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Friday, July 31, 2020

By fits and starts, shocks and stalls, the World lurches on. Special edition, July 31st 2020

LATE ADDITION, up-top...

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Spend your weekend listening to archived sets from over 60 years of Newport Folk. Don’t forget to support the year-round work of Newport Festivals Foundation so we can keep supporting music education programs across the country as well as artists in need.
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featuring Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Ben Harper, Trombone Shorty, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers and more. Recorded live at The Theatre At Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
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Streaming for FREE on and featuring never-seen-before performances from Brandi Carlile, James Taylor, Roger Waters and Lucius, Brittany Howard, and more

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More from The Guide, new Saturday...

Covidology 101 for Saturday, August 1st

California just became the first state to report more than 500,000 coronavirus cases, according to a New York Times database. The newspaper made that report in its overnight e-newsletter. They write:

"California locked down its residents relatively early, on March 19, buying time for hospitals and public health workers to prepare for an expected onslaught. The state’s weekly average number of infections in late April was less than 20 percent of what it is today.

"But while the restrictions led to early success in the state, which has the world’s fifth-largest economy, they eventually wore on residents reeling from spikes in unemployment. Resistance mounted to the restrictions."

And here we are, setting the wrong kind of records. We'll take it from here, New York Times.

If we ever want to see music venues reopen -- if we want them to have a chance to survive all these months of ongoing expense and zero income -- we must stand together to insist to the rest of society on what we all know to do.

•  Nobody gets to be a maskless MASKHOLE and be around anyone else.

•  Nobody gets to congregate in maskless gatherings of BRANCH COVIDIANS then expect to mingle buying toilet paper with the rest of us.

•  Nobody gets to be an arrogant jerk and recklessly expose others, or leave anyone wondering if they've been exposed to the Plague of 2020.

The rest of us cannot be expected to risk exposure to any reckless asymptomatic carrier like that covidiot Texas congressman Louie Gomert.


Nobody has the freedom to blow cigarette smoke in your face in any indoor space. Nobody has the freedom to drink and drive or text and drive and endanger everyone else on the highway. Nobody has the freedom to ride a bicycle on the 405 freeway. It's all because everyone, together, has the guaranteed, protected freedom -- and the responsibility that comes with every kind of freedom -- not to be complicit in anyone else's death.

So what is so damn difficult about the concept of freedom here?

Okay, let's put it this way. If someone doesn't want to wear a simple mask now? They need to write their instructions, since they refuse masks, not to have an oxygen mask put on them. They need their little manifesto of personal freedom to clearly say not to put them on a ventilator. They have the freedom to demand those things. And they have the freedom to die because they were so intransigently, willfully, negligently stupid. THAT is their locus of control.

And we can only ask our overworked, exhausted, poorly rested first responders and medical people to risk their own lives and apply their limited time, within the expensive care environments and machines for which they are constantly responsible, to extend treatment and care to what's needed by the ones who at least tried to look out for the rest of us.

Confrontational? We, all of us wearing masks and keeping our distance, are not the ones who confronted a mask-wearing kidney transplant patient in a grocery store and threw her to the ground and broke her leg because she asked them to put on a mask and keep distant from her. We, wearing masks, are not the ones who spit on a store security guard because he told everyone wanting to enter that they must wear a mask. We, wearing masks, are not the ones who fractured the skull of a store greeter who told all at the door that masks are required inside.

But after all that, you're damn right we are ready to be confrontational. As the late Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock character said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." And nobody can say they "need" to go in a store during a pandemic without wearing a mask. Power to the people to STAY HEALTHY!

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Here's the full edition...

While The Guide has been on hiatus, our editor hasn't had much time off. He's written published pieces for other news outlets. We're doing this because the first two have real immediacy -- so we are sharing them here.

Our hiatus hasn't been just to take a much-needed break. Our editor has undergone surgery as the result of bad treatment by a toxic dental office. Three teeth, subjected to the basic drill-and-fill in late February and early March on the brink of the COVID shutdown, all became horrible infections. One had him looking like a pocket gopher. Collectively, it required over 75 days of high-potency antibiotics, and surgery, and still caused the loss of multiple teeth. All the while, he said he felt like somebody had hit him in the head with a baseball bat. Only in the past ten days has he reported feeling something more akin to normal.

Writers, songwriters, composers, poets, chroniclers, painters, sculptors, instrumental wizards, and other "driven" types, all know the show must go on, in some form. 

Just as artists have taken to doing online live performances, writers still write, and journalists still track down facts and quotes and unravel loose ends to get to the truth.

his special edition of The Guide brings you some of the editor's work as published in other media outlets during the past week. We hope you enjoy and find them informative.


☆  "Trump Calls for Postponing Election as Economy Crashes and Deaths Soar"
-- In his most blatant game of diversion and distraction yet, Trump attempts to blunt just-released record-low economic numbers and record COVID deaths by threatening something wholly unconstitutional. Here's what it's REALLY about.

☆  "Biden's pick: would a 'Spiro T. Who' save party unity?"
-- With reference to an iconic piece of music, the Guide's editor -- in his alter ego as a writer elsewhere -- analyzes the importance of Joe Biden's VP running mate in November's election.

☆  "John Lewis and C.T. Vivian passed within hours. Both are giants in American history"
-- written and published within hours of the deaths of two Civil Rights icons, this remains a moving piece.

Our first selection was originally published yesterday -- Thursday, July 30th -- as one of the first US stories on the topic...

Trump Calls for Postponing Election as Economy Crashes and Deaths Soar 

by Larry Wines

In his most blatant game of diversion and distraction yet, Trump attempts to blunt record low economic numbers and record COVID deaths by threatening something wholly unconstitutional.

This morning, the US economy posted its worst-ever quarter with what Al Jazeera (AJ) English deems an "epic" 32.9% dive in Second Quarter GDP, by far the worst contraction on record.

"We knew the United States economy fell off a cliff in the second quarter.  On Thursday, we learned just how steep that dive was," reports AJ.

Making it wholly predictable that the Orange Imbecile would choose to play his standard fallback game, "Can You Top This." 

Thus, "Donald Trump Suggests Delay to US 2020 Election." There it is, a headline story on the BBC that appeared at 8 am PDT, just as US broadcast and cable tv news was covering the funeral of congressman John Lewis.

Within a minute, Al Jazeera English, France24, DW (Germany), NHK (Japan) and other global news sites began sending alerts with their own coverage of the story. The Beeb's lead tells it all: "Donald Trump has suggested November's presidential election be postponed, saying increased postal voting could lead to fraud and inaccurate results."

Interesting choice that the BBC calls it "postal voting," perhaps making it more relatable that aggressive defunding of the US Postal Service is a late-game theme of the Trump administration.

In spite of the strategic nuclear escalation of threatening to postpone a presidential election, it is tactically the same thing we have seen more times than we can count from this resident of the White House. He is simply playing his standard fear game -- that seems to always register with his base. 

Like John Belushi's character in "Animal House" calling "Road Trip!" every time he found himself in deep doo-doo, Trump predictably uses the same dog whistles to sound the alarm about who will vote if barriers are eased. His latest series of tweets are masked with advocacy that we not allow the election until people could "properly, securely and safely" vote. Which sets him up to maintain that any ballot cast as a vote by mail is dangerous and must not be allowed.

"...Like John Belushi's character in 'Animal House' calling 'Road Trip!' every time he found himself in deep doo-doo, Trump predictably uses the same dog whistles to sound the alarm about who will vote if barriers are eased."

So, this latest series of nocturnal and early morning tweets escalates a theme to the only place left for him to take it. He has, after all, already contended what he repeated last night, that "universal mail-in voting" would make November's vote the "most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history" and a "great embarrassment to the USA".

This time, one of those tweets brought the operative phrase, "Delay the Election":

Donald J. Trump

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???

5:46 AM · Jul 30, 2020
119.6K people are Tweeting about this

His tweetstorm revisits -- still without providing evidence -- his oft-repeated claim that mail-in voting is susceptible to foreign interference, saying "The [Democrats] talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race."

Trump's latest tweets also claim that voting by mail is "already proving to be a catastrophic disaster" in areas where it was being tried. Something else he pulled from his derriere.

It's worth noting that his dismisal of America's "fake news," i.e., any report that disagrees with him, must soon cause him to similarly smear global sources including the BBC, France24, NHK, DW (Germany), and Al Jazeera. "There is little evidence to support Mr Trump's claims but he has long railed against mail-in voting which he has said would be susceptible to fraud," as the BBC told its global audience.

Of course, there's a very big duality of "Whys." 

The morning brought plenty of dreadful reality for Trump to run away from. Of course, that meant attempting his usually successful game of distraction and diversion as a form of denial.


Four states experienced overnight numbers of record one-day deaths from COVID-19, with Americans dying at the rate of one per minute from the pandemic. That includes Herman Cain, a speaker at Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- which produced at least eight Trump advance team staffers who tested positive for coronavirus. Cain, who died last night, was co-chair of "Black Voices for Trump," and remembered as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. Rather than discuss the economy, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, soon after the news of Cain's passing, that the former entrepreneur "embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit."

Those plaudits after Trump markedly refused to pay homage to the late Congressman John Lewis, the "Conscience of the Congress" while his casket rested on the catafalque used for the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. 

The news of the number of Americans dead in the pandemic passing 150,000 comes hot on the heels of a Trump ally testing positive for Coronavirus just yesterday. Congressman Louie Gomert (R, Texas) was tested as part of preparations to join Trump aboard Air Force One. 

Gomert has staunchly refused to wear a mask, causing this reporter to previously label him as a maskless Maskhole. Now he is driving himself home to Texas, vowing to wear a mask on the trip.

Things could quickly get worse for the Branch Covidians. The previous day, Gomert was seen walking in close quarters with Attorney General William Barr, on the day of Barr's contentious congressional testimony. There is C-SPAN and news footage of him this week fondling a flag and generally wandering around maskless on a congressional dais. That prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to issue orders for mandatory masks on the House floor, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked that he saw "no need for mask orders [in the Senate] since the members seem to be doing it, anyway."

As for postponing the election?

Whatever premise(s) of national emergency Trump might ultimately seek to invoke, he has no precedent for them. The presidential election of 1864 was held in the midst of the Civil War, and Lincoln never considered postponing it, despite his expectations of losing to ineffective Union general George McClellan, who would have ended the war and left the Confederacy as an independent nation.

Trump, who seems to know nothing of the US constitution, does not have the authority to postpone the election. Any delay requires approval by Congress.

The BBC posted its report with companion analysis by Anthony Zurcher, one of their North American reporters. He wrote:

"Donald Trump can't delay November's presidential election without Congress, partially controlled by the Democrats, first approving the decision. If he didn't already know this, someone has certainly told him by now."

"The president also must know that tweeting about a delay - even framed as an 'I'm just asking!' question - is sure to ignite a political firestorm, particularly after he has repeatedly refused to say whether he'd accept an adverse result in the upcoming presidential election."

Let's be thorough and eliminate some of the mystery. Trump's claim that vote by mail has created chaos gets traction in conservative media, based on two factors.

•  In June, New York state allowed vote by mail in the Democratic primary. Long delays in counting the ballots mean the results of that are still unknown there.

•  Some US based media has, indeed, reported concerns that many ballots will not be counted if they are not filled-in correctly or lack postmarks proving they were sent before voting officially ended. Examine your own mail -- some of it lacks legible mailing dates, and other concerns about Trump's new Postmaster General threatening adequate funding for the Postal Service Exacerbates it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To that, Trump constantly cites "Critics" of voting by mail who argue that it's too easy for people to vote more than once, mailing-in an absentee ballot and going to the polling place in person. Prior to today's twitstorm, he has said there was a risk of "thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody's living room, signing ballots all over the place".

But as the BBC clearly asserts, "there is no evidence of widespread fraud, according to numerous nationwide and state-level studies over the years."

Currently, six states plan to hold "all-mail" ballot elections in November: California, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Other states are considering it, according to a postal voting campaign group. Whatever the final total number of states, those adopting exclusively mail-in ballots will automatically send them to all registered voters. Ballots are then mailed back or dropped off on election day. Some in-person voting remains available, but as the BBC describes it, "in certain limited circumstances."

Meanwhile, what Trump and his Fox News allies portray as radical and dangerous and a path to steal the election? Turns out it's quite common. About half of US states allow any registered voter to cast their ballot by mail, simply by filing a request form.

It's hard to find a state whose election officials are against making voting safer in the midst of a pandemic. Some are at odds with their state's elected officials, because safer, in public health terms, translates to making voting by mail easier.

Let's return to Zurcher's quick analysis this morning:

"Mr. Trump appears to be doing everything in his power to undermine the credibility of November's vote, in which a record number of Americans are predicted to rely on mail-in voting to avoid the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. He's repeatedly made false and misleading claims about the reliability of the mail balloting and suggested broad conspiracy theories. Critics warn that he could be laying the groundwork for contesting the results - although the purpose may be simply to give him a scapegoat if he loses.

"His tweet could also be an attempt to divert attention away from the truly dismal second-quarter economic numbers just released. He's been relying on a financial turnaround to breathe life into his re-election campaign, and instead the outlook appears exceedingly gloomy.

"Whatever the reason, tweeting about an election delay is not the move of a candidate confident of victory - and could be a sign of more desperate moves to come."

Another BBC sidebar story is, "What reaction has there been?" It is of course entirely, predictably partisan. You can read the BBC story and its developing sidebars here.

We should add that Trump may have determined to be a distraction simply to disrupt the morning's funeral of John Lewis, where three former presidents delivered eulogies. We have ample examples of his ego inflated to 35 psi that cannot stand being upstaged by anyone else, regardless of the reason.

Something else might have played into things. NASA launched the latest Mars probe this morning and touted its name, "Perseverance," as a triumph of science over the constraints of the pandemic, celebrating the scrupulous wearing of masks by everyone as fundamental to their success. Many, even in the aerospace community, expected "Mars 2020" would become "Mars 2022," the next time the planets alignment will permit a launch. (On that subject, only Fox News covered the launch live. But their coverage commentary was littered with fear of China stealing America's technology secrets, and justification for Trump's military Space Force.)

The economy

Prior to Trump's distracting threat to indefinitely postpone the election, Al Jazeera English (AJ) was leading with, "US economy has worst-ever quarter with epic 32.9% dive in Q2 GDP; Annualised quarterly plunge was driven by coronavirus lockdowns that ground US economic activity to a halt." 
Even the Middle East-based news source found it telling to write, "Before coronavirus lockdowns swept the nation in March, the worst reading on US gross domestic product (GDP) - which measures the value of all the goods and services produced in the economy -  was recorded in 1950, when the US economy shrank 10 percent in the first quarter."

It isn't just that the US officially entered recession in February, when the economy shrank 5 percent below the same period a year ago. American capitalism is dependent on conspicuous consumption to fuel its unsustainable model of constant growth. Thus, a sharp contraction in consumer spending is what pushed the US economy into its second-quarter chasm -- not the pandemic. Though "before the pandemic, consumer spending drove two-thirds of US economic activity," as AJ reports. 

They continue, "A plunge in exports, inventories, business and residential investment, as well as state and local government spending, also contributed to the historic weakness. Though the GDP number came in at the higher end of economists' estimates, it was widely expected to shatter previous records."

Of course, global economic activity struck a reef in March when efforts intended to contain the spread of COVID-19 stopped the bulk of trade, forced businesses of all kinds to close, and consumers to stay out of the mall, sheltered in place at home.

"As tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs, the Federal Reserve stepped up with trillions of dollars worth of support to keep credit flowing to businesses and households, while Congress splashed out some $3 trillion in virus relief aid spending," as AJ describes it.

Of course, economies worldwide are suffering in the pandemic. One story cites the "UK economy crumbling as coronavirus deaths mount," saying "Ministers have been struggling to explain high death rates, limited testing and shortages of protective equipment" in Britain. 

But no where else has laissez faire failure to deal with a modern plague been combined with incongruous, draconian, and illegal threats as paramilitary agents are deployed to arrest peaceful protesters -- all while the head of state masks nothing but his denial, diversion, distraction, obfuscation, and navigation of a giant slalom of fear-mongering as his only tools to mismanage one death per minute of his nation's population.

The above was written for, and published in, L.A. Progressive. 

The following is a Friday morning follow-up / companion to the story, published July 31:

An election cancelled for a year

by Larry Wines

Friday morning, word comes that "Hong Kong postpones elections for a year 'over virus concerns'" -- in an international story that surprises no one. That full story is on the BBC, and our summary is below.

Hong Kong, which has 4.4 million registered voters, has had more than 3,200 confirmed infections and 27 deaths from the virus. But a new spike there comes after Hong Kong appeared to have contained the outbreak after weeks of few or no local infections. The overall numbers are still lower than those of many other places. Suddenly, for 10 days in a row, Hong Kong has had more than 100 daily new cases with 121 new cases on Friday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was invoking emergency powers to postpone the elections. She justified it, saying elections would involve "a large-scale gathering and an immense infection risk", while social distancing measures would prevent candidates from canvassing. Right away, the Beijing government said it supported that decision, saying it was made "in the interests of the public and based on the actual situations in Hong Kong".

Opposition politicians say that, under Hong Kong election laws, the polls can only be postponed by 14 days -- and a longer delay will "trigger a constitutional crisis in the city." Friday's announcement of no election for a year comes after Thursday's ban of 12 pro-democracy candidates who had been on the ballot.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said there were no political motives behind her move –
but opposition activists disagree.
Note that everywhere else in the world, government officials wear masks.
Activist Joshua Wong, who was disqualified from running in the elections, wrote on Twitter that the pandemic was being used as "as an excuse to postpone the election" and was "the largest election fraud in #HK's history."

The BBC report says, "Opposition activists had hoped to obtain a majority in the Legislative Council (LegCo) in September's poll, capitalising on anger at Beijing's imposition of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong, and fears that the territory's freedoms are being eroded." They continue, "Pro-democracy candidates had made unprecedented gains in last year's district council elections, winning 17 out of 18 councils."

"Health experts," says the BBC, told them, "with the reintroduction of social distancing measures, the rate of infection appears to have slowed, and they hope Hong Kong will be back to close to zero local infections within four to six weeks." And, "The city has introduced tough new measures to combat the virus, banning gatherings of more than two people."

Hong Kong had previously enacted draconian measures to eliminate all forms of protest. As a result, its citizens can now be removed to mainland China and subjected to prosecution under laws beyond those previously in place in Hong Kong. Still, hundreds of thousands of people voted in unofficial pro-democracy primaries in July, to demonstrate an ongoing show of support for the pro-democracy movement there.

At issue are seats on the Legislative Council - or LegCo - which "helps" to make and amend Hong Kong's laws. Comprised of 70 seats, only 35 of them are filled by direct vote of the public. Of the other half (35), 30 seats represent "functional constituencies" which are voted on by smaller select groups that represent special interests. Primarily those interests are businesses, banking and trade, and the BBC reports, "Historically these sectors have been largely pro-Beijing."

The last five seats, made up of district councillors who are elected by the public to sit on LegCo, would seem to produce a majority chosen by the people. But "This system, where only a proportion of [The five] LegCo councillors are chosen by the public, has been called undemocratic by critics," but "supporters of the system say it helps avoid populism and protects Hong Kong's business interests," according to the BBC's analysis.

What have other governments done?

While Trump's call on Thursday to postpone US elections proved to be an attempt at distraction from runaway Coronavirus deaths and a record economic collapse, it brought prompt rejection from key political figures of both major parties.

For what has happened elsewhere, the BBC report cites the "Global overview of COVID-19: Impact on elections" updated July 29th and published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. They say at least 68 countries or territories postponed elections due to Covid-19, while 49 jurisdictions held elections as planned. And most postponements were short-term, to enact safety measures that allowed elections to get past early spikes as the pandemic spread globally.

Lam, during her press conference, argued that "many governments had also postponed elections by a year, including the London's Mayoral elections, and local government elections in Australia's New South Wales."

Journalists present weren't buying it, noting the Hong Kong's outbreak was not severe and her citation of cancelled elections was not true. London now has 35,000 Covid-19 cases, compared to Hong Kong's 3,200. In Australia, elections in Victoria went ahead as scheduled in March, as did a federal election in New South Wales. Singapore held its general election earlier this month -- and had its highest turnout in recent years, said Eugene Tan, a law professor and political commentator at Singapore Management University.

Tan asserted, "There is never a good time for an election during a pandemic." He was talking about Singapore, where the vote went ahead with several safety measures in place. His point applies everywhere. He continues that finding a way to hold an election "demonstrates that it is possible to protect public health even as people go about exercising their democratic right to vote."

There's more!  Another feature story is below. It's all about the big VP decision to be announced early NEXT WEEK. Written by The Guide's editor, it ran in another publication a week earlier.

With reference to an iconic piece of music, the Guide's editor -- in his alter ego as a writer elsewhere -- analyzes the importance of Joe Biden's VP running mate in November's election.

Biden's pick: 
would a "Spiro T. Who" save party unity?

By Larry Wines

In 1968, after the shock of assassinations, the Democrats self destructed on the streets of Chicago over blood in Vietnam and whether being there was defending a nation from communist insurgency or upholding American imperialism. Meanwhile, with a secret plan to end the war, comeback kid (or comeback used car salesman) Richard Nixon took the Republican nomination and picked Maryland Governor Spiro T. Agnew, a running mate that had America asking, "Spiro Who?"

Richard Nixon with his dark horse running mate, Spiro T. Agnew. (Photo,
A dark horse running mate wasn't unusual in American history. But in the tv age, introduced by the Kennedy vs. Nixon election of 1960, an unknown face seemed risky and more than a little shocking. Especially after Nixon lost mostly because his 5 o'clock shadow looked sinister on tv. His ticket prevailed in '68, but Agnew wouldn't be there to become president when Nixon resigned amidst Watergate. That's because federal investigators caught up with Spiro first, for his own indiscretions in his home state. Hence, Nixon was able to hand-pick Gerald Ford to be the nation's only president who never won a national election. That reinforced suspicion of an unknown being in line for the White House. Fast forward to John McCain picking dark horse Sarah Palin in 2008. Conventional wisdom holds that she, being such a demonstrable dumbass, cost him the election.

Sarah Palin and Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Which one is which? Palin is uncharacteristically
on the left. (Photo,
Still, it made her a celebrity. Or it made Tina Fey a bigger celebrity impersoning her on Saturday Night Live. Either way, America has a need for celebrities to fawn over, stalk, or ridicule, and even insipid reality tv cranks out "reality stars." Thus, with just over three months 'til the 2020 election, it seems risky to propose picking a running mate that America does not know to be a heartbeat away from the Big Chair being sought by a rather doddering old man.

Nevertheless, in a widely-read piece, Wednesday's "Daily Kos" advocates an obscure California congresswoman as Joe Biden's running mate. Their reasoning is crazy. Plus, they ignore every other tenet of conventional politics. Starting with, it never helps a ticket to pick a veep from a state you already have in the bag. Especially with acute concern over Electoral College math.

Congresswoman Karen Bass during an L.A. tv news interview. (Photo,
The Kos piece picks Congresswoman Karen Bass, current chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and former speaker of the California Assembly. Decent credentials, which makes it a bigger head scratch that nobody knows her.

The heart of the
Kos argument?

"... most importantly, Donald Trump has no idea who she is."

Their long article examines other potential choices and dismisses them one by one, though they don't ever really dismiss Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Even though the title of the Daily Kos piece is,
"For VP, my heart says Warren, but the times call for this choice instead."

Their reason not to pick Warren? They assert, "... the fact is that the election would suddenly pivot around 'Pocahontas.'"

So, the Dems should only prepare to play defense and solely because of childish name-calling?  That's not how you win the Super Bowl. Hell, it's not how you win at intramurals. Somebody does a banana-fo-fanna and now you're out of the running? But it's the whole notion of just playing defense -- in an anticipatory elimination game, without the opponent even on the field -- that is most troubling. The Kos advocacy's emphasis is to assert why each of the other leading potential choices is a bad idea -- Kamala Harris, Val Demings, and Susan Rice. And in each case, their statements would suit the coach preparing a cornerback, not a quarterback.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D, California), widely thought to be a front-runner for Biden's pick.

Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, also a front-runner, is the former Orlando police chief. (Photo,

Potential pick Susan Rice was the 27th US ambassador to the United Nations and the 24th US national security advisor, both during the Obama administration. (Photo,

Gretchen Whitmer, current Governor of Michigan, has executive experience and may still be among the prospects. But a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll found 72% of Democrats think it’s important that the ticket include a woman of color. She served in one or the other houses of her state's legislature from 2001 to 2015, but like others with only state-level public service has no foreign policy or national experience. (Photo,

Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate who lost that election and remains a favorite of many Dem Party faithful. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives 2007-2017, including as minority leader 2011-2017. (Photo,

Tammy Duckworth, Senator and mom, is junior US Senator from Illinois since 2017, and before that, a congresswoman from that state's 8th district since 2013. She served as a US Army lieutenant colonel and received the Purple Heart in 2004 for the loss of both her legs in combat in Iraq. Politico, on July 12, says she "has landed squarely in the conversation" as a favorite. But America has not elected a war hero to the Executive Branch since Eisenhower. Vietnam vet John Kerry was "swiftboated" in 2004 and certain Fox News hosts have tried it on her. (2018 photo,

     Left to right, Barbara Lee, Nina Turner, Karen Bass. These three obscure possibilities gained visibility when a July 20th virtual convention of California's Bernie Sanders' delegates voted to endorse three veep candidates and proclaimed them "The Progressive choice." 
     Stories ran about it -- and the open letter to Biden that came from it -- in The Nation eleven days ago, and again in an L.A. Progressive revisitation August 2.

     Who are they? Lee is a 12-term congresswoman whose district is centered in Oakland, California. Turner is a former Ohio State senator, out of government for years, doing a lot of tv political panelist work. And we're meeting Congresswoman Bass in the text.

The Kos article endorsing Bass is authored by their "staff," yet it has a first-person voice throughout. It uses I, me, and my. So, playing dodgeball on whose advocacy is evoking the choice of "my heart" is a little weird.

Same for saying so little about the choice they advocate. This is pretty much all they have to say to promote Congresswoman Bass:

"Remember, the more Trump flails, the more we win. If you give him a known target, he can build off existing attack narratives, giving the right-wing media machine easy ways to rile up and motivate their racist base.

"But you give them someone who is as unknown as Bass, what do they do? They don’t have time to create entire narratives about her. They’ll just call her a 'liberal extremist' and move on. But as we’ve seen, that’s not an attack line with any real salience outside their deplorable base. They’ll claim she’s one of the 'squad' or other such nonsense, but again, it won’t land. They might attack her for being from California or Hollywood, but who cares.

"Fact is, they don’t have the time to find anything real on her, not when Biden is running away with the map and Trump is shooting himself in the face every single day.

"Call this the 'do no harm' approach, or maybe Napoleon’s 'Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake' strategy. Either way, Biden picks someone who doesn’t give Trump and his base new life; lets the progressive activist base know that he has their back; honors this social-justice moment; and honors the very voters who gave him the nomination.

"Karen Bass for VP."

You've gotta be kidding, Mr. or Ms. Kos Staff. Napoleon? The guy who had the battle of Waterloo won in the morning, until he overconfidently took a nap and lost in the afternoon?

The Dems veep pick matters hugely. And we want to examine why, in terms the mysterious Kos endorser chooses to ignore.

Biden's pick is determinative because it must be transcendent, beyond defeating Trump. That's because whether or not a functional Democratic Party emerges in 2021 is very much at issue. We're already seeing an emphasis on beating Trump strictly to evict him and his minions, without putting much out there in terms of detailed policy proposals. What would you do? and Why do you want the job? are two of THE most important questions to average prospective voters.

In fact, the two candidates who did present specific proposals -- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren -- are still the two who command the most passion with the electorate, including the greatest ability to fundraise on behalf of other candidates or causes. That includes Warren as the champion fundraiser for Biden, as the Kos piece acknowledges.

"...that requires Elizabeth Warren. Otherwise, here's what will happen: whether or not enough progressives and disenchanted others hold their noses and vote for Biden, the Dems will be unable to halt a post-election movement to establish a new progressive party."

Sure, Trump is torpedoing his own fleet at anchor, but that's not enough to assure he will be beaten, or that his ideological spawn will be flushed from the hatchery. Even if Biden wins, that certainly is not enough to assume an excited, energized Democratic Party will be born out of the election of a lackluster, uninspiring, corporatist nominee whose most compelling quality is that he's not Trump. There is so much more at stake than who runs things for four years.

Elizabeth Warren is solidly the choice of progressives and the Progressive wing of
the Democratic Party. The senior US Senator from Massachusetts, she founded
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and before that, was a law professor.
Frankly, the corporate establishment Democratic Party will not succeed in truly bringing the progressives back into the fold unless the veep nominee has the solid bonafides to counteract Biden. With time short in this unique year, those bonafides include already being an icon who can draw and excite an online crowd, like flipping a light switch. That's needed to get an online crowd who will diligently work the phone banks to the swing states. The veep nom needs to shine as a star, not be a front porch bug bulb. 

Then, post-election -- though it's an ever-present campaign issue -- she must be someone who can govern when old slow corporate Joe has a stroke. Since he guaranteed he would select a female running mate, and there's only one person out there who can do all those things, he needs to pick Elizabeth Warren. 

The essential subtext is unifying the party. Not just for November, but to provide a majority of grassroots supporters who will both enable and demand action to undo the current additions to already immeasurable harm. Part of that is appealing to ALL who seek economic and social justice, without anyone feeling the attention is only going to black voters and therefore leaving them out.

Again, that requires Elizabeth Warren.

Those who were "Bernie or bust" -- perhaps the vast majority of the movement -- remain disillusioned. But they like Warren. Would they embrace a ticket with her in second place? Or is the real question whether they will participate if no progressive is on the ballot. Disillusionment must be overcome quickly, or it risks becoming deeply rooted cynicism with a sense of alienation. The establishment Dems have one chance left to make things right with progressives.

Otherwise, here's what will happen: whether or not enough progressives and disenchanted others hold their noses and vote for Biden, the Dems will be unable to halt a post-election movement to establish a new progressive party. (Small "p" because its name is tbd from several extant possibilities.)

It will happen in a modern equivalent of the Dems old FDR coalition born from turmoil and disgust at inequity and others playing casino with everybody's money, and ultimately with desperation and uncertainty of mismanaged life-and-death. It won't all be based on the pandemic and George Floyd. The urgent need was already there to give voice to plaintive demands to make things better and undo the inside track of the privileged and of bloated wealth. And when the most observantly articulate of all who have "had enough" take even a single look at the governing Dems, the defining acts of the already evolving movement will happen outside the Dem Party. Simply because the D/R-R/D establishment either continues to condescend to those expectantly in need, and / or continues to pitch the same old con jobs -- when everybody is sick of both escapist tactics from establishment kingmakers in both parties. 

Or it could even happen because the hyper partisan party bosses arrogantly proclaim a Biden victory means they are the "real America," so get on board or get out of the way. That route would, in fact, be a corporate funded centrism that would almost exactly mirror Trumpism, and disaffect grassroots Dems the way Trump disaffected establishment Republicans.

A progressive party will happen, as a coalescing of these and other current breakaway movements who demand we -- 

• end endless wars; 

• block warconomy control; 

• ban every kind of military firearm from America's streets (add to that now, banning from America's streets camo-bedecked paramilitary federal agents with assault weapons);

• end corporate influence; 

• block all big donors; 

• make voting easy, universally accessible, and make it worth doing in the eyes of the majority that doesn't vote;

• guarantee health care as a right of citizenship / human right;

• pay reparations to descendants of slaves; 

• finally make a once-and-for-all decision about immigration policy and stop catching people in mousetraps where their kids are ripped from their arms; 

• reinvent law enforcement along the lines of public safety, and not belligerence under color of law.

• achieve social justice in enough of a tangible form to prevent recurring disillusionment (absolutely necessary if you expect the masses to vote, for anybody); 

• fund both science and infrastructure improvements so no future pandemic catches us with our skivvies around our ankles, and our people can ride 200+ mph trains like they have in Europe and Japan and China, and no asteroid strike (for which we failed to prepare) can sterilize the planet;

• make education taxpayer-paid through advanced degrees;

• de-fund Big Oil, Big Chemicals/Big Ag, Big Banksters, and every Fat Cat with his paw in the public till;

• move immediately to address their concern, as the ultimate breakaway movement -- commit to act for those of us rapidly becoming single-issue zealots -- to reverse climate change because everything else is re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, if we don't.

If that sounds like a list of things that a lot of people you know have in common, that's only part of the picture. Thing is, every one of those causes has adherents who look first to have THEIR cause be emphasized. And with the deplorable record of legislative Dems whose lip service seldom produces real change, people are fed-up. Just ask Eliot Engel. Not much differently than how conservatives were fed-up with their party establishment when they made Trump their 2016 nominee.

At this point, somebody will tell you to just wait, and the disaffected corporate establishment Republicans will be the ones who break away into a new party. After all, they're halfway there with millions of dollars going into those Lincoln Group ads. 

The ones saying wait have reason to. Let the Trumpertarians with the Pencites keep their creationist holier than thou My Pillow zealotry for an Orange Imbecile who has literally broken every one of their Ten Commandments, and the standard old trickle downers can stream and scream out the Coronapalooza Republican Convention exits and go make their new party. 

Fine. Except a Democratic Party "alternative" will always default like it does now, to the perceived safety of a lowest common denominator of the fantasy Iowa farm family of conservatives.

Just like the adage of the next war being fought with the tactics of the last one, establishment Dems are still looking to pick-off Nixon's Silent Majority and the Reagan Democrats. Moreover, they value courting them more than empowering their party's natural grassroots base. That Iowa family of Jeffersonian yeoman farmers is a fantasy fueled by corporatists of both parties who deny urban rent-controlled apartment living, and needing second jobs in the gig economy to make rent, and people who can't handle a $400 emergency. Oh, they may give lip service to the collective realities of most "real" Americans, and members of Congress from those districts make impassioned arguments to address those needs. Even as Nancy Pelosi's fundraising for Democrats gives equal shares to conservative Dems who vote 80% or more with Trump.

Thus the failed Democratic Party has earned its place on the junkheaps of irrelevancy and hypocrisy -- not just the failed Republicans

Of course, any new American political party loses for awhile. Then one of four things happens: it gives up and breaks up ("Bull Moose" Progressives); its agenda, or enough of it, is adopted by a major party, so its perceived need looses steam (the Green Party in the US); the shine wears off and its registrants drop to insignificant numbers (Peace & Freedom Party); or it wins big and captures momentum that the tired old beholden parties no longer have (Republicans, founded in 1856, winning the Presidency and seats in Congress in 1860, and maintaining control until 1932). 

Theodore Roosevelt was a complicated character whose ebullience still epitomizes
the Progressive ideal. After his presidency, he saw the Robber Barons again seize
control of his former Republican Party, causing him to form the short-lived
Progressive Party, known in its time as the "Bull Moose" Party. It's like the lines from
the song, "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."
(Photo, cityroom.blogs,
Because it was established for existentially compelling reasons and is an international phenomenon, the Green Party really deserves its own fifth category, with things here and in Europe still tbd.

In the face of any defection or dilution -- as they will angrily brand it -- the Dems will scream and yell that 2022 must secure everything, and of course that's with them in charge of everything, because the spectre of Trump could rise like a stalking zombie and still kill us all.

The progressive coalescence will counter that corporatists protect corporatists and, once lunatic Trump is gone, it is essentially irrelevant whether they are Democratish corporatists or Republican't corporatists.

The one way that entire scenario might be held off? Elizabeth Warren is elected veep, Biden strokes out, and Liz becomes the next Teddy Roosevelt. 

Thing is, whether her administration succeeds to giddy proportions or succumbs to GOPper sabotage, the various malcontents would largely stay with the star of a Progressive Democratic Party to support her as the disaffected progressives' collective best chance.

But pick a veep nom for in-vogue reasons? As a compensatory act of penance based on race? Instead of the proven ability to inspire and engage and involve -- along with the requisite legislative bonafides. Or make the pick because the thoroughly corporatist head of the ticket is comfortable with a person who has the same sense of things as himself? It's the post-nap afternoon at Waterloo. Then, just as Napoleon's allies quietly took their troops from the field, prepare for the mass migration to Splitsville.

To return things to the appropriate American lexicon, it will not simply be a desertion from a Dust Bowl that holds no promise. Like those who migrated away in those times, it will be a move that's half digusted escape, half hope because it probably can't get any worse than the lies and unkept promises and vanished possibilities, so somewhere (somewhere else), there must be greener pastures. And life is too damn short to countenance the same tired fairy tales and work yourself to death for your kids to have less than you do. 

The departure may have placards and signs, or it may display only myriad tweets and the slogan equivalents of middle fingers. Everyone is adept at the latter, given Covidology 101 and the trail of the Ochre Ogre. It will be characterized most by clacking keyboards. 

And as they -- we -- go, listen for the old song by The Who: "(We) Won't get fooled again."

It's amazingly relevant. Here are the lyrics.

"Won't Get Fooled Again"

As performed by The Who, written by Pete Townshend in 1971.

[Verse 1]
We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

[Verse 2]
The change it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold that's all 
(alt: ...liberated from the poet's song)
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war
(alt: ...flown in the last war)


I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie
(Do ya?)

[Verse 3]
There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight


Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss.


The above was published a week ago in L.A. Progressive.

There's an interesting exchange there with a reader, so we are reprinting it here:

Michael Shamamian says:
July 27, 2020 at 9:15 am

I don’t much care for historical analysis from someone who believes that the 1960 election was decided by “five o’clock shadow.” rather than, say, corrupt vote tabulations in Chicago and Texas. History shows that an incumbent POTUS is tough to beat, but it gets done by uniting a divided party as FDR did in ’32 by choosing Garner and Reagan did in ’80 by choosing Bush. (In 1968, Nixon should have thanked George Wallace, more than Gov. Agnew.) If Biden today (or Clinton in ’16) was serious about any of the litany of issues offered above, he (or she) would have united the Party by choosing America’s most popular politician as VP. But, admittedly he doesn’t tan well enough and lacks the correct sexual equipment to qualify for the job. It’s fitting that now that identity politics has replaced progressive politics more profoundly than at any time since Germany in the 1930s, that we have a foreign policy virtually the same as that of Germany in the 1930s. The “ideological spawn” of Donald Trump is…Joe Biden, and the one demographic that he has had trouble bamboozling might be hornswaggled by the experienced, articulate, qualified Gov. Grisham, but I really don’t wish to pass the nuclear football to Dementia Joe, even if he continues to permit Bernie Sanders to sniff his hair.

Larry Wines replied:
July 27, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Larry Wines here, author of the piece. Thank you for your comment, Mr. Shamamian. I appreciate that you stayed with it despite the technical glitch of paragraph separations being somehow lost in publication. [Present in the L.A. Progressive edition, not a factor above.]

You did leave me wondering, though. The bulk of your treatise explores other 20th century veep picks, making interesting comments. It leads you to a conclusion that seems not substantially different from my premise, but your criticism of me is rather harsh.

Yet you begin by saying, “I don’t much care for historical analysis from someone who believes that the 1960 election was decided by ‘five o’clock shadow[.]’ rather than, say, corrupt vote tabulations in Chicago and Texas.”

Let’s address both those points. While the subject of my piece did not permit delving into those two points, your critique requires responses.

First, the “five o’clock shadow” line is essentially a shorthand reference to Nixon’s own documented fear and distrust of television following the fallout from the first of his 1960 televised debate experiences. Which, in the context of the piece, makes it surprising that he would choose a ’68 running mate that could easily risk media ridicule.

Your second point is about my failure to cite “corrupt vote tabulations in Chicago and Texas.”

The National Constitution Center has a piece that supports what I wrote: “How the Kennedy-Nixon debate changed the world of politics.” (

In addition, the Washington Post ran a 2017 piece titled, “Here’s a voter fraud myth: Richard Daley ‘stole’ Illinois for John Kennedy in the 1960 election.” (

The central conclusion of the WaPo piece: “… the story of the stolen 1960 election rests on several myths. When myths are replaced with evidence, it’s not clear that the election was stolen at all.”

Let’s stay with that one, because you cite Illinois and Texas, and it does, too.

That author continues, “But Illinois didn’t change the national outcome… A more accurate claim is that Nixon would have won, with 270 electoral votes, if he had flipped both Illinois and Texas. But Texas wasn’t nearly as close as Illinois. While Kennedy won Illinois by just 8,858 votes (0.2 percent), he won Texas, the home state of his running mate Lyndon Johnson, by 46,627 votes (2 percent). Out of the 22 states that Kennedy won, there were seven that he won more narrowly than Texas.”

The writer of the WaPo piece, Paul von Hippel, is an associate professor of public policy and data science at the University of Texas.

I was not relying simply on Theodore White’s “The Making of the President 1960.”

Not all journalism cites the scholarship and research invested in what appears as the published product. Though it seemed quite a subsidiary point when writing it, obviously those references should have appeared in the piece, rather than here.

Michael Shamamian responded:
July 27, 2020 at 8:11 pm

“Especially after Nixon lost to Kennedy mostly because his five o’clock shadow looked sinister on TV.” Did I misquote you? (In ’68, Nixon got a tan, shaved and did not sneak nervous, furtive looks at his opponent.) The reasons why JFK won are numerous, but it didn’t hurt that his running mate was a criminal, who stole the 1948 election from Coke Stevenson and was nicknamed “The Senator From Kellogg, Brown & Root,” which profited immensely from the Vietnam War, which JFK could not be relied upon to continue. I suppose that you believe that JFK was taken out by a lone nut assassin; I believe he was taken out by a conspiracy organized and led by LBJ, with post-assassination insurance from his neighbor, J. Edgar Hoover. As for Mayor Daley, he revealed himself no later than 1968. I don’t trust academics whose livelihoods depend upon peddling the fish that the USA is governed by a functioning and honest democracy and I’m leery of any argument that takes WAPO (which I think of as The Bezos Bugle) to be a factual source. I am sorry if I abraded your sensitivities, but if you’ll reread my comment, I hope you’ll see that virtually none of it was about you. But I must admit, “progressives,” now suffering from a pandemic of acute putinitis, irritate me.

The author chose not to respond further.

Also written and published elsewhere...

This was added Saturday morning, July 18th, up-top to the already-published edition after The Guide went on hiatus..

Overnight Friday night / Saturday morning...

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian have passed within hours. Both are giants in American history

by Larry Wines

C.T. VIVIAN was a Civil Rights pioneer who led opposition to Southern racial segregation as far back as the 1940s, and who somehow survived the often murderous backlash suffered by proponents of equal rights. Both blatant institutional racism and violent suppression of all efforts to achieve equality persisted from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the 1960s. C.T. was there as a mentor to pave the way for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and others who became leaders through the heart of the struggle for voting rights, equal treatment under the law, and full rights of citizenship for all Americans. And C.T. marched and stood with that succeeding generation, living through it as others lost their lives in that struggle.

He is featured throughout PBS's acclaimed documentary "Eyes On The Prize" (1987 & 2006). As late as 2012, C.T. said, “Nonviolent, direct action makes us successful. We learned how to solve social problems without violence. We cannot allow the nation or the world to ever forget that.”

U.S. President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vivian in the East Room at the White House in November 2013 (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
JOHN LEWIS, Congressman from Georgia, was 17 years old when he first wrote to Dr. King and then followed him into the marches for equality in the 1960s. Those were the "demonstrations" most infamously attacked by police, police dogs, fire hoses, and more. On the date known as "Bloody Sunday," John Lewis had his skull fractured by a nightstick-wielding policeman while marching across a bridge named for a racist former governor of Alabama who headed the Ku Klux Klan. (The band U2 would write their song "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" for an incident in Northern Ireland, but it has always had so much resonance for Americans looking back over our own divisive history that it has often been atrributed to what happened on that bridge in Alabama.)

On America's  "Bloody Sunday" in 1965, a very youthful Lewis and his fellow marchers were peacefully protesting to gain the right to vote. In 2018, John Lewis returned to that bridge and was interviewed by CNN's Dana Bash, in what she calls one of the most memorable moments of her career. Watch it here.

Today there is an effort to change the name of that bridge and rename it for John Lewis, who was nearly killed on it. He was born the son of impoverished sharecroppers, and he rose to become one of the most respected members of Congress. Lewis died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80, but he was still -- until his final days -- vitally seeking to get himself into, as he proudly called it, "Good Trouble."

Across America, every living former president promptly released a statement honoring John Lewis and citing his role in making America more equitable for all its citizens. Odd man out was the current White House resident, who spent the day golfing and was conspicuously absent from the abundance of tributes. But nationwide, political leaders of every stripe -- even those who have been actively blocking Congressman Lewis's efforts to re-instate the Voting Rights Act -- issued statements honoring him. That includes LGBTQ leaders, because John Lewis was one of the first members of Congress to publicly and legislatively declare that an equitable society is inclusive of the rights of, and guaranteed opportunities for, all its citizens.

Tiffany Muller, president of Let America Vote, notes, "He was arrested over 40 times while helping lead the movement. He had done more to better our country by the time he was 30 than most of us could hope to do in a lifetime."

She continues, "He was elected to Congress in 1986 and he quickly became known as the Conscience of the Congress as he relentlessly pushed to create a more just society. He led House Democrats in a sit-in after the Pulse Nightclub massacre to urge action on gun control measures. And just last month, continued to support global demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism while fighting his own battle against cancer."

Rev. Al Sharpton commented, "Dr. King used to say there are two kinds of leaders: those who are thermometers and those who are thermostats. A thermometer tells the temperature. A thermostat determines the temperature. John Lewis was a thermostat."

Watching the coverage of the passing of these two heroes -- who used peaceful protest in direct action to fight for fulfillment of the promise of the American Dream -- there were many famous voices, some impassioned, some humble, going on record. Their meeting in commonality was the remembrance of commanding presences of two people who had been their friends, inspirations, and mentors.

Again speaking of John Lewis, "His words in 2019 on the House floor serve as an important reminder to us all that we share a moral responsibility to stand up and act in the face of injustice, notes Tiffany Muller.

As John Lewis said that day, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something. Our children and their children will ask us, ‘What did you do? What did you say?’ For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

Lewis takes us through his life experiences in the moving autobiobraphy he titled Walking with the Wind.

He reached a far larger and younger audience when, with two colleagues, he authored a best-selling series of graphic novels titled March, to chronicle his life with powerful imagery.

There is plenty in his words, and those of C.T. Vivian, to foster inspiration. But what really got us was the guest who, immediately after she was introduced, broke into song, belting-out a Civil Rights anthem whose promise still has not been completely fulfilled. That's what put us in tears.

Once again, the power of song transcends all other forms of communication. Here are two renditions of the song she sang live on a news broadcast. Both these performances are backed by historic images that look, hauntingly and powerfully, like scenes of 2020's efforts to finally achieve the promise.

The song is, "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around." One performance is by The Roots, and has wonderful cameo comments of movement leaders, including Harry Belafonte, here. The other is by Sweet Honey in the Rock and its full soundtrack is just their singing backed by images, here.

That's the perfect place to look to the larger context.

Heroes need not look like us. They need not share our brief moments of time on this Earth. They need not speak the way we do to speak to us, across time and distance and unfulfilled promise and promises. But what they must do, and what makes them heroes, is very simple: they must act to extend and protect the promise of what each of us must have as a safeguarded guarantee, as our undeniable birthright -- to fulfill our unique gift of potential, and in so doing, to advance humankind.

Because heroes are about brave and selfless acts that give the rest of us a chance. There must therefore be equal access to opportunity. Only then can we -- each of us, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, creed, or things that make us passionate -- fulfill our individual promise and allow our individual gifts to advance human freedom, human society, and human understanding. Only then can we reach out, together, to expand the frontier into the vastness of the outer, and the complexities of the inner, universe.

And so to C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, we say, thank you for sacrificing to bring us all closer to those elusive goals that our own failings have made contentious. And with that thanks, we humbly add, "Well Done."

~ The Guide included this photo gallery when the piece was added on 7-18-20.

How America saw the marchers on the bridge in 1965.
That's John Lewis in the gray trench coat at the front.

John Lewis being beaten by state troopers with night sticks. His skull was fractured. 
Retreating demonstrators, maintaining their nonviolence, were tear-gassed.
Lewis doesn't remember who carried him off the bridge into a church.
He said, "I thought I was going to die on that bridge." 

Throughout his long career in politics, John Lewis always spoke of hope and reconciliation,
as he did when returning to the bridge. NBC News photo. 
Then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama  clasp hands with Congressman
John Lewis as they lead others -- including survivors of "Bloody Sunday" -- for a return to the bridge.
(This feature was picked-up and ran elsewhere, too, though without our photo gallery.)
___   ___   ___

 ♡    ♡    ♡
___   ___   ___

Stay sane, stay healthy, don't be a Maskhole, avoid maskless aggregations of Branch Covidians, and be careful out there.

___   ___   ___

___   ___   ___

The Guide was one of the first news sources to tell a reader audience how bad the coming pandemic would be.  That was back in February. You can still read it here.

That link, spelled-out so you can SHARE it, has The Guide's complete feature story on the (then) coming COVID-19 Coronavirus. It's in the edition at:

___   ___   ___

Oh, by the way...

Our challenge still stands to any big media organization with a deep video or photo archive that goes back through 2009.

It's simple:

(1)  Go to your archive and get images from your reporting on Americans' reactions when the overseas SARS and EBOLA outbreaks were reported and quickly contained, all during the previous administration.

(2)  Specifically, get images of all those panic-fomenting protesters holding signs reading "Obama will kill us all!"

(3)  Use your biometric software on those images and on your current images of pro-Trump zealots loudly claiming that their constitutional rights are being violated by masks and social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. It'll be easy to do, since the latter are the only ones not wearing masks.

(4)  Then prove our hypothesis is wrong, when we say those people are the same ones. The ones who were terrified of dying from a disease until a real one was called "A hoax" by their ochre ogre.

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