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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Solidarity Includes Wearing A Mask At Protests."

Ralph Nader demands, "Governor Cuomo: Avoid Budget Cuts By Not Rebating Stock Sales Tax To Wall Street."

Glen Ford says it's, "Time To Sharpen Our Weapons And Wits."

Jim Hightower is, "Standing with George Floyd."

William Rivers Pitt says, "As Trump Wages War On DC Residents, It's Clear He Must Resign Immediately."

John Nichols asks, "Shouldn't Congressional Approval Be Required To Deploy Troops At Home Too?"

James Donahue wonders, "How Did Human Racial Diversification Happen?"

David Swanson concludes, "The U.S. Military Should Stop Training Police And Stick To Slaughtering Innocent Foreigners."

David Suzuki concludes, "Returning To Normal After Pandemic Isn't Good Enough."

Charles P. Pierce says, "The Word 'Reform' Has Lost All Credibility When It Comes To Policing."

Juan Cole reports, "Palestinian Lives Matter: Huge Jewish-Arab Rally In Tel Aviv Decries Netanyahu's Plan to Annex 1/3 Of West Bank."

Tucker Carlson wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explores, "The Deadly Fox News-Trump Syndicate."

Chris Hedges returns with, "The Coming Collapse."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "DNC To Streamline Fundraising By Cutting Out Unnecessary Cost Of Campaigns, Candidates," but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Lying Donald Tweets Again!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of David Horsey, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Scott Olson, Nir Keidar, Anadolu Agency, Bennett Raglin, Joshua Roberts, Jim Watson, Richard Grant, Drew Angerer, David Ryder, Pixabay, Mr. Fish, 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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Lying Donald Tweets Again!
By Ernest Stewart

"President Trump is the kind of gentleman who would shove down your grandfather and leave him bleeding on the sidewalk. A vote for Trump is a vote for a society full of these types of assholes." ~~~ Heidi Krassenstein

"The change in the length of winter is even more dramatic than the summer changes. While the United States and Canada see summer conditions that last an average of seven days more than they used to, the duration of winter conditions has shortened by an average of 15 days." ~~~ Brian Brettschneider

"This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about black lives. Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will." ~~~ Tucker Carlson

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

Lying Donald sent some 200 tweets last Friday, a record even for him. I'm sure you understand my delima of trying to report on his mania when it shifts minute-by-minute-by-minute. You may recall back in the summer of 2016 when I wrote about Lying Donalds dementia as he had all eight signs of dementia as defined by the Mayo Clinic not to mention early signs of alzheimer's too. So I thought we'd just consider this one...

The man in question was Martin Gugino a 75 year old, long time peace activist, who works with the Catholic Worker a movement that is dedicated to justice and peace and not a member of ANTIFA a group of anti-fascists and since Lying Donald is a fascist you can plainly see his hatred of the group. In case you missed it here's the video in question.

Like Martin, I too am an old 1960s peacenik so I know wheres he's coming from and where he has been to be the man he is today. I see a lot of folks marvel at the current demonstrations but for me it's been there and done that. As an old SDS member I can still smell the tear gas from the 1968 Demoncratic Convention. As an civil right marcher I can tell you history does repeat itself when you are too stupid to learn from it. It's time to wake up America and get the job done right this time.

In Other News

I see where, according to scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the Earth had its hottest May ever, continuing a global warming trend as 2020 is set to be among the hottest 10 years ever.

2019 was the second-hottest year ever, capping off the world's hottest decade in recorded history. And six of the warmest years on record were during the past decade. This continuous upward trend in global temperatures results from greenhouse gas emissions that change the climate. Even though the Covid-19 epidemic slowed the emissions some what we're still online to meet last years emissions.

"The last month has been the warmest May on record globally and this is unquestionably an alarming sign. Even more concerning is the fact that average temperatures of the last 12 months have become one of the hottest 12-month periods ever recorded in our data set," said Freja Vamborg ~ a scientist at Copernicus Climate Change Service, an intergovernmental agency that supports European climate policy.

According to the new research the most above-average temperatures were recorded over parts of Siberia - where temperatures were up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average - as well as Alaska and Antarctica, according to the new research. You may recall from my column last week, a similar rise in temperatures in Alaska caused a mile long land slide to happen on Yudikench Peak just outside of Anchorage.

The Earth is warming and disturbing the balance of the seasons. Data makes it clear that summers are expanding while winters are shrinking, i.e., last month being the warmest May on record. While spring around here was a bit chilly, last winter was a lot warmer than usual with the only bad snow storm happening in autumn, in November. Most of winter was well above freezing!

And Finally

Tucker Carlson is a hater. He hates everything that doesn't goosestep, but mostly, he hates black folks. And is apparently paranoid; think Lying Donald in the bunker, about the slaves uprising and he is assured that they are coming for him. We can but dream, can we not?

Tucker says, "Anyone who has ever been subjected to the rage of the mob knows the feeling. It's like being swarmed by hornets. You cannot think clearly. And the temptation is to panic. But you can't panic. You've got to keep your head and tell the truth. ... If you show weakness of any kind, they will crush you." So Tucker sees the righteous karma that's hopefully coming his way, for all the hatred and lies that he's told about black folks and the left in general.

"All of this probably strikes you as wild-eyed craziness, flat-earth stuff," he went on. Yes, it does Tucker. As George Takei summed it up, "Tucker Carlson is a dangerous racist." Ergo, Tucker Carlson 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!


07-11-1950 ~ 06-08-2020
Thanks for the music!

06-09-1954 ~ 06-09-2020
Thanks for the music!

05-10-1933 ~ 06-10-2020
Thanks for the murals!

10-23-1941 ~ 06-11-2020
Thanks for the film!


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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.

A person wears a mask that reads "I CAN'T BREATHE" as demonstrators continue to protest the
death of George Floyd following a night of rioting on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Solidarity Includes Wearing A Mask At Protests
The life you save may not be your own. Those who wear a mask at protests are making clear that they're willing to undergo some discomfort to protect people they don't even know.
By Norman Solomon

The nationwide outpouring of protests during the last 10 days has provided a historic moral response to the murder of George Floyd. In one city after another, people braved tear gas, pepper spray, clubs and other weaponry-as well as mass arrests-to nonviolently challenge racist police violence. Those same people were also risking infection with the coronavirus.

Photos from around the country show that a large majority of protesters have been wearing masks, often under very difficult conditions. By doing so, they aren't only protecting themselves to some extent-they're also protecting people nearby. As the New York Times just noted, "most experts now agree that if everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another."

In other words, wearing a mask is about solidarity.

Unfortunately, some protesters have not worn masks, perhaps unaware that they were putting others at risk. Meanwhile, some police officers have disregarded orders to wear masks.

With latest research indicating that about 35 percent of infected people have no symptoms at all, unwillingness to wear a mask jeopardizes the health of others. That jeopardy is far from evenly distributed. Older people and those with underlying health problems are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. African Americans and other people of color are also dying at much higher rates, due to structural racism.

"UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford described the protests as a kind of uncontrolled experiment, one that will test what happens when people are wearing masks in an outdoor setting, but yelling and not maintaining their distance," the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Said Rutherford: "If you have breakdowns in social distancing and don't have masks on, then you're deeply in trouble."

Addressing the chances of exposure to the virus while protesting, California's Department of Health is urging caution: "Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19. . . . In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities should wear face coverings at all times."

Also, if you're headed to a protest, you might want to consider giving away some masks.

"The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas)," The Atlantic reported as this week began. "It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, such as police vans and jails."

In Minnesota, the Star-Tribune reported, "state health officials will be encouraging people protesting the death of George Floyd to seek COVID-19 testing-regardless of whether they feel sick-due to the increased risk of the disease spreading at mass gatherings." The newspaper added that "a key recommendation will be when asymptomatic protesters should seek testing, because the incubation period of the virus following infection is around five days-with a range of two to 14 days." Testing too early could miss the virus.

Protesting is crucial at a moment like this. But protesting must be done without ignoring the pandemic.

While some hazards probably can't be avoided at demonstrations, wearing a mask remains vital. The reality that it's difficult if not impossible to maintain six-foot social distancing at a protest makes wearing a mask all the more important. The life you save may not be your own.

At campaign rallies last fall and winter, Bernie Sanders struck a chord when he asked: "Are you willing to fight for that person who you don't even know as much as you're willing to fight for yourself?" It was a powerful statement that resonated deeply and became a viral rallying cry. The ethical core remains. And by speaking out and protesting in the wake of George Floyd's death, large numbers of people have been answering that question with a resounding Yes.

At the same time, those who wear a mask at protests are making clear that they're willing to undergo some discomfort to protect people they don't even know.

There are many things we have no control over as we keep pushing to change the political direction of the United States. Whether we wear a mask isn't one of them.

(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."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily news conference amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 20, 2020.

Governor Cuomo: Avoid Budget Cuts By Not Rebating Stock Sales Tax To Wall Street
This stock transfer sales tax, bringing in an estimated 13 to 16 billion dollars a year, would reduce forthcoming budget cuts in health, education, transportation, and other safety nets.
By Ralph Nader

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is basking in the popularity of his meticulous Covid-19 news briefings and simultaneously predicting a pandemic-driven $61 billion state deficit over four years. Astonishingly, the Governor electronically rebates an existing tiny stock transfer sales tax back to Wall Street. This stock transfer sales tax, bringing in an estimated 13 to 16 billion dollars a year, would reduce forthcoming budget cuts in health, education, transportation, and other safety nets.

No Governor in the country has the luxury of simply keeping very significant tax revenues that are already collected to avoid cutting necessities of life. Yet Governor Cuomo has supported these rebates for the past ten years, as have previous New York state Governors all the way back to 1981 when this early 20th-century tax stopped being retained in the state's treasury. As much as a staggering $250 billion dollars has been immediately returned to the stockbrokers over that time period.

Bear in mind, a fraction of one percent of this tiny sales tax is paid by the investors buying stocks, bonds, and engaging in massive volumes of derivative speculation. Since the great bulk of trading is conducted by upper-income people and large companies, this sales tax, unlike the regressive 8 percent sales tax ordinary New Yorkers pay when they buy from stores, is progressive in its impact.

So why hasn't the media taken this eminently timely and newsworthy story to the people? I've been explaining this surrender to Wall Street for years. Most recently, given its timeliness, calling up reporters and columnists of major press outlets, but to no avail; with the exception of the Buffalo News. This indifference is inexplicable. After all, Governor Cuomo regularly talks about drastic budget cuts.

Well, a new factor may change this equation. Blair Horner, a longtime, prominent director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), an influential university college student-funded civic advocacy group is now on the case.

On May 28, 2020, Mr. Horner held a virtual news conference in Albany, presented a letter signed by over fifty labor, consumer, women's, educational, minority, health, taxpayer, elderly, and justice organizations - all calling on the Governor to keep the many billions of dollars from the stock transfer tax. The number of New York groups supporting this proposal will only grow. Attentively advanced by the seasoned Horner and his team, a detailed news release was distributed and several speakers, including me, briefly spoke. At question time, only a Newsday reporter asked about Wall Street's reaction.

A half-hour later, no reporter asked Governor Cuomo during his long daily briefings about keeping the collected revenues. The next day there was no media coverage of this event and the benefits the revenue could have for communities whose members will be bearing the brunt of avoidable service cuts and job losses.

Everyday New York state rebates about $40 million to an upper-economic class, already further enriched by Trump's 2017 tax bonanza. Nor have these privileged plutocrats shared, via a wealth tax, a fraction of the sacrifice of New York's 2.2 million front-line Covid-19 workers. Shameful!

Bills mandating the retention of this stock sales tax are already in the state legislature. A prime sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Steck believes that there will be overwhelming left/right support in the polls.

However, the legislature's leaders await the signal from a thus far reluctant Governor Cuomo. But not, I suspect for long.

With Wall Street's Robert Rubin and Michael Bloomberg coming out for a financial transaction tax (thanks probably to the Bernie Sanders movement), can the son of Mario Cuomo be much far behind?

See the Coalition release, letter to Governor Cuomo, and the New York State Assembly and Senate bills to stop the rebate of the stock transfer tax at

(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).

Time To Sharpen Our Weapons And Wits
By Glen Ford

Having not yet won real power over the police, this is no time for a lull or a truce -- it's time to sharpen our political instruments and deepen the mass movement's social penetration.

The awesome power of massed, militant people in motion has been manifest since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Much of the world now knows Floyd's name; majorities of Americans say they support "Black Lives Matter"; New York City's mayor pledged to slash his cops' budget in deference to the Black Lives Matter demand to defund the police; the Minneapolis city council has promised to move towards disbanding their police force, in the spirit of outright abolition; and the grassroots demand for community control of police - previously rejected out of hand by most city councils - is now part of the "mainstream" political conversation. So massive and swift has been the swing in popular sentiment against the police - the coercive organs of the State - that "A&E has decided not to run new episodes of 'Live PD' this Friday and Saturday, while Paramount Network has delayed the Season 33 launch of 'Cops,'" according to Variety magazine.

"Movement" politics is how the people flex their power, while electoral politics under a corporate duopoly system is the domain of the moneyed classes. This is a lesson learned in the Sixties -- a period when some years saw as many as 5,000 separate demonstrations. The makeup of the U.S. House and Senate did not change dramatically during that tumultuous decade. Political contributions kept most incumbents in office, year after year, as is the case today. But, for a time, the lawmakers behaved differently -- voting for civil rights and social justice measures they had not previously supported -- when confronted with masses of determined people in motion, who sometimes burned cities,

Movement politics was finally quashed in the latter part of the Sixties by a combination of lethal force and political seduction. A national policy of mass Black incarceration, supported by both corporate parties, criminalized Black people as a group, while federal and local police waged a murderous, dirty war to crush Black radicals. On the seduction front, the Democratic Party opened its doors to a hungry cohort of Black politicians and aspiring businessmen who preached that the movement must shift gears "from the streets to the suites" - the beginnings of today's Black Misleadership Class.

By 1979, after a decade of Black electoral victories in cities abandoned by whites, everyone was singing McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" - but the mass movement had long been snuffed out. The Black-white economic gap - which had briefly shrunken as a result of social justice victories in the Sixties -- was beginning to widen, and mass Black incarceration ravaged the Black social fabric. But the Black political class and a small elite of entrepreneurs, professionals and entertainers were doing better than ever - and they were all-in with the Democratic Party, which soon succeeded in subverting virtually every civic organization in Black America. The spoils of a long-dead mass movement of the streets had ultimately accrued to a tiny sliver of Black folks in suites.

For four decades, Black America was stalled in a political dead zone in which the only sustained politics was that which took place in the Democratic Party half of the corporate duopoly. As servants of forces hostile to Black people, Black politicians consistently acted against the interests of their constituents, collaborating in the destruction of public housing and the gentrification of Black neighborhoods. In the ultimate act of betrayal, the Black Misleadership Class lovingly embraced the Mass Black Incarceration Regime. In 2014, just two months before Michael Brown was gunned down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against a bill that would have halted the Pentagon's infamous 1033 program that funnels billions of dollars in military weapons and gear to local police departments. The emergence of what came to be called the "Black Lives Matter movement" had no substantive effect on Black members of Congress. In 2018, 75 percent of them supported a bill that makes police a "protected class" and assault on police a "hate crime."

These are the same scoundrels that this week "took a knee" in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall along with their boss, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - the same Democratic leader that refused to hold hearings on the Katrina catastrophe in 2005 for fear that the Democrats would lose white votes in 2006 for being too closely associated with Black people. But, just as the U.S. Congress in the Sixties responded to mass movements in the street, so Pelosi's Democrats offered legislation that "forces federal police to use body and dashboard cameras, ban chokeholds, eliminates unannounced police raids known as 'no-knock warrants,' makes it easier to hold police liable for civil rights violations and calls for federal funds to be withheld from local police forces who do not make similar reforms."

These are palliatives that have only been offered because of the presence of masses of people in the streets. Don't thank the Democrats - the credit goes to the activists that have been disrupting the racist social order that both parties, including the vast majority of Black lawmakers, have maintained for the four generations since we last had a mass political movement. Given the recent phenomenal rise in popularity of "Black Lives Matter," which is now supported by a majority of Americans and overwhelming numbers of Blacks, the police reforms are likely to pass the House -- and possibly even the Republican-controlled Senate, in some form. But these measures do not empower the oppressed - they are only a response to the power that Blacks and our numerous non-Black allies have shown in the streets: the power to disrupt and shame the ruling order in the United States, and the threat of much more to come.

Having not yet won real power over the police - the coercive organs of government that claim a monopoly on the use of force -- this is no time for a lull or a truce. Rather, it is time to sharpen our political instruments and deepen the mass movement's social penetration. The objective is to seize and exercise people's power in our communities, and to defend the people's rights and interests - the opposite of the role played by the police, who defend property rights and white supremacy, whatever the cops' color or ethnicity.

Community control of police and outright abolition of police are wholly compatible demands, Both are predicated on the right of the people to shape, control or abolish the coercive organs of the state, at least in their own communities. Defunding of the police is about allocation of resources, not power, which is why New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been repeatedly punked by his own cops, can claim to favor some level of defunding. However, a significant section of "Black Lives Matter" - those under the influence of Alicia Garza and her corporate philanthropic backers -- is clearly resistant to community control of the police and only gives lip service to abolition as a goal for the far-off future. We can expect that the contradictions between that faction of "Black Lives Matter" and other activists will deepen - maybe rather quickly - since the conflict is rooted in who's paying the bills.

The lifeblood of social movements against white supremacism, capitalism and imperialism is solidarity among all the victims of these isms. Alicia Garza actively discourages Black solidarity with anybody outside the borders of the United States - doubtless as a condition of her funding. That's why her Black Census project, which last year conducted the biggest survey of U.S. Blacks in history, chose not to ask a single question on foreign policy. Black Americans have historically been the most pro-peace, anti-militarism constituency in the nation and, besides Arab Americans, the most empathetic to the plight of Palestinians. The Black Census is most useful as a domestic issues guide for Democratic politicians - which is how it is cleverly packaged. Garza has chosen to be an asset to the Party - a disturbing situation, given her status in the "movement."

The Democratic Party is the movement's greatest institutional political foe, since it infests and dominates virtually all Black civic organizations. (The Republican Party is not a factor in Black America's internal workings.) The Democrats are the Party of capital, of the bankers, the people displacers, the warmongers - and a Black Caucus that is allied overwhelming with the police. However, Black America is a one-party polity, due to a system that reserves half of the duopoly for the White Man's Party, the GOP. Therefore, some genuine Black progressives, and even revolutionaries, have run for office, and won, as Democrats, for lack of any other viable platform. Essentially, this very small cohort of righteous officeholders are anti-Democrats who fight the corporate Party machine at every juncture. Among them are Charles and Inez Barron, the nominally Democratic husband-wife team representing a Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood in the city council and state legislature; and St. Louis alderman Jesse Toddy, also a nominal Democrat.

Todd and the Barrons are members of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (as am I), which holds its annual Electoral School, via Zoom, June 13 and 14. The Coalition, made up of 15 organizations plus many individual activists, has promulgated a 19-point National Black Agenda for Self-Determination that puts forward principled, self-determinationist positions on the broadest range of issue-areas, including community control of police. Black Is Back's approach to electoral politics is simple: the Coalition will endorse no candidate for office who is not in accord with the National Black Agenda for Self-Determination.

The term "Black Power," as we learned in the Sixties, can be misused in myriad ways. Black Democratic Party loyalists claim that Blacks were empowered by voting for Joe Biden in huge numbers in the primaries, thus saving his presidential candidacy. "Hands that once picked cotton, now pick presidents," the Black Democrats exult, as if power flows from abject servitude to the corporate dictatorship. In reality, Black voters gave the presidential nomination to a politician who claims he "wrote" the crime bill that resulted in the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Black people; whose opposition to single payer health care guarantees that Black people will continue to die disproportionately from damn near all causes; and who opposes defunding the police, a minimal demand of the current mass movement.

The oligarchs that rule the country and control both of its corporate parties and all of its major media want the people to believe that politics is limited to the electoral process, and that street activism, labor militancy and community organizing are outside the realm of "real" politics. The events of the past ten days have proven the opposite: that massive street actions and unrelenting people-pressure can yield far better results than decades of pulling levers for corporate duopoly candidates.

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

Standing with George Floyd
By Jim Hightower

One word in particular, one sound, one horror that I can't get out of my head is this: George Floyd crying out "momma," as his life was cruelly and senselessly crushed in yet another brutal, White-on-Black murder by a so-called "officer of the law." This can't be America, can it?

Yes, the official knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd certainly is not a new experience for African-Americans, nor for Latinos, Native Americans, and other people of color. And, increasingly, the entire working class majority - particularly among young people - has felt the establishment's knee crushing its opportunities, rights, and lives, too. It's not just empathy for the Black community that has driven such a diverse, mass outrage into the streets over the on-camera lynchings in Minneapolis and elsewhere. There's now a shared inkling that the rise of autocracy and plutocracy is engulfing all but the moneyed elites, threatening the existence of America itself.

As usual, the authorities are loudly barking that order and respect for the system must immediately be restored. But it's been years of public passivity, obedience and silence that led to George Floyd's desperate cry for momma - and his shameful murder reveals that today's social order is corrupt and the system itself must be changed. Not tinkered with… fundamentally changed.

In these convulsive times of democratic suppression, let's remember that the opposite of courage is not cowardice, but conformity. Let's stand for George Floyd, each other, and the America we want.

(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

Members of the U.S. Army confront protesters near the White House on June 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

As Trump Wages War On DC Residents, It's Clear He Must Resign Immediately
By William Rivers Pitt

There is an iconic scene in the film The Dead Zone where a thoroughly unglued President Stilson, played by Martin Sheen, bulldozes one of his generals into co-authorizing a nuclear strike. "You are not the voice of the people, I am the voice of the people!" Stilson rages. "The people speak through me, not you!" After the launch is effected, upon being told an attack is not necessary, Stilson says with a smile, "The missiles are flying, hallelujah, hallelujah."

Folks have been batting that disturbing clip around on social media since before Donald Trump was elected president, partly because Sheen's hair and demeanor are eerily similar to Trump's, but mostly because they were afraid such a scene could actually unfold in real life. It was an early, semi-ironic warning of a doomsday scenario that could potentially come to pass if a human wrecking ball like Trump were to be elevated to a position of such astonishing power.

We are not quite there yet; the missiles still sleep in their silos for now. If the noises coming out of usually silent U.S. military circles are any indication at all, however, we are at this moment teetering on the verge of a domestic military conflagration unseen in all of U.S. history.

The nation's capital is an occupied space. Federal agents from the FBI, ATF, the Defense Department, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security, the Bureau of Prisons and other agencies, all in riot gear and some without identification, have swarmed around the White House, as well as around popular monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial.

"By late Wednesday afternoon," reports The New York Times, "many of the streets around the White House were closed off to traffic and, in some cases, secured with newly installed black fencing that gave the area a feel of a caged outcry. Sirens blared from every direction, and helicopters loomed and zigzagged overhead in a signal of the obvious: These are not normal times."

Today, upon the anniversary of the authoritarian Chinese government crackdown in Tiananmen Square, Washington D.C. is an armed camp bristling with war weapons, its residents the only enemy in sight. It stands as an unmistakable advertisement for what Trump would like to do in cities all across the country, especially the ones in states with Democratic governors: Invest them with soldiers, smash the protests that inconvenience his reelection campaign, and strike fear into the hearts of the citizenry.

Trump's nigh-unprecedented belligerence toward the nation he purportedly leads has not gone unremarked upon by present and former military leaders, many of whom would be the sharp end of the spear should the president decide to go to war with Main Street.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who participated in Trump's shameless display of violent showmanship outside St. John's Church across from the White House on Monday, gave one of the more remarkable press conferences in recent memory two days later. Esper claimed he wasn't aware that peaceful protesters were smashed to make way for the photo op, which is difficult to believe given all the screaming and flash-banging that preceded Trump's little stroll.

At least one person didn't buy Esper's denials. James Miller Jr., a senior Defense Department adviser, resigned in protest after the events outside the church. "I hope this letter of resignation will encourage you to again contemplate the obligations you undertook in your oath of office, as well as your obligations to the men and women in our military and other Americans whose lives may be at stake," Miller wrote in a public letter to Esper. "The sanctity of the U.S. Constitution, and the lives of Americans, may depend on your choices."

Miller's resignation and letter may explain why Esper put a whole summer Sunday's worth of daylight between himself and the president he serves (for now) on Wednesday. Esper pointedly told the assembled press he did not support invoking the Insurrection Act, and said matters in the country had not risen to a crisis point that required the intervention of the military. Coming from a man in his position, this was a remarkable public rebuke.

According to reports, Esper was metaphorically walloped with a White House candelabra as soon as he walked back into the building, which apparently explains why he abruptly reversed an earlier order to remove active duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division from their position just outside the city.

Still, this vivid public break from the president by the defense secretary at this moment of crisis is noteworthy, and Esper soon discovered he had company. After the order to remove those Airborne troops was reversed, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy joined Esper in saying the situation has not risen to the dire necessity of using soldiers against the population. "It is our intent at this point not to bring in active forces," McCarthy told the Associated Press. "We don't think we need them at this point."

By Wednesday afternoon, the grim news cycle was stampeded by a written statement from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned from Trump's Cabinet in 2018 to protest the president's harebrained Syria policies. You won't ever find me calling Mattis a hero on these pages, not after the carnage he unleashed on Fallujah while in command there. That being said, his words on Wednesday rang with a hard truth this nation, and the world, needed to hear:

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens - much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people-does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

Less reported, but far more ominous, was a letter dispatched on Tuesday by Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the leaders of all branches of the U.S. military. "Every member of the U.S. military swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the values embedded within it," wrote Milley. "Please remind all of our troops and leaders that we will uphold the values of our nation, and operate consistent with the national laws and our own high standards of conduct at all times."

The only reason I can think of why a military leader of Milley's high rank would dispatch a public letter to the leadership of all branches of the U.S. military, a letter asking them to remember their oath to the Constitution, is because he expects Trump to order them to break that oath. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, with this letter, appears to have thrown down a marker at the president's feet: Such an order will not be obeyed.

If it comes to that, if Trump gives that order and the military refuses to comply, we will have a civil war between the civilian leadership and the armed forces, which could in turn lead to a civil war within the ranks of those forces. In the midst of a pandemic and with police continuing to actively attack peaceful protesters, such a turn of events would splinter and shatter an already fractured nation.

For the good of the country, for the good of the people, Donald Trump must resign. His fellow Republicans, who are the only ones at this point able to exert any effective pressure upon him, must rise from their docile slumber and convince the man that his time is over. Richard Nixon only resigned after Barry Goldwater informed him he had lost all meaningful support in Congress. Mitch McConnell must do likewise, right now, today, before there is more blood running in the streets. Don't get me wrong: I don't expect this turn of events to transpire, but if there ever was a time for it, it's now.

President Mike Pence? It's an utterly gruesome alternative, given his far-right Christian Dominionist beliefs. However, a President Pence would be significantly immobilized politically, much as Gerald Ford was after Nixon split town, while one of the main impediments to properly addressing the COVID pandemic would be removed.

We are on the brink. If Trump does not depart the office he has so thoroughly despoiled, I fear 2021 will make the horrors of 2020 seem like a garden party by comparison. Of all the bad choices arrayed before us, this is one of the better ones, which tells you all you need to know about where we stand.

(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.

Protesters raise their hands to military police during a demonstration on June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Shouldn't Congressional Approval Be Required To Deploy Troops At Home Too?
Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders promise action after Trump threatens "to weaponize the US military against its own citizens."
By John Nichols

When President Trump signaled Monday that he was prepared to send military forces to US cities in order to end unrest that has swelled since the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd-and then had his attorney general order federal police to remove peaceful protesters from a park adjacent to the White House-Representative John Yarmouth warned, "The President just declared war on millions of Americans and the 1st Amendment. He is the greatest threat to the American way of life in our history."

The Kentucky Democrat's statement pointed to an unsettling irony.

The Constitution vests the power to declare war against foreign countries in Congress. But the law that Trump threatened to invoke in order to dispatch troops to communities across the country, the Insurrection Act of 1807, gives presidents at least some leeway to dispatch troops inside the United States without ever consulting Congress. "So what about now? Can Trump send federal troops to a state that doesn't ask for them or even opposes them?" asked NBC News Justice Department and Supreme Court correspondent Pete Williams in an assessment of the Insurrection Act. "The current law doesn't explicitly allow it. But it doesn't clearly forbid it, either, and history is full of examples of presidents' broadly interpreting this law or its forerunners."

That's something that members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus want to address. Immediately.

"In the coming days, we will be introducing legislation to prohibit the unilateral deployment of US military personnel into American cities without the explicit approval of Congress," CPC cochairs Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan said Thursday, in conjunction with Representative Ilhan Omar. "Time and again, President Trump has governed as an authoritarian-abusing his power at the expense of the American people and our democracy. Now, he's threatening to weaponize the US military against its own citizens."

The message from the CPC leaders came amid a national outcry over Trump's authoritarian excesses, which included a declaration Wednesday from Trump's former secretary of defense James Mattis that "we do not need to militarize our response to protests."

Noting the language that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has used and that Trump employed on Monday, Mattis wrote,

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a "battlespace" that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate.' At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict-a false conflict-between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.
Mattis, a retired Marine general, was one of several prominent military figures who raised concerns about Trump's ranting about military crackdowns on demonstrations against police brutality and structural racism. "Even President Trump's own Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, opposes deploying troops to silence the protests," noted Representatives Omar, Jayapal, and Pocan. "The American public has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. Deploying the military in an attempt to quash these protests would be an attack on our constitution, our democracy, and our people. Congress must send an unequivocal message that this grotesque abuse of power will be stopped."

Pocan, in an interview with The Nation, said the president's recent actions have created a sense of urgency on the part of members of Congress. Noting reports that chemical irritants such as pepper balls were used to disperse protesters, the representative said, "He used chemical weapons against peaceful protesters for a photo op, so it doesn't give us confidence that we should trust the president to make unilateral decisions about using military force domestically."

Might Republican members of Congress, who usually bend to the will of the president, be inclined finally to stand up? That's going to be necessary to override an all-but-certain veto. Some Republicans have been outspoken in their criticisms of Trump's recent actions. For instance, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said, "If your question is: Should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo-op? The answer is no." But whether these objections could translate to a sufficient level of support to sustain the legislation remains a tall order, especially with a Senate that has been disinclined even to assert basic premises of the Constitution when it comes to checking and balancing the president's war powers.

Yet, Pocan says, "this is not complicated. If we accept that the Constitution says the president has to go to Congress in order to go to war internationally, then he certainly should have to go to Congress and get permission before he deploys troops in the U.S."

(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.

How Did Human Racial Diversification Happen?
By James Donahue

If the Tower of Babel story is incorrect and a mythological god didn't magically change humans into a hodge-podge of unique races with different skin color, language and general bodily appearance, how did we end up so different from one another?

One theory suggests evolutionary differences caused among tribes living in different climates and in different parts of the world. Yet archaeological discoveries reveal that the ancients may not have been as separated from one another as we once thought. Copper mined in Northern Michigan has been found in South America and portions of Europe. The similarities of the mounds and other architectures found in China, India, Egypt and Latin America strongly suggest ancient contact and exchange of information.

Another theory is that there was a diversity of humanoid evolution among early primates. This would explain the radical differences in skin colors, body appearances, languages and social behavior among the various races of the world. Strangely, these races are so genetically alike that they can easily cross breed and become racially mixed. How could this be explained? And if the ancients did travel, conduct trade and exchange information, what prevented them from cross breeding and blending all of the races? Why have they remained so uniquely different?

A third theory suggests genetic manipulation of the genetic makeup of various primates by visiting alien races and leading to different circumstances. This idea may be supported by the fact that a wide variety of bones of early primates have been discovered that were neither ape nor human, but something in-between. It suggests there may have been a lot of genetic experimentation going on before there was success.

A final theory suggests that all humans on this planet are the descendants of various alien races that visited Earth and established colonies. If this were true, it would mean that there is a basic genetic blueprint for the intelligent humanoid that occurs throughout the universe. This theory is strangely supported in ancient legends and mythology passed down from the distant past.

The failure by archaeologists and geologists to find that "missing link" proving evolutionary progression from ape-like creatures living in caves to civilized humans building monuments and shelters, seems to rule out a natural evolutionary process. The sudden appearance of Neanderthal humanoids followed by intelligent homo sapiens supports some kind of rapid change that either came magically from a creator in the clouds, or from genetic intervention from some outside source.

Some supporters of the genetic experimentation theory believe this may have been going on for a very long time.

Support for a progression of experiments can be found in the fossilized remains of a wide variety of humanoid creatures that once existed, ranging from Sahelanthropus tchadensis, a creature that lived over 7 million years ago, to Homo neanderthalensis, or Neanderthal man, who existed from about 230,000 years ago and then disappeared as late as 30,000 years ago.

Thus it is evident that a lot of thought and experimentation went on before modern Homo sapiens made an appearance. Our arrival triggered a sudden avalanche of archaeological evidence. Not only tools but pottery, clay and carved stone figures of humans and animals, and the foundations of buildings are found almost at the same level of the geological spectrum.

Almost overnight, we were turned from animals to thinking creatures that clearly proved an awareness of ourselves through monument building.

The blemish in this picture is, of course, the racial diversity. The problem isn't that we have a variety of races, languages and cultures, but that these different races seem to be naturally involved in spiritual warfare with one another.

The blacks and whites have been at odds for as long as history has been recorded. The yellow skinned races have perhaps blended best with the others, although there have been many wars throughout history.

Aboriginal tribes throughout the world remain unique unto themselves and rarely mix with the other races.

That we can all breed with each other and create successful offspring is proof that we sprang from the same humanoid stock, however. The difference seems to be found in slight alterations in the genetic batch used to put us all together in the first place.

(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 U.S. Military Should Stop Training Police And Stick To Slaughtering Innocent Foreigners
By David Swanson

Here's what should happen now, judging by what I see on social and other media.

The U.S. Military and the National Guard and other war-making outfits should clear out of the streets of the United States, get on some airplanes, and head off to properly murder lots of men, women, and children very far away. It's simply inappropriate to kill people in this enlightened land where we've figured out that lives all matter.

War making should not be based on lies about protesters being violent or black people being savages or Trump needing his religion fix. Wars should be based, as established by long tradition, on lies about foreign governments and terrorists and fossil fuels and babies in incubators and WMDs and phantom missiles and chemical attacks and impending massacres.

Therefore, the Israeli military should stop training police in Minnesota and across the U.S. in how to wage war against the local people. So, for that matter, should the U.S. military and private U.S. companies. And the U.S. government should stop giving war weapons to police departments. Those should be given to vicious foreign dictators and coup plotters and mercenaries and secret agencies.

It's a little less clear what should be done about someone like Derek Chauvin who learned to be a policeman in the U.S. Army, both at Fort Benning, where plenty of murderous coup plotters have been trained and other good proper deeds done, and in Germany which of course needs to be kept down. Once he's a local police officer, Chauvin is not in the military anymore, right? So, he's not a problem. And if he shoots people on the job, well that's just the way it goes. And if he likes to use pepper spray on the black folks at his other job as a "security guard" well, nobody's perfect. Eighteen complaints is not that many, considering that he was never prosecuted by a single respectable racist prosecutor who hoped to be vice president someday.

The important thing is for the police to be police, and the military to be military, and the weapons and tactics of war to be used exclusively on dark-skinned people in distant lands who cannot possibly disrupt my evening news or block any intersections near here or topple any white supremacist war monuments where I might see them.

Wait, is that right?

Or perhaps the real problem is murdering people however and wherever and to whomever it's done. Perhaps members of the National Guard and U.S. military should refuse orders to fight in the United States, but also refuse orders to fight anywhere else. There's nothing more moral or legal about one over the other.

I often wish that there were stories of distant wars to match the stories of horrific tragedies closer to home. Perhaps that would bring people around, I often fantasize. Well, I just picked up a copy of a new book called War, Suffering, and the Struggle for Human Rights by Peadar King. Here's a guy from Ireland who traveled to twelve different countries to get their stories for television, and who has now turned them into a book. I can't recommend it enough.

These are the voices of wars of all sorts. These are victims of both sides of the same wars. They're not chosen to make a point about a particular culprit or tactic or anything other than the need to see the suffering and work to end it. In Libya, we hear about the suffering recently caused by the United States and its allies, but we hear a lot more about the suffering that had been caused by Gadaffi - not because it was worse in some way, but because King met those victims and he clearly felt compelled to tell their stories.

In Syria we learn about the intense pain brought to a family by the shooting of one woman, but we're never really told which side of the war the shooter was on. It's not the point. The point is the evil of war, every war, from every side - and not just the waging of it, but the creation of the tools and training for it. The Syrian woman's father ends up exclaiming that the weapons dealers are the ones he blames.

Beyond the voices of war's victims, we also hear Peadar King's voice - indignant, outraged, disgusted by hypocrisy, and sickened by evil, both the banal and the sadistic varieties. The United States uses the "death penalty" at home, then wages a war that generates, among other horrors, a group called ISIS that also uses the "death penalty" - and the outrage over this from the U.S. is laid out as grounds for yet more war. King - like the people of the poorest U.S. neighborhoods - has had enough and is not inclined to take it anymore.

"There is never justification for war. To know that means to do something about it. Stand up for justice!" Thus speaks Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament, in the book's foreword.

"I hope this book will be a small reminder that we have the vision and the capacity to not just imagine but to create a world beyond war," writes King in the introduction.

"Within Palestine/Israel," King writes later in the book, "there are people, as elsewhere in the world, who refuse to countenance that war is an inevitability. . . . Rami Elhahan told me, 'I devote my life to express this one message, we are not doomed, it's not our destiny to keep on killing each other.'"

"I used to think there were just, noble wars," says Jose Alberto Mujica Cordano, former president of Uruguay, "but I don't think that anymore. Now I think the only solution is through negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to ensure peace is to cultivate tolerance."

At one point, King intersperses two points of view to dramatic effect. Here's kindergarten teacher Samira Dawood:

"I was on my own with my children. No one else. My husband was out of Baghdad. They were small in age."

Here's President George W. Bush:

"My fellow citizens. At this hour American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."


"We were caught by surprise. We were asleep in the middle of the night. The warning sirens became very loud and there was a blackout, it was frightening and my children and I, we didn't know where to go. The children cried and shivered with fear. My small daughter hid under the chair from fear and she still suffers from the trauma. In the morning there were dead bodies on the street, houses demolished, buildings destroyed."


"The people you will liberate will witness the honourable and decent spirit of the American people. In this conflict America faces an enemy that has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein [has attempted] to use innocent men, women, and children as shields for his own military. A final atrocity against his people. I want the world to know that every effort will be made to spare innocent civilians from harm."


"I was upset and my children were crying, there was no food. There was a shortage of food, Baghdad markets were deserted and all the shops were closed. Two weeks later, while still going through the suffering in the same house, we managed to organise cars in a hurry, we headed towards Al-Anbar. I saw dead bodies lying on the street - women, men, children - and animals eating the bodies, the country turned into terror. It was a curse not a blessing."

You know where else there's a shortage of food and bodies in the streets? Poor and black neighborhoods of U.S. cities.

Another interesting book that just came out is Capital and Ideology by Thomas Piketty. His interest is inequality. He points out that in various countries the poorest 50% of the people had 20 to 25% of the income in 1980 but 15 to 20 percent in 2018, and only 10 percent in 2018 in the United States - "which is particularly worrisome." Piketty also finds that higher taxes on the wealthy prior to 1980 created both more equality and more wealth, whereas slashing taxes on the wealthy created both greater inequality and less "growth."

Piketty, whose book is largely a catlogue of the lies used to excuse inequality, also finds that in countries like the United States, France, and the UK, during the period of relative equality, there was relative correlation in electoral politics of wealth, income, and education. Those with less of all three of those things tended to vote together for the same parties. That's now gone. Some of the highest educated and highest income voters back the parties that claim to stand (ever so slightly) for greater equality (as well as less racism, and relative decency - shooting you in the leg instead of the heart, as Joe Biden might put it).

Piketty doesn't think our focus should be on blaming working class racism or globalization. It's not clear what blame he places on corruption - perhaps he sees it as a symptom of what he does blame, namely the failure of governments to maintain progressive taxation (and fair education, immigration, and ownership policies) in the era of global wealth. He does, however, see another problem as a symptom of these failures, and so do I, namely the problem of Trumpian fascism fueling racist violence as a distraction from organized class struggle for equality.

(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.

Why are Canadians subsidizing and bailing out what has been the most profitable industry
in human history when those billions could do so much to put us on a healthier path?

Returning To Normal After Pandemic Isn't Good Enough
David Suzuki

After months of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people just want to get back to "normal." We will overcome this crisis. But "normal" means continued climate disruption and species extinction, growing inequalities, increasing pollution and health risks and the possibility of further new disease outbreaks.

We should aim much higher than "normal." The COVID-19 crisis shows it's possible.

Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have declined substantially as people fly and drive less. A Stanford University study found better air quality in China during the pandemic shutdown may have prevented 50,000 to 75,000 premature deaths, saving up to 20 times more lives than have been lost there to COVID-19.

But a pandemic isn't a good solution to climate chaos. We can and must change our ways. Hyper-consumption, car culture and burning fossil fuels are putting our future at risk.

It's time to rethink economic systems adopted in the mid-20th century when resources were plentiful and built infrastructure was lacking, when the human population was much smaller and the U.S. promoted consumerism as a way to keep the postwar boom going. It's time to conserve energy and shift to cleaner sources. It's time to help workers in sunset industries train for and find employment in industries that will shape our future. It's time to rethink the ways and hours we work, now that technology has entered every sphere of our work lives.

But some are eager to get back to environmental degradation and climate-altering activity. Around the world, corporate supporters are convincing governments to roll back environmental regulations and protections under cover of the pandemic. We've seen it in the United States, Brazil and Canadian provinces including Ontario and Alberta.

In the latter, where government and media would have you believe bitumen extraction is the only industry that matters, one minister revealed the petro-politician mindset.

"Now is a great time to be building a pipeline because you can't have protests of more than 15 people," Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage recently said on an oil well driller podcast.

"At least she's being honest," teen climate activist Greta Thunberg responded in an interview.

Why are these politicians and their corporate and media cheerleaders so determined to spend billions on pipelines for a product that costs more to produce than it fetches on the market? Why do they throw their support behind an industry that employs fewer people all the time, thanks to automation and market forces? Why, when the world is switching to renewable energy, with numerous clean tech economic opportunities, do they want to double down on a fading industry that should have begun its phase-out decades ago. Why do they want to wastefully sell and burn a finite product that has many other uses?

Why are Canadians subsidizing and bailing out what has been the most profitable industry in human history when those billions could do so much to put us on a healthier path?

Is there no foresight, no imagination, no courage?

The pandemic has created a lot of misery and havoc, especially for the most vulnerable. But it's also given us a glimpse of the possible. It's shown that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. It's demonstrated that working regimes can shift. It shows that co-operation and altruism will get us through.

It's also exposed the folly of those who reject scientific evidence and common sense, something we've seen for years with the climate crisis but that's heated up among those who see simple, life-saving measures like social distancing and mask-wearing as an infringement on their freedom.

So many solutions could be implemented immediately - from a four-day workweek to maintaining road closures and restricting car traffic.

When one per cent of humanity owns almost half the world's wealth, and that one per cent is largely behind the push to get the economy rolling no matter the human cost, then we know change is necessary. That U.S. billionaires added $282 billion to their wealth in just 23 days during the pandemic while ordinary Americans were losing jobs and struggling to get by further illustrates the current system's absurdity.

Tackling the pandemic is a start to addressing the other crises we face, including climate disruption and species extinction. We can't afford to miss the opportunity.

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

The Word 'Reform' Has Lost All Credibility When It Comes To Policing
The "defund" framing is necessary because we've seen almost 50 years of debate about police "reform" only to see all the problems get worse.
By Charles P. Pierce

Apparently, we're going to squabble over the semantic difference between "defunding" the police and "dismantling" a renegade police force, as has happened in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. The White House is going all-in, beating the word "defunding" into a weapon in its upcoming retrograde and Nixonian "law 'n order" campaign, and braying that Joe Biden is going to fire everyone with a badge everywhere in America. There are people who sincerely believe that this could be the magic bullet that pulls El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago's ample hindquarters out of the fire, even though the president*'s poll numbers continue their steady drop toward Middle Earth. To hell with it, boys. Slogans away!

The real tragedy in all of this is that the whole "defund" framing is necessary because we've seen almost 50 years of debate about police "reform" only to see all the problems get worse. Policing get increasingly militarized, and more citizens are killed by public servants, who are then defended by police unions that exist as governments within governments. The word "reform" has lost all meaning in this context. It has been emptied of credibility.

The people at the sharp end of the stick see "reform" as a temporizing dodge to get politicians past the most recent public atrocity. That pretty much leaves you without an easy description for what you want to do to solve the genuine crisis in law enforcement. You can support all the sensible changes proposed-radical changes in police training; a curb on the sales of military weaponry to civilian law enforcement; an end to "qualified immunity"; and even, in extreme cases, dismantling a police force that has proven itself incapable of reforming itself, as was the case in Minneapolis-without leaving yourself open to the charge that you want to eliminate police departments entirely.

Reform this

The best thing we could do to prepare the way is to end the stupid "war" on drugs, which has been the basis of so many of the symptomatic problems under discussion. We also could stop using "terrorism" as an excuse for letting small-town police chiefs buy tanks and rocket launchers. (If you want to break up the misbegotten Department of Homeland Security, you'll get no argument from me.) These are the psychological bases for militarized policing, and also, they are what makes a job on The Force so attractive to people with jackboots in their eyes.

Systemic reform-of which a serious reallocation of public resources is a necessary part-is more urgent than it's ever been. Fighting over a verb is a horrible waste of time and energy. Worrying about powerful Republican Jedi mind-tricks is bungling a historic opportunity. Stop sucking your thumbs about "messaging" and "framing." Do the damn job, and leave the extraneous noise outside. Be as serious about the work of reform as the protestors have been about demanding it. Reform the reform itself.

(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-

"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!"
~~~ Donald Trump

People gather to protest the annexation plan of the Jordan Valley in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 6, 2020.

Palestinian Lives Matter: Huge Jewish-Arab Rally In Tel Aviv Decries Netanyahu's Plan to Annex 1/3 Of West Bank
It was the biggest demonstration by the Israeli left wing in many years, and was remarkable for its mixed character, with both Jewish and Palestinian Israelis coming out.
By Juan Cole

Arab48 reports that some 6,000 Israelis gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest the Netanyahu government's plan to annex one third of the Palestinian West Bank.

The gathering was addressed via video by US Senator Bernie Sanders, who said, "It has never been more important to stand up for justice and to fight for the future we all deserve. I am extremely heartened to see that so many of you, Arabs and Jews alike, are standing together tonight for peace, justice and democracy. It is up to all of us to stand up to authoritarian leaders and work together to build a peaceful future for every Palestinian and every Israeli. Like you, I believe that the futures of the Israeli and Palestinian people are entwined and that all of your children deserve to live in safety, freedom and equality. For that to be possible, the plan to illegally annex any part of the West Bank must be stopped; the Occupation must be ended, and we must work together toward a future or equality and dignity for all people in Israel and Palestine. I know that on the day when we finally celebrate the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel it will be because people like you stood up for justice, stood up for democracy, and stood up for human rights. In the words of my friend Ayman Odeh, "The only future is a shared future. We will build it together." Odeh himself, the leader of the largely Palestinian-Israeli Joint List Coalition, also spoke on video because he is self-quarantining because of the novel coronavirus.

He said, "We are at a crossroads. One of the roads leads to a joint society with true democracy and civil and national equality for Arab citizens. The second road will lead us to hatred and violence and annexation and racist segregation. We can stop annexation, but it requires that we all fight it together. There will never be social justice if we do not end the Occupation, for democracy is not solely for Jews."

What I call Palestinian-Israelis constitute over 20 percent of the Israeli population, but are second-class citizens. The Joint List won 15 seats in the 120-member parliament or Knesset in the recent elections, but has been excluded entirely from any say in national politics.

The head of the center-left Meretz Party, Nitzan Horowitz, addressed the huge rally, saying, "Annexation is a war crime, a crime against humanity and against peace, a crime against democracy, a crime that will cost us blood." He added, "The persons who would have been expected to constitute an alternative-the persons who won our votes-gave up and joined the other side." He was ripping Benny Gantz and the Blue and White Coalition, as well as the Labor Party, which gained cabinet seats by joining with Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu in a national unity government.

The crowds shouted slogans against the annexation plan, against the continuing Occupation and depriving Palestinians of basic rights, and against last week's killing of an autistic Palestinian man by Israeli border guards in East Jerusalem. Many in the crowd also accused Netanyahu of destroying Israeli democracy.

The police killing in the US of George Floyd was also denounced at the rally.

It was the biggest demonstration by the Israeli left wing in many years, and was remarkable for its mixed character, with both Jewish and Palestinian Israelis coming out.

If the goal of the event was to forestall annexation, however, it is doomed to fail, since Netanyahu has the votes in parliament to go forward, and the Trump administration is a cheer leading section for the far right wing Likud-led government. The annexation will completely end any prospect of anything resembling an actual Palestinian state and will formalize for decades to come Israeli Apartheid on the Palestinian West Bank, which is under Israeli military occupation.

Under the terms of the Kushner Plan, Netanyahu appears willing to declare some sort of feeble Palestinian administrative authority, which lacks any of the prerogatives of a real state, a "Palestinian state," which has angered the many Israelis to his Right.

Palestinians are actually stateless and lack control over their air, water and territory, and lack basic human rights.

Some forms of Apartheid lasted in South Africa from 1910 until 1991, and from the vantage point of 2020, it seems likely that Israeli Apartheid will beat that record, lasting substantially more than 80 years.

(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-

Tucker gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear propaganda ansager Carlson,

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 hatred of black people and everyone to the left of Darth Vader, 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 Carlson, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Deadly Fox News-Trump Syndicate
By Robert Reich

As the coronavirus crisis rages on, Fox News is contributing almost as much to the deaths and disease as is Trump's White House.

Trump spouts a shocking amount of misinformation during his daily press briefings, but it's Fox News' equally misleading coverage of the crisis that closes the lethal circuit of lies.

It's easy to feel outraged and defeated by Fox News. ("I can't believe they're saying that! How are they getting away with this?") But it's important to understand its formula for misleading Americans, particularly in the crisis we're in.

The formula goes like this:

First, deny there's a problem. Lay the groundwork for later conspiracy theories by calling it "a hoax." Blame political opponents for "using" the issue to make Trump look bad. Mock anyone taking it seriously, and downplay the consequences.

Then, when deaths mount and the coronavirus can no longer be denied, promote the same dangerous miracle cures Trump promotes.

Third, attack the experts. Question what public-health experts recommend, such as social distancing. Question whether the death toll from Covid-19 is even true, and broadcast misleading graphics. Attack the experts themselves, and parade around alternative "experts" to promote an array of conspiracy theories.

Fourth, deflect attention from Trump's botched response by blaming others. Blame China! As the virus hits black and brown communities especially hard, trot out the white supremacists.

If nothing else works, revise history.

Finally, make reopening the economy about "freedom," and attack Democratic governors who are trying to keep people safe.

That's Fox News's tried-and-true formula, folks: Deny, promote quack remedies, attack the experts, blame others, and change the subject to "freedom."

It works for Fox. It keeps Fox viewers. It helps protect Trump.

But it is making a deadly calamity even more deadly.

Polls show that a majority of Republicans think it's perfectly safe to go to establishments like nail salons and dine-in restaurants, and a new study found that Sean Hannity's viewers were less likely to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Meanwhile, a conspiracy theory peddled by Tucker Carlson made it all the way to the White House, where it fell on Trump's receptive ears and led him to yank a multimillion-dollar grant to an organization on the frontlines of coronavirus research.

In theory, the FCC prohibits broadcasting false information about a catastrophe if the broadcaster knows the information is false and will cause substantial "public harm" if aired. But Trump's FCC won't do a thing, and Fox News has no broadcast ethics. It has no journalistic integrity.

If this formula of deceit shows us anything, it's that they know what they're doing, and they don't care who they hurt.

So, what can you do?

First, make a ruckus. Speak out. Write letters to your local paper, and local Fox News outlets. That's precisely what forced Fox to cut ties with Trish Regan, and with 5G Conspiracy peddlers Diamond and Silk.

Second, boycott Fox's major advertisers. That helped get Bill O'Reilly off the air.

Third: leverage your power. Correct Fox's lies when you see them. Share this video with Fox News viewers you care about.

You might just save a life.

(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

The Coming Collapse
By Chris Hedges

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don't count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

The Democratic Party, which helped build our system of inverted totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics. It will not demilitarize our police and reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world's prisoners although the United States has only 5 percent of the world's population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.

This is a doomed tactic, but one that is understandable. The leadership of the party, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this. They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.

Trump has tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system they despise. His cruel and demeaning taunts directed at government agencies, laws and the established elites resonate with people for whom these agencies, laws and elites have become hostile forces. And for many who see no shift in the political landscape to alleviate their suffering, Trump's cruelty and invective are at least cathartic.

Trump, like all despots, has no ethical core. He chooses his allies and appointees based on their personal loyalty and fawning obsequiousness to him. He will sell anyone out. He is corrupt, amassing money for himself-he made $40 million from his Washington, D.C., hotel alone last year-and his corporate allies. He is dismantling government institutions that once provided some regulation and oversight. He is an enemy of the open society. This makes him dangerous. His turbocharged assault on the last vestiges of democratic institutions and norms means there will soon be nothing, even in name, to protect us from corporate totalitarianism.

But the warnings from the architects of our failed democracy against creeping fascism, Madeleine Albright among them, are risible. They show how disconnected the elites have become from the zeitgeist. None of these elites have credibility. They built the edifice of lies, deceit and corporate pillage that made Trump possible. And the more Trump demeans these elites, and the more they cry out like Cassandras, the more he salvages his disastrous presidency and enables the kleptocrats pillaging the country as it swiftly disintegrates.

The press is one of the principal pillars of Trump's despotism. It chatters endlessly like 18th-century courtiers at the court of Versailles about the foibles of the monarch while the peasants lack bread. It drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America. It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history. The corporate press is a decayed relic that, in exchange for money and access, committed cultural suicide. And when Trump attacks it over "fake news,"he expresses, once again, the deep hatred of all those the press ignores. The press worships the idol of Mammon as slavishly as Trump does. It loves the reality-show presidency. The press, especially the cable news shows, keeps the lights on and the cameras rolling so viewers will be glued to a 21st-century version of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." It is good for ratings. It is good for profits. But it accelerates the decline.

All this will soon be compounded by financial collapse. Wall Street banks have been handed $16 trillion in bailouts and other subsidies by the Federal Reserve and Congress at nearly zero percent interest since the 2008 financial collapse. They have used this money, as well as the money saved through the huge tax cuts imposed last year, to buy back their own stock, raising the compensation and bonuses of their managers and thrusting the society deeper into untenable debt peonage. Sheldon Adelson's casino operations alone got a $670 million tax break under the 2017 legislation. The ratio of CEO to worker pay now averages 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. This circular use of money to make and hoard money is what Karl Marx called "fictitious capital." The steady increase in public debt, corporate debt, credit card debt and student loan debt will ultimately lead, as Nomi Prins writes, to "a tipping point-when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won't cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds."

An economy reliant on debt for its growth causes our interest rate to jump to 28 percent when we are late on a credit card payment. It is why our wages are stagnant or have declined in real terms-if we earned a sustainable income we would not have to borrow money to survive. It is why a university education, houses, medical bills and utilities cost so much. The system is designed so we can never free ourselves from debt.

However, the next financial crash, as Prins points out in her book "Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World," won't be like the last one. This is because, as she says, "there is no Plan B." Interest rates can't go any lower. There has been no growth in the real economy. The next time, there will be no way out. Once the economy crashes and the rage across the country explodes into a firestorm, the political freaks will appear, ones that will make Trump look sagacious and benign.

And so, to quote Vladimir Lenin, what must be done?

We must invest our energy in building parallel, popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power. These parallel institutions, including unions, community development organizations, local currencies, alternative political parties and food cooperatives, will have to be constructed town by town. The elites in a time of distress will retreat to their gated compounds and leave us to fend for ourselves. Basic services, from garbage collection to public transportation, food distribution and health care, will collapse. Massive unemployment and underemployment, triggering social unrest, will be dealt with not through government job creation but the brutality of militarized police and a complete suspension of civil liberties. Critics of the system, already pushed to the margins, will be silenced and attacked as enemies of the state. The last vestiges of labor unions will be targeted for abolition, a process that will soon be accelerated given the expected ruling in a case before the Supreme Court that will cripple the ability of public-sector unions to represent workers. The dollar will stop being the world's reserve currency, causing a steep devaluation. Banks will close. Global warming will extract heavier and heavier costs, especially on the coastal populations, farming and the infrastructure, costs that the depleted state will be unable to address. The corporate press, like the ruling elites, will go from burlesque to absurdism, its rhetoric so patently fictitious it will, as in all totalitarian states, be unmoored from reality. The media outlets will all sound as fatuous as Trump. And, to quote W.H. Auden, "the little children will die in the streets."

As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.

(c) 2020 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ David Horsey ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

DNC To Streamline Fundraising By Cutting Out Unnecessary Cost Of Campaigns, Candidates
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In a letter to top donors explaining how their contributions would now be spent more efficiently than ever, the Democratic National Committee announced plans Tuesday to streamline its fundraising by completely eliminating the unnecessary costs of campaigns and candidates.

"We're confident that once our party is freed from the burden of putting forth nominees and running expensive campaigns, we'll finally be able to focus all our efforts on generating as much revenue as possible," wrote DNC chairman Tom Perez, adding that he hoped an upcoming series of fundraisers to which the letter's recipients were invited would help pay for even bigger fundraisers down the line.

"So just go online, make your donation, and we'll take it from there. Whether you're able to give $5 a month or cut us a check for the annual maximum of $35,500, we promise to take that money and put it toward making even more money. We're confident that with no candidates or platforms to disagree on, Democrats of every stripe will unite to give us the financial support we've always wanted. Together, we can do this."

At press time, reports confirmed Perez was threatening to disburse all cash on hand to President Trump's reelection campaign if donors failed to reach the DNC's spring fundraising goal.

(c) 2020 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 24 (c) 06/12/2020

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