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In This Edition

Norman Solomon remembers, "Not Him... Us: On the Ultimate Meaning Of The Bernie Sanders Campaign."

Ralph Nader studies, "The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump's Resignation."

Glen Ford demands we, "Release The Movement From Democratic Chains."

Jim Hightower tells, "The GOP's Grotesque Plan To Cope With COVID-19."

William Rivers Pitt concludes, "A Bad Day For Trump Is A Good Day For The Country."

John Nichols asks, "Why Won't Democrats Just Come Out For Legalizing Marijuana?"

James Donahue examines, "Slave System Enhanced By World Trade Deals!"

David Swanson says, "The Vow From Hiroshima Should Be From Everywhere."

Thom Hartmann wonders, "Will Americans Reject Trump And The GOP Death Cult This Fall?"

Charles P. Pierce says, "This Was A Straight-Up Mob-Style Transaction."

Juan Cole reports, "Thousands of Israelis Protest, Furious At Netanyahu's Having Provoked 2nd Wave Of Covid By Opening Schools, Businesses In May."

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich examines, "Corporate Hypocrisy On Racism."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "A New Generation Of Protest Holds Great Promise For America."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz, reports "Americans Overwhelmingly Favor Sending Trump Back to School in Fall,"but first Uncle Ernie explores, "Lying Donald's Cult Of Personality."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Luckovich, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Brittany Greeson, DonkeyHotey, Alisdare Hickson, Yasin Ozturkanadolu, Jim Watson, Brendan Smialowski, Bill Clark, Mike Brown, Yuri Gripas, Abaca, Robert Reich, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

The Quotable Quote-
The Vidkun Quisling Award-
The Cartoon Corner-
To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
Parting Shots-

Welcome one and all to "Uncle Ernie's Issues & Alibis."

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Lying Donald's Cult Of Personality
By Ernest Stewart

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your own god's name
I'm every person you need to be
Oh, I'm the cult of personality
Cult of Personality ~~~ Living Colour

"We can make more accurate predictions about the climate than about the weather. The physics behind it is solid as a rock."~~~ Anders Levermann

"Damn the coronavirus, full speed ahead!"~~~ Betsy Devos

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

I was watching Lying Donald lie on tv the other night when these words from Living Colour's "Cult Of Personality" suddenly went through my mind...

"I sell the things you need to be, I'm the smiling face on your T.V. I'm the cult of personality. I exploit you, still you love me... Are you too having a deja vu? That's the trouble of being a hard rock dj for thirty years, certain scenes, or words, trigger music flash backs! Yes, I'm still waiting on my free LSD flashback that Spiro Agnew promised me 50 years ago! What up Spiro?

I see that Lying Donald has surpassed telling 20,000 lies since January 2017. Even for "fogging bottom" that must be some kind of record! Of course, a quarter of those lies, must be lies he told, to try and cover up other lies he's told his cult, and America. Just the lies that he got called on.

I get it, Lying Donald suporters are dumb, (How dumb are they Johnny?) too dumb to wear a simple face mask and gloves then head off to covid-19 parties dumb. Dumb enough to join Lying Donald in an inclosed space packed wall to wall with screaming, shouting, spitting covid-19 carriers, that's how dumb. Is that dumb enough for your ass?

See also Thom Hartmann's article on Lying Donald's death cult. Yes, it's truth, America, great minds think alike!

In Other News

I see where the United Nations says the world could hit 1.5-degree warming threshold by 2024. The U.N.'s weather agency says the world could see average global temperatures rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 Fahrenheit above the pre-industrial average for the first time in the coming five years. The World Meteorological Organization said "...forecasts suggest there's a 20% chance that global temperatures will be 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) higher than the pre-industrial average in at least one year between 2020 and 2024."

The 1.5 C mark is the level countries agreed to cap global warming at in the 2015 Paris accord. While a new annual high might be followed by several years with lower average temperatures, breaking that threshold would be seen as further evidence that international efforts to curb climate change aren't working. My guess is once it's hits 1.5 C it just keeps on rising!

"It shows how close we're getting to what the Paris Agreement is trying to prevent," said Maxx Dilley, director of climate services at the World Meteorological Organization.

Dilley said it's not impossible that countries will manage to achieve the target set in Paris, of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 C, by the end of the century.

"But any delay just diminishes the window within which there will still be time to reverse these trends and to bring the temperature back down into those limits," he said.

Scientists say average temperatures around the world are already at least 1 C higher now than from 1850-1900 because of man-made greenhouse emissions.

The Geneva-based WMO said "...there's a 70% chance that the 1.5-degree mark will be exceeded in a single month between 2020 and 2024. The five-year period is expected to see annual average temperatures that are 0.91 C to 1.59 C higher than pre-industrial averages," it said.

The forecast is contained in an annual climate outlook based on several long-term computer models compiled under the leadership of the United Kingdom's Met Office.

Don't you worry, America, because Lying Donald has said it's all just a Chinese plot! So, whatever you do, don't believe your lying eyes!

And Finally

I see where Lying Donald has been pulling Betsy Devos puppet strings and making her dance for the cameras. Her latest song and dance is Lying Donald's speil that the kids must go back to the class rooms come hell or high water! Here's a quote...

"Kids need to be back in school, and school leaders across the country need to be making plans to do just that. There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall. And where there are little flare-ups or hotspots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis."

Sure some children and their teachers may catch coronavirus, and spread it around their families and schools a few hundreds or thousands may die from it, but this all makes der Fuhrer look good, if only in his mind.

Mostly, for the last three years, she has been trying to destroy public education and replace it with pay to play for those who can pay, but now, she ups the ante with death sentences for children on top of everything else!

If I were the "Red Queen" you know what I'd say, but I'm not, so I won't! Oh, what the hell, "Off with her head!"

Ergo, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos 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!


06-12-1987 ~ 07-08-2020
Thanks for the music!

02-13-1949 ~ 07-12-2020
Thanks for the music!

10-13-1962 ~ 07-12-2020
Thanks for the films!

10-23-1970 ~ 07-13-2020
Thanks for the entertainment!

03-19-1937 ~ 07-15-2020
Thanks for the film!

05-11-1930 ~ 07-15-2020
Thanks for the photos!


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.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses supporters during a
campaign rally on March 8, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sanders covered his policy
agendas for immigration, women's rights, healthcare and economic inequality.

Not Him... Us: On the Ultimate Meaning Of The Bernie Sanders Campaign
While Sanders continues to be the preeminent and most effective progressive voice in the country, the future-now that his presidential hopes are over-is truly up to us.
By Norman Solomon

"Eugene V. Debs is Bernie Sanders' political hero," the Washington Post reported with evident distaste while the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination was raging in early 2016. "A picture of the socialist union organizer hung in city hall when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. A plaque honoring Debs is now by the window in Sanders' Senate office."

Now, as Bernie's last presidential campaign fades into history, it's appropriate to consider this statement from Eugene Debs, whose dedication to the working class was matched by his eloquence and courage: "I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out."

Millions of Americans, inspired and energized by the Bernie 2020 campaign, certainly do not want to stay right where they are, in the midst of the capitalist wilderness surrounding us-menacing and deadly with the climate emergency, the unchecked pandemic, vast income inequality, structural racism and so many other terrible ills. There's no Moses in sight, nor should there be.

To say that Bernie's role in progressive movements will diminish in the months and years ahead is to take nothing away from his profound importance in the past and present. During a PBS NewsHour interview a couple of nights ago, he was as cogent and strategic as ever, emphasizing that to defeat Trump "there has to be energy and excitement among younger people, among working-class people, among people who very often do not vote." Overall, Bernie Sanders continues to be the preeminent and most effective progressive voice in the country.

And yet the pathbreaking brilliance of his 2020 campaign has been followed by confusing and somewhat dispiriting choices that he has made since announcing the "suspension" of his campaign on April 8. The last hundred days have been marred by a backtrack on his pledge that day to "continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions." Actually, Bernie and his campaign did almost nothing to gain further delegates in subsequent primaries.

Those of us who regret some of Bernie's tactical decisions during the last three months would do well to recall Eugene Debs' words about why he was not seeking to "lead you into the promised land." And now, Bernie Sanders' campaign slogan is more to the point than ever: "Not me. Us."

Both of the Sanders presidential campaigns were historic breakthroughs for challenging the moral rot of oligarchy in the United States and for pushing real class analysis into mainstream discourse. The campaigns grew out of-and, crucially, helped grow-grassroots movements fighting to transform institutions that are structurally racist, sexist, militaristic and environmentally destructive while serving corporate power and wealthy elites.

The future is up to us.

(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."

A woman holds a sign at an anti-Trump protest in London in 2018.

The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump's Resignation
"It is our obligation as citizens to organize and demand Trump's resignation and focus millions of voters on turning out the Trumpsters and their four-year Dark Age that is wrecking America."
By Ralph Nader

Today's New York Times headline boldly exclaimed, "PRESIDENT IS 'NOT ABOVE THE LAW,' JUSTICES DECIDE."But then the Supreme Court majority found a way not to apply the law to Trump's defiance of Congress.

Didn't this question get decided in 1776 and more formally in 1787 by our Founders?

In obtaining information for overseeing the Executive Branch, the plenary power of Congress neither needs affirmation by the courts nor can tolerate years of judicial delays. It is time for the illogical Justices, who find few limits to vast Presidential powers either domestically or in pursuit of undeclared wars of Empire, to stop shredding Congress's constitutional authority.

The very conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, addressed the futility of Congress employing the courts to obtain information by subpoena for legislation, for example, strengthening the President's financial disclosure obligations. The maximum congressional strategy for securing presidential documents is through the use of its impeachment authority, he wrote.

An article of impeachment was voted against President Nixon in 1974 for defying a congressional subpoena that was not validated by a court. Trump has defied scores of subpoenas, dozens of formal Congressional demands for information and testimony by Executive Branch officials. Yet, apart from the Ukraine impeachment in December 2019 by the Democratic House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kept eleven other serious ongoing impeachable offenses by Trump and his lawless regime on the shelf. You can read these impeachable offenses compiled by constitutional law experts, Bruce Fein, Louis Fisher, and me, and presented by Congressman John Larson (D-CT) in the December 18, 2019, Congressional Record H-12197.

Absent a robust defense of our democracy by the Supreme Court or Congress, the citizenry must mobilize a mass demand for Trump's resignation - for all of America's sake. Whether the case is made for the rule of law or against disastrous, dangerous, and delusionary policies from Trump's Wall Street over Main Street White House, the support should be treated as non-partisan and as the essence of patriotism.

On June 5, 2020, the Portland (Maine) Press Herald called for Trump to resign, urging Trump to ask himself - "Can the country take five more months like the last five?" The editorial asserted that "your shortcomings are unleashing historic levels of suffering on the American people."

When this staid newspaper took this position, it did not evaluate the prospect of success. That is not its responsibility. Nor should any such prejudgment of Trump's rejection of resignation inhibit hundreds of Congressional lawmakers, civic group leaders, columnists, and editorial writers, who have made the overwhelming case against corrupt Donald Trump in great documented detail. But, unfortunately, most of these people have failed to reach the obvious conclusion from their convictions.

The case for Trump's resignation should never be withheld by weighing the odds of that happening. The demand itself is the necessity of our times. Here are some reasons:

1. Trump's ignorance and ego-driven bungling and obstructions of professional scientific management of the Covid-19 pandemic occur daily and often in open sight. After weeks of delay fatal to tens of thousands of Americans, his continuing abandonment of presidential leadership in assuring supplies, facilities and critical coordination for the states warrant removal of this flailing, failing, careening so-called chief executive. America cannot wait to stop the irreparable destruction that will occur from now until January 20, 2021.

2. The mass resignation demand highlights in an organized way the case for Trump's removal (supported by 60% of women in a November 26, 2019, CNN poll) that Congress possesses and has failed to pursue in both the House and Senate.

No one so guilty of violating the basic laws of our land, so corruptly selling our government to giant corporations while asking CEOs for campaign contributions should disgrace our White House any longer. Trump's increasingly shrill bigotry, pressing for selective voter intimidation and suppression, and incitements to violence illustrates what Alexander Hamilton meant by citing the "abuse of the public trust" as an impeachable offense.

3. The widespread discourse and debate pursuant to a mass resignation demand will highlight the specifics of Trump's damage to our country. He arbitrarily declares another "economic emergency"so as to make corporate crimes worse by literally stopping enforcement of consumer, worker, environmental and economic protections. Big corporations over people again.

The resignation demand highlights his abuses against women over the years, his regime's leaving young people defenseless against rapacious commercial universities and student loan exploiters, his support for freezing a $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage and other anti-worker slams that are all under-reported.

4. Because Trump doubles down on his many outrageous refusals to "faithfully execute the laws," spending monies not appropriated by Congress, pursuing nine wars undeclared by Congress, giving his cronies lucrative government contracts, all the while daily distracting with his new-cycle-dominating foul-mouth tweets and personal attacks, the media has become jaded to the larger questions of why this madman is still in the Oval Office.

The reliance on the election in November afflicts many civic groups from pressing for Trump's eviction now. "Me Too"activists still go after powerful misogynists but have given up on the 800-pound elephant in the room - Trump. Other citizen advocacy organizations cite their condemnatory reports, their press releases, and their lawsuits against Trump. The failed gambling czar laughs at all this, even when the media reports on these meritorious efforts.

Trump will get away with everything until January 20, 2021, unless he is removed from office, whether by impeachment and conviction, or a massive public resignation demand that sinks his poll numbers, leading him to quit because he can't stand losing the election.

5. Trump himself will nourish community-level resignation demands by his increasing interference with the rights of voters, leading the GOP to daily clashes with election officials, civil rights groups, and the people's notions of fair play.

Already underway in GOP controlled states are pernicious efforts to obstruct voter registration such as the closing of precincts in minority areas, purging of certain voters, and crazed harassment of low-income voters, such as requiring notarized mail-in votes or launching inappropriate challenges of signatures. There are neither prosecutors nor judges who can stop these and other dictatorial ravages in time for November 3, 2020.

With Trump still in office, prepare for an embroiling election crisis, as he unleashes street violence and harassing lawsuits before favorable judges citing the results as "rigged,"a "hoax,"and "stolen,"no matter his margin of defeat. With the pandemic of Covid-19 still taking casualties, why not try to get him out of the office and in the process inform and arouse the public? Genuine conservatives and current and retired military people are seething against Trump acting in their name and taking them for granted. They are ready to join the effort to protect our democracy and the rule of law.

The history of the Democratic Party, losing repeatedly to the worst Republican Party ever at the national and state levels, is not propitious for the coming months. Are Democratic operatives up to either a pre- or post-election day Trump and his unscrupulous GOP fanatics? The stakes are too high to rely on the Democrats.

It is our obligation as citizens to organize and demand Trump's resignation and focus millions of voters on turning out the Trumpsters and their four-year Dark Age that is wrecking America.

(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).

Release The Movement From Democratic Chains
By Glen Ford

An existential political crisis for the racial capitalist order will only happen when the left puts forward a viable political alternative.

The Covid-19 epidemic proved beyond all rational doubt that decades of bipartisan privatization and austerity had destroyed the U.S. "public" health care system, rendering the nation structurally incapable of coping with the viral onslaught. The late and geographically uneven lockdown succeeded only in creating Great Depression levels of unemployment without halting the spread of the disease, which has now devoured over 133,000 lives, with Blacks and Native Americans succumbing at five times the rate of whites, and Hispanic Americans dying at four times the frequency of whites. While home to only four percent of the Earth's population, the United States accounts for 25 percent of the global coronavirus death toll - a proportion that precisely matches the U.S. share of the global prison population, with the result that U.S. prisons, packed with Black, red and brown inmates, are by far the biggest Covid-19 hotspots on the planet.

The nation that claims exceptional national - imperial! -- rights and privileges is exceptionally sick, gasping for air but still issuing threats and sanctions against much of the rest of humanity. The raging U.S. health and economic crises are vastly exacerbated by the ruling class's four years-long, self-inflicted crisis of legitimacy, with one faction of the corporate oligarchy raving endlessly that the sitting U.S. president is a dupe of a foreign power. On top of that imagined illegitimacy, is the real failure of U.S. rulers to protect the population from a contagious disease that killed less than 5,000 people in China, its country of origin with a population of 1.4 billion, and which is abating in all the developed nations of the world. A state that cannot safeguard the lives of its citizens has failed a basic test of legitimacy.

In that sense, the U.S. state has never been legitimate for Black America. This chronic, historical condition became acute with the very public murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops on May 25. The monthlong outpouring of mass rage spread to every state and U.S. territorial possession and sparked demonstrations around the world in solidarity with U.S. Blacks.

The scale of protest rivaled the tumultuous Sixties, but most remarkable was the scope of the public political transformation. "Black Lives Matter," the premier slogan and movement of Black militancy, was at the center of what the New York Times called "the largest movement in the country's history." Even more amazingly, a Pew Research poll showed that two-thirds of Americans supported "the Black Lives Matter movement" and other polls confirmed that slim majorities of whites now believe that police are "generally more likely to treat black people unfairly than to mistreat white people." For the first time in U.S. polling history, whites recognized that cops, the coercive forces of the state, systemically mistreat Black people.

In the US of A, where the Warrior Cop was invented to suppress, contain and mass incarcerate Black, brown and red people, that qualifies as a public perception sea change. However, these combined and overlapping crises - economic, public health, political legitimacy, and criminal justice - do not amount to an existential political crisis for the racial capitalist order, because there does not yet exist a viable political alternative. The corporate duopoly still rules, no matter how many people go to the polls in November, and no matter what happens in the interim in the streets.

Racial capitalism has undergone many crises, in the U.S. and globally, and outlived them. As a political economy, it is in its late stage, moribund and incapable of reversing its accelerating decline. But its ruling classes - even when catastrophically split and behaving self-destructively, as has been the case for the past four years - are not the least bit threatened with loss of power, much less their heads. Indeed, no significant social forces are even proposing to nationalize the banks, or to socialize any significant sectors of the economy. And even much of "Black Lives Matter" (the actual organization, with 14 chapters in the U.S.) has failed to actively support community control of the police, the only proposal that puts popular security in the hands of the people, not the agents of white supremacy and the corporate duopoly. That's how we make the streets of our communities safe for organizing.

There is no political crisis for the ruling order, unless ending that rule is on the agenda of significant social forces. Yet Black people, the (now recognized) leading edge of the current upheaval and the most left-leaning, peace-loving, socialist-minded constituency in the nation, remain locked in the lethal embrace of the corporate duopoly through the Democratic Party, which is hegemonic in Black America.

Three-quarters of the 50 Black full-voting members of the U.S. House ought to be on Black Lives Matters' shit list (the organization's and the wider movement's) as Class A Enemies of the People, based on their votes for the 2018 legislation that made cops a protected class and assault on police a federal hate crime. Black Democrats have for nearly half a century been the hands-on managers of mass Black incarceration, gentrification and austerity in Black America. They don't give a damn about Africa, including the slaughter of six million Congolese at the hands of U.S. client regimes - the worst genocide since World War Two. They stand (or kneel) with Nancy Pelosi, who keeps the nation and world safe for the oligarchy.

Joe Biden is a proud architect of mass Black incarceration, a friend and ally of segregationist politicians, and a warmonger of the lowest type who has promised to veto Medicare for All. No one in Congress is more loyal to the corporate class. But Angela Davis, an icon of the movement for prison abolition who also supports community control of the police, endorsed Biden. "I don't see this election as being about choosing a candidate who will be able to lead us in the right direction," said professor emeritus Davis. "It will be about choosing a candidate who can be most effectively pressured into allowing more space for the evolving anti-racist movement."

Davis' endorsement of the Democrat is consistent with Communist Party USA politics over the decades, even when they ran their own candidates for president and vice president. (Davis occupied the party's VP slot in 1980 and '84.) Back in 2012, Davis endorsed Barack Obama for a second term, shortly after the First Black President destroyed Libya, invaded much of the rest of Africa, made common cause with al Qaida in Syria and was busy attempting to reach a "grand bargain" with the Republicans on austerity. Davis told a conference on "empowering women of color" that Obama "identifies with the Black radical tradition" - a nonsensical statement that artificially grafted Obama into "a place he not only does not belong, but most profoundly does not want to be," as I wrote at the time.

This time around Davis puts political lipstick on the rightwing pig, Biden, who she says "is far more likely to take mass demands seriously" than President Trump. What does that mean? Biden had already rejected defunding of police - Black Lives Matter's top demand. But Biden and the rest of the corporate Democrats do take Black demands seriously. It is their job, not white Republicans like Trump, to listen to the demands of the party's most loyal constituency -- and then gut them. Davis and other radicals that endorse corporate Democrats legitimize the charade, and thus are far more useful to the Democrats than the Democrats are useful to the movement.

In Black America, radical politics has always been quite popular, and not just with the youth. The job of Black Democrats' is to make radical politics appear idealistic but impractical, It's alright to shout righteous demands in the street, but serious politics must be vetted by the Democrats to be acceptable. The truth is that transforming the police from defenders of capital and white privilege to facilitators of the Black community's security needs will only happen when the rulers conclude that it is more costly to reject our demands than to accept them.

We must not wait on capitalist crises to further devastate our communities. Rather, the movement must create a political crisis for the ruling oligarchy by agitating to actually end their rule.

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

The GOP's Grotesque Plan To Cope With COVID-19
By Jim Hightower

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease is presently raging anew because corporate-serving public officials rushed to "open the economy," causing more infections and deaths.

So, gosh, what to do now? Of course, let's take away the healthcare coverage of some 23 million Americans!

Backed by Trump & Company, that's the brilliant healthcare priority being pushed by top Republican officials in 18 states. Led by Greg Abbott, the mingy governor of Texas, these GOP controlled states have chosen in our time of national health crisis to run to the Supreme Court, asking its Republican majority to strike down Obamacare. If they get their way, millions of families would lose their health coverage, and insurance giants (which are major campaign donors to Abbott and other GOP officials who're pushing the court action) would again be able to restrict coverage that millions of others now have.

It's perverse that any other governor would follow Abbott's lead, for he presides over a healthcare disaster in Texas. It has America's highest number of uninsured people (including a record number of unprotected children), killing Obamacare would add another million Texans to the 18 percent who're already uncovered. Plus, it would then not be there for some three million other Texans expected to lose their job-based insurance policies in today's growing pandemic recession.

The healthcare nightmare pushed by the Texas governor has been called "moral insanity."So naturally, Donald Trump rushed to embrace it! He recently directed his attorney general to back Abbott's effort to pressure the high court to scrap Obamacare.

This is Jim Hightower saying... However, this intentionally-cruel right-wing political maneuver is so unpopular - especially today - that there was no trumpeting of the legal filing by the White House. Instead, it was tiptoed over to the court at 10:30 on a Thursday night - hoping you and I wouldn't notice.

(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

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House on June 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

A Bad Day For Trump Is A Good Day For The Country
By William Rivers Pitt

If you were hoping to see Donald Trump's financial records before the 2020 election, today was not your day. If you were hoping to go to bed tonight in a nation with a president and not a sovereign, sleep tight, because you won.

In two Supreme Court decisions freighted with the potential for generational impact - Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars - a 7-2 majority remanded both cases back to the lower courts for further review while delivering a slashing rebuke to a president who would put himself outside the scope of oversight and the constitutional separation of powers.

Specifically in Vance, the court resoundingly affirmed that the president of the United States is not above the law. "Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,"Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. "We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need."

The Vance ruling concluded by returning the case to the lower courts, because after having settled the issue of absolute immunity, the majority held that Trump still has the right to redress the other proffered arguments. "The arguments presented here and in the Court of Appeals were limited to absolute immunity and heightened need," wrote Roberts. "The Court of Appeals, however, has directed that the case be returned to the District Court, where the President may raise further arguments as appropriate."

District Attorney of New York County Cyrus Vance Jr. stands a very strong chance of prevailing in the upcoming lower court arguments for his case. "This is a tremendous victory for our nation's system of justice and its founding principle that no one - not even a president - is above the law," said Vance in a statement. "Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury's solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead."

The Mazars ruling was another disappointing decision for those seeking to make Trump's financial records public before the presidential election. Certainly, Democratic House members were hoping for a different outcome. That being said, the Mazars ruling was not a death blow to the efforts toward obtaining those documents - the Supreme Court justices punted it back to the lower courts because, they argued, the serious issues of separation of powers deserve more scrutiny before an ultimate ruling.

"Congressional subpoenas for information from the President, however, implicate special concerns regarding the separation of powers," reads the majority decision. "The courts below did not take adequate account of those concerns. The judgments of the Courts of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit and the Second Circuit are vacated, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

More importantly, however, the justices could have ruled that the president does not have to heed congressional subpoenas or endure congressional oversight. The court did not do so, and that terrible possibility did not come to pass. Between Vance and Mazars, the court was clear: The separation of powers stands, and Donald Trump is not a king.

Attorney General Vance has been seeking financial documents from the Trump Organization to determine if that organization falsified business records to cover up hush money to two women whom Trump reportedly had affairs with. Congress wanted Trump's tax records because providing tax records is what presidents have done for decades, and House investigators want to know who may be pulling Trump's financial strings, perhaps in ways that damage national security.

Vance won, while Congress has suffered a setback but remains in the fight if it chooses to pursue it. As the tax documents will not be provided to House committees before the election per the Mazars ruling, it remains to be seen if they will maintain this effort absent its hoped-for political impact. House Speaker Pelosi certainly sounded like the issue is not settled. "We have a path that the Supreme Court has laid out that we will certainly not ignore," she said on Thursday, "and we will never stop our oversight."

Trump allies fanned out saying this is a great day for the White House. You wouldn't know it from Trump's Twitter feed. The president, for lack of a better description, is volcanically pissed.

We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAUGHT...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear....

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020

Courts in the past have given "broad deference". BUT NOT ME!

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020

The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020

Adding insult to injury, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh - each Trump appointees he fought hard for - sided with Roberts and the majority in both cases. That has to burn.

This day could have been much worse for Trump, who has fought like a cornered wolverine for years to keep these tax documents secret. The massive review of Trump's older family financial records released by The New York Times in 2018 tell a fair portion of the utterly corrupt tale, but more recent data has remained beyond the public's reach, and remains so today.

The fact that his records will in all likelihood fall into the hands of a New York grand jury is not welcome news for Trump. However, he avoided the fate of Richard Nixon, who lost unanimously before the high court in trying to keep the Watergate tapes secret, and was soon forced to resign.

Conversely, this day could have been utterly calamitous for the nation and its constitutional framework. Had the high court accepted Trump's broad claims of immunity in either Vance or Mazars, the office of the president would have been placed forever above the reach of law or oversight, and the republic itself would have crumbled before dinner.

Put this day at court in the bank and call it a win, though not a complete one. Still, anything that infuriates Trump like this has to be a good thing.

(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.

Why Won't Democrats Just Come Out For Legalizing Marijuana?
It's popular. It's the right thing to do. But as with so many key issues, Biden keeps pressuring the party to pull its punches.
By John Nichols

Some political issues are hard to wrestle with. Some are easy. Legalizing marijuana is easy.

A Pew Research Center survey found last fall that Americans back legalization by a 67-32 margin. The numbers spike among Democrats, 78 percent of whom favor ending this form of prohibition. But there's also majority support-55 percent-among Republicans. Among voters under age 30, support for legalization is sky-high.

Enthusiasm for legalization extends far beyond the large number of Americans who are recreational users of marijuana to include millions of people who recognize, as does the American Civil Liberties Union, that "Marijuana Legalization Is a Racial Justice Issue."

"Marijuana has been a key driver of mass criminalization in this country and hundreds of thousands of people, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx, have their lives impacted by a marijuana arrest each year," ACLU policy analyst Charlotte Resing explained last year, while Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign argued, "Legalizing marijuana is about more than just allowing recreational use, or the potential medicinal benefit, or the money that can be made from this new market. It's about undoing a century of racist policy that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino communities. It's about rebuilding the communities that have suffered the most harm."

See, easy.

Except for the Democratic Party. When the party's task force on criminal justice reform released its policy recommendations this week, legalization was off the agenda. That was just one example of the caution that permeates the 110-page document submitted to the Democratic National Committee's platform drafters by the six task forces that were set up in May by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his chief rival for the party's nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The task force recommendations on issues ranging from health care and the environment to immigration and economics tend toward compromise at a point when the former vice president should be presenting a dynamic vision of what comes next.

The agendas outlined by the commissions were far more progressive than those of President Trump and the Republicans, of course. And there were a number of areas where the policies are more progressive than those adopted by Democrats in the past, leading Sanders to suggest that "the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country." But as a Politico analysis points out, "The task force recommendations don't include the kind of wide-scale systemic upheaval that won Sanders such a fervent following in his two presidential campaigns-while provoking an outcry from moderate Democrats and Republicans alike."

Biden's representatives on the task forces moved a bit to the left, mirroring their candidate's progression. But on issue after issue, they avoided the sort of big, bold structural change that Sanders and Warren championed in the primaries-and that now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, mass unemployment, and demands for racial justice, polling suggests voters recognize as necessary.

There's the old talk of a "public option"to expand access to health care coverage. But no plan for the Medicare for All approach that is needed to create a single-payer system.

There's some good language about eliminating power plant carbon pollution by 2035 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But there's no comprehensive Green New Deal proposal to transform the economy in order to address the climate crisis while creating the jobs of the future.

There's criticism of mass incarceration and a good proposal to restrict federal funding for states that maintain cash bail systems. But there's no plan to abolish the scandal-plagued Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or to defund the police with an eye toward establishing new law enforcement models that strive for public safety and justice. Even as demonstrations against police brutality have filled the streets of American cities, the criminal justice task force fails to eliminate the doctrine of qualified immunity, which, Representative Ayanna Pressley explains, "shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country. It's past time to end qualified immunity." While the commission's report called for steps to limit the worst abuses, it failed to embrace the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act-a measure that eliminates qualified immunity, which has passed the House-or Pressley's Ending Qualified Immunity Act, legislation that has attracted the support not just of progressives but of libertarian-leaning former Republican, now independent, Representative Justin Amash.

Color of Change senior director of criminal justice campaigns Scott Roberts told Politico that Biden "still seems to embrace kind of a law-and-order lite." That was certainly the case when it came to upending marijuana laws.

The commission rejected legalization-the popular position backed by Sanders. Instead, it stuck to the more cautious approach that's been maintained by Biden, a supporter of the drug war during his own Senate years who has softened some but not all of his old positions. Instead of legalization, the commission proposed to "decriminalize marijuana use,"reschedule cannabis on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and leave it to the states to decide about legalization.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws concluded that the proposal "is out of step with public opinion [and] would do little to mitigate the failed policy of federal prohibition."

"It is impractical at best and disingenuous at worst for the Biden campaign to move ahead with these policy proposals. Rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act would continue to make the federal government the primary dictators of cannabis policy, and would do little if anything to address its criminal status under federal law,"explained Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. "Rescheduling marijuana is intellectually dishonest. Just as cannabis does not meet the strict criteria of a Schedule I controlled substance, it similarly does not meet the specific criteria that define substances categorized in schedules II through V."

Why didn't the commission simply endorse the Marijuana Justice Act, which has been introduced by New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker in the Senate and House Democrats Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna? Sanders supports the measure, as do two of Biden's vice presidential prospects, Warren and Senator Kamala Harris. The answer is that Biden has a long history of opposing legalization-going so far in his resistance to the idea that, last year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that the former vice president was employing "Reagan-era talking points."

(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.

Slave System Enhanced By World Trade Deals
By James Donahue

There was a time during the early period of the industrial revolution when most operating factories were sweat shops where people of all ages, even children, slaved for 12-hour days for low wages in extreme heat and unhealthy environments.

It took a century or more of worker rebellion, sit-down strikes, violent clashes with police and other events before workers in the United States won the right to collectively bargain for improved working conditions, better wages, paid vacations, paid health insurance and in doing so, create what has become known as the American middle class.

The first major hurtle was crossed in June, 1938, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Fair Standards Act. The act affected plants with a combined employment of only about one-fifth of the nation's labor force but it was a start. It banned oppressive child labor and set a minimum hourly wage at 25 cents. The maximum work week was set at 44 hours.

It seems incredible today to realize that blood was spilled by a lot of American workers to get a meager law like that on the books. It was fought by industry, by the judicial system and by members of congress who, even then, were obviously in the pockets of the nation's industrialists. It was said that Roosevelt waited until Congress adjourned for a summer break before signing the act into law just to avoid the chance of pocket vetoes designed to weaken the bill.

World War II brought a lot of changes to the nation's industrial system. While the men went off to war, the women took their places on the assembly lines. Instead of manufacturing automobiles, trucks and garments for fashion, they made tanks, jeeps, bombers, naval ships, bombs, bullets and military clothing. By the end of the war the United States emerged as the most powerful nation in the world and the nation's labor unions were in power to force better and better contract agreements for workers. It was a brief time of prosperity for everyone in the country.

Those were the years when the things manufactured in the United States were shielded from competition by overseas companies by tariffs, or taxes that raised the cost of the product to keep American made products, produced in union shops, competitive with foreign non-union made products.

But talks were underway even then to work out international trade agreements so that goods could be moved between nations without tariffs. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed by several nations in 1946 and it remained the main force until 1995 when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created.

When the United States signed a special free trade agreement with Israel in 1985, it received little media attention. But when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico followed in 1994, there was public alarm. The labor leaders claimed it would break the back of American industry. Supporters of NAFTA argued that the agreement opened the door for even more and better business opportunities for everybody.

Since NAFTA the United States has been busy signing free trade agreements with Jordan, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, the Central American nations, Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Even more are in the works.

The effect has been a disastrous strike against established labor agreements in the United States. American factories were quick to move plants to Mexico, Indonesia, India, China and anyplace where there existed a vast supply of workers glad to have the opportunity to work in the American sweat shops for meager wages and without the protection of labor contracts.

While the political issue in the United States has been the loss of jobs, and the vast unemployment rolls that are now drawing heavily on federal assistance programs, established after the Great Depression, Americans are benefiting from a supply of inexpensive imported products being sold in chain stores everywhere.

It is the old war between the corporations and workers over money, but now expanded to a global scale.

There is irony in all of this. The workers in China, Indonesia, India and Mexico began using the money they earned to buy the products they were making, which included the new I-pads, desktop computers and other communication devices. They quickly joined the world conversation via the World Wide Web, and discovered that servitude is not something they must accept without question.

Unlike the surfs who broke their backs laboring for the monarchs and rulers of kingdoms of old, these workers are beginning to rebel. We are hearing stories of mass suicides by Chinese workers at the Foxconn factories that manufacture Apple computer products, workers walking off their jobs at Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants in Kathmandu, labor unrest in an automobile plant in India and strikes by workers at a clothing manufacturing plant in Bangladesh.

The power figures are beginning to resist the growing resistance. In Johannesburg, South Africa, police recently shot into a mob of striking platinum mine workers, leaving more than 30 miners dead. And workers at a General Motors plant in Colombia have sewn their mouths shut in a hunger strike to protest backbreaking labor conditions.

It looks like a repeat of history, only instead of taking a few centuries this new labor movement is operating at high speed. The belief by some anthropologists that the human race has evolved to a higher mental and spiritual level appears to be proving itself out. The poor may be willing to grasp at straws at first to climb out of poverty, but once they have a chance, they are totally unwilling to be slaves to the masters.

It is only going to be a matter of a short time before a balance is achieved throughout the world. The end result must be a new one-world system of cooperation and a sharing of the remaining world wealth. The alternative is the annihilation of the human race. No matter how hard they try to convince us otherwise, the power figures of today must fall. It is time for unity and equality for all.

This was the dream Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he penned the Declaration of American Independence. What a shame that so many greedy bastards got in the way of reaching that great goal for all these years.

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

The Vow From Hiroshima Should Be From Everywhere
By David Swanson

The new film, The Vow From Hiroshima, tells the story of Setsuko Thurlow who was a school girl in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the first nuclear bomb. She was pulled out of a building in which 27 of her classmates burned to death. She witnessed the gruesome injuries and agonizing suffering and indecent mass burial of many loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers.

Setsuko was from a well-off family and says she had to work at overcoming her prejudices against the poor, yet she overcame an amazing number of things. Her school was a Christian school, and she credits as influence on her life the advice of a teacher to engage in activism as the way to be Christian. That a predominantly Christian nation had just destroyed her predominantly non-Christian city didn't matter. That Westerners had done it didn't matter either. She fell in love with a Canadian man who lived and worked in Japan.

She also left him temporarily in Japan to attend the University of Lynchburg very close to where I live in Virginia - something I didn't know about her until I watched the film. The horror and trauma she'd been through didn't matter. That she was in a strange land didn't matter. When the United States tested more nuclear weapons on Pacific islands from which it had evicted the residents, Setsuko spoke against it in the Lynchburg media. The hate mail she received didn't matter. When her beloved joined her and they couldn't marry in Virginia because of the racist laws against "intermarriage"that came out of the same racist thinking that had created the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that didn't matter. They got married in Washington, D.C.

That victims of Western wars had and almost entirely still have no voice in Western media and society didn't matter. That anniversaries recognized on Western calendars were and almost entirely still are pro-war, pro-imperial, pro-colonial, or otherwise celebratory of pro-government propaganda didn't matter. Setsuko and others in the same struggle decided to create at least one exception to these rules. Thanks to their work, the anniversaries of the nuclear bombings on August 6th and 9th are memorialized around the world, and antiwar monuments and memorials and parks marking that pair of tragedies exist in a public space still dominated by pro-war temples and statuary.

Setsuko not only found a public voice speaking about the victims of war, but helped build an activist campaign to abolish nuclear weapons that has created a treaty ratified by 39 countries and rising - a campaign focused on educating people about the past victims and potential future victims of war. I recommend joining that campaign, telling the U.S. government to join the treaty, and telling the U.S. government to move money out of nuclear weapons and other components of the war machine. The campaign Setsuko worked with also won a Nobel Peace Prize, marking a departure for the Nobel Committee which had been trending away from giving that prize to anyone working to end war (despite the stipulation in Alfred Nobel's will that it need do just that).

What if we were to take Setsuko's work and accomplishments not as a freak occurrence to be marveled at, but as an example to be replicated? Of course, the nuclear bombings were unique (and they'd better stay that way or we're all going to perish), but there is nothing unique about bombings, or burning buildings, or suffering, or destroyed hospitals, or murdered doctors, or ghastly injuries, or lasting contamination and disease, or even the use of nuclear weapons if we consider depleted uranium weapons. The stories from the firebombed cities of Japan that were not nuked are as heartbreaking as those from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The stories in recent years from Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Congo, Philippines, Mexico, and on and on, are just as moving.

What if U.S. culture - engaged in major transformations at present, ripping down monuments and possibly putting up a few new ones - were to make space for victims of war? If people can learn to listen to the wisdom of a victim of Hiroshima, why are victims of Baghdad and Kabul and Sanaa not speaking at big public events (or Zoom calls) to large groups and institutions across the United States? If 200,000 dead merits attention, shouldn't the 2,000,000 or so from recent wars? If nuclear survivors can begin to be heard these many years later, can we speed up the process of hearing from the survivors of the wars that currently motivate nuclear possession by various governments?

As long as the United States goes on engaging in horrific, one-sided, mass-slaughters of distant people about whom the U.S. public is told little, targeted nations like North Korea and China will not give up nuclear weapons. And as long as they do not - barring a transformational enlightenment within or vastly enlarged courageous opposition without - the United States will not either. Ridding humanity of nuclear weapons is the obvious, most-important, end in itself and first step toward ridding ourselves of war, but it's unlikely to happen unless we move forward on ridding ourselves of the whole institution of war at the same time.

(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.

Donald Trump has no interest in saving American lives. He and his Republican buddies
just want average Americans back at work to make their billionaire friends and donors
even richer, no matter how many workers die in the process.

Will Americans Reject Trump And The GOP Death Cult This Fall?
Will November bring the kind of change necessary to put an end to unnecessary death as a routine way of life in this country?
By Thom Hartmann

The Trump administration is a death cult.

They revel in their efforts to end Obamacare and cut millions of Americans off healthcare.

They celebrate last night's resumption of federal executions.

They enthusiastically authorize the use of formerly banned pesticides that cause cancer and neurological damage to children.

Trump's first official action was to allow coal and oil companies to dump more waste in our rivers, poisoning people downstream.

As children were being slaughtered in classrooms across America, Trump doubled down on supporting the NRA.

As Black people across America continue to be regularly murdered by police, Trump calls those asking for change "terrorists"and "thugs."He refers to Nazis as "very fine people"and has even retweeted calls for "white power."

Over international objections and in violation of U.S. law, the administration is selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to continue bombing civilians in Yemen.

Numerous children have died in U.S. detention facilities, yet they continue to give millions of dollars to Trump's contributor corporations to continue holding these children in deplorable, disgusting conditions.

The Republicans in Congress are fighting all efforts to extend more unemployment relief to American families, further stressing out people in ways that inevitably, history tells us, lead to domestic violence and suicide.

The simple fact is that Donald Trump and the people he has surrounded himself with-like chief racist Steven Miller-appear to love causing other people pain.

Trump even encouraged police to rough up people who have not yet been convicted of a crime, and told his followers that if they injured protesters he would pay their legal expenses.

But the coronavirus is their crowning achievement.

Simply by discouraging people from wearing masks or social distancing and raising doubts about science, Trump and his buddies have caused the deaths of over a hundred thousand Americans, with more dead bodies to come if they continue on this path. Trump goes to states with massive Covid outbreaks and holds indoor rallies, knowing that it will lead to the death of many of the people attending. What is he thinking as he is looking out on his little crowds, knowing that some of those people will be dead in a matter of weeks because of his desperate need for adulation?

Trump refuses to use the Defense Production Act to build up our stockpiles of testing equipment and PPE, making the situation for people in states where the virus is exploding right now a death-dealing crisis.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has spent her lifetime trying to destroy public schooling, is joining with Trump in trying to punish public school teachers and families who send their kids to public school by bringing disease and death into their homes.

And none of this had to happen.

All over the world, country after country have responded to the coronavirus in ways that have defeated it.

New Zealand hasn't had a new case in weeks, and normalcy has largely returned to the island nation.

Taiwan, similarly, has mostly beat the virus and recently had a baseball game with over 10,000 people in attendance.

All over Europe, countries have kept their unemployment rates well below 10% by aggressive government actions, and have beaten the virus through extensive testing and contact tracing as well as mandating masks and social distancing.

Over at the New York Times, Economist Paul Krugman asks a simple question:

"At its most severe, the lockdown seems to have reduced G.D.P. by a little over 10 percent. During World War II, America spent more than 30 percent of G.D.P. on defense, for more than three years. Why couldn't we absorb a much smaller cost for a few months?"
The answer, of course, is that Donald Trump has no interest in saving American lives. He and his Republican buddies just want average Americans back at work to make their billionaire friends and donors even richer, no matter how many workers die in the process.

Trump appears to delight in knowing that because he and his Party have opposed expanding America's social safety net for decades, there's an almost endless supply of poor and low-income people desperate enough for a paycheck that they'll take their lives in their hands to feed their families.

The Trump administration is a death cult. The Republican Party is a death cult.

And Americans and their children are, overwhelmingly, not enthusiastic about dying.

Will November bring the kind of change necessary to put an end to unnecessary death as a routine part of the American way of life?

(c) 2020 Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.

This Was A Straight-Up Mob-Style Transaction
Roger Stone's sentence was commuted because there was a Republican president* in position to do so
By Charles P. Pierce

The commutation of Roger Stone's prison sentence by the president* was sadly predictable on two levels. One of them is obvious, the other, less so. As to the first, Stone was a conduit between Russian ratfckers, WikiLeaks, and the president*'s 2016 campaign. Subsequently, he lied to law enforcement and to Congress, and he attempted to intimidate witnesses to do the same. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for these offenses.

Since his conviction, he has appeared in a number of places, stating flatly that he deserved presidential* relief specifically because he had stonewalled investigators. (Say what you will about Gordon Liddy, but he did his time. Say what you will about Richard Nixon, but he only accepted a misbegotten presidential pardon. He didn't deal any out.) This was a straight-up Mob-style transaction, exactly the same dynamic by which John Gotti came out of prison more powerful than he was before he went in. And even if you believe that, in his sadistic heart, the president* liked dangling the possibilities before Stone, which I do, there was never a doubt about what he'd do in the end.

(And, as to the members of my profession who have spent years treating Stone as a charming rogue instead of the scurvy ratfcker he's always been, examine your consciences very deeply. At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I went to an "event"with Stone sponsored by Politico just to see if it would be as nauseating as I expected it to be. I discovered that I'd low-balled that prediction considerably.)

This outcome was inevitable.

The other level on which this commutation was inevitable is a little bit harder, especially on those refugees from the administrations of both Poppy and W Bush who presently are all over the electric teevee deploring how the president and his personal-injury lawyer, William Barr, are corrupting the Department of Justice. What in god's name did they expect? Barr was behind the strategy by which Poppy pardoned everyone who knew anything about his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal on his way out the door. And, as for the politicization of the DOJ, and Barr's obvious defenestration of every US attorney who might inconvenience the president*, apparently we are all supposed to have forgotten how W's administration fired seven U.S. Attorneys because they wouldn't pursue phony voter-fraud scandals at the behest of the White House political apparatus.

I hate to be That Guy all the time, but the fact remains that Roger Stone worked for that presidential campaign because it was a Republican campaign, albeit one on behalf of an old pal of his. Stone committed his crimes on behalf of that campaign because it was a Republican campaign. And, ultimately, his sentence was commuted because there was a Republican president* in position to do so, and as part of a continued cover-up by an attorney general because Bill Barr is a Republican attorney general. Res ipsa loquitur.

(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-

"I'm just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?"
~~~ Donald Trump

Thousands of Israelis Protest, Furious At Netanyahu's Having Provoked 2nd Wave Of Covid By Opening Schools, Businesses In May
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - A few thousand demonstrators gathered in front of the home of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Balfour St. in Jerusalem on Tuesday, protesting his handling of the novel coronavirus, his handling of the economy, and his personal corruption. They called on him to resign and "to go," recalling the slogans of the Arab Spring that chased Egypt's Hosni Mubarak from office. At some points, some in the crowd attempted to get past the barriers set up by Israeli police. Later on, many protesters formed a procession in Jerusalem streets, closing them.

Reuters: "LIVE: Israelis protest how Prime Minister Netanyahu's government has handled the coronavirus crisis"

Netanyahu is under indictment for corruption but was allowed by the president and the courts to take up another term as prime minister.

Noga Tarnopolski at The Daily Beast reports that Israeli scientists are convinced that the current Covid-19 outbreak in Israel was caused by Netanyahu's haste to reopen the country, especially his decision to send all children back to school in mid-May.

By the beginning of June, hundreds of schools were forced to close back down after students fell ill with Covid-19, as Harvard epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding pointed out with a graph:

Things have gotten worse since then. On Monday alone, 1,962 new cases were confirmed in Israel. The US population of 330 million is 37.5 times bigger than Israel's 8.8 million. So that is the equivalent of 73,575 new America cases in one day. The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases in the US is a bit over 60,000, and the US is a Covid dumpster fire. Israel is proportionally doing even worse than Trump's US.

Health authorities in the Palestinian West Bank are afraid that most of the disease spread there is because of Palestinian workers with jobs in Israel, who are bringing the virus back with them.

The spring shutdowns caused Israeli unemployment to soar, to Depression-era levels of some 28 percent, as well. Since the mid-May opening, unemployment had fallen to 12%, but this weekend it began spiking again and some restaurants and other businesses were forced to close. The far right wing Likud government has presided over the dismantlement of formerly socialist institutions and policies in Israel, pushing the country toward vast inequalities that mirror what has happened in the US since Reagan destroyed the progressive income tax system.

Israel has some of the worst economic inequality in the OECD nations, up there with the US. Even when unemployment was low, many of the jobs were part time or poorly paid. Many Israelis have difficulty affording rent.

With the spike in unemployment this spring, and the likelihood that it will worsen in the coming weeks as the country is forced to go back into shutdown, youth have been hit especially hard. Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who styles himself a defender of the beleaguered Israeli middle class, warned last week that with 800,000 Israelis out of work, there could be social turmoil.

Netanyahu's arrogance and over-confidence has often gotten him into trouble, but he has thus far managed to escape their worst consequences, partly because he is a master at playing on Israeli racism, and partly because of the backing for him of billionaires like corrupt casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. He has never, however, faced a challenge as dire as the novel coronavirus, which does not care if you are a showman, and, indeed, takes advantage of showmanship like the premature opening of schools and the economy.

Does any of this sound familiar to Americans?

(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-

Betsy gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Bildungsminister Devos,

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 constant attempts to destroy public education and now to infect children with coronavirus-19, 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 frau Devos, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Corporate Hypocrisy On Racism
By Robert Reich

Wall Street banks and corporate executives have wasted no time trying to establish themselves as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, professing support for the historic protests against police killings of Black people.

But when you peel back their PR stunts and press releases, the truth comes into focus: far from being the solution to systemic racism in America, these billionaires and their corporations are actively perpetuating it.

Consider Jamie Dimon, billionaire CEO of JPMorgan Chase, who recently took a knee before a lineup of cameras at a branch of his bank. In a statement, Dimon urged his employees to "be inclusive in our work and in the neighborhoods where we operate."

Let's take a look at that inclusivity, shall we? In 2017, the bank paid $55 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against Black and Latino mortgage borrowers - causing some 53,000 borrowers tens of millions of dollars in damages. According to the lawsuit, even when the bank knew about the discrimination, they did nothing to stop it.

When it's not discriminating against its customers, JPMorgan Chase is excluding Black people from its upper echelons of management. Just 4 percent of the bank's top executives are Black, despite years of bragging about increasing diversity. Under Dimon, the bank also agreed to pay $19.5 million in a settlement for racial discrimination against Black employees in 2018.

It's not just Chase. Larry Fink, CEO of the giant investment firm BlackRock, recently wrote a letter to colleagues opining that "These [racist] events are symptoms of a deep and longstanding problem in our society and must be addressed on both a personal and systemic level."

That's rich, considering BlackRock is one of the largest investors in the notorious private prison companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic. If Larry Fink was serious about addressing structural racism, he would stop BlackRock's investment in an industry that disproportionately incarcerates and terrorizes Black and brown men.

It doesn't end there. Wall Street even manages to profit off police brutality. Cities often issue municipal bonds to cover the costs of settlements related to wrongful police shootings, beatings, and imprisonments. These so-called "police brutality bonds" have earned banks and investors more than a billion dollars in profits in recent years. As if this weren't egregious enough, banks - including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America - collect heavy fees on these bonds. Of course, this hasn't stopped them from rolling out empty statements declaring "Black Lives Matter." Hypocrisy isn't limited to Wall Street. Amazon has pledged to fight systemic racism but refuses to provide paid sick-leave to all warehouse and delivery workers, the majority of whom are people of color.

Walmart, the nation's largest corporate employer of Black Americans, recently announced that it would create a center on racial equality, but has overworked and mistreated its Black employees for decades. The company also donates to Republican politicians, including Senator Tom Cotton who openly called for the military to crack down on predominantly Black protestors.

Similarly, AT&T, whose CEO called on companies to speak out against racism, has donated to Senator Rand Paul, who stalled legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime.

Many CEOs also fight against instituting a living wage and universal basic income, two policies that would lift more Black Americans out of economic oppression.

And the very banks plastering Black Lives Matter banners on their websites not only oppose tighter regulations against red-lining, they also have provided $5.5 billion in credit to the payday lending industry. Of course, both redlining and payday lending disproportionately hurt Black and brown communities.

Don't be fooled by glitzy press releases and flashy PR stunts. Wall Street and corporations profit from and reinforce systemic racism in America.

We have the power - as their consumers, clients, and employees - to demand these companies and their CEOs stop their racist practices. It's time they back up their lofty rhetoric with fundamental change.

Raise your voices, and stay vigilant.

(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

Cynthia Bailey pumps her fist outside the National Civil Rights Museum following the
annual Martin Luther King Day march on January 16, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Hundreds
marched from the north end of downtown Memphis in honor of the civil rights leader to
the site where King was assassinated in 1968, which now houses the National Civil Rights Museum

A New Generation Of Protest Holds Great Promise For America
This is a time for anyone with a conscience and a pulse to join this extraordinary movement.
By Jesse Jackson

The inspiring rise of a new generation protesting against racial injustice is driving a new era of change in America, like the generation that emerged 60 years ago to build the civil rights movement of that time.

July 16, 1960 is marked in my memory: that is the day I joined seven other friends to walk into the whites-only Greenville Library, and to be arrested for violating the segregation laws.

That was more than five years after the 1954 Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision that declared "separate but equal"-the lie that justified segregation -a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Yet in Greenville, South Carolina, where I grew up, nothing had changed.

We still lived in a segregated bubble. The public library, the buses, the schools, the pool-all were still segregated. There were no Black police officers, or firemen, no Black elected officials. Even the graveyard was segregated. Our options were limited. For example, graduating from high school, I could not even apply to Furman or to Clemson or to the University of South Carolina. I went to the University of Illinois on a football scholarship.

When I returned from Christmas vacation in 1959, I could not use the public library to do my assignments. The Blacks-only library did not have the book I needed; the white library did, but I could not walk in the door. I vowed that I would not accept that when I came home in the summer.

Protests were beginning to spread, as a young generation decided to burst the bubble of segregation and claim their rights under the Constitution. Students in Nashville and Greensboro and elsewhere were beginning the sit-ins. The July demonstration at the library was a turning point in my life, as demonstrations were for many across the South.

We met with fierce resistance. We were denounced as outside agitators, tarred as socialists or communists, and suffered from violent opposition from private vigilantes and uniformed police officers.

But the movement kept building and would not go back. In 1964, we won the Public Accommodations Act, that declared an end to segregated public facilities. In 1965, we won the Voting Rights Act, propelled in part by the horrible spectacle of the police riot on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Personally, I started working With Dr. King in 1965.

The barriers that we struck down opened the way for a new South. Industries and modern companies like CNN would come to the South. As universities desegregated, so did athletic fields. Professional teams like the Atlanta Braves could be built. African Americans began to win elections at the state, local and national level.

We broke the chains of legal apartheid in the United States and transformed the country. Yet, as we have witnessed time and again, we did not end racism in this country. We did not succeed in breaking the biased institutional structures that still enforce racial injustice -from red-lined neighborhoods to savagely unequal schools to wage and hiring discrimination to a dangerously discriminatory criminal justice system. Dr. King's drive for economic equality as the next stage of the civil rights movement was cut short by his assassination.

Now a new generation is emerging to challenge these injustices. The demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder have been the largest in our history.

On opinion surveys, a stunning 15 million to 26 million Americans report that they have participated in demonstrations for Black lives in 2,500 places from small towns to big cities. Forty percent of the counties in the country have witnessed protests. White participation has far exceeded that in the first civil rights movement.

And already politicians have begun to respond -reforming police practices, banning choke holds. Mississippi legislators voted to retire the state flag with its Confederate battle emblem.

This new generation of protest holds great promise for America. Despite its breadth and depth, it will face great resistance -and not simply from a Donald Trump desperate to discredit it for his political purposes. Entrenched interests will resist change. The movement is focused on reforming areas -criminal injustice, economic inequalities, basic economic and political rights -that threaten the privileged and the powerful.

Yet what we learned 60 years ago is that when people move, change is possible. Then the powerful forces of segregation that seemed overwhelming could not withstand the moral force of a generation not willing to put up with glaring injustice silently. Now this generation has an opportunity to make America better, and the lives and options of millions are at stake in their struggle. This is a time for anyone with a conscience and a pulse to join this extraordinary movement.

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

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mike Luckovich ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses during an event.

Americans Overwhelmingly Favor Sending Trump Back to School in Fall
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report)-Amid the debate over reopening the nation's schools, a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans would like Donald J. Trump to go back to school in the fall.

Due to social-distancing requirements, those surveyed agreed that there should be limits on class size when Trump returns to school, but that his class should be large enough to accommodate other education-starved students such as Jared Kushner, Rand Paul, and Betsy DeVos.

Although Americans acknowledge that the logistics of sending Trump back to school could be complicated and expensive, the cost of his continuing lack of education is far greater, the poll indicates.

Americans were split on which school subjects they would like to see Trump focus on most when he returns to the classroom.

Science and math received the strongest support, but a substantial number of respondents also favored history, geography, and English.

Finally, if Trump is ordered back to school in the fall, a vast majority of respondents urged that steps be taken to insure that he does not send someone else in his place.

(c) 2020 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 29 (c) 07/17/2020

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