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In This Edition

Norman Solomon examines, "Bernie's Decision: Retreat Should Not Be Confused With Surrender."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "Coronavirus Illustrates Our Failure To Create A Fair Society."

Glen Ford studies, "The End Of Sanders, And Maybe The Beginning Of A Mass Independent Left."

Jim Hightower asks, "What Should Happen To 'Pandemic Profiteers?'"

William Rivers Pitt concludes that, "Minimum-Wage Workers Are Dying To Keep Everyone Else Alive. They Deserve More."

John Nichols concludes, "A 'Jubilee' Cancellation Of Debt Is Vital To Fighting The Coronavirus."

James Donahue warns of, "The Secret Adulteration Of Olive Oil."

Randall Amster returns with, "Apocalypse On-Demand."

David Suzuki exclaims, "Review Shows Ocean Life Could Rebound In 30 Years!"

Charles P. Pierce says, "The New York Times Red Dawn Scoop Lays Out the Truth of Trump's COVID-19 Incompetence."

Juan Cole reports, "Burning Fossil Fuels Made Coronavirus Death Rate Worse, And Kills 200K Americans Per Year, Not to Mention Global Heating."

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich proves, "Trump's Failed Coronavirus Response."

Jane Stillwater wonders, "COVID-19: Killer Plague Or Not?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Waterford Whispers News reports, "Trump Criticises WHO, Punches Baby, Unplugs 99-Year-Old On Life Support," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Respect My Authority!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Tim Eagan, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Andrew Burton, Andrea Holien, Suzanne Kretter, Clara Margais, Pexels, Mario Tama, Andrew Burton, The Boston Globe, Robert Reich, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

The Quotable Quote-
The Vidkun Quisling Award-
The Cartoon Corner-
To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
Parting Shots-

Welcome one and all to "Uncle Ernie's Issues & Alibis."

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Respect My Authority!
By Ernest Stewart

When der Fuehrer says we ist the master race,
We heil, heil right in der Fuehrer's face
Not to love the Fuehrer is a great disgrace
So we hiel, heil right in der Fuehrer's face
Der Fuehrer's Face ~~~ Spike Jones

"Scientists have been warning about global warming for decades. It's too late to stop it now, but we can lessen its severity and impacts." ~~~ David Suzuki

"But what I don't think we can do is start a conversation - certainly not a bipartisan conversation - by saying what's not on table. We simply have to put it all out there. We have an opportunity with these low interest rates. The president talks a lot about even restructuring our own nation's debt. I think that's appropriate. I think [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin as well has talked about doing some of that." ~~~ Kevin Cramer

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

I'm having a deja vu again, are you? Lying Donald was at it again. Yes, I know, what else is new? But then it dawned on me, where have I heard his senseless prattle before. I mean, what cartoon character does Lying Donald remind you of. What self centered, egotistical, little piggy boy does he remind you of? For all of you who thought Eric Cartman you may stay after class and clean the erasers. There will be Graham crackers and chocolate Almond Milk to follow. I flashed on that when I heard Lying Donald say:

"When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total and that's the way it's got to be. ... It's total. The governors know that. I have the ultimate authority!"

Do you remember that Eric was fond of saying, "Respect My Authority!" Yes, you may compare and contrast. They're both self-centered, both egotistical, little piggy boys. Sure Lying Donald maybe fatter than Eric but when challenged they both fold like a house of cards in a windstorm.

The next day after it had hit the fan Lying Donald had changed his tune and was all about treating all the governors as equals after they had banned together and chose to ignore Lying Donalds song and dance. Again, classic Cartman. Next time you hear Lying Donald speak, who are you going to think of? I know, my bad!

In Other News

I see where global warming will cause "catastrophic" biodiversity loss across the world if greenhouse gas emissions aren't curbed, with some ecosystems liable to collapse as soon as 2030, according to new research into where and when die-offs may occur.

Earth has never, in human history, warmed so quickly or uniformly as currently, but a variety of factors affect temperatures in individual regions, with significant seasonal and geographic variation.

Scientists predict that at the current level of manmade carbon emissions, Earth is on course to heat up to four degrees Celsius by 2100.

Instead of looking at global trends, researchers in Britain, the United States and South Africa looked at more than 150 years of climate data and cross-referenced that with the spread of more than 30,000 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.

They then divided the globe into 100 square kilometres (39 square mile) segments and modelled the temperature trends and effects this would have on wildlife in a given area.

Writing in the journal Nature, they concluded that under emissions as usual -- known as the RCP8.5 scenario -- up to 73 percent of species will experience unprecedented warming with potentially disastrous effects for populations.

Alex Pigot, from University College London's Centre for Biodiversity and Environment, said that the models showed that animal populations were liable to collapse once they cross a temperature "horizon" -- being exposed to heat they're not evolved to handle.

"As we pass this threshold we expect the risk of local extinction to increase substantially. It's not a slippery slope, but a series of cliff edges, hitting different areas at different times," Pigot said.

The models change dramatically according to each emissions pathway.

For example, at 4C of warming 15 percent of all animals could see extreme heat that could cause "irreversible damage" to regional ecosystems.

But at 2C of warming -- the cap aimed for in the Paris climate agreement, that figure dropped to two percent, according to the models.

The researchers predicted that such unprecedented temperature events will begin before 2030 in tropical oceans. For example, the Great Barrier reef suggest this is already occurring in places, the team said, adding that higher latitudes would see similar events by 2050.

While coral reefs occupy a tiny percentage of the oceans they support as much as a quarter of all marine life. Considering a couple billion people depend on the oceans to sustain life, pretty soon it's going to hit the fan! You've seen the effects with covid-19 emptying groceries imagine the effects when 2 billion folks need to replace the protein that once came from the sea!

And Finally

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) wants to cut back on programs that the people have already paid for like Social Security in order to balance the budget to make up for shortfalls caused by the tax cuts for the uber wealthy. He'd like to cut back on Medicare and Medicaid too.

Kevin says, "It's time to have 'adult conversation' about cutting safety net programs." Here's an idea Kevin, why not tax the uber wealthy like your hero Dwight David did at a rate of plus 90%. When Eisenhower did that the economy boomed like never before or since. Now couple with that cutting about half out of the Pentagoon's budget and we'll have plenty of money to spare to build infrastructure and such. Simple, huh Kevin, just like your mind!

Ergo we award this week's Vidkun Quisling Award to North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer!

Keepin' On

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


09-21-1953 ~ 04-09-2020
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Thanks for the film!

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Thanks for the laughs!

04-10-1929 ~ 04-14-2020
Thanks for the animation!

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Thanks for the film!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Bernie's Decision: Retreat Should Not Be Confused With Surrender
By Norman Solomon

Politics is ultimately about life and death, as the current pandemic horrors make clear. Policies that can seem abstract not only routinely harm quality of life; they also kill.

Both Bernie Sanders campaigns for president have brought a principled seriousness to the national discourse that no other candidate has come near matching. Now, we seem to be entering new terrain. Or are we?

You might not like "war" metaphors -- but a vicious reality is that various types of warfare are constantly happening against billions of people on this planet. Humanity is under siege from structured injustice due to anti-democratic power.

We don't have a choice of whether or not we're in a class war. It's going on perpetually -- waged with enormous financial, political and media firepower. The firepower of class warfare against Bernie Sanders has been ferocious and unrelenting. The Bernie campaign is dissipating, but class war is sure to remain unrelenting.

Our choices revolve around whether and how to fight back against the centralized wealth and huge corporate interests waging that endless war. Now, as the era after the Bernie 2020 campaign gets underway, I'd like to tell you a little about one of the countless inspiring activists I've met -- and why his outlook is so connected to the moment we're in now.

Fifty years ago, Fred Branfman saw the human consequences of war in Laos -- an airborne genocide that took place courtesy of U.S. taxpayers and the Orwellian-named Defense Department. Fred was a humanitarian-aid volunteer in Laos when he discovered that his country was taking the lives of peasants there by the thousands.

Fred assembled Voices from the Plain of Jars. Published in 1972, with the subtitle "Life Under an Air War," the book included essays by Laotian people living under long-term U.S. bombardment as well drawings by children who depicted the horrors all around them. As one bookseller put it, "This is the story of the first society to be totally destroyed by aircraft." In 2006, when I talked with Fred, he said: "At the age of 27, a moral abyss suddenly opened before me. I was shocked to the core of my being as I found myself interviewing Laotian peasants, among the most decent, human and kind people on Earth, who described living underground for years on end, while they saw countless fellow villagers and family members burned alive by napalm, suffocated by 500-pound bombs, and shredded by antipersonnel bombs dropped by my country, the United States."

Fred moved to Washington, where he worked with antiwar groups to lobby Congress and protest the inflicting of mass carnage on Indochina. He saw the urgent need to work inside and outside the political system to change policies and save lives.

More than three decades after his experiences in Laos, Fred wrote about "the effect on the biosphere of the interaction between global warming, biodiversity loss, water aquifer depletion, chemical contamination, and a wide variety of other new threats to the biospheric systems upon which human life depends." He was far from optimistic. And that's where, in April 2020, Fred has much to convey to us with a spirit that remains powerful several years after his death.

Many people who pay attention to national and global realities are in despair, and the loss of the Bernie campaign now adds to the weight of pessimism. Fred would have understood. Looking toward the future, he said, "I find it hard to have much 'hope' that the species will better itself in coming decades."

But, Fred went on, "I have also reached a point in my self-inquiries where I came to dislike the whole notion of 'hope.' If I need to have 'hope' to motivate me, what will I do when I see no rational reason for hope? If I can be 'hopeful,' then I can also be 'hopeless,' and I do not like feeling hopeless."

He added: "When I looked more deeply at my own life, I noticed that my life was not now and never had been built around 'hope.' Laos was an example. I went there, I learned to love the peasants, the bombing shocked my psyche and soul to the core, and I responded -- not because I was hopeful or hopeless, but because I was alive."

And human.

That should be reason enough for solidarity and determination. We will often lose. We will not give up. We must not give up.

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

Past presidents and congresses have failed for decades to mobilize the resources and make the wrenching
changes needed to end the virus of white racism, and finally create an equal playing field for all in America.

Coronavirus Illustrates Our Failure To Create A Fair Society
African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die because we bear the pre-existing condition known as race.
By Jesse Jackson

The media has just discovered that the coronavirus is far more deadly to blacks and Latinos than to whites. Twice as deadly in New York City, according to the New York Times. Seventy-two percent of the fatalities in Chicago are blacks who constitute about 30 percent of the population. The news is treated as a shocking revelation on the BBC, CNN and CBS and in newspapers across the country.

Why should anyone be shocked? Over 150 years after the abolition of slavery, and over six decades since the end of legal apartheid in this country, America still remains, as the Kerner Commission concluded in 1968, "two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal."

The coronavirus does not discriminate, but people do. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die because we bear the pre-existing condition known as race.

The reality is harsh and inescapable. African Americans are more likely to be poor, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to lack health insurance, more likely to be arrested, jailed and incarcerated. We live lives of greater stress, in neighborhoods too often scarred by gun violence. The result is a lower life expectancy even before the virus hit. This discrepancy is structural, and it is not accidental. It is, as the Kerner Commission concluded, the direct result of public policy and private prejudice.

African Americans are more likely to be afflicted with pre-existing health conditions that make the virus particularly fatal: heart disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, we are 50 percent more likely to have heart disease and 40 percent more likely to die at an early age. Nineteen percent of us can't afford to see a doctor. The majority of us live in the South where many Republican governors have refused to extend Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Anti-immigration rhetoric and policing make many Hispanics reluctant to go to the hospital or see a doctor, even if they can afford it.

Blacks and Hispanics also constitute a disproportionate number of the frontline workers - the bus drivers and grocery clerks, janitors and mass transit workers, child care and nursing home staffs. They take the early bus. They do not have the luxury of "social distancing." They can't work from home and can't afford not to work.

These realities are pre-existing conditions that make us more vulnerable to the virus. They aren't a secret, even though they are seldom discussed. Now the virus is bringing them to public attention once more. The question is whether anything will be done this time.

If the president or Congress were serious, they would create a new Kerner Commission, an independent commission to document the structures of racism and discrimination built into our public policies. And then they would act on the recommendations - many of which no doubt would be no different than those of the Kerner Commission itself over half a century ago. If they fail to act, governors could create similar investigations for their own states, and act upon the recommendations.

Donald Trump has failed to mobilize adequately the federal resources needed to combat the coronavirus effectively. But past presidents and congresses have failed for decades to mobilize the resources and make the wrenching changes needed to end the virus of white racism, and finally create an equal playing field for all in America. The coronavirus only serves to once more draw attention to the terrible human costs of that failure.

(c) 2020 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

The End Of Sanders, And Maybe The Beginning Of A Mass Independent Left
By Glen Ford

Sander's early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a "leftish" presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds.

The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed the privatized US healthcare structure's woeful incapacity to cope with a general health emergency, as well as the failings of Europe's austerity-shrunken public health care systems. Although Donald Trump's actions, inactions and idiotic blatherings have added immeasurably to the death toll, a major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public. Trump didn't create the conditions that made the United States so vulnerable to a killer virus. That's one of the many crimes of capitalism, which at its late stage is methodically starving what's left of the public sphere and privatizing every conceivable human enterprise for the ultimate benefit of the Lords of Capital - the ruling oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders claimed to be running against the oligarchy in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, but meekly surrendered to Joe Biden, the personification of the glad-handing corporate shill and champion of the status quo, once the momentum of the primaries had turned. Sanders said he would resume his duties as a full-time senator doing "the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour."

But the raw truth is, Sanders surrendered unconditionally to a Democratic Party that is, in the Age of Trump, the electoral representative of the bulk of a fractured U.S. ruling class - the oligarchy. Without warning, Sanders demobilized his legions, even while claiming to continue to lead "a grass-roots, multiracial, multigenerational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up." Sanders thanked his generous followers, nearly two million of whom donated at least $167 million to his campaign. Unknown millions remain unspent, and much more could be raised from even a greatly diminished cohort of Sanders true-believers if the self-described socialist was sincere about leading a well-funded "movement" outside the corporate duopoly. But Sanders is going out as a fraud who will refuse to turn over either unspent campaign monies or precious voter lists to his "grassroots" supporters or anybody outside the Democratic Party.

It is widely believed in Sanders' circles that his greatest fear is to become like Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate who is still vilified for supposedly throwing the 2000 election to George Bush. But Nader was the least of Democrat Al Gore's problems and has nothing to be ashamed of. From publication of his corporate-pummeling 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, and the phenomenal growth of Nader-inspired Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS) two decades later, Nader has been a potent critic of oligarchy who, at 86, still rages at the machine from the outside. But Sanders, who has always caucused with Democrats, cannot imagine life outside the corporate duopoly. Despite his austerity-busting agenda, Sanders remains an "inside man" - in the same sense as criminals of that description. This month he ended the charade and was welcomed back into the "family" - one of the two parties the Lords of Capital can rightly call "our thing" (la cosa nostra).

Sanders punked out early this time around, with language as contradictory and dishonest on-its-face as Trump-speak. "I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates," said Sanders in his surrender statement. "While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention." But of course, you cannot keep piling up significant votes and delegates while simultaneously conceding victory to a corporate flunky - thus making Sanders's "suspended" campaign unfit for even "protest" votes.

For the second time in two presidential cycles, Sanders has lived up to Bruce Dixon's depiction of him as a "sheepdog" for the Democrats. "Sheepdogs are herders," wrote Dixon, the BAR co-founder who died last June, "and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic Party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box." That's Sanders to a T.

Sanders bowed out of the race the minute his momentum stalled, at the very same time that the greatest combined health and economic calamity in U.S. history was gripping the nation by the throat - a teaching moment if one ever existed, if health care and economic inequality were really Sanders' top priority. He did acknowledge the ballooning crisis: "In terms of health care, this current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. The current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance."

And then he quit the race, relinquishing the presidential primary bully-pulpit in favor of senatorial duties that could easily have been accomplished as a candidate, given that in-person campaign rallies and such aren't allowed during the emergency. Bernie's early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a "leftish" presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds. In the presence of catastrophe, the logic of Sanders' own rhetoric would have forced him to go beyond the limits of capitalist discourse - the only language Democrats allow - both in his analysis and campaign planks. Sanders chose to cut the process short, while he could still go home to the Party.

The bulk of older Democrats will wallow in the oblivion of Democratic Party politics, pretending that Trump brought on the crisis, and is indeed responsible for all the ills of capitalism, even though the Democratic National Committee insisted on sending the party faithful into primary voting spots that were infested with viral death. Older Blacks will betray their own leftish world views - as they do every primary election -- and stick with Biden as the only candidate that can beat Trump, although it was Sanders who actually fit that description. But crises do alter and crystalize people's worldviews. A core of Sanders supporters, numbering possibly several millions, plus many others that did not consider themselves radicals until they saw how "the system" left them naked to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic immiseration, will experience a eureka moment and exit the Democrats, in body and mind. The only question is: will there be alternative, independent political vehicles for their anger and energies that are equipped to handle an influx not seen since the Sixties?

As BAR has maintained for the last two presidential seasons, the best outcome of the primaries would be a mass exit from the Democratic Party, the fraudulent left section of the oligarch-ruled duopoly. (The vast bulk of Republicans have chosen the right home for their racist ilk: The White Man's Party.) Younger Blacks have not abandoned the historical Black consensus on social justice and peace, and some took part in renewed stirrings of "movement" politics during the "Black Lives Matter" struggles. They will have a lot to think about in the enforced relative isolation of CoronaTime - and may become the 21st century's Black Left Generation.

(c) 2019 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

What Should Happen To 'Pandemic Profiteers'?
By Jim Hightower

Wartime profiteering has been as common in our country as war itself.

Indeed, during the American Revolution assorted corrupt merchants and traders lined their pockets by controlling the supply and jacking up the prices on various goods they sold to the Continental Army and to the general public. Often though, feisty colonials struck back at the gougers. In 1777, for example, when a Boston merchant was found to be hoarding imports of coffee and sugar to create an artificial shortage so he could charge exorbitant prices to the area's families, a band of enraged Bean Town women took matters into their own hands - they beat up the guy and confiscated his stock!

It's time for indignant citizens today to confront a new breed of shameful greed merchants: Pandemic profiteers. Such corporate scammers as Boeing, American Airlines, and Marriott have rushed to Washington, shoving aside millions of devastated victims of the COVID-19 crisis to demand that corporations be first in line for a massive government rescue.

Take Boeing. Please! Its lobbyists brazenly swarmed the Capitol pleading for $60 billion from taxpayers to protect its profits. Rather than being laughed out of town, such socialist capitalists have been handed a half-trillion-dollars of our money. Which corporations will be favored? No telling. How much would each get? They'll tell us later, maybe. What's the criteria? Don't ask. What about their workers and suppliers? Let them apply for food stamps. Aren't you cutting food stamps? Shhhhh.

Enough Democrats had enough moral fortitude to block some of the grossest giveaways in the Republicans' $500 billion corporate boondoggle, but the greedy, profiteering giants should not have been given a single dime until the real and urgent needs of the people are met. Profiteers should be last in line... or turned over to descendants of those Boston women from 1777.

(c) 2020 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

A Walmart employee works on fulfilling a customer's online order at a Walmart micro-fulfillment center in Salem, Massachusetts, on January 8, 2020.

Minimum-Wage Workers Are Dying To Keep Everyone Else Alive. They Deserve More.
By William Rivers Pitt

The cashier at the grocery store was doing her job well. Bip-bip-bip went the barcode reader fast-fast-fast as the conveyor carried my food to her hands. Fruit and veggies over here, bread over there, heavy stuff down the middle, all to help the bagger organize the load without crushing anything delicate. The hum of the store's clockwork went on around us like the drone of an active beehive.

It was all very mundane, but for the broad plexiglass blast shield standing between us, but for the fact that she and I were wearing masks - mine made by my mother at her sewing machine, hers made by someone with a clear affinity for ladybugs. It was mundane but for the fact that she disinfected the credit card keypad and conveyor belt with wipes after every customer came through. Mundane but for the fact that the next customer in line stood so far away that she probably couldn't read the labels in the candy rack.

In truth there was nothing mundane about it, because here were heroes at work. Thoroughly reluctant heroes, who do not want to run a register in a high-peril place like a grocery store but do so because they need the paycheck or the health insurance or both. They didn't sign up for this, but they are heroes nonetheless.

COVID-19 has us treating grocery store runs like potentially lethal obstacle courses, which, of course, they are. My local store has a doorman now, just like a bar. Like a bar, it's one out and one in, and everybody waits until the line moves. You get in, grab your food, and get out as fast as you can.

Along the way you see the manager making sure people are spacing properly in line, the associate stocking barren shelves as fast as she can, the teenager at the register moving at flank speed while disinfecting on the fly, the bagger getting you out the door in an ordered fashion with a "Stay healthy" to send you on your way.

We all need to eat, and so quite abruptly, the grocery store workers of this country are frontline COVID warriors risking their lives by standing their posts in highly populated places.

"Next to health-care providers, no workforce has proved more essential during the novel coronavirus pandemic than the 3 million U.S. grocery store employees who restock shelves and freezers, fill online orders and keep checkout lines moving," reports The Washington Post. "Some liken their job to working in a war zone, knowing that the simple act of showing up to work could ultimately kill them. At least 41 grocery workers have died so far."

They aren't overburdened health care workers intubating gasping COVID patients while wearing garbage bags, but ask yourself: Where would we be if all the retail grocery workers said NOPE and stayed home? If they decided the plexiglass shield wasn't good enough and they didn't want to die so you could have your cans of soup? The country would be on fire, period, end of file.

People know this, now. Every time I go to the grocery store, I thank every employee I encounter. More to the point, I watch, and I see other shoppers doing the same thing: Expressing deep gratitude to workers that few ever thanked before COVID. Be honest: Before this happened, were you in the habit of thanking the guy in the company shirt who stocked the bread aisle? I freely admit, I wasn't. Now, I do it every damn time I see him.

This is a fundamental social transformation.

Donald Trump described the COVID-19 crisis as a war. Well and good, because wars sometimes have a weird way of expanding rights once the screaming stops. Consider World War II: Women mobilized through the Rosie the Riveter campaign manufactured the munitions and war supplies that beat back the Nazis, while the Tuskegee Airmen flew the fighter planes the Rosies made on protection detail, never losing a bomber along the way.

Once the war ended, the Rosies and the Black soldiers had one hell of a claim to make regarding their standing in the discriminatory society whose war they helped win. Their deep sacrifice helped kick the door down for the civil rights movement to follow. Their role in the war sharpened their argument for inclusion, and they won the damn argument.

In the current era, COVID-19 is once again rubbing the nose of a nation trained to ignore the inequities that sustain it in the fact that the lowest rungs on the ladder are why the ladder still stands. "We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner," wrote Chuck Palahniuk in Fight Club. "We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep."

"So," he concludes, "don't fuck with us."

Things will be different on the other side of this pandemic. Before COVID, many middle-class and wealthy people would glide by low-wage workers doing menial jobs. Today, low-wage workers are some of the few people standing between our society and calamity, and awareness of that fact has exploded. The billionaires and the celebrities aren't saving us. The minimum-wage workers bagging groceries are.

On the other side of this, we must utterly reorganize our priorities, so that such heroes do not have to make lethal personal choices to survive this hypercapitalist system. The woman behind the plexiglass at the grocery store register deserves to have health care and a living wage even if she's too scared to brave COVID and come to work. So do her co-workers. So do we all.

This pandemic has already proven that. Once we get out from under it, let's make the point stick. There will be a very hard push to return matters to the old framework. When this is done, there will be a reckoning on that score, a reckoning of the mind and the soul of this strange country. It must never go back to the way it was. Let's make sure of it.

(c) 2020 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

The Bishop of Mallorca Sebastia Taltavull offers the traditional Easter Sunday mass in the deserted cathedral during the coronavirus pandemic.

A 'Jubilee' Cancellation Of Debt Is Vital To Fighting The Coronavirus
A growing movement says debt forgiveness for developing nations would "free up resources to tackle urgent health, social and economic crises."
By John Nichols

To fight the spread of the novel coronavirus in the world's most impoverished countries, it is essential to free up the resources that those countries need to expand health care and provide a safety net for the most vulnerable people on the planet. And the way to do that is to embrace the redemptive promise of Jubilee.

"Inspired by the ancient concept of the Jubilee, a time when debts were cancelled, slaves freed, and land and wealth redistributed, bringing about greater fairness and equality in the economy and society," the UK-based Jubilee Debt Campaign has launched an urgent international campaign to demand the immediate cancellation of debt payments for the poorest countries. And it is gaining traction in the United States, where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA are urging officials in Washington to "lead the world by calling on wealthy countries, the G20, the IMF and World Bank, to suspend debt payments for developing countries."

Various faith traditions speak of debt cancellation and forgiveness. It is embedded in the Christian tradition's Lord's Prayer, with its line, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." The book of Deuteronomy speaks of a charge "to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend." Now, religious and secular groups have amplified the message, recognizing the need to respond to a mid-March message from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who suggested that to counter the pandemic, "The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us which are very vulnerable."

The prime minister warned, "It's not just Pakistan. I would imagine the same in India, in the subcontinent, in African countries, If it spreads, we will all have problems with our health facilities. We just don't have that capability. We just don't have the resources."

That message was heard by activists who have for decades advocated on behalf of debt cancellation and now say a Jubilee is all the more urgent.

So it was that as people of faith around the world prepared to mark Passover and Easter, more than 200 religious and secular organizations from around the world signed the Jubilee Debt Coalition's call for the cancellation of all external debt payments from the countries of the Global South that are due to be made in 2020 and for the provision of emergency additional finance that does not create debt for these countries.

Declaring that "cancelling debt payments is the fastest way to keep money in countries and free up resources to tackle the urgent health, social and economic crises resulting from the Covid-19 global pandemic," the groups explain:

The global Covid-19 crisis has led to falls in commodity prices, an increase in future borrowing costs for global South governments, and contributed to the largest ever capital outflow from developing countries.Government revenues will fall as a result, and debt payments will increase at the same time that countries need to expand healthcare and social protection in response to the crisis. Developing countries had already been facing heightened debt vulnerabilities and rising debt costs before the Covid-19 outbreak. The scale of the public health crisis and need for rapid policy responses means vital government resources must be urgently directed towards the needs of populations and not diverted to lenders. The outbreaks of Covid-19 so far show that time is essential. Governments need to have resources for decisive action today. Any delay will make the pandemic more difficult to control and a later repair of economic damage more costly, especially for borrower countries.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have already called for an immediate suspension of debt payments to other governments by a group of the hardest-hit developing nations. While those institutions are right to call for a suspension of debt payments to other governments, Tim Jones, the head of policy for the Jubilee Debt Campaign, counsels that "they also need to waive debt payments to themselves as well. Furthermore, the Fund and Bank need to call for and support a suspension of payments to private creditors. It would be outrageous to allow private speculators to keep taking high interest payments from poor countries at this time of crisis."

Outrageous, and incredibly dangerous. Covid-19 is spreading to many of the world's poorest nations-places that are ill-prepared for what is to come. On Friday, under a headline reading "Yemen confirms first coronavirus case, braces for outbreak," Al Jazeera reported, "Following years of war, Yemen already faces what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Aid groups have warned that a major outbreak will be 'disastrous' and devastate the country's gutted healthcare system." Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and California US Representative Ro Khanna have in recent weeks been sounding the alarm, noting that "as the coronavirus spreads all over the world, Yemenis may be the planet's most vulnerable people in the face of this pandemic."

There are similar concerns for a number of developing nations in Africa, as Jubilee USA's Director Eric LeCompte explains: "Developing countries are unprepared to deal with the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus. Most of Africa only has about 50 critical care beds per country. Without action, tens of thousands of people will die because they can't access life saving health services."

In an urgent April 8 letter to President Trump, LeCompte, and Bishop David J. Malloy, the chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, pleaded with the president to put the United States on the right side of this fight when the G20 nations consult over the next week:

As the G20 considers a suspension of debt payments from the 76 poorest countries in the world, the United States can lead the world, again, in calling on wealthy countries, the G20, the IMF and World Bank, to suspend debt payments for developing countries. Suspending debt payments, with no interest, can immediately allow countries to access funds to bolster their health systems and support needed stimulus packages in the developing world-allowing these countries to provide for their own health safety and security.
(c) 2020 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Secret Adulteration Of Olive Oil
By James Donahue

If you think buying "organic" is going to give you an escape from the poisoned and processed garbage sold as food in our grocery stores, guess again. If you don't know the grower or have the space and time to grow and process it yourself, you could still be getting the same old genetically modified poison.

An exposing book by investigator Tom Mueller, "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil," tells of how the processors of most of imported brands of light virgin olive oils, favored in American kitchens because of the alleged lack of unsaturated fats, are all fake mixtures of other oils and chemical additives that make them taste and smell right, but are anything but light virgin olive oil.

After Mueller's book went into print, researchers at UC Davis tested 124 samples from eight major brands of extra virgin olive oil. They found more than 74 percent of the imported oils were not what the labels claimed them to be.

The virgin olive oil business is a $1.5 billion dollar industry in the United States, and it appears that most of this money is going into the pockets of unscrupulous racketeers willing to sell us poison oils in the interest of making a lot of money.

According to Mueller, the most common forms of adulteration involves mixing extra virgin olive oil with cheap, lower-grade oils. Some of these oils may be sunflower, soybean, canola or colza oils. Sometimes it is a poor quality olive oil. To hide the crime the blended oils are chemically deodorized with chlorophyll, colored and sometimes even flavored to make them look and taste like the real thing.

A story in the Los Angeles Times said that the UC Davis testing found most of the major brands found in our grocery stores to be fraudulently labeled. Unfortunately the crime can be traced to the processors, not the handlers. But the problem has become theirs to deal with just the same.

The real virgin olive oil will get cloudy and harden when refrigerated. This is not a sure test, however, because some of the other oil mixtures will mimic olive oil when refrigerated. Also the legitimate virgin olive oil will keep an oil lamp burning.

The only way to know for sure that you have the real thing is to try to buy directly from the producer, or buy your oil from a supplier that you trust. Good virgin olive oil is packaged in a dark colored glass bottle because it can be spoiled by sunlight. The bottle also should show a harvest or expiration date printed somewhere on the label. Never buy oil more than two years old because it will get rancid.

Ignore olive oil containers that offer "pure," or "light oil" or "olive pomace oil." This means that have been altered.

(c) 2020 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

This millennium has wired us into a pervasive system of individuated connection,
making it a perfect precursor to the requisite high-tech sequestration at hand.

Apocalypse On-Demand
Is this societal demise, or technological ascent?
By Randall Amster

It's the end of the world, but you might hardly know it. Sure, there's the inconvenience of being mostly stuck at home, making do with a bit less and rationing a bit more, and foregoing most of our exterior social interactions. But let's face it: for many people right now, our streaming services are intact and just about anything still can be delivered to your doorstep. If this is the apocalypse, or even just a preview, then it's a high-functioning one. So it's fair to wonder: is this societal demise, or technological ascent?

For the so-called "middle class" (which by definition or perception incorporates a surprisingly large percentage of the population) this might feel like a moment of relative inconvenience wrapped around lives of on-demand convenience. Entertainment, communication, and myriad cultural diversions have already been thoroughly digitized by now, as have an expanding array of economic and work-related activities. Social engagement has lagged a bit, but rapidly is catching up in this time of imposed distance.

All the while, the capacity to realize "social distancing" (bound up with notions of doing one's civic duty) remains a function of power and privilege. Isolation isn't much of an option for people experiencing homelessness, incarcerated populations, or communities marked by concentrated poverty. Endemic conditions of structural violence, obscured by the "bootstraps" mythology of free-market meritocracy, have yielded starkly disparate lives for people coexisting within proximity but often living worlds apart.

Despite the disparities, there's a tendency (especially in times of crisis) to seek bonds of connection and solidarity with a sense that "we're all in this together." On many levels this is indeed true, and always has been: our lives are intertwined and mutually interdependent in ways that are rarely acknowledged. But that organic realization doesn't account for a constructed reality in which benefits and burdens skew heavily based on demographic factors, and disasters notoriously exacerbate those preexisting inequities.

Yes, this is a catastrophic moment, but more so for those already vulnerable and marginalized. Frontline workers, people with underlying medical conditions and limited access to good healthcare, communities suffering long-term exposure to environmental toxins, those on the other side of the "digital divide," and more are disproportionately reflected in the infection and casualty rates accruing in this pandemic. The correlates of race and class reveal themselves starkly in crisis, belying axioms of equal opportunity.

Whether through a stratified lens or taken in the aggregate, this is a calamitous time. But catastrophe is only half of the definition of apocalypse, deriving from a Greek word meaning uncovering or disclosure. This revelatory aspect of apocalypse is palpable right now, laying bare our utter dependence on digital modalities and remote fulfillment centers to meet basic needs. Perhaps this reliance gives us a modicum of pause-but the larger mindset is one of reveling in the values and virtues of a technotopian promise.

Education at all levels? They've got platforms in place. Consumer goods, from apples to automobiles? Delivered right to your door (and you don't even have to see the deliverer). Cultural engagement? Now available via livestream. Exercise, intimacy, investments, spirituality? There's an app for that. Work? Zoom it. Media? Binge it. Politics? Tweet it. This millennium has wired us into a pervasive system of individuated connection, making it a perfect precursor to the requisite high-tech sequestration at hand.

And perhaps, after all, this has always been the ultimate demand of an on-demand society: catastrophic convenience, filling the experiential void with ostensible plenty. Maybe seeing it unvarnished and living with its implications can be a wake-up call? If so, the lingering effects might yield more sustainable and scalable lives, reclaiming lost skills and abilities, appreciating nature, and embracing community. If not, then the realization of marked digital dependency might be the fulfillment of our unnatural social order.

(c) 2020 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Among his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013).

A review in Nature points to rising marine life populations in response to protection measures, including
humpback whales near Australia, sea otters in Western Canada, and grey seals and cormorants in the Baltic Sea

Review Shows Ocean Life Could Rebound In 30 Years!
By David Suzuki

With everything humanity is going through, it's comforting to come across good news. The best is that people are co-operating to an unprecedented extent, coming together even as we remain physically distant, to help neighbours and families and do our part to slow or halt the virus's spread.

Another good news item this week shows the value of caring co-operation. A review in Nature concludes that global ocean conservation through marine protected areas and other means is paying off - so much, the researchers conclude, that stepped-up efforts could bring large areas of ocean back to resilience by 2050.

The report points to rising marine life populations in response to protection measures, including humpback whales near Australia, sea otters in Western Canada, and grey seals and cormorants in the Baltic Sea. Where I live, increasing numbers of humpback, killer and grey whales, pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, spawning salmon and herring have been returning to Atl'ka7tsem/Howe Sound over the years since mining, pulp and paper and other industries were closed and individuals were restricted from developing the shoreline.

(If you're interested in exploring this exquisite region, the David Suzuki Foundation has created the Atl'ka7tsem/Howe Sound marine conservation map, with more than 140 layers of data, ranging from estuaries to eelgrass, glass sponge reefs to shipping routes, herring spawning grounds to log-sorting sites.)

Countries around the world committed to safeguarding 10 per cent of their ocean territories by this year, through marine protected areas and other means. Some have done better than others.

Canada has surpassed its commitment to protect at least 10 per cent of its oceans before 2020, thanks in part to significant collaboration between Indigenous communities, governments, conservation organizations, communities and industries. But the report shows all countries should and could go further to accelerate fisheries reform, curb pollution and climate disruption, and more.

The benefits of healthy oceans to humans are immeasurable - from providing food and regulating climate to facilitating transportation and offering recreational opportunities.

One immediate Canadian concern is pending federal approval of a large container-shipping terminal in South Delta near Vancouver. A federally appointed environmental assessment panel determined last week that the project risks putting marine species in peril, including already struggling southern resident orcas and the Chinook salmon they depend on. Increased noise and pollution from shipping traffic would further degrade already compromised habitat. Just as the Nature report shows that giving ecosystems a chance to recover pays off, we must give the orca and salmon a chance.

The report's authors write that achieving "substantial recovery of the abundance, structure and function of marine life" and strengthening the services oceans provide is possible within 30 years, with international co-operation to reduce pressures, including climate change. Although billions of dollars would have to be invested, the returns would be enormous.

"One of the overarching messages of the review is, if you stop killing sea life and protect it, then it does come back. We can turn the oceans around and we know it makes sense economically, for human wellbeing and, of course, for the environment," said University of York Prof. Callum Roberts, from the review's international team, quoted in the Guardian.

The review notes we have a good start on the 2030 goal, with successes already evident from an international push toward sustainable fisheries and restoration of coastal ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and mangrove forests.

The world still has danger zones, where agricultural runoff, sewage and pollution escape to the oceans, or too much industrial activity puts marine life at risk. Unsustainable fishing is still widespread, especially on the high seas.

This report shows it doesn't have to be that way. If we invest in oceans and find healthier ways to live, we'll all be better off.

We're showing now what humanity is capable of in the face of an immediate crisis and beyond. Our priority now should be to take care of ourselves and each other. We need our strength to get through this pandemic. And if we keep our distance (but stay connected, at least virtually, when we can), and wash our hands thoroughly and frequently, we'll get through it with the spirit of co-operation and altruism that we're demonstrating constantly through our individual and collective actions. Everything is interconnected.

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

The New York Times Red Dawn Scoop Lays Out the Truth of Trump's COVID-19 Incompetence
A manifest incompetent and malignant vandal is standing for re-election, and we've all been handed the receipts.
By Charles P. Pierce

Back in December, back before masks, and social distancing, and back before we all reeked of hand sanitizer and uncertainty, the Washington Post published a giant exclusive in which, through official government documents, the newspaper laid bare the lies and malfeasance behind America's war in Afghanistan. At the time, it seemed as though this would be one of the biggest stories of the past five years. Instead, it disappeared from the national conversation even before the pandemic ate every news cycle. Meanwhile, the war ground on as American involvement gradually dissipated. So, while I hope that The New York Times's massive "Red Dawn" reporting over this past weekend manages to have a shelf life beyond Monday's Five O'Clock Follies, I'm not making book on that either way.

To recap, in what appears to be a general alarm within Camp Runamuck, the Times was gifted with a trove of e-mails that detailed extended e-conversations between infectious disease experts in and out of government that came to be called "Red Dawn" by the participants. Let us simply say that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago and his administration* do not come out of these conversations at all well.

Dr. Kadlec and other administration officials decided the next day to recommend to Mr. Trump that he publicly support the start of these mitigation efforts, such as school closings. But before they could discuss it with the president, who was returning from India, another official went public with a warning, sending the stock market down sharply and angering Mr. Trump. The meeting to brief him on the recommendation was canceled and it was three weeks before Mr. Trump would reluctantly come around to the need for mitigation. This slow pace of action was confusing to the medical experts on the Red Dawn email chain, who were increasingly alarmed that cities and states that were getting hit hard by the virus needed to move faster to take aggressive steps.
There are several more direct exchanges. For example, when the president* enacted his European travel ban, his former Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert e-mailed the group asking if the ban made any sense "scientifically," and, if so, what he might be missing. Dr. James Lawler, a specialist in infectious disease at the University of Nebraska, replied:
Fuck no. This is the absolute wrong move.
(Lawler comes across as the no-bullshit star of the e-mails. At one point, he responded to the administration*'s soft-pedaling the developing pandemic as simply a bad form of the flu but listing "Great Understatements In History," which included, "Pompeii: 'just a bit of a dust storm.'")

This story is of a piece with the Post's Afghanistan scoop-a wholesale tearing down of the veil of fog and bullshit obscuring the truth of a steady rolling catastrophe. If you read the Red Dawn e-mails, and Lawler's Great Understatements e-mail that was sent at the end of January, you simply cannot credit as true any of the president*'s regular spiel, which inevitably includes some variation of, "Nobody could've seen this coming." The question is whether the Red Dawn exclusive is destined for the same memory pit in which the previous series ended up. From now until November, the country is going to face the most massive disinformation campaign in the history of this country. It will be all-ratfckers-on-deck, foreign and domestic. The op already is underway. We can't afford the kind of comfortable, anesthetic amnesia with which the country occasionally approaches its national elections.

A manifest incompetent and malignant vandal is standing for re-election, and we've all been handed the receipts.

(c) 2020 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine."
~~~ Donald Trump

A gas flare is seen at an oil well site on outside Williston, North Dakota.

Burning Fossil Fuels Made Coronavirus Death Rate Worse, And Kills 200K Americans Per Year, Not to Mention Global Heating
Clean air is not just a beautiful thing. It is necessary for our health.
By Juan Cole

Air pollution, producing medical conditions such as asthma and other lung problems as well as heart disease, is responsible for some of the thousands of coronavirus deaths in the United States. This, according to a just-published Harvard study, which is well summarized by Matthew Yglesias of Vox. Yglesias notes that Trump's response to the pandemic has been to abolish clean air regulation, which is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

City-dwellers around the world are astonished to see how clean their air suddenly became once people stopped burning so many fossil fuels by driving gasoline vehicles for hours a day and powering stores with coal.

Clean air is not just a beautiful thing. It is necessary for our health. A study published last November in an open-access journal issued by the American Medical Association found that breathing polluted air full of small particulate matter kills some 200,000 people a year in the U.S. even where the level of pollution is below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Particles or droplets less than 2.5 microns across, or thirty times smaller than a strand of hair, are implicated in a range of health disorders and even in declining intelligence in highly polluted environments.

In fact, the Guardian headline from 2018 was Air pollution causes 'huge' reduction in intelligence, study reveals. Damian Carrington and Lily Kuo wrote that breathing in polluted air so interferes with brain function that doing it regularly is like losing a year of education. I know people sometimes blow off their last semester of college, but apparently they lose both semesters if they live in a city with heavy air pollution. And that's not counting full-blown dementia, in which dirty air caused by burning gasoline and coal is also implicated.

Rosie McCall at Newsweek pointed out that the JAMA Network study found that air pollution causes death from heart disease, obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, pneumonia, and type 2 diabetes, as well as brain damage caused by damaged blood vessels closing off oxygen to the brain. These six fatal diseases were known to be the result of breathing polluted air. But in addition, they were able to show that breathing in micro-particles over time also causes dementia, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease, all of which are also killing people.

Coal companies and Big Oil like ExxonMobil and all those fracking companies are thus killing off a million Americans every five years. For the past 20 years Americans have been freaking out about terrorism that might kill less than a hundred people a year, but they've been happy to have a fifth of a million of their fellow citizens polished off by the burning of fossil fuels annually.

The situation is, of course, much worse than this study shows. Because not only does driving gasoline cars and heating your home with coal make you stupid and sick, it is also wrecking the planet by spewing powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, where they trap the sun's energy and won't let it radiate back out into space, heating up the earth. Global heating causes wildfires (which also throw up particulates into the air), drought, more severe hurricanes, and deadly sea rise and storm surges. Carbon dioxide is absorbed up to a certain limit by the sea, at the cost of making the sea acidic and threatening a huge kill-off of the fish on which 10% of humankind live.

The Scientific American reports that researchers estimate that some 150,000 people are being killed annually by the climate emergency around the world. The number is expected to double by 2030.

Proportionally speaking, the US is 4.2% of the world's population, so a little over 6,000 Americans are already being killed annually by global heating. That number will mount exponentially through the 21st century.

The burden of all this disease and death is falling disproportionately on the poor and in the US on African-Americans, who are shunted by discrimination into the most polluted and least desirable housing. Who lives near a coal plant?

As huge numbers of new lines of affordable electric cars come online over the next five years, everyone who can afford one should go electric. As we green the electricity grid and phase out coal, the EVs will save the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of Americans a year, not to mention flattening the climate emergency curve for the next generation.

(c) 2020 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

The Dead Letter Office-

Kevin and Lying Donald share an embrace and a deep kiss

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Cramer,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge Samuel (the con) Alito.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your demand we cut back on programs that help the people to pay for the tax cuts for the uber wealthy by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 05-23-2020. We salute you herr Cramer, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Failed Coronavirus Response
By Robert Reich

The Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a deliberate disaster from the beginning. But don't take my word for it - just look at the facts.

Here's the timeline:

In 2018, he let the pandemic-preparedness office in the National Security Council simply dissolve, and followed up with budget cuts to HHS and CDC this year. That team's job was to follow a pandemic playbook written after global leaders fumbled their response to Ebola in 2014. Trump was briefed on the playbook's existence in his first year - had he listened, the government would've started getting equipment to doctors two months ago.

The initial outbreak of the coronavirus began in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019.

By mid-January, 2020, the White House had intelligence reports that warned of a likely pandemic.

On January 18th, HHS Secretary Azar spoke with Trump to emphasize the threat of the virus just as US Diplomats were being evacuated from Wuhan.

Two days later, the virus was confirmed in both the US and South Korea.

That week, South Korean officials immediately drafted medical companies to develop test kits for mass production. The WHO declared a global health emergency. But Trump ... did nothing.

As Hubei Province went on lockdown, Trump, who loves any excuse to enact a racist travel ban, barred entry of any foreigners coming from China (it was hardly proactive) but took no additional steps to prepare for infection in the United States.

He said, "We pretty much shut it down, coming in from China."

He didn't ramp up production of test kits so we could begin isolating the virus.

By February, the US had 14 confirmed cases but the CDC test kits proved faulty; there weren't enough of them, and they were restricted to only people showing symptoms. The US pandemic response was already failing.

Trump then began actively downplaying the crisis and baselessly predicting it would go away when the weather got warmer.

Trump decided there was nothing to see here, and on February 24th, took time out of his day to remind us that the stock markets were soaring.

A day later, CDC officials sounded the alarm that daily life could be severely disrupted. The window to get ahead of the virus by testing and containment was closing.

Trump's next move: He compared Coronavirus to the seasonal flu...and called the emerging crisis a hoax by the Democrats.

With 100 cases in the US, Trump declined to call for a national emergency.

Meanwhile, South Korea was now on its way to testing a quarter million people, while the US was testing 40 times slower.

When a cruise ship containing Americans with coronavirus floated toward San Francisco, Trump said he didn't want people coming off the ship to be tested because they'd make the numbers look bad.

It wasn't until the stock market reacted to the growing crisis and took a nosedive that Trump finally declared a national emergency.

By this time, South Korea had been using an app for over a month that pulled government data to track cases and alert users to stay away from infected areas.

Over the next weeks, as the virus began its exponential spread across the US, and Governors declared states of emergency, closing schools and workplaces and stopping the American economy in its tracks - Trump passed on every opportunity to get ahead of this crisis.

Trump's priority was never public health. It was about making the virus seem like less of a nuisance so that the "numbers" would "look good" for his reelection.

Only when the stock market crashed did Trump finally begin to pay attention...and mostly to bailing out corporations in the form of a massive $500 billion slush fund, rather than to helping people. And then, with much of America finally and belatedly in lockdown, he said at a Fox News town hall that he would"love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter.

At every point, Trump has used this crisis to compliment himself.

This is not leadership. This is the exact opposite of leadership.

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

COVID-19: Killer Plague Or Not?
Either way we're screwed
By Jane Stillwater

Here in America, we all die eventually. That's what we do. And we've been doing this steadily since 1776. We don't "pass away". We don't "cross over". We die. It's called the freaking circle of life, Simba.

But just exactly how deadly is COVID-19? Actually? We may never know -- for two reasons.

First, doctors are currently being instructed to attribute almost every new death in America to COVID. A lot of people die in America -- every single day. "But let's blame it all on COVID anyway!" Done.

Second, the tests for COVID-19 are flawed up the ying-yang. That tiger in the Bronx Zoo probably doesn't have COVID after all.

But suppose, let's just suppose, that COVID-19 actually is the most deadly disease pandemic in history ev-ah, worse than smallpox, polio and the Black Plague combined. Then what? Those of us who actually do survive all this nightmare are still gonna be screwed.

Our economy is now in Schitt's Creek.

Our government has gone all 1984 on us.

We are going to be helpless as babes in the woods when our usual river of goods and services suddenly runs dry.

Who the freak knows how to manufacture toilet paper -- let alone how to grow a potato or stop a tank? Or prevent ourselves from being herded like cattle into some B-movie version of Brave New World or The Time Machine.

But all this is irrelevant, definitely not the most important thing about COVID-19[84]. "So what is the most important thing about it?" you might ask. It definitely isn't whether or not we are going to die from a germ or live in a tanked economy -- but rather what we are going to do with the ashes of our society after it's all been burned down.

All this random destruction of everything we now know is also offering us a unique chance as well -- a chance to form a new society based on kindness instead of on greed, anxiety, narcissism, propaganda, secrecy, fraud, fear and "war". The future after COVID-19[84] is not about whether or not we die from it. Everyone eventually dies. It's all about how we will live -- after this mess is finally over.

And that if we want to build a new, better and viable society out of the ashes of our current dysfunctional oligarchy, then "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is always a good start.

And if our leaders don't follow our lead on this one, then screw them too! We can always put them in lock-down instead of us.

(c) 2020 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Tim Eagan ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Trump Criticises WHO, Punches Baby, Unplugs 99-Year-Old On Life Support
By Waterford Whispers News

PROOF that there a virus with the capacity to cause harm all over the world is continuing to wreak havoc arrived yet again with Donald Trump's latest press conference, during which the virus again criticised the World Health Organisation and threatened to pull US funding from the organisation.

Not content with just the one indignant outburst, President Trump embraced the 'in for a penny, in for a pound' method by also punching a baby square in the face and unplugging the life support machine of a 99-year-old World War II veteran turned biochemist who was working on a vaccine for Covid-19.

"Firing Navy Captains for pleading that the lives of his officers be saved, then denying states much needed supplies due to his radioactive pettiness. Criticising the WHO for taking the Chinese government at face value, despite the fact he was tweeting praise for China himself. Sure enough you name the one level Trump would never stoop to and he proves you wrong again and again," shared one reporter, marveling at the unrelenting awfulness of the man.

"The Chinavirus was cooked up in a 5G lab by Joe Biden's son," confirmed Trump in response to a question about why the federal government still isn't providing adequate levels of testing, medicals supplies and supports.P> "The cure to Covid-19 is yours for only $999.99 with these Trump branded healing crystals made from mercury, whale blubber, aspartame and a lock of Ivanka's hair I cut off while she was asleep," confirmed Trump in response to a question about why he is allowing in-person voting for the Republican primary in Wisconsin to go ahead despite experts confirming it will lead to 'more deaths'.

"Fuck you," concluded Trump in response to a question about why he was now boasting about how much of a triumph only 200,000 US deaths will be when he spent weeks stating this was all an overblown hoax that would disappear at the start of April.

(c) 2020 Waterford Whispers News

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 16 (c) 04/17/2020

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