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The puzzle in the U.S. Democratic Party is complicated

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Although polls in the United States show Joe Biden outnumbering other Democratic candidates, Biden is still concerned about the likelihood of rising US senator Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden knows very well that if Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, another Democrat candidate, ally and unite, Biden’s chances of winning will be reduced.

If Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth can win Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, then there is essentially no chance for Biden to win the next presidential election.

Some US analysts believe Trump is more afraid of Sanders (than Biden), and will surely attract more independent supporters if Sanders reaches the final stage of next year’s presidential race.

Bernie Sanders, the old American senator, and one of Democratic nominees for the 2016 presidential election continues to oppose US President Donald Trump. This confrontation started at the time Trump entered the White House (by early 2017). Sanders, in one of his most recent positions against the White House, called for an end to Washington’s support for Riyadh in the Yemeni war. Sanders also condemned Trump’s stance on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. At any rate, Sanders’s recent position against Trump has led to the US President’s concerns.

Polls recently conducted in the United States indicate Sanders’ proper position among Democratic voters. Accordingly, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have both a good position among Democrat supporters and they both have a good chance to reach the final round of the 2020 presidential elections.

It should be remembered, however, that even if Sanders is defeated in the presidential election in 2020, he will remain one of Donald Trump’s main opponents in Congress.

Bernie Sanders is now trying to forget the bitter memories of the last presidential election. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate who was supported by her husband, Bill Clinton, and many influential figures in the party, managed to defeat Sanders with her secret lobbies and went to fight Trump as Democrats’ final candidate.

Anyhow, if Sanders were to reach the final round of the 2016 presidential competitions, he could have defeated Trump and enter the White House. Sanders, however, was the victim of Democrat leaders and Hillary Clinton’s secret lobbies. It was not without a reason that many Sanders advocates voted for Hillary Clinton’s rival, Donald Trump!Here is some news and analysis on Sanders and the Democratic Party’s latest political situation:

It’s now Biden, Warren, Sanders — and everyone else

As Politico reported, The bottom is falling out of the Democratic presidential primary. And the top-tier — no longer five candidates, but three — is becoming more insurmountable.

For more than a year, Democrats had approached their nominating contest with a widely-shared belief that — like Republicans in the earliest stages of their primary four years ago — they, too, might take turns rising and falling in an expansive field. That expectation sustained the campaigns of more than two dozen contenders this year.

But in recent weeks, the leading band of candidates has contracted unexpectedly early. Heading into the fall, only three contenders are polling above single digits: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg remain at the periphery, while lower-polling candidates have largely failed to muster sustained, upward movement in fundraising or polling.

According to interviews with about two dozen Democratic operatives and consultants, there is little reason to expect any of them will.

“It was legitimate to say ‘Top 5’ for a long time, but with the exception of Kamala Harris being at the outer perimeter of the top three … you’d have to have a strange confluence of events for someone outside those four to win,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidant. “It would require all four failing. Like, you would need all four of them to be in a plane crash or something.”

For every other candidate, Reines said, “It’s too late in the game to keep saying it’s too early.”

By this point in the Republican primary in 2016, Jeb Bush was already cratering. Scott Walker had risen and fallen. Donald Trump was in first, still to fend off a surge from Ben Carson before running away from the field.The 2020 Democratic primary, by contrast, has been defined by its relative stability, with two full fundraising periods and two sets of debates now done.

Anna Greenberg, a pollster who advised former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s since-aborted presidential bid, said there was no boom-and-bust for Democrats because the primary “started so early, before voters really started paying attention,” and because of “the sheer volume of candidates.”

“It’s a little bit surprising because compared to ‘16 on the Republican side, where it seemed like a number of people had their moment in the sun … there hasn’t really been anybody who’s taken a meteoric rise,” said Scott Brennan, an Iowa Democratic National Committee member, and former state party chairman. Brennan said he’s spoken with several campaigns recently whose advisers “feel like they’re poised and ready, they’re poised and they’re waiting for their moment.”

But “for whatever reason,” he said, “they haven’t had that.”

In a spate of campaigning over the holiday weekend, Amy Klobuchar released a plan to address climate change, Sanders previewed his plan to cancel Americans’ medical debt and Beto O’Rourke reiterated his call for stricter gun laws, telling CNN of the nation’s recent mass shootings, “Yes, this is f—– up.”

On Labor Day, the candidates fanned out across the country, with Biden heading to Iowa, Warren to New Hampshire, Cory Booker to Nevada and Harris to California. The activity came on the heels of several candidates dropping out after failing to get traction — and speculation about more to follow — reinforcing the advantage held by the frontrunners.

Last week, Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest campaign casualty, a week after Jay Inslee abandoned his effort. With five months before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, six candidates have already dropped out.

Democratic strategist Matthew Litman, a former speechwriter for Biden who now backs Harris, described the field as “mostly settled” among five candidates, including Harris and Buttigieg in that group. Unlike in 2016, when many Republicans were wary of, if not opposed to, Trump, Democrats are “mostly satisfied” with the range of ideologies and experiences represented by the top tier, he said.“The other candidates are SOL, and it has been that way for a couple of months,” Litman said.

For Biden, Sanders, and Warren, the advancing calendar appears likely to compound their advantage, as early fundraising success and staff hiring allows them to begin advertising and to intensify voter outreach.

The debates have contributed to the early winnowing of candidates. Lower-tier candidates can barely focus on anything else besides meeting the Democratic National Committee’s increasingly arduous fundraising and polling benchmarks for debates.

“In a weird way because of the format of these debates and what it took to deal with the debates,” said Paul Maslin, a top Democratic pollster, “only recently has anyone started spending any significant money in the early states. So, there wasn’t any reason why there would be significant [poll] movement] … until now. And now, we’ll see.”

He said, “Really, the 1 percenters and below, they were the ones who really suffered. No one really told them, ‘Hey, you’re in a race where it’s impossible for you to grow at all. There is no room.”

After failing to make the next debate, in Houston, Tim Ryan and John Delaney were compelled to release statements confirming they were still running. Michael Bennet shredded the Democratic National Committee on stage at its summer meeting, while Steve Bullock defiantly released a new round of staff hires. Campaign aides for both said they’d redouble their efforts in Iowa.

“The rules became a proxy for success at a moment when campaigns were just getting started,” Bennet said in an interview with POLITICO. “The DNC is only interested in well-known candidates running.”

Even for candidates who have made the debates, their turns on the national stage haven’t sparked enduring swings in the campaign. As a result, they’ve spent recent weeks spinning their position in the polls.

“Which is more unlikely – 1) going from being a complete unknown to 6th in the polls or 2) going from 6th in the polls to winning the whole thing?” tweeted Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who’s enjoyed improbable success but is still running at 2 percent in the latest Morning Consult poll.

Hickenlooper, Inslee, and Gillibrand all participated in previous debates, before dropping out. Juli?n Castro sparked interest with his chiding of fellow Texan O’Rourke in the first set of debates, in June. And Harris surged in public opinion polls when she criticized Biden for his past opposition to busing and former associations with segregationist senators.

But for both candidates, the effect was short-lived. Harris is now back at 8 percent, according to the latest Morning Consult survey. Castro is stuck at 1 percent.

“It’s just that they happened so quickly,” said Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist. “Trump has changed the timeline. Scandal doesn’t last. Problems don’t last. Success doesn’t last. Everything’s a little more vaporized in this timeframe.”

The progressive wing of the party already has two viable candidates in Sanders and Warren. For more moderate Democrats, only a Biden implosion is likely to create room for advancement.

“Somebody like Buttigieg or Harris, at this moment, they can only succeed with a Biden collapse,” Herman said. “They have an if-then strategy. They are not in control of their destiny.”

More movement will also require candidates to adopt a change in tone, said Tom McMahon, a former DNC executive director.

“Everyone — both in the top-tier and among the also-rans — have to start developing when and how they’re going to go negative,” he said. “Otherwise, this race is going to continue to remain status quo.”

It is possible the dynamic will shift. Former Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, who briefly ran for president in 2008, said that even in Iowa, “most people, other than those who are ultra-interested, and ultra-focused, most people are not paying attention to this at all.”
“It’s still an open game here,” he said.

He added, “Having said that, the folks who are at the bottom end of the spectrum here have got to have their moment relatively soon, and here’s why: Because Warren, Sanders and Biden and Mayor Pete have a foundation of fundraising that’s going to continue to pump money into their campaigns.”

Of other candidates, Vilsack said, “They’ve got to move now, but there’s still time for them to move.”

Why black voters are backing two old white guys

Also, Politico reported that A divide among African Americans between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders has major implications for the race heading into the fall.

 A generational divide among black voters is persisting in the Democratic primary — between the two old white men.

Joe Biden has amassed a staggering lead among older African Americans, commanding nearly two-thirds support of black voters 65 and older in the most recent Morning Consult poll. Bernie Sanders is the favorite of black millennials, though his margin with that group is much smaller. Among all black voters, Biden is leading Sanders, 41 percent to 20 percent.

Biden and Sanders have maintained their edges even as other candidates — including two African American senators, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, have courted black voters more aggressively in recent months. Though opinions could change in the runup to voting, the preferences of African Americans this deep into the campaign has major implications for the election: As black voters go, so goes the mantle of Democratic front-runner — and likely the presidential nominee.

The irony of two white septuagenarians commanding majority support among African Americans — despite running in a historically diverse Democratic field — isn’t lost on black elected officials, operatives and voters. Several of them interviewed for this story said it speaks to the belief among many black voters that Biden is both best positioned to beat Donald Trump in a general election and to the loyalty he earned after eight years as Barack Obama’s No. 2.

“You go with what you know. A lot of black voters know Joe Biden,” said Michael Nutter, a former Philadelphia mayor and a current Democratic National Committee member who’s endorsed Biden. “There’s power in that and there’s loyalty in that.”

Sanders won a following among younger black voters during his 2016 run, when his progressive activism and criminal justice record fired up millennials of all races.

At least in the primary, Biden’s lead among older black Democrats is more consequential than Sanders’ edge among younger ones, because older voters typically vote in much greater numbers. That’s especially true in South Carolina, the first-in-the-South primary state where about 60 percent of the Democratic electorate is black. Polls show Biden is doing even better with African American voters there than he is nationally, giving him a potential crucial edge that he hopes to parlay into a string of victories throughout the Southeast and in big cities, where sizable chunks of the Democratic electorate are black.

Similar generational and ideological splits exist among white voters. But African American voters have coalesced to a greater degree behind Biden and Sanders — a dynamic that stands out because of their influence in the early stages of the primary and because they’re not behind Harris or Booker.

Without more black support, the path to the nomination becomes exceedingly tenuous for the African American senators, who are polling in the single digits overall. Nationally, Harris is the third choice of young black voters, behind Sanders and Biden. Among young black voters in South Carolina, Elizabeth Warren is polling ahead of Sanders. Both of the female candidates have made considerable efforts to court African Americans, especially black women, who are likely to turn out at higher rates than other demographics.

Harris is writing a monthly column for Essence magazine, which caters to black women and has more than 5 million monthly readers, dubbed Kamala’s Corner. To drive engagement and donor support within the black community, she’s also made sure voters know she’s an alumna of Howard University, a historically black institution, and a member of a black sorority.

Warren has also written for Essence and held events with black activists as she touts plans to close the racial wealth gap.

Booker’s polling among black voters is at under 6 percent despite his efforts to promote his work on bipartisan criminal justice reform as well as his two terms as mayor of predominantly African American Newark, N.J.

Antjuan Seawright, a South Carolina Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, cautioned that there’s still lots of time for other candidates to make inroads with black voters.

“When you think about Cory Booker, when you think about Kamala Harris, when you think about Elizabeth Warren and others,” he said, “one thing I’ve learned is that when you count people out, they usually teach you that you don’t know how to count.”

Seawright said one explanation for Sanders’ African American support is, “one could argue, he has never stopped running for president.” But while Sanders “enjoyed tremendous millennial support last election cycle,” he added, “that didn’t translate to necessarily showing up at the polls. So support is one thing. Voting for a candidate is another.”

Both Biden and Sanders have held rallies at historically black Clinton College in Rock Hill, S.C. But few students attended Biden’s town hall there Thursday; instead, it was mostly older people who showed up. Sanders’ event in June drew a younger crowd.

“Younger voters like what Sanders is saying about free college and legalizing marijuana,” said Jatoya White, a 19-year-old biology student who attended Biden’s rally but prefers Sanders. “With the older voters and Biden, it’s Obama.”

Biden on Thursday finished a two-day tour of South Carolina as part of a renewed emphasis on black voters. It included a sit-down with African American journalists in South Carolina and, before that, in Washington, where he said racism is a “white man’s problem.”

Sanders, meanwhile, is betting on his favorability with young black Democrats to narrow Biden’s lead. His failure to capture the black vote in 2016 crippled his chances of winning the nomination and showed, as other Democratic hopefuls have learned before, that relying too heavily on white liberal voters is not a winning strategy for any candidate.

Phillip Agnew, an activist, and surrogate with the Sanders campaign cited a recent encounter between Sanders and students at the University of South Carolina as emblematic of the way some young black voters feel about him. In the middle of move-in day at the university, when a group of black students heard the senator was inside a nearby Starbucks, they rushed over to thank him for his push to erase college debt.

“These are people who are about to go to college, who have the wherewithal to see Bernie as somebody whose platform, should he be elected, is going to make their lives and that dark cloud of [student loan] debt hanging over them not be there,” Agnew said.

Cathy Cohen, a founder of GenForward, whose research focuses on millennial voting behavior by race, emphasized that it’s still early days in the primary. South Carolina, the fourth state to vote in the Democratic race, doesn’t hold its primary until Feb. 29.

“I would argue that it’s anyone’s game,” Cohen said.

But Biden’s team points out his numbers haven’t budged much in the four months since he entered the race. In the Morning Consult poll, black voters 65 and older back Biden over Sanders by 56 percentage points, 63 percent to 7 percent. Sanders, meanwhile, is beating Biden by 12 points among African Americans younger than 30.

Black voters who’ve already made their choice told POLITICO that getting behind a white male candidate over a black woman or man is nothing personal. This time around, black Democrats feel the stakes are too high to be concerned about optics. They are focused on supporting the candidate they feel will champion the policies they care most about — and make Trump a one-term president.

“We want to win. We just want to win,” Nutter, the former Philadelphia mayor, said. “Because Donald Trump is so damaging and so frightening to many people in this country … the primary theme is, ‘I just want to be with someone who I believe can actually win.’ And that’s what people care about.”

From our partner Tehran Times

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The Private And Public Joe Biden: Belief And Policy

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Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

Joe Biden supports abortion rights politically, a position conflicting with doctrine in the Catholic church.  Despite the pope issuing a warning to act with care, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is now ready to prepare a teaching document that could potentially bar Biden from receiving Holy Communion at mass.  A central sacrament during mass, Catholics believe that eating the consecrated wafer dipped in wine, representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ, unites them with their savior fortifying them to face evil temptations.

The USCCB vote to prepare the document was an overwhelming 168-55, and a committee of US bishops has been assigned the task.  Responding to questions, President Biden called it a private matter.  The document is expected to be ready in time for debate at the November bi-annual conference of US Catholic Bishops.

If that is one headache for Biden, another is in the offing.  Perhaps as a consequence of US policy towards Iran, the election of a hard-liner in Iran’s presidential election seems almost certain.  Judge Ebrahim Raisi, who is also Iran’s top judge, is on his way to victory on the basis of the votes counted so far.

The 60-year old cleric spent most of his life as a prosecutor until he was appointed Iran’s top judge in 2019.  He is fiercely loyal to his fellow clerics, particularly to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who has the final say in all matters.  All the same, the president does the administration and has significant input in both domestic and foreign policy.  Suffice to say, Raisi lost in a landslide to Hassan Rouhani, who sought accommodation with the West, in the previous election four years ago.

Having played hardball with Iran, the US is repeating itself with a Russia anxious for better relations.  Following the G7 meeting in Cornwall a week ago, President Biden flew to Geneva meeting President Putin at the Villa La Grange for a closely-watched summit.

Relations between the two countries have been tense following a series of events including the Russian annexation of Crimea.  The latter was transferred to Ukraine for administrative convenience when a connecting bridge was being constructed so that both ends of it would fall under the same authority.  The people of Crimea have no other connection with Ukrainians other than they were both part of the Soviet Union. 

Climate change, arms control, cyber security and American interest in jailed dissenters in Russia including Alexei Navalny .  Reading the riot act to Mr. Putin does little to further stability in relations.  Peace is not a problem among like-minded countries with a commonality of interests, it is a challenge when the parties are rivals, nuclear armed, and capable of blowing up the world.  Mr. Biden may be proud of his performance but is he able to accept the challenge, for if not where does it leave the rest of us …

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Is Covid-19 Zoonotic, Natural or Lab-engineered?

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President Trump led the US government propaganda that Coronavirus originated in WIV. However, even after twelve months the US government failed to provide factual or scientific evidence. Now, the Biden administration, inspired by the “dark web,” has tasked the US intelligence community to produce evidence in 90 days to establish that COVID-19 had no “natural ancestors.” As half the world’s scientific community is busy speculating, a simple forensic investigation is what is needed to find the answer.

***

“Throw enough dirt, and some will stick”  – Thomas Boghardt, Historian

Recently, there has been growing renewed interest in Coronavirus “lab leak” hypothesis. One can only speculate if more recent revelations of the presence of coronavirus in the US in mid-December 2019 – weeks before the first confirmed case was announced on January 21, 2020, would impact Wuhan lab leak controversy. But thanks to Trump’s “anti-China xenophobia,” for past whole year the leak theory was sidelined in public scientific debate in the US. As Covid-19 was turning into a global pandemic, the lab leak hypothesis got stuck in “hyper-politicized context.” Looking to inject fresh energy in his ongoing anti-China rhetoric with eyes on the November presidential vote, President Trump began “instrumentalizing the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) lab leak theory and even called it “China Virus” and “Kung Flu.” According to media reports, such pernicious intertwining of anti-China rhetoric and the xenophobic framing of the pandemic “caused an apparent chilling effect among the scientific community.”

During the past twelve months, science writers mocked and some even condemned anyone claiming lab leak origins of Coronavirus. Now, same lot among these writers and a few more joining them afresh, have lately been saying that Coronavirus may well have originated in a lab in Wuhan. As The New Yorker’s veteran political editor Amy Davidson Sorkin observed last Sunday, with President Biden entering the battle over the coronavirus lab-leak theory “the debate about the origin of the pandemic has become loud, contentious, and infused with politics.”  A rare Chinese commentary even alleged the Biden administration’s call for a fresh probe into the origins of Covid-19 is inspired by the latest “explosive” new study by two European scholars claiming that “Chinese scientists created the virus in Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laboratory.”

What has changed for these science writers? If we go by what author and activist David Swanson says, nothing really. Swanson, who is also a popular radio host, thinks the latest change in the stance of the scientific community is largely a question of fashion. (Emphasis added) Indirectly attributing the “new outlook” of the scientists to the fresh call coming from the White House, Swanson wrote in a recent article “One doesn’t wear a wrong outfit too early in the season, or explore the wrong epidemiological idea when the White House is claimed by one Party or the other.” In fact, Swanson refused to be persuaded by the fact that the virus jumping out of the Wuhan lab was cause enough to condemn or “hate” China. Why?

Swanson offers two reasons. First, the bogey that the virus was created by Chinese scientists engaged in “Gain of Function” (GoF) project. Further elaborating on “Gain of Function” projects, Sorensen told DailyMail.com in an interview recently, GoF research involves “tweaking natural viruses to make them more infectious” and had been outlawed by former US President Barack Obama. Although denying the money US invested in WIV had gone into GoF projects, Dr. Antony Fauci told US lawmakers just the other day that the US National Institute of Health funded WIF with $600,000 between 2015 and 2021. So, instead of limiting one’s hatred for China, if China is a military threat, then why fund its bioweapons research? Swanson asked. Indeed, extremely pertinent question!

The other reason Swanson did not consider Coronvirus lab leak theory worthy of condemnation has much to do with the issue of censorship surrounding the whole topic of bioweapons in the US. For example, no one is supposed to know what is common knowledge anyway that the 2001 Anthrax attacks originated with material from a US bio- weapons lab. Or that Lyme disease which affects 400,000 Americans every year spread from a US bioweapons lab. Therefore, for Swanson, plausibility of a lab leak, even if never proven, is a new good reason to shut down all the world’s bioweapons labs. It is beyond comprehension why all those for probing the coronavirous lab leak origin are silent and have not demanded a ban on all the world’s bioweapons labs! (Emphasis added)

But why even after one and a half year since Covid-19 was detected in Wuhan, its source of origin remains a mystery? What about the WHO probe? Perhaps a calculated decision, or maybe not, as soon as President Trump exited the White House, the WHO sent a much awaited investigative team of seventeen experts to Wuhan. After spending four weeks in the “city of silence,” during which the team visited the laboratory, the WHO scientists concluded the lab-leak theory was “extremely unlikely.” But in a bizarre twist, even the so-called “China-centric” WHO chief Tedros surprised everyone and angered China, when speaking in Geneva two months ago he said “although the [WHO scientific] team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation.”    

On the other hand, China, as expected has repeatedly denied WIV was responsible for the lab leak and insisted that the virus emerged naturally or that it was zoonotic. In fact, by refusing to be either transparent or cooperative in sharing information, Beijing has only furthered global backlash against China’s antagonistic policies. China’s foreign ministry hitting back at the US as Biden ordered to revisit Wuhan lab leak theory is the latest example of its “wolf-warrior” attitude. China’s official media is no different. A month before the Wall Street Journal renewed media onslaught against Beijing in May end, official Chinese news broadcaster CGTN stated: “With Trump gone, the lab leak hypothesis is now acceptable. This plays into both an old Orientalist trope as well as a modern Sinophobic one to manufacture consent for America’s hybrid war against China.”

Though not officially declared a “taboo” subject, the op-ed commentaries have been scarce and few and far between on the WIV lab leak theory in China. A recent signed commentary jointly written by a seasoned India watcher who uses pen name “countryside Brahmin” and South Asian affairs expert Gao Xirui, strongly challenged May 26 executive order by President Biden. The commentary also ridiculed India for “piggy riding” America in the latest lab leak theory hype. The authors attributed Biden’s renewed interest in WIV lab leak to the recent study published in the science journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery by two European scientists, cited in the early part of this article.

Earlier on in August last year, WIV scientists had again refuted the leak theory. Speaking to the NBC News from the US which became the first foreign news agency to get access to the laboratory, Wang Yanyi, the WIV director had said: “None of the institute’s scientists contracted the virus, which made it extremely unlikely that the pathogen could have escaped from the facility.” NBC News in its report claimed WIV had been targeted because it was equipped to study the world’s “highest-risk infectious agents and toxins, like the latest coronavirus.” More recently, a GT editorial described President Biden ordering fresh probe as indulging in a bigger gamble against China than even Trump.  “No matter what Biden has in mind, the US government is generally up to something big against China,” the edit said.

As the flip-flop on the “leak theory” in the US continues, the narrative is not only inconclusive but still unfolding. Just as this write-up was near closing, the Financial Times reported researchers in the US fear “decades of fortuitous partnership” between the USA and P R China is under threat, all thanks to Wuhan lab row. “Beginning 2004, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an agreement with the Chinese National Influenza Centre to help China improve its analysis of seasonal flu strains.  Scientists are now worried this type of collaboration is under threat, imperiled by mutual suspicions which have been exacerbated by the recent row over whether Covid-19 could have come from a lab leak in Wuhan,” the FT reported. Over the next decade, the US trained nearly 2,500 Chinese scientists and helped open dozens of laboratories in the country, the report added.    

Finally, according to Richard Ebright, “little has changed in terms of scientific evidence since the genome sequence of the virus was first released in January of 2020.” Ebright is one of 21 international scientists who detailed what a full, interdisciplinary investigation in Wuhan should look like in an open letter last March. At the same time, security analysts and think tank scholars in the US believe the new administration is forced to chase “lab leak” theory as “Biden doesn’t want to look ‘weak on China’.” Meanwhile, as China’s media is comparing the lab leak theory with the infamous “washing powder” lie about the WMDs in Iraq, professor Ebright has inadvertently replied to the New Yorker’s demand to find real answers. “The coronavirus origin can be answered through a forensic investigation, not a scientific speculation,” Ebright averred.   

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Juneteenth and Getting Over Our Systemic Induced Ignorance and Denial

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Juneteenth Day after generations of struggle for national recognition with local and statewide celebrations for years   here and there,is finally a paid federal holiday as of yesterday. If you are  an African American like me who grew up in the North with second generation or more deep southern born  parents and/ or in majority white communities or in those northern and west coast communities without deep southern African American migrants particularly from Texas, chances are you never heard about Juneteenth day while growing up. And like me you may not have even heard of the day before in much older age ranges unless you happened to be an expert in or well read in African American history, culture, and politics as an African American or Non-African American.And such  African American cultural expertise and literacy is a rarity in a nation which is routinely  ignorant of and has  denied its horrible enslaved African American history systemically ; which means most of we Americans irrespective  of our ancestries have  been victimized by systemic induced ignorance and denial by federal and state governments refusing for generations to tell us a truth which has kept us all degraded and dehumanized by a horrible racialized injustice with we  as a nation has yet to repent of and authentically do systemic penitence about. 

This systemic induced ignorance and denial about African American enslavement has gravely tainted our character as a nation since colonial times and  consistently makes our claims to be a democracy the brunt of cruel jokes globally through the generations.It  has over time constantly played effectively into the hands of our global allies and foes who then justify their own racialized and cultural prejudices and inequalities.

When not denied, the enslavement of African Americans even today has been publicly portrayed by right wing commentators as being not really all that bad or as a gift to Africans to save us through capture and enslavement  from the clutches of what they viewed and still do as the dark continent replete with what their hero formerly in the White House called sh**hole countries.

The seemingly surprising easy Congressional passing of The 2021 Juneteenth National Independence Day Act and its signing by President Biden was not so shocking given the present political climate in a guilt ridden  polarized country with a usual gridlock Congress and a President skilled at plucking off the branch low hanging apples and oranges rather than climbing the full  height of  the  tallest trees to get the even more ripe fruit. The passing and signing of the bill came off the backs of scores if not hundreds and thousands  mostly African Americans advocating for decades indeed generations  for the day to be memorialized as the  enslaved African American  day of independence from slavery already being celebrated around the country and recognized by 47 states though mostly as unpaid holidays. The problem is on the national level fresh from four years of mainstreaming of white nationalism in electoral and judiciary  appointment politics and a hysterical convoluted media about racial issues and in the aftermath of the George Floyd protest we remain  very much a rudderless nation without effective restorative justice leadership to lead us to a more just America including all of us. How can we become more just in more than symbolic ways if we allow ourselves to be subjected to the passing of  civil rights acts like this one which look good and mean good while we remain a nation in which systemic  ignorance and denial of the enslavement of African Americans and their continued enslavement after abolition though under different names and structures such as Jim Crow, chain gangs, cotton tenancy,  community massacres, mass incarceration, human trafficking, defunding public education, perpetual urban and rural poverty, street violent prone  illegal drugs dumping grounds,  loan shark predator communities, ill- health communities,and police brutalized communities with low standards of housing and quality of life services? The tossing of symbolic crumbs of racial justice progress by American governments, businesses, schools, media, faith communities, and nonprofit organizations with no sustainable advances in authentic justice has since the ending of the American Civil War in 1865  been a soroid American public tradition which keeps us twirling in a sewer of societal morass.Consequently , we continue to remain a nation in which we all grow up becoming less than what we all can be collectively and individually because we have buried this horrible crime of humanity which haunts and cripples all of us emotionally, economically, socially,and politically 

 in ways we systemically are induced to deny and ignore.We therefore  don’t have the cognitive and socioemotional tools and skills  to  bring ourselves to admit and authentically reckon with  the horrible blight of African American enslavement through genuine though painful restorative justice practices. Restorative justice practices that is   to regain our humanity through embracing truly the humanity of others we have been taught from the crib to old age are less than human or more than human due to their ancestry dangerously distorted through the myth making of ” race.” 

It is tempting to say as I started to write that well at least The 2021 Juneteenth National Independence Day Act  is a start.But the problem with that almost Freudian slip of a neo- liberal tongue is that we are always saying that about symbols of racial justice in America which usually just stay there ” as a start” which go nowhere except on the resumes of politicians and civil rights leaders while no next steps occur to assure genuine sustaining justice occurs. And when I say justice I mean for everyone since when one population is unfree we are all unfree..when one population becomes freed we all become free.

What this means in regards to The 2021 Juneteenth National Independence Day Act is that the Biden-Harris administration as the next step needs to, through Executive Order, mobilize their cabinet secretaries to do the necessary expedited policy  designs,declarations, and monitorings  to require the agencies and institutions under their jurisdictions with positive incentives to  effective policy implementers such as bonuses and promotions to spread public awareness about the atrocious history of the enslavement of African Americans , their legal abolition and their continued enslavement in these post- emancipation eras.It should be stressed that the enslavement of African Americans , legal emancipation, and the continued impacts of enslavement in its different names and structures is not just an African American experience.African American enslavement was and remains  a tragic societal experience which negatively impacts every American no matter our ancestral origin when it comes to our mental health, interpersonal relationships, our electoral and appointment politics, and the health of our  families,communities, and economies.

So as we move forward with The 2021 Juneteenth National Independence Day Act  let us not just assume it is for Black folks only though we all get the day off with pay irrespective of our ancestries and our care or awareness about the significance of the day.

Let us, we the people, insist to the Biden-Harris administration  as a means of accountability , that we  go beyond mere resume building  political posturing since they took the keys and opened a too long closed door we all need to step in as a nation and do the necessary to wake us all from the slumber of induced ignorance of this filthy little secret  -the enslavement of African Americans as a crime against humanity and its post- legal emancipation continuation  which impacts all of us in need of public exposure and resolution authentically.No  more symbolic resume building crumbs and celebrations which lead us down paths to nowhere except filled bellies and perchance hangovers once a holiday is over only to discover when sober again we are all still dehumanized by our systemic induced ignorance and denial  of a grave centuries long racialized injustice now in need of total exposure and genuine reckoning for now we can and thus we must.

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