DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Tipping The Nuclear Dominos

Conn Hallinan
Friday June 19, 2020 - 01:42:00 PM

If the Trump administration follows through on its threat to re-start nuclear tests, it will complete the unraveling of more than 50 years of arms control agreements, taking the world back to the days when school children practiced “duck and cover,” and people built backyard bomb shelters.

It will certainly be the death knell for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, passed by the UN’S General Assembly in 1996. The Treaty has never gone into effect because, while 184 nations endorsed it, eight key countries have yet to sign on: the US, China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, Iran and North Korea.

Evan without ratification, the Treaty has had an effect. Many nuclear-armed countries, including the US, Britain, and Russia, stopped testing by the early 1990s. China and France stopped in 1996 and Indian and Pakistan in 1998. Only North Korea continues to test. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: California’s Economic Problems

Bob Burnett
Friday June 19, 2020 - 01:30:00 PM

On June 17th, California "celebrated" the three-month anniversary of Governor Gavin Newsom's "shelter-in-place" order. The good news is that we're serious about dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; the bad news is that the combination of the pandemic and "shelter-in-place" order has had a devastating impact on the California economy.

So far, California has more than 167,000 COVID-19 cases and 5300 deaths. We haven't "flattened the curve" yet; we're adding more than 3000 new cases per day, mostly in Los Angeles County and the surrounding counties, such as Orange and Riverside. This means that California is gradually opening up but we have to be careful. On June 18, Governor Newsom ordered all Californians to wear masks when in public or "high-risk settings." (

The pandemic-induced "shelter-in-place" order has had several noticeable economic impacts: -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Reality Checking and Beyond

Jack Bragen
Friday June 19, 2020 - 02:26:00 PM

"Reality checking" is a highly effective and recommended method for delusional people to help get our minds on track. This method, however, relies on the willingness of the patient to accept a result that doesn't match what we want to believe. However, I am going to speak of a deeper type of reality finding, one in which we are confronted with non-debatable truths, that are powerful enough to completely replace specific delusions. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday June 19, 2020 - 01:35:00 PM

Rally 'Round the Plague, Boys

What's the word for all those hyper-Trump supporters who plan to risk their lives by shouldering their way into the red-hatted mosh pit Trump hopes to see waiting for him inside Tulsa's BOK Center?

Given the odds that many of them soon may be suffering prolonged and horrendous deaths from COVID-19, I'd go with: "Die-hard fans."

Will Trump's fans wear masks? Will they "social distance" inside the crowded hall? One thing is clear: while Trump expects the faithful to mass and mingle in the face of an ongoing pandemic, Trump and his lawyers are not taking any risks. The following small print appears on the official, online event registration page posted by

By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:On John Bolton’s Book

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday June 20, 2020 - 01:13:00 PM

The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton, former National Security Advisor for the United States: As Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) aptly remarked, John Bolton “may be an author, but he’s no patriot.” -more-