The Evening Blues - 3-26-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Oscar "Buddy" Woods

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Texas blues slide guitarist Buddy Woods. Enjoy!

Buddy Woods & The Wampus Cats - Come On Over To My House Baby

"Let’s go humans! The sooner we can put aside our differences all around the world and unite to beat this virus the sooner we can get back to exploiting each other over an imaginary monetary system and murdering each other with bombs!"

-- Caitlin Johnstone


News and Opinion

Julian Assange denied bail in UK after claiming 'high risk' of catching coronavirus

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s application for bail to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus has been denied by a British judge. Assange was denied bail after arguing that his release from a UK prison would mitigate his “high risk” of catching coronavirus.

The Australian made the application in the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, with less than 15 people in attendance due to the coronavirus lockdown.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange had absconded before and said that Belmarsh prison is following government guidelines to protect detainees with no confirmed virus cases there yet. She accepted that government advice may change rapidly but for the time being she denied strict bail for the 48-year-old. ...

Defence lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC said Assange has prior chest and tooth infections and osteoporosis, placing him at a higher risk from the virus. The QC described prisons as “epidemiological pumps” where diseases spread rapidly and said the defence team had recently been denied entry to Belmarsh because 100 prison staff were self-isolating.

“If he continues to be detained in prison ... there is a real risk that his health and his life will be seriously endangered in circumstances from which he cannot escape,” Fitzgerald told the court.

Bernie Sanders Fights for Laid-off Worker Protections in $2 Trillion Stimulus With Corporate Bailout

Stimulus Bill: “An Abomination Beyond Comprehension” - “Bernie Folded”

Glen Ford tells it like it is. There's more at the link.

Time of Plague and Meltdown: Mass Murder by Corporate Duopoly

Tens of thousands of people, disproportionately Black and brown, are marked for death by coronavirus in the coming weeks and months because the United States political system allows only corporate parties to govern. By ensuring that the Dictatorship of Capital is immune to effective electoral challenge, the duopoly system has made the people of the United States less healthy than the rest of the developed world, and far more vulnerable to epidemics of all types. As dutiful servants of Capital, the Democratic and Republican parties have for more than 40 years facilitated a Race to the Bottom (austerity) that has steadily lowered working people’s living standards and slashed social service supports, including the number of hospital beds, which have declined by more than half a million since 1975 despite a population increase of 114 million.

Barack Obama and his Democrat-controlled Congress saved the oligarchy from self-destruction in the Great Recession, and then collaborated with the resurgent Republicans in a “Grand Bargain” to ensure that social services, including local and state public health systems, would never recover lost revenue and personnel. The pruning and hyper-privatization of medical care was overseen mainly by Democrats in the big cities, and largely by Republicans on the state level, with both parties in general agreement that the public health sector was less “efficient” and “innovative” than for-profit medicine. The public health sphere became even more dependent on private suppliers, including overseas sources.  Inventories of ventilators, masks and other equipment and gear were kept to a minimum, in line with the private sector’s “just-in-time” profit-maximizing philosophy. But time ran out when the coronavirus hit, and there is now no possibility of avoiding many tens of thousands of deaths due to a shortage of equipment, beds and health care personnel.

The shrinking of the public health sector is a capitalist crime, abetted by the two corporate parties. Not content to lessen the life-chances of their own citizens, the duopoly parties screamed for sanctions that have crippled the health sectors of Venezuela and Iran, killing tens of thousands before anyone had heard of COVID-19. The United States is a global vector of suffering and death, through the policies of its corporate party tag-team. When deadly diseases are set in motion, the crime becomes mass murder-suicide.

Donald Trump is singularly stupid, incompetent and self-dealing, but these very qualities make him incapable of effecting any fundamental change in national systems, for good or ill. Congress rebuffed his attempts to cut funding of the Centers for Disease Control -- but that matters little in the current crisis because there is no national health system for the CDC to bolster, direct and rally. U.S. healthcare has been shrunken, privatized and made wholly incapable of coping with mass contagion – which never arrives “just in time.” It was too late long before Trump. And, if Fast-Talking-Slow-Thinking Joe Biden succeeds the Orange Menace next January, there will be no prospect of constructing a true national health care system. Biden says he’ll veto a Medicare for All bill if it comes across his desk in the Oval Office. But without single payer healthcare, no national system is possible. In effect, Biden is campaigning for president on a platform of mass death. Biden’s biggest supporters -- Black Americans -- will continue to die in disproportionate numbers whichever of the two corporate parties is in power because the Race to the Bottom (Race to the Graveyard) is ruling class policy, and both parties serve the ruling class.

Krystal Ball implores AOC to KILL corporate robbery bill

Mehdi Hasan and Jeremy Scahill on the Coronavirus, the “Bailout,” and the 2020 Election

'Oligarchs Are Running the White House': Trump Called Wall Street, Hedge Fund Titans Just Before 'Back to Work' Remarks

President Donald Trump hosted a private conference call Tuesday morning with several billionaire Wall Street and hedge fund titans just hours before the president said he hopes to "have the country opened up" and "get people back to work" by Easter—even as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Among the most prominent executives on the call—which was joined by Vice President Mike Pence—were Ken Griffin, billionaire CEO of Citadel; Stephen Schwarzman, billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group; and Paul Tudor Jones, billionaire co-founder of Just Capital. The firms represented on the Tuesday morning call collectively manage hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.

The conversation came as Senate lawmakers and White House negotiators, led by Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin, were in the middle of talks over a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that includes $500 billion in taxpayer bailout funds for large corporations—and, though not widely reported, trillions more in a lending program backed by the Federal Reserve.

"Trump and Pence are talking to private equity titans and hedge fund moguls instead of figuring out how to help healthcare workers get masks or workers to get wages or borrowers get debt relief," tweeted progressive organizer and writer Alexis Goldstein.

CNBC reported that the private conversation was "focused on how America's top money managers are viewing markets and the U.S. economy" and "what more the Federal Reserve could do to support industries that are feeling outsized pressure as a result of the virus."

Shortly following his call with the investment moguls, Trump told Fox News' Bill Hemmer that he would "love to have [the U.S. economy] opened by Easter," which is April 12. "We can socially distance ourselves and go to work, and you'll have to work a little bit harder," Trump said. "You can clean your hands five times more than you used to. You don't have to shake hands anymore with people."

Coronavirus pandemic has delivered the fastest, deepest economic shock in history

The shock to the global economy from Covid-19 has been faster and more severe than the 2008 global financial crisisand even the Great Depression. In those two previous episodes, stock markets collapsed by 50% or more, credit markets froze up, massive bankruptcies followed, unemployment rates soared above 10% and GDP contracted at an annualised rate of 10% or more. But all of this took around three years to play out. In the current crisis, similarly dire macroeconomic and financial outcomes have materialised in three weeks.

Earlier this month, it took only 15 days for the US stock market to plummet into bear territory (a 20% decline from its peak) – the fastest such decline ever. Now, markets are down 35%, credit markets have seized up and credit spreads (like those for junk bonds) have spiked to 2008 levels. Even mainstream financial firms such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley expect US GDP to fall by an annualised rate of 6% in the first quarter and by 24% to 30% in the second. The US Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has warned that the unemployment rate could skyrocket to above 20% (twice the peak level during the financial crisis). ...

Not even during the Great Depression and the second world war did the bulk of economic activity literally shut down, as it has in China, the US and Europe today. The best-case scenario would be a downturn that is more severe than the financial crisis (in terms of reduced cumulative global output) but shorter-lived, allowing for a return to positive growth by the fourth quarter of this year. In that case, markets would start to recover when the light at the end of the tunnel appears. ... Unfortunately for the best-case scenario, the public-health response in advanced economies has fallen far short of what is needed to contain the pandemic and the fiscal-policy package currently being debated is neither large nor rapid enough to create the conditions for a timely recovery. As such, the risk of a new Great Depression, worse than the original – a Greater Depression – is rising by the day.

In any case, even if the pandemic and the economic fallout were brought under control, the global economy could still be subject to a number of “white swan” tail risks. With the US presidential election approaching, the Covid-19 crisis will give way to renewed conflicts between the west and at least four revisionist powers: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, all of which are already using asymmetric cyberwarfare to undermine the US from within. The inevitable cyber attacks on the US election process may lead to a contested final result, with charges of “rigging” and the possibility of outright violence and civil disorder.

Keiser Report | Healthcare = 18% of GDP & yet no masks?

Unprecedented Surge in US Unemployment Claims Cause State Government Servers to Crash

Unemployment claims across the U.S. are causing state servers to crash as an unprecedented number of Americans seek benefits related to losing work due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus outbreak that is spreading around the country, even as legislation advancing in Congress provides a spike in funding for those out of work.

"At the end of the day, given the fact that we have an unprecedented economic crisis, some people are suggesting that unemployment might go above 20%, 25% by the end of June, we have an unprecedented health care crisis, it's clear to me that we have got to move as aggressively as we possibly can to protect working families in this country," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, told PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff on Tuesday.

Unemployment claims hit 3.3 million

Media Struggle to Defend Washington’s Cruelty Toward Venezuela and Iran as Coronavirus Spreads

An Associated Press article (New York Times, 3/17/20) headlined “IMF Rejects Maduro’s Bid for Emergency Loan to Fight Virus” declared:

The request is an about-face for Maduro, who for years refused to share economic data with the Washington-based lender and just last month condemned it as a tool of US imperialism. In the past he has called the IMF a blood-sucking “assassin” responsible for plunging millions of people into poverty across Latin America.

The request was not much of an “about-face” for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, because it was the same type of disaster relief loan the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave to Ecuador in 2016 under former President Rafael Correa, another blunt IMF critic, after a massive earthquake. The loan was not one of the IMF’s infamous “structural adjustment loans” that impose a menu of right-wing economic policies such as tax cuts for the rich, privatization of state assets and public sector lay-offs.

The IMF’s rejection of the $5 billion emergency loan for Venezuela is, all by itself, justification for Maduro’s “assassin” and “tool of US imperialism” charges against the fund.

The IMF said that it refused the loan because “there is no clarity” on whether the “international community” recognizes Maduro’s government. This legalistic excuse is reprehensible, because Maduro’s government is in power and is therefore the only entity positioned to actually respond to the pandemic with life-saving action. But there are two other huge problems with the excuse, neither of which were mentioned by the AP.

First of all, contrary to what the IMF claims, there is tremendous clarity that the “international community” recognizes Maduro’s government. Five months ago, the United Nations General Assembly voted Maduro’s government onto the Human Rights Council with 105 votes. That’s about double the number of countries that go along with the US in refusing to recognize Maduro (“more than 50,” according to the AP article). As Reuters (10/17/20) reported at the time of the General Assembly vote, Venezuela won the seat despite “fierce lobbying” against it by Washington. The AP and other western outlets routinely report the number of countries that do not recognize Maduro’s government (i.e., that go along with Trump), but never that the majority of UN member states clearly do recognize Maduro–and even accord it the status of a seat on an influential international body.

Another big problem with the IMF’s excuse for rejecting the loan was that in 2002, when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was briefly ousted in a US-backed military coup, the IMF rushed forward to offer loans to the coup-installed dictatorship. The dictatorship led by business leader Pedro Carmona was recognized by almost no other country in the world except the US. Carmona was only in power for two days, but the IMF managed to get out a statement saying that it was “ready to assist the new administration in whatever manner they find suitable.” The IMF spokesperson who said that, Thomas Dawson, is also a former US State and Treasury Department official. In fact, even the AP article about the IMF’s rejection of Maduro’s request says that the US is its “biggest shareholder and has a veto over major decisions.”

While the request for aid was not a big “about-face” for the Maduro government, the refusal was a dramatic change from the Mafioso-like “take our aid or else” stance the US government took towards Venezuela only a year ago (FAIR.org, 2/9/19). On February 23, 2019, Washington attempted to smash “humanitarian aid” into Venezuela through its border with Colombia.  At the time, Reuters, like many Western outlets, produced headlines like “US Looking for Ways to Get Aid Into Venezuela: Envoy” (2/14/19), “Venezuela’s Maduro Starts Shutting Borders to Block Humanitarian Aid” (2/21/19) and “After Venezuelan Troops Block Aid, Maduro Faces ‘Diplomatic Siege’” (2/24/19). A CBC headline (2/16/19) to a Reuters report read, “Aid for Venezuela Arrives at Border as Maduro Vows to Block Entry.”

Washington’s aim was to use this aid stunt to overthrow Maduro. The hope was that Venezuela’s military would defy Maduro’s order to stop the “aid” delivery, or that some act of violence at the border would incite a rebellion. Top US officials at the time made absolutely no secret of their aims. One of Trump’s top advisers, the now-fired John Bolton, tweeted:

Any actions by the Venezuelan military to condone or instigate violence against peaceful civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders will not be forgotten. Leaders still have time to make the right choice.

...

A study by US economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs showed that Trump’s imposition of broad financial sanctions in 2017 may have caused 40,000 deaths by the end of 2018 alone (FAIR.org, 6/14/19). Trump has repeatedly intensified the already lethal sanctions since recognizing Guaidó as interim president in January 2019 (Reuters, 1/28/19, 6/6/19, 2/18/20).

All of this made clear that the US government’s concern was the opposite of what it claimed: It always wanted Venezuela’s humanitarian situation to get worse, not better. The IMF loan rejection as the deadly coronavirus spreads puts a few exclamations points on that fact. But don’t look for a flurry of Reuters headlines screeching that “Trump Blocks $5 Billion Emergency IMF Loan From Reaching Venezuela During Pandemic.” Reuters appears to have not even reported the loan rejection in English, as of March 24. One Reuters article (3/19/20) mentioned Venezuela’s request, but not that the IMF had already rejected it.

The Washington Post editorial board (3/20/20) scolded Maduro for asking the IMF for a loan that “he must have known would be turned down.” Yes, how terrible of Maduro to expose the boundless hypocrisy and cruelty of a foreign government that’s trying to overthrow him. The Post then pretended that Maduro is somehow forcing Trump to maintain “sanctions that are strangling Venezuela’s vital oil industry” by rejecting “compromise” with Guaidó.

Iran’s government has also requested an IMF emergency loan to fight the virus (Reuters, 3/12/20). No response yet from the fund as I write this, but the New York Times reported (3/21/20) that Trump officials had been debating whether to bomb Iran as it struggles with the virus and crippling US sanctions. That’s reason enough to applaud the Maduro government’s request to have the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate the US government for crimes against humanity over its use of sanctions.

For now, the odds of success in bringing US officials to justice are very remote. US Secretary of State Pompeo has openly threatened to deny visas to the families of ICC judges if they try US soldiers over war crimes in Afghanistan. Apologists for the US in Western media have their work cut out for them, but history shows that they will descend to the task. Proving that Hell should exist, Eli Lake wrote a Bloomberg op-ed (3/22/20) headlined “The Coronavirus Is Not a Reason to Lift Sanctions on Iran.”

Turkey charges 20 Saudis over Jamal Khashoggi murder

Turkish prosecutors have formally charged 20 Saudi nationals over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, including two men close to the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and former deputy head of intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri were among the suspects charged with “instigating a premeditated murder with the intent of [causing] torment through fiendish instinct”, the office of the Istanbul chief prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, said on Wednesday. Assisted by three intelligence officers, a team of 15 men then travelled to Istanbul and carried out Qatani and Asiri’s orders, the statement said. ...

Arrest warrants for the suspects have already been issued but since none are in the country a trial in absentia will be opened at an unspecified date, the prosecutor has said. Turkey is seeking life imprisonment in all 20 cases.

Saudi Arabia has rejected Turkish calls for the suspects’ return to face trial in Turkey. In December last year a Saudi court sentenced five unidentified people to death over Khashoggi’s killing but in effect exonerated Prince Mohammed’s inner circle.

Oil price may fall to $10 a barrel as world runs out of storage space

The world may soon run out of space to store its extra oil as Saudi Arabia prepares to increase its fossil fuel production even as global demand for energy continues to fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil storage levels across the world’s storage facilities have climbed to about three-quarters full on average since the January shutdown of major refineries in China’s industrial heartlands to stem the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The oil industry is expected to keep filling oil storage with crude in the weeks and months ahead as the pandemic’s economic contagion spreads through the rest of the world, cutting demand for natural resources including oil.

Canada may be days away from running out of storage for its domestic oil production, according to analysts at energy consultancy Rystad Energy, and the rest of the world may follow suit in a few months. The analysts expect that oil-rich regions in Western Canada will need to rein in production by about 400,000 barrels of oil a day by the end of the month. ...

The global oil price fell to lows of $25 a barrel a last week, from more than $65 at the start of the year, and remains below $30 a barrel. Rystad has warned the industry that the oil price may fall to $10 a barrel this year.

Gilead Sciences Backs Off Monopoly Claim for Promising Coronavirus Drug

Gilead Sciences on Wednesday announced that it has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration to rescind the exclusive marketing rights it had secured for remdesivir, an antiviral drug that shows promise in treating Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. As The Intercept reported on Monday, the FDA had awarded Gilead seven years of exclusive marketing rights to the drug through the Orphan Drug Act, even though the statute was designed to induce pharmaceutical companies to make treatments for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

Although the new coronavirus will almost certainly infect that many people, Gilead had exploited a loophole that grants orphan drug status if a company files for it before the official number of cases hits 200,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 438,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 59,000 in the United States.

After a public outcry, Gilead issued a press release stating:

Gilead has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to rescind the orphan drug designation it was granted for the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 and is waiving all benefits that accompany the designation. Gilead is confident that it can maintain an expedited timeline in seeking regulatory review of remdesivir, without the orphan drug designation. Recent engagement with regulatory agencies has demonstrated that submissions and review relating to remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 are being expedited.

Still, public health experts remain concerned about the potential for Gilead and other pharmaceutical companies to engage in price gouging during the global pandemic.

'What am I supposed to do?': Covid-19 sparks mass unemployment across US

The US is experiencing an unprecedented rise in unemployment as industries such as hospitality and food service grind to a halt. The first official government snapshot of how coronavirus has hit the labor market is due on Thursday, when the labor department releases unemployment figures for last week.

The last department of labor figures showed initial unemployment claims rose to 281,000, a sharp rise from 211,000 the previous week but nothing to what is expected tomorrow.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) thinktank estimated a record-setting 3.4 million people filed unemployment claims last week based on an analysis of news reports. Weekly claims have not topped a million since records began in 1967. ...

The surge is also overwhelming unemployment offices. In New York, there were about 159,000 more calls to the labor department in one day than the normal 10,000 daily calls the office gets. In California, the daily average of unemployment claims has increased by more than 4,000%. ...

EPI is one of several bodies advocating for the federal government to waive unemployment insurance requirements, such as making people demonstrate they are looking for work; increase funding to social support systems, such as food stamps; place moratoriums on evictions; and allow laid off or furloughed people to continue using their employer-sponsored healthcare so state health insurance programs aren’t overwhelmed.

People Are Making DIY Face Masks With Hot Glue Guns in This Baltimore Warehouse

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Mirah Ippolito has been pulling double duty. By day she submits grants for Johns Hopkins University. At night she makes DIY face shields in a Baltimore warehouse so the university’s hospital workers don’t contract COVID-19.

Hopkins has been soliciting volunteers with the goal of producing tens of thousands of these shields for their five Baltimore-area hospitals. Ippolito and a few dozen helpers at a time toil in a makeshift assembly line hot-gluing thin strips of Amazon-bought foam to rectangular pieces of plexiglass, then fastening elastic bands to each side with an office stapler.

“It was wild. It felt like I was in a third-world country fabricating protective equipment for Ebola. I mean, this is incredibly rudimentary equipment,” she said. “I never thought I would be living in a world where I would work for one of the best medical schools in the country and I would be literally in an empty warehouse, in like, the industrial park wasteland in Baltimore, making equipment because people cannot get their shit together.”

NYC nurse: Andrew Cuomo is no hero. He spent years slashing hospital capacity

America’s Crisis Daddy Andrew Cuomo Exploits Coronavirus Panic to Push Bail Reform Rollback in New York

As the coronavirus pandemic grips the United States, prosecutors, sheriffs, and public officials have raced to reduce the populations held in local jails, where it is next to impossible to protect elderly and otherwise vulnerable incarcerated people.

In New York, however, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is bucking this trend, pushing for a new law that would roll back newborn bail reforms that went into effect in January and instead expand judges’ power to put defendants in jail. Cuomo has backed this agenda for years, but his evident insistence on including it in the state’s budget negotiations amid a public health crisis is nonetheless remarkable.

“Every other elected official across the country is thinking about how they can reduce their jail and prison population,” Rena Karefa-Johnson, the New York state director for criminal justice reform for the advocacy group FWD.us, said in an interview. “But in New York, we have elected officials still trying to change legislation that would put thousands more people back in jail and slowing up an emergency budget process to do it. It’s wildly out of step with what’s happening across the country, and it’s wildly at odds with this narrative of New York taking Covid-19 seriously and keeping people safe. It’s bonkers.”



the horse race



Joe Biden accuser Tara Reade speaks out

Joe Biden DESPERATELY tries to shut down debates, Bernie responds



the evening greens


Dakota access pipeline: court strikes down permits in victory for Standing Rock Sioux

The future of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline has been thrown into question after a federal court on Wednesday struck down its permits and ordered a comprehensive environmental review. The US army corps of engineers was ordered to conduct a full environmental impact statement (EIS), after the Washington DC court ruled that existing permits violated the National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa).

The ruling is a huge victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota, which rallied support from across the world and sued the US government in a campaign to stop the environmentally risky pipeline being built on tribal lands. ...

In his ruling on Wednesday, the federal judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, said the environmental analysis by both the companies behind the pipeline and the corps was severely lacking. The abysmal safety record of the pipeline parent company, Sunoco, “does not inspire confidence”, he added. The court-mandated EIS will be more in depth than the assessment already completed by the corps – and could take years. The court will next decide if the pipeline should be shut down until the EIS is done. ...

The setback for the pipeline comes as the Trump administration moves to severely curtail Nepa, the 1969 legislation which is widely considered the cornerstone of US environmental protection. Trump has repeatedly blamed Nepa for blocking fossil fuel projects.

Coronavirus a 'Clear Warning Shot' From Nature to Humanity, Top Scientists Say

While healthcare providers and government officials around the world work to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the effects of a resulting economic crisis, scientists urged authorities to also seriously consider a long-term strategy for preventing another infectious disease outbreak—calling the coronavirus a "clear warning shot" from nature.

Previous warnings—taking the form of the Ebola epidemic of 2014, the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, and MERS in 2012—have gone unheeded, U.N. Environmental Program director Inger Andersen said Wednesday.

"Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people," she told The Guardian, thanks to widespread habitat destruction through deforestation, mining, exploitation of animals for profit, and the climate crisis.

"Our long-term response must tackle habitat and biodiversity loss," Andersen said.


Wildfires throughout Australia and Brazil—with the latter linked to President Jair Bolsonaro's administration in the interest of ranching and agribusiness interests—rising global temperatures brought on by fossil fuel extraction, and other extreme weather caused by the climate crisis are all to blame for a loss of "wild spaces," Andersen said.

This "continued erosion," she told the outlet, "has brought us uncomfortably close to animals and plants that harbor diseases that can jump to humans."

With 75% of infectious diseases originating from wildlife, Andersen and other experts said, increased demand for animal products around the world could be putting humans at risk for outbreaks like the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus, officially known at SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, is thought to have spread from a species of horseshoe bat to another animal in a live animal market in Wuhan, China, allowing it to spread to humans. 

"The origin and pathway of the coronavirus pandemic shouldn't surprise us," World Bank environmental specialist Daniel Mira-Salama wrote last week. "The SARS epidemic in 2003 jumped to humans from civet cats, sold in markets as pets and as a delicacy. MERS was transmitted to humans from camels in 2012. Avian influenza, Nipah virus, Ebola, HIV… all of these and many other Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) originated in animals and were transmitted to humans—a phenomenon called zoonosis."

Ending illegal animal trades would help cut down on the spread of infectious diseases in markets, which the experts called an "ideal mixing bowl," according to The Guardian.

"We should be taking this as a clear warning shot," Professor Andrew Cunningham of the Zoological Society of London told The Guardian. "It's almost always a human behavior that causes it and there will be more in the future unless we change."

Global efforts on ozone help reverse southern jet stream damage

International cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals is helping to return the southern jet stream to a normal state after decades of human-caused disruption, a study shows. Scientists say the findings prove there is the capacity to heal damaged climate systems if governments act promptly and in coordination to deal with the causes.

The southern jet stream is a powerful wind that shapes weather patterns and ocean currents in the southern hemisphere, particularly in the summer. Up until about 2000 it had been shifting from its usual course and moving southwards towards the Antarctic at a rate of one degree of latitude each decade, affecting storm tracks and rainfall over South America, east Africa and Australia.

Previous research has shown this was primarily driven by the depletion of the ozone layer by manmade chemical compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, found in fridges, aerosols and other industrial processes. These chemicals, which were used in vast quantities until they started to be phased out under the United Nations 1987 Montreal protocol , thinned the ozone layer, causing a widening “hole” high above the south pole that affected wind patterns.

The new paper, published in the journal Nature, shows that the Montreal protocol has paused the southward movement of the jet stream since the turn of the century and may even be starting to reverse it as the ozone hole begins to close. Last September, satellite images revealed the ozone hole annual peak had shrunk to 16.4m sq km, the smallest extent since 1982.


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast - Capitalist Death Panels: If Corporate Vultures Get Their Way, We’ll Be Dead

Stimulus Bill: The Fed and Treasury’s Slush Fund Is Actually $4 Trillion

Stop the $6 Trillion Coronavirus Corporate Coup!

The Senate Corporate Bailout Package Is a 'Robbery in Progress,' Warn Critics

Netanyahoo's Corona Coup

COVID-19: The Deadly Polio Epidemic and Why it Matters for Coronavirus

How Far Will Trump Go To Save U.S. Shale

Michael Hudson: A Brady Bond Solution for America’s Unpayable Corporate Debt

Canadian Media Advocate Continued Domination of Indigenous Peoples

Jimmy Dore: The DOW Has Biggest Gain Since 2008!

Jimmy Dore: Wall St. Spanks Trump Over Opening Economy Back Up

Jimmy Dore: Corporate News Hides Ugly Truth Of Stimulus Bill

Saagar Enjeti RIPS Last Minute GOP Corporate Ploy, Despairs For Workers

Huffpost Reporter: Bailout designated for 'Super Rich'

Aaron Glantz: Are we headed for another housing crisis?

Rising Crisis Update: NYC on the brink as New Orleans cases spike

Comrade Britney Spears! Star calls for strike and wealth redistribution


A Little Night Music

Buddy Woods - Don't Sell It (Don't Give It Away)

Oscar "Buddy" Woods w/the Wampus Cats - Token Blues

Oscar "Buddy" Woods - Muscat Hill Blues

Buddy Woods & The Wampus Cats - Low Life Blues

Eddie & Oscar - Flying Crow Blues

Oscar Buddy Woods - Lone Wolf Blues

Jimmie Davis w/Oscar Woods - Sewing Machine Blues

Eddie & Oscar - Nok-Em-All

Oscar Buddy Woods - Evil Hearted Woman Blues

Buddy Woods & Jimmie Davis - She's a Hum Dum Dinger (From Dingersville)


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Azazello's picture

More on Venezuela, from the NYT: Venezuelan Leader Maduro Is Charged in the U.S. With Drug Trafficking

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was indicted in the United States on Thursday in a decades-long narco-terrorism and international cocaine trafficking conspiracy in which, prosecutors said, he led a violent drug cartel even as he ascended to the top of government.

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13 users have voted.

@Azazello

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16 users have voted.

@humphrey

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joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

i guess the u.s. has decided to try the noriega playbook, since all of the other dirty tricks they've tried have failed.

what a bunch of maroons.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Enjoying my time at home. Working from home has it's advantages. The chickens are doing well. I love that I can go outside and walk around when I need a break. I love that I can do my laundry.

My daughter thinks this is the flu and is not taking any precautions. Send good thoughts her way in Lubbock, TX. (Three years in TX has changed her attitude about lots of things - and not for the better!)

Have a great evening! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

glad to hear that you are enjoying working from home. it seems to be suiting ms shikspack well, too. she's been enjoying regular trips out to the garden, not having to get up and commute and the comforts of home.

sorry to hear about the kid's attitude. apparently it's shared by a lot of people. good luck to them.

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9 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

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11 users have voted.

this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

"“Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families."

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

good one!

i can't wait until trump and his merry band of magical thinkers all go out to fill up the churches on easter and then there's a spike in new cases by mid-may. that's a kind of leadership, i guess.

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9 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

https://boingboing.net/2020/03/26/vacuum-and-hand-dryer-maker-dy.html

Vacuum and hand dryer maker Dyson designed a new ventilator for COVID-19 patients

British inventor James Dyson announced that his company has spent the last week designing a new ventilator for COVID-19 patients and will ship 10,000 of them early next month to support the UK's National Health Service. He's also donating 5,000 more of them to international initiatives. From CNN

Can't help but wonder how many of how many kinds of resources were expended in gaining and then abandoning orphan drug status by a company that already tanked its good will beyond recovery by gouging on other medical products?

They're gonna kill Julian before the US gets a chance to do so if they don't watch out.
The shrinking of the public health sector is a capitalist crime, abetted by the two corporate parties. Not content to lessen the life-chances of their own citizens, the duopoly parties screamed for sanctions that have crippled the health sectors of Venezuela and Iran, killing tens of thousands before anyone had heard of COVID-19. The United States is a global vector of suffering and death, through the policies of its corporate party tag-team. When deadly diseases are set in motion, the crime becomes mass murder-suicide.

It had never occurred to me to think of the US as a disease vector, plague vector, or straight up death vector, but that is truly what it is and the rest of the world should be taking appropriate steps, isolate and exterminate is the usual prescription, though sufficient demolition of our economy might suffice. I certainly hope it does, since I'm not in the mood to be exterminated. Still, brilliant turn of phrase.

have a good one.

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17 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

it's nice that the uk has some ventilators on the way. the quantity sounds like a drop in the bucket, but at least somebody has gotten off of their butt and done something.

heh, the u.s. is a demockery vector.

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9 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

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12 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

joe shikspack's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

more concise and visceral than, "let them eat cake." i give it a 10.

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7 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

I think I yelled at my congressworms everyday this week & Tuesday it was 3 times. PINO Baldwin sent me a victory lap email and, som-bitch, she forgot to mention the corporate slush fund. Who, I say WHO could have guessed she'd forget to mention that tiny detail. Anyhoo, here's today's

"Good" Senator Baldwin,

Thanks for your email "Baldwin Works to Pass Bipartisan Economic Stimulus Legislation to Support Wisconsin Families, Workers, Small Businesses, Hospitals and Our Health Care System"

I read it a couple of times but I don't see where you mention the giant slush fund you gave to your owners, giant corporations. You short direct payments to citizens ($1200 in, what, 2 months? you are a fucking joke) but pad well the pockets of the very corporations that buy their own stock with tax break windfall (as well they buy congress - but you know that well).

Quite typically, you don't even have the spine to admit in your "victory lap" email that you did the same thing this time as in 2008 - that is, primarily serve the rich & powerful instead of primarily the America People . You should be in jail.

Pitchforks. Probably scare her more with off-the-rack outfits, box wine & Velveeta.

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17 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

yeah, i think that i owe my congressworms a letter, too.

thanks for all you do.

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8 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

they’re all Republicans. And one of my senators is Kelly Loeffler.

They would write back why they were going to do the opposite of what I wanted with a profusion of BS that was positively heartbreaking.

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9 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"

GreatLakeSailor's picture

@Lily O Lady @Lily O Lady

We're watching in real time these fucking politicians selling off our future. In real time.

Then they want me to be grateful they're sending me $1200...once. I got hardly nothing. But I still got my fucking pride. I ain't no fucking chump.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck. Fuck them pricks all to hell.

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10 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

@GreatLakeSailor
"You can keep your bloody money, sure won't bring my Billy back."

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5 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

What do you do with this state mandated time-out?
For our well being, I believe it's important to remain productive.
No work? No problem. Until the bills come due.
Chopped bamboo today. Last years plant stakes.
Making a hive house for Mason bees.
Good pollinators. They need some help.
Like the butterflies and humans and others.

Striving forward for a change. Releasing anxiety.
Doing relaxing projects around the home.
Building an interior reservoir of strength.
Feel we are going to need it going forward.

Change is coming.

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15 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, well, you're reading what i do. Smile

thanks for helping the pollinators.

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Just in case Biden loses to Trump....

...which of course he is going to do, but democrats can milk Russia Gate for another 3 years whilst they help republicans rob the country blind. And of course people will fall for it because they still think Trump is Vlad's puppet and that is why he responded so slowly to the epidemic.

But let's look on the bright side. Imagine ByeDone going around saying that the Saudis didn't want him to be president.

Smile

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14 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

we are going to take a bullet for capitalism or communism for that matter.

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10 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

it's the Saudis. You don't think I took this tweet seriously do you? Did you get the joke at the end?

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4 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

But I couldn’t resist saying something myself. Prolly a bad idea. I’m in a permanent state of rage. Sorry I wrecked your joke.

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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

I have been doing all I can not to get pissed off at all the things being thrown at us, but it's hard not to rage out. My attempts at cooling off is going outside and enjoying the spring being sprung. Lots of the trees are budding out and the cemetery has daffodils and other bulb type flowers sprouting. Plus I can't help but smile when I watch Charlie do her beagle thing. Watching her run towards me with a smile on her face always lightens my soul.

Take care and I hope you have things that lighten yours. We will get through this somehow, but together.

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7 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

brighten things up. Unless it’s our intrepid hunter on the trail of a chipmunk or bunny. His slo-mo sneak is hysterical! Thanks for reminding me, sd.

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6 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

IMG_4173.JPG

What a smile

Or this watching her carry something all over till she finds a spot to bury it?

IMG_1224.JPG

IMG_1922.JPG

IMG_1226.JPG

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8 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

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3 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"

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i can only imagine how hard the russians will have to work to find unfortunate information to exploit about biden in the presidential pussy-grabbers derby.

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11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Hell Vlad would be remiss if he didn't tweet out 10-20 of them a day.

On the Stoller article he says this is a shopping spree on top of the corporate coup. I agree. I saw an article on huff poo this morning of a shopping mall with big names just standing empty and wondered how many will be in business after this is over? Retail stores have been shedding workers right and left for well over a year after loading them up with debt and now here comes the fed to bail them out. How convenient huh?

Twitter is saying that two poll workers have tested positive for the virus. Symone and Tom have some 'splainin to do after they said it was safe to go out and vote during an epidemic. Who knew? Kos and friends are saying Bernie needs to drop out for the good of the country. Idiots.

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12 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

smiley7's picture

Waiting for an invitation to the party to replace this house of cards.

Hoping ...

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

yep, i'm biding my time, too. that invitation is surely in the mail.

have a good one!

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5 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

Australia will be putting the economy into “hibernation”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. He did not explain how it works, but as I understand it, it means that business overheads, including rent and mortgage costs, will be suspended for a while. Australia’s finance minister Matthias Cormann said this could be for six months. Banks, lenders and landlords will wear at least some of this cost.

hum, better thinking

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10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@smiley7

Lots of countries are stepping up for their people. I wonder what it'll take for ours to?

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5 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg

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5 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg

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5 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg

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7 users have voted.

A couple of things to note: 1st in relation to the Dakota pipeline EIS and other environmental issues: the Trump EPA is apparently going to take advantage of the covid situation in ways that even the most cynical wouldn't imagine. Quelle surprise!

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@peachcreek

i suppose that trump's move is not unexpected. i was wondering what he would do to keep dapl going, and boom, there it is.

by the time that this works its way through the courts, millions will be dead and who knows how much damage will have been wreaked in all of the places where the rules are not enforced.

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4 users have voted.

And, social contacts and surveilance...

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8 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@peachcreek

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

are not affected financially or physically (as in getting sick) through the virus. This is the first day, I am really very depressed and get head´aches. Waiting for the political revolution in the US. Will it ever happen? I hate being depressed and having no idea of how to help.

Have you heard of Mark in Queens? He would be in the middle of the mess and I am worried. I pray for him, his kids and his wife.

Stay home, your work is so important. Thanks again.

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3 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@mimi

Up very late, here; sorry about the head aches, trying times, a pressure cooker for everyone.

Be well and safe my friend.

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4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@smiley7
here at C99p.
Bye

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

sorry to hear about your headaches and depression, i hope that they both pass quickly.

everything is fine at chez shikspack, we are well and getting along. i am tired of being cooped up, but other than that, i'm doing ok.

i've not heard from mark from queens. i hope that he and his family are doing well and hopefully he will pop up here one of these days soon.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
though I hope that people can fly in and out of the US freely again. It is just such an unbelievable development all of it.

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2 users have voted.