The Evening Blues - 6-26-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans brass band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Enjoy!

Dirty Dozen Brass Band: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

"A mask is not a political statement. It's an IQ test."

-- John Lundin

News and Opinion

Why Is Trump So Enthusiastic About Americans Dying?

Two weeks after America diagnosed its first case of COVID-19, Republicans in the United States Senate (with the single exception of Mitt Romney) refuse to vote to impeach Donald Trump.

They decided he couldn’t do much more damage than he already has, and, as Senator Susan Collins suggested, he would back down from his most outrageous behavior because his hands had been slapped by the House of Representatives.

Now, newly empowered and feeling invincible, he seems hellbent on a crusade to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Nobody knows why Trump is so enthusiastic about encouraging people to get sick and die from COVID-19, although there are a couple possibly viable theories.

Trump’s and Republicans’ rhetoric all shifted a day or two after April 7, the day that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and other national media reported that Black and Hispanic people were dying of COVID at about twice the rate of white people. Is it possible Trump and the racists in his Party think this is a good way to reduce the Black and Hispanics population, or at least that it’s not an issue for white people?

Another possibility has to do with Freedomworks, the group that was largely raised to prominence by rightwing billionaires and helped fund the so-called Tea Party movement. Billionaires want their people back at work, be they in refineries or meat processing plants or retail stores, and they know that if some of those workers get sick and die there’s a never-ending supply of poor, unemployed people willing to replace them.

A third possibility is that Trump simply loves the idea of people dying. This is the most bizarre of all these possibilities, but it appears to be a characteristic shared by strongman governments around the world, from Duterte in the Philippines who encourages police to murder drug users to Bolsonaro in Brazil who is enthusiastically taking actions that are killing indigenous people in the Amazon.

As we hit what CNN is calling “apocalyptic levels“ of coronavirus infections, it would be really useful to know why Donald Trump is so enthusiastic about so many Americans dying.
Why did he refuse to allow America to use the World Health Organization coronavirus test kit back in January, February, March—and to this day?

Why did he spend two months denying the obvious fact that this virus was coming to the United States and was deadly, leaving us utterly unprepared?

Why does he refuse to set a good example for Americans by wearing a face mask? Is he more concerned about smearing his makeup than the death of 200,000 Americans?

Why did he order his goons to intercept shipments of personal protective equipment and ventilators going to blue states? Where is all that equipment that he hijacked, and does he plan to offer it exclusively to red state governors? Is all this death just about politics?

Why is he shutting down testing sites in multiple states next week after bragging in his Tulsa rally that he told his people to “slow down“ the testing?

Is it possible he’s trying to let things get so bad that a vaccine in the fall will be seen as an effective October Surprise? Is that why the vaccine companies have gotten billions of federal dollars in what Trump calls “Operation Warp Speed” while rural hospitals across the country continue to close?

Since the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister just after the American Civil War, the world has known how to deal with infectious diseases. Why has Trump worked so hard to convince his followers to ignore almost 200 years of medical science?

And what is it about right-wing leaders embracing death by pandemic? If Trump was the only leader in the world doing this, it might make it easier to figure out. But wealthy oligarchs who have taken over countries around the world are doing the same thing.

Why do these leaders want their people to die? Why does Trump want more Americans to die?

Americans—and the world—deserve answers.

Pence claims ‘remarkable progress’ as Covid-19 cases hit new record in US

Mike Pence on Friday hailed “truly remarkable progress” in America’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the US reporting a record 40,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily total of the outbreak.

With new cases rising in a majority of states in the last few days after swift moves to reopen for business, especially across the south and west, the vice-president sought to deliver encouraging news as the head of the White House coronavirus taskforce as the body offered its first public briefing in two months.

Pence acknowledged that “we can see cases begin to rise precipitously across the south”, after the numbers of new daily cases had almost halved since the initial peak of the US outbreak in late April, and he spoke of his deepest condolences for the 126,000 deaths in the US so far.

But he also said that the recent slight recovery in jobs and the rise in retail sales after the US economy had cratered was “encouraging news”.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Out of Control in the U.S.

On April 24, the U.S. recorded its worst day of coronavirus infections yet. Two months later, as most of the developed nations in Europe and Asia are reporting significant declines in case numbers, that record was broken, as the pandemic continues to rage out of control in the U.S., straining hospital resources, forcing states to enforce quarantines against visitors from other states, and making some lawmakers delay reopening their states.

Health officials on Wednesday reported 36,880 cases, beating the previous record set on April 24 of 36,739, while multiple states in the south and west of the country reported huge spikes in confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of Wednesday, 2.3 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, and 121,979 of them have died, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Daily records were set in the country’s three most populous states — California, Texas, and Florida — on Wednesday, with all three breaking records that had been set just days before. Nationwide, cases are up 30 percent compared to the beginning of this month, while more than half of U.S. states have seen coronavirus caseloads increase over the past week, according to data gathered by Axios.

Trump plan to cut federal support for Covid-19 testing sites sparks alarm

Officials in states across the US have reacted with alarm to the Trump administration’s plan to end federal support for some Covid-19 testing sites, warning it could cause further spread of a disease that is already surging back and calling the move “irresponsible”. The White House confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer fund 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, despite that state reporting record highs in the number of coronavirus cases.

Funding and support for the sites will end this month, even as Covid-19 cases increase across the US. The sites are in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Hospital admissions hit record highs in seven US states on Tuesday, including in Texas, which reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new cases on Tuesday.

Four US congresspeople from Texas urged the government to reconsider defunding the testing sites in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). The move would be “harmful and irresponsible”, they wrote in the letter.

CrossTalk ‘It's the Economy, Stupid!’

Sirota scores again. Worth a full read:

The Supreme Court Is A Corporate Star Chamber

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two commendable rulings that may have seemed off brand for a conservative judicial panel: In one case, the court prevented President Trump from deporting the children of undocumented immigrants; in another case, the court extended anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Progressives rightly lauded these civil rights victories, which dominated the headlines. But amid the celebrations, the court also issued the three following rulings, which received relatively little attention:

  • The court limited Securities and Exchange Commission regulators’ power to punish financial firms that bilk investors.

  • Justices overturned a lower court’s ruling and fortified energy companies’ power to steamroll environmental objections to fossil fuel infrastructure.

  • The court prevented workers and retirees from suing Wall Street firms that bilk their pension systems (see this week’s previous story on that here).

Once again, the high court used business cases to fortify the power of the already-powerful. I say “once again” because for all the focus on the court’s rulings on important social issues, much of the justices’ work is on business litigation — and in that role, the court now serves as a reliable star chamber defending corporations and the wealthy. ...

Among the best ways to see the court’s corporate fealty is to follow amicus briefs filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business lobbying group in Washington. The Chamber filed an amicus brief in all three of last week’s cases -- and the court fully sided with the Chamber’s arguments in the fossil fuel and pension cases. In all during the current term, the Supreme Court has sided with the Chamber in 9 out of 13 cases, according to the Constitutional Accountability Center (and one of those supposed losses was the SEC case, in which the court did not comply with the Chamber’s demand to fully abolish corporate punishments, but still severely limited that authority, which was a partial win for corporations).

This is part of a larger historical shift. According to the organization’s 2019 report, “Since Justice Samuel Alito joined Chief Justice Roberts on the Court in 2006, the Chamber’s success rate has surged: the Roberts Court has sided with the Chamber in 70 percent of its cases, diverging sharply from the Rehnquist Court (56 percent) and the Burger Court (43 percent).” The report notes that in the last term, conservative justices followed the Chamber’s demands in 77 percent of the cases in which the group filed amicus briefs. What may surprise liberals is that the four ostensibly liberal justices collectively followed the Chamber’s demands almost half the time -- a statistic that exemplifies how loyalty to business transcends ideology on the court.

David Sirota: Wall Street just got new legal license to gamble during depression

Stocks Surge as Trump Regulators Gut Restrictions on Risky Wall St Gambling

Bank stocks jumped and lobbyists rejoiced Thursday after U.S. regulators voted to gut the so-called Volcker Rule, a set of regulations imposed in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street collapse limiting the ability of financial institutions to engage in high-risk behavior that threatens the systemic health of the economy.

"Instead of protecting our financial system in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis, Trump-appointed regulators are plowing ahead with their dangerous deregulatory agenda," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). "The big banks couldn't be happier about it."

CNBC reported that the shares of JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley "were all trading more than 2% higher" after the changes to the Volcker Rule were announced by five regulatory agencies, including the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The changes, set to take effect on Oct. 1, will make it easier for big banks to devote more of their resources to investments in venture capital funds and other vehicles—the kind risky of speculation that sent the entire U.S. financial system into a tailspin in 2008.

Regulators on Thursday also eliminated a requirement that banks set aside a certain amount of financial cushion to protect against trading losses. The rollback could free up tens of billions of dollars for Wall Street banks.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the combined deregulatory moves hand "Wall Street one of its biggest wins of the Trump administration."

The End of Asylum? Supreme Court Sides with Trump Administration on Fast-Tracking Deportations

Glenn Greenwald breaks down new 'bogus' charges against Julian Assange

Trump Just Gave $1.4 Billion in Coronavirus Checks to Dead People

The Trump administration handed out over a billion dollars in coronavirus stimulus checks to dead people. That overly generous outlay of federal assistance to the deceased, totaling $1.4 billion to a million dead folks according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, shows just how rushed and sloppy the government’s attempts to stave off economic collapse from the coronavirus pandemic have been.

Federal authorities have been criticized for handing juicy loans intended for small businesses to large national restaurant chains, like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. But at least the owners of those establishments were alive.

This time, the rush to deliver checks bearing Trump’s signature to millions of Americans struggling with unemployment and economic devastation ended up including a truly stunning amount of stimulus for those who really, probably, don’t need it as much as the living do.

Let’s face it: the dead don’t even pay rent.

The GAO, a federal watchdog, blamed the error in its report Thursday on a failure to share Social Security Act death records with the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, which sent out individual stimulus checks of up to $1,200 this spring in an attempt to ward off a full-scale economic collapse as states across the country issued shut-down orders.

Dr. Fauci Wants You to Wear a Mask While Protesting Police Brutality

Movement to Remove Police From Schools Gains Momentum as Seattle and Oakland Boards Sever Ties With Departments

In the latest indication of the changing national conversation on law enforcement in the U.S., school boards on the West Coast on Wednesday voted to remove police officers from schools.

"Something has really shifted here," tweeted journalist Bridget Read. "These are material gains."

The Oakland, California and Seattle school boards both voted to remove officers from city schools after nearly a month of activist pressure erupting from the sustained protest movement for Black lives and against police brutality that has spread nationwide in the wake of the killing of George Floyd on May 25.

The two cities took different approaches to the issue, with Oakland voting to dismantle the school district's police department.

"This moment is a culmination of years of hard-fought advocacy, youth and family leadership, and community work," the Black Organizing Project said in a statement of the decision.

As KPIX reported:

Citing the disproportionate arrests of Black students by Oakland's school police, as well as the district's "obligation to promote the healthy development of each one of its students" and the many alternative ways to handle discipline inside schools, the board directed the superintendent to take steps required to eliminate the department.

From the 2015-2016 school year through 2019-2020, Black students have accounted for 73% of arrests in city schools but just 26% of enrollment, according to the resolution.

Seattle indefinitely suspended officers on campus, and nearby Edmonds joined Seattle in removing police from schools in a separate vote Wednesday. The board plans to reassess its relationship with police going forward.

"This whole issue needs a restart," board president Zachary DeWolf told the Seattle Times. ...

Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced an amendment (pdf) to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House is expected to vote on Thursday, barring "the use of federal funds for hiring, maintaining, or training law enforcement personnel in elementary schools or secondary schools." Pressley with Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) intorduced a separate amendment to fully end qualified immunity. 

"These amendments would help us protect the dignity and humanity of all in community by removing law enforcement from K-12 schools and finally allowing for police, corrections officers, and other public officials to be held accountable for violating our legal and constitutional rights," Pressley said in a statement. "In this moment of reckoning for our nation, our legislative response must match the scale and scope of the hurt so many are feeling, and these amendments do exactly that."

Who has a tin ear?

Trump requests toppled Confederate statue in DC be restored

Donald Trump has personally requested that a statue of a Confederate general be put back up after protesters in Washington tore the monument down, according to NBC News. The network reported that the US president had called interior secretary David Bernhardt and asked the Park Service to restore the fallen monument to Albert Pike, a senior figure in the slave-holding south’s military forces. ...

Protesters in Washington tore down the Pike statue last week. The statue has been a center of controversy for decades, with a number of local officials repeatedly calling for its removal.

Trump has said he plans to sign an executive order this week further protecting federal monuments beyond current law, and harshly punishing those who deface them, as Confederate, as well as colonial, statues have been targeted across the country amid the wider protest against racism and police brutality.

Activists have long denounced Confederate statues as monuments to white supremacy, especially as many were put up long after the civil war had ended as a way of continuing to intimidate Black Americans and symbolize ongoing white power.

One Bad Algorithm? Advocates Say Facial Recognition Reveals Systemic Racism in AI Technology

"He Couldn't Breathe": Graphic Video From April Police Killing of Carlos Ingram Lopez in Tucson Draws Outrage

Video of the police killing of Tucson, Arizona resident Carlos Ingram Lopez in April was released to the public on Wednesday, prompting outcry over systemic racism and police brutality from critics and the city's police chief offering his resignation.

"Carlos Ingram Lopez should still be alive today," the ACLU tweeted in response to the release of the footage.

Police were called to Lopez's grandmother's residence on April 21 because Lopez was intoxicated and behaving erratically. Officers pinned Lopez to the ground, cuffing him, and left him lying on his face for 12 minutes as he repeatedly said he could not breathe and called for his grandmother.

"We've said this before—police should not be first responders to calls involving behavioral health and drug use," Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) incoming executive director Kassandra Frederique said in a statement. "When Carlos' grandmother called the police because of his irregular behavior, she did not expect that they would kill her grandson."

Tucson chief of police Chris Magnus offered his resignation Wednesday at a press conference releasing the video. The officers involved in the killing have all resigned and are the subject of a criminal investigation.

City council member Lane Santa Cruz, who drew attention to the killing Tuesday before the release of the video, urged the public to concentrate on the behavior of police rather than on the chief's resignation.

"Now everybody's talking about the resignation and not about what unfolded when the family called 911 for help," Santa Cruz told the Arizona Republic. "He gets to leave and for those of us where Tucson is home, we don't get to go anywhere and we have to now deal with this head-on."

The ongoing protest movement for Black lives and against police brutality is making headway into Latin communities as well, as the New York Times reported:

The disclosure of Mr. Lopez's death comes at a time when many Latinos around the United States are calling for changes in how police treat their communities, echoing similar calls by African-Americans. Last week in California, outrage emerged over the killing of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Latino student and security guard, by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. The episode in Tucson occurred about a month before George Floyd, a black man, was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, igniting protests throughout the country.

DPA's Frederique also connected Lopez's killing to the broader movement and called for a re-evaluation of U.S. policing. 

"The Wendy's employee that called the police on Rayshard Brooks also did not expect they would take his life, neither did the store owner that called the police on George Floyd," said Frederique. "These incidents clearly could have been handled better by an unarmed, non-police responder trained in mental health and harm reduction."

"It is time to reevaluate what has fallen under the incredibly bloated scope of the police," Frederique added, "and begin redirecting resources towards appropriate community resources better suited for these kinds of situations."

Protesters filled Tucson streets Wednesday after the release of the video. A vigil for Lopez is scheduled for Thursday night.

‘Wipe 'Em Off the Fucking Map’: 3 Cops Were Caught on Camera Fantasizing About Killing Black People

Three police officers in Wilmington, North Carolina were fired on Wednesday after a routine audit of dashcam footage caught them having violently racist conversations, including one where an officer said he “can’t wait” to “go out and start slaughtering them fucking [n—words]” in a potential civil war.

During an audit on June 4, a Wilmington PD Sgt. Heflin discovered that the dashcam on Officer Michael “Kevin” Piner’s car had been accidentally activated, and had captured conversations Piner had with Cpl. Jesse Moore and Officer James “Brian” Gilmore. In those two conversations, the officers anticipated and even glorified the prospect of a racial civil war and looked forward to indiscriminately murdering Black people, among other racist comments. ...

Wilmington police chief Donny Williams, a Black veteran of the department who had been named its permanent chief on the previous day, said at a press conference that he would have no tolerance for the behavior recorded by the dashcams, according to Wilmington’s Port City Daily. ... In addition to firing the three officers, Williams said he would notify the North Carolina Education and Training Standards Commission because “these individuals should not be allowed to practice law enforcement again,” according to the report. ...

All three cops had been with the police department for more than twenty years, according to documents provided by the Wilmington Police Department, and all three had spent significant amounts of time on the department’s Special Operations team throughout their careers. When interviewed, “each officer pointed to the stress of today’s law enforcement environment” as the reason for the content of the conversations, according to the report. All three also denied being racist.

Should the Populist Left Work With the Populist Right Where They Have Common Ground, or Shun Them?

the horse race

Krystal Ball Predicts: Biden's failures will trigger a Dem civil war

After Attacking Medicare for All as 'Unrealistic' During Primary, Biden Says Healthcare a 'Right for All' Amid Pandemic

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden left some progressives perplexed Thursday when he spoke at length about healthcare during a campaign stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—making a number of points that would suggest he supports Medicare for All, a proposal he denounced as "unrealistic" throughout the Democratic primary.

Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein noted that Biden mentioned the unemployment crisis that's grown out of the coronavirus pandemic in his speech, suggesting that the loss of employer-based health coverage has made a powerful case for the federal government to guarantee healthcare to all Americans.

"Families are reeling right now," the former vice president said, "losing their employers' plans in droves as their employers go out of business, or have to suspend business—they need lifelines now."

Thomas Kennedy, Florida state coordinator for the immigrant rights group United We Dream, suggested expanding the popular Medicare program to cover all Americans would be an effective lifeline for the 43 million people who could lose their employer-based health insurance during the pandemic, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

However, Biden tied the crisis to his push for a public healthcare plan which would exist alongside the for-profit health insurance industry—not Medicare for All.

"We need a public option now more than ever, especially when 20 million people are unemployed," Biden said. "The public option will allow every American, regardless of their employment status, the choice to get a Medicare-like plan."

Biden is reportedly revamping some of the specifics of his healthcare plan in the coming weeks after forming a joint task force with former advisors to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who continues to advocate for Medicare for All following his presidential run.

In his speech, Biden said Americans would have to pay no more than 8.5% of their income on healthcare costs; under the Affordable Care Act, the current limit is 9.86%, and was lower in previous years. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs on top of premiums would still exist under Biden's plan, and as written, roughly 10 million Americans would remain uninsured. 

During the primary, Biden derided Sanders' Medicare for All proposal—which a Yale University study in February showed would save over $450 billion in healthcare costs annually—as "unrealistic." In an interview with MSNBC in March, days before the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national public health emergency and millions were left jobless overnight, Biden suggested that even if Medicare for All legislation were to pass in both chambers of Congress during his potential presidency, he would not necessarily sign it into law, citing concerns over cost.

Objections to Medicare for All over its potential costs have been particularly irksome to proponents of the single-payer solution, with study after study showing overall expenditures would be less while providing comprehensive coverage to everyone in the country.

On social media during his appearance in Pennsylvania—where a 2018 Morning Consult/Politico poll found a majority of voters supported Medicare for All—Biden suggested that Sanders was correct to demand that the federal government ensure every American have healthcare coverage, referring to healthcare as a "right for all."

the evening greens

Louisiana Environmental Activists Charged With “Terrorizing” for Nonviolent Stunt Targeting Plastics Giant

Two leaders of the long-running fight for environmental justice in Louisiana turned themselves in to police in Baton Rouge Thursday morning. The activists, who work in a part of the state known as “Cancer Alley,” faced charges of “terrorizing” related to a nonviolent protest action. Civil liberties attorneys are calling the charges a dramatic escalation of a yearslong effort by the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries to criminalize efforts to halt the expansion of polluting facilities in the state — part of a nationwide trend of cracking down on dissent around climate change issues.

The accusations against the activists, Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh, stem from a seemingly innocuous activist stunt carried out in December, the day after a festival designed to draw attention to the environmental misdeeds of Formosa Plastics. The Taiwanese petrochemical company plans to build a massive plastics manufacturing complex in a largely Black Louisiana community that has already suffered health problems linked to local industry. In October, Formosa agreed to a $50 million settlement for dumping pollutants, including the small pellets that form the building blocks for plastic products known as nurdles, into Texas’s Lavaca Bay — the largest settlement of a Clean Water Act lawsuit filed by private citizens.

With a key environmental permit still pending for Formosa in Louisiana, the action — dubbed “Nurdlefest” — was meant to pressure the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to scrutinize the company’s record. Boxes of the plastic pellets, used as evidence in the Texas case, were carted to the front of the agency, where around 75 people gathered in the rain. What apparently terrorized community members, however, was a container of the pellets that appeared on the porch of an oil and gas lobbyist, with a detailed note attached, explaining what they were and their Texas origin. “We have delivered this package of nurdles as a reminder – Louisiana does not need anymore pollution, plastics or otherwise,” the letter said. “We demand that LDEQ DENY Formosa’s air emissions permit application.”

The letter was signed by Concerned Citizens of Louisiana and included the phone number of Bill Quigley, the activists’ pro bono attorney. It also included warnings against leaving the nurdles around children or pets and a Formosa phone number for safely recycling the contents. Rolfes and McIntosh, who are respectively the director of and a program assistant at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which provides support to groups of community members living near polluting facilities, face a maximum of 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines for so-called terrorizing — defined as “the intentional communication of information that the commission of a crime of violence is imminent or in progress or that a circumstance dangerous to human life exists or is about to exist” — with the intention of causing members of the public to fear for their safety.

“This is an unwarranted escalation because they are using the term ‘terrorizing,’” said Pam Spees, senior attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is representing McIntosh and Rolfes. “It is imposing unfairly and inappropriately a label on people that have been peacefully working for years to raise awareness of the impact of industry on frontline communities. To use that word in a context like this is potentially damaging and chilling to others.”

As Coronavirus Cases and Unemployment in the US Climb, 39 Groups Launch Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities

As confirmed coronavirus cases and unemployment claims in the United States continue to rise, 39 environmental, faith, and public health organizations came together Thursday to launch a coalition advocating for federal action that "creates jobs, protects public health and the environment, and advances equity and justice."

"Our country is facing a set of historic and intersecting challenges—an ongoing pandemic, a faltering economy, deeply rooted racial injustice, and an ever-growing climate crisis," said Will Gartshore of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a statement announcing the coalition. "We have an opportunity to respond with solutions that will allow us to build back better and position our nation to be more equitable, more resilient, and ultimately more prosperous."

Gartshore, WWF's director of government affairs and advocacy, said that "as Congress works to revitalize the American economy and protect the American people, it should prioritize investments that are environmentally smart and sustainable, promote healthier and more resilient communities, support a just transition to a clean energy economy, and address long-standing disparities and inequities, including issues of environmental justice."

"The Covid-19 pandemic has made clear that the health of nature, the health of people, and the health of our economy are all deeply connected, and this fact should guide and inform the U.S. government's response, recovery, and economic stimulus efforts now and in the coming months," he added.

Other members of the new Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities (CFCEHC) include Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Defend Our Future, Earthjustice, Generation Progress, the National Medical Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and the Regeneration Project's Interfaith Power & Light campaign.

CFCEHC, its website says, "is a convening of communities demanding that any future stimulus and recovery packages must include policies that provide direct assistance to people, create good jobs for all—including in the clean energy sector—bolster policies that will grow the economy and cut pollution, correct inequities linked to environmental injustices and health disparities, address the climate crisis, protect public lands and oceans, and accelerate the transition to cleaner sources of energy."

Demonstrations calling for an end to systemic racism have swept the nation over the past month in the wake of Minneapolis police killing George Floyd, an unarmed Black man. The racial justice protests and demands have addressed not only law enforcement violence toward people of color but also the ongoing pollution of poor communities, many which have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coalition launch also follows months of groups urging governments around the world to respond to the pandemic with a People's Bailout, Just Recovery, Healthy Recovery, Green Recovery, Green Stimulus, and Global Green New Deal—related calls for recovery plans that simultaneously tackle the interwoven economic, environmental, and public health crises in ways that provide direct support to frontline communities.

Echoing the calls that preceded the creation of the coalition, CFCEHC says on its website that "any measure aimed at rebuilding our economy must not include giveaways to big polluters; any relief for the industry should be allocated to workers and communities affected by the downturn. We must also protect these workers and communities as we transition to cleaner forms of energy."

Also of Interest

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

After Killing of 18-Year-Old Andres Guardado, LA Protesters Struggle Against the Limits of Police Reform

The Cops Who Put Elijah McClain Into a Chokehold Are Finally Being Investigated

Oregon lawmakers question plane flying over protests with ties to U.S. Marshals

These New Jersey cities reformed their police – what happened next?

What Would Jamaal Bowman’s Win Over Pro-Israel Eliot Engel Mean for Palestinian Rights?

Doctors for Assange Say UK May be Liable for His Torture

“Free Speech” In The US Empire Is As Illusory As “Free-Range” Eggs

I'm a viral immunologist. Here's what antibody tests for Covid-19 tell us

Democrats Drill Down at Hearing on When and How Clayton Got the Nod from President Trump for Federal Prosecutor Role

Black holes may merge with light of a trillion suns, scientists say

Krystal and Saagar: BET's Robert Johnson calls out Biden on 'you ain't black', floats BLM party

Krystal and Saagar: Jeff Bezos MOCKED for renaming stadium 'Climate Pledge Arena'

Progressive Charles Booker pulls ahead of Amy McGrath in Kentucky primary

A Little Night Music

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - It's All Over Now

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Blackbird Special

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - John The Revelator

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - My Feet Can't Fail Me Now

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Old School

Dr. John & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Everything I Do Gon' Be Funky

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Junko Partner

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Cissy Strut

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Jazzwoche Burghausen 2008

16 users have voted.


Azazello's picture

The death, during an arrest by Tucson police, of Carlos Lopez has been the big story in Tucson all week. This morning it made the front-page of the NYT, Another Nightmare Video and the Police on the Defensive in Tucson and Common Dreams, as linked above. The video is here and at the above link.
It looks to me like a mental health issue and maybe the cops shouldn't have been called at all, but then who else could the family have called for help ?
I'm pretty sure this is what Defund the Police is all about, not so much eliminating all policing but shifting funds from cops to social services. There has to be a resource for when a family can't handle the situation. This will be a big test for our newly elected mayor, as if the virus weren't enough..
More local coverage here:
Political Notebook: Pence returning to Tucson as Arizona becomes battleground

Protest at Romero’s house
Many people consider protesting at an officeholder’s home to be crossing a line — one that separates public officials’ private lives from their public ones.
Congressional candidate Joseph Morgan does not.
When word started circulating last week that people planned to picket Tucson Mayor Regina Romero’s house over her mandate to wear masks due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, Morgan promoted the protest idea on Facebook. Then, Sunday evening, he joined the dozens of people who showed up outside Romero’s west-side house.

Police union targets council member
Lane Santa Cruz has taken the lead among Tucson City Council members in condemning the police department for its role in the in-custody death of Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez and for keeping his death quiet.
The comments upset the Tucson Police Officers Association, the union representing most of the police force, which argued that no force was used in the incident, and that it certainly wasn’t a murder. The autopsy concluded Ingram-Lopez died of cardiac arrest, with acute cocaine intoxication and physical restraint contributing, along with an enlarged heart.

12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


it appears to me that having an alternative to call for social problems is a big part of what defunding the police is about. there have certainly been enough high-profile tragedies by now to demonstrate beyond contest that police are not qualified to handle many sorts of social problems for which they are routinely called.

there are other things on the agenda, however. for example, large city police forces have spying units that need to go. i would argue that there is no need for paramilitary units and training, either. significant amounts of funding go to special units and activities that often turn up stories about the trampling of citizen rights. my guess is that there is a lot of money that can be saved.

5 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

The number of new cases in Florida has exploded. To give you an example, two weeks ago, newspaper headlines expressed grave concern that the number of new cases per day which had been about 1,000 per day, suddenly went over the 1,500 mark. This was ONLY two weeks ago. Yesterday, the number of new cases in Florida exceeded 8,900 or nearly six times that of two weeks ago.

In my own home county, Leon County which has done an admirable job of trying to contain the virus, yesterday represented a new one day high with 52 new cases with the total number of cases just under 700 and the total deaths at 9. This week, the Leon County Commission passed an ordinance that made wearing a mask in public mandatory with just a few exceptions. The County Commission has also been making masks available to the public to encourage mask wearing.

I am no longer in Florida or Leon County because I migrated to NC two weeks ago. But when I did venture out, the vast majority of people I saw in the stores wore face masks. The largest group of COVID cases in Leon County is from the 15-24 age group followed by the 25-24 age group, which are the ages of immortality. The median age in Leon County of diagnosed cases is 27 compared to the state median of 42. Both of the median age numbers have been dropping since I began following the state tracking site.

Meanwhile, here in western NC, people are much more loosey goosey about wearing masks than what I experienced in Leon County, Florida. The virus has not yet exploded here, but thankfully the governor of NC has mandated that all people must wear masks when indoors at a public facility or business. I heard that some local businesses are now prohibiting people from entering without a mask.

Folks, we are just beginning to get deep in the woods on this pandemic.

14 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

joe shikspack's picture


yep, i think that we are going to see a lot of suffering amongst people who thought that they were immune because they are white and god loves them personally. it shouldn't be too long before that theory goes out the window even in the bible belt.

hopefully, people and their elected representatives will get a clue pretty quickly and stop acting like idiots trying to pretend the pandemic went away and we can all come out now and go back to work and leisure activities as normal.

good luck! i hope that things are better in north carolina for you guys.

8 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Curious about the tweets with the public citizen logo and the wapo opinion graph. It appears that the graph purports to claim that the non-us countries have reported cases below actual due to limited testing. Do you know it that was based on anything at all, beyond maybe Trump self-PR tweets?

be well and have a good one.

6 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

looking at the graph and the text, it appears to me that it is saying that both the us and the non-us countries are under-reporting due to inadequate testing.

it seems to me that the important things in the graph are the trend-lines (non-us countries going down and us gushing upwards) and the vast gap between them.

i guess that it is possible for any country to jigger the books by intentionally under counting, but it seems unlikely that all of those first-world countries would decide to do so. on the other hand, i would not put it past the united states.

6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

6 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

you too!

3 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

Stay safe and thanks for the Blues Joe.

3 users have voted.

this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

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

joe shikspack's picture


thanks! have a great weekend!

3 users have voted.
Granma's picture

Is so bad.... I am ashamed of this country. There seems to be no institution that is not completely corrupt.
We are number 1 in corruption, number 1 in Covid cases and deaths, number 1 in screwing our own people, number 1 in lacking morals, ethics or empathy for our fellow humans.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


sadly, i have to agree with you. we're number one.

while i realized when i was a teenager that the country was not as good as its hype, there was hope then that what was wrong could be fixed. after decades of decline, it looks like there is a hard deadline looming to correct things or fall into the dumpster of history.

7 users have voted.
Granma's picture

@joe shikspack I hope your music counteracts the news you gather for us each day.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, the music is pretty effective, but when it's not, a weekend without news works pretty well.

have a good one!

6 users have voted.

China has reported on its total COVID-19 tests. (And in January it may not have been tests but only suspected cases of approximately 800,000.) 90,410,000 tests. Confirmed cases 83,462. Active cases 389. As no country has released its testing protocols, the number of tests doesn't tell us much.

It's known that China recently performed mass testing of all the residents of Wuhan over a ten day period. Was that limited to the city of Wuhan, population 10.6 million, the Wuhan metro area, population 19 million in 2010, or the Hubei province, population of 58.5 million? Regardless of which communities were tested, they have assurance that there are no asymptomatic infectious persons. Also, the low incidence of positive results means that China is capable of managing COVID-19 in that community for the time being.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


well, at least the chinese seem to have a good strategy, which is better than i can say for us.

if testing is going to be useful here, we will have to test everyone in a short period of time, quarantine and repeat until the number is zero.

my guess is that sort of thing is beyond both the imagination and competence of our government.

5 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

The left-leaning / die Tageszeitung (owned by a co-op, of which I am one of 18,000 members) ran an op-ed disparaging all German police as “garbage” …

For “the good of mankind and to end all world wars,” Trumpman Truman & Co. told ’em… The first U.S. nuclear test over Bikini atoll, 74 years ago …

And in other news, TIL (= “today I learned”) the definition of “queef” — eww …

4 users have voted.

Great round up, Mister.
Lots of cop stuff, court stuff, so I won't be bored this weekend, thank you very much.
I meet with the insurance adjuster on Monday to get the word on my burned down office. I have a Plan B to keep business going for a few months until a new office can be built.
I figured out a way to get my phone lines forwarded, and on and on.
Never a dull moment.
I am thankful for my friends, family, and loved ones. People have been calling, offering use of their offices, to help clean, to help load up furniture, and I hope I can one day repay their kind gestures.
I only hope it will not be my response to a fire they suffer.
TLOML can grill a steak, AND wash dishes! omigod!
And he has been my Rock during this stressful time.
I wish for everybody to have someone they can depend on for love and support.
With our country going to absolute shit, find that person and latch on!

4 users have voted.