The Evening Blues - 3-30-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: John Primer

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues guitarist John Primer. Enjoy!

John Primer - I Called My Baby

"The neurotic usually obeys his own Golden Rule: Hate thy neighbor as thyself."

-- Mignon McLaughlin

News and Opinion

The US Is Using Germ Warfare On Sanctioned Nations

“As billions hunker down to halt the spread of the virus, President Donald Trump has only ramped up sanctions and other pressure against frequent targets such as Iran and Venezuela,” reads a new article by AFP.

“Iranians say humanitarian imports have effectively been blocked as few foreign banks are willing to deal with Iran due to US sanctions, leading to shortages of vital supplies such as masks,” AFP adds. “Ali Vaez, an Iran expert at the International Crisis Group, which studies peaceful solutions to global problems, said the Trump administration likely believes that any aid would only throw a lifeline to a regime it sees on the brink of falling.”

“It’s almost like a bad joke. What’s worse than a pandemic appearing in a country where there is no government? That is really the last thing that you want,” the Quincy Institute’s Max Abrahms told AFP. “We need to rethink our understanding of US national security. It seems particularly absurd for the United States to invest so heavily in remaking foreign countries at a time when our own nurses in New York City are literally wearing trash bags.”

Indeed, in some very important ways the US government has clearly seen the coronavirus outbreak not as a dangerous humanitarian crisis, but as a strategic advantage to be weaponized against governments which refuse to bow to its empire-building agendas.

Weaponizing a virus is the thing that biological warfare is. The US government might not have deliberately released the virus (also not a settled question), but they are using the virus as a weapon aimed at toppling vulnerable targeted governments.

The use of biological warfare, or germ warfare, is prohibited by international law, though in typical fashion the US is skirting the parameters of those laws in this case by weaponizing a virus that was already spreading. Which is not to say that the US is above deliberately infecting a population using biological weaponry as well; they used them extensively during the Korean War.

Thousands of Iranians have already died of this virus due to the difficulties US sanctions create in obtaining medicine, equipment and resources, and it’s possible that orders of magnitude more dead may follow. This is not accidental, this is deliberate. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone on record to say that the objective is to make Iranian civilians so miserable and desperate that they overthrow their own government, and it is clear that this virus is being employed toward this purpose.

This same imperial war machine is actively attempting to inflict this same fate upon Venezuela, where tens of thousands have already died of malnutrition and inability to access medicine because of the Trump administration’s brutal economic warfare. The DC-based International Monetary Fund has denied Venezuela a loan it says it needs to fight the pandemic citing dispute over the legitimacy of the Maduro government, a dispute the US itself created out of thin air and narrative spin. On top of all this the Trump administration is now offering a $15 million bribe to anyone who will help them arrest Maduro on ridiculous drug trafficking and terrorism charges.

Who would benefit from a disease-ravaged nation not having a government? Certainly not the Venezuelan people.

We’re seeing the same germ warfare inflicted upon targeted individuals as well as governments, with Julian Assange denied bail as the virus spreads through UK prison systems despite doctors’ warnings of his vulnerability to death from an infection due to chronic lung disease.

We may be absolutely certain that at least a few people in at least a few government agencies have voiced the observation that Covid-19 may finally solve their Assange problem once and for all. And of course those observations would be a perfectly accurate appraisal of the situation. Psychopathic, but accurate.

For all the outraged shrieking the US government does about disobedient nations like Syria allegedly using chemical weapons, it has certainly shown no hesitation in employing biological warfare today. Those dead Iranians are just as dead as the Syrian civilians who according to the US government’s plot hole-riddled claims were killed by chemical weapons dropped by the Assad government, and they are dying on a much larger scale. They are dying of a virus that is being used as a weapon to topple a government which dared to disobey the dictates of Washington and its covert controllers, which means they are dying of germ warfare.

Everything the US empire accuses unabsorbed governments of doing, the US empire does worse. That’s the true meaning of American exceptionalism.

LIVE How the US is weaponizing coronavirus chaos to push regime change

Millions of People Will Struggle to Pay Rent in April, but Few in Congress Care

On Wednesday, April 1, rent payments will be due for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic — yet even with unemployment at a record high, major bill payments have barely factored into U.S. politicians’ response to the crisis.

On Friday, the House passed an emergency multi-trillion dollar relief package, which was approved by the Senate on Wednesday night and will now head to President Donald Trump’s desk. It’s about five times bigger than Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus and represents a massive upward transfer of wealth. Though it includes a significant expansion of unemployment benefits and a onetime check of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, it’ll take up to three weeks for people to begin receiving those relief checks, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. That will be too late for the nearly 3.3 million people who filed for unemployment benefits last week, and others who have become underemployed as a result of the pandemic.

While some states — namely New York — have taken steps to temporarily block evictions,
congressional Democrats, with the exception of a handful of progressive lawmakers, have shown almost no interest in addressing the bills due in less than a week, one of the most pressing financial concerns ordinary people currently face. “It shows that Pelosi and Democratic leadership still have their eyes on protecting corporations and not the people
,” said one House Democratic staffer.

Why Are Progressives Voting For Ultimate Screwing Of America?

Heh, Stephanie Kelton explains the technicalities of why the government can spend trillions of dollars without a "pay for," and it's well worth reading the rest of the article.

What is left out is that the real reason why the congress is now so willing to hand out a few crumbs to the lower classes without concern for "pay fors," is that it needs a smoke screen to camouflage the transfer trillions of dollars of wealth upward to their 1% cronies.

As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash

Throughout the Democratic presidential primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren offered a slew of robust proposals to reshape the American economy. Yet the Democratic presidential primary hardly engaged with questions of whether that restructuring was wise, who would benefit, and who would lose. Instead, the debate was dominated in no small part by a single question: “How will you pay for it?”

On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who regularly dismissed the ideas put forward by Sanders and Warren as unrealistic, waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic. The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who represents the hardest-hit neighborhood of Queens, deemed on the House floor Friday morning, but the moment is instructive. Last week, as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated, Ocasio-Cortez joined Sanders for a virtual town hall to discuss the global pandemic and the unfolding economic crisis. She raised a number of important points, but one observation touched an especially strong nerve with me.

She was talking about the speed with which the House and Senate have been working to pass spending bills to get cash into the hands of desperate workers, struggling businesses, and major industries:

It’s a fascinating progressive moment because what it’s shown is that all of these issues have never been about ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ It’s never been about whether we have the capacity to do these things or if the logistics have worked out.

All of these excuses that we have been given as to why we cannot treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke and what has been revealed is that all of these issues were really about a lack of political will and who you deemed worthy to be in an emergency or not.

She is outraged. And she should be. Congress has ignored millions of people who have existed in a state of crisis for decades. The people of Flint, Michigan, (and elsewhere) still do not have safe drinking water. Millions of kids go hungry each day. Half a million people, before the pandemic, were homeless on any given night. And on it goes. There has been no multitrillion-dollar spending bill to combat these and other domestic emergencies. Instead, lawmakers have deprived communities of critical investments that could have attenuated their emergencies, often hiding behind the excuse that there isn’t enough money in the budget to deal with problems like these.

The congresswoman wants everyone to learn what the federal response to the pandemic is teaching us. Because the coronavirus is a threat to all of us — not just the poor — we are choosing to act in ways we always could have acted.

US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size

When the UN security council and the G7 group sought to agree a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts stumbled on the US insistence on describing the threat as distinctively Chinese. There are other reasons for the lack of collaboration in the face of a global crisis, but the focus on labelling the virus Chinese and blaming China pursued by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, helped ensure there would be no meaningful collective response from the world’s most powerful nations. For some US allies, the fixation on words at a time when the international order was arguably facing its greatest challenge since the second world war encapsulated the glaring absence of US leadership.

And that absence was illustrated just as vividly by news coverage of planes full of medical supplies from China arriving in Italy, at a time when the US was quietly flying in half a million Italian-made diagnostic swabs for use in its own under-equipped health system and Donald Trump was on the phone to the South Korean president pressing him to send test kits. ...

Despite its responsibility for allowing the virus to run rampant in the first place, China has had notable success in reshaping its image as a leader by its later efforts to contain the disease and its outreach to Italy and other vulnerable countries.

“US global leadership won’t just end because they bungled their response to the coronavirus, but I think we will come to find that this was a pivotal point,” said Elisabeth Braw, the director of the Modern Deterrence Project at the Royal United Service Institute in London. Braw argued that the coronavirus crisis will inflict more lasting damage on the US’s standing than the 2003 Iraq invasion.

“China wasn’t in the wings in 2003,” she said. “It wasn’t ready to take over that global role. Well, it’s now in a position where it can take over global leadership, and it’s just waiting for the US to misstep or to lose support among its allies … And the past couple of years have really been beneficial to China from that perspective.”

Saagar Enjeti: Corporate Dems, Republicans doomed thousands to death

China Is Making Tons of PPE Respirators Good Enough for Asia and Europe. But U.S. Hospitals Can't Buy Them.

Barbara Filippone has been exporting hemp fabric from China for decades, but since the novel coronavirus hit the United States, she’s been putting her Asian connections to work on another popular product: Masks.

Through her business partner in China, she established relationships with factories in Shandong Province and made plans to ship particle-filtering respirators directly to American hospitals. Yet despite dire pleas by nurses for more of these masks, Filippone has been having trouble getting them into health care workers’ hands.

“There's a lot of bureaucracy, paperwork, that's wasting time,” said Filippone, speaking on the phone from her office in Colorado. “All it takes is a factory in China to a healthcare facility, not all this red tape.”

Hundreds of factories in China are churning out millions of masks being used to suppress the virus across Asia and Europe, but importers can’t get them to the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in the United States because they haven’t been certified by the Food and Drug Administration. Confusing government regulations preferring American products, old-school billing practices, and hospital administrators scared of being sued are keeping masks out of the hands of nurses and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.

I wonder how much more wealth will have to be transferred to the looters of the 1% in order for the congressworms to countenance a few more crumbs for the 99%.

'Far More to Do,' Say Progressives After House Approves and Trump Signs Corporate-Friendly Coronavirus Relief Act

Progressives on Friday said the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act—which offers some measure of relief to working families while delivering trillions in bailout funds to corporations—was a first step to avoiding an economic meltdown that could render millions of Americans destitute, but urged Congress to pass another bill as soon as possible that centers the interests and concerns of the working class.

"We just passed a necessary relief package for working families," tweeted Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "It's not perfect. We know that. But we're not done." ...

CPC co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), in a statement, said she and her colleagues were focused on the next step.

"We are already at work immediately on the next package to ensure it includes provisions we fought for but did not get this time," said Jayapal. "This is a crisis of epic proportions and we must continue to do everything we can to respond with the scale sufficient to meet the suffering of people across our country."

Dr. Fauci Just Gave a Huge Range of Projected Deaths from Coronavirus

The U.S. could see between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and millions of sick patients from the coronavirus pandemic, according to “fluid” projections offered by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci was on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, speaking to the possibility that the U.S. could see a dramatic rise in cases. But Fauci, one of the federal government’s leading experts in handling the pandemic, also warned that “we don’t really have any firm idea” and worst-case scenario models tend to overshoot — so he didn’t “really want to be held” to the estimate he gave.

“I just don’t think we need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people,” Fauci said.

The country currently has about 125,000 cases— although testing is limited nationwide, so that number is widely considered to be an undercount — and close to 2,200 deaths.

Anatomy of an enormous and daily growing failure of currently indeterminate scale. Lots more at the link.

The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life

When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus. On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.

In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites. One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.

Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease. Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million.

The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.” A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster. ...

It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. ... Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership.

Coronavirus - Brazil: 'Jair Bolsonaro is putting people's lives at risk'

Bolsonaro threatens to sack health minister over coronavirus criticism

Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly told his health minister he will sack him if he dares criticise his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a report in the Estado de São Paulo newspaper, the Brazilian president’s warning came during a top-level meeting on Saturday as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country rose to more than 3,900 and the death toll hit 114.

The health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, reportedly informed Brazil’s far-right leader he would have no choice but to publicly criticise him if he insisted on going out in public despite warnings to stay indoors. “Bolsonaro replied that, if he did so, he would fire him,” the conservative newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.

Bolsonaro’s downplaying of coronavirus – and his public call for Brazil to relax quarantine measures and get back to work – have appalled critics and many citizens, sparking nightly pot-banging protests in major cities.

We Need a Public Health New Deal: Neoliberal Austerity & Private Healthcare Worsened U.S. Pandemic

Debt Collection Industry Deems Itself Essential to “Financial Health” of Consumers, Fights Covid-19 Shutdown

Debt collectors, facing growing demands to freeze the collection of debt across the country amid the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are mobilizing their lobbyists to push back. ...

The Education Department is suspending collections on federal student loans and urging private collection agencies to stop pursuing borrowers. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has sponsored legislation that prevents debt collectors from engaging in a variety of practices, such as disconnecting utility services or garnishing wages, until 120 days after a major disaster or emergency such as the current coronavirus crisis.

All of this has the industry deeply concerned. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, also known as ACA International, a lobby group for debt collectors, has fired off letters to Brown and federal officials, sharply criticizing the push to suspend debt collection. The lobbying group is not only arguing that debt collection is more important than ever for servicing medical providers and other issuers of debt, but also appealing to concerns around identity. The suspension of debt collection, they argue, would cause undue burden on the debt collection industry’s “diverse workforce.” ...

ACA International is also couching its opposition to a moratorium on debt collection as beneficial to consumers. Any freeze on debt collection activity, the group warns, would lead to “fewer choices for consumers” and would “leave them in the dark about how they can address outstanding obligations.” The industry has called attention to so-called hardship policies to self-regulate debt relief for consumers in distress. “Consumers,” Mark Neeb, the chief executive of ACA International wrote, “need the information that ACA members provide to maintain their financial health.”

The educational motivations of public-minded debt collectors notwithstanding, consumer advocates aren’t convinced.

Keiser Report | Gold: Problems with Exchange for Physical

There is such a thing as society, says Boris Johnson from bunker

Boris Johnson has stressed that “there really is such a thing as society” in a message released he is while self-isolating with Covid-19, in which he also revealed that 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to help battle the virus.

The prime minister chose to contradict his Conservative predecessor Margaret Thatcher’s endorsement of pure individualism made in 1987, when the then PM told a magazine: “There is no such thing as society.”

In his video message, Johnson said: “We are going to do it, we are going to do it together. One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there really is such a thing as society.”

He thanked the doctors, nurses and other former professionals for returning to duty, as well as the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to aid the health service.

John Prine: singer-songwriter critically ill with Covid-19 symptoms, family says

The family of John Prine says the singer-songwriter is critically ill and has been placed on a ventilator while being treated for Covid-19-type symptoms.

A message posted on Prine’s Twitter page Sunday said the Angel from Montgomery singer has been hospitalized since Thursday and his condition worsened on Saturday. ...

Prine’s wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, this month said she had tested positive for the coronavirus. She said the couple, who live in Nashville, were quarantined and isolated from each other.

The 73-year-old Prine, one of the most influential figures in folk and country music, has twice fought cancer. Most recently, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and had part of a lung removed.

the horse race

Why is Neera Tanden praising AOC?

After Florida Held Its Primary Amid Pandemic, Two Poll Workers Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Two Florida poll workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the March 17 primary, which was held contrary to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against large gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Both of the workers were stationed at polls in Broward County, in the southeast part of the state. A spokesperson for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections said on Thursday that all 16 poll workers who worked alongside the workers who tested positive have been contacted by the supervisor’s office. Election officials are also advising anyone who might have voted at those locations, both in the city of Hollywood, “to take appropriate steps and seek medical advice.”

One of the Florida workers who tested positive “was a greeter, and would not have been required to come into near proximity or contact with any of the 204 voters who cast ballots at the precinct on Election Day,” a spokesperson told the Miami Herald. ( It’s unclear how a greeter would greet people without being near them.) The other worker checked in voters and likely handled the ID cards of some of the 61 people who voted at that polling location.

Much more at the link.

Media Silent as Poll Workers Contract Covid-19 at Primaries That DNC, Biden Campaign Claimed Were Safe

Donald Trump is the single individual in US society most responsible for spreading dangerous misinformation about Covid-19 in the midst of a global pandemic. Anyone who echoes him, or his administration’s entreaties to not take going out in public too seriously, is engaging in public endangerment. Anyone who actively encourages people to gather in mass, and in close proximity, is doing so at a mass scale.

So why, in contravention of CDC guidelines and health experts’ urgings, did the DNC and Joe Biden’s campaign do just that at immense scale earlier this month, as major cities were already closing up public spaces? And why have media that have deservedly taken Trump and his administration to task for their fatal failures not done the same with Democratic leadership?

If a senior adviser to President Donald Trump falsely claimed on national television that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had declared that it was safe to vote in person, despite its actual recommendation to the contrary, the adviser and the president would be rightly condemned by much of corporate media as, at best, incompetent and ignorant, and, at worst, dishonest and reckless in encouraging people to put their lives at risk.

And if poll workers had contracted Covid-19 at locations which violated CDC recommendations, the adviser and the president would be rightly blamed for exposing them to the virus.

Yet after the CDC on March 15 advised the public to cancel all gatherings of more than 50 people, a senior adviser to Joe Biden, the current frontrunning Democratic presidential candidate, went on CNN (3/15/20) and claimed the CDC had deemed in-person voting safe. And not a single major media outlet reported on it.

Nor did they report on the actual dangerous conditions at multiple primary voting sites, and the exposure of trusting citizens to the coronavirus that the adviser’s reckless advice had encouraged. And it wasn’t just one irresponsible adviser that put people at risk: Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez made misleading statements, downplayed the dangers and exaggerated the preparedness of voting sites, and criticized and threatened states which wanted to postpone their primaries. The Biden campaign as well as the DNC put politics over people, exposing countless voters to a fatal virus.

We now know that at least two poll workers at locations described as safe by Perez and the Biden campaign have contracted Covid-19. It’s unknown how many more poll workers, voters and the people they came into contact with will also contract the virus.

Senior Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders made the dishonest statements during a post-debate interview on Sunday night, March 15. This was hours after the CDC released a statement (3/15/20) that advised canceling all gatherings of 50 or more people. The CDC advisory was mentioned at the very beginning of the debate, and also during Anderson Cooper’s post-debate interview with Bernie Sanders. When Cooper asked the Vermont senator, “Should there be a primary on Tuesday” in light of the CDC’s recommendation, Bernie Sanders responded:

That is a very good question, and as you know, Louisiana and Georgia and Puerto Rico have delayed their elections. Postponed them, they’ve got dates in the future. Look, election dates are very, very important. We don’t want to be getting into the habit of messing around with them. But you remember, and I just researched this, 9/11, you know there was a primary in New York City…. And it was canceled, for obvious reasons, in New York City, and it was rescheduled two weeks later.

I would hope the governors listen to the public health experts, and they’re saying … we don’t want gatherings of 50 or more people. And when I think about some of the elderly people sitting behind the desks, registering people and all that, does that make a lot of sense? I’m not sure that it does.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo referred to the CDC update, as well as to Bernie Sanders’ response to it during his interview with Symone Sanders, asking her:

CDC says no groupings bigger than 50, that’s like every polling station except in very small counties. The idea of delaying primaries, Senator Sanders seemed comfortable with that; we should listen to what the CDC says. We should delay the primaries if we have to. What are your concerns?

Unlike Bernie Sanders, however, Symone Sanders’ chief concern seemed to be making sure that the primaries were not postponed:

Our democracy is extremely important. Even in times of strife in this country, we have to do our duty. So the CDC and folks have said it’s safe out there for Tuesday. So I don’t know what Senator Sanders was talking about…. So I encourage people to get out there and vote on Tuesday.

Symone Sanders openly stated that Bernie Sanders’ public health concern was unfounded, even though Bernie Sanders had cited the CDC’s recommendation that gatherings of 50 people or more were unsafe—which, as Cuomo pointed out, would include voting at almost every polling station. Yet Biden’s senior adviser asserted that the CDC had assured the public that the elections were safe, urging people to vote based on a false promise of safety. ...

While Sanders’ lie was egregious, DNC chair Tom Perez showed a similar reckless disregard for public health. Not only did he urge people to vote, ignoring CDC guidelines, but he threatened to punish states for trying to comply with them.

When Perez appeared on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes show on Monday night (3/16/20), the host asked the DNC chair to comment on an Ohio judge’s rejection of the governor’s request to postpone the primary:

It is your view that this can be safely conducted tomorrow? Who have you been consulting to come to that view? Your position as Tom Perez, the head of the DNC, my understanding is you are saying you agree with the states that are going forward?

Perez responded:

We respect what they’re doing…. And I was in contact today with people in a number of these states, including but not limited to Arizona. And, again, asking them if, do they believe they have the systems in place that enable them to put the elections on tomorrow? And they do. And Republican and Democratic governors have made that judgment that they can do that. I don’t think it’s for me to second-guess those judgments, Chris.

Less than 24 hours later, however, when Ohio’s health director ordered polling locations to be shut down, Perez was all too happy to second-guess the judgment of not only the Ohio governor, but the health director, who happens to be a physician with an MD and a master’s in public health; the first and only woman to hold this position; and, by the way, a former Obama volunteer. In a statement, Perez blasted the postponement:

What happened in Ohio last night has only bred more chaos and confusion, and the Democratic Party leadership in Ohio is working tirelessly to protect the right to vote. Eligible voters deserve certainty, safety and accessibility.

He discouraged other states from moving their primaries:

That’s why states that have not yet held primary elections should focus on implementing the aforementioned measures to make it easier and safer for voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote, instead of moving primaries to later in the cycle when timing around the virus remains unpredictable.

Those were public statements, but an internal DNC memo sent to members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee on Wednesday night, and obtained by the Guardian (3/17/20), went further, threatening to punish states that moved their primary beyond a cut-off date of June 9 by reducing their number of delegates by half. (Louisiana and Kentucky scheduled their elections to take place on June 23.) It’s hard to reconcile Perez’s statement that the “timing around the virus remains unpredictable” with a firm cut-off date.

The head of a party that is positioning itself as the science- and reason-embracing alternative to the Republicans ignored the advice, recommendations and pleas of trained experts. ...

All of this seems incredibly newsworthy and urgent. Yet, despite the preponderance of documentary evidence, to my knowledge, the only published piece on the CDC violations that occurred at polling sites was by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (3/18/20). The only outlets we saw writing about the comments made by Symone Sanders were Paste magazine (3/17/20) and the Intercept (3/16/20). The Young Turks’ Emma Vigland (3/17/20) discussed Symone Sanders’ quote in a video.

Biden CRUSHED in key polling metric

Donald Trump in 'near tie' with Joe Biden, new poll finds

Donald Trump has gained ground on his probable challenger in November’s presidential election and is in a “near tie” with Joe Biden, according to a new poll released on Sunday.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll put the former vice-president ahead by 49% to 47% among registered voters. In February, the same poll put the US president seven points behind.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, respondents favoured Trump on the economy and Biden on healthcare.

Reporting the poll, the Post said it “tests only national sentiment, which would translate into the popular vote, not the state-by-state competition for an electoral college majority”. ...

In key swing college states, the 2020 race is tight. According to the polling average, for example, Wisconsin is a tie and Trump is 1.3% ahead in Florida while Biden leads by around four points in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Krystal Ball: THIRSTY Dems throw themselves at Cuomo, here's why that's a mistake

the evening greens

Coronavirus Already Hindering Climate Science, But the Worst Disruptions Are Likely Yet to Come

Along with temporarily reducing greenhouse gas emissions and forcing climate activists to rethink how to sustain a movement built on street protests, the global response to the coronavirus pandemic is also disrupting climate science.

Many research missions and conferences scheduled for the next few months have been canceled, while the work of scientists already in the field has been complicated by travel restrictions, quarantines and other efforts to protect field researchers and remote indigenous populations from the pandemic.

The field research season in Greenland and the Arctic, which normally starts ramping up this time of year, has been particularly hard hit. ... Some scientists are hopeful that research planned for later in the summer will be able to proceed if the virus subsides. At the same time, they worry that if the economic disruption lasts for several months, it would probably have a long-term effect on science budgets. ...

For now, no final decision has been made on the COP 26 global climate talks scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland.

Polluting Industries Cash-In on COVID, Harming Climate in the Process

With the attention of lawmakers and government agencies focused on the global coronavirus pandemic, polluting industries have seized on the opportunity to advance their own interests. In the days leading up to President Donald Trump's signing of a $2.2 trillion relief bill, lobbyists descended on Washington in an attempt to squeeze as much as possible out of the U.S. Treasury. Some industries, including agriculture and aviation, got major boosts; others, notably coal and clean energy, were left disappointed.

As the number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus pandemic continues to rise and the economic fallout starts to hit more Americans, industries are scrambling to stay afloat and save jobs. But some, critics say, are exploiting the situation to their advantage, potentially at a cost to the climate.

This week, after a request from the oil industry, the Environmental Protection Agency  issued a suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws, a move that critics say will let the industry pollute indefinitely. Environmental and advocacy groups say they are concerned that other agencies will follow suit, allowing industries to capitalize on the crisis. And some are already trying to get what they can.

The plastics industry, for example, is using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to save what has become in many peoples' minds a global villain—the single-use plastic bag. Their actions come after a growing number of states and cities have banned plastic bags or slapped fees on their use in retail and grocery stores. Plastic bags and all kinds of other plastics are choking the oceans, with microscopic bits of plastic getting into human bodies, giving the industry a bad reputation. And plastics manufacturing and incineration are contributing  to global warming.

But seeing an opportunity in the global crisis, the Plastics Industry Association has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare the bans on plastic bags a health risk, and "to speak out against bans on these products as a public safety risk and help stop the rush to ban these products by environmentalists and elected officials that puts consumers and workers at risk." The industry cites studies or reports, including at least one paid for by the plastics industry, that claim dirty reusable bags spread germs. Those are findings that are disputed by others, including Greenpeace, which describes the industry efforts as "a profit-driven distraction."

Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

The Death of American Competence

It Is A Time Of Crisis And U.S. Foreign Policy Is Becoming Unhinged

US Repositions Troops in Iraq, Preparing for Fight Against Iran

Revealed: Saudis suspected of phone spying campaign in US

Trump admin’s $15 million bounty on Maduro triggers explosive confession of violent Guaidó plot

Venezuela’s Guaido Urges Military, Others Back Him in Ousting Maduro

How a network of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists penetrated Canada’s Conservative Party to lobby for military conflict

Trump Admin. Moves to Take Land of Mashpee Tribe—Whose Casino Plans Irked President's "Special Interest Friends"—Out of Trust

New York Fed Has Allowed Dangerous Wall Street Banks to Have Lower Loan Loss Reserves than at time of 2008 Crash

The Federal Reserve Now Owns 15 Percent of the U.S. Treasury Market; At Its Current Rate, It Could Own the Whole Market in Less than Two Years

The Tide Is Going Out and JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and AIG Appear to Be Swimming (Read Trading) Naked

Why has the media ignored sexual assault allegations against Biden?

Vital Federal Contracts for Ventilators and Coronavirus Supplies Will Take Months to Complete

How ICE Operations in New York Set the Stage for a Coronavirus Nightmare in Local Jails

How Corporate Media ‘Factchecked’ Biden’s Calls for Social Security Cuts Into Oblivion

Coronavirus has exposed the reality of a world without work

Democracy Now - “Housing Is Health”: Calls Grow for California to Give Vacant Homes to Unhoused People Amid Pandemic

Democracy Now - Housing Not Shelters: Amid Pandemic, Homeless New Yorkers Demand Refuge in Vacant Apartments, Hotels

George Orwell says hello | Welsh town uses drones to urge people to stay home

Jimmy Dore: Cuomo BLOCKING $9Billion In Relief To NY!

Rising: Historic unemployment claims are just the beginning

Rising: Billionaire tries to BILK Philly, as lobbyists GRAB for crisis cash

Joe Rogan's DIRE warning for Dems on Joe Biden

Katie Halper calls out media for ignoring Joe Biden #MeToo story

Zaid Jilani: Dems have 'buyers remorse' for Joe Biden

A Little Night Music

John Primer - She Do The Right Thing All Of The Time

John Primer & The Real Deal - Last Night

John Primer & The Real Deal - I Wonder Why My Baby Won't Treat Me Right

John Primer - She Won't Give Me No Loving

John Primer & Bob Corritore - Going Back Home

John Primer & The Real Deal - Forty Days And Forty Nights

John Primer & The Real Deal - 300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy

John Primer & The Real Deal - Going Back To Mississippi

John Primer & Bob Corritore - I Feel So Good

20 users have voted.


QMS's picture

Thanks for the Primer pal.

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture


5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture


you're welcome! listen often and vigorously. Smile

5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

is a big mac kind of guy. He's also probably busy trying to figure out how tl keep ordinary citizens from making masks, face shields and gowns, or at least to interfere with their distribution. Profit, after all, is everything.

10 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

heh, he's probably seeing pictures of medical people wearing garbage bags for gowns and thinking that his inaction is a boon to the oil/plastics industry.

10 users have voted.
mimi's picture

the virus ones. I have to say that what is happening to your country and mine (as well of course for all countries around the world) is leaving me speechless and hopeless and I don't want to say anything anymore.

I would like to have dementia. At least then I wouldn't understand anything.I hope you and yours are well and healthy and well protected at your home. Thanks for John Primer's music.

Good Night.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i hope that you are well, safe and as happy as possible under the circumstances.

yep, i am tired of the virus, too. unfortunately, i think that it will be dominating the news for quite a while to come.

have a good one!

5 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

Thanks for the tunes. They really hold a special place in my day, to uplift me, and keep me keeping on. Be present.

Horrible wind today. Normal spring winds I’ve never liked. Yet, year after year, they return. There’s a poem in them words!

Enjoy your evening, folks! Pleasantry

6 users have voted.

The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

heh, here's some mood music for your howling winds and rain...

have a good one!

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

would this look like a good thing.

As Saagar pointed out today the Obama administration let the small ventilator company be bought up by a bigger one who then canned the whole idea of building more of them. Biden was asked yesterday if he is rethinking MFA during the epidemic and he said no. But then went on to say something about the government helping people with their health insurance.

The people who are keeping Biden in the race need to be shamed into oblivion. They know that he has some mental issues and yet they keep putting him on air. Oh well we know he won't run against Trump in the end. This is why we seeing so many positive things being said about Cuomo. Hmmm will Bernie have to endorse the person who no one voted for when he's the one who should get the nod? Stay tuned...

16 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


heh, obama makes an unforced bush-league error. remember when george dubya chatted with a woman in a town hall that said that she had to have three jobs in order to make it, and bush responded by celebrating how wonderful that was, calling it "uniquely american?"

obama just had his shrubby "uniquely american" cluelessness revealing moment in that tweet.

somebody get joe some jello pudding and put him in a cell with his fellow abuser, bill cosby.

12 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

We also went from putting a man on the moon to not being able to make enough PPE to keep our health care workers safe. And instead of putting restrictions on companies that offshored their factories and jobs they got a no strings attached bailout. Hell they even made congress pass legislation that put them above the law. Just unfuckingbelievable huh?

12 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


it makes you wonder when will people wake up and recognize that a certain group of people destroyed the productive capacity of the united states for selfish profit - and (if and when they realize that) will they arrange an accountability moment for that group of people?

11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Umm what?

8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

Lily O Lady's picture


apparent that Joe Biden is just a cipher—a placeholder for the next Messiah. And so close to Easter, too. Will it be Cuomo?

Krystal Ball’s comparison of Trump and Biden was good as far as it went. But by failing to mention Bernie, she seems to buy into the establishment narrative that Bernie could not be considered a leader by the people. That’s a serious omission IMO.

7 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady

just like Trump did. He didn't do everything that was necessary to keep people from getting infected. Plus he has been responsible for closing hospitals throughout the city which cost thousands of beds. Now he's refusing to accept money from the fed to prop up Medicaid and therefore cutting the budget by $39 million. I'm getting this from tweets I've read, but I think Rising covered it today. Cuomo also worked with republicans and democrats to keep progressive stuff from happening. The NYC congress has been doing mostly republican type stuff even though democrats held power. If democrats are dumb enough to promote him over Bernie I think there will be hell to pay.

I agree with you on what Krystal has not mentioned. The Jimmy and max video that Joe posted here is most excellent. Did you get a chance to watch it? They say that Bernie and AOC should have been screaming from their lungs about how bad the bill was, but both of them waited till it was up for a vote before they did. Of course they couldn't have stopped it from passing but they could have made more people aware of how bad it was. I saw a tweet quoting Pelosi that said no more bills are going to be passed. Sucks to be us, but she doesn't care. I agree with Jimmy and Saagar that once this quarantine is lifted people will be in the streets.

I also saw that the guy who got Amazon workers to protest their work environment has been fired. Bezos has donated $25 million for something..I can't remember for what, but it's such a paltry amount because he's worth over a hundred billion.

10 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


$39 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what cuomo is demanding to be cut from the medicaid budget:

Before the Covid-19 crisis struck, New York faced a budget shortfall, due in part to rising healthcare costs. But rather than look for ways to raise funds to cover those costs, Cuomo put together a commission tasked to carve at least $2.5 billion out of state Medicaid spending. The commission’s plan, announced as the state healthcare system had already begun to stagger under the crisis, includes roughly $400 million in cuts to hospitals over the next year (Daily News, 3/27/20).

As local activists have pointed out, there are many other ways to close the budget gap that don’t involve cutting essential services—at least 14 concrete options for new taxes on, or an end to various subsidies for, the ultra-rich and corporations. But Cuomo is so committed to his corporate-friendly deficit-busting that when the emergency federal Covid-19 aid package to states (including $6.7 billion to New York) included a clause prohibiting changes to Medicaid programs, Cuomo declared that he couldn’t accept it (Politico, 3/27/20). Stop and think about that: Cuomo’s instinct is to forego billions of dollars of desperately needed aid because he is unwilling to give up Medicaid cuts which themselves will directly jeopardize the lives of those most at risk of dying from Covid-19.

so, in all cuomo's dedication to his neoliberal masters will cost new york's efforts to quell the coronavirus about $9.2 billion.

10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

This should put a cork in his replacing Biden on the DP ticket.

Cuomo’s instinct is to forego billions of dollars of desperately needed aid because he is unwilling to give up Medicaid cuts which themselves will directly jeopardize the

This on top of all the hospital closures he has done. Then there's that hospital that is sitting empty cuz the city doesn't want to pay $1 million a month for. How many hospitals have been bought by hedge fund gurus who then gut them as low as they can? Oh well the U.K. is in the same dire straits as we are because they have stripped the nHS down to the bones.

Notice how no one is talking about rolling back the Trump tax cuts? The $1.5 trillion sure could go along way to helping during this crisis. Or tax them more to get us through this. But you know who is?

The dastardly Vlad that's who. Plus he is looking at their offshored tax havens which we know corporations have stashed their money in. Instead we keep giving them a tax holiday if they bring it back home. Mike Whitney has been writing a lot of great articles lately.

6 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

snoopydawg's picture


I've forgotten which state it's in.

3 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

TheOtherMaven's picture


And the more I hear about Vlad Putin, the more he reminds me of Lord Vetinari: shrewd, devious, ruthless, always scheming, somebody it would be extremely stupid to cross, not at all a nice man - but he makes things work, and work well, for his people.

We, on the other hand, do not have, and are not likely ever to have, anyone that competent.

2 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Lily O Lady's picture


closed. Google those facts to see all the disgusting details.

4 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Lily O Lady's picture


Jimmy one. I do think that the MSM along with the DNC will continue to flog Cuomo. As Krystal said, he’s the DNC’s Trump, authoritarian and commanding.

Only time will tell how this will all end up.

5 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady

Pete had more delegates than Biden did when he was told to drop out. Don't you think Pete would have had a better chance to win than Joe? Bone headed move IMO.

6 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

lotlizard's picture


Did you know that all of the moderate candidates who dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden all are represented by the same legal counsel? Each of these campaigns has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the same firm

(found via Naked Capitalism / Water Cooler:)

6 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture


and they jumped.

Buttercup was at least a new face on the same old shitburger. Too new, probably.

3 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.