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In This Edition

Norman Solomon considers, "Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police And Her VP Quest."

Ralph Nader remembers, "S. David Freeman: Seven Decades Of Participating In Power For All Of Us."

Glen Ford reports, "The Movement Gets BIG - And Its Enemies Reveal Themselves."

Jim Hightower asks, "What Is "Iyyikowa" And Why Do We Need More Of It?"

William Rivers Pitt says, "This Is What A Revolution Looks Like."

John Nichols says, "Trump's Social Media Executive Order Shows Just How Low He'll Go To Win."

James Donahue reviews, "The Trump Assault On The First Amendment."

David Swanson concludes, "The War Industry Threatens Humanity."

Randall Amster announces, "We Interrupt This Pandemic... With Demands For Justice And Healing."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "The President Is a Coward. We Will Have To Heal This Nation Ourselves."

Juan Cole returns with, "Top 6 Reasons Authorities Are Cracking Down Hard On Black Protesters While Treating White Supremacist Reopeners With Kid Gloves."

Jared Kushner wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich says, "Trump's Presidency Is Over."

Jane Stillwater asks, Remember Pandora's Box?

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Angela Merkel Practices Social Distancing By Staying Four Thousand Miles Away From Trump," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Burn Baby Burn."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joe Heller, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Brendan Smialowski, Jose Luis Magana, Chip Somodevilla, Justin Setterfield, Jeff Darcy, Peter Nicholls, 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."

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Burn Baby Burn
I'm having a deja vu all over again!
By Ernest Stewart

"It's like deja vu, all over again." ~~~ Yogi Berra

"It is well established that Alaska sees large landslides in the spring, and that their increasing size and frequency is driven by global heating." ~~~ Dave Petley ~ University of Sheffield

"The federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story." ~~~ Jared Kushner ~ on Trump's handeling of Covid-19

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

I had a flashback the other day while watching the news of black folks being murdered by the white Gestapo. I saw first hand the Detroit "riots" back in 1967. I was at home on leave from the Army when it all went down. The wife and I had been at the Ceder Point Amusement Park in Ohio when it first started and I'll never forget the trip home where a 3 hour trip turned into a nine hour nightmare of being stopped every ten miles or so by the police backing up traffic for 100 miles in order to search cars for potential rioters, i.e., black folks! By the time we got home I was ready to join in the riots!

Like today, black folks in 1967 were being treated like dirt and eventually had enough and said, f*ck it, let's rock, and proceeded to burn Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tampa, Birmingham, Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Britain, Rochester, Plainfield, Toledo and Detroit down. LBJ, like Lying Donald wanted to send in federal troops but Willard's dad George W. Romney the governor beat them to it and sent in the Michigan National Guard with M-60 tanks who were soon machinegunning neighborhoods to piles of rubble, and what the troops weren't killing, the cops were.

Go forward 53 years and nothing has changed. Cops are still murdering black folks, mostly with impunity, and once again enough is enough. Paybacks are a bitch, huh? In New York City cops are running over protestors with their SUVs and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio jumps to the cops defence saying, "If those protesters had just gotten out of the way, and not created an attempt to surround that vehicle we would not be talking about this situation." To which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, "As mayor, this police department is under your leadership. This moment demands leadership & accountability from each of us. Defending and making excuses for NYPD running SUVs into crowds was wrong. Make it right. De-escalate."

In 1967 LBJ, who was part of the cabal that sanctioned the JFK hit, was trying to quell the riots as Lying Donald is trying to do the same today. Yes, history keeps repeating itself, as we are too dumb to learn from it! Gil Scott-Heron said, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," well, I beg to differ!

In Other News

I see where satellite images showing dramatic drops in air pollution in coronavirus hotspots around the globe have circulated widely on social media, offering a silver lining to an otherwise very dark story. But they are also a graphic reminder of the climate crisis that will continue when the pandemic passes.

When the lockdowns are lifted and life returns to what it once was, so too will the pollution that clouds the skies and with it the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming.

In fact, the rebound could be even worse!

In the initial aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production decreased by 1.4 percent, only to rise by 5.9 percent in 2010. And the crisis this time could have a longer-term impact on the environment - at far greater cost to human health, security, and life - if it derails global efforts to address climate change.

This was supposed to be a "a pivotal year" for those efforts to address climate change, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres put it at a recent briefing on the UN's annual climate summit, which was scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November.

Ahead of the summit, 196 countries were expected to introduce revamped plans to meet the emission reduction goals established under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Yet on April 1, in the face of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, the UN announced that it was postponing the summit until sometime next year.

It was only the latest sign that the casualties of Covid-19 may include global efforts to address climate change. Other international meetings related to climate - on biodiversity and oceans - have also been disrupted. While the need to mobilize governments to act on climate has never been more urgent, the inability to gather world leaders to address the issue could make it all the more difficult to do so.

The coronavirus crisis also threatens local efforts to meet the climate commitments that have already been made.

For example, the European Union has come under pressure to shelve crucial climate initiatives, with Poland calling for a carbon trading program to be put on hold and the Czech Republic urging that the EU's landmark climate bill be abandoned, while airline companies have pressed regulators to delay emissions-cutting policies. China has already announced such delays, extending deadlines for companies to meet environmental standards and postponing an auction for the right to build several huge solar farms.

In the United States, after a powerful oil lobby petitioned Lying Donald's administration to relax enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would not penalize companies that fail to comply with federal monitoring or reporting requirements if they could attribute their non-compliance to the pandemic. And in recent days it announced a rollback on car emissions rules that were a central piece of U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, a 69 degree fahrenheit temperature on Yudikench Peak, a mountain near Anchorage, caused a huge mile long land slide. I mention this as Alaska isn't being effected much by the Covid-19 lockdown as global warming continues on it's merry way there. Even with the Covid-19 world wide lockdown cleaning the air of pollutants scientist predict 2020 will still be as bad as 2019 was. We're still caught in the climate loop!

And Finally

Have you heard that Jared Kushner had a bright idea the other day, on how to undermine Social Security with his "Eagle Plan," (don't you just love Rethuglican euphemisms?)which some have called his "work until you die plan."

Jared's bright idea would give people $10,000, but only after they signed ze papers! What would happen to these desperate folks who are trying to figure out how to put food on the table and pay their mortgages. Well, nothing right away, but in order to get the dough they'd be signing away a portion of their future Social Security retirement benefits. A portion that amounts to a lot more than the 10 G's! And I can testify that your pitiful little Social Security check, barely covers living costs as is! You may recall that the Rethuglicans have had their greedy little eyes on that pool of money since FDR passed the bill?

Ergo, Lying Donald's son-in-law Jared Kushner wins this week's Vidkun Quisiling 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!


01-16-1950 ~ 05-29-2020
Thanks for the music!

04-30-1945 ~ 05-29-2020
Thanks for the film!

01-18-1952 ~ 05-30-2020
Thanks for the film!

06-13-1935 ~ 05-31-2020
Thanks for the art!

03-05-1937 ~ 06-01-2020
Thanks for the music!

04-26-1930 ~ 06-03-2020
Thanks for the entertainment!

02-23-1948 ~ 06-04-2020
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.

Amy give the corporate salute

Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police And Her VP Quest
By Norman Solomon

Eighteen years before Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named George Floyd on Monday, Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named Christopher Burns. Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar decries the killing of Floyd. Back then, Minneapolis chief prosecutor Amy Klobuchar refused to prosecute city police for killing Burns.

A year ago, the Washington Post published a thorough news article under a clear headline: "As a Prosecutor in Heavily White Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar Declined to Go After Police Involved in Fatal Encounters with Black Men." Her refusal to seek justice after Burns died was part of a pattern.

With Klobuchar now on Joe Biden's short list for vice president, the gruesome killing of Floyd has refocused attention on Klobuchar's history of racial injustice. In sharp contrast to her prosecutorial approach two decades ago, she has issued a statement calling for "a complete and thorough outside investigation" into Floyd's death and declaring that "those involved in this incident must be held accountable."

During the first years of this century, with a bright political future ahead of her, Klobuchar refused to hold police officers accountable. And her failure to prosecute police who killed black men was matched by racially slanted eagerness to prosecute black men on the basis of highly dubious evidence.

While Klobuchar has occasionally been subjected to media scrutiny of her record as a prosecutor in Minnesota, she has routinely enjoyed favorable coverage often sliding into outright puffery. In short, much of the media establishment adores Klobuchar and her corporate centrist politics.

When Amy Klobuchar was running for president, corporate media served as her biggest political base. News coverage and punditry often supplied praise, while rarely bothering to delve into her 12-year record in the Senate. Klobuchar's image as a "moderate" was endearing enough to many powerful media outlets.

When the time came for endorsements from newspapers early this year, Klobuchar scored with big publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Houston Chronicle. Notably, the New York Times co-endorsed her (along with Elizabeth Warren). In fact, no candidate did better than Klobuchar with daily paper endorsements during the presidential primary season.

Unfortunately for Klobuchar, media elites don't cast many votes in Democratic primaries and caucuses. Her drumbeat about being a fellow Midwesterner fell flat in Iowa, where she finished fifth in the caucuses with 12 percent. Days later, corporate media went gaga over one-liners she delivered in a debate just before the primary in New Hampshire, where she came in third with almost 20 percent of the vote. But Klobuchar went on to receive only 4 percent in the Nevada caucuses and then 3 percent in the South Carolina primary. Two days later, she withdrew from the race.

Since then, Klobuchar has risen to the top tier of Biden's possible VP picks. Her selection would likely be disastrous.

As I told The Hill newspaper recently, "Someone like Klobuchar is anathema to broadening the ticket. If Biden is serious about unity then he's got to pitch a tent big enough to include progressives."

Klobuchar's political record, when it comes to light, simply can't stand up to scrutiny. While mainstream media rarely seem interested in her Senate record, it has been no less contemptuous of equal protection under the law than her career as a prosecutor.

When the progressive advocacy group Demand Justice issued a "Report Card" about the confirmation votes of Senate Democrats on President Trump's right-wing federal judge appointees, it explained that the report graded "willingness to fight Trump's judges." Elizabeth Warren received an "A," Bernie Sanders an "A-" and Kamala Harris a "B+."

Amy Klobuchar got an "F."

(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."

S. David Freeman the green cowboy

S. David Freeman: Seven Decades Of Participating In Power For All Of Us
By Ralph Nader

If the planet Earth were animate, it would have shuddered at the news that S. David Freeman passed away this month. Freeman was that important to Earth's future. In his 94th year, he inspired all he met with his burning passion, relentless energy, and keen intellect.

Freeman, an engineer and a lawyer, knew where decisions were being made or ignored regarding our energy future. He mocked the foolish embrace of fossil fuels and warned all who would listen about the deadly impact of coal, oil, and natural gas consumption on our environment. This humble son of an immigrant umbrella repair man made the most of his formidable talents over seven decades and helped steer mankind toward renewables and energy efficiency. Freeman worked to prevent the perilous use of fossil and nuclear fuels.

Freeman was one of the first environmentalists to warn us of the dangers posed by fossil fuels and he was one of the first to offer practical remedies. He started his career in the 1950s as an engineer with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) before holding a series of positions with the Federal Power Commission (FPC) and the Johnson White House. In 1974 Freeman authored the Ford Foundation's groundbreaking report "A Time to Choose: America's Energy Future." He was an adviser to President Jimmy Carter, who appointed him chairman of the giant TVA in 1978.

At the TVA, Freeman managed with a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, results-focused approach to reform. Using what he learned at TVA, Freeman became known for turning around hidebound giant utilities that were unable to process evidence contrary to their wasteful ways and environmental destructiveness. The tenacious Tennessean had no patience for self-serving talk that avoided obvious solutions. Freeman was a serious advocate who used humor, wit, and charm to make his case in the court of public opinion and the corridors of power. "Mother Nature doesn't care what we say, Mother Nature only cares about what we do," he would remind bloviators!

Freeman shut down or suspended construction of half a dozen nuclear reactors at the TVA, scoring them as dangerous, uneconomical, and unnecessary. He liked "free" sources of energy, such as solar and wind, instead of lethal coal, gas, oil, and uranium that had to be ripped perilously from the bowels of the Earth. As for vast opportunities afforded by energy efficient sources, he paraphrased Benjamin Franklin, saying a megawatt of energy that isn't wasted is a megawatt you don't have to produce.

In between his clearheaded impact on conferences around the world, advising presidents, governors, members of Congress and parliaments, and many cogent writings, Freeman ran three other giant utilities (other than TVA, Freeman ran utilities in California, Texas, and New York). At Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), he implemented a public vote against the troubled Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, replacing its energy with conservation and renewables.

In the decades I knew David, he always made the changes he implemented look easy because he so deftly and honestly used evidence, facts, and economics- sometimes to rectify his previous positions. He used his knowledge to serve the public that was too often shoved aside by bureaucratic and corporate vested interests.

Freeman had that unparalleled combination of managerial experience, scholarly knowledge, and programmatic urgency in confronting the climate crisis. We would invite him for brown bag lunches with younger leaders working on energy transition. He would "out urgent" them, mocking dilatory cap and trade ideas while demanding mandatory reduction in fossil fuels and ending nuclear power, and replacing them with job producing energy conservation, retrofitting homes and buildings as solar and wind ramp up. Freeman said, "We need to pass a law that says that every utility in this country must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of 2020 emissions every year, starting now, and until we get down to zero."

You may be wondering why you haven't seen Freeman on television or read about his urgent proposals, as a doer, covering the crisis of climate and regular air water soil safeguards from ruinous extractive fuels.

Certainly, the mass media has devoted many hours and pages to these subjects, interviewing far lesser and often conflicted people on NPR, PBS, commercial networks, and major newspapers. I made many calls to energy and environmental reporters about David's availability, but to no avail.

Was it ageism? Which is rampant. Was it his free-thinking challenges to named influential corporations? Was it that he was seen as no longer an adviser to powerful officials? At age 93 he was flying to California negotiating the closure of the last nuke plant there with Pacific Gas Electric. He co-authored a book All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future with Leah Y. Parks in 2018 and his human interest memoir The Green Cowboy: An Energetic Life in 2016. Recently he was meeting with the pro-"Green New Deal" members of Congress.

But the media wasn't calling. Until, that is, David's "energetic" life came to an end and the obituary pages gave him his due in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other outlets. Unlike like celebrity entertainers and athletes, however, he didn't make page one. But his prescient legacy is an enduring example of how we can save our green planet and brighten our future. Biographers may wish to wrap their minds around this functional, enlightened life of such immense productivity.

(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).

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

The Movement Gets BIG - And Its Enemies Reveal Themselves
By Glen Ford

The decrepit racial capitalist order appears to be unraveling under the weight of coronavirus, economic depression, and a quantitative leap in people's willingness to confront power through the politics of the street.

The scope and intensity of the convulsion that has shaken the United States since the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, is breathtaking. Hundreds of thousands of people of all ethnicities have participated in actions ranging from silent vigils to pitched battles with police in at least 140 cities, by the New York Times' estimate - or nearly 500 localities nationwide, according to a marvelously detailed Wikipedia page. The National Guard has been called out in 26 states and Washington, DC, and U.S. Army units, including a battalion of paratroopers from the 82nd airborne division, await deployment to cities by the self-proclaimed "law and order president," Donald Trump.

There has been nothing approaching this level of unrest since April, 1968, when 100 cities burned in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Back then, the U.S. corporate order responded to the challenge from below with massive expansion and militarization of local police forces, intensive secret police operations to eradicate Black and radical movements, and a policy of mass Black incarceration that, over the past half century, has boosted the national prison population from less than 200,000 in 1970, to 2.2 million, today - an 11-fold increase. With nearly equal zeal, the corporate order embraced a newly emergent Black political class, hungry for public office and private contracts, as a counterweight to the grassroots movements that had put revolution on the lips of millions of young people.

A comparative analysis of the political economy of the Sixties versus the current era could easily stretch to book length, but four main factors combined to bring us the events of the past week:

1) the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed Blacks at between 2.6 and 4 times the rate of whites, ghoulishly accentuating the deadly nature of a late stage racial capitalist system that, after 40 years of endless austerity and war has stripped the nation of even a semblance of a public health care system;

2) the resulting economic shutdown that, in the bat of an eye, brought about Great Depression rates of unemployment and heart-stopping levels of general precarity, maddeningly combined with record-breaking highs on the stock exchanges and grotesque, near-instantaneous multi-billion dollar windfalls for the owners of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other oligarchs, while corporations received the bulk of trillions in federal disaster relief monies;

3) for the past four years the ruling class has been split, warring against itself and, in the process, creating an ongoing crisis of legitimacy for the U.S. regime. This has given the crisis a special and distinct character, in that elements of the ruling class and its media have given tacit moral support to at least some of the protesters in hopes of framing the unrest as the fault of their arch-rival, Donald Trump;

4) the Bernie Sanders presidential phenomenon, recently extinguished by corporate Democrats and their media allies, raised expectations among tens of millions of youth of all races that meaningful change - even some kind of "socialism" -- was possible under the current order. With Sanders' abdication, his supporters have been forced to accept that they can't simply vote their way out of the contradictions of racial, late stage capitalism. They took to the streets in astounding numbers, in many instances outnumbering non-white protesters, providing a degree of white skin protection to darker activists in confrontations with police.

The video-taped killing of George Floyd, as horrifically cruel and sadistic as it was, is not a special factor in the past week's events, because the essence of Black folks' grievance is that murders such as this happen all the time at the hands of police in the United States. However, the national mega-mobilization in Mr. Floyd's name was a quintessentially wired 21st century phenomenon. Back in 1968, it took the assassination of the most important Black leader of his time to bring about a few days of general Black urban rebellion. This time around, an activist confronting Los Angeles police knew in real-time that people just like her were facing off the cops a continent away, in New York. (To complete the updated picture, the secret police were simultaneously compiling and sharing data on all of them.)

The Black Misleadership Class was in its infancy in 1968, having at that time elected only one Black big city mayor, Carl Stokes of Cleveland. But by 2020 the Black misleaders were manifestly complicit in a whole host of crimes against Black America, having managed the workings of the Mass Black Incarceration Regime in most of the big cities and presided over the gentrification of urban centers under the guise of "renaissance." Atlanta's young Black mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms sounded just like one of Malcolm X's house Negroes as she berated protesters for fighting her police and defiling the property once owned by one of her favorite rich white men. "Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta 40 years ago because he believed in who we are as a city," said Auntie Lance Bottoms, who evidently believes that CNN's corporate brand of reporting is the gospel truth. "They are telling our stories, and you are disgracing their building.... Go home."

Like other misleaders, the Mayor measures Black progress by how the system has treated her small, grasping and self-centered class - not by what happens to the likes of George Floyd. "So if you love this city," she told the ungrateful hordes at the gate, "this city that has had a legacy of black mayors and black police chiefs and people who care about this city, where more than 50% of the business owners in metro Atlanta are minority business owners - if you care about this city, then go home."

Ironically, Black servants of capital, like all of Atlanta's mayors since Maynard Jackson won city hall in 1973, have no problem inviting whites with money to replace their own Black constituents in "renaissance" neighborhoods, but become fierce Black nationalists when whites join Black-led protests against the institutions that buttress racial capitalism. The Black Misleadership Class's identification with Power has become all but complete. As embedded tools of the oligarchy, they view any attack on the system as an assault against themselves and their status in the hierarchy. They are right; they should be treated as the enemy.

In this new phase of struggle, we see that there are plenty of non-Blacks that are quite willing to accept Black leadership - the signs they carry and the demands they shout in protests across the country are Black-vetted and correct. But the Black Misleadership Class - the enemy within - insists that they are our rightful leaders, when in fact their allegiance is to the ruling class: the Lords of Capital, like Ted Turner.

When things seem like they're coming apart, we need to ask: for whom? it may be that things are finally coming together.

All power to the people!

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

What Is "Iyyikowa" And Why Do We Need More Of It?
By Jim Hightower

Charles Dickens, writing about the inequality and social turmoil leading to the French Revolution, noted that "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

So it is today, with the horrific COVID-19 crisis. Consider the experiences of one especially hard-hit group in our country: The Navajo Nation, which has become a hotspot of COVID deaths. Making it worse, Trump officials delayed disbursement of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds set aside for Tribal governments. So, the disease raged through Indian Country for six crucial weeks while the Trumpsters sat on the money.

In another screw-up accentuating the worst of times, an Indian health agency in Seattle urgently requested medical supplies, but - Good Grief! - what they got was a shipment of body bags, complete with tags that read, "Attach to toe."

Yet, the crisis has also been the best of times, with frontline health workers performing heroically and regular folks everywhere showing generosity and community spirit. An especially poignant gesture came when the Navajo Nation sought donations to help deal with the spreading virus. The fund quickly surged past $3 million, mostly because of small-dollar amounts pouring in from a surprising source: Irish people!

Huh? A little history: In 1847, during the Potato Famine that killed a million Irish and forced another million to emigrate, a modest donation of $170 arrived in the Emerald Isle. It lifted the entire nation's spirit, because it was sent by the equally impoverished and suffering people of the Choctaw Nation, 4,000 miles away in Oklahoma. This act of deep, humanitarian empathy created a special bond between Irish and Native American people that has endured ever since.

The Choctaw have a word, "Iyyikowa," that means serving those in need. That's what turns the worst of times into the best... and we need more of it.

(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

Protesters demonstrate over the death of George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer, at a rally on May 30, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

This Is What A Revolution Looks Like
By William Rivers Pitt

There has never been a weekend in the U.S. quite like the one we just experienced.

Many comparisons of this moment have been made to the fury that boiled over in 1968 after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., and to the "Days of Rage," the anti-war civil unrest that gripped Chicago in October of 1969. Some have pointed to the "Red Summer" of 1919 as an apt comparison, when a wave of racist violence washed over the nation as it grappled with the ravages of the Spanish flu pandemic.

Nothing in our history, however, squares entirely with the events now before us. Another lethal pandemic, this one still in its beginnings, has chewed through the illusions of strength this nation has used for decades to paper over its glaring inadequacies. Those very insufficiencies helped give rise to a pretender tyrant of a president, a one-man failed state who rages against the dying of his own feeble light even as he hides in the White House bunker from the consequences of his own gross derelictions.

Thanks to the advent of the social media age, nearly all of this has been recorded and spread far and wide. The violence of the white supremacist police state, a truth centuries in the making, has been exposed once again. This time, there was no retreat back into how it has always been, no slow fade from the news cycle. This time, it is in the streets with fists and voices raised, and no end in sight.

George Floyd died under the knee of a police officer with a notorious record of violence. A 17-year-old woman captured this murder on film, and within days, the whole world was watching. As actor Will Smith told Late Show host Stephen Colbert in 2016, "Racism isn't getting worse. It's getting filmed."

In Minneapolis, Louisville, Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, Sioux Falls, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Murfreesboro, Long Beach, Detroit, Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Dallas, Milwaukee and more, the people have risen. More than 40 cities in at least 24 states have borne witness to peaceful protests and fiery uprisings in equal measure.

The smashed windows and the fires, of course, get most of the press attention, and have drawn the grateful ire of those who would distract us from the reasons this has all erupted in the first place. There is growing evidence that some on the extreme right are attempting to co-opt some of the chaos toward their own ends, as they seek to harm communities of color and spark a racial civil war.

Far too much media attention is being lavished upon "looting": Images of citizens from all racial backgrounds taking food, toiletries and other goods from stores amid the chaos have dominated the news cycles, threatening to bury the story at the heart of the matter.

But the coverage of this development fails to acknowledge the actual context: millions of people enduring massive economic disruption amid COVID-19 who are out of work and out of money. I speak of the millions of people who have suffered a lifetime of menace from the police and whose immediate desperation makes no purchase on the conscience of men like Mitch McConnell, who has balked at providing further relief to them because he does not see doing so as ideologically sound.

What relief that has been provided came in the guise of a now long-gone $1,200 payment that many who needed it most never saw, while the trillions of dollars earmarked for relief more than two months ago was plundered by wealthy corporations and friends of Donald Trump.

The dead were looted from us all by a racist police state that now has reacted with unrestrained violence against the people they are sworn to protect. Who, then, are the true looters here?

There is always another microwave or television to put on the shelf of a store. There will never, ever, be another George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Tanisha Anderson, Michael Brown or Freddie Gray.

In Minneapolis, a woman standing peacefully on her own porch is fired upon by battle-armored police.

In New York City, a police officer pulls down the COVID mask of a young Black man who has his arms raised to pepper spray him in the face.

In Grand Rapids, a lone and unarmed protester is maced and shot in the face with a tear gas cannister by police.

In Atlanta, police smash the windows of a car containing a Black couple, haul them bodily from the vehicle, and taze them.

Also in Minneapolis, Vice News reporter Michael Adams is pepper sprayed by police as he lays on the ground in full compliance with orders. The violence against this reporter was echoed all across the country as journalists were viciously targeted by police.

Video footage of scenes like this has been piling up like the pallets of bricks that are mysteriously appearing at protest locations with no construction zones in sight.

Either these out-of-control violent cops don't know that phones come with cameras now, or they simply don't care. That latter possibility - nay, probability - is the deeply disquieting rub.

A great many people are leaning hard into the nexus of change that has exploded before us due to a most lethal confluence of reasons: More than 100,000 dead and more than 40 million unemployed in an out-of-control pandemic presided over by a monster president even as Black men are slaughtered by cops in the name of the white power state, and oh by the way, the ocean is still coming.

The police, in many places, are leaning back with an arsenal of violent intent. The extreme ferocity of the police reaction is prima facie evidence of a state willing to commit virtually any atrocity in the defense of the racist status quo.

In response, we need to keep leaning. If you can, get out in the street with the protesters, or start your own small one where you live. If the streets are not possible for you, do what you can to stand in support, because everything counts. There are many ways to stand and fight in this moment of truth.

This is a fulcrum moment for the nation, one that could tilt either way. Either we secure a measure of justice through sustained effort, or the authoritarian pushback that has already begun will hurl us down into a darkness as yet uncomprehended should we weaken or stagger.

We must not. "Someday" is now. We can only write a better future if we are true to each other, to ourselves, and to the legion of victims who cry for justice from beyond this vale of fathomless sorrow.

(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.

President Trump

Trump's Social Media Executive Order Shows Just How Low He'll Go To Win
His attack on Twitter is really an attack on the right to criticize the president
By John Nichols

Donald Trump claims that fact-checking is an assault on free speech.

He is-it should go without saying-wrong. Indeed, the whole point of the First Amendment was to establish the right of the people and the media to object to claims by presidents and other powerful officials-especially when those claims are lies.

Unfortunately, Trump needs his lies. Desperately. The president understands that at a point when his approval ratings are collapsing because of a jarringly awful response to the coronavirus pandemic and mass unemployment, only a campaign based on false premises and the crudest deceits can keep him competitive in the 2020 presidential race. So this president is ready to use the power of his position to attack the basic underpinnings of the First Amendment. Furious that Twitter attached a clarifying link to a false tweet he sent about mail-in voting, Trump on Wednesday tweeted, "Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!"

On Thursday, in what The Hill described as "a marked escalation of his lengthy feud with Silicon Valley over allegations of anti-conservative bias," Trump signed an executive order that seeks to increase the authority of the government to regulate social media platforms. The order would strip liability protection from companies that give a platform to controversial content, have Attorney General William Barr work with states to develop regulations, and ensure that government funding does not go to news outlets that "suppress" speech that the administration favors.

Trump declared, "We're here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers."

His statement twisted the truth to the breaking point-as even he seemed to acknowledge when he admitted during the signing of the order, "I guess it's going to be challenged in court."

The president is not defending the First Amendment. He is proposing a fiercely unconstitutional reinterpretation of it that serves his political interests.

"Much as he might wish otherwise, Donald Trump is not the president of Twitter," declared the American Civil Liberties Union as a draft of the order circulated early Thursday. "This order, if issued, would be a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies."

That's true. But this is about more than Trump's feud with the managers of a social media platform.

As Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe reminds us, "The unconstitutional character of his threats doesn't prevent them from undermining everyone's liberties."

Trump is playing politics. He knows he has to discredit even mild assertions of the facts because, as he prepares for a difficult reelection race, he has nothing but lies to offer the American people. So he is not merely attacking fact-checking but trying to revoke the right to speak truth to power.

The specifics of what Trump proposes are draconian. The media advocacy group Free Press reviewed the draft of the president's order and labeled it an "unconstitutional attempt to silence critics and fact checkers." Of deepest concern were plans to:

require the Federal Communications Commission to craft a rule that would potentially exempt social-media companies from protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that shields companies from legal liability for the material their users post online.

call on the White House Office of Digital Strategy to "reactivate" a tool through which people can report cases of "online censorship and other potentially unfair or deceptive acts or practices by online platforms." The tool would collect complaints of online censorship and submit them to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission for potential follow-up.

prohibit all federal agencies and offices from spending government money on advertising with platforms that allegedly "violate free speech principles."

Free Press senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia argued on Thursday that the order is "a naked attempt by the president to bully into silence Twitter, other social-media sites and anyone who attempts to correct or criticize Trump. This blatant and bungling attempt at censorship is outrageous and unconstitutional."

It is also a political strategy.

Trump has core supporters who are likely to embrace whatever he says, no matter how outrageous it may be. But that base is insufficient to reelect him. To get the votes he needs, he has to convince a wider portion of the electorate that factual reports of his wrongdoing and incompetence are part of a media conspiracy to dislodge him from the White House. That's why the president keeps claiming that media outlets and individual journalists are "enemies of the people." And that's why he and his campaign are now going after Twitter and other social media platforms. When Twitter finally got around to some mild fact-checking of Trump, his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, reacted by saying, "We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters. Partnering with the biased fake news media 'fact checkers' is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility."

Trump has charted his course. The question now is whether presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign will counter Trump effectively. To do that, the Democratic campaign must provide a robust defense of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and Net neutrality-the First Amendment of the Internet. One statement won't do. Biden and his supporters have to make this fight central to their 2020 campaign and explain what's at stake. They do not have to defend media monopolies or tech titans. They have to defend the Constitution itself-boldly and in explicit detail. Trump has made the First Amendment an issue by attacking it. Democrats must mount a campaign that champions freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to tell presidents they are wrong.

(c) 2020 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Trump Assault On The First Amendment
By James Donahue

Since taking office four years ago President t-Rump has been making a constant assault on the nation's freedom of speech and freedom of the press as guaranteed in the First Amendment. He accuses news reporters and many of the nation's finest news outlets of publishing false information about him. Most recently he has filed an executive order removing the protection of Internet social outlets for allowing what he claims to be published lies and misleading information.

If he gets away with this latest attack via the high courts that he and his GOP thugs have been stacking there could be a serious removal of our long cherished right of stating our viewpoints via public speeches or written commentary.

As a personal visitor and contributor in various public media outlets like Facebook and Twitter I have been painfully aware of the many false accusations and outright lies posted by this president and many of his followers who are obviously quoting from his published statements on Twitter. That he has been running this nation's government with his daily Twitter remarks and written executive orders has been especially troubling to this retired news reporter/editor.

The irony here is that Mr. t-Rump is claiming to be protecting our right to free speech while his actions are making it clear that he is out to weaken or destroy the First Amendment.

The threat here is so intense I cannot let it pass without comment, knowing that I might find myself in a court driven by right wing GOP appointed and supporting judges, fighting for my right to write and state the issues addressed on this and other news outlets that I contribute to.

If we allow the orange monkey in Washington and his gang of thieves to get away with this serious effort to destroy our nation's Constitutional freedoms it is seriously possible that he will win his November re-election campaign or worse yet, use executive order to block the election. This would be just one step from his crowning as the first dictator in our nation's history.

(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.

The War Industry Threatens Humanity
By David Swanson

I'm adding Christian Sorensen's new book, Understanding the War Industry, to the list of books I think will convince you to help abolish war and militaries. See the list below.

Wars are driven by many factors. They do not include protection, defense, benevolence, or public service. They do include inertia, political calculation, lust for power, and sadism - facilitated by xenophobia and racism. But the top driving force behind wars is the war industry, the all-consuming greed for the all-mighty dollar. It drives government budgets, war rehearsals, arms races, weapons shows, and fly-overs by military jets supposedly honoring people who are working to preserve life. If it could maximize profits without any actual wars, the war industry wouldn't care. But it can't. You can only have so many war plans and war trainings without an actual war. The preparations make actual wars very hard to avoid. The weapons make accidental nuclear war increasingly likely.

Sorensen's book completely and refreshingly avoids two common pitfalls of discussions of war profiteering. First, it does not claim to be presenting the single simple explanation of militarism. Second, it does not suggest that the corruption and financial fraud and privatization is itself the whole problem. There is no pretense here that if the U.S. military would simply set its books straight and nationalize the war business and properly pass an audit and stop hiding slush funds, then all would be right with the world, and mass-murder operations could be conducted with a clear conscience. On the contrary, Sorensen demonstrates how the corruption and the sociopathic destruction feed off each other, generating the real problem: organized and glorified homicide. Most books on corruption in the war business read more like discussions of excess profits in the business of torturing bunnies, where the authors clearly believe that bunnies should be tortured without excessive profiteering. (I use bunnies merely to help readers who don't sympathize as much with human beings as with bunnies understand.)

Understanding the War Industry is not so much analysis as an effort to persuade through the repetition of examples, countless examples, naming names and laid out over hundreds of pages. The author admits that he's only scratching the surface. But he's scratching it in lots of different places, and the result ought to be persuasive for most people. If your mind doesn't go numb, you will feel an urge to take a shower after closing this book. When the Nye Committee held hearings in the 1930s exposing shameful war profiteering, people cared because war profiteering was considered shameful. Now we get books like Sorensen's that expose war profiteering as a fully developed industry, one that generates the wars from which to profit, while simultaneously and systematically generating shamelessness in the hearts and minds of the people paying for it all. Such books have the task of re-creating shame, not just exposing what is already shameful. Whether they're up to the task remains to be seen. But we ought to spread them around and give it a try.

Sorensen does occasionally stop to point out what his endless examples lead to. Here's one such passage:

"Some people think it's a chicken-or-egg scenario. They argue that it's difficult to tell which came first - the war industry or the need to go after bad guys in the hemisphere. But it's not even a situation where there's a problem, and then the war industry comes up with a solution for the problem. It's just the opposite: The war industry inflates an issue, avoids addressing the root causes, manufactures weaponry, and markets the weaponry, which the Pentagon purchases for use in military operations. This process is comparable to the process Corporate America uses to get you, a consumer, to purchase a product that you don't need. The only difference is that the war industry has more incisive forms of marketing."
Not only does this book provide endless research and documentation leading to the appropriate conclusions, but it does so with highly unusually honest language. Sorensen even explains up front that he is going to refer to the Department of War by that, its original name, that he is going to call mercenaries by the name "mercenaries," etc. He even gives us four pages of explanations of common euphemisms in the war industry. I'll give you the first half a page:
acquire the full range of counterspace capabilities: develop weaponry to blow up other countries' satellites

additional contract requirement: exorbitant public treasure spent on mediocre weapons platform

administrative detention: solitary confinement

advisor: CIA officers / special operations personnel

anticipatory self-defense: Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strike, regardless of validity of threat

arms trade: selling weapons of death

armed combatant: civilian or resistance fighter, armed or unarmed

"at the request of the [allied govt.], the United States is conducting unarmed reconnaissance flights accompanied by armed escorts who have the right to return fire if fired upon": "we bomb civilians" to assure the survival of client governments

outpost, facility, station, forward operating location, defense staging post, contingency operating site: base

Read these books:

THE WAR ABOLITION COLLECTION: Understanding the War Industry by Christian Sorensen, 2020.
No More War by Dan Kovalik, 2020.
Social Defence by Jorgen Johansen and Brian Martin, 2019.
Murder Incorporated: Book Two: America's Favorite Pastime by Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria, 2018.
Waymakers for Peace: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Survivors Speak
by Melinda Clarke, 2018.
Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals edited by William Wiist and Shelley White, 2017.
The Business Plan For Peace: Building a World Without War by Scilla Elworthy, 2017.
War Is Never Just by David Swanson, 2016.
A Global Security System: An Alternative to War by World Beyond War, 2015, 2016, 2017. A Mighty Case Against War: What America Missed in U.S. History Class and What We (All) Can Do Now by Kathy Beckwith, 2015.
War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo, 2014.
Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War by David Carroll Cochran, 2014.
War and Delusion: A Critical Examination by Laurie Calhoun, 2013.
Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War by Judith Hand, 2013.
War No More: The Case for Abolition by David Swanson, 2013.
The End of War by John Horgan, 2012.
Transition to Peace by Russell Faure-Brac, 2012.
From War to Peace: A Guide To the Next Hundred Years by Kent Shifferd, 2011.
War Is A Lie by David Swanson, 2010, 2016.
Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace by Douglas Fry, 2009.
Living Beyond War
by Winslow Myers, 2009.
Enough Blood Shed: 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War by Mary-Wynne Ashford with Guy Dauncey, 2006.
Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War by Rosalie Bertell, 2001.

(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.

A protester wears a face mask displaying the words "I can't breathe" during a Black Lives Matter
protest in Hyde Park on June 3, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The death of an African-American man,
George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police has sparked protests across the United States,
as well as demonstrations of solidarity in many countries around the world.

We Interrupt This Pandemic... With Demands For Justice And Healing
The call to "reopen" society isn't just about stores and bars; it's about reopening ourselves to the reality of a system that is built on racism, violence, and injustice.
Randall Amster

Remember the coronavirus? It dominated the news for three months, redefined every aspect of our daily lives, and killed over a hundred thousand in the US alone. It also further exposed the venality and the insanity of our current Administration, making this reality-show presidency seem even more surreal than it already had been. Long after immunities and vaccines have quelled the acute surge, people will still tell stories about the quarantine period(s), marking it as a generationally significant societal event.

But it turns out there are more pressing issues that have defined our politics and societies for centuries. Like a pandemic, these issues are punctuated by acute moments and spikes of fear; unlike a pandemic, they aren't triggered by external conditions and microscopic occurrences. Rather, these are the things we do to ourselves, initiated and instantiated by human cultures, infusing our systems of governance and structures of power at the macroscopic scale. These core issues aren't pandemic-they're endemic.

We've tried to fashion names for these things: structural racism, police violence, economic inequality. Yet because they are endemic, naming them as such can make these issues appear compartmentalized, leading to calls for reforming particular sectors or remediating specific acts of abhorrent behavior. What feels different right now-prompted by the confluence of a pandemic, economic downturn, and yet another wave of horrific racial homicides-is an intensifying sense that the entire system itself is sick.

The uprisings and unrest in the wake of George Floyd's murder have centered race issues in the discourse while tapping into an array of related crises. It seems as if there is an implicit recognition of the ways in which we are interconnected-again, perhaps spurred by months of pandemic lockdown-and how famous aphorisms like King's "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" accurately describe our world. On some level we are all George Floyd, we all can't breathe, and we all want justice.

Still, the deeper reality is that some of us are more like George Floyd and more impacted by the forces that killed him. Even in a pandemic that seems indiscriminate in terms of the lack of a viral intention, the negative impacts skew strongly toward individuals and communities that are already marginalized in our system. Preexisting factors of poor health, substandard housing, lower wages, environmental toxins, limited services, and policies of social and spatial containment have shaped rates of infection and death.

Maybe in some manner beyond mere quantification, the virus has further illuminated the ways in which we're all at risk but how those risks are starkly distributed across society. Perhaps a few months of joint vulnerability and the realization of how precariously intertwined our lives are did something to change the equation in people's minds. It could be that widespread economic effects have sparked renewed insight about how many of us are one crisis away from being on the wrong end of the meritocratic myth.

Or maybe it's even simpler: months of social distance have made people long for getting back to their lives, only to be immediately confronted with an unvarnished reminder that "business as usual" includes racism, violence, and structural injustice. The call to "reopen" society isn't just about stores and bars; it's about reopening ourselves to the reality of a system that is built on racism, violence, and injustice. One can be victimized by this, or perpetuate it, or be complacent about it-or a combination of all the above.

Either way, this is the system that sustains us, and we're all part of it. Life is filled with moments for choosing when to accommodate and when to resist, when to "go along to get along" and when to refuse to do so. It's not an exact science or a totalizing litmus test, and the different ways people are situated influence how we meet such moments. In the larger scheme, though, looms the recognition of common purpose and social solidarity. And that may well be the most newsworthy and impactful revelation of all.

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

The President Is a Coward. We Will Have To Heal This Nation Ourselves.
It will require a thousand acts of individual citizenship. We are all we have left.
By Charles P. Pierce

On Monday evening, the President* of the United States gave his first public remarks since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He used it further to divide the country, to traduce the Constitution, and to declare war on citizens of whom he does not approve. A mewling tub of unresolved psychological flotsam, with the moldy stench of the bunker still clinging to him, thumping his bloated chest and threatening martial law while, just up the street, police and soldiers were deployed as special effects against peaceful protestors so this plump and odious little man could inflate his withered mushroom at the expense of a once-great republic.

Yeah, it was a bad moment.

We are not going to be unified. We are not going to be healed. He doesn't have it in him, and it is not the purpose of his presidency. (That he's apparently been chatting up Vladimir Putin while the United States falls apart is too perfect a plot twist.) It is not the basis of his campaign for re-election. The violence is the campaign. That is going to be how he runs for re-election.

If we are going to be unified, or healed, we're going to have to do it ourselves. A thousand acts of individual citizenship. Military men and women who refuse unlawful orders from a lawless president. Law-enforcement officials who remember that they are first-and last-public servants. Politicians who respect their profession enough to do it fearlessly and well. Disciplined protest, day after day, from people who know the difference between governed anger and ungoverned rage, the difference between fearless speech and vandalism, and who remember the old axiom of the Black Panthers, that spontaneity is the art of fools. And, ultimately, millions of voters who force a return to first democratic principles, to crush this president* and the forces that worked over 40 years to make him not merely possible, but inevitable. We are all we have left.

This is as close to general martial law as we ever have been and, I fear, not as close to it as we're likely to get. Because he is fundamentally a coward, he only threatened to use active-duty military for domestic law-enforcement, which is to say he only threatened to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which is a crime, and he only threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would be an escalation beyond anything in anyone's experience, a signal for chaos beyond understanding, and something that, anyway, the law says he can't do unless a governor asks him to do so. (Not that it matters, but these would be impeachable offenses.) He fumed and threatened and blustered and bellowed, a great pufferfish blown up with the gaseous resentments of two centuries. And then he walked across the street to St. John's Church and held up a Bible. His hand did not burst into flame. There is no god.

(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-

"It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!"
~~~ Donald Trump

The establishment, of systematic racism, in everything from school resegregation to residential segregation
to employment discrimination, needs to be addressed through a second generation of civil rights legislation.

Top 6 Reasons Authorities Are Cracking Down Hard On Black Protesters While Treating White Supremacist Reopeners With Kid Gloves
The establishment, of systematic racism, in everything from school resegregation to residential segregation to employment discrimination, needs to be addressed through a second generation of civil rights legislation.
By Juan Cole

My social media feeds have been full of comparisons between the treatment by police of Reopener mobs, some of whom invaded the Michigan state house while fully armed with assault weapons, and the treatment of protesters in Minneapolis regarding the killing of George Floyd by a policemen who kept his knee on his neck.

Why does the Far Right all too often get a pass by American law enforcement?

1. The white supremacists and other far right elements are armed to the teeth. There are about 255 million guns in the US, but something like 75 percent of Americans say they don't own a gun. So between 22% and 31% of Americans, about 80 to 100 million people, own all the guns. Then 3 percent of the population, some 10 million people, own 100 million guns.

Let me underline that. About 40 percent of all guns in the United States are owned by about 10 million people, some 3 percent of the population. So owning guns is legal, and I'm from a family of farmers who hunted with them, and I'm not knocking gun ownership. And I'm sure there are perfectly innocent hobbyists who collect guns the way other people collect vintage automobiles. But a tiny percentage within that percentage of super-gun-owners are far right wing extremists, and law enforcement is understandably reluctant to get them het up.

2. White supremacists are very good about playing passive aggressive games and nursing and sharing grievances. In the 1990s, Federal agencies like the FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms were called in to deal with heavily armed white terrorists. A 1992 stand off at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, between gun nut Randy Weaver (whose family was with him) ended in tragedy when FBI snipers took out Weaver and his wife. Weaver had refused to show up for his trial on weapons charges (he had sawed off a shotgun, which is illegal in Idaho).

Then the following year the David Koresh splinter of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, was investigated for stockpiling weapons, and a raid left 4 ATF agents and 6 Branch Davidians dead, with many agents wounded. That firefight led to an FBI siege of the compound and ultimately to the deaths of 76 members, including Koresh, in fires that they may have set themselves.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, both on the fringe of white supremacy and conspiracy theories, cited Ruby Ridge and Waco when they blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklohama City in 1995 with a fertilizer bomb (and ended up targeting the day care center on the first floor). They killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more. They killed more persons per capita than any other terrorists in American history up to that point.

It isn't usually said out loud, but the Oklahoma City bombing was the most successful act of terrorism in American history. It led the FBI and other Federal agencies, as well as local law enforcement in many instances, to back off the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and kindred groups, leaving them be unless they did something really egregious. Terrorism is was defined at the time in the US Federal code as the use of violence by a non-state actor against civilians to change politics. So that worked.

3. This is one of the reasons for which the Obama administration did not take the bait when Cliven Bundy, whom I compared to the Taliban, staged a standoff over his refusal to pay fees for grazing on Federal land. People like Bundy were looking for further ammunition to grow their "sovereign citizen" movement, and a violent crackdown would have helped them.

4. White supremacists, militia movement members, and other fringe groups of the far right may make up 10 percent of the US population. The form a key if unspoken part of the Republican Party and provide the margin for Republicans in many tight congressional races. This is why Sarah Palin and other GOP leaders engage in codespeak, talking about the "patriots," which sounds inoffensive until you realize about whom exactly she was speaking. In the zeroes of this century, Republicans in Congress actually stopped Federal agencies from keeping tabs and good statistics on far right extremism, lest one of their constituencies be upset. Trump is the first major national Republican leader openly to cultivate the far right constituency, but he has plenty of predecessors who did it more gingerly.

5. Likewise, Trump and his Neo-Nazi black shirts are looking for trouble so as to depict the normal people as tyrants and enlist more discontents. This is white Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer merely complained about the mob that came for her having confederate flags and assault weapons, but did not order them dealt with by law enforcement. The Michigan state legislature actually just shut down to accommodate these white terrorists. But if any of them had been shot by police, you know that it would just have brought more gangs to Lansing and that Trump would have been whipping up the fringe into a lather. Whitmer handled the situation wisely, even at the cost of ceding ground to far right wing thugs on the right of democratically elected legislators to meet in the state house.

The point isn't that Whitmer and others are wrong. They are doing the right thing. The point is that African-Americans with grievances should also be cut some slack.

6. African-Americans are made to look big and menacing by the white media and many political figures, but they are a minority. They are only 12 percent of the population. If you had a gathering of 100 representative Americans, only 12 of them would be of African heritage. They are systematically discriminated against on employment, which keeps them poor. They have only 10 cents for every dollar a white person has. As a disadvantaged minority they are still, despite the supposed end to Jim Crow, subjected to enormous amounts of surveillance and are incarcerated at a rate many times more than whites.

It is systematic racism that allows the authorities to treat African-Americans like pariahs and to crack down hard on them if they protest. In 1985 the city of Philadelphia actually bombed the facilities of the Black nationalist MOVE organization. At Ferguson, Mo. in 2014, the shooting of a black youth led the Justice Department to uncover a racket on the part of the town's white elite that used police fines and jailings systematically to extract wealth from the African-Americans.

In fact, it is this systematic racism (which is very different from the occasional piece of prejudice that most whites imagine to be the problem), that has led African-Americans to suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus.

In order to redress the injustices here, it isn't enough to raise a hue and cry about individual instances of racism. The establishment, of systematic racism, in everything from school resegregation to residential segregation to employment discrimination, needs to be addressed through a second generation of civil rights legislation. 1964 and 1965 did not go nearly far enough.

(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-

Jared gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Senior Advisor Kushner,

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 via your "Eagle Plan," 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 Kushner, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's Presidency Is Over
By Robert Reich

You'd be forgiven if you hadn't noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J. Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.

He is not governing. He's golfing, watching cable TV, and tweeting.

How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground?

He has incited more police violence. Trump called the protesters "thugs" and threatened to have them shot. "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s.

The following day he encouraged more police violence, gloating about "the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons" awaiting protesters outside the White House, should they ever break through Secret Service lines. On Sunday he again resorted to incendiary tweets, instructing "Democrat Mayors and Governors" to "get tough" on the "ANARCHISTS."

Trump's response to George Floyd's murder has debased the presidency and squandered whatever moral authority remained.

Trump's response to the last three ghastly months of mounting disease and death has been just as heedless. Since claiming Covid-19 was a "Democratic hoax" and muzzling public health officials, he has punted management of the coronavirus to the states.

Governors have had to find ventilators to keep patients alive and protective equipment for hospital and other essential workers who lack it, often bidding against each other. They have had to decide how, when, and where to reopen their economies.

Trump has claimed "no responsibility at all" for testing and contact-tracing - the keys to containing the virus. His new "plan" places responsibility on states to do their own testing and contact-tracing.

Trump is also AWOL in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

More than 41 million Americans are jobless. In the coming weeks temporary eviction moratoriums are set to end in half of the states. One-fifth of Americans missed rent payments this month. Extra unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

What is Trump's response? Like Herbert Hoover, who in 1930 said "the worst is behind us" as thousands starved, Trump says the economy will improve and does nothing about the growing hardship. The Democratic-led House passed a $3 trillion relief package on May 15. Mitch McConnell has recessed the Senate without taking action and Trump calls the bill dead on arrival.

What about other pressing issues a real president would be addressing? The House has passed nearly 400 bills this term, including measures to reduce climate change, enhance election security, require background checks on gun sales, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and reform campaign finance. All are languishing in McConnell's inbox. Trump doesn't seem to be aware of any of them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with golfing, watching television and tweeting. But if that's pretty much all that a president does when the nation is engulfed in crises, he is not a president.

Trump's tweets are no substitute for governing. They are mostly about getting even.

When he's not fomenting violence against black protesters, he's accusing a media personality of committing murder, retweeting slurs about a black female politician's weight and the House speaker's looks, conjuring up conspiracies against himself supposedly organized by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and encouraging his followers to "liberate" their states from lockdown restrictions.

He tweets bogus threats that he has no power to carry out - withholding funds from states that expand absentee voting, "overruling" governors who don't allow places of worship to reopen "right away," designating anti-fascism activists as terrorists, and punishing Twitter for fact-checking him.

And he lies incessantly.

In reality, Donald Trump does not run the government of the United States. He doesn't manage anything. He doesn't organize anyone. He doesn't administer or oversee or supervise. He doesn't read memos. He hates meetings. He has no patience for briefings. His White House is in perpetual chaos.

His advisors aren't truth-tellers. They're toadies, lackeys, sycophants and relatives.

Since moving into the Oval Office in January 2017, Trump hasn't shown an ounce of interest in governing. He obsesses only about himself.

But it has taken the present set of crises to reveal the depths of his self-absorbed abdication - his utter contempt for his job, his total repudiation of his office.

Trump's nonfeasance goes far beyond an absence of leadership or inattention to traditional norms and roles. In a time of national trauma, he has relinquished the core duties and responsibilities of the presidency.

He is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.

(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

Remember Pandora's Box?
Apparently our leaders don't...
By Jane Stillwater

"Let's just shut down the economy for a few days, months or years," say our leaders. "What could possibly go wrong if we open Pandora's box?" Oops. And now we have riots in Minneapolis.

"But Jane," you might say, "That's just about police brutality and racism and stuff like that." Is it?

I recently talked with a friend of mine in Minneapolis and she paints a whole different picture. "Ever since the lock-down started," she said, "things have been very tense around here. People in Minneapolis are sick and tired of the lock-down. Plus so many neighborhood stores have been closing. Permanently. And many of my friends are out of work too." The same is true here in my hometown as well.

"But to make matters even worse," my friend continued, "police have been stopping a whole lot of people in the streets lately and charging them with walking around while Black. Minneapolis has been a tinderbox for at least a month now. And someone or something was just bound to light the fuse. We are sitting on dynamite here. Racism set it off this time -- but almost anything could have caused it to blow."

Yeah, well. What my friend says about Minneapolis rings true. And this could also be true of all the rest of America right now -- and even for the rest of the world. What were our leaders thinking? Shut down our entire economy and even our way of life for two months and expect nothing much will happen except that the Federal Reserve will go nuts spending other people's money and a few billionaires will become trillionaires -- but somehow none of the rest of us will even notice?

None of the rest of us will get pissed off if we have no jobs, no schools, no food, no social life, no freedom, no hope?

Most Americans right now are all tied up in their fear of catching the dread coronavirus -- but all too soon they will be start to be all tied up in their fear of things even far worse, even their very survival. Minneapolis is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Yep, our leaders have truly opened Pandora's box. Damn. I wish that they would hurry up and just close its freaking lid -- before even more evil escapes into the world.

According to Dr. Zach Bush, we can make this a hopeful time instead of just one of scarcity and horror. "We can't just go back to the 'normal' of buying more and more stuff," and being ruled by greedy stupid leaders who can't even recognize Pandora's' box when they see it actually staring them in the face.

"Instead, we need to be able to congregate with better attitudes toward each other, create music to celebrate life and protect ourselves while protecting nature. Otherwise our future is extinction. We have an opportunity to transform to a better planet." What he said. Yeah.

(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
~~~ Joe Heller ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump

Angela Merkel Practices Social Distancing By Staying Four Thousand Miles Away From Trump
By Andy Borowitz

BERLIN (The Borowitz Report)-In an effort to practice social distancing, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is staying four thousand miles away from Donald Trump, Merkel has confirmed.

Merkel's decision to decline Trump's invitation to a possible meeting of the G-7 in Washington was based "entirely on science," Merkel told reporters.

"Epidemiologists have recommended that, in order to be safe, one should social-distance by six feet," she said. "It only stands to reason that I will be even safer if I social-distance by twenty-one million feet."

Merkel said that she was taking the extremely cautious social-distancing measures regarding Trump because of "the danger posed by being in proximity to someone who speaks so loudly and incessantly."

"His mouth is like a firehose of droplets," she said, shuddering.

Asked whether she would reconsider a White House visit if Trump agreed to wear a mask, she said, "Donald Trump with a mask is clearly a big improvement over Donald Trump without a mask, but no."

The German leader added that she could envision making a trip to the Oval Office if "events on the ground change," most likely in January of 2021.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 23 (c) 06/05/2020

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