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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Corporate Media Are Focusing On Race -- And Dodging Class."

Ralph Nader watches, "Moving Street Protests From Futility To Utility."

Glen Ford foresees, "Community Control Of The Police - And A Whole Lot More."

Jim Hightower warns, "Beware Of A Trump Coup!"

William Rivers Pitt examines, "Surrounded By Liars And Lickspittles, Trump Dares COVID To Kill Him."

John Nichols concludes, Charles Booker Is Changing The Thinking About Who Beats Mitch."

James Donahue remembers, "When Our Friendly Police Became The Enemy."

David Swanson reports, "Lee, Jayapal, AOC Introduce Bill To Move $350 Billion From Militarism To Human Needs."

David Suzuki finds, "Rethinking Roads Can Drive Down Species Decline."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "This Is COVID-19, But It's Also A Symptom Of Deeper And Older Plagues."

Juan Cole tells, "All The Lies Trump Told The West Point Graduates About American Militarism."

Vice Fuhrer Mike Pence wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich asks, "Who Benefits From Racism?"

Jane Stillwater wonders, "Seattle's CHAZ Cooperative: The New People's Park?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Waterford Whispers News reports, "Brave Columnist Reckons Anti-Racism Protesters Are The Real Racists," but first, Uncle Ernie asks, "Is Lying Donald's Dementia Beginning To Set In?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Clay Jones, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Pat Bagley, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Jill Marnee, John Minchillo, Tasos Katopodis, Bryan Woolston, Justin Sullivan, 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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Is Lying Donald's Dementia Beginning To Set In?
Or is it Covid-19 or those hydroxychloroquine pills?
By Ernest Stewart

"I have to tell you that runway is like an ice skating rink. And the first step I said, you know this sucker is slippery. I think it was put in by the Democrats. I don't know, whoever the hell got that thing." ~~~~ Donald Trump ~ on Rampgate

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." Donald Trump ~ Nov 6, 2012

"I don't believe the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus. I think he's expressed confidence that America will meet this moment." ~~~ Mike Pence

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

You may have notice that Lying Donald seemed just barely able to raise a glass of water to take a sip and took baby steps coming down a short ramp at Westpoint. This is being called Ramp Gate by certain journalists, and perhaps, there is more to it than meets the eye?

We still don't know why Lying Donald was suddenly taken by car to Walter Reed Hospital last November with out notifying either hospital personnel or the local police who would normally restrict traffic to clear a path for a presidential motorcade to travel safely. One wonders why no one had the time to call ahead or warn the police?

Then there is this, "While the reports and recommendations are being finalised, I am happy to announce the President of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate will remain so for the duration of his Presidency and beyond," Sean P Conley, a Navy officer who is the president's physician and the current director of the White House medical unit, said in a statement. Yeah, I get it, he was only following ze orders as Lying Donald is his superior, his commander and chief. My question is why he couldn't see that Lying Donald is at 100 lbs overweight, probably more like 150 lbs and how can that be considered "good health." Did Sean get his degree from the Doctor Mengele school of medicine, or what?

Someone turned me on to a passage from the book of Revelations that may mean Lying Donald is going to bite the big one sometime next month. I refer of course to Revelation 13:5, KJV: "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; (sound like anyone that you know?) and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." As you know I'm an Atheist but if Lying Donald is the antichrist, and drops dead in July, I may have to rethink my belief system!

In Other News

I see where global warming has caused considerable damage to the planet in the past, likely triggering a mass extinction some 359 million years ago. A study published in Science Advances has found the extinction event unfolded between the Devonian and Carboniferous periods and may have been facilitated by global warming. The study's authors believe the findings could have dire consequences for the current state of the climate.

According to John Marshall, lead author and Professor of Earth Science at the University of Southampton, the event wiped out dominant species of vertebrate life in the seas as well as the first four-legged tetrapods - fish whose fins evolved into primitive legs.

In an article for The Conversation, Professor Marshall wrote: "The discovery of this potential new extinction mechanism indicates that a warming climate, such as we have now, has the potential to erode the ozone layer to let in damaging ultra-violet radiation.

"This has consequences for all life on Earth, both on the land and in shallow waters."

In their study, the researchers examined the climate mechanisms that eroded the ozone.

The researchers found hotter summer temperatures across entire continents contributed to more water vapour being transported into the atmosphere.

With the water vapour, organic compounds produced by plants and fungi were carried to the ozone layer.

Once in the atmosphere, the compounds were free to release chlorin, which can break down ozone molecules - a compound of three oxygen atoms.

And though scientists have announced in April this year a record-size ozone hole in the Arctic has patched up, Professor Marshall believes global warming could still negatively impact years of progress.

Marshall said, "We believe it is as important as recognising that asteroid impacts caused mass extinctions.

"Once we knew about the consequences of asteroid impacts, there followed an intense collective research effort to assess the threat.

"We now plot the paths of all large extra-terrestrial objects likely to come close to the Earth's orbit.

"Similarly, we now need to focus effort on understanding the links between global warming and the production and atmospheric transport of chlorine-bearing carbon compounds that have the potential to cause similar destruction of our ozone layer."

Meanwhile, Lying Donald is doing his best to make things much worse than they need to be. For example he packed his administration to the brim with fossil fuel industry insiders and rolled back almost 100 environmental and health protections. His administration has loosened and even eliminated rules that stop corporate polluters from letting chemicals like pesticides, lead and other carcinogens into our drinking water-which can cause health risks like cancer and brain damage in children. The list goes on and on folks. Thanks to Lying Donald, if the Covid-19 don't get you, then global warming will!

And Finally

Then there is Lying Mike Pence. You'd think if Mike was a true Christian he wouldn't be telling lies for Lying Donald, no doubt the greatest liar the world has ever known! Mike tells some whoopers in his Wall Street Journal op-ed. Here's a couple of examples:

"In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a 'second wave' of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is far stronger than it was four months ago, and we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy."

"The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different. The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success. We've slowed the spread, we've cared for the most vulnerable, we've saved lives, and we've created a solid foundation for whatever challenges we may face in the future. That's a cause for celebration, not the media's fear mongering."

Holy Mike should read his Ten Commandments someday especially # 9! You know, as my great, great, great, etc. Uncle James said: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." I should mention, in fairness, Mikie did manage to tell one truth, so far there hasn't been a second Covid-19 wave as the first wave is hardly through with us just yet, thanks to red states hair-brained governors who only see dollar signs and ignore the tens of thousands they've assigned to die for a few bucks. Just you wait until the second wave does hit!

Ergo, Vice Fuhrer Mike Pence wins this weeks Vidkun Quisling Aware!

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!


03-20-1917 ~ 06-18-2020
Thanks for the music!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

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

Corporate Media Are Focusing On Race -- And Dodging Class
By Norman Solomon

Grassroots outrage and nationwide protests after Minneapolis cops murdered George Floyd have pushed much of U.S. corporate media into focusing on deadly police mistreatment of black people. The coverage is far from comprehensive on the subject of racism in the "criminal justice" system -- we're still hearing very little about the routine violations of basic rights in courtrooms and behind bars -- yet there's no doubt that a breakthrough has occurred. The last two weeks have opened up a lot more media space for illuminating racial cruelty.

But what about economic cruelty?

Media outlets routinely detour around reasons why African Americans and other people of color are so disproportionately poor -- and, as a result of poverty, are dying much younger than white people. The media ruts bypass confronting how the wealthy gain more wealth and large corporations reap more profits at the expense of poor and middle-income people.

The statistics are grim. For every black person killed by police, vastly more are dying because of such conditions as a threadbare safety net, a lack of adequate employment, and scant access to health care or social services.

Readily available numbers are indictments of systemic racism. At the same time, numbers tell us virtually nothing about the human essence of widespread, tragic and fully preventable suffering that, in the words of Marvin Gaye's brilliant song "Inner City Blues," make me wanna holler.

News media habitually tiptoe around deadly realities of economic oppression that are hidden in plain sight -- so normalized that they're apt to seem perversely natural. Meanwhile, government is routinely portrayed as inherently hamstrung, lacking in funds and unable to cope. But from city halls and state legislatures to corridors of power in Washington, the priorities that hold sway are largely imposed by leverage from big corporations and the wealthy who want their financial interests protected.

"When we say #DefundPolice," Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted days ago, "what we mean is people are dying and we need to invest in people's livelihoods instead. Example: Detroit spent $294 million on police last year, and $9 million on health. This is systemic oppression in numbers."

The official city bar chart that accompanied Tlaib's tweet amounts to a smoking gun of a ceaseless class war raging across the United States and far beyond. Huge numbers of people whose names we'll never know are casualties of that profit-driven war.

From slavery onwards, vicious economic exploitation has been central to the oppression of African Americans. In spite of that reality -- and because of it -- the prevailing power structure and its dominant media arms are eager to separate racial justice from economic justice.

Yet the separation is absurd and disingenuous. "A close examination of wealth in the U.S. finds evidence of staggering racial disparities," the Brookings Institution reported this year. The latest figures show that "the net worth of a typical white family is nearly 10 times greater than that of a black family." Those wealth gaps "reveal the effects of accumulated inequality and discrimination, as well as differences in power and opportunity that can be traced back to this nation's inception."

It's symbolic that while we've often heard that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech at the historic march on Washington in 1963, the fact that it was called the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" isn't often mentioned. Five years later, King was murdered while in Memphis to support a union struggle by exploited sanitation workers as he was immersed in planning the next stages of the Poor People's Campaign.

Today, the humongous gaps between wealth and poverty -- and the lethal consequences of those gaps -- are rarely in mass-media focus. Empathy for low-income people might be fine in medialand, but they're commonly portrayed as victims of bad luck or personal failings rather than the prey of victimizers who profit from immiseration.

As a practical matter, the economic ladder that keeps some people trapped on the lowest rungs is central to the health vulnerabilities of so many African Americans. Economic injustice is vital to the entire U.S. power structure. While many people of all races suffer as a result, people of color are at much greater risk.

In effect, corporate capitalism has proven itself to be fully capable of methodical sadism in the pursuit of maximizing profits. That ongoing reality, 24/7/365, is so routine -- and so powerfully entrenched -- that even U.S. news outlets doing decent coverage of police violence can rarely supply clarity about the "free enterprise" economic violence that is taking countless lives.

(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."

Moving Street Protests From Futility To Utility
By Ralph Nader

The nationwide street protests following the gruesome murder of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground and choked by a Minneapolis police officer and three accomplices, were spontaneous and diverse. No leaders, charismatic or otherwise put out the call for people to turn out in the face of militarized police legions. It was a wondrous display of civic self-respect.

Showing up is half a Democracy.

The New York Times asked some of the protesters who stood in solidarity, why they turned out? Their responses boiled down to inner compulsions that required action. A municipal employee in Minneapolis, Don Hubbard said "...I feel like if I don't come out here, and we don't all show up, then what are we doing?" and he added, "We're letting this man die in vain."

In Los Angeles, Beatriz Lopez replied "I felt I had to go. I had been asking 'what can I do?"

Beth Muffett of Austin, Texas declared "If you're not standing up for George Floyd, who's going to stand up for you? It's just a level of wrongness, that I couldn't say no to going out to try to do something."

Young Chad Bennett (age 22) from St. Louis - "seeing the video of what happened to Mr. Floyd left him "numb," he said. "It's a silent rage, I guess."

The personal and conscience-driven feelings which arise from these people and many others are not uncommon.

These protesters are well aware of previous mass demonstrations that did not lead to reforms and did not even result in prosecutions of the felonious police officers.

"Not this time" is the sentiment of these seekers of justice against the broader criminal injustice system. The Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, promptly brought second-degree murder charges against the knee-choking police officer. The signs carried by protesters called for defunding bloated municipal police budgets and using the proceeds for housing, education, and healthcare. "Abolish the police" speeches meant establishing community-shaped security for neighborhoods.

Even the presence of pre-meditated vandals destroying stores and other properties could not overshadow the historic continuing grievances of Black Americans.

They face racism daily. It is built into conditions of discriminatory poverty - no jobs or low-paid jobs, or unprotected work that is too often dangerous in nature. As tenants, many African Americans are defenseless against evictions and landlord safety code violations. As ripped off borrowers (payday loan rackets) defrauded consumers (the poor pay more for less), are grossly under-served by a wide array of public services, such as health care, crumbling schools, and inadequate mass transit where they experience on-going discrimination. They are arrested and imprisoned more often for similar offenses committed by white people. Then there is the obstruction or suppression of their voting rights in Republican states. They face public harassment and targeted racism while walking, jogging, or driving. Add it all up and their suppressed pain, despair, dread, fury, and fear for their children can't be ignored anymore.

No matter how many books, articles, documentaries expose this aggregate life under "The New Jim Crow," little changes. Even concerned politicians routinely break their promises to communities of color.

How then can this current moral force avoid dissipation once the media loses interest and the protesters become exhausted? How can such widely praised demonstrations produce real change?

Seize the movement. Immediately secure funding from enlightened or guilt-ridden wealthy residents of these cities to form full-time citizen watchdog groups leveraging the reforms demanded by the protesters. Some permanent presence must be established to thwart the status quo ante. That's what seizing the moment means.

The collective street experiences must become the engine for massive early voter registration and voter turnout by Black and Hispanic Americans. Such a turnout is essential to replacing many of the corporatist racists like Senate ruler, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, with elected officials who will stand with and for the people.

The conscious raising of such vocal mass challenges to the dominant powers brings new leaders to the forefront to run for office, to forge new advocacy groups, to join existing groups, and to litigate and educate and motivate.

Innocent Americans died and were injured in these peaceful protests. Many others risked batons, harmful tear gas, pepper spray, and other weaponry. Awareness, authenticity, and resolve can be the products of such confrontations. These are seeds for a strengthened, enlarged democracy of justice, freedom, and equality.

Again, seize this moment! Big Time!

(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).

Community Control Of The Police - And A Whole Lot More
By Glen Ford

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable.

The wave of people's protests across the nation, backed by solidarity actions in cities around the world, has caused the corporate oligarchy and its servants to make promises they can't keep and give lip service to programs they have always resisted. The Congressional Black Caucus, the vast bulk of whose members backed militarization of local police and elevation of cops to the status of "protected" class, now claims to favor limits on police arsenals, less legal immunities for cops and a grab-bag of other reforms they previously dismissed out of hand. Mayors that know damn well they will have to cut spending across the board due to catastrophic loss of tax revenues during the current, Covid-induced Great Depression, now profess that they plan to withhold funds from cops in deference to the "defund the police" movement. They're a bunch of Kente-clothed liars, of course, but movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies. That means demanding community control of the police, and of those funds that local governments are supposedly diverting from the police to social programs.

If anything has been learned from the past half century of Black reliance on Democratic Party politicians, it is that no lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people. That was the meaning of "All Power to the People" when the phrase was coined, and must remain the goal of the movement, today.

Although there is no intrinsic contradiction between the three most-voiced demands of the current movement -- community control of police, defunding the police, and abolition of policing as we know it - only proposals for community control of the police directly confront the issue of power in the here and now, and also address demands for direct democracy and Black self-determination. Community control of the police was essential to the formation of the Black Panther Party, and has been an active demand of Chicago organizers since 2012. Support for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) has grown from only one of the 50-member city council (board of aldermen) to 19 co-sponsors of the enabling legislation. Last fall, more than a thousand activists from across the country met in Chicago to endorse the concept of community control of police, and pledged to fight for its enactment in 22 cities - a list that has grown with the wave of George Floyd protests.

Although community control of the police is within reach of becoming law in Chicago, a majority Black and brown city with the second largest concentration of Blacks in the nation, the demand has gotten less traction in nationwide demonstrations than the call for defunding the cops, or eventual abolition. That's undoubtedly because Black Lives Matter demands have been pervasive in the current demonstrations, and BLM supports defunding of police. However, Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith, and many Black Lives Matter chapters and individuals also support community control of the police, while CPAC activists also back defunding and abolition of the cops as a logical outcome of community control. The elements of Black Lives Matter that are resistant to community control of police are those under the influence of hashtag founder Alicia Garza, who is now a Democratic Party political player and go-to person for corporate philanthropy.

A serious, methodical program of defunding the police requires a community control approach. Ninety percent of actual police duties do not involve making felony arrests, and there is a consensus that cops should not deal with domestic disputes, mentally disturbed people, or a host of social contradictions - and maybe not even traffic control, which long ago devolved into pretexts for criminal charges. Therefore, defunding of police leads directly to the funding of specific public services, some of them currently badly performed by cops and all of which should be overseen by the publics most directly affected. Absent community control, defunding of police will only result in a shrinkage of the domestic army of occupation, not a change in the lethally oppressive relationship, and any social services that receive new funding will be answerable only to the legislators that had previously starved the community of services.

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable. Community control is a prerequisite to communities policing themselves to the greatest degree possible.

Indeed, communities should control, not just the police, but much of the rest of their neighborhoods' vital services and resources. The right to self-determination is not confined to the criminal justice system. Therefore, community control of police advocates would be in principled agreement with the Los Angeles Movement 4 Black Lives position: "The most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us - from our schools to our local budgets, economies, and police department."

Community control is how we build socialism within the framework of people's right to self-determination - the principles by which, along with solidarity, we de-colonize and dis-imperialize our world. "Power to the People" means disempowering the capitalist and white supremacist. Everything else is a diversion, conjured up by the Kente cloth-soiling Black Misleadership Class in service to their bosses, the oligarchs. They have betrayed us repeatedly and laughed at our willingness to trust them yet again. In George Floyd's name, let this be the end of it.

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

Beware Of A Trump Coup!
By Jim Hightower

The mass these protests against systemic racism are driving Donald Trump plumb crazy! Of course, that's a pretty short drive for him.

He would be hilarious if his buffoonery was not so dangerous and destructive. For example, he had peaceful protesters gassed, clubbed, and shoved out of the public square across from the White House so he could walk out and pose stone-faced with a Bible, as some sort of political stunt.

Especially dangerous, though, is the craven willingness of our top military officials to play along with his infantile attempts to appear manly. When Trump strutted out to do his little Bible photo-op, guess who was loping along right behind him, like eager-to-please puppy dogs? Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of America's joint military forces.

Yes, our nation's top two war chieftains were adding their symbolic blessing to Trump's pathetic desire to look tough, suppress our constitutional right to dissent, and militarize his claim of autocratic powers. Milley even wore combat fatigues to the media show, apparently to model the authoritarian look We the People can expect in Trump's brave new world.

Esper has been even more servile, playing up to Trump's grandiosity by describing our country as a "battlespace" that "We need to dominate." Of course, that would make you and me the dominated, which is as un-American as they could get, short of trying to crown The Donald as America's king - and don't put that past them.

This is Jim Hightower saying... To their credit, dozens of US military leaders immediately assailed Esper and Milley for even implying that the armed forces could be anyone's political pawn to police our own people, and both have since retreated. But their willingness to toy with it shows how vulnerable our democracy is to autocrats... and how vigilant We the People must be.

(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

Donald Trump walks on the south lawn of the White House on June 14, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Surrounded By Liars And Lickspittles, Trump Dares COVID To Kill Him
By William Rivers Pitt

Trump campaign officials are spending $400,000 on aggressive pro-Trump ads that ran in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. As I noted last week, these are three places Trump has little chance of winning in 2020 - he lost D.C. in 2016 by a margin of 86.8 points. So why run them? Answer: So Trump will see them during his voracious daily consumption of television and think his campaign is doing well, and then he will stop screaming at people for a few minutes.

This bad news sleight-of-hand between Trump's campaign people and the candidate has reportedly come to involve Trump's dismal polling, as well. The latest numbers show Trump trailing presumptive Democratic challenger Joe Biden by double digits, and have him falling behind in virtually every pivotal battleground state. His approval numbers are well underwater and show no sign of surfacing anytime soon.

What to do? Easy. Lie to the boss. According to The Daily Beast, "A chunk of the re-election team focuses on proving to the president that his 'dumpster-fire numbers' aren't as bad as they seem, or reinforcing Trump's conviction that pollsters get it wrong 'all the time.'" According to one White House source, "This helps keep the president from flying into a rage as much as he otherwise would."

All this seems better suited for a farce political show on Netflix, one of those series you binge while swaddled in the warm knowledge that it is all fiction ... except this is fact, and the man at the center of this assembly line of deliberate delusion is tasked to lead the nation through a viciously lethal pandemic that has just cleared its throat, blinked the theater lights, and announced, "Please be seated, Act I is not yet complete."

"Houston opened to 75% capacity on Friday, but it may not last long," CBS News reported over the weekend. "Officials are cautioning that they may need to order people back home and open a COVID-19 hospital at NRG Stadium, a football complex, as coronavirus cases surge in the nation's fourth-largest city."

Since the Memorial Day weekend, states that largely escaped the harshest effects of COVID now find themselves awash in new cases that require hospitalizations. Florida has seen approximately 1,000 new cases a day since June 2, but spiked to 2,340 on Friday, and that spike held through the weekend. While an increase in testing can account for some of these new cases, it is the accelerating rate of cases necessitating hospitalization that is causing the deepest unease.

Hotspots such as Massachusetts and New York City have managed to contain the deadly outbreaks they suffered in March and April, almost entirely because they ignored Donald Trump and the rest of the "Reopen Now" crowd, relying instead on the judicious application of science and the advice of medical professionals. States that rushed to reopen at Trump's frantic urging, however, are now seeing a rush of new cases.

"Hospitals in Arizona have been urged to activate emergency plans to cope with a flood of coronavirus patients," reports The New York Times. "On Saturday, Florida saw its largest single-day count of cases since the pandemic began. Oregon has failed to contain the spread of the virus in many places, leading the governor on Thursday to pause what had been a gradual reopening. And in Texas, cases are rising swiftly around the largest cities, including Houston, San Antonio and Dallas."

From the beginning of this elongated fiasco, Trump has been able to depend on that segment of the population that believes every word he speaks is contemporaneously carved onto stone tablets. These are the folks who harassed various state government officials with military-style weapons, and who threaten state health officials when they dare to deviate from Trump's self-serving COVID pabulum. Reaction to the pandemic has broken along clear ideological lines, thanks almost entirely to Trump, but those lines are beginning to blur as COVID sharpens its claws on regions that have been faithful to the president.

"A relative lack of health infrastructure in parts of rural America and economic devastation from the Covid-19 closures mean that already vulnerable communities could be overwhelmed," reports The Guardian. "Older, rural voters in Republican-led states that declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are more likely to lack health insurance than the urban poor."

This is a ticking time bomb, not a second wave of the COVID pandemic but the continuation of the first.

Trump's reaction? Let's throw a crowded rally with no masks or social distancing! Let's hold it in Tulsa, site of a gruesome 1921 racist massacre! Let's do it on Juneteenth, the day celebrating Black emancipation from slavery! This was not a racist dog whistle, or even a dog megaphone. This was a dog Horn of Helm Hammerhand, and the whole bloody world heard it fair and true.

A key element to Trump's "Lazarus Come Forth" campaign strategy is to ramp up these big rallies he is so fond of, the ones where he gets to lie without restraint, threaten the press, and bathe in the unrestrained red-hatted adulation of people who think Antifa is hiding under the bed, just waiting to strike.

That horn was for them, and even though Trump eventually backed off the Juneteenth date for the rally, the signal was sent and received. Meanwhile, his campaign is still requiring Tulsa rally attendees to sign a waiver saying they won't sue the campaign if they catch COVID from a dirty QAnon sign at the venue. So far as I know, this is the first time in history people have been asked to sign a waiver over a hoax.

The Tulsa rally has health officials flatly terrified. "I'm concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event," Tulsa City-County Health Department director Bruce Dart told the Tulsa World on Saturday, "and I'm also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well. COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently. I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn't as large a concern as it is today."

Dart's alarm is warranted. Over the weekend, Trump delivered a slurred, factually oblivious commencement speech to socially distanced cadets at West Point. While there, he visibly struggled to lift a glass of water to his lips, and picked his way down from the stage like a man who could barely keep his feet. These images reignited the ongoing conversation about the nebulous status of his health, and underscored a hard truth: If COVID taps Trump on the shoulder in Tulsa, he may be hard put to overcome it.

Speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said, "Would I want my loved ones in a setting like that? Absolutely not. And it wouldn't matter about politics; I wouldn't want them there."

Even the nigh-invisible Anthony Fauci is raising alarms over Saturday's rally in Tulsa. "The best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas," Fauci told CNN on Friday. "But if you're not going to do that, please wear a mask." Two days later, Fauci told The Telegraph, "I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so. But I don't think it's this winter or fall, we'll be seeing it for a bit more."

Normal is on the bus, Anthony, with a ticket punched for far, far away. Trump's fact-starved obsession with re-election and his toxic, racist disinterest in COVID have been careening toward each other at breakneck speed for weeks now. On Saturday, they will collide in Tulsa, and there will be a body count by July because of it.

The Biblical King David was said to have messengers bearing bad tidings killed out of hand (2 Samuel 1:15). Fearing a political version of this fate, the people surrounding Trump - in his administration and his campaign - avoid his wrath by lying to his face.

With more than 115,000 dead from COVID-19, and with more sure to follow from within the ranks of his strongest supporters, the truth is going to find the president sooner or later. How many of us will be left alive to see it remains an open, haunting question.

(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.

Kentucky representative and US Senate candidate Charles Booker.

Charles Booker Is Changing The Thinking About Who Beats Mitch
The progressive US Senate candidate is securing big endorsements from those who are tired of "scripted, milquetoast politics."
By John Nichols

The largest newspaper in Kentucky endorsed the insurgent Senate candidacy of Charles Booker this week, with a stark call for a politics that might actually matter. "This is a historic time in our state and nation. A time when young and old, black, white and brown are calling for change-not just incremental change, but sweeping reform that will usher in true equality and justice for all," the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal announced on Wednesday. "To get there, we need political leaders with insight and vision, who understand the challenges of our times and are willing to put forth bold ideas and fight for everyday people. Voters in Kentucky and around the country deserve the chance to consider candidates who have strident beliefs and the courage to go beyond scripted, milquetoast politics."

Booker, a 35-year-old African American legislator from Louisville who champions an economic, social, and racial justice agenda, has rejected scripted, milquetoast politics from the start of his uphill bid for the Democratic nomination to take on the most powerful man in American politics, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. He has been teargassed during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in his hometown, where Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American health care worker, was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13. He has traveled to Eastern Kentucky's Harlan County to stand with coal miners who blocked a railroad line to demand unpaid wages and protest layoffs. He has argued that fundamental changes, including single-payer Medicare for All health care reform and a Green New Deal, are needed to address the needs of urban and rural Kentuckians.

Now, as the June 23 Kentucky primary approaches, his progressive campaign has a growing number of Kentuckians thinking that the #BookerBeatsMitch hashtag might actually be right. In addition to the Courier-Journal endorsement, the legislator just secured the backing of the state's second-largest daily paper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, which wrote, "We understand that Booker is the underdog in this race; he has a steep climb to earn votes outside of his native Louisville, where he is well-known. But we believe this is a time for passion, not pragmatism. Charles Booker is the only one generating real excitement among young people and old. We believe he would move the state in the direction that Kentucky needs to go in the future so it can, at long last, move forward."

Newspaper endorsements rarely carry as much weight with voters as newspaper editors might imagine. But these endorsements surprised a good many Kentucky political observers, and they have stirred talk about how Booker-who referred to the Courier-Journal declaration as a "humbling and absolutely critical endorsement"-might just be reworking the 2020 calculus in Kentucky. And perhaps nationally.

The papers, and 16 Democratic legislators from across Kentucky, including House Democratic leader Joni Jenkins, have chosen Booker over Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot and defeated 2018 congressional candidate, whom the Herald-Leader describes as "the nationally anointed front-runner with a war chest of donations that might even rival McConnell's usual corporate haul." Senate minority leader Charles Schumer recruited McGrath to run for the Senate, and she's secured plenty of financial backing from D.C. insiders. Yet she hasn't exactly lit fires in Kentucky with an unfocused and often disappointing campaign that began last year with her saying she would probably have voted to put Brett Kavanaugh on the US Supreme Court. That statement drew such intense blowback that she quickly announced that "upon further reflection and further understanding of his record," she would have rejected Donald Trump's scandal-plagued nominee.

The Courier-Journal observed:

While Amy McGrath has broad support, as evidenced by her successful fundraising, she has not shown the progressive ideas and bold leadership necessary to move our state forward. She has been overly moderate, measured and cautious throughout this campaign, focusing more on her military service (which we applaud and sincerely respect) or her motherhood than offering a sweeping vision for the commonwealth-especially in these turbulent times,

Unfortunately, her message to voters has been unimaginative and uninspiring: "Let me tell you what's wrong with Mitch McConnell instead of explaining why my vision for our commonwealth and our country is a better fit for Kentucky voters."

We also believe the national Democratic Party was too quick to offer its full support and fundraising apparatus to a candidate who has never held public office and stumbled out of the gate when announcing her candidacy. McGrath's self-described "common sense Kentucky Democrat" tagline-a campaign strategy to attract potential supporters of President Donald Trump who are looking for an alternative to McConnell-has fallen flat in these final weeks of the campaign.

Political fortunes are shaped by many factors, including money, name recognition, and endorsements. There's no question that Amy McGrath has been the front-runner, thanks to the big-name and big-money support she got from Democrats in Washington. She fit the template for the sort of candidate D.C. insiders-and, surely, a good many Kentuckians-thought in the early stages of the 2020 election cycle was best positioned to take on McConnell.

But this election cycle has changed, radically, in recent months, as Kentucky and the rest of the country has been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, mass unemployment, and, now, mass protests over police brutality. That's created a new dynamic-and a different momentum. As the primary approaches, McGrath's insider campaign has "fallen flat," while Booker's insurgent campaign has taken off.

There are no guarantees, especially in a year like this one. But sometimes, the right candidate is in the right place at the right time-and a different politics becomes possible. The Courier-Journal recognized this prospect in its endorsement of Booker:

His life experience is unlike that of other Kentucky candidates. The 35-year-old grew up in poverty in Louisville's West End, living in one of Kentucky's poorest ZIP codes. He knows what it means to go hungry, to be homeless, to struggle. Ending poverty is at the core of his mission. He's passionate about it because he's lived the struggle. In Kentucky, where 17 percent of people live in poverty-one of the highest rates in the nation-Booker's message resonates.
Echoing the "not me, us" message of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders-who has endorsed his campaign-Booker says, "The movement is very real. Kentuckians are taking our power back, and we will not be stopped."

If Booker's right, Mitch McConnell could be in for a rough fall.

(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.

When Our Friendly Police Became The Enemy
By James Donahue

I grew up in a small Michigan town where the police chief was everybody's friend. Our community of about 2,000, like many others in our part of the state, had only one officer on the payroll. He was supplied with a police cruiser and a small office at City Hall to meet his needs.

Later during my early stint as a bureau reporter in Sanilac County, the county seat also had one police officer. He served as both the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Works. He was everybody's friend.

I don't know how our relationship with the police compared to that of the larger cities. But I do know that things began to make a dramatic change in about 1970-71 after President Richard Nixon created his "Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA)" program and President Ronald Reagan declared his infamous "War on Drugs." Those two federal programs created a stark division between the citizens and the police.

This was because both programs involved the issuance of federal dollars (with strings) to local government coffers. The police in Sanilac County were suddenly involved in a Drug Task Force that was discovering fields of marijuana growing in our area. This was a surprise to us because we were unaware that we had a "drug problem" until we had a Drug Task Force.

As a local police reporter I was invited to attend Task Force meetings and accompany police in raids of marijuana farms.

Nixon's CETA program involved the issuance of healthy blocks of federal tax dollars to state, county and local governments. The money was to be used for creating new local government jobs. Every town in the area I was covering suddenly had well-staffed police departments, several squad cars, police equipment and lots of yearly annuities.

Almost overnight the county seat where I worked jumped from a single part-time police chief to a fully staffed Police Department with a full-time chief and several other officers. Other than participate in the raids on marijuana farms there was little else for all of those police officers to do except cruise the roads and look for traffic violations. That was when Michigan drivers began watching their rear view mirrors.

We usually always could count on getting a ticket once a police officer stopped us. As a county government reporter I was aware that the expanded police department and the expanded District Court depended on the income from these arrests to meet budget needs.

We have since watched in alarm as local police departments were issued military vehicles, weapons and protective armor. Instead of the comfortable blue and brown uniforms the police were now dressed in black. This is how we perceive them today.

Instead of getting better the drug problem in the United States intensified once Nixon's war against various named narcotics was created. But we had lots police making a living dealing with it.

(c) 2020 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Lee, Jayapal, AOC Introduce Bill To Move $350 Billion From Militarism To Human Needs
By David Swanson

Here's the text of a new bill in Congress: PDF.

Here's a petition from Code Pink promoting it.

Needless to say, this is the best bill introduced into Congress in decades.

Here's the ending:

"Congress supports moves to reduce the priority given to war in our foreign policy and our current war-based national economy by using significant cuts, up to $350,000,000,000 as detailed above, from current budget plans, while using the funds to increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer."

The details above in the text of the bill include:

(1) eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations account and saving $68,800,000,000;

(2) closing 60 percent of foreign bases and saving $90,000,000,000;

(3) ending wars and war funding and saving $66,000,000,000;

(4) cutting unnecessary weapons that are obsolete, excessive, and dangerous and saving $57,900,000,000;

(5) cutting military overhead by 15 percent and saving $38,000,000,000;

(6) cutting private service contracting by 15 percent and saving $26,000,000,000;

(7) eliminating the proposal for the Space Force and saving $2,600,000,000;

(8) ending use-it-or-lose-it contract spending and saving $18,000,000,000;

(9) freezing operations and maintenance budget levels and saving $6,000,000,000; and

(10) reducing United States presence in Afghanistan by half and saving $23,150,000,000.

The big deal is what's unstated, namely the world of good that could be done with this level of annual funding - good that will save more lives and spare more suffering by far than what is produced by the wars. Of course, moving it out of militarism will spare us some of the wars as well.

(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.

From insects to birds, reptiles and amphibians, to opossums to bears, raccoons,
cougars, coyotes and foxes, thousands of creatures are killed by cars every day.

Rethinking Roads Can Drive Down Species Decline
David Suzuki

With roads closed and vehicle traffic down during the pandemic, some animals are getting a better shot at survival. Roads are a main driver of wildlife decline in Canada, taking their toll in myriad ways.

First, vehicles hit wildlife trying to cross roads. This has imperilled several reptile species in Canada, including the endangered Blanding's turtle. Turtles generally reproduce late in life, so even a small number killed can lead to population declines. Because females usually wander in search of prime egg-laying habitat, they're more likely to be killed than males.

Vehicle collisions can also have calamitous impacts on frog and salamander populations. In spring, they depart vernal pools and cross roads in massive numbers to search for mates.

Throughout Canada, roads are also a cause of declining boreal caribou populations -but not because vehicles hit them. Caribou rely on large, intact ranges to evade predators, and roads (and seismic lines) fragment that habitat, and provide travel corridors and sightlines for predators, increasing their success in killing caribou and other prey.

Under current land-management regimes, roads continue to be punched into undisturbed forests. Because of a failure to adequately limit the industrial footprint of mining, logging and oil and gas, most of Canada's boreal caribou herds have been deemed unlikely to survive without significant changes to resource extraction practices.

Habitat loss drives most species decline in Canada, and roads are often a key component. They convert and fragment habitat into ever-smaller, more disturbed parcels.

As road density in Canada has increased and available wildlife habitat decreased, vehicles have killed ever increasing numbers of animals searching for mates, warmth (hot asphalt attracts snakes), homes, movement corridors and food. From insects to birds, reptiles and amphibians, to opossums to bears, raccoons, cougars, coyotes and foxes, thousands of creatures are killed by cars every day.

The ecological impacts of roads and the vehicles that travel them don't end there. Roads isolate wildlife populations from each other, decreasing genetic pools, cause behaviour modification such as altering migration routes or foraging habits, create pollution, increase noise, decrease air quality and contribute to climate change.

U.S. conservation biologist Reed Noss brought to light the terrible impact roads have on nature almost three decades ago, but conversations about their future couldn't be more current.

In May, a New York Times story highlighted that, as folks in Maine sheltered at home and took to roads less, salamander deaths decreased significantly. Profiling the work of herpetologist Greg LeClair, it noted, "This spring his 87 citizen scientists rescued 1,487 amphibians across Maine and found another 335 dead. That is roughly four living amphibians for every one run over, double last year's two-to-one ratio. More amphibians certainly seem to be crossing safely."

Throughout Canada, as cities and towns that converted roads to bike lanes during lockdown enter recovery phases, city planners and others are advocating to keep the lanes open. Having fewer roads for cars increases human and wildlife health.

People are also stepping up to keep wildlife from becoming roadkill -from local volunteer-led organizations that stop cars when turtles are crossing to provinces that build roadside tunnels and fences along highways to the federal government, which has created large-mammal overpasses in Banff National Park. Numerous research projects are underway to determine how best to reclaim linear disturbances such as roads and seismic lines to help caribou recover, including felling adjacent trees to disrupt sight lines and travel corridors.

Many people are wondering how to build back better, to gain insights from our collective pause, and to rethink systems as we collectively emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

As the New York Times notes, even protecting a species like the salamander is part of the puzzle of repairing the planet. Salamanders keep detritivores -animals that feed on dead organic material, like leaves -in check, so "soils can be nourished by slowly decomposing leaves, making forests more resilient and slowing the release of carbon into the atmosphere."

When we look for "shovel-ready" projects as we emerge from the pandemic, let's also look for "shovel-worthy" ones. Let's build structures that facilitate wildlife recovery, not mortality. We can start by reclaiming and decommissioning roads, instead of creating new ones.

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

On may 12, 2020 in san francisco, california faith leaders, activists and family members honored 17 people that
died of coronavirus covid 19 while they were being detained by us immigration and customs enforcement ice or in prison

This Is COVID-19, But It's Also A Symptom Of Deeper And Older Plagues
Derick Coley's life in prison was ground up between the implacable progress of the pandemic and a faceless-and merciless-pursuit of profit.
By Charles P. Pierce

Two weeks back, the VIP Room here at the shebeen hosted Dr. Ken Starnes, an emergency room doctor working in rural Arkansas and Missouri. He talked about the unique difficulties of practicing medicine there during the time of pandemic. Starnes has now sent along this story from Arkansas public radio about the death from COVID-19 of one of the inmates in an Arkansas prison. According to a study by Reuters, correctional facilities are by far the most active vectors of the pandemic in this country.

Reuters collected data from 37 state prison facilities across the country that have done mass testing for COVID-19 among all inmates, including those with no symptoms, and found more than 10,000 confirmed cases among the 44,000 tested. There were 91 deaths from the disease at those facilities, which span 10 states.
One of those people was Derick Coley, a 29-year-old inmate at the Cummins Unit, an Arkansas state prison in Lincoln County. From KUAR:
Cecelia Tate and Derick Coley were raising their 8-year-old daughter together. Tate was listed as an emergency contact, so she was the one the prison would communicate with. "I just kept calling, they just kept saying he's not showing no more symptoms." Tate says a prison nurse told her Coley had tested positive for COVID-19, but that his fever had gone down and he was doing fine. However, family members of other people incarcerated at Cummins were reaching out to tell her that Coley was really sick. "Then, the next thing I know, at 1:37 a.m., May 3rd, I got a call from the chaplain telling me he had passed," Tate said.
This is inexcusable, but understandable. The pandemic collided head-on with 30 years of outsourcing and the privatization of the country's penal system, which happened simultaneously with the explosion of incarcerated Americans. The results have been catastrophic.
Arkansas pays Wellpath, formerly known as Correct Care Solutions, about $371 per month per prisoner to provide health care. But two nurses interviewed for this report claim that Wellpath spends as little of that money as possible. Amie Burrow worked in Arkansas prisons as a nurse practitioner for a year and a half, leaving in November 2019. She says that when she was hired, Wellpath's regional manager told her, "As the provider, you make the decision of what's needed. If you order this, we will get it for them."

Burrow says that did not happen. Instead, the administrator at her prison often denied requests for medical supplies or chose cheaper, but higher risk medications. Wellpath's contract with the Department of Corrections shows that the Cummins Unit has one doctor, fewer than four nurse practitioners or registered nurses, and fewer than fourteen licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. LPNs are neither trained nor medically allowed to assess patients without supervision. Wellpath's policy manual is not public, but nurses say that LPNs are the ones who evaluate prisoners when they place sick calls.

Which meant that Derick Coley's life in prison was ground up between the implacable progress of the pandemic and a faceless-and merciless-pursuit of profit that has been grafted onto what once were public services and obligations.
Burrow says she reported her concerns to the Board of Corrections chairman, but was told Wellpath is a private company and his hands were tied. She then reported her concerns to Wellpath management and was fired three weeks later. Each sick call costs prisoners $3, which can add up for a population paid nothing for their daily work. The Department of Corrections eliminated the copay on March 23 due to COVID-19. However, Secretary Kelley reinstated the fee on May 1.

In an internal email obtained for this report, Kelley said the medical staff was flooded with requests to be seen. She said the fee would continue to be waived for inmates with COVID-19 symptoms, but nurses would be the ones to determine whether someone's symptoms were COVID-related. Medical records show Derick Coley was too weak to walk to the infirmary the day he was tested for COVID-19. He was quarantined in isolation. For the next two weeks, nurses' notes claim Coley had no complaints. But another prisoner who was in isolation at the time said prisoners near Coley had been asking nurses to evaluate Coley, who they saw getting steadily weaker.

Luckily, the staff there was first rate...never mind, I'll show myself out.
The coroner's report said staff were moving Coley to another part of the prison around the time of the unrest when he had a medical episode. Medical records say that when nurses arrived, Coley was on the floor outside the prison's isolation unit. His lips were pale and he was struggling to breathe. It appears the most trained medical staff in the prison that night were licensed practical nurses. The only physician for Cummins, who records say the nurses were in touch with that night, has a revoked medical license. The Arkansas State Medical Board has given him permission to keep practicing as long as he reports to them. His license has been revoked three times over the last 20 years due to drug use, including treating patients while under the influence. It was last revoked in 2018.
The nation is mottled with tragedies now, symptoms of deeper and older plagues.

(c) 2020 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"The point is, you can never be too greedy."
~~~ Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and United States Military Academy superintendent Darryl A. Williams
salute alongside graduating cadets as the national anthem is played during commencement ceremonies
at Plain Parade Field at the United States Military Academy on June 13, 2020 in West Point, New York.
Trump addressed the graduating class of 1,107 cadets during a socially-distanced ceremony held amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

All The Lies Trump Told The West Point Graduates About American Militarism
He reiterated that he would not allow the military to change the names of the bases named for Confederate generals, lied that he had complete destroyed ISIL, and glorified Gens. George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur.
By Juan Cole

It was bad enough that Trump endangered the health of the graduating class at West Point for the purposes of a photo op for his reelection campaign by insisting on bringing them back to campus. It was bad enough that he gave an alarming performance in which some observers saw an advancing dementia and during which he had difficulty lifting a glass of water.

What was worse was all the lies and half-truths Trump told the West Point graduates.

He reiterated that he would not allow the military to change the names of the bases named during the Jim Crow era for Confederate generals, which is something I wish I could have these future officers unhear.

Trump lied that he had complete destroyed ISIL (which conducted 500 attacks in northern Iraq in the first quarter of 2020). He lied that Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, whom he boasted of having whacked, was a "terrorist." He was not. He was the head of a state military. Terrorists are private citizens who commit violence against civilians to achieve political purposes. Muddying the waters by terming one's military adversary a "terrorist" is just propaganda, and the cadets don't need to hear that from their president. Moreover, it was shameful that Trump ordered the U.S.military to assassinate Soleimani, who had just flown a commercial jet into Baghdad International Airport to conduct peace negotiations via the Iraqi prime minister with Saudi Arabia. Trump at the time lied that he had been coming to kill Americans, which the Pentagon has refused to back him up on.

Even the language Trump used about the U.S.military was shameful.

One of the only two generals Trump mentioned was George S. Patton, with whom he has an infatuation. Patton was a great war hero in fighting the Nazis, though his achievements were not as great as Soviet generals on the Eastern Front. But his more balanced colleague Gen. Omar Bradley described him as "colorful but impetuous, full of temper, bluster, inclined to treat the troops and subordinates as morons. He was primarily a showman. The show always seemed to come first." Patton did not understand post-traumatic stress disorder and saw soldiers suffering from it as cowards, slapping two of them in the hospital in Sicily. But the real problems came after the war when he was supposed to be implementing denazification in Bavaria. Patton wasn't buying it. He valued the Nazis as of 1945, as allies against the Soviet Union, against which he now wanted to go to war. Most disturbing of all was his vicious anti-Semitism and penchant for blaming the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, many of them still living in squalor in camps under his administration. (Many were not rescued from the camps until 1947, when they began being taken to Israel).

Arthur Allen wrote at Politico:

He was unable to imagine that people living in such misery were not there because of their own flaws. The displaced Jews were "locusts," "lower than animals," "lost to all decency." They were "a subhuman species without any of the cultural or social refinements of our times," Patton wrote in his diary. A United Nations aid worker tried to explain that they were traumatized, but "personally I doubt it. I have never looked at a group of people who seem to be more lacking in intelligence and spirit." (Patton was no friend to Arabs, either; in a 1943 letter, he called them "the mixture of all the bad races on earth.") Not in his drive to fight forever wars, not in his wretched treatment of the men under his command, not in his shameful abuse of traumatized, hospitalized soldiers, and not in his virulent racism, is Patton a figure to be held up to our West Point graduating class as an ideal.
Trump also praised Gen. Douglas MacArthur, again, a great military figure, but what was highlighted was MacArthur's determination to take the Philippines, which had been a U.S.colony, back away from Japan during World War II. Bruce Lloyd interviewed Northwestern U. historian Daniel Immerwahr about of the original U.S.conquest of the Philippines, 1898-1904, quoting him as saying, "In the Philippine war... it seems at moments like a race war. It seems like [the American] soldiers were taking a fair amount of glee in torturing Filipinos and their meeting military setbacks with sort of exterminate them all retribution. The soldiers do not carry out an exterminationist agenda in the Philippines, but it seems that some of them really wanted to. You'll hear about the Philippine war, but there is alarmingly very little coverage of what happens next."

Is this what Trump meant when he spoke of "legends who unleashed the fury of American artillery upon our enemies on remote islands and distant shores... the infantry whose very sight meant liberation was near"?

It has to be noted that the U.S.Congress wanted to give the Philippines independence in 1933, but MacArthur was part of a cabal that convinced President Herbert Hoover to veto the measure, keeping Filipinos under colonial rule. MacArthur, like Patton in Germany, was reluctant to see collaborators with Imperial Japan punished, and promoted one of them into the presidency of the Philippines when it finally gained independence in 1946.

Lloyd quotes Immerwahr as calling the WW II story Trump was so proud of "the bloodiest thing that ever happens on U.S. soil... What's so painful about it is the complicity of Washington in those war deaths, because a lot of those folks who died, died both as the result of U.S. grand strategy and also died in some cases from friendly fire... And the fact that this was just blithely passed over on the mainland, doesn't even count as part of U.S. history, struck me as completely unacceptable." Immerwahr estimates that 1.1 million Filipinos and U.S.nationals died during WW II in the Philippines, and all most historians can talk about is MacArthur and his daily mood changes.

That America had colonies is shameful. Our country was founded on the principle of no taxation without representation, but we ruled the Philippines brutally in the service of a business clique of sugar plantation owners. MacArthur's efforts to free the Philippines of Imperial Japanese rule during the war are praiseworthy, but the whole episode of American in the Philippines is nothing to boast to cadets about.

I am afraid that our officer corps has ratcheted further and further to the political right wing in the past 50 years. Back in the 1950s a lot of military people were Democrats. We have had great generals in our history who have unmixed records as proponents of liberty and the constitution. Omar Bradley in 1951, for instance, famously opposed extending the Korean War into China, saying, "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy." Those aren't the ones Trump wants glorify. Bonus Video: Trump Leads West Point Commencement Amid Criticism Of Military's Role in Protests, NBC Nightly News:

(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-

Mike gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Vice Fuhrer Pence,

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 attempt to cover up der Fuhrer's bungling of the Covid-19 disaster, 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 Pence, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Who Benefits From Racism?
By Robert Reich

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, took the knee last week before cameras at a branch of his bank. Larry Fink, CEO of giant investment fund BlackRock, decried racial bias. Starbucks vowed to "stand in solidarity with our black partners, customers and communities." Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO David Solomon said he grieved "for the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other victims of racism."

And so on across the highest reaches of corporate America, an outpouring of solidarity with those protesting brutal police killings of black Americans and systemic racism.

But most of this is for show.

JPMorgan has made it difficult for black people to get mortgage loans. In 2017, the bank paid $55 million to settle a justice department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority borrowers. Researchers have found banks routinely charge black mortgage borrowers higher interest rates than white borrowers and deny them mortgages white applicants would have received.

BlackRock is one of the biggest investors in private prisons, disproportionately incarcerating black and Latino men.

Starbucks has prohibited baristas from wearing Black Lives Matter attire and for years has struggled with racism in its stores as managers accuse black patrons of trespassing and deny them bathrooms to which white patrons have access.

Last week, Frederick Baba, an executive at Goldman Sachs who is black, criticized managers for not supporting junior bankers from diverse backgrounds.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the CEOs who condemn racism lobby for and get giant tax cuts and fight off a wealth tax. As a result, the nation can't afford anything as ambitious as a massive Marshall Plan to provide poor communities world-class schools, first-class healthcare, and affordable housing.

The CEOs resist a living wage and universal basic income. They don't want antitrust laws jeopardizing their market power, so consumers have to pay more. They oppose tighter regulations against red-lining or prohibitions on payday lending, both of which disproportionately burden black and brown people.

Perhaps most revealingly, they remain silent in the face of Donald Trump's bigotry. Indeed, many are quietly funding the re-election of a president whose political ascent began with a racist conspiracy theory and who continues to encourage white supremacists.

This goes beyond mere hypocrisy. America's super rich have amassed more wealth and power than at any time since the "robber barons" of the late 19th century - enough to get legislative outcomes they want and organize the system for their own benefit.

Since the start of the pandemic, the nation's billionaires have become $565 billion richer, even as 42.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Job losses have disproportionately affected black Americans, and America's racial wealth gap continues to grow.

The oligarchy knows that as long as racial animosity exists, white and Black Americans are less likely to look upward and see where the wealth and power really has gone.

They're less likely to notice that the market is rigged against them all. They'll cling to the meritocratic myth that they're paid what they're "worth" in the market and that the obstacles they face are of their own making rather than an unjust system.

Racism reduces the odds they will join together to threaten that system.

This is not a new strategy. Throughout history, the rich have used racism to divide people and thereby entrench themselves.

Half a century ago, Martin Luther King Jr observed much the same about the old southern aristocracy, which "took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man."

Trump is the best thing ever to have happened to the new American oligarchy, and not just because he has given them tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks.

He has also stoked division and racism so that most Americans don't see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while slicing the pay of average workers, won't notice giant tax cuts and bailouts for big corporations and the wealthy while most people make do with inadequate schools and unaffordable healthcare, and don't pay attention to the bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign donations.

The only way systemic injustices can be remedied is if power is redistributed. Power will be redistributed only if the vast majority - white, Black and brown - join together to secure it.

Which is what the oligarchy fears most.

(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

Seattle's CHAZ Cooperative: The New People's Park?
By Jane Stillwater

Boy did I have a wonderful time planting flowers in Berkeley's miraculous People's Park back in 1969 -- until the National Guard arrived and stomped all over my geraniums.

And yet 50 years later there is still a People's Park left in Berkeley today -- even though we have to wear face masks and stand six feet apart if we want to go there and just hug a tree. Yes, something of the old People's Park ideal still lives on even now and even I, the most terrible gardener in the world these days, can still manage to get a few geraniums to bloom in my garden.

And now the Spirit of '69 still lives on in Seattle as well -- right down the street from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the exciting new Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), people there are also trying out a better way of life as well -- not one involving under-the-skin microchips, 1984-style surveillance ops, weird untested vaccines, tear gas, tanks and eugenics.

CHAZ is all about local community-building, freedom, workers' co-ops and Art for Art's Sake. No guns, authoritarian diktats, stock market manipulations, phony "second wave" ear tactics or racism is involved.

Let's see how long CHAZ will last -- and let us hope that it, like Berkeley's amazing People's Park, will still be around in another 50 years too.

Idealism is a good thing these days. Hope and kindness and cooperation and joy are good things too. Pleeze try to remember that, America. Law and order? Be careful what you wish for.

(c) 2020 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Clay Jones ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Brave Columnist Reckons Anti-Racism Protesters Are The Real Racists
By Waterford Whispers News

COMPLETELY OBLITERATING a 'nonsense argument' about the need to address prejudice of all kinds, one brave newspaper columnist has used his very large brain to assert it is in fact those who are protesting on a platform of anti-racism that are the truly racist people.

Frothing in his weekly column, which certainly isn't pushed by his newspaper just to generate maximum outrage, revered thinker Graham Pender has bravely decided once again to take the contrary opinion, calling out those who are too afraid to tell it like it is.

"It occurred to me when looking at the images of people decrying racism and protesting for a more equal society that hang on, this sort of behaviour is exactly what the Nazis did," Pender wrote using words, placed in an order he mistakenly believed made perfect sense.

"I have consistently ignored the issues being raised by these protesters throughout my career as a commentator but today I bravely suggest that suggesting racism is bad will lead to directly to summary execution for being white" added Pender, unintentionally cornering the market on common nonsense.

"I've never thought to speak up for anyone of colour or critique any institution that has been labeled part of the problem but now TV channels are banning comedies with so-called 'blackface', coming to my house to destroy my DVD collection and erasing them from my mind - I must speak up and say this is a heinous act literally comparable to a modern day lynching," Pender poorly explained, omitting the fact people aren't protesting against a Little Britain or Fawlty Towers rerun on UKTV Gold, but rather institutional racism.

Capping off a column for the ages, Pender concluded "I hope these anti-racists realise how racist they are, but if they don't, rest assured I'll stay silent on slavery, massacres, discrimination, police brutality, white supremacy, anti-semitism and discrimination of all forms until the next time these fuckers point out how such things are bad".

Pender's columns, which will include 'women's brains are smaller - it's just science', 'incredible - you can't even highlight the positives of slavery anymore without being attacked' and ' I'm being silenced', can be read in the coming weeks.

(c) 2020 Waterford Whispers News

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 25 (c) 06/19/2020

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