceptions granted to Boeing by the FAA. Additionally, more than 340 overwhelmingly negative comments have been filed on the FAA/Boeing proposed MAX, from dozens of top aviation safety experts.

The Seattle Times cited specific safety improvements suggested by Captain Sullenberger that shouldn't be shelved due to cost, adding, "Is that really something we are comfortable saying out loud to everybody who boards an airplane?" and he stated "I just don't think that's defensible. In safety-critical domains, 'just good enough,' isn't." The captain, based on his lengthy experience with flying conditions noted "Eventually, whatever can happen, will happen."

When cornered and not open to technical give-and-take, the FAA provides exceptions and allows later fixes, often already installed on other new Boeing planes. This approach is not good enough, Mr. Dickson.

I refer you to the detailed responses by the grieving families and by Flyers Rights to your proposed rulemaking placed in your docket by September 17, 2020. Have you personally read them? Besides making their points, they ask how the FAA can engage in public rulemaking based on secret data, tests, and assessments. The 737 MAX disasters are corporate crimes, due to gross criminal negligence. Federal prosecutors with the Justice Department are reportedly presenting a sitting grand jury with claims that Boeing misled the FAA about the MCAS software. In these grave matters of life and death, involving a potential 5000 737 MAX aircraft in the hands of many airlines flying under varying conditions, you should not fall back on the frivolous claim of protecting Boeing's so-called trade secrets, blocking the media and the many deeply interested parties and even Congressional panels from vital public scrutiny.

Secrecy perpetrated before and after the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes is a reason why there has been no focus on, in the words of MIT professor and aerospace engineer, Xavier de Luis, an "aerodynamic solution to an aerodynamic problem." (Professor de Luis lost his sister in the Ethiopian crash). This is the ignored, inexcusable generic design failure of this aircraft, which should be recalled for mandated modifications.

It behooves Boeing, during this Covid-19-driven airline industry slowdown, (and the mounting order cancellations), to respond ethically by executing the proper aerodynamic and structural repairs and modifications to the existing 737 MAX population. This involves lengthening the landing gear to accommodate the proper repositioning of the engines under the wings, similar to the Airbus 350 NEO, thus eliminating the need for MCAS and its associated downstream cost ramifications. This correct and proper solution costs more than the band-aid fixes applied to the MCAS, but in the big scheme of things, it should not exceed 3% to 5% of the retail price of a Boeing 737 MAX. In addition, it will allow for the future production of the 737 MAX to have the assured safety that the industry had experienced all along until the MCAS controlled 737 MAX crashed 2 planes and took the lives of 346 people. The U.S. commercial passenger aircraft safety record over the past eleven years (one fatality) has produced smugness at the FAA and its reactive tradition (that critics have called its tombstone mentality). This was grimly illustrated by the FAA's astounding insistence that the 737 MAX was a safe aircraft before and after each of the new aircraft's fatal crashes. Not forgotten either is FAA's resistance to grounding the 737 MAX until it was overwhelmed by grounding orders from the European Union and countries, including China and Canada.

In this new era of automation risks, of software piloting, Boeing chose massive stock buybacks and disinvested in R&D, lunching off its long, past engineering reputation and allowing, in the words of a veteran aviation safety specialist, "Boeing's marketeers to overrule the Boeing engineers." According to economist William Lazonick, "research, based on publicly available information, strongly suggests that the dedication of Boeing's senior executives to increasing their company's profits and stock yield - which also augmented their own compensation - resulted in management decisions that contributed to the two 737 MAX crashes." The obsession with stock buybacks is affecting other new Boeing models besides the ill-fated 737 MAX (whose flight-control system design, Captain Sullenberger, called a "deathtrap") as well as sloppily performed contracts with NASA and the Department of Defense.

With secrecy-based rulemaking, there can be no open examination by proficient analysts and experts representing their own judgment or on behalf of interested parties from Congress to consumer, labor, and the families all of whom fervently wish to protect airline passengers in future years.

If the airlines and suppliers asked for and received Boeing information denied these other parties, what does that do to your blanket dittoheading of Boeing's outrageous claim of proprietary information to cover its criminal negligence?

Captain Sullenberger, who also called for disclosure of Boeing's "hazard analysis and ... what assumptions were made," believes that the FAA's "status as the 'gold standard' among aviation regulators is 'shattered.'" You must know that the FAA's past obeisance to Boeing executives, before you took the helm, has not been good either for the Boeing company, its workers, and its future market share, with more competitors on the horizon. Recall, what happened to the leading British aerospace industry, following a series of crashes in the nineteen fifties.

End this farce of rulemaking and open the process. Stop withholding critical information that blocks open technical exchanges and critiques. Suspend this "going-through-the-motions" pretense in a regulatory process infected with a preordained conclusion. The FAA will have to defend its secret rulemaking and testing policy in federal court against a legal challenge by Flyers Rights and a host of experts and stakeholders (Flyers Rights v FAA, DDC CV-19-3749). Recent legal precedent by the DC Circuit Court holds that "secret data does not count" when an FAA safety decision is challenged. Do you and Boeing want to risk this outcome in order to defend the FAA secrecy tradition of your predecessors? How can you reconcile the FAA secrecy policy with your and Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun's often repeated promises of total transparency in ungrounding the 737 MAX?

I am attaching technical commentary about the 737 MAX flaws and how to fundamentally fix these planes aerodynamic and flight control problems with production engineering known and used in prior aircraft by both Boeing and Airbus. These observations from 'subject matter specialists' are anonymous due to their concern about retaliation - a well-known inhibition when it comes to the Boeing company and its wide range of economic networks. Imagine what these experts might find if they had had access to data requested by Congress.

As you read these points, ask yourself whether obvious questions come to your mind. Shouldn't the concerns raised in this brief attached memo be aired with your most conscientious engineers and their outside colleagues and publicly with Congress and the media? Shouldn't they be part of any recertification regulatory process?

Finally, Mr. Dickson should, heaven forbid, there be another 737 MAX crash or crashes due to causes about which you know and were repeatedly given specific notice of and which you and secretary Elaine Chao should have foreseen and prevented, do not think that responsibility - moral, political and legal (civil and criminal) will not apply.

If you are sitting on any undisclosed Boeing, et al. violations of Title 18, Sec.1001, and other incriminating materials, do not think that there will be no ethical whistleblowers coming forward or that pending civil action will not reach any horrifying cover-ups presently contained in trade secrecy envelopes. It will only be a matter of time and place.


Ralph Nader

(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).

Susan Rice with her great "friend," the late Ethiopian warlord Meles Zenawi

Black Misleaders Back Susan Rice As Top Diplomat
By Glen Ford

Genocide in Congo and militarization of the African continent are Susan Rice's specialties, but Black Democrats see her as a "role model."

No one in high levels of U.S. government has been more intimately complicit in the death of more than six million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo than Susan Rice, the bloodstained Democratic Party political operative who is actively seeking the job of secretary of state in the incoming Biden administration. If recent history is a guide, we can expect the entirety of the Black Democratic establishment to support this uber-criminal's elevation as a fitting reward to Black voters for putting Joe Biden in the White House - thus implicating all of Black America in the largest genocide since World War Two.

Rice is a protege of former secretary of state Madelaine Albright, who in 1996 infamously described the sanctions-induced death of half a million Iraqi children as "worth it" to punish the Saddam Hussein regime. But Rice has bested her mass murderous mentor in total career body count. As President Bill Clinton's national security advisor (1993 to 1997), senior director for African Affairs (1995 to 1997) and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997 to 2001), Rice was the point person in Washington's massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo by the armies of U.S. client states Rwanda and Uganda. In service to the Obama administration (ambassador to the United Nations, 2009-2013, national security advisor, 2013-2017), Rice smothered a United Nations Mapping Report that documented Rwandan and Ugandan crimes against Congo, including potentially genocidal offenses, and protected Uganda from the International Court of Justice's award of $10 billion in damages to the Democratic Republic Congo.

When the United Nation's highest court issued its verdict in 2005, the death toll in Congo was estimated at 3 million. By 2010, with Ambassador Susan Rice at the United Nations, the uninterrupted genocide had claimed six million lives, while the looting of Congo's vast mineral resources financed the rise of a gleaming skyline over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a nation that has no significant mineral deposits. Multinational corporations are the biggest beneficiaries of the "blood" minerals; it is these conglomerates whose interests Susan Rice protects.

Today, Congolese speak of eight million dead, but nobody in the Congressional Black Caucus is listening. Half of the Black Caucus voted against a measure that would have halted President Obama's bombing of Libya, in the summer of 2011. Obama claimed that the Euro-American air war in support of mainly jihadist opponents of Muammar Gaddafi's secular government was not subject to the War Powers Act, because no Americans had died - a totally novel definition of war in which only American bodies matter. Rice was then ambassador to the United Nations, where she successfully pressed for a "no fly zone" as a cover for NATO's war against Libya. "This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely," Rice told reporters. But the bulk of violence was committed by U.S.-backed "rebels" against Black Libyans and south Saharans working in the country. Tawergha, a Black Libyan town of almost 50,000 people, was utterly destroyed, its inhabitants killed, imprisoned or scattered - with not a peep of complaint from the Black American woman at the UN or the First Black President of the United States. The branded faces of Black migrant workers sold into slave markets are Rice and Obama's Libyan legacy.

The unprovoked war against Libya, which removed a bulwark of African independent economic and political development, was heralded as AFRICOM's "first major combat operation on the African continent." There would be many more, as a Black U.S. administration methodically occupied the continent, from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans.

Rice cultivated relations with every pro-U.S. warlord in Africa. She was especially close to Meles Zenawi, the deceased former leader of the dictatorial Ethiopian regime that invaded Somalia with the full support of U.S. air, ground and sea power in December of 2006, ousting a moderate Islamic Courts government that had brought a brief period of peace to the country. The Somali war, now effectively run by the CIA, has engulfed the Horn of Africa - another bloody feather in Susan Rice's cap.

When Rice was a candidate for secretary of state under President Obama in 2012, the entirety of the Black Misleadership Class circled their wagons around her, to counter Republican claims that Rice was to blame for the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya by U.S.-backed jihadists. Ignoring Rice's and Obama's crimes against Africans, Black American politicos rallied to Rice's defense as a "a role model to all women" who "represents a rich and important legacy of strong women leaders in foreign policy." Twelve female members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including anti-war icon Barbara Lee, offered Rice their sisterly support. "We will not allow a brilliant public servant's record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state," said DC congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

None of Rice's Black boosters gave a thought to her culpability in the ongoing terror in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a 2011 study estimated that "nearly two million women have been raped...with women victimized at a rate of nearly one every minute." (See Black Agenda Report, "The Shameless Vacuity of Susan Rice's Boosters," Dec 5, 2012.)

Rice's bid for the top State Department job was frustrated in 2012, but she's once again shamelessly campaigning for the office, reportedly with the backing of Obama. The Black Misleadership Class - eternally full of themselves - puts forth the worst possible image of Black America to the rest of the world, with not a iota of embarrassment. Having "arrived" at positions of influence in the belly of the beast, they strut about like any other variety of "ugly Americans" who want nothing more than to be full citizens of empire - humanity, including Africa, be damned.

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

Finding Hope In Americas Progressive Core
By Jim Hightower

Good grief, cry many progressives - how has America turned so right-wing that a flabby, narcissistic, wannabe-dictator like Trump was even in the running?

But wait - aside from a minority of racist, xenophobic, misogynistic voters, plus a bunch of uber-wealthy corporate profiteers making a killing from his rich-man's agenda - most of Trump's rank-and-file voters are not right-wingers at all. To see evidence of this, look at the multitude of overtly progressive ballot issues that won majority support on Tuesday, even in so-called "Trump Country."

* 53 percent of Arizona voters said yes to a tax surcharge on incomes above $250,000 a year, specifically to raise teacher pay and recruit more teachers.

* A whopping 78 percent of Oregon voters approved a populist proposition to put strict controls on the corrupting power of big-money corporate donations in elections.

* 61 percent of Floridians voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, a working class advance vehemently opposed by corporate giants and right-wing groups.

* 57 percent voted yes on a Colorado provision requiring corporations to let employees earn paid time-off for medical and family needs.

* Between 53 and 69 percent of voters in six states - including in such supposedly conservative bastions as Arizona, Mississippi, and South Dakota - approved initiatives liberalizing and even legalizing marijuana and other drug use.

* Plus, there were some big symbolic victories, such as Mississippi replacing a Confederate symbol on its state flag with a magnolia blossom, and the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly voted to amend their constitution to excise an antiquated provision authorizing slavery as a punishment for certain crimes!

The hope that resides in these progressive policy positions is the prospect that a truly great American majority might yet be forged - not around some mega-politician - but around our people's basic values of fairness and justice for all.

(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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves a news conference in the Hart Building on November 10, 2020.

Mitch McConnell Is Sacrificing The Entire Economy To Impede Biden Administration
By William Rivers Pitt

Unless something truly extraordinary intervenes, we are on the cusp of what could become the bleakest winter in living memory. There are 166 days standing between us and a time when most of the country will be back into something akin to warm weather. The remainder of November, followed by December, January, February, March and April, almost 24 weeks of the long, cold dark and the menace of COVID-19, will be the collective fate of much of the country.

"In earlier surges, infections were concentrated in cities such as New York and Chicago, or populous states like Florida and Texas," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Many of the outbreaks then were linked to travelers returning from overseas or so-called superspreading events such as conferences, weddings and rallies. Now, it is everywhere. People are becoming infected not just at big gatherings, but when they let their guard down, such as by not wearing a mask, while going about their daily routines or in smaller social settings that they thought of as safe - often among their own families or trusted friends."

The COVID pandemic is worse right now than it has ever been, worse by huge and horrifying numbers. Fewer people have been dying because the medical professionals who began this fight wearing trash bags (because ... Trump) have, in the intervening months, amassed a compendium of battlefield knowledge they lacked in March. The death counts are back to over 1,000 a day now, however, and with nearly 200,000 new infections expected each day in the next few weeks, the morgues may be lined with refrigeration trucks in big cities and small towns around the country soon enough.

Doctors are quitting, as are some nurses - the titanium backbone of this discombobulated national health care "system." Many health care professionals are getting sick as this surge overwhelms hospitals again - and again, this is only the beginning of winter. Even doctors in private practice, far from the mayhem of the emergency room, are hanging up their spurs.

We all know why we're here.

We're here, in large part, because of a "president" who has minimized this crisis from the beginning, and in the howling center of this new crescendo, cares only to tweet "I WON THE ELECTION!" from the depths of his own midnight.

We are here because of people like Donald Trump's favorite COVID "expert," Scott Atlas, who pushes the slow genocide of "herd immunity" while telling states like Michigan to "rise up" against necessary health strictures. The fact that basic precautions have been recast as an affront to liberty, and that people in positions of responsibility are choosing to grandstand on this brazen lie with lives on the line, is how countries collapse from within.

We are here because Trump's zoo of captive Midwest officials and those who follow them continue to fall over themselves trying to outdo the deadly folly of the other, even as those states suffer the hardest hit from this latest spike... and it is a spike, my friends. By most interpretations, including that of national COVID expert Anthony Fauci, this is still the first wave; it arrived and never ended, because people like those Midwest officials won't allow it to, because Trump.

And we are here because a large portion of the country has been hypnotized by this rogue-duck president and his ersatz promises of greatness. Too many people squat within their cozy information bubble, listening to the bombastic lies from Fox News and reading the bleakest conspiracy gibberish at Breitbart. Too many people think they're heroes because the radio tells them they're patriots for not wearing a mask. Pushing back may feel empowering, until you've pushed us all over a cliff.

This is allegedly a nation of rugged individualists. Well, rugged individualists should take responsibility for themselves and their actions. When this thing is over - and it will be, someday - a few million people are going to have to walk on a road of bones before confronting the face they see in the mirror. I envy them not.

At this juncture, however, the only person perhaps as worthy of purest loathing as Trump is his chief enabler, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "If Donald Trump is the Devil waiting at that moonlit crossroads to tune our guitar at the cost of our souls," I wrote almost two years ago, "Mitch McConnell drove him there and paid for the gas."

Millions of people remain out of work today. The effect of the first and only stimulus package McConnell allowed for a vote has all but dissipated. Those unemployed millions face the termination of their unemployment insurance at the end of the year, just when the eviction moratorium is set to expire.

When this COVID spike reaches its apex, the country may well be forced into another full shutdown. If McConnell and the Senate do not pass a robust aid package, the economic cost will be unimaginable. Restaurants currently praying for the snow to hold off so their lifeline of outside seating can continue may well be broomed off the sidewalk when the hammer falls, and thousands of other businesses that cannot operate without customers will disappear.

The answer for this is not to pretend it isn't happening and stack corpses before the altar of can't-stop capitalism. The answer is for McConnell to allow a large stimulus package to the floor for a vote, one that protects essential workers at places like grocery stores who will be risking their lives so Mitch can have strawberries with his breakfast. The answer is to offer financial protections to the sectors of the populace, including both individuals and businesses, that have been most brutally affected by the pandemic.

McConnell can do this, and he can do it today. The "lame duck" session of Congress has officially begun, and there isn't a blessed thing on Earth keeping Mitch McConnell from helping his country... except Mitch McConnell, who needs to keep the GOP base fired up so the Georgia runoffs break his way, which means coddling the crossfire hurricane in the Oval Office, which means perpetuating all the fictions that sustain this administration, which means no stimulus, because obviously we don't need one, right?

Besides, trashing the economy before January 20 will mean Joe Biden's administration will be buried to the neck before they get through the door, and that's what matters to Mitch. That's all that matters.

(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.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

What Bernie Sanders Could Do As Secretary Of Labor
If Biden were to embrace the idea, Sanders and a team of visionary leaders could forge a new New Deal for working Americans.
By John Nichols

Bernie Sanders's greatest strength has always been his determination to push the boundaries of our politics. The fact that he is currently considering the idea of joining President-elect Joe Biden's administration as secretary of labor is the latest example of his readiness to think outside the box.

The senator from Vermont's interest in the position has been an open secret for weeks. He's now said, "If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would."

The prospect that he could take over the Department of Labor is just that: a prospect. The two-time presidential candidate put things in perspective when he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "What's true is I want to do everything I can to protect the working families of this country who are under tremendous duress right now. Whether that's in the Senate, whether that's in the Biden administration, who knows." As Sanders says, "Well, let's see how that unfolds."

There are sound arguments for Sanders to remain in the Senate, where he has used his platform to fight for everything from Medicare for All to net neutrality to a humane foreign policy. He has assembled an exceptional staff that has made his office a vital entry point for activists on economic and social and racial justice issues, as well as the climate crisis.

There is also the matter of the chamber's delicate balance. Republicans could lose their Senate majority if Georgia voters choose Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in January 5 runoff voting. With two more Democratic seats, the Senate would be split 50-50, allowing incoming Vice President Kamala Harris to tip the balance in favor of the new president's party. The idea of removing a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus is understandably unsettling-even if the Republican governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, has signaled that he would fill a vacancy with an independent who would caucus with the Democrats.

Then there are deeper questions of whether Biden is really prepared to supercharge the Department of Labor and put a former rival at its head.

But let's suppose boldness wins out. What could Sanders do as the most prominent member of Biden's cabinet?

With Biden's blessing and a portfolio that allowed him to act with authority and a reasonable measure of independence, Sanders could turn the Labor Department into a center of advocacy and service for American workers, which is what it needs to be in a moment so economically turbulent as the one on which the United States finds itself.

The Labor Department was founded in 1913 with a mission to "to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights." At its best, as when Frances Perkins served as President Franklin Roosevelt's labor secretary from 1933 to 1945, the department has played a transformative role in the lives of working-class people. And it will need to be at its best if the Biden administration is serious about addressing the economic devastation that extends from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sanders has focused on the pandemic and worker concerns relating to it since the last days of his 2020 presidential bid, when he explained to me that in addition to the health crisis, "we're looking at an economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude."

The Trump administration's Labor Department has failed to protect frontline workers in particular, and workers in general, since the pandemic hit. Sanders recognizes the need for action that addresses the immediate crisis and the stark injustice it has revealed. "I think that what this crisis does is rip away the Band-Aid and say, 'Hey, this is the reality.' And the reality is today that there are people going to work in dangerous jobs where they could catch the virus because they have to go to work," he told me in April. "They're making $12 an hour, and they're scared to death about working in that grocery store or the drugstore or wherever they're working, but they have to do it. And while rich folks are heading out to their second or third homes, these people are putting their lives on the line in order to take care of their families."

As the highest-profile labor secretary since Perkins, with a charge from the president to act decisively, Sanders would be uniquely positioned to meet the crisis head-on. No one suggests that the task would be easy. He'd have to wrestle not just with Republicans but also with cautious Democrats. But he's got a track record of doing just that.

Sanders would have a bully pulpit from which to advocate for replacing the minimum wage with a living-wage formula to lift workers out of poverty. He could lambaste anti-union "right-to-work" laws. And he could push for labor-law reforms, like those outlined in his 2020 presidential campaign's "Workplace Democracy" agenda, which proposed to double union membership in four years.

Were Biden politically savvy enough to give his formal rival the go-ahead, Sanders could leverage his prominence and his national network of supporters to make the Labor Department a venue for advancing a workers' rights agenda every bit as ambitious as the one FDR and Perkins championed in the 1930s. He could use the vast resources of a department with 15,000 employees and a budget of $50 billion not merely to enforce existing laws to protect working-class Americans but to develop new legislative strategies, regulations, and programs to extend those protections. He could highlight the immediate struggles of workers, and ramp up research on the future of work, automation, and the gig economy.

We're in a moment of great enthusiasm for advancing worker rights and labor rights, and Sanders would not have to do it all on his own. In the tradition of the New Deal era, when cabinet members such as Perkins and Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace surrounded themselves with the country's boldest thinkers and doers, Sanders could build a team to lead with him.

There are a number of impressive prospects for the Labor Secretary position in a Biden administration, several of whom Sanders has worked with over the years. Were the senator to get the nod from the president-elect, he could reach out to the best of these prospects. Imagine fully empowered assistant secretaries of labor such as Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson developing programs to give workers a real voice on the job and across their industries; California Labor Secretary Julie Su, a cofounder of Sweatshop Watch, focusing attention on workplace discrimination and safety issues; AFL-CIO chief economist and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy William Spriggs, an economics economics at Howard University, seizing "a teachable moment" to address statistical discrimination and to engage in deeper, smarter and more honest explorations of racial disparities in economic outcomes. Sanders might even consider Andrew Yang for a role framing the strategies that are needed to provide meaningful work and compensation in the next economy?

Joe Biden traveled just days before the 2020 election to Warm Springs, Ga., where he took on the mantle of FDR and promised a presidency that would enact an "economic plan that will finally reward work, not wealth in this country." That's a noble goal rooted in the ambitions of the New Deal. To realize it, Biden will need a Labor Department as visionary and bold as the one Frances Perkins ran in Roosevelt's day. If Biden were to give him the go-ahead, Bernie Sanders and a team of visionary leaders could make the Labor Department a platform for launching a new New Deal

(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.

Could Alien Intelligence Be Found Under A Microscope?
By James Donahue

I once found an odd story about the discovery of a tiny quarter-inch long UFO "intercepted" over Washington D.C.

The story said the ship, weighing no more than an ounce, contained a cockpit that obviously carried an intelligent being. It said the ship "so eerily resembles a small flying insect that experts suspect it was designed that way as camouflage."

Since the story only appeared once, on some already forgotten web page, I considered it a hoax. And yet the concept of minute intelligent life forms is an interesting one.

Just because our awareness of intelligent life forms on Earth indicate that we have evolved to a certain size, should not dismiss the possibility that intelligence exists in numerous other forms, including tiny beings that fly around in undetected ships that look like insects.

Certainly the insects on this planet have shown a capability of survival that rivals that of man. In fact, swarms of bees, biting ants, spiders, and mosquitoes are killing people. The lowly termite and carpenter ant is capable, in large numbers, to topple houses. In fact, a certain new breed of termite is literally destroying buildings in the City of New Orleans.

These creatures, as far as we can tell, are just doing what comes natural to them. They function with a hive intellect that comes from the Earth. Their small size gives them no room for an intelligent brain, so we write them off as "pests" or "nuisances" that man must live with because we can't seem to eradicate them.

Indeed, we have tried.

Just as we have tried to destroy mold and bacteria. Or the virus, much smaller than bacteria and more elusive. Just ask the researchers attempting to deal with COVID-19. And now there is the prion, the non-life maverick protein that attacks brain cells and brings on Mad Cow Disease.

These minute creatures survive everywhere, even in space we are discovering. It was mold that brought down the Russian space station Mir. The vessel was being consumed by the mold that even attacked metal and glass.

The understanding that all things, including the Earth and Sun are sentient beings makes us aware that intelligence takes on many forms, both large and small. That the molds and insects may be acting on instructions of the Mother Earth when they attack our homes and human health is one possibility.

Thus the idea that individual intelligence exists in minute form also must be considered. Also ponder the rods, a super-fast-flying object only recently discovered in our midst through the advent of high-speed film. They dart everywhere, but swerve to miss collisions with solid objects, showing some form of intelligence if only a bat-like sound frequency that works like radar.

There is much more to this universe than mere mortals have dared to conceive.

(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.

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (left) and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen (center)
meet with King Mohammed VI, of Morocco, at his palace in Marrakech, on Feb. 11, 2000.
Cohen and the King agreed to open an expanded security and defense dialogue, and discussed ways
that Morocco could expand its leadership role in promoting regional stability in the Mediterranean
and on the African continent.

The New U.S. War On Western Sahara
By David Swanson

I'm not misusing the word "war" to mean something like the war on Christmas or drugs or some TV pundit whom somebody else insulted. I mean war. There is a new U.S. war in Western Sahara, being waged by Morocco with the support of the U.S. military. The U.S. military, unbeknownst to most people in the United States - it's perfectly knowable but few give a damn - arms and trains and funds the militaries of the world, inlcuding almost all of the most brutal governments of the world. I can't compare this with the outrage in the U.S. media over the U.S. government feeding a few hungry people in the United States, because there isn't any outrage over it at all. One of the people the U.S. military backs is:

His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, May God Grant Him Victory, of Morocco

Yes, that's his name. King Mohammed VI became king in 1999, which seems to have been a banner year for new dictators. This King had the unusual qualifications for the job of his father dying and his own heart beating - oh, and being a descendant of Muhammad. The King is divorced. He travels the world taking more selfies than Elizabeth Warren, including with U.S. presidents and British royalty.

May God Grant Him Victory's education included studying in Brussels with then-President of the European Commission Jacques Delors, and studying at the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. In 1994 he became Commander in Chief of the Royal Moroccan Army.

The King and his family and government are famously corrupt, with some of that corruption having been exposed by WikiLeaks and The Guardian. As of 2015, Commander of the Faithful was listed by Forbes as the fifth richest person in Africa, with $5.7 billion.

The U.S. State Department in 2018 noted that "[h]uman rights issues included allegations of torture by some members of the security forces, although the government condemned the practice and made substantial efforts to investigate and address any reports; allegations that there were political prisoners; undue limits on freedom of expression, including criminalization of libel and certain content that criticized Islam, the monarchy, and the government's position regarding territorial integrity; limits on freedom of assembly and association; corruption; and criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) conduct."

The State Department chose not to mention the U.S. support for Morocco's military, or Morocco's military occupation of territory belonging to the people of Western Sahara. Perhaps discussing some topics would just not be good for business.

(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.

Overview of crowd at Black Lives Matter protest. Sign reading "All Power to the People"

U.S. Election Shows Need To Bend The Arc Toward Justice
By David Suzuki

After finishing high school in Ontario in the 1950s, I was awarded a scholarship from Amherst College in Massachusetts. After completing my undergraduate degree, I received funding to study at the University of Chicago - even though I was Canadian!

The postwar boom and ensuing Cold War sparked the space race and a push for science and education in the United States. The Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik, then sent a dog and later people into orbit. To catch up and overtake the "enemy" in everything from science to engineering and medicine, the U.S. poured money into education - funding students, universities and government laboratories.

Despite my humble beginnings, I benefited greatly. I earned my zoology PhD in 1961 and went on to work as a research associate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's biology division in Tennessee.

As much as I enjoyed the opportunities, I was appalled by the blatant racial discrimination in the former slave-owning state, where everything from washrooms to schools were segregated, so I got involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Racism wasn't new to me. Indigenous Peoples in Canada faced severe discrimination and weren't allowed to vote until 1960. And, during the Second World War, the federal government took everything my family had and sent my dad to a labour camp and my mom, sisters and me to internment in B.C.'s Slocan Valley. All of us, including my parents, were born and raised in Canada.

In Tennessee, racial discrimination was so entrenched it made me long for home, even though my country had treated my family badly. Despite good offers from U.S. universities, I jumped at the chance to return to Canada, thinking its smaller size and somewhat liberal values would make it easier to work toward a better society.

In 1962, the University of Alberta's genetics department hired me to teach, which also jump-started my broadcasting career.

Looking at the U.S. today, I see a country that, like Canada, is still struggling with systemic racism, but where many have also turned their backs on science and education.

When "leaders" dismiss the overwhelming evidence for human-caused climate disruption and the need to address it, belittle medical experts and immunologists as a pandemic rages out of control (overwhelming hospitals and killing almost a quarter of a million people and leaving many more with long-lasting health effects) and push policies that undermine the natural systems on which health and life depend, something is terribly wrong - especially considering public support for this madness.

Even with a change in administration, it's difficult to look beyond the turmoil, the racism and sexism, the planet-destroying trajectory. But if we do, we see many people standing up for justice, equity and sanity, as in Canada and many other countries. At the same time, authoritarian movements are on the rise globally. That's why those who know a better way is possible must persevere.

Although much of the push for science and education during my time in the U.S. was militaristic, an attempt to get the upper hand on a sworn enemy, it created a more educated population. Many started to question societal values and assumptions, especially with the country at war in Vietnam with people many Americans had never heard of for reasons that made little sense. This rising consciousness and the ensuing protests and political movements were a threat to the prevailing order, and the pushback was enormous. A highly educated population threatened the concentration of power.

Despite the massive government resources against them, those movements didn't disappear, though they may have weakened. Now, they're gaining strength.

We must confront racism, sexism and injustice in all their manifestations, including in ourselves. Because we're shaped by the societies we're part of, we must learn to recognize and overcome our own conscious and unconscious biases. We must listen to those connected to place, such as Indigenous Peoples who have lived on the land for millennia, and understand the delicate balance that keeps the planet habitable for our species and others.

With all that's happening in the U.S. and around the world, the balance may seem precarious, but we can tip it in the right direction if we come together for the common good.

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

Emily Murphy Holds The Key To the Transition Vault, And Of Course, Is Not Cooperating
Studying the constitutional vandalism of this administration* is going to drive future historians to rethink their career choices.
By Charles P. Pierce

The pivotal person in the administration*'s ongoing campaign to a) deny reality, and b) hamstring the president-elect is Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, which means she has the key to the vault as regards all the money on which the logistics of the transition depend. So far, of course, she has been a good little Camp Runamuck Do-Bee and refused to cooperate in any way. I realize that people may have forgotten Ms. Murphy's previous turn in the spotlight because it happened approximately 23,918 penny-ante scandals ago. Return with us now to those thrilling days of 2018. From the Washington Post:

Last year the GSA and the FBI scrapped a long-delayed plan to build an FBI headquarters campus in the Washington suburbs in favor of a proposal to build a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C. and relocate some staff to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia. President Trump has said he supported the new plan. Although GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, speaking to the House Appropriations Committee in April, mentioned discussions of funding with the White House's Office of Management and Budget, she downplayed the role of the White House in the decision-making process. The conclusions section of the inspector general's report, which is expected to be released publicly in the coming weeks, states Murphy's testimony "was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project."
"Left The Misleading Impression" is pretty sweet, I have to admit.
She is not the only GSA official to come under fire after testifying about the White House's role in the project before Congress. Daniel Mathews, who has head of the GSA's Public Buildings Service oversees the FBI project more directly, repeatedly fielded questions from Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Feb. 28. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), whose state stands to lose a shot at landing the FBI headquarters jobs if the bureau remains downtown, asked Mathews at the hearing: "Have you ever had any conversations or communications with the President or any senior White House staff about this FBI project?" Mathews responded, "No I have not." But he later clarified his remarks in a letter to Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), writing that he "misheard the question and believed the question was only referring to conversations or communications with the President."
"I didn't understand that you meant White House senior staff when you asked me about White House senior staff" is also pretty nifty. Sorting out the serious constitutional vandalism from the cheap deceptions and low-rent grifting while studying this administration* is going to drive future historians to rethink their career choices.

(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-

"Narcissist in Chief. While the pandemic rages across the country, Trump spends his day plotting how he can overturn the election results. Fortunately, we will soon have a president who believes in science and who is prepared to serve the American people, not himself."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

They say that vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Mark Milley all sought to dissuade Trump from this course of action.

Trump's Requested Strike On Iran Could Kill More People Than Atomic Bombing Of Nagasaki
Any US military action against Iran's civilian nuclear facilities would be a massive war crime.
By Juan Cole

Eric Schmitt, Maggie Haberman, David E. Sanger, Helene Cooper and Lara Jakes at the New York Times get the scoop. Their sources in the White House tell them that last Thursday, in a meeting with his senior advisers, Trump abruptly asked them if there were options for a US strike on Iran's civilian nuclear enrichment facilities.

They say that vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Mark Milley all sought to dissuade Trump from this course of action, on the grounds it could kick off a major war in the last weeks of his presidency. They are alleged to have come away from the meeting convinced that they had succeeded.

Some commentary on this story:

First, it should be noted that Iran is not engaged in illegal activity. Its right to enrich uranium for civilian electricity production was acknowledged by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or nuclear deal signed with all the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. Iran has only departed from that agreement in very minor ways, and mainly as a way of putting pressure on Europe to defy the US severe economic sanctions, which contravene the treaty. It is Trump's Washington that has behaved illegally, not Iran.

So there is no casus belli and any US military action against Iran's civilian nuclear facilities would be a massive war crime.

Further, the authors do not say anything about the likely consequences for Iranian civilians of such a strike.

It is possible that such a US strike on active nuclear enrichment facilities could kill as many Iranians as did the use of an atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, which killed between 90,000 and 145,000 people over four months. Further effects lingered for years. There was a big spike in leukemia in children from 1947-1951. A similar elevated rate of leukemia in Iranian children would almost certainly follow on a US airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Although the US would not be using a nuclear bomb, it would subject the nuclear material to massive conventional firepower, which would throw up similar radioactive fallout.

A 2012 study found that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would directly and immediately kill between 5,000 and 70,000 people from the release of up to 20% of the uranium hexafluoride gas at the Isfahan facility.

Elsewhere they comment,

"In our report, we have stated that casualties can range from 5,000 to 70,000 should only 1%-20% percent of 371 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas at Isfahan's Uranium Conversion Facility be released into the atmosphere (P. 28). These casualties are direct results of exposure to chemically toxic hydrogen fluoride and other fluorine containing compounds, not due to radioactive fallout..."
What if 50% of the gas were released?

The authors went on to write about much higher casualties from broader consequences of the strike. They note the

"indisputable fact that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilians currently working as engineers, technicians and support staff would be killed or suffer numerous injuries, both short and long term as a result of a military strike. Based on reliable international sources, we have estimated the number at the four facilities at 5,000-10,000."
These deaths appear to be on top of as many as 70,000 from the gas release.

Then there is the fallout produced by the US bombing, which would throw up toxic radioactive particles into the atmosphere that would then fall on people, would produce further casualties, over decades.

In addition, a strike on Isfahan in particular could pollute one of Iran's major underground sources of water:

"The Markazi Aquifer, which supplies 29% of all irrigation and culinary water in Iran lies directly beneath the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility. Any kind of disturbance and propagation of uranium- containing compounds could expose this large and important body of fresh water to dangerous levels of uranium, shackling millions of Iranians with an increased rate of bone cancer as well as a significant rise in birth defects for decades, if not centuries to come."
Bone cancer and birth defects. A third of Iran's water undrinkable. Iran is mostly desert and does not receive much rainfall except in the northeast. This would be a humanitarian consequences of enormous proportions for the country of 81 million people.

Finally, I have a critique of one passage in the article. At one point they say this:

"The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Iran now had a stockpile of more than 2,442 kilograms, or over 5,385 pounds, of low-enriched uranium. That is enough to produce about two nuclear weapons, according to an analysis of the report by the Institute for Science and International Security. But it would require several months of additional processing to enrich the uranium to bomb-grade material, meaning that Iran would not be close to a bomb until late spring at the earliest — well after Mr. Trump would have left office." I have enormous respect for these reporters, and for Mr. Sanger in particular. But I cannot avoid pointing out that this passage is full of assumptions that are unsupported by any facts. And in fact, the possibility they raise of Iran having a nuclear weapon in 2021 is as near to being impossible as any statement about the future can be, as I have explained elsewhere.

1. Iran was constrained to enrich to no more than 3.67%. To protest the way the US and Europe reneged on the 2015 Iran deal by refusing in fact to proffer Iran substantial sanctions relief, they have started enriching to 4.5%. You can't do anything with uranium enriched to 4.5%. It is just suitable for fuel for the nuclear reactors at Bushehr, which boil water with it to make electricity. It doesn't really matter how much of it they produce.

2. Iran has never produced high enriched uranium and there is no reason to believe that they have the capacity to enrich to the over 90% necessary to produce fissionable material.

3. Iran certainly cannot achieve that capacity by next spring!

4. Iran is being regularly inspected by the UN, which certifies that there is no evidence of an Iranian bomb-making program. Unless they cease the inspections, we would know if Iran went for broke and tried to militarize its civilian enrichment program.

The implication of this paragraph, that there is any realistic prospect that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by next March, is absolutely ludicrous. I doubt it is a possibility even in the next decade, and then only if Iran kicked out the UN inspectors and breached the nuclear deal with allies China and Russia, on which it is deeply dependent, and which strongly object to Tehran doing any such thing. It is this sort of alarmist and inaccurate reporting on things nuclear that dragged the US into the Iraq War, and the New York Times played a sinister role in it that the paper has never properly acknowledged.

(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-

Stephen gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Administrator Foderale Flugverwaltung Dickson,

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 continued refusal to accede to the congressional request for crucial safety information on the 737 Max jet and then approving it to fly again, 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 Dickson, seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Debunking Trump's Post-Election Lies
By Robert Reich

Even though Joe Biden won the highest percentage of the popular vote for any challenger since FDR in 1932, the Trump campaign is fighting in courtrooms across the country in a desperate attempt to overturn the results.

So far, they've been utterly unsuccessful. Why? They have no evidence to back up their claims of widespread voter fraud.

Here's a brief debunking of some of the baseless claims Trump and his lackeys are promoting in key swing states.

In Pennsylvania, a postal worker who alleged he saw a postmaster instruct postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day walked back his allegations when questioned by federal investigators. In a recording of his interview, the postal worker can be heard admitting he made "assumptions" based on snippets of a conversation he overheard, and declined to stand by his original statement.

And in a court case filed in the state, the Trump campaign claimed that Republican poll watchers had been barred from watching vote counts in Philadelphia. That was a lie: One of Trump's attorneys admitted in court that the campaign did, in fact, have people in the room.

In Michigan, Trump supporters circulated a list of over 14,000 voters who are supposedly dead but cast ballots for Joe Biden. CNN ran a random sample analysis of 50 of the names, and found no instance of a dead person voting.

They have tried to bolster their claim by circulating videos showing voters who have birthdates in January, 1900 returning ballots. But Detroit's Director of Elections explained that "the date of January 1, 1900 is often a temporary placeholder for absentee ballots arriving just before Election Day," - information that has to be inserted in order for the electronic poll book to accept the entry.

Down in Georgia, false rumors of ballots being found in a dumpster behind the Spalding County Election Office circulated widely. But an investigation from the Sheriff's office found that no ballots were found in the dumpster, and that conclusion was affirmed by the Secretary of State's Office.

In Arizona, claims that the use of Sharpie markers on ballots would result in them being tossed sparked a flimsy lawsuit. But the Maricopa County Board of Elections, the State Director of Elections, and the State Attorney General all confirmed that the use of Sharpies did not result in disenfranchisement.

In Nevada, Trump campaign lawyers claimed they had evidence of "criminal voter fraud," because some Nevadans had voted from out-of-state. In fact, the voters in question included military service members and their families, as well as students and Congressional staffers who moved out of state within 30 days of the election, all of whom are legally allowed to cast a vote in Nevada.

And the New York Times reached out to top election officials in every state, and all said they found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Make no mistake: Trump and his lackeys have no standing to change the outcome of the election. But with GOP leaders pushing his lies, nearly half the country is coming to believe the election was stolen - and that is almost as dangerous. Joe Biden will be our next president. But we need to aggressively knock down every baseless claim made by Trump and the GOP, to defend not just Biden's victory, but also, the trust on which American democracy is based.

(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

America needs to join the rest of the developed world and put the right of citizens to vote into law.

This Election Was Rigged
If any governor wants to take away your vote, they don't even have to tell you, they just kick you off the voting rolls, because right now voting is not a right in America, it's merely a privilege.
By Thom Hartmann

It turns out that Donald Trump was right: the election was rigged. He would know, of course, because he and Lewis DeJoy were the ones who rigged it.

Historically, "conservative" (e.g. "white racist") efforts to rig the vote were almost entirely focused on preventing people of color from voting. For almost a century, this involved literacy tests, guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar, and other low-tech, blatant strategies.

In the 1960s, William Rehnquist and friends launched "Operation Eagle Eye" in the Southwest where they would send "poll watchers" to threaten and intimidate Native American, Hispanic and Black voters.

By the 1980s, Republicans had rolled out "caging," where they'd send a postcard to voters and if it wasn't returned they'd remove you from the voting roles; the Democratic Party got a restraining order against caging that just expired a few years ago.

In 2000, George and Jeb Bush, the governors of Texas and Florida, used the Texas felon list to purge mostly Black and Hispanic people from the Florida voter rolls. Jeb knocked 90,000 African-Americans off the rolls, just in time to steal the 2000 election for George.

Kris Kobach turned this into a system, called Interstate Crosscheck, and took it nationwide over the last 15 years, comparing states' voting rolls in ways that would largely disenfranchise Asians, Blacks and Hispanics.

Finally, in 2020, Trump came up with a new scheme that benefited from the Covid virus, and the worse the virus got, the better his scheme worked.

Letting the pandemic run wild while telling his supporters they should only vote in person, Trump and DeJoy dismantled over 600 multimillion dollar high-speed mail sorting machines, hitting swing states the hardest, so mailed ballots would arrive too late to count.

Recent reporting suggests that if the courts had not intervened when and how they did, the mail would have been so slowed in several critical swing states that Trump would've been declared the winner. We were saved by a federal judge.

Now the scam Republicans are promoting is to challenge the signatures on the outside of mail-in ballots from big cities, and this has helped them throw out literally millions of ballots just this month.

Nobody is sure what the next conservative scheme will be to disqualify votes in American cities, but you can bet they're working on it. Which is why we need a law or Constitutional amendment that unambiguously asserts a "right to vote."

If Governor Brian Kemp wants to take away the home of a person who lives in Atlanta, he has to go to court and prove his case: our property rights are intact.

If Governor Ron DeSantis wants to take away a gun from a person who lives in Miami, he has to go to court and prove his case: the Supreme Court has recently affirmed Americans' right to own a gun.

But if any governor wants to take away your vote, they don't even have to tell you, they just kick you off the voting rolls, because right now voting is not a right in America, it's merely a privilege.

America needs to join the rest of the developed world and put the right of citizens to vote into law. Since everything from pandemic relief to education to foreign policy flows out of the democratic process, this must be Job One in the new Congress.

(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
~~~ Scott Stantis ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Barack Obama hugs Michelle Obama Joe Biden goes to hug Jill Biden.

New Trump Lawsuit Seeks To Overturn Obama's 2008 Election
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In his latest legal action, Donald J. Trump has filed a lawsuit to overturn former President Barack Obama's election in 2008.

Throwing out Obama's win seems like a long shot to most legal scholars, who note that the former President won in 2008 by more than nine million votes and racked up three hundred and sixty-five Electoral College votes in a resounding landslide.

Further complicating Trump's case is that his lawsuit refers to no tangible evidence of voter fraud in 2008, other than a cryptic statement that "there were a lot of bad things going on."

Reached at his office at Netflix, Obama seemed unconcerned by the prospect of his 2008 election being overturned. "Look, I'm a TV producer," he said. "I've got scripts to read and rough cuts to watch. I don't have the kind of free time that Donald Trump has."

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 46 (c) 11/20/2020

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