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In This Edition

Norman Solomon finds, "California "Berning" For Ro Khanna To Chair The State's Delegation To Democratic National Convention."

Ralph Nader predicts, "Out Of The Ashes Of Covid-19 Should Rise Our Unstoppable Medicare For All."

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

Jim Hightower is, "Unmasking America's Mask Profiteers."

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "Trump Got A Humiliating Comeuppance In Tulsa. Expect New Lows From His Campaign."

John Nichols reports, "Charles Booker Prepares to 'Fight' To Prevent Voter Suppression In Kentucky."

James Donahue studies, "The Insanity Of The Manipulated Masses."

David Swanson contrasts and compares, "From Freedom Of Religion To Coronavirus Denial."

David Suzuki reports, "Reimagining Streets Could Lead To Healthier Cities."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Any Politician Who Moans About The Deficit' During This Pandemic Should Be Turfed Into Retirement."

Juan Cole sees, "Trump At Tulsa As 21st Century Typhoid Mary, As Fauci Warns On Rally, Science-Bashing."

North Carolina State Rep. Larry Pittman wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich asks, "Who's Really Looting America?"

Jane Stillwater considers, "George Floyd & Tupac Shakur."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz, reports, "Susan Collins Puts Bolton Book In Amazon Cart But Remains Undecided About Placing Order," but first, Uncle Ernie wonders, "Is This The Beginning Of The End Of Lying Donald?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Kelly, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Al Drago, Kamil Krzaczynski, Paul Krueger, Spencer Platt, Evan Vucci, Molly Adams, Nicholas Kamm, 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 This The Beginning Of The End Of Lying Donald?
By Ernest Stewart

"We"re going to be in Oklahoma. And it's a crowd like, I guess, nobody's seen before. We have tremendous, tremendous requests for tickets like, I think, probably has never happened politically before." ~~~ Lying Donald

"The Ordovician one has always been a little bit of an oddball." ~~~ Dr Stephen Grasby ~ Geological Survey of Canada

"And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it? Lincoln was the same sort (of) tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional." ~~~ North Carolina state Rep. Larry Pittman

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 wasn't too pleased when he entered the auditorium on Saturday and looked out on a sea of empty blue chairs. The BOK Center which seats a little over 19,000 looked almost empty when less that a third of the people showed up. Lying Donald set up an outdoor stage for the million people he expected so those who couldn't get in could hear and see him, needless to say he didn't make that scene as there was no one there!

Most Oklahomans are a little to the right of Darth Vader and yet the people stayed away in droves. I guess Lying Donald's poo-pooing of Covid-19 didn't sit well with people who have lost loved ones or stayed home not wanting to be in a closed spaced with people who may have Covid-19 and are not wearing masks so every time they, scream or cheer, they spred the disease to everyone sitting around them.

As for the speech just more of Lying Donald's lies which even the insane right wing is beginning to see through. For example:

They called me, they said, the job you're doing ... Here's the bad part. When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people slow the testing down, please. They test and they test. We had tests and people don't know what's going on. We got tests, we got another one over here. The young man's 10-years-old. He's got the sniffles. He'll recover in about 15 minutes. That's a case, add him to it. That's okay. That's a case. I was actually with a very nice man, very good man, even though he's very liberal, the Governor of New Jersey, right? We know him? Now listen, he said to me, something that's amazing. New Jersey was very heavily hit, very hard hit, thousands of people. He said with thousands of people that died, thousands of people, there was only one person that died under the age of 18. Would you believe that? Which tells me one thing, that kids are much stronger than us.
The unhinged left wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments. Tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control. We're not conforming, that's why we're here, actually. This cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose their new oppressive regime in its place. They want to defund and dissolve our police departments, think of that.
I could go on and on and on with his lies but life is short, especially if you're a Lying Donald suporter! That's the positive effect of Lying Donald's "bund rallies" by the time he's through there will be thousands less of his supports left to vote!

In Other News

According to academics, I see where global warming may have triggered a mass extinction event that wiped out around 85 per cent of all marine species on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago.

Researchers have discovered that global warming caused by volcanic eruptions may have led to the Late Ordovician extinction, which happened nearly 450 million years ago.

Scientists have previously linked the extinction event to toxic metals and radiation released from a distant galaxy and global cooling.

But Professor David Bond from the University of Hull and Dr Stephen Grasby from the Geological Survey of Canada now believe global warming - which has been linked to many of history's other mass extinctions - is a more likely explanation.

Their research, which has formed a publication in the journal Geology, found that when Ordovician rocks collected from a small stream in southern Scotland were heated, they released large amounts of mercury - a sign volcanic eruptions took place during that period.

The rocks also emitted molybdenum and uranium, suggesting the oceans were starved of oxygen at the same time.

Professor Bond and Dr Grasby have suggested the widespread eruptions released enough carbon dioxide to heat up the planet and deoxygenate the oceans, resulting in the asphyxiation of the species that lived there.

Professor Bond told the New York Times: "Think of a bottle of Cola. If it's been in the fridge, it stays nice and fizzy because the gas in that carbon dioxide stays in the liquid.

"But if you leave it on a sunny table outside and it gets really warm, then that gas quickly dissociates out of that liquid and you end up with a flat Coke."

It always amazes me how many drastic changes occur just from a slight temperature rise, it doesn't just get warmer, it changes everything in our environment, everything! Oh, and did I mention that a new record was set in Siberia, 70 miles above the arctic circle of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't believe in global warming, then explain that!

And Finally

A Republican state lawmaker in North Carolina wrote a racist diatribe on Facebook in which he condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and demonized the protesters calling for an end to systemic racism, going as far as saying the protesters deserve to be shot by police. State Rep. Larry Pittman continued, "I'm thoroughly disgusted by the gutless wonders in public office who are bowing down to Black Lives Matter."

"The mayor of Seattle has betrayed the citizens there by allowing the anti-American actions of those ignorant thugs to go unchallenged," adding that "the police should take back the area from the protesters. If they resist, shoot them," Pittman wrote.

"These vermin don't care about George Floyd or any other individual, except maybe their financial sponsor, George Soros, they are bent on destroying our country and our way of life, and they will use any tragedy, any slogan, any excuse to convince clueless people that their radical injustice is justice."

Not only doesn't he like black folks but hates Jews too! Ergo Larry Pittman wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


09-12-1931 ~ 06-19-2020
Thanks for the films!

08-29-1939 ~ 06-19-2020
Thanks for the films!

06-19-1937 ~ 06-24-2020
Thanks for the cartoons!


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.

California "Berning" For Ro Khanna To Chair The State's Delegation To Democratic National Convention
By Norman Solomon

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads in California, where Bernie Sanders defeated Joe Biden in the presidential primary three months ago, winning more than half of the state's delegates to the national convention. In recent days, over 110 Sanders delegates -- just elected in "virtual caucuses" across the state -- have signed a statement calling for Congressman Ro Khanna to be the chair of California's delegation to the Democratic National Convention in mid-August.

Fairness, logic and even party unity all argue for Khanna to chair the delegation.

Noting that "Sanders received appreciably more votes in the California primary than any other candidate," the statement points out that "Khanna has been a national champion on issues supported by California Democrats -- health care for all, national budget priorities based on human needs and opposing Trump on huge increases in military spending and endless wars, criminal justice reform, and a path to citizenship for immigrants."

Released by Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America and (where I'm national director), the statement has been endorsed by the California Nurses Association as well as by Amar Shergill, the chair of the state Democratic Party's large Progressive Caucus. Four-fifths of the state's Bernie delegates elected in congressional districts have already signed it.

"Having our state delegation chaired by one of the Bernie 2020 campaign's national co-chairs would send an important message of inclusion to disaffected voters across the country," the statement says. "As state delegation chair, Congressman Khanna would be well-positioned to serve as a voice for authentic unity behind a ticket headed by Biden for the imperative of defeating Trump."

But whether the powers that be in the Democratic Party are truly interested in such "authentic unity" will be put to a test at a June 28 statewide delegates meeting, where California's delegation chair is scheduled to be chosen. (I'll be part of the meeting as a Bernie delegate.) Rules for that meeting -- or even information on who will run it -- have not yet been disclosed.

A common steamroller technique at such meetings is for an omnibus package with myriad provisions -- including decisions made in advance by those in power -- to be presented for a single up-or-down vote. Instead, what's needed is a truly democratic election, with nominations for delegation chair and a ballot enabling each delegate to cast a vote for one of the candidates. (What a concept.)

Sanders defeated Biden by a margin of 8 percent in the California primary. But hidebound tradition as well as raw political power are arrayed against the Bernie delegates pushing for Khanna to chair the delegation.

Traditionally, the Democratic governor would be the chair of the state's delegation to the national convention, as was the case four years ago with Gov. Jerry Brown. And the current Democrat in the governor's office, Gavin Newsom, is unlikely to favor giving up this chance to enhance his national stature and aid his evident presidential ambitions.

For progressives, however, much more is at stake than political prestige.

Every indication is that only a state delegation chair will be allowed to introduce proposals or amendments to the entire convention. Simply having the option of doing so, on issues like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, could give the state party chair leverage for programs championed by the Bernie 2020 campaign. That's exactly the kind of leverage that party power brokers want to prevent from falling into the hands of genuine progressives.

(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."

"The Covid-19 pandemic and its bungling by Trump and Trumpsters leading to the loss of
loved ones, the loss of patients, and the horrific experiences of frontline workers would
pave the way to this long-overdue change,"
writes Nader. "The humane laser-beamed arrival
of workers, who have witnessed the tragedies caused by the pandemic will push Congress to
provide Americans universal care and relief, from economic anxiety, dread, and fear."

Out Of The Ashes Of Covid-19 Should Rise Our Unstoppable Medicare For All Movement
The battle against this pandemic-and all the associated injustices and inequalities it has exposed-should galvanize a nation to finally embrace the kind of healthcare system it deserves.
By Ralph Nader

Frontline healthcare, transit, and grocery clerk workers are too busy risking their lives helping and saving people exposed to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to see themselves emerging as the force that can overcome decades of commercial obstruction to full Medicare for All.

These heroic, courageous, and selfless people are getting the job done, often without protective equipment and adequate facilities. Many of them get extremely sick or die from Covid-19.

Fat cat CEO's are placing full-page ads elaborately praising their workers whom they regularly underpaid and disrespected before Covid-19. These bosses are now recognizing both the physical and moral courage it takes for these exceptional saviors to serve their communities.

What is emerging from this catastrophe is an exceptional class of millions of potential advocates receiving mass media coverage. Deeply personal profiles and first-person accounts of the pain and anguish they endure fills the news. They have experienced firsthand the perverse priorities of the profiteering corporate health vendors that are leaving tens of millions of innocent families uninsured, underinsured, and without paid sick leave.

Now shift the scene to the only obstacle to single-payer universal health insurance in America-the corporate indentured Congress. Out of 535 Senators and Representatives, 135 in the House already support H.R. 1384 full Medicare for All with free choice of doctors and hospitals. This much more efficient and comprehensive lifesaving system is far superior to our current profits-first morass. In the Senate, add another 30 supporters. With about 200 more converts for Medicare for All, a veto-proof passage is possible.

Now can come the steely determined Covid-19 workers with their national advocates representing all their skills and geographic regions, heading straight for Congress. In relays, day after day, observing CDC guidelines, they will find Congress mostly AWOL. These days Congress is only periodically present for pressing financial legislation. The frontline workers can push for Congressional hearings, floor debates, and then voting. No more lies, delays, distortions, or domination of members of Congress by the corporate crime complex. The legislators are directly told they work for the people, not the corporations pouring money into their campaign coffers.

These Covid-19 workers cannot be stared down or flimflammed. They have the decisive karma that veterans' groups often have with Congress. They have seen more fatalities among their protectees in three months then the U.S. soldiers lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars (apart from the massive greater casualties on the native peoples). They have experienced the staggering pressures of their hands-on service from ambulances to intubations and the solitary deaths of their patients. While members of Congress huddle at home, they are shamed by the low-paid valiant toil of exposed grocery, public transit, and sanitation workers who don't have the luxury of laboring remotely.

This new unstoppable non-partisan assemblage of Americans will have plenty of backup. Funding by well-to-do people will be forthcoming. Experts like Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, Dr. David Himmelstein, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Dr. Michael Carome, former Nurses Union leader RoseAnn DeMoro, who keenly understand the tactics of the medical corporatists, are on hand. So are the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and many other consumer and labor groups.

The polls will expand from a present, majority of Americans, doctors, and nurses to even greater numbers backing universal health care coverage. Rising to greater prominence to lead the way in Congress will be the long-supportive Representatives and Senators energized and propelled by this new, relentless citizen dynamic demanding action now!

What should have been done over a hundred years ago, when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt proposed universal health care, should not be stalled any longer.

Not when 1500 to 2000 people lose their lives every week because they can't afford to be diagnosed or treated in time, according to a new Yale study.

Not when an average of a billion dollars a day is taken by billing fraud according to a conservative estimate by the leading expert on such crimes-Professor Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University.

Not when a minimum of five thousand people a week die from preventable problems in hospitals (not including clinics) as reported in a peer-reviewed Johns' Hopkins School of Medicine analysis. Putting people before profits would lower that horrendous casualty toll substantially.

Not when numerous countries, including Canada, cover all their people at half the price per capita with better outcomes, free choice of physicians and hospitals, and peace of mind.

Not when documentation for fundamental change is so overwhelmingly at everyone's fingertips (See: Dr. John Geyman's latest in a series of educational books by this sagacious practitioner and scholar-the galvanizing "Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care" will be available very soon (See: The Covid-19 pandemic and its bungling by Trump and Trumpsters leading to the loss of loved ones, the loss of patients, and the horrific experiences of frontline workers would pave the way to this long-overdue change. The humane laser-beamed arrival of workers, who have witnessed the tragedies caused by the pandemic will push Congress to provide Americans universal care and relief, from economic anxiety, dread, and fear. Americans deserve the same health care coverage enjoyed by people in every other western country.

(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

Community control of the police means empowering the people to shape and oversee the mechanisms of their own security and end forever the armed occupation of our communities by hostile forces. Never in the modern history of the United States has an insurgent, Black-led movement been viewed favorably by such large majorities of whites. According to the latest New York Times/Siena College Poll, a combined total of 61 percent of whites give "very favorable" (37 percent) or "somewhat favorable" (24 percent) ratings to the "Black Lives Matter movement." Those numbers match almost exactly the results of a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month that shows a combined 60 percent of whites either "strongly support" (31 percent) or "somewhat support" (30 percent) Black Lives Matter.

In historical contrast, during his lifetime Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. never garnered higher than 45 percent positive ratings in the Gallup Poll. That high point was reached in 1965, the year the Voting Rights Act was passed. An equal percentage of the public, amounting to a majority of whites, viewed Dr. King negatively. Ninety-five percent of Blacks had a positive opinion of MLK. By 1966, however, Dr. King's Gallup negative rating was 63 percent, and a Harris poll showed him at nearly 75 percent disapproval by 1968, the year he was assassinated.

The same New York Times poll that shows 60 percent of whites feeling positively about the Black Lives Matter movement also confirms that Donald Trump still commands the support of a bare majority of white Americans - which would mean that a small but significant slice of white Trump supporters also view Black Lives Matter positively. I'll leave it to white social psychologists to interpret those crazy numbers.

Possibly the most useful Times data shows nearly 70 percent of whites under 45 believe "the killing of George Floyd was part of a broader pattern of excessive police violence toward African-Americans rather than an isolated incident," Eighty-seven percent of Blacks of all ages and 74 percent of Hispanics agree.

The least useful NYT poll data shows that Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 14 points. This number tells us nothing about what kind of change is desired by Americans of any race, age or educational level - only that growing numbers would choose Biden over Trump under the two corporate party electoral system. But Biden is a proud architect of the mass Black incarceration regime and rejects virtually all of the demands associated with the "Black Lives Matter movement," most emphatically including "defunding of the police." On criminal justice, both Biden and Trump oppose the aspirations of two-thirds of the U.S. public - just as they stand in opposition to the two-thirds of Americans that support Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

Despite the breathtaking size, intensity and multi-racial character of this month's protests, and the record-breaking popularity of the insurgent movement, the corporate electoral duopoly - not the loathsome persona of Donald Trump, but the Democrat-Republican tag-team-- remains the greatest impediment to social transformation. They are the institutional enemy. That most emphatically includes the Black political class, virtually all Democrats, who have overseen the steady deterioration of the Black economic condition, managed much of the local workings of the Mass Black Incarceration State, and supported a U.S.war machine that has slaughtered millions of non-whites in the two generations since Dr. King called this country "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, today." The bigger the Congressional Black Caucus gets (it now stands at 50 full-voting members in the House), the more servile to party corporate leadership it becomes. By wide margins, the Black Caucus has opposed (80 percent "nay," in 2014); supported elevating the police to a "protected class" and making assault on police a federal "hate" crime (75 percent, in 2018); and voted to further empower the FBI to spy on citizens (two-thirds of the Black Caucus, in 2020). Nearly half the Black members of Congress supported the bombing of Libya and NATO's invasion of Africa in 2011, and the vast bulk of them have signed off on every escalating war budget put forward by Presidents Obama and Trump. In short, the Black Caucus is a bulwark of systemic racism and U.S. imperial warfare. Not one serving Black congressperson has raised a peep about the ongoing slaughter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than six million have died under four U.S. presidents.

The biggest luminaries of the Black Caucus, including "Auntie" Maxine Waters, of California, South Carolina's James Clyburn, and New York's Hakeem Jeffries and Greg Meeks, are today rallying around New York Democratic incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel to beat back progressive Black challenger Jamaal Bowman, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Caucus has slavishly followed every directive of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi since she ordered them to refrain from holding hearings on Katrina, in 2005. They are collaborators in the duopoly's greatest crimes against Black America, and the world.

The "street power" that has been so dramatically manifested over the past month will be dissipated and ultimately wasted if organizers put forward demands that leave the levers of power in the hands of local Democrats, of whatever color. The demand to defund the police is unassailable, in principle. However, if in practice it devolves to endless and debilitating dickering with local legislatures over funding that will inevitably be cut across the board due to collapsing tax rolls, no lasting transformation will be achieved, and the movement will splinter and fade. That's why we at BAR support community control of the police - the institutionalization of grassroots people's power to shape and oversee the mechanisms of their own security and end forever the armed occupation of our communities by hostile forces.

Chicago has the most developed movement in the nation for community control of the police. Spearheaded by the recently re-founded National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, led by Frank Chapman, the Alliance turned a 60,000-strong list of anti-police protesters into a force that has changed the political complexion of the city council, 19 of whose 50 members are now co-sponsors of the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). But Chicago's newly elected Black mayor, Lori Lightfoot, opposes community control and defunding the police, ostensibly because defunding would lead to disproportionate lay-offs of minority officers.

Frank Chapman explains that community control of the police empowers the people to create whatever security mechanisms they see fit. It's not a question of defunding the police versus making them accountable to the people: "All of the reforms being called for, including abolishing and defunding the police - reforms that directly affect the current existence of the police as outside occupiers of our communities -- are embedded in CPAC," said Chapman. "CPAC is the way to ensuring these demands are met. CPAC puts the power of reform in the hands of communities through directly elected representatives. That's community control. With community control, we decide the if, when, and how of policing - up to and including abolition. With community control, we can defund, demilitarize, and regulate the police out of existence. Communities can reimagine a world without police - but not without the power to do so themselves. We've heard nothing from our elected leadership about this broad demand to reconceive public safety, except for the 19 alderpersons who support CPAC."

Lori Lightfoot is a guardian of white oligarchic power in Chicago, an exemplar of the melanin-over-substance politics practiced by the Black Misleadership Class - the same craven crowd that, in their formative years, preached that the movement of the Sixties must shift from the "streets" to the "suites." In urban America, some of the oligarchs' most dependable servants are Black, and nearly all are Democrats. Their strategy will be to entangle proponents of defunding the police in endless fights over whether dwindling tax dollars will go to police or social programs, while ensuring that the community controls neither. In the process, movements are demobilized and a portion of those activists that remain are "captured" - joining the Democratic clubhouse.

To avoid this path to oblivion, the movement must be clear that victory is measured in Power to the People. Demand community control, not only of the police, but of education, housing, health care and all the other services that civilized societies require. Beat the oligarchs in the streets - and ultimately, take their suites and put them at service to the people.

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

Unmasking America's Mask Profiteers
By Jim Hightower

Everyone should wear a protective medical mask - but some ought to be in ski masks, like those favored by bank robbers and muggers.

Zach Fuentes for example, a former deputy chief of staff for Donald Trump. He resigned from the White House in January, looking for some sort of lucrative entrepreneurial future. Then, the pandemic hit, and as Trump's incompetent government quickly caused it to spread, Fuentes thought: Aha, opportunity!

By April he had set up a corporate facade for hustling contracts to provide medical supplies to government agencies. Only 11 days after he opened for business - Bingo! - the former Trump aid won a $3 million deal from the Department of Health to ship respirator masks to Navajo Nation hospitals that were being overrun by hundreds of COVID-19 cases. Fuentes was awarded the contract with little competitive bidding, even though he had no knowledge about medical supplies or experience in federal contracting, and even though his price of $3.24 per mask was triple the pre-pandemic cost of one dollar each.

Oh, he also had no masks, so he bought a batch from China - a bit hypocritical, since Trump is frantically trying to blame Chinese officials for his own massive screw-ups in handling the pandemic in our country. Worse, the bulk of Chinese masks he procured turned out to provide inadequate protection, were unsuitable for medical use, or were not the type he promised to deliver. So, the Navajo people didn't get the help they urgently needed, Fuentes and the Chinese supplier each made off with a bundle, and we taxpayers got mugged.

This is what happens when government is turned over to insider profiteers. At least these bungling bandits should have to wear scarlet masks, so we can point them out to our children and say, "Don't let them control your future."

(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

Trump Got A Humiliating Comeuppance In Tulsa. Expect New Lows From His Campaign
By William Rivers Pitt

We have endured five long years of bombast, bullying and unreconstructed bullshit - from a Trump campaign that knew no shame to a Trump administration that knows no truth. Now, however, following the president's broad-spectrum rally calamity in Tulsa on Saturday night, there is finally the sense of a reckoning in the air.

The man who would be king was finally brought low, not by his own eternally despicable behavior, but by his inability to put butts in the seats, to get the "ratings" and "great reviews" that appear to be his first and last concern upon waking and in his sleep. Donald Trump's campaign spoke boastfully of a million worshipful fans wishing they could join him in Tulsa, and got 6,200 of them instead. As The Washington Post reported, the band Nickelback - "This is how you remind me / Of what I really am" - did better when they came to town.

Trump hadn't even gotten through the door of Air Force One on Saturday before learning not only that several members of his Tulsa advance team - including some Secret Service agents - had been infected with COVID, but also that this had been reported widely in the press. The latter reportedly infuriated him far more than the former. It was an appropriately grim preview of coming attractions.

Those 6,200 did their level best to recharge the ego batteries of The Boss, but an ocean of empty blue seats confronting Trump that night was the visual equivalent of a pie in the face and the "You Lose" horns from "The Price Is Right."

All that was missing was one of those long old-timey hooks to jerk Trump off the stage after he finished puling about protesters, Democrats and the menace of leather-soled shoes. When he freely admitted that he told his people to slow down COVID testing to keep the numbers low, his campaign staff must have sounded like John Candy in "Uncle Buck."

"President Trump and several staff members stood backstage and gazed at the empty Bank of Oklahoma Center in horror," The New York Times reported on Sunday. "The president, who had been warned aboard Air Force One that the crowds at the arena were smaller than expected, was stunned, and he yelled at aides backstage while looking at the endless rows of empty blue seats in the upper bowl of the stadium."

I could read that paragraph over and over until the stars burned out, and after they burned out, I would read it one last time by candlelight before dying happily in the endless dark.

This is more than simply the public comeuppance Trump has had coming since his slumlord father put him on the payroll at three years old for $200,000 a year in what was yet another familial tax dodge. "Stunned" is the word The Times used to describe his reaction to the small beer arrayed before him in Tulsa, and stunned is what he was, for a very specific reason.

Back in late May, before the police murder of George Floyd motivated a national uprising against police violence and systemic racism, Trump's re-election numbers began to look increasingly dire due to his bungled COVID-19 response. Campaign manager Brad Parscale was unofficially demoted, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was installed to right the ship (insert "LOL" here).

As it is Kushner's long practice to pour honeyed falsehoods into Trump's ear, the main effort of the campaign from that point on was to convince the candidate that he is actually doing better than the "fake news" says he is.

The problem, of course, is that such a grift would only last for as long as Trump could be shielded from the unfriendly political reality beyond his armored bunker. After his catastrophically ill-conceived and hyper-violent photo op in front of St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., Trump appeared to believe he had regained control of the national conversation. His fawning campaign team eagerly fed his delusions, until Tulsa.

That grift exploded with a hollow half-a-room boom on Saturday night. As he stared out at that vastly empty place, Trump was thumpingly confronted - perhaps for the first time in his entire political existence - with the fact that he is not nearly as beloved as he believes he is, and is told he is.

Further, he found out that despite all his protestations to the contrary, a significant portion of his most devoted followers are taking COVID seriously enough to stay away from such a recklessly irresponsible event, where most did not wear masks and efforts to screen people were entirely substandard. Even with lower turnout than expected, the Tulsa debacle will almost certainly increase infections and deaths.

King Canute failed to command the tide deliberately as a lesson to his followers. Trump tried to command the pandemic, and his own people, and may be washed out to sea. The lesson to Trump's followers was not missed; all of a sudden, there are some sizeable cracks in the veneer of the mighty leader's image, and his people don't truck much with perceived weakness.

The reasons behind Trump's abject humiliation this weekend are myriad, but my favorite has to be the glorious prank pulled by TikTokkers and K-pop fans (read: very social-media-astute teenagers and 20-somethings, mostly), who spoofed the ticket process to make it seem as if more people were coming than had actually signed up.

In doing so, the TikTok/K-poppers sprained the brain of probably-doomed Brad Parscale. "Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don't know what they're talking about or how our rallies work," Parscale said in response to the revelations.

Ol' Braddo missed the point here by a few thousand nautical miles. The prank did not affect turnout for the event - COVID and an underenthused Trump base did that all by themselves - but the prank did inspire Trump, Parscale and virtually every breathing pro-Trump Republican to run their estimations of the size of the Tulsa rally across the sky in bright lights.

First 500,000 and then 800,000 and then 1 million people signed up, they crowed. HYOOGE! We need an overflow stage! Look at this! Trump is back!

"You Lose" horns, take two.

Saturday's debacle in Tulsa exposed what was supposed to be a Trump campaign juggernaut as actually being a hell of a lot more rickety and amateur than people were aware of. How they let this happen to a sitting president will be grist for the political professional mill for generations to come.

Further, the two-thirds-empty room showed that for all of Trump's labors to diminish and downplay the severity of the COVID risk, a good portion of his most stalwart voters are apparently not buying it enough to risk their lives and the lives of their families for a night of yelling in a coronavirus petri dish.

Best of all, though, is the simple fact that Trump was clowned by his own campaign staff, and by himself, before the whole wide wonderful world.

Upon his return to the capital, Trump slowly walked from Marine One back to the White House like a man headed for the gallows, and The Washington Post captured a photo of the moment that speaks a thousand words a thousand times over.

Here is the essential post-Tulsa Trump. He will call Saturday night a triumph, as he will call a turd caviar ... but LOOK at that face. Zoom in if you can. That frown, the MAGA hat crushed in fury, the whole pouty didn't-get-my-pony demeanor, could crack granite. This was Ed Muskie in the New Hampshire snow, if the snow was piss.

Because Donald Trump reacts to setbacks the way tornadoes react to barns and trailer parks, his already-dirty campaign strategy will probably seek lows heretofore unplumbed in the annals of American politics. It is going to be a long 134 days until the election, friends.

(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.

Charles Booker Prepares to 'Fight' To Prevent Voter Suppression In Kentucky
With Kentucky's polling places cut from 3,700 to 200, fears of repeating Georgia's long lines have risen.
By John Nichols

With the approach of Tuesday's critical election to choose a Kentucky Democrat to take on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the headline in the state's largest newspaper announced, "New poll shows Charles Booker surging past Amy McGrath in Kentucky's US Senate primary."

The insurgent campaign of Booker, a Louisville legislator who champions economic and social and racial justice, has upended expectations that the more cautious candidacy of McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot and defeated 2018 congressional candidate who was recruited by DC insiders, would sweep the primary voting. Instead, Booker has collected endorsements from Kentucky's largest newspapers, unions, Democratic legislators, and former statewide officials and turned what was supposed to be a sleepy contest into one of the most exciting primaries of 2020.

But there's a problem. Voting rights experts and Kentucky lawmakers say the state is not prepared for a high turnout primary. "Fewer than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky's primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year," The Washington Post reported last week. "Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in. And turnout is expected to be higher than in past primaries because of a suddenly competitive fight for the Democratic Senate nomination."

In Jefferson County, home to Louisville and the largest number of African American voters in the state, a single polling place will be opened in a convention and visitor center. Booker, an African-American legislator who has been a prominent supporter of #BlackLivesMatter protests in the city where Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13, is counting on a large vote from his hometown. Frustrated by the shuttering of polling places, he says, "When we have one polling station for the city of Louisville, that is unexcusable."

This is not just a case of a candidate fretting about the prospect of trouble on Election Day.

Tricia "CK" Hoffler, the incoming president of the National Bar Association, the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges, called Kentucky's reduction in the number of polling places "the worst kind of voter suppression."

"This is horrific," said Hoffler. "It could be worse than Georgia."

That was a reference to the Georgia primary in early June, where many African-American voters had to wait as long as five hours to cast ballots in an election so mangled that it was characterized as a >"complete meltdown." The Georgia mess came after Wisconsin's April "pandemic election," in which voters who did not receive absentee ballots were forced to choose between following health warnings for preventing the spread of Covid-19 and their right to participate in a hotly-contested state Supreme Court race.

Noting that Jefferson County is "54 miles long with poor public transit," Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, argues, "It's outrageous that officials are seeking to hold in-person elections in a single location. It's as if Kentucky failed to follow the crisis that unfolded in Wisconsin and Georgia, where officials were woefully unprepared for the turnout on Election Day."

As in Wisconsin and Georgia, decisions to change traditional approaches to voting were influenced by concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, as Clarke explained, after reviewing details of Kentucky's approach, "This is POOR decision-making."

Many Kentuckians agree. State Representative Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville, and voters from counties across the state sued to upend the plan, arguing that it could lead to "significant voter suppression." Last week, after a federal judge rejected that suit, Nemes and Louisville Metro Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, a Democrat, said in a joint statement that "we regret that the Court did not order more polling locations to open across the county."

So the election is going forward and Booker says, "We're ready to fight on all fronts." Echoing the message of voting rights activists, his campaign is urging people to vote early where they can. Booker says they are also providing information about where and how to vote, organizing buses to get people to the polls, and making sure that voters who are stuck in long lines have adequate food and water. These efforts have drawn national notice. Over the weekend, filmmaker Ava DuVernay was urging her Twitter followers to support the "Voter Bus Fund" with the message, "We need to get folks to these polling places and we need to help them stay in line."

Despite all the challenges, Booker says he is confident that voters will do whatever they must in order to get their ballots cast and counted. "They're trying to suppress voters," the candidates says, "but they are inspiring people" to turn out.

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

The Insanity Of The Manipulated Masses
By James Donahue

  During the weeks after 9-11 and during a time when President George W. Bush was talking about aggressively attacking the invisible enemy he called "world terrorism," something very strange happened to a lot of Americans.

I think just about everybody went crazy.

Everywhere you looked the American flag was flying. Red, white and blue symbols were displayed on store fronts, on every flag pole, and their cars.

Young men and women rushed to local recruiting offices to sign up because they wanted to defend their country.

America was like a hive of disturbed bees, buzzing about wildly, prepared to sting anything that looked threatening, and sacrificing their all to do it. Nobody was thinking. Everybody was going to war even though nobody knew who the enemy was.

The same kind of mass insanity appears to be affecting the people now; not only throughout the United States but all over the world. This time instead of aircraft flying into buildings demonstrations were kicked off by four police officers who were photographed killing an innocent black man on the streets of Minneapolis. The incident has triggered a broad racial rebellion that has quickly expanded to all races and evolving into a form of civil war. While patriotism is usually a good thing, somehow I thought there was a lot of overplay going on after 911 and possibly even now after watching the George Floyd case. There is rarely anything else reported on the news. Public anger is building. But the quest to go to war always has its dark side.

After wars fought in Afghanistan and Iran, veterans were coming home in body bags or with missing arms and legs, torn away by home-crafted bombs planted along busy roadways. And they are declared "heroes" who gave so much in defense of the homeland. The irony in this is that neither war was really a defense of the United States. Bush sent troops to attack the wrong countries.

So I explain:

Even our leadership was caught up in the frenzy. The Bush Administration sent troops off to attack Afghanistan because intelligence allegedly revealed that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attack. And even though Osama was a native of Saudi Arabia, intelligence said he was operating with the Al-Qaeda, a group of radical Moslem militants hiding outin Afghanistan. Thus we bombed, shot and killed Afghanistan people. Then we shifted our attention to Iraq and did the same thing there and for even less defined reasons.

It is 19 years later and we are still in Afghanistan. We also are still stationed in Iraq even though the Obama Administration tried to shut down our part in that conflict and declared an official end of that conflict in 2011. Our troops appear to be caught in a strange quagmire that can't be resolved. Many thousands of innocent civilians in both countries are dead. Hundreds of our troops are dead and many more are hospitalized and disabled. Osama bin Laden is dead. So is Saddam Hussein.

Looking back on the 911 attack, intelligence suggested that the attack might really have been perpetrated in Saudi Arabia. In fact, most of the terrorists involved in taking over those airplanes are now known to have been from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan or Iraq. Conspiracy theorists are now asking if the attack wasn't planned right here at home for nefarious political reasons.

While war insanity was going on in the streets our legislators let a document called the Patriot Act slip into law without a fight. That document, designed to strip Constitutional freedoms and turn the nation into a police state, has since fallen under severe public attack. It went through some revising since that day, but The Patriot Act remains on the books, and the Bush generated "War on Terror" continues to rage on, even on the home front.

How can we declare a war against an invisible enemy that projects no nationality or face? How could stuff like this happen in the United States?

Writer David McGowan, in a recent article in the Web's Online Journal, titled "Functionally Insane Americans," suggests that most people in the United States were ss emotionally upset during the days following the 9-11 attacks that they lost touch with reality. "I think they found safety in numbers and a form of hive mentality took over."

McGowen wrote: "the severity of any individual's insanity is a function of the degree of that person's disconnection from reality.

"That definition, of course, is entirely dependent on how 'reality' is defined. From the point of view of the state, 'reality' is whatever the shapers of public opinion say it is. Anyone who disagrees with the voices of authority is, therefore, insane."

One example of the mass hysterical insanity was an arrest in Albany New York of a man who wore a "peace" T-shirt in a shopping mall. That the man associated himself with the peace activists of the 1960s so incensed the war-charged masses that the man was led away in handcuffs by uniformed police officers.

Of course not everybody in America bought into the war fever. I was among thousands of people voicing concerns to one another via the Internet in those crucial weeks. The media ignored public demonstrations opposing military action. Not many people dared to demonstrate, however. Public comment, we quickly found, could lead to open verbal if not physical confrontation.

How could so many people be guided into a mass hysteria like that? Figuring this out might help explain the Trump phenomenon, and the mass rioting, burning and fighting now occuring all over America and most other parts of the world.

The 9-11 event was so severe and unexpected, it seemed to glue the public into a state of mass fear. That we were constantly shown the video clips of the airplanes flying into the World Trade Center towers was a form of collective conditioning. After this, it did not take much for the nation's leaders to take us in any direction they chose.

The media did a good job again last week by constantly showing the images of the Minnesota cop with his knee on the neck of George Floyd. This appeared to be the same kind of collective social conditioning that worked so well after the 911 attacks. Was it done on purpose or was it a natural response? Floyd wasn't the first black man to be murdered by the police, but this killing just happened to have been photographed.

Jeff Rense suggested on his web site that mental manipulation can be accomplished through our television sets with more than images. He said U.S. Patent No 6,506,148, for example, is a device for "nervous system manipulation by electromagnetic fields from monitors."

Rense wrote: "Certain monitors can emit electromagnetic field pulses that excite a sensory resonance in a nearby subject, through image pulses that are so weak as to be subliminal.

"This is unfortunate since it opens a way for mischievous application of the invention, whereby people are exposed unknowingly to manipulation of their nervous systems for someone else's purposes.

"Such application would be unethical and is of course not advocated. It is mentioned here in order to alert the public to the possibility of covert abuse that may occur while being online, or while watching TV, a video, or a DVD."

They wouldn't do that would they?

In investigative research, we must always ask who had the most to gain by declaring war in the Middle East? Who is still getting rich on the spoils of two wars that we cannot seem to end? And in the current extreme political situation, who is in position to gain the most from the rioting? Was it a botched project that quickly flew out of control? Or did it all just happen by accident?

(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.

From Freedom Of Religion To Coronavirus Denial
By David Swanson

The U.S. government was created with the mandate to not establish any state religion or to forbid any religion. There were a couple of ways this could have gone.

Here's one path that was not taken. The freedom of religion and the separation of religion from the state could have encouraged a widespread understanding of what a crock of malarkey religion all is. If no religion can actually persuade everyone of its claims, if people choose their various and sundry religions based on factors wholly unrelated to persuasive argument, then why not let religion fade away with other myths and superstitions?

Here's a large part of what actually happened. The freedom of religion created the practice of respecting as beyond question multiple conflicting and contradictory dogmas because each was declared by some person or group to be their religion. The right to believe what you declare it important to you to believe is more widely cherished in the United States than is the right to a decent standard of living.

Anti-intellectualism is baked right into the U.S. conception of civil and political rights. If the world is full of religions whose adherents mostly acquired their "beliefs," not through any awareness of reasons to believe them but through what family they were born into, then something must be done to salvage the respectability of religion. In the United States, people have tried everything. Countless crackpots have invented their own religions, claiming magical revelations rather than inherited teachings. Millions of mushy-headed mean-wellers have discovered something or other that all religions have in common, for the purpose of thereby declaring them all to be true - but, of course, the only thing that they all have in common is the practice of claiming to "believe" stuff for no good reason (quite an odd foundation for claiming to believe all of them). And mostly, a society has simply been developed in which it is each person's treasured prerogative to assert his or her "belief" in anything at all, and the height of rudeness, insensitivity, or even bigotry to challenge the claims of others - especially, most importantly, the claims that appear the most ludicrous.

This is a different feature of U.S. society than the oft-lamented over-abundance of information that famously makes it difficult to know which news sources to believe. It's a different, though not unrelated, problem from that of irresponsible public figures promoting fantastic or fascistic ideas. What makes U.S. society so open to nonsensical claims is its longstanding practice of telling itself that belief is a choice, like what clothes to put on in the morning is a choice. Should I believe the Republicans' BS or the Democrats' BS? It's a style preference. The important thing is to go to the best church and to declare my "belief" for what the pastor says in that church. No pastor can be complete without a proper flock.

And so, in the nation doing the very worst among wealthy nations on earth at handling the Coronavirus (apart from Sweden which has consciously tried not to handle it), many people are determined to believe it doesn't exist, or doesn't spread, or can't be asymptomatic, or doesn't kill, or is easily blocked by wearing a mask around your neck but not your face. Pick what you want to do, what you're tired of, what you long for. Declare your "beliefs" accordingly. Locate the suitable "journalism" and "science" that you can pretend motivated your "beliefs." And raise holy hell if anyone questions your right to believe what you want to believe when you're obviously not harming them.

Except that, of course, you are harming them by helping to spread a deadly disease. People who sign up for tickets to a Trump rally in order to not use them and leave seats empty probably do more for the public health (diminishing both a disease pandemic and a fascism pandemic) than people who appeal to verifiable information in an effort to persuade others about the spread of the disease. Yet facts are not utterly impotent. Informing and persuading people with what we know and why it matters is both what we need to do in the current situation and what we need to encourage everyone to try to do in every situation.

Of course, the fact that the United States is doing worse in this pandemic than other countries runs up against the more-or-less religious belief that the United States always does better than other countries, but ridding people of that notion could be a big added benefit of asking them to try thinking intelligently right about now.

(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.

Cities are being reimagined as places not just to move cars (often with a single occupant)
as quickly as possible, but as places where everyone has the right to get around safely.

Reimagining Streets Could Lead To Healthier Cities
David Suzuki

During the COVID-19 pandemic, cities worldwide have been repurposing streets to create more room for walking and cycling. In some, temporary measures to help people maintain physical distancing, like lower speed limits and limited car access, are providing impetus for permanent changes that prioritize healthy mobility choices over cars. Cities are being reimagined as places not just to move cars (often with a single occupant) as quickly as possible, but as places where everyone has the right to get around safely.

Montreal's plans may be the most ambitious in North America. In June, it's adding 200 kilometres of temporary active transportation routes and reconfigured streets for cyclists and pedestrians. That's in addition to 127 kilometres of permanent infrastructure and road network changes to increase cycling and pedestrian connections between parks and commercial and residential areas.

My hometown Vancouver is temporarily repurposing 50 kilometres of road space for active transportation. I hope some become permanent.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo vowed her city won't return to its pre-pandemic status quo for cars. Already committed to being cycle-friendly, the city is remodelling its core for more mobility options, barring older polluting cars from entering and adding 650 kilometres of pop-up cycle ways. Seventy-two per cent of its on-street car parking spaces are being removed to accommodate new bike lanes.

Milan, one of the cities earliest and hardest hit by the virus, is transforming 35 kilometres of streets over the summer. It's using low-cost temporary priority cycle lanes, widened pavements and reduced speed limits to expand cycling and walking spaces.

Even car-dependent American cities are taking transformation leaps. Seattle's temporary street closures - 32 kilometres of roadway, mostly in "areas with limited open space options, low car ownership and routes connecting people to essential services and food take out" - have become permanent. Portland and Oakland are creating slow-safe street programs, modifying and closing roads to vehicle traffic.

Bogota, Colombia, which prioritized non-vehicle street options decades ago, is now seeing the rewards. The city's "ciclovía" regularly closes 120 kilometres of arterial city streets to motorized traffic every Sunday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. During the pandemic, weekday motor-vehicle closures have been added.

The safety and health benefits of repurposing streets away from car domination are clear. During the pandemic, more and better pedestrian and cycling space allows for safe exercise and easy access to necessities. It relieves pressure on roads and transit and allows front-line workers to commute safely. Many countries, including China, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada, have seen a surge in urban cycling during the pandemic shutdown.

Cities are reimagining public spaces with wider, more interesting sidewalks, extended patio areas and creative laneway redesigns. Street parking spaces can be converted to outdoor dining areas, docks for bike shares or pollinator-friendly gardens. Economic recovery efforts could focus on ways for unemployed culture-sector workers and artists to animate public spaces to welcome people back.

Building active transportation infrastructure is a good bet for economic recovery. A University of Massachusetts study found that for every dollar invested, bicycle infrastructure projects create more employment and use more locally produced materials (albeit fewer overall) than car-only road projects. They can create up to 11.4 jobs for every $1 million invested - 46 per cent more than car-only road projects.

Removing cars from more roads will also help retain some of the air-quality improvements we've seen with plummeting car use. Pollution from fossil fuel–powered vehicles is deadly. Recent research found bad air causes 8.8 million deaths annually worldwide. That's more than the number of people killed by tobacco smoke. For those with COVID-19, evidence shows air pollution increases the likelihood of getting gravely ill.

As municipal governments improve active transportation options, senior governments can't ignore the need for public transit emergency operating funding. As well as being an important climate solution, well-functioning transit will be key to preventing a rush back to cars.

The shortcomings of car-oriented streetscapes are being highlighted like never before during the pandemic. The health crisis is forcing cities to rethink how people get around and consider possibilities for connected, car-free corridors. Today's temporary solutions are pointing the way to tomorrow's healthier, safer, more resilient cities that welcome everyone.

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

Any Politician Who Moans About The Deficit' During This Pandemic Should Be Turfed Into Retirement
It turns out that if you give poor people money, they become...less poor.
By Charles P. Pierce

Longtime regulars here at the shebeen long ago memorized its First Law of Economics, to wit: Fck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs, People Got No Money. From this law flow many surprising corollaries. For example, if you give poor people money, they become...less poor. Also, the more poor people there are who have money, the fewer poor people there are. It's like magic, how that works! From The New York Times:

Still, the evidence suggests that the programs Congress hastily authorized in March have done much to protect the needy, a finding likely to shape the debate over next steps at a time when 13.3 percent of Americans remain unemployed. Democrats, who want to continue the expiring aid, can cite the effect of the programs on poverty as a reason to continue them, while Republicans may use it to bolster their doubts about whether more spending is needed or affordable.
Personally, I don't see how you make the latter case but, then again, I'm not in the party that's running this president* for re-election.
"Right now, the safety net is doing what it's supposed to do for most families - helping them secure a minimally decent life," said Zachary Parolin, a member of the Columbia University team forecasting this year's poverty rate. "Given the magnitude of the employment loss, this is really remarkable."

The Columbia group's midrange forecast has poverty rising only slightly this year to 12.7 percent, from 12.5 percent before the coronavirus. Without the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act - the March law that provided one-time checks to most Americans and weekly bonuses to the unemployed - it would have reached 16.3 percent, the researchers found. That would have pushed nearly 12 million more people into poverty.

Sounds like a big government program that really worked, and that ought to be maintained and supplemented throughout the pandemic. (Which is going to go on for a while. The NYT itself announced on Monday that its main offices would not open again until January.)
The effect has been significant. The economist Peter Ganong and two colleagues at the University of Chicago found that among workers eligible for unemployment, two-thirds can collect sums that exceed their earnings. Until the $600 bonus expires, the poorest fifth can at least double their lost pay. While state benefits vary, the median worker is eligible to receive 134 percent of his or her pay. While few who get the enhanced benefits will fall into poverty, Mr. Ganong warned that some jobless workers were ineligible and that bonuses would expire long before the economy recovered. "This is a strong start but only the first chapter of a long story," he said.
Any politician who moans about The Deficit before this pandemic passes should be turfed into retirement, and any politicians still trying to make hay on the backs of "lazy poor people" should be hung by their thumbs with their own bootstraps.

(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-

"My IQ is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure; it's not your fault."
~~~ Donald Trump

President Donald Trump pretends to take a Covid-19 test while holding a swab during
his visit of the Puritan Medical Products facility in Guilford, Maine on June 5, 2020.

Trump At Tulsa As 21st Century Typhoid Mary, As Fauci Warns On Rally, Science-Bashing
Science has laws, and we can't change them by glaring at them or shouting at them or wearing a partisan campaign button.
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Scientists know the story of Typhoid Mary, an immigrant from Ireland to the US in the late 19th century. She had typhoid, but refused to admit it, and was hired as a maid, and by 1907 some 3,000 New Yorkers had typhoid, and she was the super-spreader. Typhoid Mary rejected the notion, not being big on science.

Trump is our very own 2020 typhoid Mary.

When asked about his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, at a stadium that holds 19,000 and the grounds of which could host another 80,000 visitors, Trump demeaned the 700 deaths a day in the US from the novel coronavirus as "miniscule." Just as he did in January and February when he declined to take decisive steps against the pandemic, he insisted that the virus is "dying out." He also said that he thought people were wearing masks to show that they did not like him, Trump. The latter is a signal to his base to avoid masks and to keep up the appearance of normality, which he thinks will help his reelection bid.

Unfortunately, the refusal to wear masks will kill large numbers of Americans. Hong Kong, where mask-wearing is universal, has had 4 coronavirus deaths. New Zealand's government managed to get rid of the coronavirus entirely.

The braindead Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that rally attendees do not have to wear masks or practice social distancing, and the Trump campaign had made them optional.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, members of the alleged Trump coronavirus task force, lobbied Trump against the Tulsa rally. Fauci himself was asked if he would go to such an event and his answer was basically, "are you ca-raazy?"

Fauci lamented that many Americans have an anti-science attitude, which makes dealing with the pandemic difficult. Arguably, that anti-science attitude has killed 50,000 people (see below), with many more on the way. And the disastrous US response to the pandemic tells us how catastrophic our response to the climate emergency will also be. Me, I don't get it. You jump off a skyscraper, you will be bugsplat. Always. Science has laws, and we can't change them by glaring at them or shouting at them or wearing a partisan campaign button. You sit close to someone for hours without a mask, who has the disease and is screaming, you almost certainly will sicken, and you might die.

The virus is most effectively spread by infected people expelling it in droplets from their mouths. More droplets are spread when a person is chanting and shouting than just breathing. A victim is more likely to be given the virus if they breath in a big load of it, which happens if they are less than six feet away from the infected person, are with the infected person for a long time and if that person is spraying saliva at them by shouting campaign slogans. This viral load not only helps determine if you get sick, but also how sick you get.

In a closely packed crowd of 19,000, shouting for four hours straight, the likelihood is that some 800 to 1000 people could be infected by just 20 people who have the disease (and it may not show). The newly sick in turn could infect 3,000 others in the next days, and then that would become 9,000 and 27,000 if the rate of transmission were 3, and after a while you have a big outbreak.

Trump is planning another huge rally at an Arizona megachurch next week. Arizona had over 3,000 new cases just on Thursday and its number of sick is ticking up.

Chris Casteel at the Oklahoman points out that Tulsa County has the worst outbreak in the state, with numbers rising. The rally will certainly worsen that situation, and possibly worsen it considerably. Some 54% of the new cases in Oklahoma have been people 35 and younger, putting the lie to the notion that the young are somehow immune. There has also been an 11% rise in elderly victims. Covid-19 survivors can suffer lifetime damage to lungs, kidneys and other organs.

Oklahoma public health officials are afraid that the enormous rally will spread the disease, as attendees disperse and as some of them visit relatives in nursing homes in the coming weeks (visits are being allowed again by state authorities).

If the death rate holds steady, in only 5 months another 100,000 Americans will die of Covid-19, on top the the nearly 120,000 already killed. Specialists believe that if Trump had locked down the country two weeks earlier, in late February instead of late March, some 40% of the deaths to date could have been prevented, which is to say, that Trump is personally responsible for the deaths of nearly 50,000 Americans, already.

That's about how many Americans the Nazis killed at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, combined.

The likelihood is, however, that the death rate will go back up. It was 960 a day in the first week of June.

Alarmingly, on Thursday alone new cases surged to 27,700 , and the one-week average grew by 15% over the previous week. In early June on some days there were less than 20,000 new cases nation-wide, but the trendlines are now going in the wrong direction (i.e., up).

The increased cases are a result of Memorial Day gatherings and early openings of states like Florida and Texas, the governors of which were doing Trump's bidding.

(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-

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Pittman,

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 idea of shooting 1st amendment protestors, 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 Pittman, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Who's Really Looting America?
By Robert Reich

As hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest ruthless police killings of Black Americans and centuries of systemic racism, Donald Trump and his enablers have been quick to cast the protesters as violent "looters" - and distract from the real looters of America.

So far, over 10,000 Americans have been arrested during the wave of protests. Yet a decade ago, after Wall Street bankers looted America through predatory lending and securities fraud - often preying upon people of color and causing American households to lose roughly $19 trillion in total wealth - not a single top Wall Street executive went to prison. Instead, they received billions in taxpayer bailouts, and executives took home massive bonuses.

Now, during the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis, America's billionaires have seen their wealth soar by $434 billion. How? Their corporations lobbied for and got $500 billion in bailouts and they got $135 billion in tax breaks. And the Treasury Department and the Fed are erasing the corporate debt they amassed over the last few years so their corporations could buy back their shares of stock. Meanwhile, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Walmart, and other corporate giants are using their vast market power to rack up record profits.

The corporate looting doesn't stop there. Just look at the epidemic of wage theft through misclassifying employees as independent contractors and denying workers the overtime pay they are due. Every year, American employers steal a combined $15 billion in income from their workers, whether white, black or brown.

The most profitable corporations in America are also looting America of billions in taxes through loopholes, write-offs, and special exemptions they've successfully lobbied for. Amazon paid just a 1.2 percent tax rate on $13 billion in profit in 2019. Other companies, including Chevron, Halliburton, and Netflix, haven't paid a dime in federal taxes in recent years. The United States loses nearly $70 billion a year in tax revenue because corporations loot America by shifting their profits to tax havens overseas.

Meanwhile, entire industries loot Black and brown communities. Predatory payday lenders, focusing on communities of color, offer loans with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees that trap borrowers in a never-ending cycle of poverty. The bail bond industry profits from mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs, as does America's prison-industrial complex - keeping over 2 million Americans behind bars, disproportionately black and brown. All these corporations have platoons of lobbyists that keep their looting going.

Here's what Donald Trump and his corporate cronies will never admit: The worst looting in America isn't breaking windows at Target or Wells Fargo. It's billions of dollars in wage theft, unjustifiable tax breaks for the top 1 percent, corporate tax havens, predatory loans, bail bonds, mass incarceration, and crooked Wall Street bankers who have never been accountable to anything but their bottom line.

By pitting us against each other - blaming immigrants, blaming liberals, and especially blaming people of color, and Black people in particular - they've divided us, and gotten away with it.

This needs to end. Stand together, and know the truth about the real looters in America.

(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

George Floyd & Tupac Shakur
Tupac needs a memorial too!
By Jane Stillwater

George Floyd & Tupac Shakur: Tupac needs a memorial too! "A good Christian man." That's the path George Floyd tried to follow in order to somehow (almost) make it through the intricate labyrinth of being Black in America -- an endless and hopeless labyrinth, brutally perfected by 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow and racial discrimination. Always being forced to the bottom of American society no matter where or what.

"Thug Life". That's the path Tupac Shakur tried to follow in order to somehow (almost) make it through the intricate labyrinth of being Black in America -- an endless and hopeless labyrinth, brutally perfected by 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow and racial discrimination. Always being at the bottom of American society no matter what.

Both men did what they could to survive a life where the deck was audaciously stacked against them from birth. Survival. A hard taskmaster, the dominant overseer threatening Black men day and night for the past 400 years.

This constant struggle has gotta be wearing on the soul, right? Always on the outside, never good enough, never quite fitting in. Always in danger too, never quite safe. In this way, George Floyd and Tupac Shakur were very much alike.

However. Here in Las Vegas, I accidentally stumbled over a very real difference between Tupac and George: 2Pac has no monument, no memorial, not even a mural. Even Freddie Gray has a mural.

On the corner of Flamingo Blvd. and Korval Street, Tupac was brutally murdered 24 years ago. Case never solved.

And also on the corner of Flamingo Blvd. and Korvel Street, there is a stark gray utility pole near the spot where Tupac was ruthlessly gunned down. And on this barren utility pole, standing dismally in the hot sun on some deserted street-corner barely three blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip itself, almost a quarter of a century after Shakur's death, people are still writing touching epitaphs with black marker pens onto its stark gray paint. "We love you 2Pac" and "Welcome to the Thug Mansion in the sky."

People all over America still remember 2Pac Shakur.

And yet every couple of months, Bally's Hotel, presumptive owner of the property where this gray utility pole is located, sends out a maintenance crew to sweep away all the cards, tokens and flowers -- and to re-paint the pole.

That's just not right.

Bally's (and the City of Las Vegas as well) needs to make a better choice here. Even our Tupac needs a memorial. Why? Because he too did what he could to (almost) survive being Black in America today. And he did a memorable job of it too!

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Kelly ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Susan Collins

Susan Collins Puts Bolton Book In Amazon Cart But Remains Undecided About Placing Order
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Senator Susan Collins has put John Bolton's new book in her Amazon cart but is undecided about placing an order for it, Collins confirmed on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at the Senate, Collins called the decision to pull the trigger on the Bolton book "one of the most wrenching of my career."

"My computer's cursor has hovered over the 'Place your order' button for hours without clicking on it," she said. "This is not a decision I take lightly."

The Republican senator from Maine indicated that, even if she ultimately decides to buy Bolton's book, she is leaving open the possibility of returning the book to Amazon.

"All options are on the table," she said.

In her most revealing statement, Collins admitted that she has more than three hundred other items in her Amazon cart that she has yet to commit to buying.

Those items include sunglasses, a hand mixer, several pairs of capri pants, and a beekeeping kit.

Collins said that, although she is interested in pursuing beekeeping as a hobby, she is troubled and concerned about the behavior of bees.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 26 (c) 06/26/2020

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