Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he has an economic plan for America to "Build Back Better." US president Donald Trump complains that Biden "plagiarized" significant elements of that plan from, you guessed it, Donald Trump.

If there's been one bright spot in America's COVID-19 experience, it's the near-complete shutdown of an expensive and obsolete government-education system cribbed from mid-19th-century Prussia.

In July 1864, Confederate forces led by General Jubal Early attacked Fort Stevens and Fort DeRussy on the outskirts of Washington DC. Union forces drove them away after two days of skirmishes, but the battle threw a scare into the capital city and constituted a high point in the Confederacy's Shenandoah Valley campaigns.

More than a century and a half later, the Confederates are back in Washington, meeting stiff resistance on Capitol Hill but garnering support from the White House.

"American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan," claims the New York Times.

On June 22 and 23, Russian and American diplomats met in Vienna to discuss New START, the nuclear arms-reduction treaty, which expires next year. The treaty provides for an optional five-year extension. Alternatively, the parties could negotiate a new agreement, as has happened several times in the past.

NBC News reports that US president Donald Trump is "furious" over "underwhelming" attendance at his June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Only 6,200 of 19,000 seats ended up cradling Trump supporters' butts. An optimistically pre-arranged overflow area went unused.

"I've occasionally encountered mass hysteria in other countries," Nicholas Kristof writes at the New York Times. "In rural Indonesia, I once reported on a mob that was beheading people believed to be sorcerers, then carrying their heads on pikes. But I never imagined that the United States could plunge into such delirium."

Every two years, independent and "third" party candidates for various offices scramble to get their names on ballots around the United States.

Every two years, those candidates come up against and many of them fail to overcome "ballot access" obstacles custom-made to produce the Republican/Democratic monopoly on political power.

Here we go again: Fear of a "second wave" of COVID-19 infections is on world tour. Naturally, the same "experts" who demanded a global lockdown/shutdown in response to the "first wave" are saddling up for an encore. Their logic, faulty the first time around, is even more so the second.

Every few years, some particular instance of a pervasive phenomenon police violence in the form of unjustified or at least highly-questionable killings "goes viral" with the result that America's cities explode in protest.

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