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In This Edition

Norman Solomon examines, "Bernie Sanders And Progressives In Our Winter Of Discontent."

Ralph Nader says, "Go Vote Yourself A Raise, Georgia-You've Long Earned It."

Glen Ford returns with, "You Can't Shame the Shameless Black Misleadership Class."

Jim Hightower asks, "Who Cares Who The Secretary Of Agriculture Is?"

William Rivers Pitt demands, "The 126 GOP House Reps Who Tried To Overthrow Democracy Must Not Be Seated."

John Nichols reports, "Republicans Will Take Their Assault On Democracy To Congress-and It Will Be Awful."

James Donahue concludes, "Plants Are Aware And They Communicate."

David Swanson lists, "27 Things You Can Do To Let There Be Peace On Earth."

David Suzuki is, "Rediscovering The Fundamentals Of Life."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "There Is No End To The Grift."

Juan Cole explains, "How US Sanctions Have Contributed To The 50K Dead Of Coronavirus In Iran."

Texas' Attorney General Ken Paxton wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich considers, "Bezos, McConnell, And COVID Capitalism."

Thom Hartmann returns with a must read, "Mitch McConnell Wants To Let Corporations Kill You Without Consequence."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Governors Call On Gretchen Whitmer To Shut Down Their States So Residents Won't Get Mad At Them," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Talk About Grasping At Straws."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Adam Zyglis, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Elijah Nouvelage, Medea Benjamin, Justin Hamel, Jessica McGowan, Caroline Brehman, Roy Henry Vickers, Andrej Sokolow, Kevin Dietsch, CQ-Roll Call, Robert Reich, 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-
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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Talk About Grasping At Straws
By Ernest Stewart

"Everything that is wrong with this country today, the people who are opposed to Donald Trump are responsible for!" ~~~ Stephen Miller

"Carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 fell by 7%, the biggest drop ever, as countries around the world imposed lockdowns and restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic." ~~~ The Global Carbon Project

"No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability." ~~~ US Constitution ~ Fourteenth Amendment ~ Section 3

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

Stephen Miller came up with another bright idea. You may recall some of Stephen's other bright ideas like when he was at the forefront of constructing the Trump administration's travel ban targeting Muslim countries; when he devised the child-separation policy designed to deter Latin American immigrants; he worked to scuttle a deal with Democrats following Trump's repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which prevented the deportation of young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children; and he's been trying to reduce the number of refugees being admitted to zero, unless, of course, they are white.

Last Monday, electors across the country participated in the Electoral College, the official mechanism for choosing the next president of the United States and they choose Joe Biden. You can guess what happened next, right? That's right, Stephen came up with his new version of "alternative truth." On Fox Spews Miller explained that a separate group of individuals in a number of states the president's campaign has contested would be putting forward their own votes, contradicting President-elect Joe Biden's indisputable victory in states like Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Stephen said that this move fits with the rules of the U.S. Constitution. Of course, thats a lie, or an alternative truth, you be the judge.

Talk about a drowning man clutching at straws, so of course, Lying Donald went along with it. Miller said, "So we have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election."

Miller continued, "an alternate slate of electors in contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress. This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the alternate slate of electors be certified."

In order for this alternative gimmick to work both The House and The Senate would have to approve it. There is no chance of that happening in the House and if The Democrats win in Georgia there is no chance there either. Sorry Lying Donald it's over, except for the legal payback you've got coming! For example, in Scotland they're getting ready to sieze all his assets including his golf course for laundering money. In New York state... well you get the picture!

In Other News

I see where world leaders from some 70 countries staged a virtual gathering on Saturday to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Paris climate accord, the international agreement to curb global warming.

The Climate Ambition Summit, jointly hosted by France, Britain, Italy, Chile and the United Nations, drew pledges by countries to increase efforts in tackling global climate challenges.

In his address, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced deeper commitments to combatting climate change.

"China will lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts," President Xi said.

Speaking at the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world needs to reduce global emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and urged world leaders to "take the right decisions" to push their countries towards carbon neutrality.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, stressed the importance of international cooperation in fighting global warming.

The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also pointed to the global efforts in developing coronavirus vaccines as an example of the strength of countries working together.

"Together we can use scientific advances to protect our entire planet, our biosphere, against a challenge far worse, far more destructive than coronavirus," said Johnson during his address.

India expressed confidence it would surpass the pledges it made at the Paris climate talks five years ago. "We have reduced our emission intensity by 21 percent over 2005 levels," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the meeting. The Maldives, an Indian Ocean nation of islands threatened by rising sea-levels caused by global warming, announced Saturday that it will now pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. That's one of the most ambitious goals worldwide.

"I want the golden thread of climate action to weave through every international gathering next year, including the G7, the G20 and other meetings," said the U.K.'s Alok Sharma, in his role as president of the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

America wasn't present at the meeting due to Lying Donald, withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris accord. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement in a written statement sent shortly before the meeting started.

On a good note due to the global pandemic, worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide had a record drop in 2020, a new report has said. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which are the leading cause of global warming, fell by 7% in 2020, according to the report from the Global Carbon Project, a group of international scientists who track emissions.

That's the biggest yearly drop on record. So we can either have the Chinese create another designer plague that kills 90% of us, or we can put down the fossil fuels and switch to sun, tide, geothermal or wind power, either way we stop global warming, the choice is ours to make!

And Finally

Some folks can't figure out why Texas attorney general Ken Paxton filed that frivolous law suit against Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia that was thrown out by the Supreme Court. Ken as you may know is under investigation by the FBI and is facing felony securities fraud charges, and is facing new allegations of improper influence, misuse of office, and bribery charges.

Ken, of course is hoping by doing so he can get Lying Donald to pardon his federal crimes. Perhaps if he would have won his lawsuit Donald might have pardoned his federal crimes, however his state crimes would have still stood. On the bright side Ken got Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to refuse to seat any of the 126 Republican House members who signed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit aimed at overturning the results of the presidential election as an act of sedition via the 14th Amendment ~ Section 3 of the US Constitution. If Nancy had the balls she would, but alas, she doesn't, as she's a go along to get along type of corporate Demoncrat!

Be that as it may, Ken Paxton wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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


03-18-34 ~ 12-12-2020
Thanks for the music!

10-19-31 ~ 12-12-2020
Thanks for the read!


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.

Bernie Sanders And Progressives In Our Winter Of Discontent
By Norman Solomon

Bernie Sanders is not in a good political position right now. Yes, he continues to speak vital truths to -- and about -- power. His ability to reach a national audience with progressive wisdom and specific proposals is unmatched. And, during the last several decades, no one has done more to move the nation's discourse leftward. But now, Sanders is in a political box.

After a summer and fall dominated by the imperative of defeating Donald Trump, progressive forces are entering a winter of discontent. Joe Biden has offered them little on the list of top personnel being named to his administration. While Sanders wants to maintain a cordial relationship with the incoming president, he doesn't like what he's seeing.

"The progressive movement deserves a number of seats -- important seats -- in the Biden administration," Sanders said last week. "Have I seen that at this point? I have not."

Sanders foreshadowed the current situation back in mid-November, when he told The Associated Press: "It seems to me pretty clear that progressive views need to be expressed within a Biden administration. It would be, for example, enormously insulting if Biden put together a 'team of rivals' -- and there's some discussion that that's what he intends to do -- which might include Republicans and conservative Democrats -- but which ignored the progressive community. I think that would be very, very unfortunate."

At this point, Sanders and avid supporters of the Bernie 2020 campaign have ample reasons to feel frustrated, even "enormously" insulted. It's small comfort that Biden's picks so far are purportedly "not as bad as Obama's" were 12 years ago. That's a low bar, especially to those who understand that Barack Obama heavily corporatized his presidency from the outset. And given the past decade's leftward political migration among Democrats and independents at the grassroots, Biden's selections have been even more out of step with the party's base.

Reporting on Biden's overall selections as this week began, the Washington Post found that "about 80 percent of the White House and agency officials he's announced have the word 'Obama' on their resume from previous White House or Obama campaign jobs."

Biden conveyed notable disregard for Sanders by nominating an OMB director with a long record of publicly expressing antagonism toward him. The Post just reported that "the transition team never reached out to" Sanders about "Biden's decision to tap Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a person familiar with the lack of communication, despite Sanders's role as the top Democrat on one of the committees that will hold Tanden's confirmation hearings."

Away from Capitol Hill, many progressive organizations are regrouping while "the Bernie movement" evaporates. Coalescing in its place are a range of resilient, overlapping movements that owe much of their emergent long-term power to his visionary leadership.

Nationally, Sanders became a shaper of history in unprecedented ways. Unlike almost every other major candidate for president in our lifetimes, he has always been part of social movements. For 30 years, Sanders not only continued to have one foot in the streets and one foot in the halls of Congress; somehow, he often seemed to be relentlessly in both places with both feet.

Bernie Sanders has fulfilled what the legendary progressive activist and theoretician Saul Alinsky described as a key goal of political organizers -- to work themselves out of a job -- so that other activists will become ready, willing and able to carry on.

At this juncture, while Sanders is ill-positioned and uninclined to push back very hard against the evident trajectory of Biden's decisions, many progressives are starting to throw down gauntlets against the corporate and militaristic aspects of the incoming presidency. While the lunacy of the Trumpian GOP is nonstop and corporate Democrats have control of party top-down power levers, the broad democratic left is now stronger, better-funded and better-networked than it has been in many decades, with greatly enhanced electoral capacities as well as vitality of its social movements.

Those electoral capacities and social movements have long been intertwined with the tireless work of Bernie Sanders. But a crucial dynamic going forward into 2021 and beyond will be the resolve of progressives to methodically challenge the Biden administration. Senator Sanders is unlikely to have the leverage or inclination to lead the fight.

Sanders has tried to call in some political chits, but Biden -- probably figuring that Sanders won't really go to the mat -- does not seem to care much. Days ago, Sanders said in an interview with Axios: "I've told the Biden people: The progressive movement is 35-40 percent of the Democratic coalition. Without a lot of other enormously hard work on the part of grassroots activists and progressives, Joe would not have won the election."

Bernie Sanders was the catalyst for galvanizing the grassroots progressive power that propelled his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. His deep analysis, tenacity, eloquence and bold actions created new pathways. As this century enters its third decade, the torch needs to be grasped by others to lead the way.

(c) 2020 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

People wait in line to vote in Georgia's Primary Election on June 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Go Vote Yourself A Raise, Georgia-You've Long Earned It
Candidates should be pushed to say if they stand with the super-rich profiteering, callous Big Business tycoons or with the people who work for pitiful wages, on the rugged frontlines, and keep our society running.
By Ralph Nader

All political eyes are on Georgia's runoff election on January 5, 2021. Two Senate seats are up for grabs and will decide whether the evil Trumpster and corporatist Sen. Mitch McConnell stays in total control of the U.S. Senate or not.

If the Democrats win both seats, the Senate would be split, 50-50. Vice President Kamala Harris would serve as president of the Senate, and in the case of tied votes have the deciding vote. The Democrats could also take control of the Senate, choose the committee chairs, and set the rules for moving legislation to the floor.

Georgia is normally a Republican state. But on November 3, the state chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump by about 12,670 votes. The two incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler failed to win a majority of the votes. This triggered a runoff against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Money is pouring into all candidates' coffers. The runoff may see spending reach $400 million. Much of this money will be misspent on high-priced TV and social media ads with little content and mind-numbing repetition. Voters get irritated by such jackhammer "messaging."

There are over six million registered voters in Georgia. Nearly two-thirds are white and one-third are Black Americans. The politicians and their rich media consultants think they know how to "process" these voters. They believe people first vote for the party, reflecting the hereditary way their grandparents and parents voted. Second, they believe people vote based on their feelings toward the candidates. Third, if the voter is still undecided, politicians believe people will vote based on candidates' policy positions.

In his groundbreaking book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation (2008), Emory University Psychology professor Drew Westen, argues that when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. But emotion can include a strong desire for a good life and a decent livelihood with good-paying, safe jobs. Emotion can also demand justice, peace, and respect for Mother Earth, nurturing children, and giving voice to the people between elections.

Emotion can also mean that voters, who do not do their homework, allow themselves to be manipulated. Politicians are very good at the three "F's"-flattering, fooling, and flummoxing uninformed and unprepared voters. For example, if voters are single-issue-minded-say on the matter of abortion or tax cuts-they won't care about any of the other positions of the candidate who agrees with them on their one and only big "yes-no" issue. The more policies that voters demand candidates address, the less vulnerable voters are to the three "F's."

Now, in Georgia, the Democrats are stressing healthcare (but not full Medicare-for-All) and Trump's disastrous approaches to the surging Covid-19 pandemic. They are also going after the conflict-of-interest stock trading of the two wealthy Republican senators. And, of course, the Democratic candidates are presenting themselves as better candidates.

Although grassroots groups such as FairVote and Black Voters Matter are registering and getting out significant numbers of voters, the Georgia Democratic Party, with its overflowing campaign funds, is largely using the extremely narrow national Democratic Party messaging playbook. This is a big mistake.

The Democrats must instead appeal to the white, blue-collar voters, whom for years, the Party has left behind for Republican Party deceivers to win over.

One of the most compelling needs for these voters is higher wages. The message should be "Go Vote Yourself a Raise" with the explanation that the U.S. House Democrats have already passed a $15 an hour bill to replace, in stages, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which was frozen by the Senate Republicans including Sens. Perdue and Loeffler.

Over 30 million workers in the U.S. earn less than $15 per hour. That means lots of Georgia's low-income workers are making less per hour, adjusted for inflation, than workers made in 1968! They've been cheated for a long time. (In the U.S., returns to labor have been falling behind the larger returns to capital).

A multi-media focus on "Go Vote Yourself a Raise" will produce a deep-imprint message. It requires no fancy explanation as would a complex insurance proposal. It relates to voters where they live, work, and raise their children and therefore appeals to all affected voters regardless of political labels such as "conservative" or "liberal."

It is also a good way to start judging politicians with specifics about the question: "Whose side are you on?" Candidates should be pushed to say if they stand with the super-rich profiteering, callous Big Business tycoons or with the people who work for pitiful wages, on the rugged frontlines, and keep our society running day in and day out.

Political parties and their campaign committee operatives are not open to receiving good ideas. They think if they've got the money, they've got what's needed. The weak performance of the cash-loaded Democratic Party in the November election belied such confidence. Apart from Biden's victory, the Democratic Party lost the Senate, barely kept the House, and did not flip one state legislature against the worst, most cruel, and corrupt GOP in the Republican Party's history.

There is still time to campaign in a way that will reach the working people of Georgia. Contact Professor Drew Westen at who is brimming with ideas on what can be done to increase voter turnout. People nationwide have an immediate stake in Georgia's runoff election. Motivating result-oriented voters is the key to defeating the Republicans and deposing Mitch McConnell.

(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).

You Can't Shame the Shameless Black Misleadership Class
By Glen Ford

The Black misleaders have been busy selling out Black people for half a century, but are still only barely tolerated by the rich man's Democratic Party and its racist figurehead, Joe Biden.

The Black Misleadership Class continues its descent into utter political irrelevance, dragging 48 million African Americans ever deeper into the abyss with them. Like a soap opera whose central pathologies endure through decades of changing casts of characters, the misleaders cling to their demeaning subservience to the Democratic Party in hopes of one day becoming honored and respected partners. The Black supplicants are always betrayed, of course, but prefer a bad marriage to no relationship at all. Indeed, the Black misleaders and the Democrats have been locked in what Malcolm X would describe as a house Negro/slave master relationship for so long - certainly since the late Sixties - that the Black junior partner knows no other way to behave.

In the latest installment of "The Black and the Powerless," the usual gaggle of national Black civic organizations are awarded a closed-door meeting with their love-object, president-elect Joe Biden. The civic leaders respectfully requested that the Party protect the voting rights of its most loyal constituency, and use the powers of the executive branch to curtail the police violence that has plagued the Black community since the days of the slave-disciplining "paddy-rollers" - in addition to their perennial concern that more Black faces be elevated to high places in the new administration. However, as senior editor Margaret Kimberley recounts in this issue of BAR, Biden immediately put the house Negroes in their place:

"In a loud voice and in the manner of a bullying boss Biden dashed any hopes that he would use executive orders to enact policies that he can't get passed because of Republican congressional opposition. He accused Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, of not reading his policy paper because she disagreed with him. He was vehement about not using the power of executive orders to thwart congressional Republicans and claimed concerns about constitutionality as an excuse for doing as little as he possibly can."

As Margaret Kimberley observes, it is unclear who leaked the Zoom meeting - either one of the Black participants or Biden, himself, to demonstrate his eagerness to put the Black notables in their place and warn them not to encourage Black Lives Matter's demand to de-fund the police. "We're not," said the Great Incarcerator, ruling out any rollback of the cops. "We're talking about holding them accountable. We're talking about giving them money to do the right things."

Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women's Roundtable, wrote the letter that requested the lopsided confab, which included NAACP President Derrick Johnson; former Department of Justice Civil Rights Division leader Vanita Gupta; National Action Network founder Rev. Al Sharpton; Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Kristen Clarke, executive director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and New Orleans congressman Cedric Richmond, who will serve Biden as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Clearly, Biden was not impressed by these would-be power brokers, knowing that the Black misleaders have no bite and have not even dared to bark in the half a century since they collaborated in shutting down the Black Liberation Movement to become operatives of the rich man's duopoly. In the 21st century, the misleaders have so debased themselves at the feet of Democratic power, it is impossible for the Party's leaders to pretend they represent a constituency beyond their own dark faces.

The Party has long understood that the Black civic organizations - having no mass movement behind them - need the Democrats more than the Party needs them. Back in 2004, during the Kerry-Bush presidential contest, the Democrats humiliated and defunded the whole Black civic society menagerie, cutting them out of the seasonal get-out-the-vote money that many had grown dependent upon for operating expenses -- as well as to maintain the illusion of a Black partnership with Power. As I reported for The Black Commentator in "Black Anger, White Money: A Crisis for Black Leadership," Democratic fat cats like George Soros decided that the money men who subsidized the Party could jettison the Black civic nuisances at no political cost. Operating through so-called "527" outfits and paying "$8 to $12 an hour for door-to-door canvassers," the white Democratic billionaires "supplanted (usurped might be a better word) the electoral functions previously performed by mainstream Black organizations such as the 84-member National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP)."

Unceremoniously dumped and defunded at the height of the (losing) campaign, the so-called "civil rights community" nonetheless continued to beg for a mission that would make them seem important to their political masters.

"It's insulting that none of us who have been responsible for most registration and turnout are at the table determining priorities," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. NCBCP executive director Melanie L. Campbell declared, "There is something wrong when groups who have closed the gap on enfranchisement with our track record and our history of protecting the vote are not getting funding." The late Professor Ron Walters, a board member of NCBCP, sensed that the Democrats saw Black civic organizations as more of a burden than an asset. "There appears to be a dedicated campaign by the party leadership, the Kerry campaign and now ancillary funding organizations to build some political distance between themselves and key traditional leaders of the party base," said Walters.

Sixteen years later, the "civil rights" community are singing the same tired song, still desperate to justify their status as a barely tolerated annex of a rich white man's party.

The next year, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, scattering two-hundred thousand Black residents to the four winds. Fearing that a too-close association with Black people would hurt the Democrats' chances to recapture the U.S. House in 2006, Party leader Nancy Pelosi refused to hold hearings on the catastrophe and barred Black Democratic congresspersons from attending Republican hearings on Katrina. As I wrote in The Black Commentator article "Katrina Shock: Therapy for Black America":

"Only Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney broke the Pelosi-invoked boycott. She attended every session, and made good use of the experience, challenging the administration's witnesses every step of the way. The rest of the Black Caucus abstained from the hearings except for the occasional appearance of New Orleans Black Rep. William Jefferson, who, as a representative of the affected region, was given a pass by Pelosi."
The Black Caucus has never - and should never - recover any vestige of dignity after putting the Democratic Party ahead of hundreds of thousands of poor and exiled Black people. They are still kissing Pelosi's butt and draping her with kente cloth. Shameless and worthless, the vast bulk of the Black Caucus are totally in sync with their new leader's racist politics and will not have to pretend to be soulmates with Old White Joe. In 2014, 80 percent of the Black Caucus voted to continue the Pentagon program to arm local police departments to the teeth, and in 2018 three out of four Blacks in the House supported making cops a "protected class." They hate Black Lives Matter and its "defund the police" demand as much as Biden does, and have no solidarity with anyone except their own grasping, self-centered, hustling class.

The only solution is an independent, people-centered movement.

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

Who Cares Who The Secretary Of Agriculture Is?
By Jim Hightower

Years ago, Robert Kennedy noted that making economic, political, and social progress is hard, for such advances require rejecting policies that sustain the establishment's profits and power: "Progress is nice," he said, "but its agent is change, and change has its enemies."

His recognition that gutsy, honest leadership is necessary to confront the wealthy interests and advance the Common Good is directly applicable to one of the most important Cabinet appointments President-elect Joe Biden will make: Secretary of Agriculture.

The media and all recent presidents have dismissed ag as a second-tier slot that essentially "belongs" to the giants of industrial agribusiness. This has enriched faraway corporate executives and absentee owners, but it's been disastrous for farm families, small town residents, and rural vitality. While the national media and their own government look the other way, a broad, multi-racial, diversity of millions of middle- and low-income rural families face economic and social devastation. Not only are farmers being crushed by profiteering monopolies at all levels of ag, but the larger rural community is also being run over by massive polluters and pipeliners, low-wage factories, predatory retail chains, and other corporate extractors of rural wealth. The result is a countryside beset by a surge of farm closures, joblessness, Main Street bankruptcies, creeping poverty, loss of healthcare services, weather calamities due to climate change, lack of broadband, outmigration of youth, COVID-19, suicides... and a host of other plagues.

It's time for change. And the place to begin is with the Secretary of Agriculture. Joe Biden is not exactly a firebrand progressive committed to challenging the corporate elites, but the need here is so deep, widespread, and overdue that We The People must assert our grassroots voice to overcome his instinct to put a lobbyist-approved, don't-rock-the-corporate-boat seat warmer in this office. To learn about one possibility, go to OurRev.US/AgSec.

(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

A woman tapes a "TRUMP MUST CONCEDE" sign to the side of her car

The 126 GOP House Reps Who Tried To Overthrow Democracy Must Not Be Seated
By William Rivers Pitt

Merriam-Webster defines the word "treason" as "the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance." There are 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who did just that in broad daylight last week.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's absurd attempt to overthrow the 2020 elections was flatly rejected on Friday night by the Supreme Court. Coming hard after that court's equally unequivocal dismissal of a Pennsylvania case seeking similar ends, you'd think this legal sideshow is over now, right? Nah.

In any event, Paxton's doomed Supreme Court case seeking to undo the legally wrought will of the people was buttressed by Donald Trump himself, more than a dozen attorneys general, and those 126 Republican House members who offered amicus briefs to the case.

Many of the names of these democracy-despising Republican representatives are unknown outside of their own districts - Robert Aderholt of Alabama, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Fred Keller of Pennsylvania - but there are more than a few doozies on the list. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy jumped in late, joining Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan. They represent the rancid cream of the GOP crop in that chamber, and one of their Democratic colleagues is having none of it.

Long-serving Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey has requested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuse to seat the 126 Republican House members who jumped on the Paxton bandwagon and tried to overthrow a legal election.

"Stated simply, the men and women who would act to tear the United States Government apart cannot serve as Members of the Congress," argued Pascrell in a statement addressed to the House majority leadership. "These lawsuits seeking to obliterate public confidence in our democratic system by invalidating the clear results of the 2020 presidential election undoubtedly attack the text and spirit of the Constitution, which each Member swears to support and defend."

"Consequently," Pascrell's statement concluded, "I call on you to exercise the power of your offices to evaluate steps you can take to address these constitutional violations this Congress and, if possible, refuse to seat in the 117th Congress any Members-elect seeking to make Donald Trump an unelected dictator."

Pascrell's legal basis for this request is Section Three of the 14th Amendment, often referred to as "The Disqualification Clause":

No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
Seems fairly straightforward to me. Yet at a moment when the nation's electors are working to close the deal on the 2020 election even as threats against them are shutting down government buildings, it seems far-fetched to believe Speaker Pelosi will run with this ball any time soon. Beyond distributing the newly available COVID-19 vaccine, the job of government in the immediate moment is to hold things together until we pass the January 6 Electoral College certification and drag this rusted heap across the Inauguration Day finish line.

After that, the dragon will be gone from under the mountain, and all those Republicans who hitched their wagons to Trump's scaly tail will be forced to stand alone, even when together, and explain themselves to a damaged, furious nation... and I emphasize stand, because the House should not seat them absent an apology for their reckless anti-democratic behavior.

Will Speaker Pelosi heed this call? Her office put out a "Dear Colleague" letter on Friday, which read in part:

As the Pennsylvania Attorney General stated in a brief filed against this lawsuit, 'The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.' As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution. Republicans are subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead. (Emphasis added)
Is the speaker telling Representative Pascrell something with this fiery rhetoric, or merely offering a sop? Draw your own conclusions. I find Pascrell's complaint and argument entirely fitting and true, and I'm all but certain it will come to nothing. The 117th Congress is set to convene on January 3, three days before the final Electoral College accounting and 20 days from now. That is a narrow and damn busy window, and the speaker is notoriously averse to large, dramatic moves under any circumstances.

Yet I believe move, she must. A Rubicon has been crossed in the politics of this nation, and there must be a reckoning. This morning's news is filled with images of boxed vaccines rolling out to a waiting world, with talking heads gushing about "getting back to normal." All hail the vaccine, but there is no normal in those boxes. Not after this year, and not after the last election.

If something like "normal" is ever to rise again, it can only come after the country opens itself up to an unsparing self-appraisal, and then commits to steps to shore up the broken places left behind in Trump's wake.

Oh, right, and refuse to seat the Traitorous 126, right down to the last Republican on the list. The GOP has become an authoritarian policy-free wrecking ball in a time when good government can make the difference between life and massive death. We have already had the latter; it is time for the former to have its day, and that day cannot come without consequences for those who would afflict this nation with ham-fisted tyranny.

"Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason?" asked English poet John Harington. "For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

This treason must not be allowed to prosper, and those 126 servants to Trump's authoritarian binge vocally and proudly committed treason to serve his various shabby ends. They have no business in the House of Representatives or in any office that serves the public they sold out on the cheap. There must be a reckoning, and this must be a small yet vital part of it.

(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.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and other House Republican leaders.

Republicans Will Take Their Assault On Democracy To Congress-and It Will Be Awful
Despite Biden's Electoral College win, Republicans are plotting to disrupt the formal process of accepting the Electoral College result on January 6.
By John Nichols

Joe Biden has been elected as the 46th president of the United States by the popular vote of the American people and by the Electoral College. But Republican representatives are plotting to force a congressional debate about accepting the result that will make the next month one of the ugliest periods in American political history.

Logic and practicalities tell us that the partisan dead-enders who have cast their lot with defeated President Donald Trump will fail in their final desperate bid to overturn the election results, and that Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. Yet getting from here to there will be far more difficult than it should be because Trump's grip on the Republican Party remains so tight that supposedly mainstream Republicans will continue to embrace his fever-dream fantasies of "voter fraud" and "election irregularities."

As such, they are determined to disregard the mandate Biden earned in an election that was not, by any measure, close. Biden currently leads Trump by 7,060,000 votes nationally and has received 51.3 percent of the popular vote. He's got a higher percentage of the vote than any rival to an incumbent since Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt upended Republican Herbert Hoover in 1932. Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win, which was confirmed Monday in state capitols across the country, is even more impressive. He has secured a better Electoral College percentage than a dozen presidents who have been elected over the past 231 years, including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

So who could object?

Meet Mo Brooks, the Republican Representative from northern Alabama's Fifth Congressional District. Several years ago, the Lugar Center, which seeks to promote informed and honest debate in Washington, rated Brooks as the most partisan member of the House. And the congressman, who says Democratic supporters of racial justice are waging a "war on whites," is determined to retain the title.

Brooks has been signaling for several weeks that he plans to lead a drive to object to the Electoral College result when it is formally presented for congressional review on January 6. Spouting the same pants-on-fire lies as Trump, Brooks says, "In my judgment, if only lawful votes by eligible American citizens were cast, Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin, and Congress's certification should reflect that. This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures."

Despite the fact that this is nonsense, Brooks says Republican House members are lining up to join in his fight to disrupt democracy. "Quite frankly, we might have to toss a coin or draw straws for the different states," the congressman told Newsweek. "We have so many people that are wanting to do it."

That's an unsettling notion, but not a surprising one. Last week, 126 House Republicans, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy, minority whip Steve Scalise, and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer signed on to an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the US Supreme Court to block electoral votes from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia from being cast for Biden.

The high court rejected the lawsuit, as local, state, and federal courts have dismissed dozens of suits by Trump's legal team. But, while jurists deal in facts and precedents, members of Congress like Brooks and the more than 60 percent of the House Republican Caucus who signed on to the brief in the Texas case are not compelled-or inclined-to accept reality. So Brooks is pressing forward, claiming, "We have a superior role under the Constitution than the Supreme Court does, than any federal court judge does, than any state court judge does. What we say, goes. That's the final verdict."

Not too many years ago, Brooks and his colleagues would have been dismissed as lunatics. Their antidemocratic plotting would have been regarded as a fool's mission. After all that Trump and his party have put the country through, however, it cannot be so casually neglected.

For one thing, the president of the United States has embraced the project. After Brooks announced on December 3 that he would "object to and later vote to reject electoral college submissions from states whose election systems are so badly flawed as to render their vote submissions unreliable, untrustworthy, and unworthy of acceptance," Trump tweeted, "Thank you to Representative Mo Brooks!"

For another thing, Brooks will very probably get the support he needs to at least briefly disrupt the acceptance of the electoral votes from key states. Under the Electoral Count Act of 1887, challenges of the sort that the representative proposes must be submitted in writing and signed by at least one member of the House and Senate. Along with his cadre of House colleagues, Brooks has likely allies in the Senate, where two Republicans-Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky-have already indicated that they are open to backing up this political skulduggery.

If the objection is recognized-in a process presided over by Vice President Mike Pence-the House and the Senate will each debate the issue and then vote on whether to accept it. This is where the Brooks scheme falls apart. The Democratic majority in the House will reject the objection, and it is likely that the Republican-controlled Senate will do the same, as several GOP members (including Utah's Mitt Romney, Maine's Susan Collins, and Nebraska's Ben Sasse) have been bluntly critical of Trump's efforts to overturn Biden's victory.

But if the experience of 2020 is any indication, Trump, Brooks, and their allies-in Congress and in the streets-will make January 6, 2021, a chaotic day of lies and sore-loser griping from a president who refuses to accept the fact that he will soon be an ex-president. Congressional Democrats would be wise to prepare, as their job involves more than merely confirming an election result for the nominee of their party. They must defend democracy from an assault by authoritarian zealots who have made it abundantly clear that they intend to use and abuse the process to thwart the will of the people.

(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.

Plants Are Aware And They Communicate
By James Donahue

James Westwood, a professor in plant pathology, physiology and weeds at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, has discovered that plants communicate with each other and even share genetic information.

Westwood published his findings in the journal Science.

This may not be news to people who love and grow plants, and to many home gardeners, although the extent of communication, apparently using a special language known only to the plant kingdom, might be of great interest.

In his research involving a parasitic plant (like a vine) that feeds off of a host plant, Westwood discovered that there is a passing of Ribonucleic acid (RNA), or biological molecules between plants that carry coding, regulation and genetic information between plants. He says there is a special form of RNA which Westwood calls "messenger" RNA that appears to be involved in protein synthesis during translation.

Some plants appear to use this information to establish a defense against certain harmful parasites, Westwood found.

My late wife, Doris, who loved to grow flowers and always kept house plants, knew that some plants did not get along with one another. She always placed her house plants among other "friendly" plants where they grew lush and green. When in an environment they did not like, the plants remained stunted and sometimes died.

Choosing the right place in the house was always an important part of growing indoor plants. Some only wanted a little sunlight, others wanted no direct sunlight at all.

Doris always spoke lovingly to her plants, and found that they responded to friendly human touch as well.

Other research in plant pathology has determined that plants are keenly aware of their environment and they respond to loving care. They also have a negative response to violent and unfriendly behavior in the room.

After my wife's death in 2013 her plants began to wither and die as well, in spite of efforts to keep them alive.

(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.


27 Things You Can Do To Let There Be Peace On Earth
By David Swanson

1. Reports on the climate collapse have stopped in some cases the nonsense talk about needing the United States to "lead," and even gone beyond urging it to get out of last place, and begun demanding that it do its fair share to undo its share of the damage. That's the same thing we need on militarism, when U.S. weapons are on both sides of most wars, almost all foreign bases are U.S. bases, and most people in the U.S. can't begin to name its current wars, drone murders, or nations with U.S. troops in them. We saw this past year that moving even 10% out of militarism, even explicitly to address a health crisis killing huge numbers of people in the United States, was too great a blasphemy. The biggest chance of reducing militarism, winding back the nuclear doomsday clock, and funding a serious Green New Deal is to make demilitarization part of a Green New Deal. That means telling your misrepresentative and senators that, and telling every environmental organization that. Here are some resources to help:

2. At the time of the failure to move 10% out of militarism, Congress Members Lee and Pocan announced the formation of a so-called "Defense" budget reduction caucus. Here's a petition encouraging them to follow through on that. Sign and share it:

3. The biggest enemy of the Pentagon is not some foreign nation spending 8% what it does on militarism. The biggest enemy is free college, or the inclusion of college in public education. Demanding that the United States join other wealthy nations in making education accessible to its residents is a tremendous good in itself. Many organizations will be promoting this in the coming months. It starts with ending student debt. One group working on this is:

4. During the four years of Trump, Congress for the first time used the War Powers Resolution to end a war -- the war on Yemen -- but Trump vetoed the bill. Congress also for the first time adopted the practice of forbidding a president to end a war or a post-war occupation -- specifically the war on Afghanistan, the Korean War, and World War II. Senator Rand Paul raised hell about this a couple of days ago, and the war supporters said little, while liberals denounced him for recklessly suggesting that Trump could be permitted to end the war on Afghanistan in under two decades. We need to put everything we can into getting a repeat vote of the ending of the war on Yemen, and into undoing and ending the practice of allowing presidents to start dozens of wars but forbidding them to end them. Many groups will be working on at least part of this, including:

5. Building on ending the war on Yemen, we should insist that Congress end additional wars, starting with the war on Afghanistan. And we should insist on an end to weapons sales, military training, military funding, and military basing in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. We should, in fact, extend that to support the reintroduction of Congresswoman Omar's Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act, and eventually end the trading of weapons that cannot actually be used without abusing human rights. Contact your Congress Members at

6. We should organize a major coalition to support the reintroduction of all of Rep. Omar's peace bills, including the Global Peacebuilding Act, the Global Migration Agreement Act, the Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act, the Youthbuild International Act, the Resolution on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Resolution on the International Criminal Court. See:

7. Sign and share the petition asking President-Elect Biden to end Trump's sanctions against the International Criminal Court:

8. Peace activists stopped a particularly egregious contender for Secretary of so-called "Defense" in Michele Flournoy. Review what worked and get ready for the next one here:

9. Make sure everyone you know is on board with what is coming at us in a Biden regime that had no foreign policy on the campaign website and no foreign policy task force, but made a top-priority for the transition to nominate numerous warmongers from the boards of weapons companies, with an inauguration being funded by weapons companies. We should see if we can't shame the shameless over the inauguration funding of yet another presidency brough to you by the war profiteers.

10. Make sure everyone you know understands what happened in the Trump regime now ending, that Trump started no big new wars other than a cold war with Russia, but escalated existing wars, moved them more to the air, increased civilian casualties, increased drone murders, built more bases and weapons, tore up key disarmament treaties, openly threatened to use nuclear weapons, and dramatically increased military spending. Trump both bragged about selling weapons to brutal dictatorships and denounced anyone bowing before the military industrial complex. No other presidents will do either of those things. But they will follow in the footsteps of his actions, which followed those of his predecessor -- unless we change things. That means undoing much Trump damage (including policies on Iran, Cuba, Russia, etc.), even while insisting on following through on a few things Trump suggested (such as withdrawing a few troops from Afghanistan and Germany). Email your Congress Member about Afghanistan here:

11. There is a brief opening to undo the Trump damage and the damage of decades of U.S. conduct on Iran, before the Iranian elections in June 2021. Learn more, sign the petition to Biden, and inform others here:

12. Biden has committed to restoring at least somewhat better relations on Cuba. Let's hold him to that and insist on an end to the whole blockade. Let's even build on that to demand an end to deadly and illegal sanctions against other nations. Use these fact sheets on the sanctions now imposed on various countries:

13. Another novelty in the Trump years is corporate media outlets calling a president a liar and fact-checking him. Sometimes their own facts are wrong too. Sometimes they still fail to call the president on lies. But if this new policy were upheld consistently, war would be over. Take a look and spread around my book, War Is A Lie. Also check out the debunking of war myths and the case for war abolition on the homepage of World BEYOND War.

14. Another novelty is military officials proudly bragging about having tricked a president into thinking he was withdrawing more troops from a war (Syria) than he was. This is just as dangerous a power-balance development as Congress forbidding presidents from ending wars. We need to be prepared to spot this maneuver the minute it next happens.

15. Another odd twist in these past 4 years is the development of great liberal affection for a new cold war with Russia, for building up NATO, for keeping troops in Germany and Korea and Afghanistan, and for supporting the CIA and the so-called intelligence so-called community. When Trump talked this week of stripping the CIA of support from the military, good liberals were outraged. The world is now seen as unsafe if it lacks sufficient hostility toward Russia and blind support for militarism and lawless secret agencies. I really cannot gauge how long this will last or how hard it will be to undo the damage, but we have to try. We have to confront true believers with all of Trump's anti-Russian behavior, with the U.S. government's longstanding support for most of the world's oppressive governments, with the abuses and counterproductive activities of the spies and killers on whom is bestowed the euphemistic label "intelligence."

16. When nuclear weapons become illegal in over 50 countries on January 22, 2021, we need to celebrate globally, hold events, put up billboards, petition the nuclear nations, etc. A whole toolkit of resources is online here: 17. We need to get organized, build community, build power, win local victories, and connect local allies and individuals with a global movement. One way to do that is to form a World BEYOND War chapter. Try it here:

18. We need to take advantage of the fact that real-world events no longer compete with online events, and create larger, more global, more effective and persuasive webinars and actionars. World BEYOND War can help with this. Here are numerous upcoming webinars already planned, and videos of many that have already happened:

19. Campaigns we can work on locally with likely success and global support, with educational and organization benefits, include divestment, base closures, and demilitarization of police. With even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff talking about closing foreign bases, we darn well should be. See:

20. Take advantage of the existence of tons of great books. Read them. Get them into libraries. Give them to elected officials. Organize reading clubs. Invite authors to speak. Check out these lists of books, films, powerpoints, and other resources for events, and this list of available speakers:

21. Take advantage of online courses, for yourself, and to recommend to others:

22. Make use of this collection of resources to celebrate and educate about the Christmas Truces:

23. Nip in the bud this insane idea that extending draft registration to women is feminist progress. Overcome the twisted idea that a draft is good for peace. And join the coalition working to abolish the so-called selective so-called service:

24. Help halt the extradition of Julian Assange and the criminalization of journalism, despite all your completely justified complaints with Assange:

25. Email Congress to stop impeding peace-making in Korea:

26. Those of you I'm talking to on December 12 from Ohio, elect Nina Turner!

27. Wear your damn mask!

(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.

Without the basic elements - fire, air, water and earth - there is no life.

Rediscovering The Fundamentals Of Life
By David Suzuki

Throughout Canada and around the world, the second wave of COVID-19 is hitting hard. Over the next few months, governments will remain focused on addressing the largest public health emergency in recent memory.

But to avoid past mistakes and seize this unique opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable world, it's also time to lay the groundwork for a green and just post-pandemic recovery.

I'm almost 85 years old. I co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation 30 years ago, after a CBC Radio series I hosted, It's a Matter of Survival, generated 17,000 letters - in pre-email times! - from people concerned about the state of the planet and the future their children would inherit.

Decades later, as we grapple with many of the same environmental crises - the climate emergency, mass species extinction and an economic model that fuels it all - and now a global pandemic, we have many reasons to despair.

But after spending most of lockdown with three of my grandkids and seeing the world through their curious, caring eyes, I'm reinvigorated and newly committed to doing all I can to help humankind find a better path.

I spent the first seven months of lockdown at a family cabin in B.C. There I rediscovered some fundamental truths. Without the basic elements - fire, air, water and earth - there is no life. We also need to renew our understanding of the interconnections between all life and existence, something I refer to as "spirit." When our relationship with these elements is out of whack, and when we lose our "spiritual" connection, we risk our very being.

The privilege of spending lockdown safe and healthy with family wasn't lost on me. I wanted to make the most of the time.

One way I did this was by producing my first podcast. I reached out to old friends like Jane Fonda and Neil Young. I got to speak with celebrated thinkers like Kwame McKenzie and Jennifer Keesmaat, Indigenous leaders like Winona LaDuke and Jeannette Armstrong, youth activists and more. We recorded five episodes that explore how the pandemic can help us refocus on what's most important, and how a green and just recovery from COVID-19 could look.

It will be a challenge. The fossil fuel industry is working harder than ever to convince people to let it continue its destructive ways. Important climate lawsuits are getting thrown out of court. More than a million species worldwide are at risk of extinction. The list goes on.

But I believe the reasons to be hopeful are many.

Recently, the federal government revealed details of a climate accountability plan to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It's a real strategy, with real legislative power. For an environmentalist of nearly 40 years, this is good news.

On November 30, government also gave its first full economic statement since the pandemic hit. It was an opportunity to take stock of the massive, necessary recent public spending to address the pandemic. Perhaps more importantly, it was also an opportunity to begin charting our path to recovery, including commitment to a "green recovery." It all needs to be paired with a strong climate plan and accountability law, but overall, it's good news.

This next decade will be critical if we're to rediscover balance with the natural world, our home. By 2030, we'll have a good sense of whether we're on track.

In my podcast, I ask, if this really is the transformation decade as we emerge from COVID-19, how will it look?

We're already seeing unprecedented public spending to re-energize economies and rebuild communities. We must make sure these efforts aren't designed to take us back to "normal," because that wasn't working.

From nature-based climate solutions like tree planting and wetland restoration to more localized and resilient city design to community-led renewable energy generation, we can resolve our problems. All that's needed is the political will.

For the courageous young people whose Friday strikes have brought unparalleled attention to the climate crisis, for the Indigenous leaders who generously share wisdom on how to live in harmony with Earth, for nature, upon which so many of us have relied to get through lockdown, let's shift gears and change direction. Let's rediscover our place on this beautiful living planet.

Visit to hear how.

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

There Is No End To The Grift
Mike Pompeo and Wilbur Ross have been living high on the hog-our hog.
By Charles P. Pierce

One hesitates to paraphrase the genius of Robert Earl Keen, but it seems the grift goes on forever and the thievery never ends. The folks at CREW got their hot little hands on some of the financial details describing how high Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been living on the hog belonging to the rest of us.

Started by Pompeo in 2018, the Madison Dinners are a series of lavish events organized in part by his wife through her personal email account and funded by taxpayers. The dinners' connection to the mission of the State Department is highly questionable, as only 14 percent of invitees reportedly have been diplomats or foreign officials. The vast majority have been from the private sector with no connection to the State Department's foreign policy mission, such as Republican donors and conservative media figures. At the time of the Madison Dinners, Pompeo appeared to be using government resources elsewhere to support a potential run for Senate in his home state of Kansas. President Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick as he was investigating allegations of significant misconduct by Pompeo. Linick reportedly made an inquiry into one of the offices responsible for arranging the Madison Dinners the week before he was fired. CREW filed a criminal complaint against Pompeo, calling for the FBI to investigate whether Pompeo obstructed the investigations into him by pushing Trump to fire Linick.
And then there's our narcoleptic Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who has been a very big fish in a very small barrel for a very long time. Now, thanks to Forbes, we learn that the inspector general of the department Ross purportedly heads has been dropping a line into that barrel for quite some time.
The report both revealed the investigation and published its findings. It concluded that Ross, who has served as commerce secretary since Trump's first year in office, violated a federal regulation by failing to avoid the appearance of ethical and legal breaches. The report cleared him on other matters, including whether he lied to federal officials and engaged in insider trading. The probe began in November 2017, after Forbes reported how Ross had been apparently fibbing about his fortune for years. The investigation eventually expanded, following revelations the next year about false ethics filings, conflict-prone meetings and suspiciously timed investments. Thursday's report catalogues a litany of inaccurate statements that Ross submitted to federal officials. He did not list all assets on his financial disclosure report. He claimed to have divested things he did not. He described stock distributions that did not happen. He said he sold assets that he actually shorted.
Is there a punchline or, as we've become accustomed to calling them, a cheap-ass alibi? You bet.
It's not a crime to unintentionally provide false information to officials-only to intentionally do so. The report does not conclude that Ross knowingly lied.
He didn't know he had shorted assets that he'd said he cold? Of course, that kind of thing slips my mind all the time.

The law caught wind of Sonny and one day he got caught
But he was back in business when they set him free again
The road goes on forever and the party never ends

(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-

"Congress cannot adjourn for the holidays in order to return to our families when so many other families are living in desperation. It is absolutely imperative that we provide $1,200 for every working-class adult and $500 for each of their children."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Trump and Mnuchin just don't like the look of the Iranian government
so they are arbitrarily making the lives of ordinary Iranians miserable.

How US Sanctions Have Contributed To The 50K Dead Of Coronavirus In Iran
Iran suffers the worst pandemic outbreak in the Middle East.
By Juan Cole

The US financial and trade blockade of Iran, which has strangled its economy, has also taken a heavy toll on the country's coronavirus response.

Nick Paton Walsh, Jo Shelley, Ramin Mostaghim and Scott McWhinnie at CNN did a great story on this heartrending travesty.

They write,

'Retired teacher Khalif Farahani struggles to speak, but his emotions pierce the breathlessness of the virus's impact on his lungs. "Sanctions, it is cruelty (from) America," he said. He caught the virus on a park excursion, he added, but even in this condition is "better than before."
Iran suffers the worst pandemic outbreak in the Middle East. IRNA reports that 323 patients died of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the number of confirmed deaths from this disease in the country to 51,212. Iran, a country of 82 million, has recorded over a million infections. The health ministry is instructing people to wear a mask when shopping in bakeries, and to be careful to wash their hands thoroughly on returning home before handling the bread.

Since Iran has a population 1/4 the size of the US, it has had the US equivalent of 204,848 deaths, about a third less, proportionally, than the US toll. Iran may not be getting as accurate a count as the US does. But it is also true that the Iranian population is substantially younger (mean age 32) than that of the US (mean age 38), and many statistically young countries have had less virulent outbreaks. Iran is nevertheless almost as badly hit as the US with regard to deaths, possibly because of the difficulties it has had in importing equipment like ventilators, and medicines.

Iranian families who need to buy medicines also face difficulty in just affording them, since the US has prevented Iran from engaging in international trade, thus plunging formerly middle class people into poverty.

I have argued that the Trump administration missed a significant opportunity for diplomacy with Iran when it doubled down on sanctions this year despite the pandemic.

The smarmy blowhard Mike Pompeo, the departing secretary of state, has repeatedly denied that the US has interfered with the importation of medicines and medical equipment such as ventilators.

Pompeo is lying. (You can tell, since he is speaking).

In September of 2019, Steven Mnuchin, Trump's secretary of the treasury, placed sanctions on Iran's national bank, the Bank-e Markazi. At the Just Security site based at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, Shahrzad Noorbaloochi, an attorney practicing federal regulatory and compliance law, predicted that these new financial sector sanctions would eviscerate humanitarian trade with Iran. She was right.

The measure threatened anyone who so much as used an Iranian bank to send money to Iran for any purpose with heavy third-party sanctions. So if you were a small charity trying to buy personal protective equipment for Iranian nurses, how would you get the money there? You'd have to send a wire, and at some point the wire would go through the National Bank in Tehran, and at that point the men with the black shiny shoes could suddenly show up and ship you to Guantanamo as a material supporter of terrorism.

The National Bank of Iran hasn't been linked to any terrorist organization. The United Nations Security Council has no sanctions on Iran. The US Congress has no sanctions on Iran. Trump and Mnuchin just don't like the look of the Iranian government so they are arbitrarily making the lives of ordinary Iranians miserable.

And they are killing some of them.

(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-

Ken gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Generalstaatsanwalt Paxton,

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 frivolous lawsuit against the four states in an attempt to get the Fuhrer to pardon you for your crimes in Texas, 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 01-19-2021. We salute you herr Paxton, seig heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Bezos, McConnell, And COVID Capitalism
By Robert Reich

As a former Secretary of Labor, I often receive mail from workers with job complaints, who apparently believe I still have some authority. But the email I received a few days ago from a worker at Amazon's Whole Foods delivery warehouse in Industry City, Brooklyn, New York, was particularly distressing.

She said that six of her co-workers had tested positive for COVID since October 22, because "safe social distancing is not only being ignored but discouraged," adding that "when we express our discomfort to management, we are yelled at about filling orders faster, or told that we can take a leave of absence without pay."

She ended by noting "we work for a trillionaire."

Well, not quite. Jeff Bezos is worth $180 billion, making him the richest person in the world. And his corporation, Amazon, which also owns Whole Foods, is among the world's richest corporations.

Bezos has accumulated so much added wealth over the last nine months that he could give every Amazon employee $105,000 and still be as rich as he was before the pandemic.

So you'd think he'd be able to afford safer workplaces. Yet as of October, more than 20,000 U.S.-based Amazon employees had been infected by the virus. That estimate comes from Amazon, by the way. There's been no independent verification, nor has Amazon revealed how many of them have died.

Decades ago, employees in most large corporations could remedy unsafe working conditions by complaining to their union, which pressured their employer to fix the problems, or to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (founded in 1970), which levied fines.

Alternatively, they could embarrass their companies by going public with their complaints. As a last resort, they could sue.

None of these routes is readily available to Amazon warehouse workers - nor, for that matter, to warehouse workers at Walmart, or to most workers in other super-spreader COVID workplaces such as meatpacking plants and nursing homes.

Amazon's workers have no union to protect them. (Throughout its 25-year history, the corporation has aggressively fought union organizing.) Nor, for that matter, do 93.8 percent of America's private-sector workers. Fifty years ago, more than a third were unionized.

And OSHA? Since the start of the pandemic, it's been useless. Although receiving more than 10,000 complaints of unsafe conditions, it has issued just two citations.

Amazon employees who go public with their complaints are likely to lose their jobs. The corporation prohibits its workers from commenting publicly on any aspect of its business, without prior approval from executives. So far during the pandemic, it has fired at least two white-collar employees who publicly denounced conditions at its warehouses, as well as several warehouse workers who raised safety concerns to media outlets.

Amazon isn't alone. A survey conducted in May by the National Employment Law Project showed that 1 in 8 American workers "has perceived possible retaliatory actions by employers against workers in their company who have raised health and safety concerns" about COVID.

The final option is to sue the company, but lawsuits against employers over COVID have been rare because of difficulties proving that the employee contracted the virus at work. A Washington Post analysis found that since the pandemic began, just 234 personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits have been filed due to the virus.

All of which reveals the utter fatuousness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's and his fellow Senate Republicans' demand that any new COVID relief package must include a corporate "liability shield" against COVID cases.

Even if such lawsuits were successful, corporations already have limited liability. That's what it means to be a corporation. In the unlikely event Amazon were sued and plaintiffs won, Jeff Bezos would remain comfortable.

The heinous resurgence of COVID makes clear that corporations need more - not fewer - incentives to protect their workers from the virus.

As millions of Americans lose whatever meager income they had, they should not have to choose between taking a risky job - such as in an Amazon warehouse - or putting food on their family's table.

Bezos, as well as every major employer in America, can easily afford to protect their workers. And as Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans should know, the richest nation in the world can easily afford to provide every American adequate income support during this national emergency.

That they're not doing so is disgraceful.

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, speaks to the media after the
Republican's weekly senate luncheon in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2020.

Mitch McConnell Wants To Let Corporations Kill You Without Consequence
This is beyond immoral. This is ghastly, and should have been at the top of every news story in America for the past six months.
By Thom Hartmann

Probably the most under-reported story of the year has been how Mitch McConnell is holding Americans hostage in exchange for letting big corporations kill Americans without any consequence.

Mitch took you and me hostage back in May, when the House of Representatives passed the HEROES act that would have funded state and local governments and provided unemployed workers with an ongoing weekly payment.

Mitch refused to even allow the Senate to discuss the HEROES Act until or unless the legislation also legalized corporations killing their workers and customers. To this day, he refuses to let it even be discussed in the Senate.

We've seen companies fire people for refusing to take their lives in their hands, executives organize betting pools on which employees are going to die first, and companies lying openly to their workers and customers about the dangers of Covid-19.

Mitch McConnell wants to protect them all. Even worse, his immunity can extend well beyond the pandemic and sets up a process that could put corporations above the law permanently, across every community in America, in ways that state and local governments can never defy.

While Republicans have fought against raising the minimum wage or letting workers unionize for over 100 years, what McConnell is doing now is giving corporations the ultimate right: the right to kill their employees and customers with impunity.

And McConnell's holding your local police and fire departments, public schools, and state healthcare programs hostage in exchange for his corporate immunity.

This is beyond immoral. This is ghastly, and should have been at the top of every news story in America for the past six months. But many of the corporations that are looking forward to complete supremacy over their workers include the giant corporations that own our media.

America has suffered for over 40 years under Reaganism's neoliberal mantra, picked up from Milton Friedman, that when corporations focus exclusively on profit an "invisible hand" will guide them to do what's best for people and communities. It's a lie.

This is an assault on workers' rights, but, even greater, it's a corporate assault on human rights. McConnell is saying that a corporation's right to kill its workers and customers is more important than the lives of human beings.

As unemployment benefits are running out, evictions loom, small businesses are dying left and right, millions of families have been thrown into crisis and more than 10 million Americans have lost their health insurance, McConnell continues to hold us all hostage.

It's time to fight back. If corporate media continues to refuse to discuss McConnell's blackmail, we must individually speak up among friends and communities, and also let our lawmakers know what we think. It's time to raise some hell.

(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
~~~ Adam Zyglis ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Governors Call On Gretchen Whitmer To Shut Down Their States So Residents Won't Get Mad At Them
By The Onion

LANSING, MI-In an effort to take decisive action against the rapid spread of the coronavirus, governors across the country called on Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer this week to shut down their states this week so their residents won't get mad at them.

"It is long overdue that we buckle down and urge Gretchen to really do us a solid and tell our constituents that she would be instituting an across-the-board shutdown because, frankly, we're scared of what they might do to us," said Arizona governor Doug Ducey, echoing the statements from dozens of public officials across the political spectrum who urged Whitmer to stop tiptoeing around the issue and simply face the wrath of residents of Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, and many more states after she advised them to avoid large gatherings and shelter in place for the foreseeable future.

"We need to see real leadership from Governor Whitmer: She must tell our constituents in no uncertain terms that she will be restricting their liberties in order to fight this deadly virus and that we, their governors, had no part in making these decisions, so they should direct any of their hatred or violence toward the Michigan governor's mansion. It's just common sense. Besides, most of these people already hate her, so what's there to worry about?"

The governors also stressed that it would also really help them out if she told their state's protesters and police departments to chill out, too.

(c) 2020 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 50 (c) 12/18/2020

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