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In This Edition

Norman Solomon warns, "Some Progressives Are In Denial About Trump's Fascist Momentum."

Michael Winship returns with, "In The Face Of Death And Disease, Who's Sorry Now? Not Donald Trump-Yet."

Glen Ford examines, "Late-Stage Racial Capitalism Opened The Door To The Killer Virus."

Jim Hightower with an oldie but a goodie, "Don't Shut The Post Office, Expand Their Services."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Take Care Of Yourself And Your Family. Do Not Listen To The President."

John Nichols finds, "Locking Down For Public Health Is A Wisconsin Idea."

James Donahue wonders, "Recycled Radioactive Metal In Your Frying Pan?"

David Swanson asks, "How Ya Gonna Pay For It?"

David Suzuki says, "Earth Day Offers A Chance To Re-evaluate Our Path."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "This Is Precisely The Situation For Which The 25th Amendment Was Designed."

Randall Amster returns with, "Don't Drink The Snake Oil-Or The Disinfectant."

US Con-gressman Mo Brooks R/Al wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "The Covid-19 Class Divide."

Jane Stillwater explores the, "Prime Suspect."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Texas's Lieutenant Governor Says Dying Not As Bad As Living In State Where He Is Lieutenant Governor," but first, Uncle Ernie exclaims, Mainlining Lysol!

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Randall Enos, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Jonathan Newton, Chip Somodevilla, Negative Space, Jabin Botsford, Oliver Douliery, Sergio Flores, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, 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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Mainlining Lysol!
By Ernest Stewart

"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks [the virus] out [from a surface] in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that [by] injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number." ~~~ Donald Trump

"Our simulations suggest that future anthropogenic warming could lead to a significant slowing of hurricane motion, particularly in some populated mid-latitude regions. This is the first study we are aware of that combines physical interpretation and robust modeling evidence to show that future anthropogenic warming could lead to a significant slowing of hurricane motion." ~~~ Gan Zhang ~ climatologist and leader of the Princeton study

"I want to allow insurers to charge higher prices to people with illnesses, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they're healthy, they've done the things to keep their bodies healthy." ~~~ US Con-gressman Mo Brooks R/Al

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 must have said it at least a thousand times over the years, "Just when you think Lying Donald couldn't get any dumber he proves once again that we are no where near the bottom of his stupidity!"

I'm sure you've heard by now about Dr. Donald's coronavirus cure? He thought that running up some Lysol might work because he notes that Lysol will kill Covid-19 on surfaces, ergo if you shot it up or simply drank it, you'd kill the virus! Of course, this is true, as I'm sure the virus will die after you've been dead for a day or two! Problem solved, and I quote...

"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks [the virus] out [from a surface] in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that [by] injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number."

Of course, that wasn't all, as sunlight will also kill the virus you might want to try ramming a black light up your ass, i.e, some other way, and I quote...

"So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, it sounds interesting."

If you think that this is stupid, just you wait and see what he says next week! Oh, and for you Trump supporters why not join Lying Donald and take the Clorox challenge?

In Other News

I see where scientists are warning that Hurricanes slowed down by global warming are becoming more destructive. This is because increasing CO2 levels are pushing westerlies towards Earth's poles.The slow pace of hurricanes makes them more destructive. Their winds aren't slowing just the pace in which they move is. A team of environmental scientists warned that global warming is causing hurricanes to move slower. Although this may seem like a good thing, the scientists noted that it could actually make hurricanes more destructive. The new study was led by a researcher from Princeton University. It was published in the journal Science Advances. The researchers carried out the study using meteorological data collected on hurricanes since the 1950s. Through their data, they were able to identify the direct correlation between the rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere due to increasing global temperatures and the behavior of hurricanes.

According to the researchers, the presence of higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere would push the strong mid-latitude wind currents, which are also known as the westerlies, to move further towards the Earth's poles.

Based on the computer simulations carried out by the researchers, calmer wind conditions will be left behind once the westerlies move towards the poles. Unfortunately, these calmer conditions will provide hurricanes with less momentum to move forward.

As noted by the researchers, hurricanes will be more destructive if they're moving at a slower pace since their effect on affected regions will be prolonged. One particular example of this effect is Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane that ravaged the Bahamas last year.

Although the hurricane produced wind gusts of around 184 miles per hour, it moved at a very slow pace. According to the data collected by the researchers, Hurricane Dorian moved at just a handful of miles per hour. Its slow pace gave the hurricane enough time to destroy the areas it passed it over.

Or you may remember 2017's Hurricane Harvey that stalled at the Texas coastline, flooding huge parts of Texas as it came on land and then went back out to sea 4 times before finally moving back out to sea where it sailed down the coast to Louisiana, finally coming fully ashore!

The researchers warned that by the end of the century, global temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius. This effect would lead to the formation of slower and more destructive hurricanes.

"Our simulations suggest that future anthropogenic warming could lead to a significant slowing of hurricane motion, particularly in some populated mid-latitude regions," climatologist Gan Zhang and lead author of the study said in a statement.

"This is the first study we are aware of that combines physical interpretation and robust modeling evidence to show that future anthropogenic warming could lead to a significant slowing of hurricane motion," Zhang added.

So, unless your an incredibly strong swimmer, and you live by the ocean, it might be a good time to unload your ocean front property and as Iron Maiden sang, "Run to the hills. Run for your life!"

And Finally

US Con-gressman Mo Brooks R/Al has had enough of poor people and the elderly using Medicaid and Obama Care to skate by with out filling the pockets of his insurance company masters. Mo insits they get Trump care instead and pay more for all their existing conditions and another tax on daring to be elderly!

I mean, how dare the sick and elderly get the benefits that hey paid for without "wetting the beaks" of his puppet masters! Once you buy and pay for Mo he stays bought and paid for! Or is it because Rethuglicans simply don't believe that most Americans deserve access to affordable medical care, no matter how hard they work, no matter how sick they are, no matter how poor they are? Their contempt may be best expressed by the recent remarks of Mo, who explained that he supports the old insurance industry practice, banned by Obamacare, which allowed insurers to charge extremely high premiums to people with prior illnesses, or "pre-existing conditions" - or to deny them insurance altogether.

Brooks said he wanted to allow insurers to charge higher prices to people with illnesses, "thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they're healthy, they've done the things to keep their bodies healthy."

In the view of Mo, good people don't get sick. If you do get sick, there is something wrong with your character. So guess who just won this week's Vidkun Quisling Award, America? That's right, it was Mo, or was it Curly, or Larry? No, it was MO!

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!


12-19-1938 ~ 04-26-2020
Thanks for the direction!

01-07-1967 ~ 04-29-2020
Thanks for the film!


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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.

President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with Former vice president Joe Biden as Former president
Barack Obama looks on at the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump on January 20, 2017.

Some Progressives Are In Denial About Trump's Fascist Momentum
Some say preventing the re-election of Trump isn't important. That amounts to ignoring political reality, an evasion with potentially vast consequences.
By Norman Solomon

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, the author of "How Fascism Works" assessed him in a video. "It might seem like an exaggeration to call Trump a fascist," Yale professor Jason Stanley said. "I mean, he's not calling for a genocide or imprisoning his own people without due process. But . . . if you use history and philosophy as a guide, it's easy to see parallels between Trump's words and those of the most reviled fascists in history. That scares me, and it should scare you too." Drawing on his decade of studying fascist propaganda, Stanley concluded: "If you're not worried about encroaching fascism in America, before long it will start to feel normal. And when that happens, we're all in trouble."

We're all in trouble.

Trumpism has started to feel normal. Trump stands a good chance of winning re-election in November. And his odds have improved because the Democratic Party is expected to nominate an abysmal candidate.

For ample good reasons, many progressives disdain Joe Biden. He has a long record as a corporate servant, ally of racial injustice and avid supporter of the military-industrial complex. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he scarcely seems able to articulate anything worthwhile.

In short, as the two contenders with a chance to win the presidential race, Biden and Trump are offering a choice between neo-liberalism and neo-fascism.

To hear a small but significant portion of the U.S. left tell it these days, that's not a meaningful choice. Some say preventing the re-election of Trump isn't important. That amounts to ignoring political reality, an evasion with potentially vast consequences.

"We should make no mistake," longtime progressive journalist Juan González said days ago, "that this country is edging closer and closer to neo-fascist authoritarianism."

That reality doesn't stop some on the left from evading it-preferring to conflate the two major parties to a degree akin to denial.

Earlier this month, I listened to a discussion that included an eminent left author who flatly declared that on "all major issues" there is "no real difference between the Democratic and Republican parties." A preposterous claim.

Soon afterward, I read an article by an editor at a high-quality left magazine that displayed odd complacency about whether or not Trump gets a second term: "The most likely outcome if he wins re-election is not a crude dictatorship, but further erosion of civil liberties within the existing political framework. Opposition parties and media will still be able to function. The people who suffer the worst forms of oppression under Trump will be the immigrants and ethnic minorities whose rights are routinely violated under Republican and Democratic presidencies alike."

Really? It won't matter to "immigrants and ethnic minorities" whether Trump is president for another four years?

When there's a genuine threat of sliding into fascism, the left has an overarching responsibility to fight against the momentum of the extreme right. Sometimes that requires a broad coalition.

The left in France was correct when, in 2017, it united with a corporate centrist to defeat neo-fascist National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the runoff election for president. In 2020, for the United States, the dangers are no less grave.

It's true that leading "moderate" Democrats and even some self-described "progressives" have routinely functioned as enablers for the rightward tilt of national politics-a bad dynamic that has continued on Capitol Hill in the midst of the pandemic under leadership from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Not wanting to seem obstructionist often ends up being helpful to right-wing agendas.

But here's a key point: People who deny or downplay the real threat of neo-fascism consolidating itself via Trump's re-election are, in effect, serving as enablers for the forces of the virulent extreme right that already controls so much of the U.S. government.

"It's important to remember that right now, the issue of greatest urgency is to get rid of the malignancy in the White House," Noam Chomsky said in an interview last week. "If we don't do that, everything else pales into insignificance. To keep this for another four years means racing to the abyss on global warming, possibly reaching irreversible tipping points, sharply increasing the threat of nuclear war, stuffing the judiciary with young, ultra-right, mostly unqualified lawyers who will guarantee that anything to the left of Attila the Hun can't survive for a generation, and on and on. This is top priority."

In that video interview with The Intercept, Chomsky added: "There's a thing called arithmetic. You can debate a lot of things, but not arithmetic. Failure to vote for Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for Trump. Takes one vote away from the opposition, same as adding one vote to Trump. So, if you decide you want to vote for the destruction of organized human life on Earth. . . then do it openly. . . . But that's the meaning of 'Never Biden.'"

In "How Fascism Works," Professor Stanley addressed "fascist politics"-and repeatedly used that term when describing the Trump-led Republican Party.

For those in the USA who recoil at applying such a phrase to today, preferring to call it hyperbole, Stanley's book sheds clear light on an insidious process that normalizes and obscures: "Normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of 'fascism' seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines. Normalization means precisely that encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal. The charge of fascism will always seem extreme; normalization means that the goalposts for the legitimate use of 'extreme' terminology continually move."

Meanwhile, Stanley wrote, "Fascist politics exchanges reality for the pronouncements of a single individual, or perhaps a political party. Regular and repeated obvious lying is part of the process by which fascist politics destroys the information space. A fascist leader can replace truth with power, ultimately lying without consequence. By replacing the world with a person, fascist politics makes us unable to assess arguments by a common standard. The fascist politician possesses specific techniques to destroy information spaces and break down reality."

Sound familiar?

(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."

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters following a meeting of his coronavirus
task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 6, 2020.

In The Face Of Death And Disease, Who's Sorry Now? Not Donald Trump-Yet
There's no imaginable excuse for his words and inaction, but a simple apology couldn't hurt.
By Michael Winship

What's the smartest thing Donald Trump could say to the American people right now? I mean, other than, "I resign."

How about, "I'm sorry?"

Back in the day, three-time New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia admitted, "When I make a mistake, it's a beaut," and voters loved him for his seeming humility (even though he had an ego the size of Radio City). Imagine it. The president would get up at the beginning of one of his coronavirus press briefings and instead of the usual interminable, self-aggrandizing rant, announce:

"America, I'm sorry..."

"I realize that just about every waking hour, I shoot my mouth off when I shouldn't. I don't think about what I'm saying, I don't stop and consider the implications of the stuff I do. I'm sorry, the nation is in deep trouble right now-a lot of it's my fault, I admit-but we're going to try to do better."

He won't say he's sorry, of course; Trump's free-floating id, his pathology won't let him. And even if he did, chances are he'd burst into flames or turn into a pillar of McDonald's Filet-o-Fish. Displaying humility just isn't in the playbook.

But imagine it. Despite all the tragedy, all the illness and tens of thousands of deaths, all the ceaseless ineptitude and lies, I'm betting that overnight, his popularity would go up. And the Republican Party would breathe a sigh of relief. As Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman write in The New York Times, "Mr. Trump's single best advantage as an incumbent - his access to the bully pulpit - has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.

"His daily news briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are inflicting grave damage on his political standing, Republicans believe, and his recent remarks about combating the virus with sunlight and disinfectant were a breaking point for a number of senior party officials."

An analysis by The Washington Post this weekend found, "Trump has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60 percent of the time that officials spoke... Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump-including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims."

The Times performed a similar deep dig of more than 260,000 words uttered or written by Trump related to the pandemic from March 9 through mid-April: "The transcripts show striking patterns and repetitions in the messages he has conveyed, revealing a display of presidential hubris and self-pity unlike anything historians say they have seen before.

"By far the most recurring utterances from Mr. Trump in the briefings are self-congratulations, roughly 600 of them, which are often predicated on exaggerations and falsehoods."

In the face of dropping poll numbers, and apparently at the behest of GOP leadership and White House staff, Trump's shortened Friday's briefing session, took no questions and eliminated the weekend's and Monday's altogether, tweeting, "What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately... Not worth the time & effort!"

In other words, the usual blaming of someone else for his own obscene failings.

Nonetheless, perhaps Trump would now calm down for a while, I thought. Foolishly, of course, because on Sunday afternoon, deprived of his time to preen before the cameras, off he went on one of his maddest Twitter tears yet, assaulting the media and their "Noble" Prizes (yes, he misspelled "Nobel" several times and confused it with the Pulitzer Prize; there is no Nobel for journalism), calling for lawsuits against the press and whining about his lack of status in presidential history, despite the fact that no one has worked as hard as he, just ask him.

Imagine it. March 1933. Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers his first inaugural address in the midst of crushing economic ruin: "We have nothing to fear," he declares, "but the mainstream media who just tell lies about me no matter how hard I work. Mean, mean, mean!" (Hours later, Trump claimed that his "Noble" misspelling was done on purpose and intended as sarcasm-the exact same way he tried to justify his disinfectant insanity. Then all the tweets were deleted.)

In the words of Jack Nicholson's character in the movie As Good as It Gets, "Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here." To those who would argue that this tweet stuff is trivial compared to the dying and despair we see all around us, I'd agree, but this constant erratic behavior is far too disturbing and off-the-wall to be shrugged off, and too symptomatic of a country that has gone off the rails in part because the brain of our choo-choo engineer-in-chief is filled with more, manic cartoon animals than the ones cavorting inside Homer Simpson's skull.

We are, journalist George Packer says, living in "a failed state." In a must-read essay in The Atlantic, he writes that from the beginning, "Like a wanton boy throwing matches in a parched field, Trump began to immolate what was left of national civic life. He never even pretended to be president of the whole country, but pitted us against one another along lines of race, sex, religion, citizenship, education, region, and-every day of his presidency-political party. His main tool of governance was to lie. A third of the country locked itself in a hall of mirrors that it believed to be reality; a third drove itself mad with the effort to hold on to the idea of knowable truth; and a third gave up even trying... If lying was his means for using power, corruption was his end."

Except for feeding his greed and that of family, GOP cronies and fat cat friends-plus his ability and need to play political strings in the name of his abiding narcissism-Trump's thinking can barely get from Point A to Point B, never mind seeing beyond to Points C, D, E and F and the possible blowback from his actions. We are in a fix because he and his party are unfit to govern-they threw away what little was left of that toolkit when he was chosen as their candidate and president.

Nor do they wish to govern, except in an autocratic, iron-handed manner that brooks neither dissent nor expertise. In a crisis like this one, with few exceptions, they melt into goo.

Trump, they say, sees emotion as weakness, and so in a time of woe there is no national political voice at the top that can give us solace or offer hope along with practical solutions. With his divisiveness, ineptitude and chicanery, he and his colleagues have only made things worse.

But now imagine this. George Packer writes, "We can learn from these dreadful days that stupidity and injustice are lethal; that, in a democracy, being a citizen is essential work; that the alternative to solidarity is death."

We the people are our own best hope. Many are sacrificing-some from a sense of duty, some because they still must work outside the safety of home to provide for themselves and family. Too many others are sick and dying. And yes, some rant about conspiracies or choose to speak out against any sane attempt to keep them from getting a manicure or tattoo and endangering the rest of us. When did so many stop being citizens and become nothing but unthinking venal consumers?

"There are very powerful interests who demand 'freedom' in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy," the great Fintan O'Toole of The Irish Times observes. "They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that 'freedom' is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber ('I Need a Haircut' read one banner this week in St Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection."

And yet, and yet... We have state and local leaders working for us despite the president. And for the vast majority of us, protecting ourselves and others with vigilant observance of guidelines, watching out for friends and neighbors, reaching out to help as best we can-these are thing we as Americans do when times are bad.

The medical facility up the street from me now has one of those refrigerated trailer trucks at the side, a makeshift morgue. It's deeply sad, but at the front of the building and on the sidewalk in chalk are thank yous and signs announcing, "Heroes Work Here." The truth: These are our United States, these heroes are our America, not Trump. He owes us the world's biggest apology. And a speedy exit so we can drain the swamp of the sleaze, lies, bumbling and contagion in which he, his grasping pals and thoughtless followers have mired the rest of us.

(c) 2020 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on twitter:@MichaelWinship

Late-Stage Racial Capitalism Opened The Door To The Killer Virus
By Glen Ford

The white settler state always inflicts excessive mortality on racially subject peoples, and capitalism inflicts death on large sections of its disproportionately non-white working class and poor.

People everywhere ask, "When will this Covid-19 crisis be over?" But the question is based on the flawed premise that the nation and world are being ravaged by a health crisis, when in fact the planet is suffering the convulsions of a late-stage capitalist system that cannot cope with the periodic emergence of deadly contagions - just as it cannot possibly confront the climate change that results from the workings of the system, itself. Human health and welfare and planetary climate stability are incompatible with the rule of the rich. Period.

It should also be inarguable that, in a society born of indigenous genocide and Black chattel slavery, "excessive" Black, Latino and Native American deaths during the current plague would follow the same pattern as the historical excessive mortality among these same groups, due to their subordinate, despised and powerless status under the rule of rich white men. Why should Black mortality from coronavirus not match excessive Black rates of unemployment, incarceration, maternal childbirth and infant mortality, and early death by violence. The white settler nation that created the world's first totally racially regimented society always inflicts excessive mortality on racially subject peoples, and capitalism is a chaotic system that periodically inflicts immiseration, obsolescence and death on large sections of its disproportionately non-white working class and poor. Among the super-exploited and perpetually warred-against peoples of the formerly colonized countries, mortality and misery are even more "excessive." Such is the nature of the global rule of the rich - capitalism.

Donald Trump, who increasingly behaves like a mixture of Caligula and Bozo the Clown, is charged with exposing workers to "catastrophic harm" by demanding that Covid-ridden meat-packaging plants remain open as "essential" businesses. Trump encouraged Tea Party-style demonstrators that demanded the whole country be freed from the "tyranny" of government-imposed lockdown. But the Orange Menace's position conforms perfectly with the logic of neoliberal capitalism, whose think-tanks perform cost-benefit ratio analyses on all manner of social and political questions and inevitably conclude that the benefits to "the economy" of corporate practices outweigh the harms imposed on working and poor people. The Gulf coast's "cancer alley" kills multitudes of Black and Brown Americans, but "it's worth it" to maintain the profits generated by the regional petrochemical industry - the same assessment former Secretary of State Madelaine Albright arrived at regarding the economic sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children in the 1990s. Six million dead Congolese - the biggest genocide since World War Two - are a cost that is acceptable to the Lords of Capital when measured against Congo's vast deposits of coltan and other minerals.

Capitalism is constantly imposing a monstrous, rolling triage on the populations it controls. Slavery and the colonial conquest of most of the non-white world were always evil, and the Europeans knew it. But the genocidal costs accrued to the conquered and enslaved, while the benefits were reaped by the ruling classes of piratical Europe and its white settler colonies. Racial capitalism made the same calculation when it inaugurated the nuclear age at Hiroshima and Nagasaki: "it's worth it."

The benefits to Capital of the privatization of health scare are immense, while the down-side costs are expected to be borne mainly by the Black, brown and poor. However, the coronavirus has no human allegiances - class, racial or otherwise. Just as it ravages the elderly and people with previously existing morbidities, the contagion can be lethal to a late-stage socio-economic system wracked with accumulated contradictions. In the case of the United States, where the capitalists control the only two parties that are allowed to govern, and dictate the content of the mass media, cost-benefit analysis trumps science and upends common notions of morality, subverting resistance to the spread of disease. Austerity and privatization - policies designed to monopolize all national and global resources for profit-making enterprise while forcing the working classes into a Race to the Bottom - result in the loss of structural "antibodies" to mass infection, and condemn the sick to inferior or non-existent care.

By the time the virus hit, the U.S. had no health care "system" worthy of the name, nothing but a patchwork of starved and disconnected public and profit-oriented private facilities with no stockpiles of equipment, medicines or gear to cope with Covid-19. Trump is arguably the worst chief executive possible in this crisis, but no American president could have averted the catastrophe that late-stage capitalism had made inevitable by its very success in creating a state of and for corporations. Such a state cannot protect the people, but is concerned only with further enriching and empowering the Lords of Capital.

No wonder the banks have been empowered to process $350 billion in emergency loans to small businesses - and that these windfalls have gone largely to big businesses with the best bank connections. The system is designed to create such outcomes, no matter who is in the White House. During the last meltdown, President Obama's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, allowed most of the $7 billion Congress set aside for the worst-hit victims of the housing crisis to go unspent for two years. When Geithner was finally questioned about his failure to carry out the mandate of the TARP program, he essentially said "I forgot." Obama did nothing to punish or even reprimand him, understanding that the class Geithner served - and that Obama served - insisted that the "recovery" be on bankers' terms, not the people's.

May 1 Strike and Demands

The only solution to the rule of rich white men is revolt. But we can start the process with a People's Strike, beginning on Friday, May 1 and repeated the first of every month during lockdown. The strike call was first issued by the Black activists at Cooperation Jackson, and then joined by a broad spectrum of organizations. Their demands are:

Protect All Frontline Workers in the Hospitals, the Supply Chains, and the Farms and Fields to ensure that they have all of the equipment and disinfectant materials that they need to keep themselves and the general public healthy

Protect Asians and other vulnerable communities, including the homeless, migrants, and refugees from discrimination and attack in this time of crisis

Democratize the Means of Production, Convert the Corporations and Workplaces into Cooperatives to produce what we need and distribute equitably according to need

Institute Universal Health Care Now

Institute Universal Basic Services Now (Education, Childcare, Elderly Care, Water, Electricity, Internet, etc.) based on Economic, Social and Cultural rights guidelines

Institute Universal Basic Income Now

Democratize the Finance, Credit and Insurance Industries - Bailout the People, Not the Corporations and Wall Street

Decarbonize the Economy, Institute a Green New Deal based on a Just Transition, End the Fossil Fuel and Extractive Industries Now

Housing is a Human Right, Decommodify Housing Now, Open all available housing stock to those who need it now

Ensure there is clean drinking water for all communities, decommodify water now

Cancel Our Debts, Institute a Debt Jubilee Now

Close the Jails, Close the Prisons, Release the Prisoners

Close the Detention Centers, Reunite the Families, Stop the Raids and Deportations

Close all of the Overseas Military Bases, Cut the Military (Defense) and Spy (Surveillance) Budgets and Redirect these funds to Health Care, Social Services, Universal Basic Income and Greening Public Infrastructure and the Economy*

Where you see the word "democratize," read "socialize." That's the intent. Power to the People!

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

Don't Shut The Post Office, Expand Their Services
By Jim Hightower

What's the matter with the post office?

The US Postal Service, I mean - the corporate hierarchy that runs this enormously popular public institution. Yes, I know that USPS has lost revenue it traditionally got from first-class mail delivery, but I also know that letter carriers and postal workers have offered many excellent ideas for expanding the services that USPS can deliver, thus increasing both revenue and the importance of maintaining these community treasures.

Yet, the Postal Board of Governors, which includes corporate interests that would profit by killing the public service, seems intent on - guess what? - killing it. The board's only "idea" is to cut services and shut down hundreds of local post offices. Incredibly, their list of closures include the historic post office in Philadelphia's Old City, the very building where Ben Franklin presided as our country's first Postmaster General, appointed by the Continental Congress in 1775.

All across the country, post offices that are invaluable artistic and historic assets are slated to be sold to developers. One is the marvelous 1935 Bronx post office, with classic architectural flourishes and 13 museum-worthy murals. "It's not just a post office," says one customer fighting the closure, "it's part of my life." No one feels that way about a Fed Ex warehouse. Yet, says a USPS spokeswoman dismissively, the four-story building is "severely underused."

So, use it! Put a coffee shop in it, a public internet facility, a library and museum, a one-stop government services center - and, as USPS employees have suggested, a public bank offering basic services to the thousands of neighborhood people ignored by commercial banks. Come on, USPS, show a little creativity and gumption, and remember that "service" is a key part of your name!

(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

President Trump, speaks with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in the
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 17, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Take Care Of Yourself And Your Family. Do Not Listen To The President
By William Rivers Pitt

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The Wall Street Journal the U.S. "needs to spend what it takes to win the war" against COVID-19, after the Republican-led Senate passed a $484 billion relief bill that includes no aid money for state governments, because Mitch McConnell believes financially struggling states should declare bankruptcy rather than get federal aid. Federal aid to the states at this juncture, you see, is not ideologically sound.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose daily COVID-19 briefings have been the yin to Donald Trump's obstreperous yang, called McConnell's state bankruptcy idea "one of the saddest, really dumb comments of all time." Cuomo went on to say, "OK, let's have all the states declare bankruptcy - that's the way to bring the national economy back." The deadpan sarcasm in his voice bubbled out of my television screen and pooled on the floor like the slick that killed Lieutenant Yar on Star Trek TNG.

His shabby ableist language aside, it's hard to disagree with Gov. Cuomo here. People are dying, people are frightened, people need help, and here is McConnell telling overburdened states they are on their own in the middle of the beginning of a pandemic. Why? Because he thinks Ronald Reagan (and Grover Norquist) would approve. Because federal aid could make government look good to the people, and we can't have that.

I sit here in my little corner of New Hampshire and wonder what life would be like if communities like mine ran their affairs in the fashion of Donald and Mitch.

The teachers and administrators at my daughter's public grammar school have been laboring mightily to provide a robust remote learning platform that not only educates the kids, but gives parents like me a framework around which to build a coherent daily schedule. It is a godsend, and more to the point, it works. I have watched her reading skills advance exponentially by the day and the week. She is crazy about math, because she can do it on an app. I detested my analog math experience at her age, and envy her enthusiasm.

My daughter is exactly old enough to know this situation is serious but exactly young enough to not know the meaning and import of the word "dire." My wife and I have done our best to shield her from the worst of it, because we don't want this thing to take her childhood the way it has taken so much else. Nevertheless, a hole has been blasted through my daughter's generation. The mark of this time will be on her for the term of her life.

The facts of the matter have been burning through like meteors entering her mental high atmosphere. When school was canceled for the remainder of the year - actual go-to-school-on-the-bus school - she said, "Daddy, I'm in second grade now." The sorrow in her eyes was scalding.

Imagine if some school district administrator barred my daughter's teachers from sharing the incredible work they've done to build a remote-learning infrastructure for their students, because doing so would make public schools look good, and making public schools look good is ideologically unsound.

It's weird and selfish to sit here and say "This is hard." Nobody is shooting at us, our town isn't burning down like Paradise, California, everyone in the household remains healthy, and we live in an area that has been nicked but not yet subsumed by the voracious intent of COVID-19.

That may change soon, because anti-quarantine protests have begun popping up here, too. "Live Free or Die of COVID" is the New Hampshire motto for these blivets, apparently. I have seen them at the grocery store in their red hats, aggressively defying the strictures of social distancing while not wearing masks, because Donald Trump told them they were righteous patriots. They are not in the majority by many nautical miles, but they are virus vectors, and that really sucks for all of us.

I moved my family from Boston to the high woods seven years ago because the ocean is coming, but I never expected that decision to pay dividends in a pandemic. I am not in New York City, or Boston, or L.A., or Detroit. I am not in South Dakota, where it has gotten bad because the governor followed Trump's lead. I am not in Georgia, where it is about to get very bad because the governor follows Trump's lead.

Even here, in this comparatively unscathed perch, I am exhausted. I write and edit from 4:00 am to 11:00 am every day, and then doff the writer's cap for the teacher's chalk and spend the remaining long hours working my daughter through the lessons blessedly provided by her public school.

But many, of course, are doing this in big cities with a lot of kids in a small apartment. Millions are doing this without the internet. This is a staggering challenge with no true end in sight, yet.

Going outside when the weather is right is like being born again. Our neighbors walk by at a distance, masked but smiling because they are glad to encounter other people, and everyone who drives by waves frantically like it may be the last time you see them. Rainy days are the gong of doom.

A number of my friends have been infected, one dear friend just lost his father, and another brotherfriend lost his wife to non-coronavirus causes. She died alone in the hospital because of the quarantine requirements. The agonies are stacking like cordwood, and again, this is only the middle of the beginning. "Not ideologically sound" is going to get a lot of people killed.

We must love one another or die, said the poet.

Things are going to be different when this is done.

Please do what you can to be here for that. Take care of yourself and your family, and do not listen to the president when he tells you all is well. All is not well, yet this too shall pass, and I'll meet you on the high ground.

(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.

This poster from 1918 warns factory workers of the symptoms and prevention of the flu.

Locking Down For Public Health Is A Wisconsin Idea
By John Nichols

There is a bit of debate about whether locking down to beat a pandemic is the right response. To be clear, the debate is not among epidemiologists or public health experts; they see the value of the sort of #StayAtHome orders that Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic and Republican governors nationwide have issued to tackle COVID-19. Rather, the debate is a political one.

That's nothing new.

A century ago, Wisconsin progressives made public health initiatives central to their "Wisconsin Idea" approach to governing, while the Socialists who led Milwaukee declared, "The public health is the most vital concern of the people." Socialist Mayors Emil Seidel, Dan Hoan and Frank Zeidler were so determined to stop the spread of infectious diseases with better sanitation that they came to be known as "sewer socialists."

The Socialists saw public health initiatives necessary parts of an economic and social justice agenda. To their view, health and safety were class issues. In a "Municipal Campaign Book" of what was then known as the Social-Democratic Party, Socialist campaigners explained in the early 1910s: "Over on Prospect Avenue, where the big, roomy houses have an outlook over the lake; where the walls of the houses never bump against each other, health and sanitation are not quite the same problems they are in other parts of Milwaukee."

The campaign book continued:

"In other parts of the city the walls stand close to each other, and the houses are jammed for space. In many of these sunlight is a forbidden visitor. Now, an old Italian saying holds: 'Where the sunlight does not go, the doctor does.' And it is the people in the little houses on the back streets who have the least advantages in the fight for health. When something goes wrong with the sanitation or the ventilation of a Hackett Avenue home, the (wealthy) people on that street know what to do. They call in a doctor or some other expert. They have the money to hire this kind of service. The people in the little houses on the back street -the working class folks -they have to work long hours and they don't have the time to watch these things as they would like to. And when something does go wrong, most often they can't afford to hire the doctors and plumbers and other specialists to help matters get straightened out. ...The working people, many of them, don't call for a doctor until the case looks desperate."
The Socialists explained, "These are some of the reasons why rich people have a lower death rate than poor people. The vital statistics show clearly that money will buy health -that money will buy service to fight back the ravages of disease and the approach, of death -that, the more money YOU have, the better are your chances against the cunning of disease and the grapple of death."

The Socialists proposed to champion the interests of "the people in the little houses on the back streets," which was smart policy and smart politics. In the spring of 1918, for instance, the Socialist ticket led by incumbent Mayor Dan Hoan swept to victory. A few months later, the country was ravaged by an influenza pandemic that Wisconsin's state Board of Health declared in December of that year would "forever be remembered as the most disastrous calamity that has ever been visited upon the people of Wisconsin."

On Oct. 10, 1918, as the influenza pandemic spread, the state Health Officer, Dr. Cornelius A. Harper, took the extraordinary step of ordering all public institutions in Wisconsin closed. "In no other state was such a comprehensive order issued," explained the Wisconsin Historical Society, "and it stayed in effect until the epidemic burned itself out in late December."

Harper, an ally of Gov. and Sen. Robert M. La Follette, counted on what the Historical Society described as "Wisconsin's Progressive Era faith in the ability -indeed the responsibility -of government to act assertively in the civic interest."

Harper worked closely with Hoan and the Socialists in Milwaukee. As Kevin Abing, the archivist at the Milwaukee County Historical Society, recounted, "Backed by Mayor Dan Hoan, the Common Council and State Health Department, (Milwaukee Health Commissioner George) Ruhland adopted extreme measures to check the epidemic. On October 11, he ordered all theaters, movie houses, public dances and indoor amusements closed until further notice."

Ruhland banned "special department store sales, football games, boxing matches, flag-raising ceremonies, political meetings and all other public gatherings," Abing recalled in a recent Milwaukee Independent essay, which noted that "Ruhland also urged residents to avoid crowding in streetcars and elevators and closed two core Milwaukee institutions -saloons and churches -with exceptions." Milwaukeeans were allowed to patronize saloons if they agreed to "buy a drink and leave."

The firm embrace of a public health ethic yielded results. While the national death rate was 4.39 per thousand people, Wisconsin's was just 2.91 per thousand -one of the lowest rates in the country. And Milwaukee's death rate -2.56 per 1,000 -was the second-best ratio for any major city in the country.

Hoan never stopped pushing public health as a social justice issue. By the 1930s, Milwaukee was so advanced in its approach that it topped national studies of the healthiest cities, as the mayor explained, "the savings in medical and hospital expense, added to the actual savings in lives, not to speak of suffering and of weakened bodies, far outweigh the almost nominal cost in tax dollars of a progressive and expanding municipal health progress."

(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.

Recycled Radioactive Metal In Your Frying Pan?
By James Donahue

A government report released a few years back revealed that radioactive materials are being released from nuclear weapons facilities to regular landfills and they could also be getting into the commercial recycling streams.

That means that unscrupulous manufacturers could be getting this deadly material, at very low cost, and using it to make a wide variety of household products ranging from frying pans to baby carriages.

Is there proof this is happening? We are as yet unaware of it, but we believe that if the potential exists, someone is probably doing it. Anything for a profit.

The report by Nuclear Information and Resource Service, examined seven sites: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Rocky Flats, Colorado; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Mound and Fernald, Ohio; West Valley, New York, and Paducah, Kentucky.

"People around regular trash landfills will be shocked to learn that radioactive contamination from nuclear weapons production is ending up there, either directly released by the Department of Energy, or via brokers and processors," said Diane D' Arrigo, the agencies' Project Director.

"Just as ominous, the DOE allows and encourages sale and donation of some radioactively contaminated materials.," she wrote.

Mary Olson, co-author of the report, said DOE "is ignoring public opposition to unnecessary exposures and releasing radioactivity even though the U.S. Congress revoked such release policies." She said the department is using its own internal guidance "to allow radioactive weapons wastes out of control, claiming the doses to people will be acceptable, even though they are not enforced or tracked."

The disposal of low and high-level radioactive materials has been a growing problem in the United States ever since the first atomic bomb was developed and subsequent construction of nuclear power plants and nuclear powered naval vessels began. A 2002 report by Mother Jones magazine noted that the Department of Energy even then had 1.6 million tons of slightly radioactive materials at weapons installations throughout the US, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expected to have 8.9 million tons of contaminated steel and concrete to dispose of by 2030.

Faced with a cleanup of that magnitude, the DOE has been working to "recycle" the metal and sell it for industrial reuse. Thus the rules have been quietly being revised to allow all of that radioactive trash to be converted into consumer products and building materials.

Mother Jones said there was nothing too prevent this scrap metal from being used to make baby strolers, bikes, kitchen cookware, engine blocks and I-beams in building construction.

There has been an ongoing battle between federal agencies and public watchdog groups since the mid-1970s. After activists began getting local and state governments to pass ordinances requiring regulatory control of radioactive waste, Congress took action in 1992. The rules, however, appear to be meaningless to government military agencies that appear capable of operating out of public control during a time of manufactured war.

(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.

How Ya Gonna Pay For It?
Stop Giving Money to Israel.
By David Swanson

Did you know that the U.S. government has done something odd with your tax dollars? The ones you get so furious and indignant about when they're used to feed anybody who's hungry? It has given over 280 billion of those dollars to the government of Israel (not counting classified hush-hush super-secret amounts).

Source Israel is not a poor country. It is certainly not the poorest in the world. Why is it the top recipient of "aid."

It isn't. Its military is. Most of those billions of dollars are for weapons, and most of those weapons have to be bought from U.S. weapons dealers - you know, the ones crammed into close quarters risking the spread of a deadly disease because their jobs have been deemed "essential."

Economists tell us that military spending reduces jobs, that you get more jobs by never taxing the money, or by taxing it and spending it on anything else. That has to be even more strongly true when funneling the money through a foreign military. So, this scheme is the opposite of a domestic jobs program. It also has some surprising corrupting influences on U.S. state governments, which themselves pile more billions onto the mountain of free loot for the Israeli military.

A new book by Grant Smith called "The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of The Virginia Israel Advisory Board," recounts how the state of Virginia has created a state agency called the Virginia Israel Advisory Board which uses state funds to launch Israeli companies in Virginia at the expense of Virginia companies in Virginia, while boosting Israeli imports to Virginia, and - last but not least - enriching its members with state funds. Oh, and also "attempting to insert Israeli government propaganda into the curriculum in the K-12 system" of Virginia schools at public expense.

It's not all weapons. Have you ever bought Sabra hummus? You can't answer no if you've paid taxes in Virginia.

Well, one might ask, (as is perhaps implicitly asked by the silence of Virginia media outlets) what's so wrong in a completely corrupt political ecosystem with spreading a bit of the corruption to Israel as a sort of 51st state? After all, there was a Holocaust 75 years ago, and there were fascists chanting about Jews in Charlottesville 3 years ago. Surely worrying about corruption only when Israel gets in on it is Antisemitic just as worrying about Trump's worldwide corruption only when Russians are involved is Russophobic.

I have 10 responses to that.

1) I worry about all corruption everywhere, oppose giving free weapons to any country on earth, and just wrote a book highlighting 20 of the worst governments armed and trained by the U.S. military. Israel wasn't in that list by virtue of not technically being a dictatorship. No other nation is in this list because no other nation gets the deal from the U.S. and Virginia that Israel does.

2) Some of the motivations for arming Israel with money that's desperately required for human and environmental needs are a lot crazier than misguided anti-Antisemitism. They involve Islamophobia, militaristic madness, and magical schemes to bring back Jesus at the expense of destroying the world - including destroying you, dear reader.

3) As Grant Smith points out, "Under the Symington and Glenn amendments now incorporated into the Arms Export Control Act, no U.S. president knowing about Israel's nukes is supposed to approve aid transfers, absent specifically issued waivers. Rather than comply with the law, presidents pretend they don't know Israel has nukes and issue agency wide gag orders threatening any government employee who talks about it.

4) Israel uses its weapons for horrific wars against the trapped and brutalized people of illegally occupied territories.

5) Israel uses its weapons to enforce a vicious Apartheid state.

6) Israel uses its weapons to train U.S. police departments in how to treat the U.S. public as a wartime enemy.

7) Israel pushes the United States toward illegal, murderous, catastrophic wars and programs of sanctions.

8) The United States is already too big and doesn't need another state from thousands of miles away that gets the privileges without the responsibilities of inclusion in the federal system.

9) The United States has colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific and Washington D.C. that should be given priority as 51st state.

10) Global unity and survival come through cooperation among all nations, not the imperial expansion of one.

(c) 2020 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, and during a difficult time of slowing down, it's fitting
to rededicate ourselves to the power that harmonizes "left-" and "right-brained" thinking.

Earth Day Offers A Chance To Re-evaluate Our Path
By David Suzuki

Earth Day was born on April 22, 1970 - 50 years ago.

Since then, the human population has more than doubled, from 3.7 billion to almost eight billion. Our drive toward endless population and economic growth has led to the destruction of massive swathes of pristine forest through clear-cutting, burning and flooding for agriculture and industry, and millions of species pushed to extinction. Toxic pollutants have spread through air, water and soil and into every person. Our hyperactive practices have radically altered the atmosphere's chemical composition while causing ocean pH to drop catastrophically.

The world is now on pause, as we follow the rules and guidelines to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from COVID-19. To confront this and other crises, political and business leaders would do well to take time to consider the systemic flaws this pandemic has exposed. That requires understanding some of how we got here.

The rise of the Industrial Revolution gave science and its servant, technology, the power to move mountains. Linear, analytic "left-brain" thinking became dominant over the collaborative, holistic thinking associated with the brain's right hemisphere. Progress was equated with growth. Economics became the dominant "science." And most science was reductionist, looking at phenomena in isolation, out of context and often under artificial conditions.

But natural and human events often derail the most linear plans. The First World War positioned the U.S. as the world's leading economy, but trouble in the agriculture sector and stock markets brought it crashing down, sparking the Great Depression.

Production and mobilization during the Second World War brought the U.S. and other countries out of that calamity. After the war, manufacturing, especially in America, turned from tanks, boats, guns and planes to cars, refrigerators, TVs and toasters - many designed to have limited lifespans.

In the 1950s, consumerism and credit kept the postwar economy burning. But to maintain it, we had to get hooked on growth, to feed our debt. Advertising came to the rescue. It led us to think "progress" was a straight line to more cars and bigger houses in suburbia, full of labour-saving devices and alluring entertainment technologies.

Then the '60s hit - "right-brain" thinking rose against the "left-brain" creep of the preceding decades. It was an age of rebellion, of marches and demonstrations by those who rejected injustice and lifted up noble ideals. It wasn't just against something: it was supremely creative.

It gave birth to an explosion of music and the civil rights, feminist and peace movements. And to the environmental movement, sparked by Rachel Carson's influential book Silent Spring in 1962. All these revolutions were thoroughly intertwined, with music and art playing integral roles. They rose in part from a transformative shift to balance the "left-brain" dominance of Western thinking.

Over time, those movements have had varying degrees of success, but fragmentation means some major challenges, including climate disruption, have yet to be resolved. Now, more than ever in these physically distancing times, we need to come together.

Looking outside, we're struck by clear skies with no plane contrails. It's quiet. As we batten down the hatches to counter COVID-19, we give Mother Earth much-needed respite from our activity and development.

It's amazing what people have done to confront this crisis. International efforts to develop treatments and vaccines have overcome national jealousy, distrust and enmity. Provinces are uniting to support each other, and the federal government, cities and towns are rediscovering the power of compassion and working together.

People everywhere are looking after themselves and their families, supporting neighbours in need, making the necessary sacrifices to get through this. Those working in health care, the food and grocery systems, emergency services, education and more have shown what real heroism can be.

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, and during a difficult time of slowing down, it's fitting to rededicate ourselves to the power that harmonizes "left-" and "right-brained" thinking, male and female, reason and imagination. Let's not fall back into the trap of trying to solve the great problems of this world with only half a brain. That's what got us out of balance, and into trouble, in the first place.

Every day should be Earth Day! After all, we only have one Earth.

Be kind, take care, wash your hands!

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

This Is Precisely The Situation For Which The 25th Amendment Was Designed
It doesn't say anything about physical illness or mental instability. It simply refers to a president who is "unable to discharge the duties of his office."
By Charles P. Pierce

Of all the coverage of Camp Runamuck that has emerged since the pandemic began, The New York Times had a story this week that was particularly unnerving. Evidently, the president* now exists in the White House in an zone of isolation that registers as somewhere between an episode of The Twilight Zone and a performance of The Emperor Jones.

He has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing. He makes calls with the TV on in the background, his routine since he first arrived at the White House. But now there are differences. The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen. And he makes time to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's briefings from New York, closely monitoring for a sporadic compliment or snipe...

...Aides said the president's low point was in mid-March, when Mr. Trump, who had dismissed the virus as "one person coming in from China" and no worse than the flu, saw deaths and infections from Covid-19 rising daily. Mike Lindell, a Trump donor campaign surrogate and the chief executive of MyPillow, visited the White House later that month and said the president seemed so glum that Mr. Lindell pulled out his phone to show him a text message from a Democratic-voting friend of his who thought Mr. Trump was doing a good job. Mr. Lindell said Mr. Trump perked up after hearing the praise. "I just wanted to give him a little confidence," Mr. Lindell said.

That's just sad. But I remain unsympathetic. There isn't a word in there about the people who have sickened and died on his watch.
Mr. Trump rarely attends the task force meetings that precede the briefings, and he typically does not prepare before he steps in front of the cameras. He is often seeing the final version of the day's main talking points that aides have prepared for him for the first time although aides said he makes tweaks with a Sharpie just before he reads them live. He hastily plows through them, usually in a monotone, in order to get to the question-and-answer bullying session with reporters that he relishes.
This would be madness even in the best of times. But it is sheer lunacy to have the country led by an angry shut-in at a time of plague and economic depression. The 25th Amendment is a dead letter; can you imagine a majority of this Cabinet voting to remove him, let alone the supine Republican caucuses in the Congress? But the fact remains that it is precisely this situation for which the 25th was designed. The 25th doesn't say anything about physical illness or mental instability. It simply refers to a president who is "unable to discharge the duties of his office."
Mr. Trump became enraged watching the coverage of his 10-minute Oval Office address in March that was rife with inaccuracies and had little in terms of action for him to announce. He complained to aides that there were few people on television willing to defend him. The solution, aides said, came two days later, when Mr. Trump appeared in the Rose Garden to declare a national emergency and answer questions from reporters. As he admonished journalists for asking "nasty" questions, Mr. Trump found the back-and-forth he had been missing. The virus had not been a perfect enemy -it was impervious to his browbeating -but baiting and attacking reporters energized him. "I don't take responsibility at all," Mr. Trump told White House correspondents in answer to one question.
And thus did he invoke the 25th Amendment against himself.

This is what the 25th is for.

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "The Coming Of The Strange Ones" (Shabaka Hutchings and the Ancestors): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans. Programming Note: because this year's Jazz Fest was cancelled, the mighty, mighty ‘OZ is running two weeks of live sets from Jazz Fests past. And, mon dieu, it's awesome.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here's a 1946 British public health warning about staying home if you have the flu. Poor auld fella starts firing down medicines until he gets to the castor oil. He is then struck dumb and a stern-voiced narrator has to leap in and warn folks to stay in bed. History is so cool.

I,too, am made nervous by the notion of Larry Summers's getting anywhere near national fiscal policy again. However, I am assuming that Joe Biden has other economic advisors. I am made even more nervous by the rumors that, somehow, Janet Napolitano has entered the vice-presidential mix. I mean, let's not get the entire band back together, Joe.

On Friday, the president* once again stated his determination to stiff the U.S. Postal Service. His stated reason is that, somehow, Jeff Bezos is getting a break on packages. However, Biden was smart to intimate that wrecking the USPS is a fine way to keep vote-by-mail from happening this fall.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, CNN? It's always a good day for dinosaur news!

Researchers studied the endocasts of skulls belonging to hundreds of dinosaurs and extinct birds. They used CT scans of the animals' ancient skulls to create endocasts, which act like an imprint of the brain in the skull, reflecting brain sizes (since brains don't fossilize). Then, they compared the brain sizes with brain measurements of modern birds in a large data set...

Before the mass extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, the researchers discovered that birds and large dinosaurs had brains that were very similar in size. But some birds went through what the researchers refer to as a "scaling" event after the dinosaurs went extinct. Birds were some of the first animals to recover and repopulate the empty landscape after the dinosaurs disappeared. They diversified and evolved in this setting, and some of the birds that started out larger in size experienced what's called "a scaling down." Their bodies shrank in size, but they kept the big brains of their larger ancestors.

Check out the big brain on birds! Clearly, they lived then to make us happy now.

I hope all of y'all are doing fine. Blessings on your families, too. And I send the condolences from the shebeen to Senator Professor Warren on the loss of her brother this week. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and don't drink no bleach now, hear?

(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-

"The post office, if they raised the price of a package by approximately four times, it would be a whole new ballgame. But they don't want to raise it because they don't want to insult Amazon, and they don't want to insult other companies, perhaps, that they like. The post office should raise the price of the packages to the companies. Not to the people, to the companies. If they did that, it would be a whole different story."
~~~ Donald Trump

President Donald J. Trump speaks with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the coronavirus task
force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the James S. Brady Press
Briefing Room at the White House on Thursday, April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Don't Drink The Snake Oil-Or The Disinfectant
In a moment like this, where some steadying force is coveted, we have this circus instead.
By Randall Amster

"Come one, come all! Welcome to the sideshow on the big stage, where anything is possible if you're willing to believe it. Whatever ails you, we've got what you're looking for! Chloroquine, the untested wonder drug-and who cares if the cure is worse than the ailment (even if I once said that). Try our new lines of injectable disinfectants-or as I call them, disinjectants (see what I did there?). Or how about the newest innovation in "medicine"-yes folks, step right up and get your Bottled Light-just crack it open and pour in all of that natural energy, and watch your woes magically disappear before your eyes."

As far as I know, this hasn't actually been the "cold open" of any presidential press briefing, but things are approaching this level of unvarnished mania. Clearly the sense of unpredictability draws in viewers and captures headlines, even as the stakes are high with this sort of pseudoscientific riffing from the most powerful podium in the world. Even the brows of the background characters-who are often called forth to both clarify and affirm such executive ramblings-are beginning to seem perpetually furrowed. The art of the three-ring presser is on full display right now, and people can't help but watch.

Still, feeling compelled to look at a train wreck isn't the same as hoping to be in one. In a moment like this, where some steadying force is coveted, we have this circus instead. None of us has the capacity to address the crisis at hand by ourselves, despite an incredible resurgence of DIY activities and societal creativity under isolating conditions-and even a nod of "you got this!" from above would go a long way toward boosting morale and keeping heads level. Instead, we get this combative, self-obsessed, reckless dissemination of half-truths, no-truths, U-turns, cul-de-sacs, and other assorted hyphenated balderdash.

And herein lies the problem. Slippery assertions are hard to confront directly, especially when they change all the time, and doubly so when even fainthearted contradictions can be punished by extreme vitriol. In situations where "reasonable minds" might agree to disagree while maintaining a sense of decorum and respect, it can seem terrifying when unreasonable behaviors move to fore and become normalized. Unless you're one of those people who are wired seamlessly to process gaslighting and intimidation as normal, the shock waves from regular exposure to these behaviors can be disorienting and depressing.

All of which leaves us in a worse place to navigate a crisis like this one, feeling even more isolated in the emotional doldrums of political vacuity. More than three years into this presidency, you might think we'd become habituated to these shenanigans, but somehow they keep escalating as the stakes rise. The erosion in this era of even the already-fragmented stable bases of our society-from functional institutions to acceptable activities-leaves little oversight intact, with nothing to check the balances or balance the checks. We're experiencing an acute moment of an ongoing crisis of power and perception.

At times it feels as if this farce will end with us waking up in The Matrix and having a good laugh with the programmers of this diverting simulation. This can't be real, like really real, can it? Alas, until proven otherwise, we have to take it as such-meaning that denial isn't a viable option. Nor is exasperated ruminating about our fate, since these sorts of antagonistic diatribes don't really move the needle of opinion very much, and in fact seem to harden the extant divides. What more progressive elements often fail to grasp is that the traits most disturbing to them are seen as virtues by the other side's core base.

This doesn't mean that we have to capitulate, retreat, or conflict; it's easy to become resentful or dejected, but we don't have to "become the enemy" in the process of standing up to tyranny. Indeed, if we can get to a place of having no enemies at all, staying in a mindset of compassion and solidarity instead, perhaps the effect of toxic politicking will be mitigated by refusing to take its ill-advised bait. It's a tall order, for sure, and saccharine invocations of "better angels" only go so far, especially in a crisis. But refusing to abdicate our basic humanity can be empowering; just don't expect us to drink the snake oil-or whatever disinfectant Trump's selling-in the process.

(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).

The Dead Letter Office-

Mo wearing his corona virus mask

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Brooks,

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 that the sick and elderly pay more for health care, 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 Brooks, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Covid-19 Class Divide
By Robert Reich

The pandemic is putting America's deepening class divide into stark relief. Four classes are emerging.

The Remotes: These are professional, managerial, and technical workers - an estimated 35 percent of the workforce - who are putting in long hours at their laptops, Zooming into conferences, scanning electronic documents, and collecting about the same pay as before the crisis.

Many are bored or anxious, but they're well off compared to the three other classes.

The Essentials: They're about 30 percent of workers, including nurses, homecare and childcare workers, group home workers, farm workers, food processors, truck drivers, warehouse and transit workers, drug store employees, sanitation workers, police officers, fire fighters, and the military.

Too many essentials lack adequate protective gear, paid sick leave, health insurance, and childcare, which is especially important now that schools are shuttered. They also deserve hazard pay.

Their vulnerability is generating a wave of worker activism at businesses such as Instacart, Amazon, Walmart, and Whole Foods. Mass-transit workers are organizing work stoppages.

Trump's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the legal authority to require private employers provide essential workers with protective gear. Don't hold your breath.

The Unpaid: They're an even larger group that the unemployed - whose ranks could soon reach 25 percent, the same as in the Great Depression. Some of the unpaid are furloughed or have used up their paid leave. So far in this crisis, 43 percent of adults report they or someone in their household has lost jobs or pay, according to the Pew Research Center.

An estimated 9.2 million have lost their employer-provided health insurance.

Many of these jobs had been in personal services that can't be done remotely, such as retail, restaurant, and hospitality work. But as consumers rein in spending, layoffs are spreading to news organizations, tech companies, consumer-goods manufacturers.

The unpaid most need cash to feed their families and pay the rent. Fewer than half say they have enough emergency funds to cover three months of expenses, according to a survey conducted this month Pew.

So far, government has failed them, too. Checks mailed out by the Treasury last week are a pittance. Extra benefits could help, but unemployment offices are so overwhelmed with claims that they can't get money out the door. Loans to small businesses have gone largely to big, well-connected businesses, with banks collecting fat fees.

On Wednesday, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he opposed to any further federal aid to state and local governments, suggesting states declare bankruptcy instead. Which means even less money for unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and everything else the unpaid need.

The resulting desperation is fueling demands to "reopen the economy" long before it's safe. If it comes down to a choice between risking one's health and putting food on the table, many will take latter.

The Forgotten: This group includes everyone for whom social distancing is nearly impossible because they're packed tightly into places most Americans don't see - prisons, jails for undocumented immigrants, group homes for the severely disabled, camps for migrant farmworkers, Native American reservations, homeless shelters, and nursing homes.

While much of New York City is sheltering at home, for example, more than 17,000 men and women, many already in poor health, are sleeping in roughly 100 shelters for single adults.

All such places are becoming hot spots for the virus. These people need safe spaces with proper medical care, adequate social distancing, testing for the virus and isolation of those who have contracted it. Few are getting any of this.

Not surprisingly, the Essentials, the Unpaid, and the Forgotten are disproportionately poor, black, and Latino. And they are disproportionately becoming infected.

An Associated Press breakdown of available state and local data showed close to 33 percent of coronavirus deaths so far are African-American, despite representing only 14 percent of the total population in areas surveyed. The Navajo Nation already has lost more to coronavirus than have 13 states. Four of the 10 largest-known sources of infection in the United States have been correctional facilities.

These three groups aren't getting what they need to survive this crisis because they don't have lobbyists and political action committees to do their bidding in Washington or state capitals.

The Remotes among us should be concerned, and not just because of the unfairness of the Covid-19 class divide. If the Essentials aren't sufficiently protected, the Unpaid are forced back to work earlier than is safe, and the Forgotten remain forgotten, no one can be secure. Covid-19 will continue to spread sickness and death for months, if not years to come.

(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

Prime Suspect
Who replaced our small businesses while we were on lock-up?
By Jane Stillwater

"I need a new dress for our virtual prom," cries your teenager -- but the local shopping mall has been completely closed down. It's been locked down for as long as we have been in lock-up. What to do? Order a prom dress from Amazon!

And suddenly all of America's shopping is being done online.

And we've all seen photos of those dangerous Amazon sweatshop warehouses, right? But it's the wave of the future. Amazon Prime. Small businesses go under. Big businesses thrive.

How come Amazon is an essential business yet yours is not?

PS: And how come the United States Postal Service is suddenly going bankrupt yet Amazon isn't? In a word? "Unions."

PPS: Have you ever considered workers' cooperatives as an alternative to Corporatism?

PPPS: When I was crossing through the border station last month while coming back from Tijuana, at least a hundred "guest workers" suddenly walked past me while I waited in line. Each man was pulling a small roller-board suitcase. They were all quickly loaded onto buses headed for Los Angeles.

How come "guest workers" are legal in America and yet other Latinx are not? When large corporations are in need of cheap labor, regular rules simply do not apply to them. It's time that we change all that -- or we'll be in lock-up forever too.

(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
~~~ Randall Enos ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Dan Patrick speaking to the press

Texas's Lieutenant Governor Says Dying Not As Bad As Living In State Where He Is Lieutenant Governor
By Andy Borowitz

AUSTIN (The Borowitz Report)-Urging Texans to "keep things in perspective," Texas's lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, said on Wednesday that dying is "surely not as bad" as living in a state where he is lieutenant governor.

Patrick, whose vehement anti-living message has stirred controversy across the country, said that he was speaking out to remind Texans that there are "some things worse than dying."

"It's time for a reality check, folks," Patrick said. "If you wake up every morning and remember that I am the second-highest-ranking elected official in your state, maybe dying doesn't look so bad, after all."

Arguing that "dying has got a bad rap," he blasted the media for what he called its "flagrant anti-death bias."

"All these media people who go on about how dying is the worst thing in the world have never spent any time with me," he said.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 17 (c) 05/01/2020

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