The Evening Blues - 3-23-20



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Andrew Brown

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues guitarist Andrew Brown. Enjoy!

Andrew Brown - I Can Hear My Baby Talking

"There is a time in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

-- William Shakespeare


News and Opinion

The coronavirus relief bill could turn into a corporate coup if we aren't careful

Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and the Trump administration is negotiating a bailout package to address the coronavirus crisis. There’s been a lot of chatter about the need to support workers as the economy goes into a freeze. This is happening around the world; the British government, for instance, is willing to pay 80% of worker wages during this downturn for those affected by the crisis. But in the US, our leaders seem to be falling prey to what can only be called a corporate frenzy of favor-seeking. ... Take Boeing. The aerospace giant of course wants a $60bn bailout. Financial problems for this corporation predated the crisis, with the mismanagement that led to the 737 Max as well as defense and space products that don’t work (I noted last July a bailout was coming). The corporation paid out $65bn in stock buybacks and dividends over the last 10 years, and it was drawing down credit lines before this crisis hit. ... Using the excuse of the coronavirus, Boeing is trying to get the taxpayer to foot the bill for its errors, so it can go back to making more of them.

But that’s not all. Defense contractors want their payments sped up, and I’ve heard they want to widen a giant loophole called ‘other transaction authority’ to get around restrictions on profiteering. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want “$5 billion in grants or loans to keep commercial space company employees on the job and launch facilities open.” They also want the Internal Revenue Service to give them cash for R&D tax credits. CNBC reported that hotels want $150bn, restaurants want $145bn and manufacturers wants $1.4tn. And the International Council of Shopping Centers wants a guarantee of up to $1tn. The beer industry wants $5bn. Candy industry wants $500m. The New York Times reported that “Adidas is seeking support for a long-sought provision allowing people to use pretax money to pay for gym memberships and fitness equipment.” Gyms are of course closed. Meatpackers want special visas so they can undercut wages of their workers, and importers want to stop paying duties they incurred for harming domestic industries for illegally dumping products into the US.

Now, I’m not opposed to supporting industries. This is a crisis, and we do not want a lot of the productive capacity of the United States to fall apart because of a pandemic. But the key to supporting enterprises is to make sure that there are strict conditions, so that power doesn’t consolidate into the hands of monopolists and financiers cherry-picking distressed assets. Otherwise, America will simply be unrecognizable after this pandemic. CNBC personality Jim Cramer, for instance, is worried that after this pandemic America will have just three retailers. And he’s right to be worried about that.

Here’s how we can stop it. There are enough members of Congress to act and prevent what really looks less like a relief package and more a corporate coup. However, the problem is that this group is split into different political parties, and Congressional leadership is taking advantage of that dynamic to jam this through. US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell wants big business to rule, so he’s playing a trick. He is refusing aid to workers. Democrats are negotiating with him to try to get unemployment assistance and social welfare. McConnell knows Democrats won’t pay attention to corporate bailouts if he takes the public hostage, and Democrats know that they can hand out favors to big business if they just talk about how they got larger checks for workers. ...

In 2008, when Congress was on the brink of passing a $700bn bailout to Wall Street, something astonishing happened. A motley bipartisan group of roughly a hundred members, as well as outside experts, formed what was called the “Skeptic’s Caucus,” and organized enough votes to take down the package. Congressional leaders then attached some minor tweaks, and forced the package through after the stock market crashed. Ultimately, the skeptics failed, and the bailouts ended up shifting power and wealth to an unaccountable elite class. But for that brief moment, it became clear that opposition to Congressional leadership on corporate subsidies is possible. We will need another Skeptic’s caucus, and quickly. And this time, it can succeed. Because this time, no one is fooled by what is happening. We can see it plainly.


Partisan Battles Block U.S. Senate Coronavirus Bill but Talks Continue

Partisan battles in the U.S. Senate on Sunday stopped a coronavirus response bill from advancing, even as negotiations continued over Democrats' demands for more federal funding for medical care and state and local efforts to combat the outbreak.

The measure faltered after it failed to get the necessary 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to clear a procedural hurdle after days of negotiations. ...

Democrats had raised objections to the Senate bill throughout the day, with the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, saying it had "many, many problems" and would benefit corporate interests at the expense of hospitals, healthcare workers, cities and states.

The failure of the measure to move forward sends Democrats and Republicans back to the bargaining table. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said earlier on Sunday that Democrats in that chamber will begin crafting an alternative to the Senate bill.

After the vote, Schumer said the legislation had not improved enough in negotiations to win Democratic backing. He said more money was needed for community health centers, nursing homes, masks, ventilators, personal protective equipment and aid to state and local governments.

Progressive Congresswoman Rips Pelosi For Blocking UBI

Progressive Caucus Urges Pelosi to Go Big and Bold on Coronavirus Stimulus

As Senate Republicans unveiled a trillion-dollar stimulus plan for the ongoing coronavirus crisis that would cut taxes for corporations and deny aid to the poorest Americans, the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to advance a bold alternative that includes monthly cash payments, a nationwide moratorium on all evictions, and other solutions.

"This is a pivotal moment for our healthcare system and our economy," Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. "We need to give workers the financial resources to stay healthy and ensure our health system is equipped to provide life-saving, universal care to everyone in our country."

In a letter (pdf) to Pelosi on Thursday, Jayapal and Pocan outlined a dozen policy priorities they said must be included in any stimulus package to ensure adequate relief for individuals and families harmed by the coronavirus-induced economic crisis. ...

Among the progressive leaders' demands are monthly cash payments of up to $2,000 for each adult and up an additional $1,000 for families with children for up to six months, with eligibility based on income.

As Common Dreams reported on Wednesday, Pelosi has thus far refused to support direct cash payments as a way to put more money into the pockets of Americans during the worsening economic downturn. In an interview with The Atlantic on Thursday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), a member of the Progressive Caucus, criticized Pelosi for supporting tools like refundable tax credits over direct cash payments. ...

The progressives' demands came after Pelosi on Wednesday instructed her leadership team and House committee chairs to begin crafting a counter-offer to Senate Republicans' proposal, which would provide means-tested cash payments to many individuals and families, excluding the poorest Americans and individuals earning $99,000 a year or more.

Trump intensifies murderous Iran sanctions during COVID-19 crisis

US imperialism exploits coronavirus as a weapon of war

Alongside the “invisible enemy against humanity”, the coronavirus, there stands another quite visible one, world imperialism.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increasingly desperate conditions confronting Iran and its population of nearly 83 million. The country has the third highest number of fatalities after Italy and China, and nowhere is the mortality rate greater, as the number of infections continues to rise sharply each day. Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced Thursday that 149 people had died over the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the virus to 1,284. During the same period, another 1,046 cases of infection were reported, raising the total number to 18,407. Both numbers are believed to be serious underestimations of the ravages of the disease. “Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran,” the spokesman said.

Rather than human solidarity, Washington’s response to this crisis has been a deliberate attempt to intensify it at the cost of countless lives of Iranian working people. The pandemic, rather than being seen as an enemy to be eradicated in every country, is viewed by the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA as a new weapon of war that must be integrated into imperialist planning. This is the inescapable conclusion from the Trump administration’s imposition Thursday of yet another round of punishing economic sanctions against Iran, targeting companies based in the United Arab Emirates that are accused of buying petroleum from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). This follows by only two days, another set of sanctions announced by Washington’s bully-boy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against nine separate entities in China, Hong Kong and South Africa. The blacklisted companies were charged with engaging in “significant transactions” involving Iranian petrochemicals.

Casting the pandemic in nakedly aggressive and xenophobic terms, Pompeo told a State Department press conference, “The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice.” In the same breath, he claimed that Washington was prepared to carry out “humanitarian efforts” to “help the Iranian people stay healthy.” The level of lies and hypocrisy is breathtaking, even by the Trump administration’s standards. US sanctions, which have blacklisted the country’s central bank, make it impossible for Tehran to buy basic medicines and medical supplies supposedly allowed under the “maximum pressure” regime. This has condemned tens of thousands to early and preventable deaths well before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, according to one estimate by an Iranian physician, the country’s death toll from COVID-19 could reach as high as 3.5 million.

This human suffering is not collateral damage from Washington’s “maximum pressure” sanctions regime, it is its direct purpose. Through brutal collective punishment, hunger and the spread of disease, US imperialism seeks to foment regime change in Tehran with the aim of eliminating a regional obstacle to its hegemony over the oil-rich Persian Gulf while, in turn, preparing for war with China. The coronavirus pandemic is seen as yet one more weapon in the US arsenal.

Defectors Tell of Torture and Forced Sterilization in Militant Iranian Cult

The Mojahedin-e Khalq started as a militant revolutionary movement, committed in principle to bringing human rights and democracy to Iran. But over the last four decades, it has devolved into a secretive, cult-like group that resembles a militant, Islamist version of the Church of Scientology. The MEK has carried out bombings, sabotage missions, and murders. Since its founding in 1963, it is believed to have killed hundreds or even thousands of Iranians, as well as a handful of Americans.

From 1997 to 2012, the United States designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization. But the group, which once opposed U.S. intervention in Iran, has effectively switched sides, becoming a convenient proxy force for Tehran’s enemies, particularly American neoconservatives, the Gulf Arab states, and Israel. The current MEK leadership maintains close ties with several prominent American politicians, including Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, both of whom have been paid speakers at MEK events.

Yet despite the harm it has caused to Iranians and others, the MEK’s most numerous victims may have been its own members. Interviews with six defectors in Europe reveal that the MEK has isolated, disappeared, and tortured many of its cadres into submission, including forcing dozens of female members to have sex with [the group's leader, Massoud] Rajavi and undergo medical sterilization so they could devote themselves more fully to the leader and his cause.

CN Live! From Paris: Documentary: ‘A Day With the Yellow Vests’

Brazilians protest over Bolsonaro's muddled coronavirus response

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is facing an intensifying public backlash after his muddled reaction to the coronavirus crisis sparked five successive nights of protests and predictions that his political authority had sustained a potentially fatal blow.

Brazil has recorded 1,128 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, with the country’s health minister last week saying the public health system was likely to collapse by the end of April.

But Bolsonaro has continued to downplay the pandemic, despite more than 20 members of a delegation he recently led to the US becoming infected with Covid-19. In an interview on Saturday, he criticised efforts to contain the virus through large-scale quarantines or shutdowns and described the governors of states including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo as “irresponsible”, saying they were creating a “climate of terror” by doing so. ...

A growing number of Brazil’s 209 million citizens appear to disagree.

Since last Tuesday, cities across the country have witnessed nightly panelaço (pan-banging) protests where dissenters express their dissatisfaction with Bolsonaro by pummelling saucepans from windows and balconies. ...

On Friday, the conservative Estado de São Paulo newspaper said: “Scientists around the world are fighting to find a treatment for Covid-19. In Brazil, meanwhile, the current government’s incompetence is found to be incurable.”

'Oh Hell No': DOJ Using Coronavirus Crisis to Push for Expansive Emergency Powers

The Department of Justice is using the coronavirus outbreak to ask Congress for sweeping emergency powers including suspending habeas corpus during an emergency, a power grab that was denounced by civil liberties advocates.

"Oh hell no," tweeted Fletcher School professor Daniel Drezner.

The DOJ plans were reported on by Politico's Betsy Woodruff Swan, who reviewed the request documents.

According to Swan:

The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to "any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings," according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies "in a consistent manner."

The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus-the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release.

"You could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying," National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers executive director Norman L. Reimer told Swan. "Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government."


The documents also ask for the authority to conduct videoconference hearings even without the defendant's permission, banning people with the coronavirus from applying for asylum, and pausing the statute of limitations during an emergency.

The asylum rules, said Tahirih Justice Center CEO Layli Miller-Munro, are unnecessary and cruel.

"I think it's a humanitarian tragedy that fails to recognize that vulnerable people from those countries are among the most persecuted and that protecting them is exactly what the refugee convention was designed to do," said Miller-Munro. ...

According to Swan, it's unlikely the bill will pass the Democrat-led House.

Trump Says He’s Mobilizing the National Guard in New York, California, and Washington

President Donald Trump said he’ll give the governors of New York, California, and Washington states “maximum flexibility” to use the National Guard to help combat the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S, which has now infected more than 30,000 people as of Sunday.

“We’ve signed what we have to sign, and it’s been activated,” Trump said at a press conference Sunday night.

The president added that the move would enable the states access to the National Guard without worrying about cost: The feds will pick up the tab. The three states in question have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19, the contagious respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. As of Sunday, New York has more than 15,000 confirmed cases, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That’s about half of all confirmed U.S. cases.

“This is not martial law,” said FEMA chief Pete Gaynor, who also emphasized the governors would remain in control.


“Hope Is Not a Strategy”: Emergency Doctor Asks, Where Are COVID-19 Tests? Where Is Protective Gear?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Is Urging Trump to Nationalize the Production of Masks and Ventilators

To cope with the coronavirus outbreak, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed any non-critical surgeries at hospitals and urged the Trump administration to nationalize the production of crucial medical supplies.

"I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators, the essential medical equipment that is going to make the difference between life and death," Cuomo said at his daily press briefing on Sunday.

“There are masks that we were paying 85 cents for, we’re now paying $7. Why? Because I’m competing against other states and in some cases other countries around the world,” he added.

From Saturday to Sunday, New York State confirmed 4,812 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number up to 15,168, according to Cuomo. That's about half of all the cases in the U.S. and 5% of all cases worldwide. And as more tests become available, the number of patients could continue to grow. Cuomo has already ordered enormous convention centers to be turned into hospitals, and the Navy is sending its 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York City’s harbor.

Keiser Report | Self Reliance & Transcendentalism

Pence staffer tests positive for coronavirus

An official working for Vice President Pence has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced Friday, becoming the first known positive test to date for a White House staffer.

"This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus," Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, said in a statement.

"Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines," the spokeswoman added.

The positive test reflects the degree to which the virus is spreading across the country, including to those in proximity to the country's leaders. The news comes days after two congressmen tested positive for the virus, prompting several other lawmakers to self-quarantine.

Zaid Jilani: How Washington is making the same 2008 bailout mistakes

'Two $1 Trillion Coins': Rashida Tlaib Proposal Calls on US Treasury to Fund Coronavirus Recovery From US Mint

Progressives on Saturday welcomed news that Rep. Rashida Tlaib is calling on the U.S. Treasury to exercise its power to issue platinum coins to fund the coronavirus recovery, calling the move an example of thinking outside the box and celebrating the universality of her proposal to give everyone in America cash payments.

"I fully support the House Financial Services Committee Democrats #COVID19 economic response proposal," the Michigan Democrat tweeted Saturday. "I also want to encourage leadership to consider my truly universal relief proposal on behalf of #13thDistrictStrong."


"This is a really ambitious and creative plan from Rep. Tlaib taking advantage of ideas that financial experts began exploring during the debt crisis showdowns of the Obama years," tweeted HuffPost reporter Zach Carter.

The "Automatic BOOST to Communities Act" (pdf) would deliver a $2,000 pre-paid debit card to every American, with $1,000 being paid monthly after that until a year after the coronavirus crisis ends. Tlaib proposes to pay for the cost of the program by calling on the Treasury to use its authority under federal law to issue two trillion dollar platinum coins. The move would not add to the debt.

"Tlaib wants to take advantage of an obscure Treasury authority to issue new currency through minting platinum coins, and then give that currency to people," said Carter. "No new debt, no weird Federal Reserve programs, just cash straight to folks."

Krystal Ball: Suspend capitalism NOW, and do not resuscitate

Five Mega Wall Street Bank Stocks Have Lost Average of 45 Percent in Five Weeks

While Fed and Treasury officials have been repeatedly assuring Americans that these Wall Street behemoth banks have plenty of capital, they’ve actually been bleeding their common equity capital faster than a snow cone in July. In just the past five weeks, from the close of trading on Friday, February 14 through the close of trading on Friday, March 20, five of the largest Wall Street banks have lost an average of 45 percent of their common equity capital.

Adding to the embarrassment for the Federal Reserve, Citigroup, the bank it propped up with $2.5 trillion in secret cumulative loans the last time around, is once again leading the herd with losses in its common equity capital. Citigroup’s market capitalization has lost a stunning 51.7 percent in just the past five weeks. And we are certainly in the early innings of this bank rout.

Morgan Stanley, which was second in line behind Citigroup at the Fed’s trough in the last financial crisis, receiving $2.04 trillion cumulative in secret revolving loans, has lost 46.9 percent of its common equity capital in just the past five weeks. ...

Losses in these Wall Street bank stocks dwarfs the losses in the broader market as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average – meaning that despite what U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says, there is a Wall Street bank problem that is being aggravated by the coronavirus outbreak but whose roots are independent of it.

Former ICE Director: Release Immigrants from Detention or COVID-19 Will Spread Like Wildfire Inside

Coronavirus: 38 test positive in New York City jails, including Rikers Island

New York City was hit by the nation’s largest coronavirus jail outbreak to date this week, with at least 38 people testing positive at the notorious Rikers Island complex and nearby facilities, more than half of them incarcerated men, the board that oversees the city’s jail system said Saturday. Another inmate, meanwhile, became the first in the country to test positive in a federal jail.

In a letter to New York’s criminal justice leaders, Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman described a jail system in crisis. She said in the last week, board members learned that 12 Department of Corrections employees, five Correctional Health Services employees, and 21 people in custody at Rikers and city jails had tested positive for the coronavirus. And at least another 58 were being monitored in the prison’s contagious disease and quarantine units, she said.

“It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” said Sherman, warning that cases could skyrocket. “The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”

Oakland Hospital Took in Coronavirus Cruise Patients. Now, Low on Supplies, Nurses Asked to Reuse Disposable Masks.

Nurses at an Oakland, California hospital caring for patients being tested for Covid-19 received instructions this week to reuse disposable medical equipment, including masks and eye protection. The hospital, Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, issued guidelines to nurses explaining how to clean single-use supplies to serve multiple patients during one shift.

Staff at the center have been caring for a number of people who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which docked in the city on March 9 after being stranded offshore for several days with 3,531 people on board. At least 21 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Patient privacy protections prohibit health care providers from disclosing how many patients aboard the ship are now receiving treatment at the facility.

Two nurses at the hospital spoke with The Intercept about working conditions amid the outbreak, describing hastily changing directives and frustration among nurses who feel they are being asked to endanger themselves and other patients. Staff only started to receive training on how to care for Covid-19 patients after the first cases had already arrived at the hospital, one nurse said, asking for anonymity to avoid retaliation from their employer. “We’ve been blindsided the whole time,” they said. “And we knew the boat was there, so I don’t understand why.”

Before the ship disembarked, Vice President Mike Pence, who is running the nation’s Coronavirus Task Force, said people would be quarantined as necessary, and every person on board would be tested. Passengers were later informed there weren’t enough tests to do that. Last week, they were told it was up to them whether or not to be tested, the New York Times reported. More than ten days after the ship docked, many passengers are still quarantined at various military bases. ...

The hospital had previously been following protocols aimed at protecting medical staff from airborne contamination. The new guidelines follow those set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which earlier this month downgraded to protocols for contamination via droplets and contact in response to a shortage of N95 masks. That change prompted protests from other nurses’ groups. The CDC noted that those changes were based on supply, not science.



the horse race



FOUND! Right Wing Donor Who Funded Warren’s Super PAC

Heh, one donor funded Warren's "Progressive Unity My Ass," campaign extension.

Silicon Valley Megadonor Karla Jurvetson Fueled Elizabeth Warren’s Super PAC with $14 Million Donation

In a campaign finance filing late on Friday, Persist PAC, the super PAC that attempted to revive Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign finally disclosed its donors.

Karla Jurvetson, a Silicon Valley megadonor, who made over 500 donations over the last year alone, provided 96 percent of the super PAC’s financing through a $14.6 million donation. Barbara Lee, a prominent Democratic donor in Massachusetts, and Women Vote! — the super PAC affiliate of EMILY’s List, a pro-choice group previously financed by Michael Bloomberg, among other wealthy donors — also provided significant funding for Persist PAC.

Jurvetson is a physician and philanthropist. A profile of the Palo Alto-based donor in the Mercury News notes that Jurveston walked door-to-door for Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., during her undergraduate years, and has long been involved in political causes, but saw the election of President Donald Trump as a major turning point. Over the last three years, she has lavished Democratic candidates with funding, with an eye towards supporting Democratic women, including conservative Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as well as progressive insurgent Jessica Cisneros. ...

The filing for Persist PAC, which was formed on February 18, has been much anticipated given charges of hypocrisy leveled at the Massachusetts senator for receiving the type of loosely regulated, big-money support she has long assailed as corrosive to democracy.

Tough Questions For Tulsi Over Biden Support

'Not Done Yet': Bernie Sanders Campaign Mobilizes Donors for Coronavirus Relief and Raises $2 Million

Sen. Bernie Sanders' for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination campaign's prodigious fundraising operation raised $2 million for charities helping those most affected by the coronavirus outbreak crisis in the last 48 hours in a move that supporters said exemplified the message of solidarity the Vermont lawmaker has run on.

"Bernie Sanders supporters have contributed more than $2 million in 2 days to charities helping people whose lives have been impacted by the coronavirus," tweeted political strategist Tim Tagaris. "Not done yet."

The campaign mobilized staff and volunteers to text and call to raise money for five charities: Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Robin Curran, the campaign's digital fundraising director, said in a statement that the money raised showed the importance of Sanders' "Not me, us" slogan.

"What we've seen in the last two days is the definition of 'fighting for someone you don't know,'" said Curran. "The people supporting this campaign have made more than 50,000 donations to help those most impacted by coronavirus because they understand that now more than ever it is important that we are in this together."

According to the campaign, there will be more efforts to raise money for the least fortunate affected by the crisis in the coming days.

Krystal and Saagar: Biden reappears, but disappoints in first public address



the evening greens


Poor water infrastructure is greater risk than coronavirus, says UN

Decades of chronic underfunding of water infrastructure is putting many countries at worse risk in the coronavirus crisis, with more than half the global population lacking access to safely managed sanitation, experts said as the UN marked World Water Day on Sunday.

Good hygiene – soap and water – are the first line of defence against coronavirus and a vast range of other diseases, yet three quarters of households in developing countries do not have access to somewhere to wash with soap and water, according to Tim Wainwright, chief executive of the charity WaterAid. A third of healthcare facilities in developing countries also lack access to clean water on site.

“It’s really obvious that in Africa and parts of Asia we should be very fearful of what is to come,” he said. “The coronavirus crisis highlights how vulnerable the world is.”

The UN World Water Development report, published on Sunday, pointed to the underfunding of water infrastructure around the world, despite its importance. Richard Connor, editor-in-chief of the report, told the Observer that water was often overlooked for spending and investment because the economic benefits of better water and sanitation were not emphasised. The coronavirus crisis sheds new light on those mistakes.

“One of the reasons underlying the investment gap in water and sanitation is that these services are perceived mainly as a social - and in some cases environmental - issue, rather than an economic one, like energy,” he said. “Yet the economic costs of an outbreak [such as Covid-19] are enormous, both in terms of national economies and stock markets, as well as in terms of household revenue - when people cannot work because of sickness or lockdowns. Realising the economic importance of water and sanitation should provide an additional catalyst for greater investment.”

With Nation Distracted by Public Health and Economic Crises, Trump Moves to Allow GMO Crops in Wildlife Refuges

As the U.S. faces an unemployment crisis, economic meltdown, and a public health emergency with the coronavirus, the Trump administration moved quietly on Friday to further threaten dozens of endangered species in the southeastern United States by proposing the planting of genetically engineered crops on wild public lands.

The administration proposal this week aims to allow the planting of GE seeds in the 44,000 acres of farmland within the Southeastern Region of the national wildlife refuge system—a reversal of existing policy.

The move would increase the use of glyphosate and other pesticides that have been linked to harmful effects on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators necessary to humans' food supply, as well as other species that live in the wildlife refuges.

"It's a no-brainer that this kind of pesticide-intensive agriculture shouldn't be allowed on public lands that are critical to wildlife conservation and preservation of the unique ecosystems of the southeastern U.S," said Hannah Connor, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.


The new proposal comes two years after President Donald Trump reversed the Obama administration's 2014 order to phase out the use of genetically engineered crops in wildlife preserves. If approved, the decision could result in the escalation of pesticide use in up to 131 refuges in 10 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, comprising about four million acres.

"Permitting genetically engineered crops and neonicotinoid pesticides on the refuges threatens one of the few places that pollinators and protected species should be able to find shelter from the onslaught of toxic pesticides threatening their existence," said Sylvia Wu, an attorney at the Center for Food Safety, one of the groups which pushed the Obama administration to ban the crops.

Critics said Trump's move would worsen the threats already faced by the region's wildlife, including pollution and habitat destruction.

"We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis," said Ben Prater, Southeast program director at Defenders of Wildlife. "Industrial agriculture with genetically engineered crops has no place on national wildlife refuges dedicated to conservation of our most vulnerable species, including pollinators like hummingbirds, bumblebees and monarch butterflies."

Construction of US-Mexico border wall proceeds despite coronavirus pandemic

The Trump administration is ramping up construction of its multibillion-dollar southern border wall, despite the rapidly escalating coronavirus epidemic which threatens to kill thousands of Americans and plunge the country into economic recession. Earlier this week, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced plans to erect more than 150 miles of the 30ft border wall in Arizona, New Mexico and California – in addition to ongoing construction work at at least 15 sites across those states and Texas.

The announcement came shortly after Donald Trump declared a national emergency, amid mounting criticism about his handling of the coronavirus epidemic which looks likely to cost billions – if not trillions of dollars to tackle. ...

Building work continues in many parts of the country, but for the wall, skilled welders, engineers and contractors commute from states as far flung as Montana, Maine, Wyoming, Texas, North Dakota and Kentucky. Along the border, they work together, car-pool, stay at local hotels and motels, and eat together at restaurants over several consecutive days, before traveling back to their families.

On Friday, work continued in the San Bernardino Valley in south-east Arizona where a national wildlife refuge is located and several endangered species are threatened by the project.

“There is no sign of construction slowing down, hundreds of construction workers from all over the country and Mexico continue working on the wall, commuting back and forth on weekends, staying in hotels and eating at restaurants in our communities, before returning home and potentially transferring Covid-19. This is a public health hazard and it needs to be stopped,” said Myles Traphagen, ecologist with Wildlands Network, who has written to the congressional appropriations committee urging construction be suspended during the pandemic.


Also of Interest

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

Is the DNC Repeating History in Derailing a Socialist Candidate?

Leaked Intelligence Cables Detail a Secret Propaganda War Between Iranian Spies and Exiled Militant Group

US Commandos Deployed to 141 Countries

Russian businessman seeks criminal proceedings against Obama over unlawful prosecution

Hollywood Celebrities Are Psyops Wrapped In Human Skin

News organizations lifting paywalls to share coronavirus coverage

Sanders Calls for 'Unprecedented Legislative Response' to Coronavirus Crisis—Not Corporate Bailouts

JPMorgan Chase and Citibank Have $2.96 Trillion in Exposure to Credit Default Swaps

Target and Walmart aren’t protecting staff amid pandemic, workers say

Michael Hudson: A Debt Jubilee is the Only Way to Avoid a Depression

Germany's low coronavirus mortality rate intrigues experts

Because of the Threat of Coronavirus Turning ICE Detention Into 'Death Camps,' Groups Rallying to Free Families Held Around Country

How did a Hispanic-majority city end up appointing a hate group member?

‘We are in serious trouble’: The other crisis – our food supply

We Should All Be Seriously Re-Prioritizing Our Lives And Our Thinking Right Now

Jimmy Dore: Trump Orders Corporations To Produce Needed Medical Supplies

Jimmy Dore: Delta Pushes Delta’s Credit Card On Workers During Crisis

Krystal and Saagar: Even CNN asks #WhereIsJoe

Saagar Enjeti BLASTS GOP corporate giveaway as workers suffer

NY Mag's Josh Barro: Big business can wait, bailout people first

Nebraska Dem Chair: We need to see more from Joe Biden

Krystal and Saagar MOCK Clinton advisor's embarrassing 'crisis self own'

Krystal and Saagar: Bernie Sanders raises $2 million for charity while Biden is nowhere to be seen

Rising crisis update: Cases surge, Trump signals pivot, experts explain how to end lockdown

Krystal and Saagar: Warren's betrayal of left looms large in bailout debates


A Little Night Music

Andrew Brown - You Better Stop

Andrew Brown - Tin Pan Alley

Andrew Brown - Let's Get Together

Andrew Brown - You Made Me Suffer

Andrew Brown - I Got News For You

Andrew Brown - If we try, You ought to be ashamed

Andrew Brown - On The Case, This Time You Gonna Pay

Andrew Brown - It Took A Long Time


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22 users have voted.

Comments

enhydra lutris's picture

fit my mood and energy level this afternoon. The whole song is great, of course, but that intro just killed it. Thanks for the news, such as it is, and the blues. So we upped the ante on Iran, but, what we've been doing all along is an act or war and a war crime and a crime against humanity, and the bulk of our populace as well as a huge number of foreign governments are seemingly just fine with it, so what's the likely consequence for doubling down or even squaring that? There won't even be a token Lt. Calley moment to forgive and pardon later, so the empire can continue to grow more and more depraved as time passes by. And, realistically, who's going to interfere and try to stop it? Certainly not our brainwashed masses, nor any of our allies.

have a good one.

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11 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

yeah,

So we upped the ante on Iran, but, what we've been doing all along is an act or war and a war crime and a crime against humanity, and the bulk of our populace as well as a huge number of foreign governments are seemingly just fine with it

i just can't fathom how this sort of behavior can be justified. my guess is that most of the u.s. populace has no clue as to what is going on and is so consumed with keeping their heads above water and checking to see if kim kardashian has coronavirus, that they can't really attend to something so far away.

but for the ruling elites, there can be no excuse. they belong in prison.

And, realistically, who's going to interfere and try to stop it?

the only hope of that is circumstance. an unforeseen twist of fate that causes a collapse of the power of the oppressor and an opportunity for fsm knows who.

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6 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

the program--don't they know that it's Miss Nancy who's blocking the one-time checks. The probability that Pelosi and Schumer would back a several month UBI is nonexistent and/or fanciful. (IMO)

If I get a chance, I'll post an excerpt from the overview of the managed care system in Denmark. Remarkably like our system--except, in Denmark, 99% are in the equivalent of our Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan with a primary doctor who is a gatekeeper to obtaining specialized care. (Plan #1)

Their insurance Plan #2 that is most like Traditional/Orig Medicare--meaning, allows one to see a primary physician in the public system, and, see a specialist without a gatekeeper's blessing (referral)--covers only 1%. The difference is that if you join Plan #2, you can be responsible for co-pays.

Regardless of whether one's in Plan #1 or Plan #2--all specialists are in private practice. (Primary doctors work within the basic public system.)

IMO, it's really important for people to examine the structure, financing mechanisms, and offered benefits of the various single-payer systems (around the world). They are most definitely not all "created equal." Or, in some instances, not even an improvement as far as actual health care coverage, goes.

Bottom line, "the devil's in the details," or, fine print.

Oh, great--MSDNC has on "Mr Healthcare Rationing" himself, Rahm's brother--Zeke Emanuel. Now, he's a real piece of work!!!

Biggrin

(BTW, if I've already mentioned this overview, please, disregard. I've been running in circles, lately--much more busy than I was at one time. Sometimes, almost overwhelmed. Smile )

Gotta run quick errand--our bank and credit union have gone to drive-thru only service, BTW. Guess that's commonplace, everywhere.

Hey, still have rainy, dreary weather. Gotta run Rambo out before we leave. If we're lucky, precipitation will stop for a day--tomorrow. *Sigh*

Stay well, and have a nice evening!

Bye Pleasantry

[Edited: 'our' not 'out']

Mollie

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
~~Will Rogers, Actor & Social Commentator

“Love makes you stronger, so that you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.”
~~Author Unknown, Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD) Website

“In a world where you can be anything–be kind.”
~~Author Unknown

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

Mollie

Special Health Care for Congress: Lawmakers' Health Care Perks
A little known office on Capitol Hill provides quality care at a low price.

Excerpt:

Sept. 30, 2009— -- This fall while members of Congress toil in the U.S. Capitol, working to decide how or even whether to reform the country's health care system, one floor below them an elaborate Navy medical clinic -- described by those who have seen it as something akin to a modern community hospital -- will be standing by, on-call and ready to provide Congress with some of the country's best and most efficient government-run health care.

Sources said when specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.

"If you had, for example, prostate cancer, you would go to one of the centers of excellence for the country, which would be Johns Hopkins. If you had coronary artery disease, we would engage specialists at the Cleveland Clinic. You would go to the best care in the country. And, for the most part, nobody asked what your insurance was," Balbona said. (Balbona was a former OAP Staff Physician.)

In addition to Balbona, several former staff members and private physicians who have consulted at the OAP as recently as last year agreed to talk to ABC News on background. They described a culture centered on meeting the needs and whims of members of Congress, with almost no concern for cost.

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7 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

i'm sure that the squad is intimately familiar with the true source of opposition to a decent and just intervention. sadly, i'm not certain that they have the courage to push hard against pelosi and schumer.

denmark's plan sounds pretty good. i guess the thing that one needs to know is what the incentives are for the primary physicians who act as gatekeepers. if there is no pressure on them to limit access to the next tier of specialists, then plan 1 sounds like a pretty good option.

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

more detail. (IOW, I read the Paper quickly, and, didn't see that directly addressed.) When I have more time--and, I'm super strapped lately, since we're revamping so many aspects of everyday life--I'll try to delve into it more, and report back.

From what I gleaned, they may not have a 'direct monetary incentive,' one way or the other. That is, regarding whether they send someone to a physician specialist, or not. In the Danish system, all specialists are in the private sector. (Read as though all the Primary Care/Gatekeepers are in the public system. Maybe salaried. Dunno.)

Having said that--both Mr M and I would be toast, if we hadn't had the ability to get a second opinion. Me, over 10 years ago; Mr M, just 3-1/2 years ago, when he collapsed as I was bringing Mr B home from his gall bladder operation--and, was misdiagnosed in the ER. He was out-of-state, at the time. We got a second opinion, as soon as he arrived back home. His cardiologist is the one that told us this. Today, he receives the best cardiac care available in the US. Not likely, if we were in a Medicare Advantage plan, or equivalent.

For us, we'd rather have the option of seeing specialists, whenever we deem wise, or necessary.

Ironically, the Danish system--which mirrors the US Medicare Advantage (Plan #1) and FFS Medicare System (Plan #2), allows far fewer people to participate in the more comprehensive/better healthcare system. This is because beneficiaries must pay co-pays out of their own pocket.

IOW, in Denmark, since the Plan #2 beneficiary--not an insurer--has to personally pick up all the OOP costs in Plan #2, literally, the only folks who can afford it--the 1%.

Imagine that! Smile

IMO, need to push to have the OAP (Office of Assisting Physician) repealed.

Or, opened up to every American.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attending_Physician_of_the_United_States_C...

Only then, will lawmakers be forced to give us the same level of FFS healthcare coverage, that they enjoy for chicken feed. (last yearly annual fee that I could find - $600 and change)

Also,

From the website Concierge Medicine,

Concierge Care for Congress: Attending Physician of the United States Congress
July 15, 2014

OAP provides members of Congress with physicals and routine examinations, on-site X-rays and lab work, physical therapy and referrals to medical specialists from military hospitals and private medical practices. When specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.[4]

Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, as of 2009, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care is paid for by federal funding, from the U.S. Navy budget. The annual fee has not changed significantly since 1992.[4]

and,

Yearly Fee

One aspect of the office’s operations which remains unclear is just how the annual $503 fee is determined.

Until 1992, OAP services were free to members of Congress. But after former Sen. Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania angered members by introducing a bill to make Congress members pay market rate prices for using the OAP, a compromise was reached.

Instead of charging for each service, Wofford said, members of the House and Senate agreed to hire independent consultants to determine the average value of the services offered and to use that amount to determine an annual fee.
“We thought of the pricing much like an HMO,” Wofford said of the compromise pricing model. “The attending physician at the time told me he had no interest in handling insurance or billing for each service available.”

But Wofford said the House and Senate committees tasked with determining the fee each insisted on hiring their own consultants, leading to a split pricing system. According to press accounts from 1992, the Senate set the fee at $520; the House fee was set at $263 for the same care. At some point, sources say, the separate rates were scrapped and replaced with the single fee, now set at $503.

The Office of the Attending Physician refused to comment on the fee or why it has not changed significantly in 17 years, despite rampant inflation in all other areas of health care costs.

Anderson refused repeated requests for the Committee on House Administration to provide details of how the rate is determined or who determines it.

“Members pay an annual fee determined by an independent actuary for use of the OAP services,” Anderson responded each time he was asked about the pricing model.

Have a good one.

[Apologize in advance for typos, etc. Pushed to complete online orders. A constant, anymore. Yikes!]

Mollie

Sept. 30, 2009— -- This fall while members of Congress toil in the U.S. Capitol, working to decide how or even whether to reform the country's health care system, one floor below them an elaborate Navy medical clinic -- described by those who have seen it as something akin to a modern community hospital -- will be standing by, on-call and ready to provide Congress with some of the country's best and most efficient government-run health care.

Sources said when specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.

"If you had, for example, prostate cancer, you would go to one of the centers of excellence for the country, which would be Johns Hopkins. If you had coronary artery disease, we would engage specialists at the Cleveland Clinic. You would go to the best care in the country. And, for the most part, nobody asked what your insurance was," Balbona said. (Balbona was a former OAP Staff Physician.)

In addition to Balbona, several former staff members and private physicians who have consulted at the OAP as recently as last year agreed to talk to ABC News on background. They described a culture centered on meeting the needs and whims of members of Congress, with almost no concern for cost.

up
2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

well, if 99% of danes are using it and the danes are the happiest people on earth (i think that they still retain that distinction according to some un study) - then i guess that the health care is pretty good. Smile

anyway, thanks also for the report on the legislative branch's perks. good to know that their fees mysteriously haven't risen in 17 years.

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2 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

and thought that it would be of some interest to you:

COVID-19: In Midst of Crisis, Italian and US Healthcare Compared

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2 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

later this evening, after complete necessary chores and errands.

Having a major problem with updating (to full professional app) an anti-spyware program. Guess I should have left well-enough, alone.

Phew! Wink

Mollie

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1 user has voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Bollox Ref's picture

According to Trump's chum Bolsonaro.

And with a country of a Happy Few, and the Restofthem, in various degrees of squalor, you wouldn't want to come down with it.

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11 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

the thing i find kind of odd is that they denigrate the seriousness of the seasonal flu, which kills about half a million people worldwide every year. i would guess that in brazil, which has a fair amount of extreme poverty, it must be a fairly serious health problem.

i feel sorry for the people of brazil.

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8 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

@joe shikspack

are longstanding. The last emperor, Dom Pedro II, was more than happy to abdicate after years of largely fruitless effort*.

(*His reign did see the emancipation of slaves, which saw his downfall.)

(Edited)

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4 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Azazello's picture

Here's a review of Joe Biden's livestream with highlights.
His VP pick "would have to be prepared to step into the top job immediately" ?

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13 users have voted.
CB's picture

@Azazello
Biden's sole raison d'etre is to stop Sanders - not to win the election.

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12 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture

@CB

President Hillary? Yuck.

This Is just the Dems going’s into the smoke-filled room to choose the nominee. They said they could do it last time and now they are.

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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"

Bollox Ref's picture

@Azazello

Trying to understand your proudly presented classwork.

Clearly out of it.

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8 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh, so i see that dnc labs inc. has not perfected a biden robot yet. Smile

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6 users have voted.

@Azazello THis is like watching my father speak. It's so horrible and sad when it's my dad. But my dad isn't being forced to be president. My Dad is being cared for by loving children, a spouse who adores him, allowed to spend his last years at home, relaxed, worried mostly about how to mow the lawn (he can't remember how to run the lawnmower anymore). The people forcing Biden to do this, if he's being forced, are monsters.

Biden has dementia. He's also highly drugged, at times (compare this to people talking when they are taking hydrocodone after surgery... same, same...). DROP OUT BIDEN!

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1 user has voted.
boriscleto's picture

Is that the economy is most important. Must save Boeing! Let the people die.

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13 users have voted.

" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

joe shikspack's picture

@boriscleto

heh, well, you can see trump's angle on this. if there are no jobs or income streams, what's the point of having people?

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Umm..wow.

Coronavirus reveals financial irresponsibility of Americans

How long could you sustain your household if you were to stop earning income? If you are like most Americans, the answer is not for long. Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It is no surprise that the probability of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic caused many to worry.

The need for all Americans to be able to sustain themselves for at least a few months on savings is accentuated during a time of crisis. This means planning ahead when times are good. Financial planners suggest saving at least 20 percent of take home income, while spending at most 30 percent on discretionary items. Yet too many workers still fail to think twice about spending entire paychecks for things they want but do not need.

Recent decades have offered us relative luxury. More than 80 percent of Americans own smartphones. The same portion of households own one high definition flat screen television, while over half of households own more than one. Over 60 percent of Americans dine out at least once a week, while nearly 20 percent dine out three or more times a week.

The availability of credit gave us an opportunity with a great hangover. It made nice homes, flashy cars, and expensive consumer products within reach for earners across income levels. But purchasing on installment is often a trap and a major contributor to our $14 trillion in consumer debt. Financing items as diverse as furniture, laptops, clothing, and more with easily obtained credit opened the door to fiscal recklessness. Consider that average Americans spend $800 monthly on car payments.

It is not only low income and middle income earners who blow through their paychecks every month. Many high income earners also live above their means. Indeed, at least a quarter of households making $150,000 and above live paycheck to paycheck. Our fiscal irresponsibility means that when an unexpected crisis like the one today hits, Americans are unable to sustain their own families, even for a short time period.

Kristin Tate is a libertarian writer.

Funny how she doesn't say anything about how the big companies that got the tax cuts bought back their stocks instead of giving workers raises and such. Nope. It's just us regular Joe's that don't know how to save and now we just need to pull ourselves up by our socks cuz lots of people don't have boots.

Yeah about that video Biden did that was most probably edited.

Look at his eyes especially the left one.

I saw a tweet that said ByeDone is telling people that he is going to pick a strong VP because he doesn't plan on being president for very long.

Russia had to take the long way around to get to Spain Italy because some EU countries wouldn't let them use their air space. Brazil has readmitted Cuban doctors.

Hey lots of people from government are huge supporters of MEK right? Let's not forget that Hillary took them off the terrorists list.

Edited

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13 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh, you have to wonder what planet the writer of that oped lives on. apparently, she has no idea of the conditions in which most usians live.

yep, biden is looking a bit the worse for wear. i guess if there's no fat guy in his audience, he has trouble evoking some sort of passion for what he's saying.

have a great evening!

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Good one. And no one he can challenge to do push-ups against either. Nor anyone he wants to slap...

Heh stay well.

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

CB's picture

Yesterday, Russia sent seven of their huge Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes with tons of medical supplies plus 100 medics and specialists in infectious diseases to help Italy.

The pallets of materiel were labelled "From Russia with Love".

You have to admit those Rooskis have a great sense of humor.

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18 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@CB

heh, pretty good. it's nice that they were able to give a little elbow to the empire.

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4 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

Professional Dumbshit RoJo (R-WI) & Bryan Steil (the new Paul Ryan)(R-WI01)

End the sanctions against Iran & Venezuela.

I know you NeoCons love killing civilians - not because you claim to like it but because you keep doing it - and there'll be plenty of time to get your ghoulish blood fix after the covid pandemic gets sorted. So for now, how about we check our moral compass and be decent humans and allow Iran & Venezuela to buy the medical supplies they need to save their citizens' lives.

GLS

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14 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

i hope that your effort makes a difference, or at least makes you feel better as your congressworm inevitably does the wrong thing. i have much the same problem with my congressworm.

have a great evening!

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9 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

Like I said out loud that which needed to be said.

up
6 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

me too. Smile

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Certain cities are handing out letters for bus drivers and other essential service employees just in case they get stopped by cops. Or the national guard. Didn't posse comitatus go the way of the dodos already with the patriot act? Habeaus corpus did with the NDAA.

Thanks congress!

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

yeah, they better start giving badges to grocery store workers, too.

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5 users have voted.

Really need them tonight. There is so much uncertainty in the world today and bringing it down to the Austin area, they are talking about making it mandatory to shelter in place. There is a lot of uncertainty in my life at present and working to sort through it.

At present I have money and food in the freezer but what afterwards? My attempts at home gardening are laughable but it may come to that. Lookout has given lots of great advice. Played the tape of Heal in the Wisdom by Bobby Bridger that has become the anthem of the Kerrville Folk Festival. He and DO were friends and this is a very calming song for me. Best wishes to all as we go forward.

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9 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

enhydra lutris's picture

@jakkalbessie @jakkalbessie
me, kale and chard, green onions and, of course, weeds. All the same --

At present I have money and food in the freezer but what afterwards?

allow me to recommend that you not keep money in the freezer, the bills tend to get brittle and it chills your hands when you try to use it. Wink

be well and have a good one.

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9 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

@jakkalbessie

yep, there's a lot of uncertainty going around. it's pretty difficult to predict how this thing will play out. we are just going to have to do the best we can with what presents itself.

take care and try not to worry too much.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

I've been reading that democrats have been loading this bailout with lots of pork, but seriously she wants the JFK center to have more money right effing now?

The thread shows other things she wants money for. And she says McConnell is building a slush fund? Actually both sides are trying to get whatever they can from this. Republicans want to allow companies to stop paying payroll taxes and Collins is asking that any small business that uses Medicaid to not get any help.

I've been watching the Last Ship which has to do with a virus that knocked off 5 billion people after a guy changed its DNA and became Typhoid Mary. Is there one that we can send to congress? Or does anyone know any good Japanese pilots? This is just insane while people are wondering how they will survive and support their families.

up
8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

there's a nasty strain of the opportunism virus that always seems to hover around washington.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Sigh, it's too much to follow the corona virus news on both sides of the Atlantic. Dead tired from trying and failing. But for those, who like to know the money that is now put on the table (to be decided this week) in Germany, here is an article describing it in English:
(emphasis and bold text for better readability is mine)
German Cabinet Agrees to 750 Billion Euros in Emergency Aid Measures - 23.03.2020, 16:07 Uhr

As the corona crisis sweeps over Germany, the government in Berlin has assembled an unprecedented aid package aimed at supporting families, renters, employees, freelancers and companies. The cabinet, under the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, agreed on Monday to several vast protective measures and far-reaching changes to the legal code.
...
After six years of taking on NO new debt, the country's commitment to a balanced budget is being abandoned,
...
The following concrete measures are planned:

  1. Small companies and individual freelancers like artists and caregivers are to be eligible for up to 15,000 euros in direct subsidies over a period of three months. A total of 50 billion euros has been earmarked for this program.
  2. Larger companies are to be stabilized with capital from a stabilization fund. In cases of need, the state will also be allowed to become a stakeholder in companies. Plans call for up to 400 billion euros in credit guaranties for the companies to be made available. Up to 100 billion euros has been earmarked for possible direct investments in companies.
  3. In addition, an unlimited special credit program from the state-owned development bank KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) was launched on Monday. The bank has also earmarked 100 billion euros for liquidity assistance.
  4. An additional measure prevents landlords from evicting renters if they can no longer pay their rent due to the corona crisis.
  5. For new applications to Germany's welfare program, known as Hartz IV, new applicants will not be required to submit information on their assets or on the size of their monthly rent payments for the next six months. Families that have lost a large share of their incomes are to be given easier access to the children's allowance.
  6. Expanded regulations pertaining to Germany's short-time work program - in which the government pays a share of employee salaries if they are temporarily unnecessary for production – will make it easier for companies to hold onto workers instead of laying them off.
  7. Germany's hospitals are to be supported with more than 3 billion euros in funding.
  8. The cabinet also agreed to give the federal government greater leverage when the country is facing a pandemic. It also loosened bankruptcy rules and agreed on regulations allowing companies to hold annual shareholder meetings online.

The wise man and woman in Federal, State and Communal governments, the researchers and law experts in our TV round table discussions basically say nobody knows how it will work out but they sounded all somewhat confident, while being dead serious at the same time. So, I
have no clue what to tell you either.

Have had enough now of the virus. I got calls from several older folks in my family. They said if the get symptoms and should carry the virus and are going to die of it, so be it. They will die anyway rather sooner than later and have lived long enough. Me? I still wanna live a little bit.

Watched a documentary "Colonia Dignidad". That one knocked me out and I haven't regained conscience yet. It was awful to let it sink in.

Thank You, JS for an extensive selection of articles. It makes an excellent archive.
I hope you all have shelter and still some income from work.

Good Night and Good Luck and be well.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

that rough outline sounds like a pretty reasonable start for germany, especially considering that it has a more robust social safety net than the u.s. does.

i am also a bit tired of following the coronavirus news, though it is kind of omnipresent now. i keep trying to find what else is going on, things that sneaky people are doing under the cover of a virtual news blackout on other issues, but there is not much.

good night and good luck!

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5 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

.
.

up
8 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

After watching the back and forth about some recovery package in the House and Senate, the end result is clear. Corporations and power brokers will win, and with it create a new dystopia once the virus is under control.

What will the dystopia be like? Take your pick among writers who have posited and seen the dystopia. Or within the popular imagination, take and pick and choose your favorite film. My particular dystopian vision imagines a world where the entire population at one time or another is jailed with fines creating permanent debt. This includes kids.

From just running around different sites, the vaunted liberal resistance is coming to the conclusion that "fake news" is a criminal offense, and punished so. From there it won't end until the entire population is pacified.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@MrWebster

Since it's the big businesses that are getting bailed out while congress dithers on what smaller ones will get many of them will emerge even bigger than before whilst smaller ones have gone under. Matt Stoller has been writing about this and he's calling it a corporate coup for this reason.

It's only been a few weeks since this shutdown started and yet the big businesses are telling congress that they better get their bailouts or else even though we have seen no numbers for how this is effecting them. Boeing's stock went up recently after people found out they were being bailed out. But we know that it's stock was tanking already because they make crappy products. Many businesses were already on the down turn but this epidemic gives them great cover.

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

i think that your dystopia is possible, probably with a side order of a surveillance capitalism stasi state, where instead of your neighbors reporting you for crimes and thoughtcrimes, the internet of things does. but it reports you to an artificial intelligence-driven app, which then delivers the code's installed appropriate punishment by drone to your doorstep.

on the other hand, there may be a step after the bailouts (looting) and stabilization after the virus is subdued. in the midst of whatever mass grieving there will also come a mass revulsion for the (intentional?) incompetence of the governing bodies. after all, governments are instituted in large part to competently protect populations in exigent circumstances. abject failure of that duty by a government could result in a substantial withdrawl of consent by the masses.

dunno. guess we'll find out.

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