Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Norman Solomon finds, "The Fight For Bernie Delegates Is Escalating -- And Could Help Beat Trump."

Michael Winship returns with, "Mission Imperative: Come November, Trump Must Go."

Glen Ford sees, "Leftists Jump The Corporate Democratic Ship, Leaving Sanders Behind."

Jim Hightower wonders, "What's The Gimmick In Trump's Plan To "Rescue" The Public Postal Service?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Trump and His Staff Wouldn't Wear Masks. Now the White House Is A COVID Hotspot."

John Nichols says, "Mass Unemployment Is A Policy Choice."

James Donahue warns, "Deadly New Pathogens Are A Threat To Both Man And Beast."

David Swanson returns with, "Is Capitalism Too Close To See?"

David Suzuki wonders, "Do 'Murder Hornets' Pose A Serious Buzzkill?"

Charles P. Pierce finds, "'Not One Step Back' Is Still In Full Effect For The Republican Party."

Juan Cole says, "If Only The US Had That $6.4 Trillion It Wasted On Iraq and Afghanistan Wars To Fight Covid-19 Pandemic."

Rethuglican Sinator Lindsey Graham wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich concludes, "Trump's 4-Step Plan For Reopening The Economy Will Be Lethal."

Jane Stillwater exclaims, "Let Me Out Of Here!"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Nancy Pelosi Assures Democratic Reps They Don't Need To Try Being Productive During Stressful Pandemic," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Trump's Number One!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Bob Gorrell, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Leah Millis, Spencer Platt, Rick Bowmer, T-Mizo, Joyce N. Boghosian, Caroline Brehman, Wikimedia Commons, 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."

Visit me on Face Book

Trump's Number One!
By Ernest Stewart

"I would give myself an A+." ~~~ Donald Trump

"Previous studies projected that this would happen several decades from now, but this shows it's happening right now," ~~~ Colin Raymond ~ Columbia University

"We've gotta fix entitlements. We're in debt because we made promises we can't keep to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid." ~~~ US Senator Lindsey Graham

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

Until the Corona virus hit I had placed Lying Donald as the third worst president that we've ever had. Lying Donald should be happy as he beat out Obama, who didn't even make the top ten! Initially I had Lying Donald pegged behind Andrew Jackson who was my number two and George Washington who was my number one. The reason was Lying Donald hadn't become a mass murder yet. Certainly not in the ranks of Jackson and Washington or even Lincoln, FDR or LBJ.

Certainly Lying Donald had killed a few hundred folks overseas. He was just intent on destroying America from within, hell, I gave up counting his acts of treason and sedition when they passed 100. I think I quit counting treason and sedition at around 300 when it came to W and Cheney. W came in 6th for the millions of innocents that he killed or wounded.

Andrew Jackson was at two now three as Andrew like George was a slave owner. He co-owned with his son Andrew Jr. about 300 slaves. Like George, Andrew was a genocidal maniac when it came to Indians. Ya'll remember "The Trail Of Tears"? That was Andrews doing but it was just one of his many shenanigans. He even overturned a Supreme Court verdict on his own authority, imagine that! Something I've been waiting for Lying Donald to do.

While George was number one and is now number two he too had over 300 slaves and like Jackson hated Indians even the Indian tribes that fought on our side during the Revolutionary War. You may recall that when George was "appointed" president he was the richest man in America. How did George attain his great wealth? Simple, really. All he did starting in the French and Indian War was take the lands away from the tribes that fought for the French and as he being a surveyor claimed those lands and sold them to white people coming from Europe at great profit. Something he continued doing in Kentucky and Ohio to tribes that had fought on our side after the Revolutionary War was over.

But with Lying Donald's planned incompetence with the Covid pandemic he passes both Washington and Jackson in murdering Americans. I have no doubt dead Americans was his intent when he was told what was coming back in November and chose to do nothing. In a court of law that's "premeditated murder," is it not? And even as I write this Donald can't wait to open up America before he should to kill twice as many as he has so far. Ergo, Lying Donald, to my mind, becomes the United States' worst president of all time!

In Other News

I see where global warming has already made parts of the world hotter than the human body can withstand, decades earlier than climate models expected this to happen.

Jacobabad in Pakistan and Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates have both repeatedly crossed a deadly threshold for one or two hours at a time, an analysis of weather station data found.

Wet bulb temperature (TW) is a measure of heat and humidity, taken from a thermometer covered in a water-soaked cloth. Beyond a threshold of 95 degrees F TW the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, but lower levels can still be deadly, as was seen in the 2003 European heatwave that killed thousands without passing 83 degrees F TW.

A US-UK team analysed weather station data across the world, and found that the frequency of wet bulb temperatures exceeding temperatures between 81 degrees F TW and 95 degrees F TW had all doubled since 1979. Though 95 degrees F TW is thought of as a key threshold, harm and even death is possible at lower temperatures, so the team included these in their analysis.

Most of the frequency increases were in the Persian gulf, India, Pakistan and south-west North America. But at Jacobabad and Ras al Khaimah, 95 degrees F TW appears to have been passed, the first time the breach has been reported in scientific literature.

"The crossings of all of these thresholds imply greater risk to human health - we can say we are universally creeping close to this magic threshold of 95 degrees F. The tantalising conclusion is it looks like, in some cases for a brief period of the day, we have exceeded this value," says Tom Matthews at Loughborough University in the UK.

His team corroborated the threshold being breached by looking at another weather dataset, based on temperature and humidity observations and modelling. That analysis suggested several areas of the Persian Gulf will see the possibility of 95 degrees F TW happening once every 30 years at around 36 degrees F of global warming. The world has already warmed about 34 degrees F due to human activities.

Such intense humid temperatures have so far largely affected affluent Gulf states, which have the capacity to cope by investing in air conditioning. But Matthews warns that with continued climate change, the extremes will affect more parts of Pakistan, and India too, which may have not have the capacity to adapt. Even if they they could, it would require huge amounts of energy for cooling, further exacerbating climate if it came from fossil fuels. "We are already exquisitely close, closer than we thought, to that line in the sand," he says.

While there are uncertainties over temperature and humidity readings from a few weather stations, because of where they are sited or how they are calibrated, Matthews says the overall picture is "unequivocal".

So if the flooding dosen't get you, the rise in temperature will!

And Finally

You knew what was going to happen when Lying Donald and the Simian Collective in the Senate gave a trillion dollar tax gift to the 1% then turned right around and gave another trillion dollars to the 1% undercover of those coronavirus checks? Well the economy has hit the fan and they're going to need those trillions back. So guess whose going to have make up those funds? The 1%? Guess again. The 10%, nope. The middle class? Nope, give up? Why the elderly, sick and poor!

Lying Donald who said he wouldn't touch the entitlements is having second thoughts and plans to make the poor, sick and elderly pay, at least the ones that Covis-19 hasn't killed outright! Of course, the Simian Collective has jumped on board with Donald.

US Senator Lindsey Graham jumped on the bandwagon saying "We've gotta fix entitlements. We're in debt because we made promises we can't keep to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid." Of course, they could cut the Pentagoon budget in half and do what Ike did back in the 1950, i.e. tax the top 10% at 92%. That works for me, how about you, America?

Be that as it may, Lindsey Graham wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

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!


10-03-1944 ~ 05-08-2020
Thanks for the magic!

12-05-1932 ~ 05-09-2020
Thanks for the music!

12-21-1953 ~ 05-10-2020
Thanks for the music!

06-08-1927 ~ 05-11-2020
Thanks for the laughs!

11-09-1944 ~ 05-15-2020
Thanks for the music!


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.

The Fight For Bernie Delegates Is Escalating -- And Could Help Beat Trump
By Norman Solomon

The Presumptive Nominee seems to be in trouble. Reuters just released a national poll showing that "Joe Biden's advantage over President Donald Trump in popular support has eroded in recent weeks" -- and the contest is "essentially a toss-up." In a half-dozen key swing states, Biden is only up by an average of 4 percent. Even among the Democratic faithful, enthusiasm for Biden is low. Among the young, it's been close to nonexistent.

The myth that Trump will defeat himself expired the night before Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech. Yet it persists as Democratic Party power brokers and many pundits go easy on Biden and humor his repeated boast that "I'll beat him like a drum." Biden remains firmly stuck in a mindset that makes it highly unlikely he can incentivize the big turnout of progressive voters that's needed against Trump. That mentality goes unchallenged in standard corporate-media framing, which evades basic political realities of economic inequality.

Using a common bromide from mainline journalists, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that "Democrats have been split since 2016 over whether energizing black voters or winning over some white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest represents the best shot for the party in November."

That kind of either/or framing was rejected - and somewhat transcended -- by the Bernie 2020 campaign. For good reason. As pollster Stanley Greenberg has emphasized, the Democratic Party doesn't have a "white working-class problem" -- it has a working-class problem.

The perception that the party is in the pocket of the rich has damaged support and undermined voter turnout from working-class people of all races. As a thoroughly corporate politician, Biden is ill-positioned to change that perception.

But if the 2020 Democratic National Convention (likely virtual rather than in-person) can move the party in progressive directions, the chances of effectively deflating Trump's phony pseudo-populism would improve.

That's where Bernie delegates can come in.

Of course, the Biden team would like the national convention to be a smoothly corporate affair without appreciable leverage from progressive forces in terms of deciding on party rules and the platform. Whether Biden can stifle those forces may depend on whether the Sanders campaign can win enough delegates in upcoming primaries to reach the 25 percent threshold that's required for bringing proposals to the entire convention.

Right now, with 20 primaries still to come, surpassing the 25 percent mark is certainly within reach. While the official Sanders campaign has nearly disbanded, some grassroots Bernie supporters are continuing or restarting their work.

In many states, the Our Revolution organization is assisting local activists to get out the Bernie vote. The potentially historic significance of such efforts got a boost this week when a federal judge reinstated New York's Democratic presidential primary set for June 23. The court reversed a state board of elections decision to cancel that primary -- a decision widely understood to be at the behest of the state's establishment-oriented Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The court ruling, U.S. News & World Report noted, "allows Bernie Sanders to secure more delegates -- and more influence -- ahead of the Democratic National Convention."

Meanwhile, three groups -- People for Bernie Sanders, (where I'm national director), and Progressive Democrats of America -- have just launched a new campaign called Once Again. The goal is to help activists mobilize in upcoming primary states and win a new wave of Sanders delegates.

"Bernie's campaign has suspended, but the movement to fight for the Bernie platform must go on," said Claire Sandberg, who was national organizing director for the Bernie 2020 campaign.

Sandberg added: "People who recognize the urgency of issues like ending the wars, canceling student debt, and enacting Medicare for All and a Green New Deal must work together to ensure progressive voters make their voices heard in the remaining primaries. It's also vital that Bernie supporters rally behind down-ballot progressive candidates, whose fortunes may be determined by small margins. For those reasons, I support this effort to mobilize Bernie supporters to cast their ballots through the end of the primary."

Former Bernie 2020 national co-chair Nina Turner, who also spoke on a Once Again kickoff livestream on May 5, summed up: "We have had enough of the status quo policies that do not change the material conditions for the poor, working poor and middle class in this country. We intend to keep pushing for a government that works for everyone."

Corporate media and powerful Democrats are eager to portray the 2020 Democratic presidential race as a thing of the past. But progressive activists have some very different ideas.

(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 appears at a rally on the eve before the South Carolina primary on
February 28, 2020 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Trump administration is coming
under increased criticism from democrats for not doing enough to prepare America for the Coronavirus.

Mission Imperative: Come November, Trump Must Go
In case you needed a reminder, the pandemic reveals everything rancid about this presidency.
By Michael Winship

There must be one mission above all, one goal supreme: Vote this monster out of the White House. And along with him, tow to the nearest dump the clown car of malefactors who gave him license to cripple our republic.

Donald Trump's defeat and the defeat of those in Congress who have enabled him with nary a word of protest are Priorities Number 1 through 100. Focus. Don't be diverted by ideological hairsplitting and intraparty squabbling. Drive this creature and his army of creeps, leeches and miscreants back to the wet market from which they came.

Little else matters until this goal is accomplished in November. And even after that, there could be trouble, because come Inauguration Day he may have to be dragged out like Saddam Hussein from his spider hole, screaming fraud and persecution all the way.

So now that I have your attention...

Yes, it is imperative that we emerge from our current catastrophe battered but unbowed. We must debate healthcare and racial, gender and wealth inequality. We desperately need to take action on climate change, infrastructure, education and student debt, immigration, right-wing extremism, privacy, the right to choose and much more. Plus, progressives have plenty to criticize in the Democratic Party, lots that has to change about a hidebound institution that too often ignores the working class and diverse base that traditionally brought it success.

But right now, failure is not an option. Four more years of this-a president, cabinet and Republican Party bent on nihilistic destruction in the name of greed, power and corruption-and there will be an ash heap where a democracy used to stand. It's like the old joke my mother used to tell about bananas - you throw away the skin and the bone and there's nothing left.

The pandemic tragedy has crystalized much of what's wrong with this White House and the Republican Party. As death and disease have devastated the United States and the world, they woefully have mishandled the crisis with a calamitous mix of ignorance, incompetence, blindness to reality, and the careless and dangerous rhetoric that always have characterized this administration and its minions in Congress, states and towns. Add to all this a willingness to sacrifice lives in the name of the economy; this last insult solely to advance the reelection of themselves and the toddler-at-the-top who would rather tweet and rage maniacally than truly be our president.

In Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson notes, "Academic research from Imperial College in London, modeling the U.S. response, estimates that up to 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented had the U.S. moved to shut down by March 2nd. Instead, administration leaders dragged their feet for another two weeks, as the virus continued a silent, exponential assault."

To which Donald Trump replies, "These models have been so wrong from day one, both on the low side and the upside. They've been so wrong; they've been so out of whack. And they keep making new models, new models and they're wrong."

And: "If we did very little testing, [America] wouldn't have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad."

And: "I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It's going to go away and it's, we're not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time." And: "If people want to get tested, they get tested. But for the most part, they shouldn't want to get tested."

Now he says, when it comes to testing, "We have met the moment and have prevailed." What?

In the midst of this disingenuous verbal jabberwocky, countless stories continue to appear of bickering among White House staff and medical experts, the blocking of evidence and health recommendations, massive shortfalls in testing and the delivery of needed supplies, attempts to make a fast buck off the suffering of others. All of these media reports have emerged despite Trump's attempts to suppress or distract from the truth. Meanwhile, we quickly approach 100,000 dead in these United States.

Further, Trump pushes coronavirus conspiracy theories and miracle cures, contravenes his own government's guidelines as he encourages states to reopen prematurely -- setting them up to take the blame if it all goes wrong -- and eggs on protesters who storm statehouses and beaches demanding their right to party on.

This is the "transition to greatness" that's his new mantra, the current iteration of saying anything, no matter how bat soup crazy, to hold onto his phony baloney job.

"It will work for some people, but he can't get over the fact that many, many people are dying -- and they're dying on his watch," political scientist Max Skidmore, author of Presidents, Pandemics and Politics, told The Washington Post. "Too many people are dying, and that's the fact that he can't cover up however much he tries."

With the news that COVID-19 has now crept into the corridors of the White House itself, and that staffers have been ordered to wear masks (expect for the Cheeto-in-Chief, of course), I've tried to restrain my inclination toward schadenfreude. But it's very near impossible, when on top of all its other pandemic-related malfeasance, this administration continues on a multitude of fronts to cynically use the disease as cover for its ongoing subversion of the general welfare of the people and destruction of constitutional government - whether it's the 98 environmental rules being reversed, according to The New York Times, the trashing of the US Postal Service or Attorney General William Barr's undermining of the Justice Department and an independent judiciary, all on Trump's behalf.

Last week's dismissal of charges against former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn - despite his guilty plea for lying to the FBI - is the latest manifestation of Barr's sabotage of the rule of law, part of the continuing effort to erase all evidence of Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, including the findings of the Mueller report -- even though those efforts on the part of the former Soviet Union on Trump's behalf continue into this year's 2020 campaign.

Now Trump, with Barr ever his faithful sidekick, is cooking up a smear of Barack Obama, ramping up accusations of Obama illegally trying to use the Russia interference probe to frame Trump. Although the president seems uncertain as to what the scandal is exactly, this "OBAMAGATE!" mongering may be to damage Joe Biden, Obama's vice president, or to retaliate for Obama's weekend description of Trump's handling of the COVID crisis as an "absolute chaotic disaster," or just the never-ending petty resentment and jealousy of the popular African-American who preceded him that drive Trump mad. Maybe all three. Whatever the reasons, this is ugly, sleazy stuff.

Many, myself included, have been fond of comparing Trump to Al Capone and other notorious gangsters. Certainly, throughout his career, Trump has tried to act like a wise guy, paying off hoodlums, manhandling foes and bragging about his street smarts, albeit with varying degrees of success.

But now, congratulations, pal. Donald Trump, you've outdone Capone and all the rest. There's more blood on your hands than the mob itself could imagine - more, as you would say, Mr. President, than anyone has ever seen.

The thuggery has to stop. Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices must be voted out. Drop everything else and help make it happen. Then we can talk about a true transition to greatness.

(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

Leftists Jump The Corporate Democratic Ship, Leaving Sanders Behind
By Glen Ford

History may record that the corporate duopoly dike was finally broken in the Time of Plague, with the defection of Bernie's former sheep from the Democratic Party.

The leftish exit from the two-corporate-party electoral racket has finally begun. Nearly three-quarters of the 10,000-strong Los Angeles chapter of Our Revolution, the mass organization birthed during Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential bid, voted to leave the Democratic Party and join the Movement for a People's Party, also founded by operatives from Sanders' 2016 campaign. In effect, Sanders' most committed supporters have refused to once again be sheep-dogged by their mentor into the cemetery where U.S. social movements go to die. "Our Revolution Los Angeles' members decided that the Democratic Party is irredeemably corporate and must be replaced," said the organization's press release. The LA chapter hopes to lead a national exit from the Democratic corporate straightjacket. "Our Revolution Los Angeles is calling on Our Revolution chapters and progressive groups nationwide to poll their members on joining the Movement for a People's Party. Together they will co-host an informational meeting with interested chapters and groups on Thursday, May 14, to discuss and plan the new party."

Chapter chair Kyle Vertin noted that Democrats are in control in Los Angeles and statewide in California, yet "homelessness soars in our city, millions of people in our country have no or inadequate healthcare, and wealth inequality has skyrocketed as billionaire wealth jumped over 200 times greater than median wealth, increasing 1,130 percent in the last 30 years." He continued:

"We charge that the Democratic Party is no ally in fixing the major crises of our generation, such as healthcare, housing, and climate, but a partner of the elites seeking to increase their wealth and power at the expense of our safety and well-being. Complying with an increasingly corporatist party will harm any effort to guarantee Americans their basic needs.

"The people of Los Angeles need a corporate-free party. We're calling on all Our Revolution and progressive groups to join us in building it. A people's party is the next step in the political revolution."

The Movement for a Peoples Party (MPP) plans to hold a digital People's Convention this summer, and to come up with a party platform next year, to replace the one they inherited from Sanders. Nick Brana, the MPP's national coordinator, is looking to knock the duopoly on its ass. "The People's Party will unite working people into the largest party in America in the next four years," said Brana. "We will get ballot access nationwide, send representatives to Congress in the midterms, win the presidency in 2024, and revolutionize this country."

In the meantime, it would be helpful if these new jacks to corporate-free politics urge their members to vote for the Greens or any other left party on the ballot in 2020, so that when hordes of erstwhile Democratic voters fail to endorse the duopoly tag-team in November, as expected, corporate media cannot blame the debacle on apathy (the Russians will be blamed, anyway - plus maybe the Chinese).

If Sanders had actually run on the foreign policy platform he conferred on the Movement for a People's Party, he would have been a far better candidate. The MPP's call for "A Collaborative and Peaceful Community" demands an end to "wars of aggression, preemptive wars and regime change"; the closing of Guantanamo and return of the base to Cuba; prosecution "of officials who committed torture in violation of the Geneva Convention"; a halt to drone warfare; support for a two-state solution that recognizes Palestine's right to exist with self-determination and governance; pursuit of diplomatic solutions with North Korea and Iran and a halt to destabilization of Venezuela; and for the U.S. to "join the global community in working towards a nuclear-free world."

Noting that "U.S. defense spending is larger than the next seven largest defense budgets combined, most of which are allied countries," the current MPP platform declares, "It's time to realize the peace dividends that were promised at the end of the Cold scale back the sprawling empire of hundreds of U.S. military bases and black sites abroad. Deploy those funds to defend the American people against the lethal and merciless enemies that have invaded our shores: poverty, hunger and ill health."

The MPP platform envisions turning guns into plowshares for the planet. "The estimated cost of ending world hunger is $30 billion per year, about 4 percent of the annual American defense budget. The estimated cost of ending extreme poverty is $175 billion per year, about 24 percent of the annual defense budget. Providing for people's basic needs relieves deprivation, suffering and conflict. It is the most effective weapon in our arsenal. Restore international goodwill, confidence and moral authority in the U.S. by ending world hunger and extreme poverty. Strengthen and enforce the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Not a bad beginning for a new crop of U.S. "social" democrats, whose greatest obligation to the rest of humanity is to dismantle U.S. imperialism -- the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" (MLK) -- root and branch. White American identification with U.S. global power is deep and many-layered, and finds insidious political expression in multitudinous of ways, including among purported progressives and socialists.

The MPP's "Racial Justice" platform is reformist -- like Bernie -- not transformative. But only Black folks can map the path to racial justice and Black self-determination. The new mass party that emerges from the dissolution of Bernie Sanders' exercise in sheep-doggery will start out disproportionately white, despite the fact that Sanders did assemble a remarkably multi-racial and largely working class electoral base, especially among the young. Black America is by far the community most deeply infested by the corporate Democratic Party - the word "occupied" better conveys the historical catastrophe that has befallen Black politics in the U.S. Although the Black political spectrum is separate and definitively to the left of the white American political spectrum, the duopoly system has grossly distorted Black electoral behavior by confronting us with a devil's choice: vote for the "strongest" Democratic candidate (most often perceived as the most heavily funded corporate candidate), or risk victory for the Republican "White Man's Party." Only the rise of a mass Black grassroots political movement will dislodge the Democrats from their deeply embedded positions in Black churches and civic organizations, reversing the post-Sixties shutdown of Black "movement" politics by the emerging, Democrat-beholden Black Misleadership Class.

The revival of "street" politics must be combined with the destruction of the duopoly system, if the political cage that entraps Black America - and thus cripples the national left - is to be breached. Although the MPP's Nick Brana looks forward to taking national power in 2024, the new electoral politics that the defection of Bernie's legions makes possible, need only be potent enough in the beginning to deny the Republican-Democrat tag team a monopoly on electoral politics. More specifically, the electoral anti-corporate Left must be potent enough to make election of a Democrat to the White House impossible without the corporate candidate's acceptance of an anti-war, anti-austerity, anti-police repression program. Since such a position is anathema to the Lords of Capital -- the puppeteers of the Party -- the further disintegration of the Democrats will result, if not this election cycle, then in the next one.

Radicalized Black youth will lead the way in both the "street" and electoral arenas. They will find that many of the white former Sanders youth have already internalized the language and thinking of Black self-determinationist politics, as evidenced in the wording of the Green New Deal (GND) resolution that was sidelined by House Leader Nancy Pelosi. As I reported in the March 6, 2019 issue of BAR ("The Black Stake in the Green New Deal"), the GND legislation would "promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth..." and is to be accomplished "with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities" as "full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization."

As envisioned by the resolution's writers, the goal is restorative justice that addresses past crimes against communities that were repeatedly destabilized and made into sacrifice zones for the benefit of capitalists and to satisfy the demands of white privilege. The GND is committed to "ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level."

Language such as this is the basis for strategic and tactical interracial alliances, even as Blacks continue to organize mainly through our own structures. A new national movement for social justice and peace becomes possible, alongside a revitalized Black liberation movement. But meaningful victories require the shattering of the duopoly, a process that has now begun.

My assessment is that the COVID-19 crisis and economic collapse - a capitalist catastrophe whose medical and economic aspects are inseparable - triggered the mass defection in the Sanders ranks, as well as profound disillusion with the "system" throughout the U.S. polity. As political analyst Dr. Anthony Monteiro said, not only was the systemic collapse "total," but it was also plain to young leftists that the apocalypse would not have been much different if a corporate Democrat had been in the White House instead of Trump. Forty years of austerity and war under the corporate tag-team rendered the superpower helpless against a lowly virus, while the hegemony of finance capital brought ever falling living standards, general precarity, and permanent economic fragility requiring regular infusions of trillions of federal dollars to keep the oligarchy's casinos afloat. Bernie Sanders' ignominious surrender to Joe Biden's "make America like it used to be" politics showed his acolytes that their icon was a prisoner of the duopoly who would never leave -- so they made their exit. A new era of U.S. politics may have begun, with profound implications for the future of the planet.

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

What's The Gimmick In Trump's Plan To "Rescue" The Public Postal Service?
By Jim Hightower

One thing we've learned for sure this year is that no national crisis is too awful to keep Trump & Company from exploiting it for their plutocratic political purposes.

COVID-19 is a God-Awful crisis, but late one night deep inside the White House, a dim bulb flickered in our present president's head: "Eureka," Trump exclaimed, "here's our chance to kill the US Post Office!"

Of all the things a president might focus on during a devastating pandemic, hijacking your and my public mail service, bankrupting it, and then privatizing its profitable functions has become a top priority for this brooding madman. Bizarrely, Trump has ranted that the post office should charge higher prices for us customers to ship packages, and he bemoans the fact that postal workers are unionized and earn middle-class wages. So, in February, with our economy collapsing under the weight of COVID-19, Trump struck.

Like nearly every business, the Postal Service had suffered a crushing loss of customers and needs emergency funding to keep America's mail moving. Congress quickly proposed a bipartisan $13 billion postal lifeline as part of its $2 trillion national rescue package. But our personally-piqued president said: "No, threatening to kill the whole bill if it included a pandemic grant to save the public post office. The US mail service, however, is enormously popular, so Trump can't just blatantly choke off its survival funds. Instead, he's taking the agency hostage, offering to provide a $10 billion "loan" from the treasury department - contingent on the public entity agreeing to his draconian demands that it raise postal prices, gut postal unions, and cut postal services.

Trump's provisos are postal poison pills, for they would destroy the agency's morale and service, undermine popular support, and clear the political path for profiteering corporations to seize, privatize, and plunder this public treasure.

(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, joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addresses a meeting with senior military
leadership and national security team members on May 8, 2020, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

Trump and His Staff Wouldn't Wear Masks. Now the White House Is A COVID Hotspot
By William Rivers Pitt

It is one of the most familiar horror movie tropes on file: On a dark and stormy night, the phone rings and an evil voice whispers terrifying threats. The phone keeps ringing, the mystery grows, the tension builds, until the big reveal: THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

Donald Trump is now living that trope in real time. After months of ignoring and dismissing the COVID-19 pandemic in a show of violent disregard for the communities most disproportionately affected, the wolf is not just at his door. It is in his house, breathing the virus into that rarefied air.

"The Trump administration is racing to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus inside the White House," reported The New York Times on Sunday, "as some senior officials believe that the disease is already spreading rapidly through the warren of cramped offices that make up the three floors of the West Wing."

Before the weekend began, we had learned that one of Trump's personal valets had tested positive for COVID-19. Katie Miller, spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence and wife of White House senior adviser and vivid fascist Stephen Miller, also tested positive. A personal assistant to Ivanka Trump has likewise tested positive, though reports indicate the assistant and the first daughter have not been near each other for weeks.

At least 11 Secret Service members have tested positive, but there is no available information on how close any of them may have come to Trump or other administration officials, because the Secret Service resolutely does not comment on anything having to do with protection duties.

Trump is said to be "spooked" by the presence of the virus in the White House. Anthony Fauci, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn, have placed themselves in quarantine for the coming weeks due to their level of exposure. The most secure building in the world is now a COVID-19 hot spot.

"It is scary to go to work," said top White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on the CBS News program "Face the Nation." "I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. It's a small, crowded place. It's, you know, it's a little bit risky. But you have to do it because you have to serve your country."

Yet Kevin and his pals in the White House have appeared not to take even the simple precaution of wearing masks at work, seemingly because masks are a symbol of bad news, and nobody brings bad news to the boss. Not wearing a mask has become a twisted form of loyalty oath to Donald Trump, and that galloping folly has now exposed the entire building to a deadly pathogen that gives not a single damn who you voted for or what you believe.

Nowhere was this phenomenon more evident than in the Cabinet Room this past Saturday, where Trump met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, his national security team, and a clutch of high-ranking military officials. The photo released by the White House shows a roomful of older men seated in close quarters for an extensive period of time. Nary a one of them was wearing a mask.

While there is categorically never a "good" time for any location to become a nest of COVID-19 infections, the timing of this particular White House outbreak is particularly gruesome for Trump and his allies. A number of Trump-allied governors, and even a few Democratic governors, began lifting their states' stay-at-home strictures despite howls of warnings from scientists and medical professionals. As expected, these premature reopenings have led to a spike in reported infections.

"In a week when the novel coronavirus ravaged new communities across the country and the number of dead soared past 78,000, President Trump and his advisers shifted from hour-by-hour crisis management to what they characterize as a long-term strategy aimed at reviving the decimated economy and preparing for additional outbreaks this fall," reports The Washington Post. "But in doing so, the administration is effectively bowing to - and asking Americans to accept - a devastating proposition: that a steady, daily accumulation of lonely deaths is the grim cost of reopening the nation."

In other words - as I have stated time and time and time and time and time again - Donald Trump's primary concern beyond himself and re-election is to defend this hypercapitalist system at all cost. He and his allies spent the week attempting to hypnotize a terrified, cloistered, frustrated population into believing tens of thousands of deaths, even hundreds of thousands of deaths, is an acceptable price for doing business.

It is a monstrous argument put forth by a monstrous man, and just as Trump's lethal sales pitch was reaching its peak, COVID-19 came into his home and tapped him on the shoulder. By all reports, he and his closest minions are tested multiple times a day, despite his claims that testing is "overrated." Yet testing does not prevent infection, and clearly, whatever testing regimen they were using was not nearly enough.

What is happening inside Trump's house right now is a perfect allegory for how the administration has handled the pandemic to date. There was a lot of bluff talk and faux-courageous showboating for the cameras back when concrete steps could have been taken, even as the virus made itself at home and began to spread. Upon discovery that whatever they were doing was insufficient, incomplete steps were taken to mitigate the damage, but it was already far too late. Now comes the part where we wait to see how bad it will get.

(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.

Euro Treasures Antiques owner Scott Evans is closing his art and antique store in Salt Lake City after 40 years.

Mass Unemployment Is A Policy Choice
As unemployment reaches Depression-era levels, Pramila Jayapal has a plan that responds with a New Deal-level of urgency.
By John Nichols

More than 20.5 million American workers just lost their jobs in a single month.

"The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest level since the Great Depression, as most businesses shut down or severely curtailed operations to fight the deadly coronavirus," reported The Washington Post on Friday morning. "If anything, the report understates the damage," the Post explained. "The government's definition of unemployment typically requires people to be actively looking for work. And the unemployment rate doesn't reflect the millions still working who have had their hours slashed or their pay cut."

Lance Lambert, a data editor with Fortune magazine, offered an even more sobering set of numbers when he wrote this week, "Before this seven-week stretch of 33.5 million initial jobless claims, there were already 7.1 million unemployed Americans as of March 13. When those figures are combined, it equals more than 40 million unemployed, or a real unemployment rate of 24.9 percent. That's just under the Great Depression peak of an unemployment rate that topped 25.6 percent."

No one should mince words.

Let's acknowledge, as does Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) cochair Mark Pocan, that "we face an economic crisis." The dangerously misguided efforts by President Trump and his allies to "reopen" the economy in the midst of a pandemic are not going to address that crisis.

Let's also acknowledge that the federal response to this crisis has been woefully inadequate. It has not stemmed mass unemployment or the shuttering of small and medium-sized businesses.

How should congressional Democratic leaders, who are currently crafting their proposal for the next Covid-19 relief package, react as this country sinks into a new Depression? Senate minority leader Charles Schumer is right when he says, "We need Franklin Rooseveltian-type action." But tossing around FDR's name and talking about a new New Deal-ideally a Green New Deal-only gets us so far. Unfortunately, says CPC cochair Pramila Jayapal, "the willingness to think big about what we have to do and just get past this inertia is challenging for some people.... People are being put in a terrible economic bind and our systems aren't designed to deliver the level of relief that's needed."

The answer, says Jayapal, who holds degrees in economics and business administration, and who has a background in finance and development work, is to create new systems. And she has a plan for immediately addressing the reality of mass unemployment, as it now exists, and the threat that the crisis will grow dramatically worse in the weeks and months to come.

With support from Pocan and other members of the CPC, Jayapal has proposed the Paycheck Guarantee Act, a sweeping plan "to end mass layoffs, keep workers in their jobs and connected to their health care and other benefits, prevent employers of all sizes from being forced to close permanently, and ensure that the economy is ready to restart when the COVID-19 pandemic ends." How? By borrowing ideas from other countries, such as Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, who have used their resources to assure that workers are kept on payrolls.

Jayapal has outlined "a streamlined program to provide a three-month federal guarantee for 100 percent of worker salaries of up to $100,000 to ensure employers of all sizes keep workers on the payroll and continue to provide employer-sponsored benefits. This paycheck guarantee would automatically renew on a monthly basis until consumer demand rebounds to pre-crisis levels." Her measure establishes strong protections for workers and includes fraud prevention measures. It is flexible, cost-effective, and, Jayapal notes, has been designed to recognize and address racial disparities in layoffs and access to benefits.

That final component is vital, because, as Jennifer Epps-Addison, co-executive director at the Center for Popular Democracy, notes, "During the last recession, unemployment and under-employment hit black and brown communities the hardest, and the scale of our current unemployment crisis will deepen our racial wealth gap. Keeping working people on payroll at their employer's is the best way to allow working people to minimize the economic dislocation that is compounding our public health crisis."

Jayapal's detailed plan, which she has been working on with top economists since March, has drawn widespread support from union leaders and economic, social, and racial justice advocates. Noting the staggering number of unemployed workers, and the threat that jobless rolls will expand if action is not taken to protect threatened workers, former secretary of labor Robert Reich says, "They need help immediately. The Paycheck Guarantee Act is the fastest and most efficient way of getting it to them."

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explains that "COVID-19 is wreaking economic havoc and causing massive layoffs that imperil our economy and any efforts to get America working again. We need aggressive action that keeps people on payroll, preserves their healthcare, and creates the flexibility for businesses to stay afloat even as they remain partially shut down or totally closed. Helping businesses to keep paying their workers, as Rep. Jayapal's Paycheck Guarantee Act does, is the most efficient way to stop millions of Americans from being laid off, protect access to health care at a time when it is especially needed, and keep businesses of all sizes from permanently shuttering."

The bottom line, argues Stiglitz, is that the Paycheck Guarantee Act is "the smartest way to stop our economic free fall."

Representative Jayapal has the right plan at the right time. If congressional Democrats want to respond with Franklin Rooseveltian-type action to mass unemployment, they need to recognize, as Jayapal does, that "a federal paycheck guarantee is a real solution that matches the scale of the crisis. Mass unemployment is a policy choice. We can and should choose differently."

(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.

Deadly New Pathogens Are A Threat To Both Man And Beast
By James Donahue

As we humans continue to overpopulate this planet and expand our living quarters into places once reserved for the wild animals, we are hearing about more and more mystery diseases. The Corona Virus assault on the world population is but the latest of a growing list of mystery bugs that are new to us.

Could it be that in addition to our heating planet and the melting ice, another factor here is that man and beast are living too close to one another?

A few years ago we heard about the strange swine and avian flu virus mixed in with a couple of human forms of the disease. It killed folks in Mexico when it first appeared then mellowed out as a form of influenza as it continues to sweep the planet. What the heck was that?

Deadly new forms of tuberculosis and streptococcus infections that are immune to nearly every form of antibiotic known to medicine are appearing.

Then we have the other stuff that made the news before COVID-19:

The West Nile Virus has been sweeping the world via the tiny mosquito. Not always deadly, this bug has the capacity to make its victims very sick and eradicate the weak and the elderly.

And we know all about the threat of the Mad Cow prion in our meat. And the sudden spread of hoof and mouth disease not only among cattle, but also zoo animals and the wild deer herds. We even hear stories about people catching hoof and mouth disease, although for us it has not been a fatal illness. There are other new super bugs in addition to the Corona Virus that are out there killing people. Some of them are so new they don't even have a name. Here are some of the stories I picked up recently: The dreaded E.bola virus keeps cropping up in the jungles of Africa where medical teams are still tracking its source. This is a real horror of a bug because the people who get it literally bleed to death. They go down with blood even flowing from their eyes. E.bola also cropped up lately in Pakistan and United States.

Remember a few years ago when teenagers and college students began dropping dead from a form of bacterial meningitis that kills almost without warning. The children complained first of a fever and sore throat. They suddenly got very sick and were dead within hours. One anguished parent said that by the time they realized it wasn't the flu, it was too late. The disease broke out in clusters, killing perhaps two, three or five children in one area, and then it is gone. The source of this disease, and why it singles out teenagers, appears to remain a mystery.

A three-year-old California toddler died after a rare amoeba infected her brain. The girl remained in a coma for two days before the organism killed her. How she contacted the amoeba is a mystery.

In West Bengal, India, 45 people in the town of Siliguri died and another 66 were very sick from a mystery disease that later was identified as a measles virus, researchers at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases reported.

Another mystery disease in Japeri, Brazil, killed seven people and left 43 seriously ill. The disease, which broke out in two neighborhoods, brings on muscle pains, headache, fever, diarrhea and hemorrhaging.

A mysterious skin disease is reportedly "eating inmates alive" inside the largest jail in Roraima, Brazil's poorest state. Twenty-four prisoners from the Agricultural Penitentiary of Monte Cristo (PAMC) were admitted to Roraima General Hospital in the state capital of Boa Vista, presenting symptoms such as swelling, severe rashes, discolorations in the skin, and inability to walk.

The deadly anthrax killed a 34-year-old woman in Chimkent, Kazakhstan. The town became plagued by anthrax, which was thought to have started from tainted meat sold at an open air market. The town remained under quarantine for months.

What is going on here?

Dr. Andrew Cunningham, a veterinary pathologist at the Zoological Society of London, says human encroachment into wildlife habitats seems to be having a bad effect on both man and beast. Not only are we passing human diseases like tuberculosis and measles on to the animals, the animals seem to be passing new strains of disease on to us.

Cunningham believes the risk is seriously underestimated. "Historically we've always thought of the main threats to biodiversity as being habitat destruction and chemical pollution," he said. "In fact, pathogen pollution appears to be taking over as the main threat.

"As the rate of infectious diseases increases in wildlife, then the chances of humans getting novel diseases also increases. There will be terrors out there that are going to catch us by surprise," Cunningham said.

(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.

Is Capitalism Too Close To See?
By David Swanson

I'm not quite as big a fan of the new film "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" as Jon Schwarz is but think he makes some great points about it, as he usually does. The film doesn't tell a story with characters and drama. It's a documentary that tries to recount the economic history of the past few centuries from a European/American perspective in a little over an hour, which means it's rushed, much of it is familiar already, and the facts and statistics it throws out lack clarity and documentation, as is usually the case in films. (In its defense, the film is based on a book that is widely available.)

But the film does present people with topics that are rarely if ever talked about, things not normally noticed because they are taken to be inevitable or because they are taboo. For example:

The United States tells itself it was created by Europeans who fled religious persecution for a land of liberty. But the biggest flood of immigrants from Europe to the United States, Canada, and Australia was made up of people fleeing the capitalism of the industrial revolution. And those who succeeded best economically were typically those who became the owners of enslaved human beings on stolen land. Land of the Enslaved - Home of Capitalism's Refugees - doesn't have the same ring to it.

Western history books tell us that European nations colonized the world because they were more advanced. Advanced toward what? Well, toward slavery, colonialism, and militarism, among other things. (A couple of those other things are environmental and technological apocalypse, neither of which is ever mentioned in the film, but more on those later.)

Big economic growth areas for capitalism in the nineteenth century were fashion and Christmas, or - in other words - creating the need to buy crap you didn't want because the crap you have is out of style, and creating the need to buy crap you don't even like because it's December or some month prior thereto.

The U.S. military, according to this film, during some (frustratingly unspecified) period of time, primarily served the purpose of strike breaking. Whether this is strictly true, and how the use of the U.S. military abroad and domestically are quantified, I do not know. But few enough people have any idea that the United States has waged wars against and even bombed its own people for nonviolently demanding basic human rights, that the point is worth making.

Of course, there are a great many things we aren't supposed to question, so that even a film about economic taboos itself operates within other common limits. For example, I spend a lot of time trying to get people to question the acceptance of organized mass murder, also known as war.

As the film rushes through history with a few minutes devoted to each war, much like a traditional text book, it inevitably tells us that World War II ended the Great Depression, but never hints at how much better a nonviolent project could have done the same. In fact, it seems to claim that only something as devastating to humanity, the earth, and society as total war could have worked, because the war destroyed capital through bombing, as well as through inflation, and new regulations - regulations that came out of the sense of solidarity, equality, and humanity that only the mass slaughter of innocents can bring.

But does a better economy follow from mass-murder as a general rule? Is that the only thing it can follow from? These are questions that should have been addressed. A bit later in the film, Francis Fukuyama, a guy who declared history to be over about 30 years ago but whose invitations to appear in films somehow failed to end, credits World War II with creating a good harmonious world, and blames the Civil Rights movement and other activist riffraff for wrecking it. One reason that such toxic nonsense shouldn't be presented without commentary is that if we don't learn the superiority of nonviolence to violence in changing the world, we'll all die.

This brings me back to the missing apocalypses. One can't fault a film for failing to mention that humanity is moving ever closer to nuclear catastrophe, since nobody else mentions it either, or for failing to mention disease pandemics since the current one no doubt arose after the film was made, or for failing to mention the wars of the past 75 years since the film's focus is on nations that wage their wars far away. But it's almost strange to see a film discuss the raw deal young people have gotten economically without ever touching on the raw deal they've gotten environmentally, especially since a very different notion of economy and well-being and consumption may be required for survival, and even more so because so many young people are aware of climate collapse - perhaps more than are aware of the evils of capitalism.

On the other hand, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" offers a broad perspective that is badly needed in many ways. In the United States, many are used to comparisons of today's inequality of wealth with that of the 19th century, but the European perspective of this movie draws comparisons with the 18th and 17th centuries - starker and more frightening comparisons to times and places in which most people lacked most everything, and in which inheritance and the ownership of property controlled wealth.

It often seems that similarities between one unequal and unfair time period can be found in just about any other. So, when were things more equal? According to the story told here, after World War I and after World War II (plus right up through the 1970s despite the absence of WWIII). Of course, after World War I there was more prosperity in only some parts of the world. The film shows us Adolf Hitler saying (in German) and later Ronald Reagan (in English) that they want to make their countries "great again."

This movie lays the blame for the turn toward inequality in the 1970s on the price of oil and inflation, plus attacks on unions, but what about the choice to depend on oil? What about the choice to militarize the Middle East, overthrow governments, build up a giant cold (but hot) war, and wage an enormous oil-fueled mass-murder operation in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia? What about the opposite of warm-fuzzy feelings of solidarity that grew out of that operation?

Part of "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" is a review of sociological experiments that seem to find that virtually anyone given wealth advantages will both assume they deserved them (even if possessing indisputable evidence that nothing but luck was involved) and develop bigotry toward those less well-off. But, of course, virtually anyone means virtually anyone within a particular culture - a culture that created, for example, the Monopoly game that's involved in some of the experiments but which everyone already knows how to play, or at least the pro-monopoly version of the game which originally had an anti-monopoly, pro-cooperation version as well.

To its great credit, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" proposes several concrete steps. These include progressively taxing wealth, and taxing multi-national corporations' profits based on the percentage of their sales in each country, rather than based on what islands they hide their shell companies and secret bank accounts in. Recommended steps also include opposing the anti-immigrant xenophobia and fascism rising around us.

(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.

While the fear factor in the hornet story has drawn our attention to hornets and honeybees, most
people don't know a honeybee, hornet or wasp from the more than 800 species of wild bees in Canada.

Do 'Murder Hornets' Pose A Serious Buzzkill?
By David Suzuki

As if we didn't have enough to contend with, now we're facing a "murder hornet" invasion - but it's more an invasion of newsfeeds than an actual descending plague of killer insects. Numerous media outlets have carried ominous stories about whether the giant hornets will pillage honeybee hives. It's not an imminent threat throughout North America, but it makes a killer story.

Yet, something has been lost in the media hype: the true threats to honeybees and their Canadian wild cousins, and how we can save them.

Let's dissect the hornet hysteria. The Asian giant hornet got its murderous nickname because it's known to rip the heads off bees with its shark-fin-spiked mandibles. It's the biggest hornet on the planet, three times the size of its honeybee prey. It has a venomous stinger. And like any good supervillain, it flies around in a flashy costume.

The New York Times described it as having "a cartoonishly fierce face featuring teardrop eyes like Spider-Man" and "orange and black stripes that extend down its body like a tiger." Giant, tiger-striped, murderous decapitators with a fierce superhero mask. Wow. I can't wait for the comic book franchise.

The bee-beheaders can take down honeybee hives in a matter of hours. Fortunately, only a few have been spotted in the U.S. and Canada. Last fall, two dead giant hornets were found in Washington State and a "bike" of giant hornets (yes, a group of hornets is sometimes called a "bike") were found near Nanaimo, B.C. The B.C. hornets were promptly dispatched by a daring entomologist.

Despite "murder hornets" posing little near-term danger here, bees live in a world akin to a dystopian plot line worthy of Hollywood media hype - and they aren't threatened by one clear villain.

Since European colonists brought honeybees to North America, they've been domesticated to the point where they have difficulty defending themselves against several dangers, from murderous hornets to varroa destructor mites. They've also been hit with a cocktail of threats, from pesticides - honeybee kryptonite - and habitat loss to climate change and the stress of being imported and exported.

While the fear factor in the hornet story has drawn our attention to hornets and honeybees, most people don't know a honeybee, hornet or wasp from the more than 800 species of wild bees in Canada. These unheralded, essential pollinators continue to fly under the radar because we rarely notice insects, unless they are marvellously lovely, like monarch butterflies, and even those face the risk of extinction.

It's perhaps not surprising then that almost without notice more than one-quarter of all insects have disappeared since 1990. It's a staggering, silent loss.

This is chilling. At least one-third of North America's food supply depends on pollinators. Honeybees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of food crops in the U.S. every year, transferring pollen between blossoms, which then produce fruit, nuts and veggies. They're our smallest and arguably most essential livestock. Losing them means losing a lot.

Every epic tale needs a superhero and a solid comeback. The good news: you can be that hero.

Many people are standing up for wild bees, honeybees and other pollinators by planting native wildflowers and other plants in gardens and green patches all over the country. You just need a spade and some seeds. A cape is optional.

Gardening can be the best defence for bees and an antidote to hornet hysteria.

Planting patches of nectar and pollen-rich native wildflowers alone or alongside vegetables and herbs will help feed bees, butterflies and other pollinators, which in turn sustain our harvests.

You can get started now, by finding tips through the David Suzuki Foundation's Bee-bnb project ( It offers simple steps to becoming a Bee-bnb Superhost, planting wildflowers and sharing your yard or balcony with wild bees and butterflies.

While the "murder hornet" buzz was overblown, it reminds us that ecological threats of invasive species are real. We must remain vigilant. Meanwhile, the media hype reminds us that we can rewrite this story.

I encourage you to focus on the nourishing, joyful ways you can help bees and the other critters that sustain our food webs, by gardening - a heroic act you can do now.

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

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, and incoming white house chief of staff rep Mark Meadows,
R/NC, depart from a meeting in the capitol as negotiations continue with congressional
leadership on a financial relief package for Covid-19 on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

'Not One Step Back' Is Still In Full Effect For The Republican Party
The rumblings about Deficit Reduction have begun, and of course they've mentioned Social Security.
By Charles P. Pierce

In the annals of Not Missing A Trick, using the pandemic to squeeze out full-time workers and replace them with prison labor ranks right at the top, up there with using the pandemic to fulfill your decades-long goal of demolishing Social Security. In New Orleans, the former play is nearly complete. From WWL:

"We need them to provide us with the proper PPE -- to all the workers immediately and consistently and on a daily basis," said Jonathan Edward, one of the workers who lost his job. "Provide us with our hazardous pay due to the pandemic of COVID-19." Workers, who said they were fired earlier in the week after voicing their concerns, are also asking for broken trucks to be fixed and an increased hourly rate of $15, up from $10.25...Meanwhile, Livingston Parish work-release inmates -- those convicted of non-violent crimes -- were on the Metro trucks Friday to collect garbage.

That didn't sit well with some of the fired workers who said the work-release participants were doing the same work under the same conditions for even less money. "Metro Services Group has long been an advocate of helping persons who had been incarcerated return to society in a meaningful and productive way," a statement from the company read in part. "Metro makes no apologies for this policy as a core element of our commitment to being good corporate citizens. Workers like Harold Peters said they're ready to return to their routes if everyone can reach an agreement. "We're out here. We're doing our job. We take pride in our work," Peters said. "Actually, we can't wait to get back to work. We just want to be compensated."

Meanwhile, in Washington, there's a pincer movement closing in on the most successful social-welfare program in the country's history. The administration* has dug in on a payroll tax cut, which would drain money from the Social Security system, and now we're hearing a proposal to let people draw down their own future Social Security payments now. Both SS and Medicare will be stressed if the oncoming pandemic-fueled recession is as bad as it is predicted to be, but it would be wrong to interpret anything coming from the administration*-or from the Republican Senate-as anything but a few more miles in the long march against these programs.

In addition, predictably, the effort to hamstring a possible Democratic presidency already is underway through the traditional method of ignoring the blog's First Law of Economics. From the Washington Post:

The concerns about the deficit are coming from traditional conservatives at the White House, including new chief of staff Mark Meadows and acting budget director Russ Vought. But officials say they are likely to face much more skepticism from President Trump himself. Trump has shown little interest since becoming president in shrinking the deficit and has so far stood firm on his campaign pledge not to alter Social Security. It's unclear how hard conservatives will push Trump on the deficit. As the novel coronavirus crisis has intensified, Trump has cut deals with congressional Democrats that largely ignored the impact on the federal debt, approving more than $2 trillion in spending already.
No, I will not hold my breath waiting for this president* to unleash his inner Keynesian, especially since Mitch McConnell is still running things in the Senate. The essential goals of Republican conservatism do not change, pandemics be damned. Ni shagu nazad, as we say around these parts.

(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

Bush first said he wanted to attack Iraq because it was close to having a nuclear weapon. This was a damned lie.
Iraq did not even have an active nuclear research program, and UN inspectors who had been on the ground there until 1998 so attested.

If Only The US Had That $6.4 Trillion It Wasted On Iraq and Afghanistan Wars To Fight Covid-19 Pandemic
Not only did we waste $6.4 trillion, we continue to wast trillions more on war industries that don't actually do us any good or make us perceptibly safer.
By Juan Cole

Wouldn't it be nice if the richest country in the world had some resources stored up to deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the worst health crisis since the 1918 Influenza Pandemic that killed 700,000 Americans? I mean, we had a $21 trillion a year economy.

George W. Bush and his administration squandered $6.4 trillion on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. With regard to Iraq, that was a war of choice. Iraq had not attacked the United States. Iraq's secular government feared and hunted down al-Qaeda. Bush just didn't like the looks of Iraq and decided to whack it.

The US was in a rare moment of global ascendancy. We had won the Cold War. The former Soviet Union was supine. There were no peer rivals in the whole world. The US could have wound down its arms industries, slashed the Pentagon budget, and invested in science and technology and educating the American public in creativity and critical thinking. Late in the Clinton administration we even had a slight budget surplus.

And then Bush pissed it all away. He actually borrowed a lot of the money for his wars, so you and I had to pay interest on their costs. It was sort of like being forced to buy a burned out building and pay interest on the mortgage for the rest of your life. Then he had the bright idea to lift financial regulation, allowing banks and even General Motors (?) to wrap up bad mortgages into securities and sell them like pigs in a poke to unsuspecting investors until that little ponzi scheme collapsed big time.

We was had. The September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, took a high toll in innocent American lives. But they turn out to have been a flukey success by a small terrorist organization that spent $500,000 on them. Putting in locks on the doors of jetliner cockpits and implementing some basic security measures forestalled further such attacks (it turns out that airliners were all along big bombs heavy with explosive fuel, and they used to be relatively unguarded).

But that was mostly what you needed to do. Improve travel security, and conduct some targeted counter-terrorism operations against the small al-Qaeda terrorist group.

You did not need to make Afghanistan into an American colony and try to change the lifeways of its 37 million people. You did not need to invade and occupy Iraq (pop. 38 million) and try to rule it as though the United States were a sort of steampunk Imperial Britain under PM David Lloyd George. You did not need to have 2.7 million American service members serve 5.4 million military deployments. We did not need to drop an average of 3,500 bombs on Afghanistan yearly since 2006. (Quite apart from the death toll, can you imagine how much those bombs and rockets and missiles cost, each, and how much it cost to deliver them? Who was making money off all that? Not you and me.) You did not need to kill 800,000 people (the angry relatives of which also started taking potshots of you, requiring you to bomb and kill more people).

A lot of my readers now are to young to remember that during the 2004 Olympics the Bush administration actually took out ads claiming to have liberated 50 million people. They were talking about having invaded and militarily occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. George W. Bush hung out with his viceroy in Iraq, Paul Bremer, at one point in 2003, and Bremer said when they parted, Bush told him, "I've got a country to run and so do you." Nobody thought Bush actually ran anything or was capable of it. As for Bremer, the Iraqis sullenly suffered his presence for about a year before he had to sneak out of the country at night, sort of the way Napoleon Bonaparte absconded from Egypt in summer of 1799 after it turned out that his invasion hadn't been a good idea after all.

Bush first said he wanted to attack Iraq because it was close to having a nuclear weapon. This was a damned lie. Iraq did not even have an active nuclear research program, and UN inspectors who had been on the ground there until 1998 so attested.

Then after Bush invaded Iraq and it became clear that the country had no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or even programs, he started saying he invaded the country to impose democracy. But then he said he did not want one person, one vote elections there, which made you kind of skeptical about that democracy business- along with the fact that he hadn't ever mentioned liking democracy before. When the press asked him about Gen. Pervez Musharraf's coup against the elected government of Pakistan, Bush said he approved heartily. Then they asked him Musharraf's name. But he didn't know that, he just knew that a general had made a coup in a country full of brown people and that sounded like a capital idea to him.

So you would think that since the Republican Party had brought you two unwinnable wars and an epochal financial collapse that no one would ever vote for it again. But no, the American people looked high and low and found someone even worse at managing affairs than Bush had been (and boy was that hard). And so now the coronavirus pandemic has hit, and Trump had fired some of the people who would ordinarily have been on the lookout for such a crisis. And in January when a US manufacturer came to him and said he could ramp up to produce millions of needed P95 masks, Trump blew him off.

So our $6.4 trillion is gone up in smoke in Mesopotamia and Central Asia. Did you see any benefit of it? I certainly did not. You do have to admit that it was a kind of genius to succeed in making Americans think those places were somehow important to them. In January 2005 when Iraqis voted and the pro-Iran parties won big, Bush supporters sent me snarky emails decrying my pessimism about the likelihood that Bush would turn that country into a shining beacon on a hill and use it as a fulcrum to reform the whole Middle East. Jonah Goldberg wanted to bet me that in a decade Iraqis would all be very satisfied with the Bush-backed 2005 constitution (which three of the 18 provinces rejected out of hand).

And now when we need it, we don't have it. Trump put up the Pentagon budget to $721.5 billion. It was $524 billion in 2016. What is the new military threat that we need $200 billion a year extra to fight in 2020?

So not only did we waste $6.4 trillion, we continue to wast trillions more on war industries that don't actually do us any good or make us perceptibly safer.

In fact, the big threat to the United States, both with regard to loss of life and economic harm was lurking in bats or pangolins in East Asia. What you would have needed to be prepared for it was a health and university and scientific research budget instead of a Pentagon budget. The United States has been hollowed out by the war corporations and the fossil fuel corporations and other useless industries that don't even supply many manufacturing jobs. They've made the US government their piggy bank. Meanwhile, 67% of the economy is something called "services" and 42 percent of Americans were making less than $15 an hour even before the calamity struck.

George "Prince Ali" Bush once said he envied the grunts he sent to Afghanistan because of the "romance" of it all. We've had quite enough "romantic" adventures abroad, thank you. We want our $6.4 trillion back. And we want steep cuts in war spending. Americans are hurting.

(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-

Lindsey gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Graham,

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 plan to balance the budget by slashing funds for Medicare, Social Security, 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 Graham, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's 4-Step Plan For Reopening The Economy Will Be Lethal
By Robert Reich

Donald Trump is getting nervous. Internal polls show him losing in November unless the economy comes roaring back.

But much of the American economy remains closed because of the pandemic. The number of infections and deaths continue to climb. Almost 3,000 Americans died last Friday alone, the deadliest day since the pandemic began.

So what is Trump's reelection strategy? Reopen the economy anyway.

Step 1: Remove income support, so people have no choice but to return to work.

Trump's Labor Department has decided that furloughed employees "must accept" an employer's offer to return to work and therefore forfeit unemployment benefits, regardless of Covid-19.

Trump's ally, Iowa Republican governor Kim Reynolds, says employees cannot refuse to return to work for fear of contracting the disease. "That's a voluntary quit," making someone ineligible for benefits.

GOP officials in Oklahoma are even threatening to withhold the $600 per week of extra unemployment benefits Congress has provided workers if an employer wants to hire them. Safety is irrelevant.

"If the employer will contact us ... we will cut off their benefits," says Teresa Thomas Keller of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Forcing people to choose between getting Covid-19 or losing their livelihood is inhumane. It's also nonsensical. Public health still depends on as many workers as possible staying home. That's a big reason why Congress provided the extra benefits.

Step 2: Hide the facts.

No one knows how many Americans are infected because the Trump administration continues to drag its heels on testing. To date only 6.5 million tests have been completed in a population of over 200 million adults.

Florida, one of the first states to reopen, has stopped releasing medical examiners' statistics on numbers of Covid-19 victims because the numbers are higher than the state's official count.

But it's impossible to fight the virus without adequate data. Anthony Fauci, the administration's leading infectious degree expert, warns that reopening poses "a really significant risk" without more testing.

Not surprisingly, the White House has blocked Fauci from testifying before the House.

Step 3: Pretend it's about "freedom."

Weeks ago, Trump called on citizens to "LIBERATE" states like Michigan, whose Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, imposed strict stay-at-home rules.

Michigan has the third-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in America, although tenth in population. When on Thursday Whitmer extended the rules to May 28, gun-toting protesters rushed the state house chanting "Lock her up!"

Rather than condemn their behavior, Trump suggested Whitmer "make a deal" with them.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," he tweeted. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!"

Meanwhile, the Attorney General, William Barr, has directed the Justice Department to take legal action against any state or local authorities imposing lockdown measures that "could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens."

Making this about "freedom" is absurd. Freedom is meaningless for people who have no choice but to accept a job that risks their health.

Step 4: Shield businesses against lawsuits for spreading the infection.

Trump is pushing to give businesses that reopen a "liability shield" against legal action by workers or customers who get infected by the virus.

Last week he announced he would use the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to remain open, despite high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths among meatpackers.

"We're going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that'll solve any liability problems," Trump said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists that proposed legislation giving state and local governments funding they desperately need must include legal immunity for corporations that cause workers or consumers to become infected.

"We have a red line on liability," McConnell said. "It won't pass the Senate without it."

But how can the economy safely reopen if companies don't have an incentive to keep people safe? Promises to provide protective gear and other safeguards are worthless absent the threat of damages if workers or customers become infected.

The truth: The biggest obstacle to reopening the economy is the pandemic itself.

Any rush to reopen without adequate testing and tracing - far more than now underway - will cause even more deaths, and a longer economic crisis.

Maybe Trump is betting that the worst of the Covid destruction will occur after election, when the economy appears to be on the road to recovery.

The first responsibility of a president is to keep the public safe. But Donald Trump couldn't care less. He was slow to respond to the threat, then he lied about it, then made it hard for states - especially those with Democratic governors - to get the equipment they need.

Now he's trying to force the economy to reopen in order to boost his electoral chances this November, and he's selling out Americans' health to seal the deal. This is beyond contemptible.

(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

Let Me Out Of Here!
The day America reached a turning point with COVID
By Jane Stillwater

What are your favorite TV shows? Mine are The Rookie, The Connors, Survivor, Roswell, New Mexico (my father was born there), Gray's Anatomy and All Rise (obviously I'm too cheap to buy cable). These are my guilty pleasures, my relief from the real world. One hour a night I just put my feet up, turn off my brain and get entertained.

But then some melodramatic fool comes on during the commercial break and sobs, "We are all in this together!" again and again and again.


I really didn't mind being locked up for the first seven weeks. I puttered. I gardened. I ordered stuff online. I even got caught up with my FaceBook page. But this morning? Something inside of me just suddenly snapped. I finally reached a point of no return -- the point where I'd even rather choose actually dying of COVID and just getting it over with than being constantly locked up here for even one more day, one more hour or even one more freaking second! Arrgh.

And I think that everyone else in America has just reached that same point too.

For the first time since 1776, the words "Give me liberty or give me death" have taken on a very personal meaning for all of us. Let me out of here!

(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
~~~ Bob Gorrell ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Nancy Pelosi Assures Democratic Reps They Don't Need To Try Being Productive During Stressful Pandemic
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Encouraging lawmakers to avoid holding themselves to the impossible standard of protecting Americans, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) assured Democratic House representatives Wednesday they don't need to try being productive during the stressful pandemic.

"These uncertain times are difficult for everyone, so don't feel like you need to push yourself to constantly come up with detailed plans to avert a new depression," said Pelosi, insisting that House Democrats should tune out the nagging voice of constituents pressuring them to ease mass suffering by enacting essential social safety measures before it's too late.

"Don't create a bunch of tension in your life by attempting to secure aid to unemployed Americans struggling to pay for basic necessities. Supporting workers is not going to happen anyway, so don't get all stressed. Look, this is not the time to beat yourself up over whether you're doing enough to prevent a cataclysmic economic decline. Take a breather. Sometimes it's better to just plop down on the couch and watch movies all day."

At press time, Pelosi emphasized there would be plenty of time to work on enacting legislation after the pandemic was finished cratering every aspect of American life.

(c) 2020 The Onion

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 19 (c) 05/15/2020

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use" copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."