Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Norman Solomon sings, "Class War -- Not The Media Hokey Pokey -- Is What It's All About."

Ralph Nader demands, "Donald Trump, Resign Now For America's Sake."

Glen Ford considers, "The Blue Plague And Black Death."

Jim Hightower explains, "Why Is Big Business Getting Tax Funds Meant For Small Business?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Trump Adviser Says 'Human Capital Stock' Should Get Back To Work."

John Nichols finds, "America Needs A Coronavirus Cure, Not More War."

James Donahue remembers, "Tesla's Mysterious 1930 Automobile."

David Swanson studies, "Reparations Of An Economic Hit Man."

David Suzuki finds, "Pandemic And Climate Crises Unmask Inequalities."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Thank God For The Mute Button During Tuesday's House Oversight Hearing."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "Americans Have United Before To Defeat An External Enemy And We Can Again."

US Senator Willard Romney R/Ut wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich tells, "A Tale Of Two Pandemics."

Jane Stillwater It's another, "Madam Jane Predicts."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Waterford Whispers News reports, "World Health Organisation Open New Whatsapp Group For Bitching About Trump," but first, Uncle Ernie asks, "Who Says Lying Donald Is A Sociopathic Megalomaniac? Everyone!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Greenberg, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Gary Knight, DonkeyHotey, Win McNamee, Alex Wong, Scott Strazzante, Jeffery Grospe, Deepak Taloni, Robert Reich, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Unsplash, 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

Who Says Lying Donald Is A Sociopathic Megalomaniac? Everyone!
By Ernest Stewart

"The White House, is in the hands of a sociopathic megalomaniac who's interested in nothing but his own power, electoral prospects." ~~~ Noam Chomsky

"If we are to limit global warming to just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees C) then we need to make global cuts of at least 7% per year for the next 30 years. The pandemic shows us that major structural changes in the transport and energy systems are required." ~~~ Mark Maslin ~ a professor of climatology at University College London

"We agree that it's important to address solvency. We also think it's equally important to address benefit adequacy, because of the struggle that the middle class and working class have these days in saving for retirement." ~~~ said Dan Adcock ~ director of government relations and policy at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare.

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

Then there is my dear friend Noam Chomsky. Noams been talking about Lying Donald as of late in about half a dozen interviews, Noam said Lying Donald is a "sociopathic megalomaniac singularly unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic." And ain't that the truth!

Noam said, "The White House, is in the hands of a sociopathic megalomaniac who's interested in nothing but his own power, electoral prospects." Ring any bells folks?

"Trump doesn't care what happens to the country, the world, though he's still reliant on his primary constituency, which is great wealth and corporate power," Chomsky said. Noam added that "the administration has no coordinated plan for addressing the pandemic, the nation will see a lot more deaths from Covid-19. On top of the nearly 100,000 confirmed fatalities that have already occurred."

Chomsky said that Lying Donald purposely moved to take apart, "the entire pandemic prevention machinery, by canceling programs that were working with Chinese scientists to identify potential viruses!" Of course, that was just the tip of the ice berg of what Lying Donald has destroyed that will effect all systems of our health care.

Noam said that we will eventually get over Covid-19 but he warned that "There isn't going to be any recovery from the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of sea levels."

Chomsky was asked if Trump was "culpable in deaths of Americans." He replied "but it's much worse than that, because the same is true internationally. To try and cover up his criminal attacks against the American people, which have been going on all of this time, he's flailing about to try and find scapegoats."

Noam talking to Canada's National Observer last month said that Lying Donald, "wants to destroy the prospects for all organized human life. And in the near future. That's what it means to maximize the use of fossil fuels, to cut regulations that might diminish or restrict that danger."

Lying Donald needs to leave the White House and enter prison, hopefully the Covid-19 ward come next January 20th and it's up to America to see to that come November!

In Other News

I see where global carbon emissions in America have dropped an unprecedented 17% during the coronavirus lockdown, and while that's nice it changes absolutely nothing. While it's a start, to have any lasting effect we would need to keep them down for the next 30 years. Feel like staying in lockdown for the next 30 years?

A new study published May 19 in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the coronavirus pandemic forced much of the world into lockdown by early April, daily global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 17% compared with 2019 levels.

"This reduction - which is primarily the result of disruptions to ground transportation and industry - may be one of the single largest emission drops in recorded history," the researchers said. However, they added, "... it is also likely to be temporary; with lockdown measures already being rescinded, daily global emissions are estimated to return close to 2019 levels by the end of the year, barely affecting the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide clouding our atmosphere and warming our planet more and more each year."

"Although this is likely to lead to the largest cut in emissions since World War II, it will make barely a dent in the ongoing build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre in England, said in a statement. (Betts was not involved in the study.) "It's like we're filling a bath and have turned down the tap slightly, but not turned it off - the water is still rising, just not as fast. To stop the bath overflowing, we need to turn the tap off."

Back when Papa Smirk was in office, had we heeded the scientists advice we might have gotten global warming under control by now and by switching from Oil, Gas and Coal to Sun, Wind, Tidal and other non-polluting electrical generation systems we wouldn't be facing the nightmare situations that we face today! But we didn't, and here we are!

Trouble is, it's only going to get worse and we may have reached the point of no return where we can't stop what is to come. Covid-19 may just be a walk in the park compared to the other viruses that are out there! For example, in the thawing of the permafrost in Alaska it is releasing viruses that used to plauge the dinosaurs, and if you thought that bird, bat or swine flu was bad...! Speaking of which the 1918 - 1919 came from a bird, i.e. dinosaur flu, from China, with love, that killed about 700,000 folks in the United Snakes. Compared to Covid-19 it was a monster. It killed more than all the deaths from both soldiers and civilians that died in both WWI and WWII. Some 100,000,000 all tolled. India lost a little over 20,000,000 alone.

Like today, American politicians from the president on down accounted for at least half of that total. Don't tell Lying Donald that a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, beat his totals by 7 fold or else we're all doomed! On a happy note, Woodrow eventually died from the flu, perhaps Lying Donald will too!

And Finally

I see where Willard is at it again! US Sinator Willard (Mitt) Romney is pushing his "Trust Act" that he introduced last October, (and went nowhere) again interlacing it with the new Covid-19 bill that would strip seniors of much of their Social Security benefits. Ever since FDR came up with Social Security as part of his "new deal" the Rethuglicans have been dying to get their greedy little paws on it and give it to their uber rich puppet masters.

The "Trust Act;" don't you just love how politicians name bills that are truly evil with nice sounding names in order to cover up their true intent, would set up "rescue committees" (another euphemisms) to rob social security, medicare, highway funding and such. Did I mention all of this is going on behind closed doors? I'm sure you get the picture of why it's being kept out of sight!

Therefore, old Willard is being awarded 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!


09-26-1932 ~ 05-26-2020
Thanks for the film!

02-27-1939 ~ 05-26-2020
Thanks for the art!

06-25-1935 ~ 05-27-2020
Thanks for fighting the good fight!

08-14-1945 ~ 05-27-2020
Thanks for the film!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Class War -- Not The Media Hokey Pokey -- Is What It's All About
By Norman Solomon

Journalists aren't supposed to "bury the lead." But when death is the topic and corporate power is the culprit, the connection routinely goes unmentioned.

Class war -- waged methodically from the top down -- is so constant and pervasive that it might seem unremarkable. The 24/7 siege to make large companies more profitable and the wealthy more wealthy is going on all around us. In the process, it normalizes avoidable death as a cost of doing business.

Overall, news media are part of that normalization. While negative coverage of Donald Trump has been common due to his handling of the pandemic, media outrage has been muted in relation to the magnitude of the dying in our midst -- at a time when most of the dying could have been prevented.

Deaths tend to become less "newsworthy" as the numbers mount and shock gives way to tacit media acceptance. A new lethal reality is built on dominant structures that keep serving the financial priorities of the powerful. Emphasis is often less about saving lives and more about saving the stock market. The storyline becomes more about "opening," less about dying, even though opening is sure to cause more dying.

Patterns of economic injustice are so basic to U.S. society that they amount to deep cracks in its foundation. Under the weight of catastrophe, whether hurricane or recession or pandemic, the cracks split wider and wider as more human beings -- disproportionately poor and people of color -- fall into the abyss.

Corporate media narratives routinely bypass such core truths about cause and effect. Heartbreaking stories have scant context. Victims without victimizers.

Fueled by ultra-greed, Trump's approach is a kind of scorched-earth nonstop campaign, an extreme version of the asymmetrical class warfare going on all the time.

"The world before COVID-19 was a deeply unequal place," the progressive publisher OR Books noted in an email to supporters this week. "Now, in the pandemic, those inequalities are only more stark. Across America and around the globe are fabulous riches for a tiny few and deepening immiseration for everyone else."

A swiftly infamous Instagram post by David Geffen ("net worth" $8.7 billion) in late March, showing his $590 million yacht at sunset as the pandemic took deadly hold in the United States ("isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus . . . I hope everybody is staying safe"), became a symbol transcending avowed politics. Geffen is no right-winger. He's a liberal. In the 2018 election cycle he gave $1 million to Democratic congressional super PACs. He went on to become a donor to Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign.

But the most pernicious and ultimately destructive actions of the super-wealthy are not so overtly gauche. The poisons are laced with soothing PR, while the rich movers and shakers play by the rules that capitalism has constructed for the voracious acquisition of wealth at the expense of everyone else. In that sense, the worst class-war crimes are the ones that adhere to the rules and don't get singled out for condemnation.

Consider the pathology of Jeff Bezos, reputedly the world's richest person, who commented that he couldn't think of much else to spend his money on besides programs for space travel, while back on planet Earth the extent of misery due to poverty is staggering. Said Bezos: "The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it."

For the likes of Bezos and other elite winners of riches, in the words of songwriter Tracy Chapman, a future awaits: "I won't die lonely / I'll have it all prearranged / A grave that's deep and wide enough / For me and all my mountains o' things."

A few months into 2020, capitalism is running amuck in tandem with the coronavirus, like some headless horseman galloping over dead bodies. Meanwhile, for U.S. news media, accustomed to covering faraway disasters, a reflex has set in close to home -- turning the page on deaths, increasingly presenting them as numbers. An anesthetized pall of acceptance is descending on us.

"For the person who dies there is an end, but this is not so for the person who grieves," psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz has pointed out. "The person who mourns goes on living and for as long as he [or she] lives there is always the possibility of feeling grief." In his book "The Examined Life," Grosz wrote: "My experience is that closure is an extraordinarily compelling fantasy of mourning. It is the fiction that we can love, lose, suffer and then do something to permanently end our sorrow."

The corporate system is looking for its own forms of social "closure" in the midst of this pandemic's colossal deadly upheaval. Already, we're supposed to accept. Maybe you don't want to call it class war. But whatever you call it, the system always makes a killing.

(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."

Donald Trump, Resign Now For America's Sake
This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
By Ralph Nader

Where are the calls for Trump's resignation? Since his first months in the White House, Trump has been the most impeachable, most lawless, most self-enriching, most bungling President in U.S. history. He relies entirely on lying and scapegoating to avoid taking responsibility for his failures. Trump didn't even win the popular vote - the Electoral College selected him. President Trump has fomented chaos and corruption in his administration without encountering insistent demands for his resignation.

The supine Republican Senate shields Trump from any political accountability. Dominated by the evil "Moscow Mitch" McConnell, the Senate prevented Trump from being convicted under the impeachment clause of the Constitution. But Trump makes the case against himself - "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president." Trump makes good on that statement every day, making decisions with reckless abandon and doubling down, falsely accusing people of crimes, turning our government over to big businesses, and firing inspectors general investigating crime and corruption in Trump's regime of corporatism, favoritism, and nepotism.

Trump exercises his pouting, unstable ego as the determinant of misgoverning on a deadly scale, as with his delaying, downplaying, over-riding science, and providing lethal advice regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. For which he boastfully gives himself a perfect ten.

Trump keeps flailing, failing, and using foul-mouthed rhetoric because about 43 percent of voters stick with him, no matter what.

Well - the parents of many Trump supporters did not stay with Richard Nixon in 1974. Public demands for "Tricky Dick" to leave office ultimately included much of his "base" including scores of Republicans in Congress, led by Mr. Conservative Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ). Why? Nixon had defied a Congressional subpoena and committed an obstruction of justice. Trump, on the other hand, has defied many Congressional subpoenas and engaged in over a dozen obstructions of justice, many of which are ongoing.

Why no demands for resignation? Have too many Americans lost their proper sense of honest public service and accountability? From 1974 to now, the American Bar Association (ABA) - supposedly a first responder against the destruction of rule of law and constitutional observance - has done nothing to challenge above-the-law presidential abuses. (In 2005-2006 the ABA displayed some courage and charged the Bush/Cheney administration with three sets of unconstitutional behavior.)

Many Trump voters seem to expect more of virtually every public figure who isn't Trump! Ask Trump voters if they would support their local fire chief if he or she lied daily about the fire department's readiness to fight fires? Would they support a fire chief who appoints firefighters with no experience? Would they support a police chief who accepts no responsibility for a street crime wave while disabling the force?

Would they support a CEO of a major hospital who promotes, against the advice of his/her medical scientists, chemicals and drugs that can take the lives of patients? Would they support a super predator bank CEO who gives sweet-heart deals to the rich at the direct expense of customers of modest means? Would they support a CEO of a big construction company, spouting anti-immigrant hate, while hiring hundreds of poorly paid undocumented foreign laborers taking jobs away from American workers? The answer is pretty clear.

These people in positions of power would have lost their jobs if they engaged in such reckless and unjust behavior. Corrupt Donald, on the other hand, has done all of these continually and remains an escapee from justice. In addition to these previously acknowledged failings, Trump has wrecked the federal health, safety, and economic protections including many life-saving controls on deadly pollution, dangerous business practices, and business theft of your earnings as consumers, workers, and savers.

In addition, here is a top betrayal: Trump promised his voters a big infrastructure repair and upgrade program in all communities - with good-paying jobs. He betrayed them, giving instead about 2 trillion dollars in tax cuts to the rich and big corporations, like the drug and banking industries and even his own family!

Trump voters need to ask themselves - what else does Trump have to do to our livelihood, health, safety, and dignity before you say - "no more!" If you want more details about Mr. Trump's lying betrayals, read Fake President by Mark Green and me and judge Trump by his own contemptuous words and misdeeds.

Most puzzling are the many columnists - both Democratic and Republican - who week after week show how disastrously unworthy and unfit Trump is, yet never conclude with a demand for his resignation or further impeachment. Many in the opinion class may believe it would never happen. My response is that judging the odds is not the primary responsibility of a columnist. Making the demand is telling readers that your critique is serious enough to warrant a necessary remedy.

Devastating critics like Dana Milbank, Republican Michael Gerson, Eugene Robinson, Margaret Sullivan, and conservative Max Boot of the Washington Post, or Charles Blow, Paul Krugman, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times have cogently taken Trump apart on very serious matters since 2017, yet they leave their readers without the obvious conclusion -Trump has to go. A clear daily peril to innocent Americans "I'm in total control." why not try bleach, etc. The country cannot wait until January 2021 - assuming dictatorial Donald and his determined GOP don't criminally suppress enough votes to postpone Trump's departure until January 2025.

(c) 2020 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

The Blue Plague And Black Death
By Glen Ford

George Floyd's death by Blue Plague in Minneapolis was widely condemned by the same parties that have encouraged and funded the spread of the fatal contagion.

The pathogen that kills Black people at two and a half times the rate of whites took the life of 46 year-old George Floyd, this week in Minneapolis. Floyd's last words were, "I can't breathe," much like the desperate utterances of plague victim Eric Garner, struck down in 2014 in New York City. Unlike the still raging Covid-19 virus, which is virulent among Blacks of both sexes, the Blue Plague is especially lethal to Black males of all ages. According to researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Michigan, 1 in every 1,000 black boys and men will be fatally stricken by the Blue Plague at some point in their lifetimes -at ages ranging from 12 year-old Tamir Rice, snuffed out in Cleveland in 2014, to 50 year-old Walter Scott, who fell victim to the pestilence in North Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

Covid-19 is categorized as a "novel," or new, virus, having mutated recently from wild animals. But the Blue Plague is a serial killer that dates back to the slave patrols of the pre-Civil War South. Indeed, the first vector of the Blue Plague has been traced back to Charleston, South Carolina, which established a paramilitary force called the City Guard in 1783, primarily to "police" Black slaves -although the term police had not yet been invented. The City Guard helped suppress the Denmark Vesey slave rebellion in 1822 -a success that is believed to have led to the mutation of slave patrols into full-fledged vectors of Black death in cities across the nation, not just the South.

Researchers are hoping to find a vaccine for Covid-19, possibly within the year, but the Blue Plague only grows more deadly over time and enjoys a host of immunities. Although Black people had hoped that the historic expansion in the number of Black elected officials would create political antibodies to limit the spread of the Blue Plague, the opposite has happened. In 2014, just months before Michael Brown's life was cut short by the Blue Plague, in Ferguson, Missouri, 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus voted to continue funneling billions of dollars in military weapons, gear and training to local infestations of the plague, despite ample evidence that such infusions have made the scourge even more toxic to Black life. Four years later, 75 percent of the Black Caucus voted to classify the Blue Plague as a "protected class," further immunizing the disease from the possibility of cure. The Protect and Serve Act of 2018 was "superfluous, since cops are already the most protected 'class' in the nation."

More radical thinkers, steeped in the struggle against social pathogens, argue that the virulence of the Blue Plague can be weakened, at least among concentrated Black populations, through Black Community Control of the disease. A number of plague control formulas have been put forward, but the Black Misleadership Class, deeply embedded in the Democratic Party, fiercely resists any curb on the blue contagion, and actively encourages the spread of the disease among the federal secret police. In March of this year, two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus joined with a large majority of Democrats in support of the wildly misnamed USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, which has since passed the Senate, as well. Only 17 of the 50 full-voting Black members of the House voted against the law, which was supposed to expire this year along with other provisions of the infamous Patriot Act. As reported in The Verge, the Act allows the FBI "to collect 'tangible things' related to national security investigations without a warrant, requiring only approval from a secret court that has reportedly rubber-stamped many requests." These tangible things include spying on targeted peoples' web browsing "without having to demonstrate that those Americans have done anything wrong," in the words of Oregon Sen. Wyden. The Blue contagion has spread around the world as the United States deploys its vast military as a kind of global police force, backed up by killer drones that carry out White House authorized executions in the far reaches of the planet. President Barack Obama authorized a regular schedule of snuff jobs on "Kill Tuesdays," but President Trump's timetable is probably more erratic.

This being an election year, George Floyd's death by Blue Plague in Minneapolis was widely condemned by the same parties that have encouraged and funded the spread of the fatal contagion. The Democratic mayor of the city fired the four cops involved in crushing Floyd's neck, and Joe Biden, the presidential candidate who brags that he "wrote" the Plague-proliferating 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, tweeted that "George Floyd deserved better and his family deserves justice. His life mattered." But Biden and his party's history as vectors of mass death say otherwise.

In the absence of an immediate cure, it is certain that some endangered Black males -and sisters, who are not immune to the ravages of the Blue Plague -will resort to home remedies to ward off the pestilence, as did Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner and, more recently, some brothers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

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

Why Is Big Business Getting Tax Funds Meant For Small Business?
By Jim Hightower

Monty Bennett was just another faceless right-wing millionaire on the long list of high-dollar donors to Donald Trump - until he suddenly surfaced in April as the nation's biggest bagger of government cash in the emergency Paycheck Protection Program.

Bennett got $76 million from this fund meant to help small businesses keep people employed in today's pandemic shutdown of the economy. But wait - there's nothing mom & popish about Monty's business. Operating through a maze of tightly interwoven financial trusts and corporate subsidiaries, he runs a sprawling, Dallas-based conglomerate named Ashford Inc. that owns and operates 130 hotels and luxury resorts all across the country, including the Marriott Beverly Hills and the Ritz-Carlton in the Virgin Islands.

How does a multibillion-dollar empire get such payments while legitimate small businesses are shut out? The old-fashioned way: By paying lobbyists and lawmakers to rig the rules to let corporate thieves raid the treasury. A major donor to Trump and GOP congress critters, Bennett pressured them to punch a special interest loophole in the program, decreeing that while a big business cannot apply for payments, each unit of a big business can.

So... gotcha! In early April, before most of America's Main Street enterprises even knew relief was available, Ashford Inc's squad of manipulators were running all-night sessions for each of the hotels it owns, getting them to rush out "individual" applications. This twisting of the PPP fund made the slick hotelier King of Bailout Hill, having scooped up 339 times more than the average applicant received.

In addition to stiffing small businesses, Bennett balked at the requirement that the bulk of taxpayer dollars be used to maintain the paychecks of Ashford's hotel employees. Instead, he loudly insisted that government aid should be available to bolster corporate owners - ie, him. Did you know that "boss," spelled backwards, is double-S.O.B?

(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

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett speaks to members of the press
in front of the West Wing of the White House, May 22, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Trump Adviser Says 'Human Capital Stock' Should Get Back To Work
By William Rivers Pitt

As the United States trembles on the verge of 100,000 COVID deaths and nearly 1.7 million confirmed infections - a "badge of honor" in the fetid mind of Donald Trump - the question of how we got to this horrific place stands out like a pustule on the skin of the nation. Trump has wielded outsize influence in driving this ship onto the reef, to be sure, but he has not acted alone.

Enter Kevin Hassett, current senior adviser and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for the White House. Men like Hassett pollute the Trump administration from the basement to the roof deck, and they have done much to turn a terrible situation into a nigh-inescapable nightmare.

Hassett has spent the last 21 years of his career being wrong. A creature of the American Enterprise Institute, the far right think tank that sought a more violent U.S. foreign policy by way of a "new Pearl Harbor" on the eve of September 11, Hassett made a name for himself by writing a book in 1999 predicting a huge upswing in the stock market. The dot-com bubble burst before the ink on his pages was dry, and the market cratered accordingly. So much for "Dow 36,000." Hassett was chief economic adviser for John McCain's doomed 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. He was an economic adviser for Mitt Romney's failed 2012 presidential bid. Perhaps most tellingly, Hassett was an economic adviser for George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Bush, of course, went on to preside over the last massive economic collapse before the current one. One senses the pattern here.

Hassett assumed his current White House role on March 20, 2020. Despite having no experience whatsoever with infectious disease modeling, he began peddling a series of shabby models that grossly downplayed the severity of the crisis. According to Hassett, there would be no more COVID deaths by mid-May.

Hassett was roundly denounced by scientists, medical professionals and various commentators for these astonishing inaccuracies, but Trump embraced his nonsense "data" with the same enthusiasm as he embraced hydroxychloroquine and the injection of disinfectants as COVID cure-alls. Within the airtight bubble of the Trump White House, Hassett played the tune the boss wanted to hear, even as the bodies piled higher and higher.

On Sunday, as the nation observed Memorial Day weekend, Hassett went on CNN to again peddle his "No Big Deal" snake oil, and did so in a way that will not be soon forgotten. "Our capital stock hasn't been destroyed," he said of the damage done by COVID. "Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work. There are lots of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises."

"Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work."

Stock (noun): farm animals such as cattle, pigs and sheep, bred and kept for their meat or milk; livestock.

Let that sink in good and deep, down through the skin and into the marrow within your bones. Hassett's remarkable statement on Sunday puts into stark relief the reason why this disaster has unfolded as it has.

It is far more than mere gross incompetence. This White House does not see us as human beings with intrinsic value and rights of our own. We are cattle who exist only for the profit of the few, sheep to be sheared, pigs to be hung up for slaughter. To them, we are only meat for the machine, nothing more than an entirely expendable commodity.

The "human capital stock" being lethally affected by COVID no longer reside primarily in the nation's large urban centers. "As the death toll nears 100,000, the disease caused by the virus has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America," reports The Washington Post. "The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country's rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds."

As social distancing strictures are eased in all 50 states to one degree or another, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia have all seen infection spikes of varying severity. Researchers at Imperial College London released a study reporting that COVID is still spreading at epidemic rates in at least 24 U.S. states, many of them far away from COVID epicenters like New York City.

In Texas, where authorities conflated data on active infections with data on antibodies testing to camouflage the severity of the situation, the mayor of Houston warned that his city's medical infrastructure could not handle another spike in cases, even as revelers flouted safety strictures because the state decided being open for business was more important than human life.

Minnesota is dealing with a new spike in COVID cases requiring a record-high number of intensive care beds. Wisconsin just reported the largest three-day spike in cases since the pandemic began, even as images from the long weekend of hundreds of unmasked people grouped together at beer gardens rumbled across the newswires.

On April 16, I wrote this: "This is the very living essence of tragedy and farce. Trump has labored mightily to convince his people that this is all some sort of ruse to keep him from being re-elected, and millions of those people have swallowed it whole. This is a snake eating its own tail in real time while the snake-handler-in-chief cheers it on ... except we are not talking about snakes. These are people, all of whom are somebody's children, many of whom have children. They trusted Donald Trump, and that will get many of them killed while subsequently prolonging a pandemic that has already infected 2 million people worldwide."

More than a month later, in the still-glaring absence of a national testing plan and with "Reopen Now" on the lips of Trump sycophants in government and media, a portion of that "human capital stock" spent the weekend trusting the words of this president as they crushed together in large groups with no defense against the virus.

Those people deserve their share of blame for following these fools with such misplaced partisan trust, but the fact remains that many of them would almost certainly not be partaking in such flagrantly dangerous behavior had they not received express permission from Trump, his right-wing allies, and from people like Kevin Hassett, who told us the "human capital stock" would stop dying by the middle of this month.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, has only gotten started in the middle of the country, and will become worse by orders of magnitude so long as some people continue to believe the greedy, reckless words of this administration. You are not cattle. Please don't act like it.

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

The US Capitol.

America Needs A Coronavirus Cure, Not More War
Progressive democrats look to reduce the defense budget.
By John Nichols

The coronavirus pandemic and the economic meltdown extending from it are reframing our understanding of what endangers us. We now know that the greatest threat facing the United States is not some foreign adversary but a virus. Yet our budget priorities do not reflect this new reality.

House Progressive Caucus cochair Mark Pocan wants to correct that imbalance. "The enemy we're fighting right now is COVID-19, so our sole focus should be on expanding testing, tracing and treatment, funding towards vaccine development, and relief for the American people," Pocan says. "Increasing defense spending now would be a slap in the face to the families of over 90,000 Americans that have died from this virus."

With Representative Barbara Lee, Pocan is leading a group of Democratic lawmakers in calling on the House Armed Services Committee members who will draft this year's National Defense Authorization Act to authorize "a level of spending below last year's authorized level."

In a letter to committee chair Adam Smith and ranking member Mac Thornberry, Pocan and Lee are joined by 27 other House Democrats who argue,

Congress must remain focused on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and distributing needed aid domestically. In order to do so, appropriators must have access to increased levels of non-defense spending which could be constrained by any increase to defense spending.

In the last three years alone-during a time of relative peace-we have increased annual defense spending by more than $100 billion, almost 20 percent. This has occurred during a period without any military action authorized by this Congress. Right now, the coronavirus is our greatest adversary. It has killed more than 90,000 Americans, far surpassing the number of casualties during the Vietnam War. We must remain focused on combating the coronavirus and not on increasing military spending that already outpaces the next 10 closest nations combined (China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil).

That argument has been made before, but it takes on new meaning when Congress is wrestling with questions of how much can and should be spent to address an overwhelming public health crisis, mass unemployment, and the perilous circumstance of state and local governments that have already spent down their budgets in the fight to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

"The COVID pandemic has laid bare how America has failed to make its budgets reflect the real needs of our everyday families," Lee says. "It's long past time that we address our bloated military budget and re-target resources towards policies and programs that matter the most for keeping us safe, healthy, and secure."

This is one reason a broad coalition of groups-some of them longtime critics of excessive military spending, others more broadly focused on budget priorities and public policy-have endorsed the call. The backers include Public Citizen, Indivisible, the Council for a Livable World, Demand Progress, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Just Foreign Policy, Women's Action for New Directions, the Center for International Policy, and the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Also on board are the American Friends Service Committee, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Pax Christi USA, the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Church of Christ. Groups such as Peace Action, Code Pink, Beyond the Bomb, Win Without War, and Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition are talking up the proposal. Hailing the letter, Peace Action senior director for policy and political affairs Paul Kawika Martin declared that "Congress must invest in other tools besides the bloated Pentagon to cure #COVID19 and spur economic recovery."

Massive amounts of money are being allocated now, with scant oversight. Already, the most cynical of the right-wing budget hawks are claiming that too much is being spent, and their objections will grow louder as the 2020 election approaches. The letter spearheaded by Lee and Pocan pushes back with an argument that with the right priorities, the United States has the resources to address the challenges it faces.

"America needs a coronavirus cure, not more war. We need more testing, not more bombs," the House members argue. "In order to reopen our nation in a data-driven, safe manner, we need to focus our spending efforts on the millions of additional coronavirus tests and tens of thousands of additional contract tracers we will need, as well as covering treatment costs, developing therapeutics, and distributing future vaccines." There's nothing radical about that assessment. Indeed, it echoes the words of a Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, in 1953:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

Eisenhower, who would eventually warn about the excesses of a profligate military-industrial complex, was a general who came to understand the cost of warped priorities. He preached about the need for a "proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Today, Pocan, Lee, and their colleagues speak a similar language, as they argue that in these "unparalleled times," it is necessary to "constrain defense spending during this pandemic so that we can defeat the greatest threat to our nation-the coronavirus."

(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.

Tesla's Mysterious 1930 Automobile
By James Donahue

There is a story making its rounds that the genius inventor Nicola Tesla once tested a mystery motor in a 1930 vintage Pierce Arrow automobile that ran without any sign of energy source other than an antenna and two strange metal bars that projected out of an "energy receiver" mounted under the dashboard.

As the story goes, the gasoline engine was replaced with a round, completely enclosed electric motor about a meter in length and sixty-five centimeters in diameter. The motor ran hot so it required a cooling fan in front of it. They said there was no distributor. The rest of the car's drive train, from the clutch to the rear wheels, remained intact. A box identified as a gravitational energy converter was installed in front of the dashboard. The box measured sixty by twenty-five by fifteen centimeters. They said it contained twelve vacuum tubes. Out of the box projected a heavy antenna about one and eight-tenths meters long. Also two thick rods protruded about ten centimeters from the converter's housing. When he was ready to go, Tesla pushed the two rods into the box and announced that "now we have power."

Tesla said the motor achieved a maximum of eighteen hundred revolutions per minute. He said there was enough power in the converter to illuminate an entire house in addition to running that car's engine. The car was tested for a week, sometimes reaching a top speed of ninety miles an hour, without any effort. There were no emissions coming from the car's exhaust pipe. The car was kept on a farm about twenty miles from Buffalo, New York, and not far from Niagara Falls.

After the week of testing, they said the mysterious converter box was removed, as was the electric motor, and the original gasoline powered engine was replaced. It is rumored that Westinghouse furnished the experimental motor for the car, and that Tesla sold the patent to his converter box to Westinghouse. Whatever happened, Tesla's amazing invention disappeared and was never seen again. Tesla always maintained that electric power plants and wires and gasoline engines were not necessary. He said there was plenty of energy available that was free for the taking. But big business interests never allowed Tesla to introduce what he knew to the world. There was no money to be made from "free" energy.

People who knew about this car later tried to reconstruct it but they ran into trouble acquiring records. It was believed that Pierce Arrow helped in establishing the interconnection between Tesla's electric motor and the car's transmission. But Pierce Arrow went out of business shortly after that, due to the Great Depression. The company tools and records were taken over by Studebaker in South Bend, Indiana. And of course, Studebaker also has vanished, with its resources absorbed by the former American Motors Company, which also has gone out of existence. All records of just how Tesla accomplished that fete have since been lost, or else well hidden by special interest people who do not want us to ever know how he did it.

(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.

Reparations Of An Economic Hit Man
By David Swanson

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and this TED Talk, has a new book called Touching the Jaguar. You can pre-order it here and get an online workshop and other bonus materials that I haven't seen but recommend purely on the basis of having read the book. Perkins also is doing an online workshop in July that you can sign up for here. An interview he's given about his new book is here. And I'll soon be interviewing him on Talk Nation Radio.

Perkins has not just been confessing to and exposing the actions of himself and others in imposing destructive policies on nations around the globe for the profits of U.S. corporations. He's also been working for many years to make reparations, to reverse the damage. In his new book, he describes how shamen in South America helped him turn his life around, how indigenous people in Ecuador have helped him and others understand the need to live sustainably, and how organizations Perkins has been part of have helped many more people learn about and work on the changes we all need.

Before he was an economic hit man, putting countries into debt and then forcing them to privatize and impoverish their people for U.S. profits, Perkins was a participant in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. He discovered, as he got into that work, what the real purpose of his mission there was. In the name of the Cold War, USAID was working to relocate poor people of the Andes into the jungle where they would be less able to influence politics.

The way in which this was done almost sounds like a Doctor Strangelovian parody. Poor people were sent into heavily forested areas that were declared to be, but were not, uninhabited. They were told to clear and farm soil that they were told would be, but was not, fertile. The outcome would be a reduction in democracy and decency in Ecuadorian politics, misery for the people "relocated," and absolute disaster for the indigenous people who lived in the jungle. Like many whistleblowers who eventually go public, Perkins, at this early stage of his career, registered his complaints through "proper channels." As often happens with that approach, the result was simply that the Peace Corps relocated Perkins to a different project elsewhere.

When Perkins describes his later work as an economic hit man, he recounts having threatened world leaders with the fate of various victims of U.S.-backed assassinations: Mossadegh, Allende, Arbenz, Lumumba, Diem. He also presents a case that the 1981 deaths of Jaime Roldos of Ecuador and Omar Torrijos of Panama were very likely U.S.-backed assassinations. I've added those two to a running list I've been keeping. But the important point here, I think, is how many coups have not happened because the threat has been enough. I doubt anyone has a comprehensive list of those.

Perkins recounts a very gradual transition from hit man to fellow man, with years during which he was trying to be both. He recounts the difficulty he had in gaining the trust of people he sincerely intended to help and work with. A Mayan man in Guatemala says to him: "You dare ask for my help! Your government, your CIA, and your army supported the invasion of our communities all my life. You trained Guatemalan soldiers to torture and kill us. You overthrew President Arbenz, the one politician who defended us. Like the Spanish before you, you set about to rob my people of their dignity, their pride, and their lands."

A lot of this new book is focused on the need to change perceptions, and the powerful results (including on one's physical health) that is possible through altering your perspective, through shifting your prejudices. This doesn't come off as mystical or nonsensical here. This is not a Christian Scientist telling you to simply imagine that you don't have a broken leg. The point is, rather, that, for example, by recognizing indigenous ways of living as the norm for most of human history and pre-history and as sustainable, rather than as merely primitive, backward, or ignorant, you can radically shift your thoughts about everything around you, your priorities, your tastes and preferences.

This is very much what my colleagues and I have in mind at World BEYOND War. Understanding that we have no choice but to outgrow militarism before it destroys us all shifts one's focus away from the desire to out-warmonger the Chinese. Understanding the stupidity of war moves one's priorities away from glorifying past ones and toward preventing future ones. And using "we" to mean humanity, rather than the U.S. government or any other national government, gives one a completely different understanding of what has been done, what we have the power to do, and what is necessary.

(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.

The COVID-19 outbreak is showing us the cracks in our systems, the fault lines.

Pandemic And Climate Crises Unmask Inequalities
By David Suzuki

A chorus of world leaders has declared we're all in the same COVID-19 boat. In response, U.K. writer Damian Barr tweeted, "We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar."

COVID-19 and climate change are threat multipliers. They compound existing risks and inequities and make them more visible.

Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show nearly one-third of COVID-19 patients are black, even though they're only 13 per cent of the U.S. population. Numbers are similar for COVID-19 death rates. This pattern of disproportionate impacts is true across nearly all jurisdictions that collect data.

We often assume this type of inequality doesn't exist in Canada. While a few jurisdictions here are beginning to think about collecting race-based data, most don't.

The information we do have is telling. In Metro Montreal, COVID-19 cases are significantly higher per capita in Montreal North, an area with the lowest average after-tax income. Stats from Toronto Public Health indicate higher infection rates in areas with greater proportions of low-income people or newcomers.

"Many have said that COVID-19 is the great equalizer, in that it doesn't discriminate," said Toronto Health Board chair Coun. Joe Cressy. "But that's sadly not the truth. What we're seeing is that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting those who are living in poverty."

How can we address this?

It turns out the pandemic may have predisposed more people to support actions that target inequalities. Polling shows that people care more about what happens to others than we did before the crisis. The outbreak is showing us the cracks in our systems, the fault lines. If we begin to address them, we'll be in a better place to respond to the longer-term climate and biodiversity crises.

As early as 2009, Scientific American pointed out that climate change will affect the poor the most. If we continue with the status quo, those who have had the smallest role in creating the carbon emissions problem will pay the greatest price.

U.S. data show more Indigenous and people of colour people die in heat waves or floods. Studies show this compounded vulnerability is also true in Canada. As a warming climate causes extreme weather events to increase in frequency and severity, this trend will likely continue - unless we change things.

Climate activists must be part of this change. If the transition to renewables increases consumers' energy costs, we'll be hurting the most vulnerable, those who already experience energy poverty. We must develop policies to address inequities, create meaningful jobs for all and reduce emissions.

Thankfully, there are many hopeful things happening throughout Canada.

The Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners have launched an Energy Poverty and Equity tool to explore energy poverty in Canada - defined as households that spend more than six per cent of their income on energy, more than double the national average. Even in my hometown of Vancouver, visible minority households are twice as likely to experience energy poverty.

If cities start using this tool, maybe they'll make different decisions. For example, if the focus is solely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, policy-makers might opt to provide incentives for single-family home retrofits, but this will primarily benefit affluent homeowners who are planning to renovate. With equity in mind, they could instead opt to invest in or provide zero-interest financing to retrofit social housing or multi-family, low-income housing. That would reduce greenhouse gases and energy poverty while improving equity, job creation and human health.

Portland asked underserved communities, particularly vulnerable ones, to share their experiences, which helped the city ensure its energy transition plans were as fair and just as possible. In Canada, it's exciting to see Vancouver building on Portland's experience.

Recently a colleague asked, "How do we want to use our privilege to show up in this moment? Who do we show up for? And how?"

These are questions I hope we continue to ask ourselves long after this pandemic has passed. We must act now to become more resilient in the face of all crises, to ensure fewer people will be left behind to shoulder an unfair share of the impacts.

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

Christi Grimm testifies before the House oversight committee

Thank God For The Mute Button During Tuesday's House Oversight Hearing
Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm kept the mudslinging at bay throughout the HHS COVID-19 hearing.
By Charles P. Pierce

Christi Grimm, the deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services who was replaced by the president* in May after her office produced a report that detailed shortages of personal-protective equipment and testing devices in the country's hospitals, met the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday and her every remark fairly glowed with judicious care. She refused to follow the committee's Republicans into the wilds of dubious therapeutics and she also refused to take the opportunities presented to her by Democrats to inveigh against the administration* that demoted her. She contented herself with defending her report as a "snapshot" of where the country was in April, when the research was conducted, and with defending the role of inspectors-general, well, generally.

"I view, and the community views, the independence and effectiveness of an inspector general as a key safeguard for the programs we oversee. It's what allows us to bring our subjective judgment to bear on problems without worrying whether those running the programs are hearing what they want to hear."
Part of her caution undoubtedly stemmed from the fact that she's still working at HHS, unlike the several other departmental IG's who have been fired. Nevertheless, the questioning from Republicans gave us a good working look at how they and their party plan to confront the pandemic in this fall's election. There seem to be three basic themes:

1) You've Got To Admit It's Getting Better: The committee's ranking Republican, coatless Jim Jordan of Ohio, hit this theme particularly hard. He tried very hard to get Grimm to admit that the report in May has been overtaken by events-100,000 deaths? Really?-and that it's time to "get back to work":

"I'll tell you how they're doing, they had to lay off the hospitals. 1.4 million workers in the month of April alone. I'll tell you how they are doing, they are not doing very well, because you, we bankrupted some of these hospitals by the practices we took. We certainly didn't overwhelm them. We forced them to lay off people and in many cases, we bankrupted these hospitals. And yes, the Democrats have a hearing on the survey two months ago where everything has changed and the goal for the entire shutdown was certainly met, I think, to the detriment of so many hospitals. You think it's time to get back to work?"

To which Grimm replied:

"I would not be able to comment on whether or not it is time to go back to work." Jordan also led the way on the minority's primary distraction-complaining that the committee was meeting remotely:
"Calling these meetings 'briefings' but live-streaming them and using some parliamentary rules to conduct them but not others allows them to ignore minority rights fundamental to congressional committee structure. We should be meeting in person, holding hearings pursuant to the House rules. But Speaker Pelosi refuses to return to work and at the very least, we should follow the rules that the majority passed in the House just a week ago."
(Personally, I think Jordan just didn't like the fact that there was a Mute button.)

2) It's All China's Fault, and the Comsymps World Health Organization: James Comer, Republican of Kentucky, took the lead on this one:

"There have been numerous public stories that the Chinese government hid the severity of the pandemic early on, and the World Health Organization enabled them to do so. Did the delay in understanding the severity of the pandemic cause a delay in the administration's ability to respond?"

To which Grimm replied:
"We do not have current work looking at that. That would fall into that general idea of response and timing. Now, we believe, is not the time to be look at issues like that, that fall into the effectiveness category. Our strategy, as I said earlier, is to protect people and find and protect infrastructure and enter effectiveness. So a look back at some of the decisions and what actions were taken as a result of information, that would be something that we potentially would consider down the road."
3) Magic Potions! Glenn Grothman, Republican of Wisconsin, wanted to know why HHS wasn't engaging in a profitable side-gig selling patent medicines:

"I have a few questions. Maybe you looking into these, maybe you haven't. Maybe I will just cause you to look at them in the future. There have been a lot of criticisms as far as the government response to this pandemic. My first question is, with regard to coming up with cures or reducing the number of people who get the pandemic-have you looked into the degree to which things like vitamin D or C or zinc, or that sort of thing-are being looked at by somebody else, the NIH, the CDC, someone?"
To which Grimm replied:
"We have not looked at those issues that you have identified."
She was resolute in her determination not to get dragged into the usual congressional mud fight and it helped to bring into stark relief what we're going to be hearing all summer. There was something refreshing in the way Grimm handled herself. I give all credit to the Mute button. Best thing to happen to Congress since they got rid of the spittoons.

(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-

"You know, it really doesn't matter what the media write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."
~~~ Donald Trump

People wait in line as SF-Marin Food Bank hands out 1,600 food bags at a pop-up pantry at
Bayview Opera House in San Francisco, California on Monday, April 20, 2020. Work furloughs
and layoffs created by coronavirus shelter-in-place orders are driving thousands to seek food assistance.

Americans Have United Before To Defeat An External Enemy And We Can Again
This is a time when leaders must emerge, move beyond their comfort zone, and offer bold responses to a stark crisis. This is not a moment for posturing.
By Jesse Jackson

We live in a time of bitter divisions. Today, even the wearing of masks has become a partisan question.

Yet, as this Memorial Day weekend reminds us, this country has united before to meet external threats. The calamity that has been wrought by the coronavirus is the result of an external attack-this time by a virus rather than an armed enemy. It too should be a time of national unity, of rallying together to share the sacrifices, to help one another through the crisis, and to rebuild the country afterwards.

Today, however, it is too easy to slip into small-minded partisanship, or to hold onto ideological blinders, even when it has never been more important to revive the better angels of our spirit.

Consider that about 35 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, with millions more unemployed but not counted. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have closed, never to open again.

Major retailers like JC Penny and J. Crew are declaring bankruptcy. Manufacturing plants like Ford that reopened have had to close again as workers got struck by the virus. Major industries like the airlines are alive primarily because of assistance from the government and the Federal Reserve.

This stunning reality-beyond anything suffered since the Great Depression itself-takes massive human causalities. More than 90,000 people now have died from the virus itself, with tens of thousands more weakened or crippled from its ravages. But the casualties are far greater.

Homeowners and renters can't pay their mortgages or rent. Graduates can't stay up with their student loans. Small businesses exhaust their reserves and are forced to lay off the team of workers they have assembled. Front-line workers deal with staggering stress, while at constant risk of infection. States and localities faced with plummeting revenues and rising costs have started to lay off vital workers and cut vital services.

People are sensibly scared, worried, and angry because of plans and hopes that were suddenly dashed through no fault of their own.

At this time, as in wartime, the government must act. It must act to organize our collective response to the attack, to organize needed medical and protective gear, to figure out testing and tracing strategies, to distribute health resources, to galvanize an all-out press for a remedy.

It must also act to limit the damage-to keep families in their homes, small businesses in their offices or stores, workers in their jobs. This cannot descend into partisan posturing.

In recent days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he feels no "urgency" to aid states and localities, suggesting that states could go bankrupt, and that the crisis was largely one of "blue-state" mismanagement. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has stated that any extension of supplemental unemployment benefits would occur only over "our dead bodies." McConnell dismissed the rescue package passed through the House as simply "aspirational" and adjourned the Senate until June.

The casualties are not partisan. They are Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, small business owners and small farmers, meat packers and more. They are disproportionately the most vulnerable: middle- and low-income families, the poor, the old, the sick. They are in red states and blue states.

McConnell knows this. Just as the causalities are not partisan, the response cannot be. Let us hope he is using this holiday break to think through a response that is of the scale necessary to meet the crisis. Let us hope that he can move from obstruction to negotiation, figuring out the compromises needed to move legislation through the Senate.

Most Americans would agree that aiding those who are unemployed through no fault of their own is not controversial. Some conservative Senate Republicans have joined with the most progressive House Democrats to champion a paycheck guarantee program that would support small business owners to pay their employees even when their businesses are locked down. That would enable workers to keep their benefits, get their pay, and owners to sustain their teams.

That is neither a blue nor a red program, it is common sense.

Similarly, most Americans would agree that we have to ensure that everyone can get treatment and testing without worrying about how to pay for it. Most would agree that we shouldn't bankrupt the post office. Most would agree that we have to make voting safe in the fall. Voting by mail is not a partisan agenda; it is a safety agenda.

This is a time when leaders must emerge, move beyond their comfort zone, and offer bold responses to a stark crisis. This is not a moment for posturing. It is a time for patriotism, for solidarity, for action. Let us hope that Memorial Day celebrations may help our leaders remember that challenge.

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Willard gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Romney,

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 scheme to destroy Social Security and Medicare via your "Trust Act," 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 08-07-2020. We salute you herr Romney, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

A Tale Of Two Pandemics
By Robert Reich

No description of the coronavirus is more misleading than calling it "the great equalizer." The horrific truth is that Native Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans are dying at much higher rates than white people - and we don't know the half of it because the CDC hasn't released any racial data about the virus; we don't know if they're even collecting it.

But the picture emerging from cities, states, and reservations is that of an atrocity.

In Milwaukee County, black people make up just 26% of the county's population but account for almost half the county's cases, and a staggering 81% of its deaths.

Louisiana, Illinois, and Michigan are no different: black people make up less of the overall population, but account for vastly more of both cases and deaths.

In San Francisco, Latinos account for just 15% of the population but make up 31% of the city's confirmed cases, and account for over 80% of the city's hospitalized coronavirus patients. And in the country's epicenter of New York City, the virus is twice as deadly for Latinos as for white people.

Native Americans are also dying in wildly disproportionate numbers. The Navajo Nation, with about 175,000 residents, has more cases of COVID-19 than nine entire states. And more deaths than 13 states.

You've heard how governors are fighting over aid? Well, tribal leaders are getting even less.

So why are these communities suffering the worst of this pandemic?

For one, black people and Latinos are more likely to work in "essential" positions that require them to put their health at risk - a study by the New York City comptroller found that 75% of the city's frontline workers are people of color.

On top of that, black people and Native Americans experience higher levels of preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes that make contracting the virus more deadly.

Of course they don't just happen to have these illnesses - this is the system: it's decades of segregated housing, pollution, lack of access to medical care, and poverty in action.

But the virus isn't just discriminating by race. It's also disproportionately affecting the working class and poor of every kind.

In New York City, the five ZIP codes with the highest rates of positive tests for the coronavirus have an average per capita income of *under* $30,000 - while residents in the five zip codes with the lowest rates have an average income of over $100,000.

And that's just where there's testing. Remember how early on we heard about celebrities testing positive? If not happiness, at least money can buy a diagnosis. New York just rounded its death toll up by a few thousand people who were never even tested.

Studies show that lower-income people are more likely to have chronic health conditions that make the virus more deadly.

They're less likely to receive sufficient medical care or might lack access altogether.

And they're more likely to work in frontline "essential" jobs that put their health at risk.

A study found that only 3% of lower income workers are working from home during the pandemic, compared to almost half of upper middle income workers.

Any rush to "open the economy" is really about forcing working class and poor people back into harm's way while the rich and affluent can safely work from home.

For as many workers risking their lives for meager paychecks, still more are now unemployed and on the brink of financial obliteration.

Less than half of Americans can afford a $1,000 emergency, and nearly 75% live paycheck to paycheck. Piecemeal unemployment benefits and one-time payments aren't going to buoy Americans through the next great depression.

We are all weathering the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.

Systematic inequality in America has produced two very different pandemics:

In one, billionaires are sheltering in place on their yachts in the Caribbean, and wealthy families are safely quarantining in multimillion-dollar mansions.

In the other boats sit people risking their lives for their jobs and people without incomes going hungry, a disproportionate number of whom are people of color, and all of whom deserve better.

This is a tale of two pandemics. There is nothing "equal" about it.

(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

Madam Jane Predicts
COVID will show Americans what it's like to live in the Middle East
By Jane Stillwater

"COVID-19 is America's karmic payback for callously murdering all those babies in Iraq and Syria," stated Madam Jane this morning. "Karma's a bitch."

"Stop, just stop it!" I screamed at her, horrified. "This time you have gone too far."

"I know what I know. I see what I see," said Madam Jane. "Millions dead in the Middle East. Brutally dead. Blown up, shot, poisoned, beheaded, starved, jailed, tortured, murdered by America's imperial forces -- murdered without mercy in Syria and Palestine and Iraq and Afghanistan and Yemen and Lebanon and Libya...."

"No! No!" I shouted. "These two tragedies are not the same! Innocent Americans are dying here. Our elders. Our doctors. No! You are wrong! Get out of my house!"

"But I see what I see," said Madam Jane. "A few Americans dead. Less than 0.03% at the most. Yet we wail and gnash our teeth and go into hiding like it was Armageddon. Well, I had a dream."

"What can you possibly dream that is crueler than this -- that the American economy is ruined? Our children afraid and our grandmothers dead? Our freedoms gone, our dreams destroyed, our cities ruled by martial law, everyone suspicious of their neighbors? Our businesses closed forever? Not enough medicine? Not enough doctors and nurses? Our leaders telling us lies about the wonders of deregulation while enabling greedy oligarchs to steal our life savings and the Federal Reserve prints up Monopoly money and pretends that it's real? Our schools shut down, eviction just around the corner, our grocery store shelves soon to be empty -- and our stomachs too? What can possibly be crueler than this!"

M.J. just kept rattling off statistics and shite. Thankfully she had no Power Point presentation.

I covered my ears. I didn't want to hear any more. Blasphemy!

"What you have just described," she calmly continued, "is just one more average day in Gaza, just another typical day in Damascus, just one average day in Sana'a, another average day in Kabul. Greedy Americans and their totalitarian allies have destroyed the Middle East for fun and profit. And, like all those endless 'wars' that our televisions constantly teach us to love so much, there clearly isn't any exit strategy for our COVID nightmare here either."

" No. I refuse to accept that," I said. "You are clearly not Galileo. These two nightmares are not the same. COVID is not karmic retribution. COVID is just a disease. Wait six months. You'll see!"

Madam Jane simply shrugged. "You just keep telling yourself that." I shut the door in her face.

(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
~~~ Steve Greenberg ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

World Health Organisation Open New Whatsapp Group For Bitching About Trump
By Waterford Whispers News

KEY members of the World Health Organisation have been advised to use the separate Whatsapp group titled 'stupid orange cunt' when discussing US President Donald Trump, in a bid to keep all other channels free for more important matters.

The special Whatsapp group is being used for discussions surrounding Trump's threat to permanently freeze US support for the WHO, as well as frank discussions about Trump's appearance, weight, failed business ventures, idiot children and crumbling presidency, as well as forwarding any funny Trump memes or videos they might get from elsewhere.

"Morning, I hope everyone remembered to take their daily dose of hydroxychloroquine," joked executive director Dr. Michael Ryan to the group, adding a series of crying laugh emojis and one of those crazy face emojis for good measure.

"LOL, yeah, and I shoved a UV light up my arse hole and now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside," added deputy director general Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, following up with a GIF of Marv from Home Alone 2 being electrocuted.

The Whatsapp group creation comes days after the US president threatened to pull funding from the World Health Organisation over what he claims is the organisation 'siding with China', in yet another failed bid to distract from how incompetent his administration is.

"Best of luck with the election, Donald," another group member shared with a screen grab of the latest covid-19 estimate of 100 thousand American deaths. "Yeah, don't listen to us, we're only the fucking professionals so what would we know, you malignant ball of oozing puss."

(c) 2020 Waterford Whispers News

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 21 (c) 05/29/2020

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."