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Roaming Charges: Bernt Offerings

+ You’d better stock up on those Marvin Gaye stamps while you can because the stamps for Trump’s privatized mail service will feature Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, PT Barnum, JP Morgan, Andrew Mellon, Charles Ponzi, old man Rockefeller, Roy Cohn, Michael Milkin, Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff and, of course, Trump himself…

+ So does Trump want to gut the US Postal Service in order to kill off vote by mail or to make sure those Trump Checks, as with most of his bill payments, are perpetually “in the mail”…

+ Stephanie Kelton: “In a sane world, the government would deliver a small Package to every person in America. Each month: face masks, gloves, a pre-paid debit card, testing kits, information about how to vote by mail. All delivered by USPS.”

+ This Your Country on Austerity: “A shortage of face masks has led the Department of Veterans Affairs to tell hospitals to decide which employees get masks and which don’t, according to internal memos.”

+ New York hospitals are running short of the swabs needed for COVID testing and could be completely out by next week: They’d rather you die at home on your kitchen floor, untested for COVID, so they can blame your death on something else, like your pre-existing ingrown toenail…

+ So much for the 10th Amendment, federalism, state’s rights, local control and all the other pretty notions the “conservatives” throw out there to gut environmental, labor, and health standards. All that stuff goes right out the penthouse window, the moment they decide they need to kill you in the name of profits and poll numbers…

+ You might want to check the fine print in your insurance policy to see if you’re still covered in the event that the government turns out to be a “moral hazard.”

+ Trump: “When somebody is President of the United States, the authority is total. It’s total.” (Obama acted this way, but had the sense not to say it in public. If he had, the Tea Party Caucus would have launched a raid on the White House and lynched him on the Elipse. Meanwhile, the Democrats can’t even rouse themselves out of their extended spring break to come back to Washington and serve as some kind of check on the sweeping power traps of this despot.)

+ Events which are not enough of an “emergency” to bring the Democratic-controlled House back in session before May 4th:

1. 23,500 dead
2. Trump appointing his daughter & her husband to run a national death panel.
3. Trump firing IG’s left & right
4. Trump seizing control of bailout $$ and rejecting an oversight of how its spent
5. Trump declaring he has total power…

+ Tweet by degenerating tweet, the man is rapidly losing what little sense he had left…

+ If what Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday was true (ie., that Trump immediately followed every one of his suggestions), then he should resign for failing at his job. If Fauci lied, then he should resign for allowing himself to be infected by Trump’s own pathological virus…probably from all that touching of his face after shaking hands with Trump. Either way, his credibility is shot as is his utility to Trump. Trump needs a couple credible voices around him until their credibility becomes a liability to him, then he either fires them immediately or makes them prostrate themselves publicly before him then fires them, hires some new sucker, usually in an “acting” capacity, and then repeats the cycle.

Trump: “I walk in, I hear I’m going to fire him. I’m not firing him.”

Q: Why retweet someone calling to fire Fauci?

Trump: “I retweeted somebody. I don’t know. They said fire. Doesn’t matter.”

Q: Did you notice that when you retweeted that?

Trump: “I notice everything.”

+ In Hungary, Viktor Orban got his obedient legislature to confer his “total power” over the country. Here, in the world’s most self-righteous “democracy,” the Congress is allowing Trump to seize total power simply by his own proclamation. Unconstitutional? Sure. But the Constitution only works if someone stands up to enforce it.

+ Susan Rice: “No, the president doesn’t have that authority absolutely. He doesn’t, as he claims, have ‘total authority.'” Obama, with your acquiescence if not encouragement, Ms. Rice, claimed the total authority to execute American citizens by drone without a trial. Is there a more extreme authority than that?

+ After acting like a Cable News version of Hans Frank (Hitler’s lawyer) for the past four years, Jonathan Turley finally gets an inkling of what his imaginary client is really all about…

+ Trump: “If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I’d rather have them — you can call it ‘federalist,’ you can call it ‘the Constitution,’ but I call it ‘the Constitution.’”

+ It is almost impossible now to remember that Brit Hume learned his reporting chops from the great Jack Anderson. Over the years, Hume’s steadily degenerated into a FoxNews version of Piers Morgan–with an even more pompous baritone bellowing out even more vacuous pronouncements, like this one…

+ Trump’s assertion that he has the “total power” to force governors to “reopen” their states comes after he spent weeks arguing that he didn’t believe he should pressure states that hadn’t imposed stay-at-home restrictions to do so.

+ Welcome to the hot spot: With less than 5% of the global population, the US now has 30.4% of the world’s COVID-19 cases.

+ As an escape from the trauma enveloping us, I’ve been reading Jane Harrison’s magnificent monograph on the origins of ritual in the classical world, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, and was struck by her description of “burnt offerings,” launching off from a text fragment written by one of the most intriguing figures in antiquity: Xenophon, student of Socrates, mercenary, memoirist, historian and philosopher. Plato with blood on his spear and mud on his greaves. These sacrifices, Xenophon’s was of a group of pigs at the altar of Zeus (Easy-to-be-Entreated) Meilichios, are made under cover of night, usually featuring black skinned or furred animals, which were slaughtered at the temple of god, their bodies burned, until no meat was left. A burnt offering. A holokaustos, with that rough breathing “h”a whole burning, ash ascending. And though Bernie Sanders is no Xenophon, it struck me that he had done something similar, leading the Sandernistas unwittingly up the trail to the temple of the DNC, with only the faint sound of distant bleating when the knife was drawn and fires lit, as his entire movement was offered up in sacrifice to the political gods of neoliberalism, in the desperate hope that by burning the movement he led they could vanquish the interloper. A bernt offering. And no socialist meat was left on the bone…

+ Bernie’s pathetic dog-and-pony show with Biden on Monday is just the latest example of him being a “good soldier” for the very same Democratic Party he claims not to be a card-holding member of, as when he voted for Bill’s war on Serbia, Bill’s covert war in Iraq, Bill’s crime bill, Obama’s overthrow of Libya, endorsed & campaigned for HRC, etc…

+ So two hostage videos–one by Sanders and the other by Fauci–are about all I can stomach in one week.

+ Bernie, who scolded his followers that it be “irresponsible” not to support Joe Biden, has gone from leader of the Revolution© to spokesman for the Counter-Revolution in less than a week…

+ Now he tells us? Correct me if I’m wrong, and I often am, but wasn’t winning the white suburban and white working class Trump voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania the ENTIRE rationale for Biden’s otherwise listless and ideologically regressive campaign?

+ Fucking up is the one thing the Democrats never fail at, like their brand new plan to accuse Trump of “rolling over to China on COVID“…Can they really out-bigot a bigot? Stay tuned.

+ America, time to meet your Death Panel…

+ Nixon had CREEP, while Trump has the Committee to Reopen America Prematurely (CRAP)…

+ Too bad Chaplin isn’t alive to make the CRAP movie, COVID Times…Here’s Scott Walker, who wants the manufacturing sector reopened, the break and lunchrooms shuttered, so workers can be “kept at their machinery” all day…

+ Rise in coronavirus cases in states without stay-home orders, in the past week:

OK +53%
AR +60%
NB. +74%
IA. +82%
SD. +205%

You have to admire their courage, because that’s a helluva price to pay to “own the Libs.”

+ Trump, January 24: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”

+ Trump on February 10th: “China is very professionally run in the sense that they have everything under control….we just sent some of our best people over there, World Health Organization and a lot of them are composed of our people. They’re fantastic.”

+ Deadbeat America: Trump is “suspending” US payments to the WHO at a time when the US owes the WHO $100 million…This is how Trump has run every business he’s ever owned: failed to pay his debts, blamed the people he owes and sued them if they complained.

+ Biologist Stuart Newman offers this 3 point refutation of Trump’s anti-WHO rant today, which any member of the White House press corps can use free of charge…Any takers? How about you Yamiche? Not today. Acosta? John Roberts? Anyone?

1) The WHO’s uncertainly about person-to-person transmission lasted just a week in January until definitive evidence was available,
2) The U.S. was the 45th country to curtail travel from China
3) The NY infections came from Europe…

+ Here’s a very useful timeline developed by Just Security charting the spread of the virus and all of the (known) fuckups along the way…

+ CNN’s John King calls Trump’s decision to cut WHO funding in the middle of a pandemic “bold and controversial”. I guess that’s one way of putting…Here’s another way:

Pence: Who is responsible for this mess?
Trump: Yes.
Pence: Who?
Trump: Exactly.
Pence: What?
Trump: No, WHO.
Pence: That’s what I’m asking….

+ Trump: “If the virus returns in the fall, as some scientists think it may, possibly, we will put it out quickly.” Hmmm. Then why the hell can’t they put it out now?

+ In a city with empty casinos and vacant hotels up and down the Vegas strip, this scene pretty much sums up how a system fueled by depraved indifference reaches its terminal point…

+ Dr. Oz (Fox’s go-to expert) really wants to reopen schools, at a cost of only 2 or 3% of the kids, telling a nodding Sean Hannity last night: “Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider.” (He didn’t calculate the death rate for teachers, teaching assistants, school janitors, cooks or bus drivers.)

+ Oz is Rev. Jim Bakker with better hair and Sean Hannity is his Tammy Faye. You can tell by the fluttering eyelashes…

+ Tariq Ali: “The pollution levels have plummeted in all the big cities. Sky and stars visible at night. But the levels of banality have sky-rocketed. We’re drowning in it.”

+ FoxNews’ dilemma (one of them) is how to treat the coronavirus as just a little flu, while continuing to cover every word of Trump’s daily rants, including his TMZ-like interviews with corona survivors where he begs for gory details on how near death they were and what it felt like to struggle for breathe as their lungs filled with green slime…

+ Total U.S. coronavirus tally at the end of each Friday. As Andrew Yang would say: MATH…

• Jan 17 — 0
• Jan 24 — 2
• Jan 31 — 7
• Feb 7 — 12
• Feb 14 — 15
• Feb 21 — 30
• Feb 28 — 65
• Mar 6 — 310
• Mar 13 — 2,224
• Mar 20 — 17,962
• Mar 27 —  102,636
• April 3 —   275,000
• April 10 — 504,000
• April 17 — 707,000 and counting…

+ Nearly one in seven pregnant women in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, but most of them exhibited minimal to no symptoms, a limited study revealed. Of those 215 women, 33 tested positive for the coronavirus and 29 of them showed no telling symptoms for the virus, such as fever or persistent cough, which made them “silent carriers” of Covid-19.

+ Native Americans are 36.7% of New Mexico’s COVID19 cases despite being only 10.9% of the population.

+ GOP campaign slogans are certainly getting more truthful under Trump. As Reagan’s bucolic “Morning in America” has been replaced with Trump’s “Mourning in America.”

+ The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day by commercial labs in the U.S. plummeted by more than 30 percent from its peak over the past week, even though new infections are still surging. The harsh truth is that they don’t want more testing, which will only reveal more COVID infections. They want the COVID numbers (artificial as they are) to go down so they can justify forcing people back into contaminated workplaces…

+ Robison Meyer and Alexis Madrigal writing in the Atlantic: “The high positivity rate also suggests that new cases in the U.S. have plateaued only because the country has hit a ceiling in its testing capacity.”

+ Virologists have recommended at least 500,000 COVID-19 tests a day in the US, but testing here topped out at around 220,000 tests a day and the rate of testing has now sunk to about 145,000 tests a day…

+ Remember Trump on the day of his Great Awakening, when he paraded a flock of CEOs across the lawn of the Rose Garden as if they were contestants in one of his Miss Universe pageants and promised COVID-19 tests  for all Americans who wanted one, in testing centers conveniently located in the parking lot of the nearest Walmart? Well, this is what he said on Thursday: “It’s ridiculous” to think the federal government is supposed to be doing testing in a parking lot somewhere.”

+ After weeks of work, this is what the Democrats have come up with to help unemployed workers who’ve lost their employer provided health care, an extension of COBRA?

“COBRA allows laid-off workers to keep buying into their health insurance plans. But there’s a big catch: It can be prohibitively expensive because laid-off people are on the hook for their part of the insurance premium as well as their employer’s part (on average, $7,200 for an individual and more than $20,000 for a family).”

+ Consider how this will play in the Democratic stronghold of Los Angeles County, where less than 50 percent of the population still have jobs (and health insurance).

+ In the throes of one the most dangerous public health crises in the nation’s history, the Democrats offer a plan that continues to feed the private health insurance industry, leaving unemployed workers with the bill. How can Bernie say he’s had any influence at all on these corp hacks?

+ More than 22 million have now been fired, furloughed or laid off, with 28 percent of workers in food services and accommodations industry have filed Unemployment Insurance claims in the last 4 weeks…

+ The International Labour Organisation estimates that industries in which the risk of lay-offs or furloughs due to COVID-19 is high employ 1.25 billionn people.

+ The city of Portland is taking its first brutal steps to cut costs during the COVID-19 crisis demanding that non-union employees must take 10 unpaid furlough days. All raises and COLA increases are frozen. Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is now in talks with unions for further cuts, says he will forgo his salary until the end of the year. (Portland’s timber trust fund mayor doesn’t deserve a salary, based on his performance with COVID, the homeless and the fascist marches that have plagued the city for past 4 years…)

+ If you can understand economics, you’re not doing it right…

+ According to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy is expected to shrink by 3% during 2020 in a stunning coronavirus-driven collapse of activity that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s…Only 3%?

+ Amazon stocks hit record high on hopes of a coronavirus boom!

+ And you thought a Cuomo would lead you (but you didn’t ask where)…

+ You might think it wouldn’t be prudent to “reopen” the country until there was a vaccine that worked against the COVID-19 virus. So how long will that be? According to Wayne C. Koff, of the Human Vaccine Project, it might be as “soon” as 14 to 18 months from now (Fall 2021). Or it could be as long as 10 years…Or never:

“Historically…vaccine development is a high risk, long-term and costly initiative, with less than 10 percent of candidates in development ever achieving licensure, and often taking more than a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has already highlighted significant limitations in global pandemic preparedness, and challenges for vaccine development.”

+ Smoke finally finds gun…

+ The latest payroll employment data for March show that women were the hardest hit by initial job losses in the COVID-19 labor market; women were 50.0% of payroll employment in February, but represented 58.8% of job losses in March.

+ We’ve sent our doctors, nurses, EMTs, lab techs & hospital personnel into the battlefield without weapons against or armor to protect them from COVID-19. And now more than 9,000 of them are infected.

+ The highest risk occupations for contracting COVID-19…

+ “She showed up for work one day and they didn’t have a mask for her…” Danielle DiCenso, a 33-year Florida traveling nurse, was found dead at home from COVID-19 related complications, after working at a hospital which failed to provide protective equipment…

+ 50 Department of Education Employees in New York City have died, including 21 teachers.

+ Here’s a visual from the New York Times  showing why that six feet of separation may still be seven feet too short

+ 3,200: the number of passengers and crew who remain aboard Carnival cruise ships.

+ 82% of the benefits of a tax change tucked in the must-pass coronavirus package will go to people earning more than $1 million a year, according to a new report from the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. Hedgefunds are real estate owners are the big winners…

+ The Nation’s Joan Walsh is this week’s winner of the Susan Estrich Award for Feminists Defending Sexual Predators. (New winners every week, until the election.)

+ One standard for Joe the Molester, another standard for Brett the Drunken Student…

+ When has Biden ever taken responsibility for, pick one: Anita Hill, Iraq War, Clinton Crime Bill, massive deportations, bank bailouts, drone strikes, Libya, sexually assaulting a staffer…

+ I can understand that much of Middle America might prefer a sedate, moderate politician after the experience of four years of Trump. But you’d think they would at least want someone who offered proof of sentience (and, oh yeah, that he’s not a rapist).

+ Joe and Jill Biden used “legal” tax loopholes to dodge taxes on almost 10 million dollars they made from speaking fees after Biden left office. They used shell corporations to dodge the 15 percent taxes they would have had to pay.

+ When you deploy Obama’s Bass-o-Matic, the fish just jump right on the hook…

+ AOC on What It Feels Like to Finally Come to Support Your Party’s Rapist…”It’s uncomfortable, but that’s how you know it’s working…”

+ With more than 34,000 dead at Trump’s feet, Biden already polling worse against Trump than HRC…Way to go Democrats!

+ Jump to the head of the line, Congressman Hollingsworth, I don’t think anyone will ask to see your number… Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth says letting more Americans die of the coronavirus is lesser of two evils compared to the economy tanking.

+ What ever happened to leading by example?

+ White Genocide, the strange saga begins in Michigan, where they’re doing it to themselves in one mass orgy of mutual infection

Freedom’s just another word
For coughin’ in your face
Cause a virus don’t mean nothing, hon’, if it ain’t free
Now feelin’ good was easy lord when our lungs were half full
Hey, feeling good, hack, was good enough for me
Good enough for my COVID and me….

+ What are the Proud Boys proud of, exactly, the relative paleness of their skin? Because they certainly aren’t demonstrating the intellectual superiority of the “white race.” I’ve been to many ridiculous, pointless rallies in my life, and even planned some of them, but what is to be gained by blocking the entrance to the emergency room of a hospital, unless they suspected that the majority of people using the Sparrow Hospital in downtown Lansing are black people in dire need of medical treatment?

+ Meanwhile, in Ohio, scenes of rampaging MAGA-zombies played out like a mashup of Let the Right One In meets Day of the Living Dead…

+ Or perhaps Shaun of the Dead..

+ Kentucky, Ain’t no time to reason why, whoop-ie, we all wanna die…

+ The Super-Spreaders Death Cult Movement is coming soon to Salem, Oregon…

+ Trump on the Super-Spreader Death Cult: “They seem to be like protesters who like me and respect this opinion.”

+ Here were South Korea’s three conditions for “re-opening”, none of which seem to jibe with the Metrics in Trump’s head…

1. Fewer than 50 new cases a day
2. Proportion of people whose infection source could not be identified should be less than 5%
3. Fewer than 1,500 active cases under quarantine

+ I just got off the phone with a friend who is a photographer & writer living in Paris, where Macron is set to extend the lockdown for another month. To go out in Paris, you now need a note from yourself explaining why. Lizzy asked me to write her an assignment note telling her to write in her note to herself that she had gotten a note from me telling her to go out on the streets of Paris and take photographs. Over to you, Samuel Beckett…

+ Speaking of zombies…the rich are scrambling to get their hands on as much blood plasm as they can before you even knew blood plasm was thing you might want to stockpile, if you had a place to stockpile it….

+ When the virus goes pandemic, Big Pharma execs crack open Robert Jay Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors and use it as a strategic plan to roll out new product: “An arthritis drug can make infections worse — but it’s going to be tested in coronavirus patients anyway.”

+ Eight retirees in Broward County, Florida met five nights a week to play poker. All eight contracted COVID-19. Three have died.

I took up all of my winnings
And I gave my little Bessie half
And she tore it up and blew it in my face
And said, You just gave me COVID, ass…

+ We interrupt your morning siesta with an important message from Captain Bligh…

+ So Trump’s two favorite movies are Gone with the Wind and Mutiny on the Bounty, where he sees himself as Scarlett O’Hara in the first and Cpt Bligh in the other. That explains almost everything about him, including the hair and makeup…

+ This week Trump quietly named Bush-era torture proponent and sanctions cheerleader Marshall Billingslea as his new special envoy on arms control, less than ten months ahead of the expiration of the New START treaty,

+ Richard Burr has become the face of corruption in the US, first for his insider stock trading, now for selling his DC house to a campaign donor and lobbyist for $900,000, $100,000 more than the market price. “This has every appearance of being a violation of the gift ban,” Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, told Pro Publica. “The gift ban is one of the most basic legal frameworks for preventing corruption.”

+ Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, a former banker, bought $125,000 worth of stock in the BlackRock Health Sciences fund within days of a private briefing on the virus.

+ 26 workers at the Vogtle nuclear construction site have tested positive for COVID19, according to Georgia Power. 123 have displayed symptoms but so far have tested negative. They are waiting on the results for 18 others….

+ Speaking of nuclear power, there have been seven nuclear reactor “SCRAMs” in the last three weeks, including two at the Millstone plant, which would be an alarming rate, if anyone was paying attention.

+ Well, that didn’t take long. Wisconsin is seeing a surge in COVID cases after their “dying to vote” election…

+ If ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was “feeling great”, how did he get a COVID-19 test, when so many others, whose lungs are drowning in syrup-thick fluid, can’t? Maybe the Nazi-Barbie reporter from OANN will investigate…

+ Yes, Stephanolopoulus’ wife, Ali Wentworth, had COVID, but George himself was asymptomatic, while husband and then their wives were dying on their kitchen floors in the Bronx untested.

+ Here’s Rick Santorum back on CNN defending Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, recalling Bob Kerrey’s most memorable line, in an otherwise dismal political career: “Santorum, that’s Latin for Asshole.” I suggest that if CNN really feels the need to interview Rick Santorum they should ask him questions about topics he’s expert on. Here’s one for you John King, “So, senator, is anal bleaching safe?”

+ There’s barely anything left to cut at the once venerable The Oregonian, but they’re slashing away none-the-less, through the bone down to the marrow…”The Oregonian Media Group said Wednesday it will cut most employees’ pay for the rest of the year and require them to take additional, unpaid furloughs as the coronavirus outbreak takes a heavy toll on journalism in the state.”

+ The print edition of the Boston Globe featured an unprecedented 12 pages of death notices last Sunday…

+ Slate, which has been bleeding cash for years, just cut the pay of its staff today: 5-10% for salaries under a 100k, 10-20% for salaries more than 100k.

+ So hard to choose sides in this one: On Sunday, CNN had to get security to escort Stephen Miller off the set because he continued berating Jake Tapper after their segment ended….

+ Rupert Murdoch on Trump: “What a fucking idiot.” (Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff)

+ Rupert, come get your fucking idiot…

+ What are the odds that Trump knows Chris Wallace is Mike Wallace’s son?

+ Israel has just shut down a Palestinian COVID-19 testing site, while the US has shipped 1 million masks to Israel for IDF soliders. Meanwhile China has just sent 10,000 tests and ventilators to Palestine, and Chinese doctors are sharing COVID-19 expertise with Palestinian doctors.

+ 295 diagnosed cases of Coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, plus another 81 cases in East Jerusalem [including 10 residents of Kufr Aqab, which is part of Israeli-defined “Greater Jerusalem Municipality”…

+ 800: the number of executions Saudi Arabia has carried out under King Salman.

+ Guilherme Boulos, leftwing politician in Brazil: “Brazil is the only country on earth where the health minister is going to lose his job for having decided to fight coronavirus.”

+ From the recently released trove of internal documents showing the Labour Party’s efforts to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn…

“Chat logs show that some colleagues who denounced ‘Trots’ themselves were in turn themselves privately regarded as ‘Trots’ by other staffers for being seen as insufficiently critical.”

+ To which, the People’s Front of Judea proclaimed: “Splitists!”

+ Credit One Bank would prefer to continue doing their redlining and foreclosures in black neighborhoods without potty-mouthed Kyle Larson bringing unwelcome attention to their own institutional racism…

+ Here’s the IRS (which now seems to be run by Intuit) link for how to check on the status of your TrumpCheck, whether it’s been sent, deposited or perhaps confiscated by your creditors, courtesy of Steve Mnuchin…

+ Ha, ha. You didn’t think it would actually work, did you?

+ If Trump’s signature is going on the “stimulus checks”, shouldn’t they also go on the death certificates, where the latest estimate is that if Trump had acted even one week earlier 40,000 lives could have been saved…

+ John Fugelsang: “Getting a check with Trump’s signature on it is the closest most of us will ever get to feeling like a porn star.”

+ The US now has 3 times more Covid-19 cases than any other country on earth. Let’s hope Putin doesn’t steal this amazing victory from us…

+ More than 16,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19, 3,000 more than in World War I…

+ MIT study: “New York City’s multi-tentacled subway system was a major disseminator — if not the principal transmission vehicle — of coronavirus infection during the initial takeoff of the massive epidemic that became evident throughout the city during March 2020.”

+ At the very moment the US is running out of masks and Trump wants to shut down the Postal Service, his golfing buddy, Shinzo Abe, is delivering every Japanese resident two masks a week via the mail…What’s it feel like to live in the world’s biggest shithole of a country?

+ When you live in a shithole country with a shithead for a president you’re going to get a shitshow…One top executive described described Trump’s recent conference call with Wall Street titans as a ‘shit show’ with little or no substance.

+ Billionaire wealth increases last week:

Jeff Bezos: +$6.8B
Mark Zuckerberg: +$6.2B
Warren Buffett: +$5B
Elon Musk: +$4.2B
Larry Ellison: +$4B
Larry Page: +$3.6B
Bill Gates: +$3.6B

Meanwhile, more than 16 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past month. (Source: Public Citizen.)

+ The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which authorizes loans to small businesses to pay employees during the COVID-19 crisis, ran out of money on Thursday and is now frozen. Small Business Administration says it is “currently unable to accept new applications” or enroll new lenders.

+ Debt Forgiveness, Trump-style: Trump Treasury Department gives banks green light to seize $1,200 stimulus checks to pay off debts…

+ Episodes in the brutalities of capitalism: the COVID-19 crisis is being used as an opportunity to force down wages, as new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows pushes new measures to bailout Big Ag on the backs of farmworkers at a time of record unemployment.

+ I met Ramsay on my first day at American University, back in the summer of ’77, probably lured to her room down the hall by the inviting sounds of the Dead’s American Beauty record playing on her stereo. We’ve remained friends ever since. Ramsay’s a member of the CounterPunch Sewing Circle and has been making masks for the past few of weeks from a pattern I posted in Roaming Charges last month. She wrote this week to say that she delivered “the first batch of masks went to the Arlington, Virginia drive for PPE for the local front line workers. Finally received a new supply of precious elastic and started production up again this week.” Here’s a photo of her handiwork and her mighty Singer machine, which she’s had since she was 13.

Here’s the link to the pattern.

+ Update on Ctp. Crozier’s crew: 655 sailors from aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have now tested positive for Covid-19, six are currently hospitalized on Guam, including one death and one in the ICU, the Navy says.

+ The Pentagon’s latest statistics on Coronavirus exposure: 4011 current cases amongst service members, families, contractors and civilian employees. 2486 of them are military. 951 of those are Navy, the service most affected. 17 deaths so far.

+ According to the Pentagon, the US Patriot missile “defense” system is now installed and operational in Iraq. So, not leaving after all…

+ There are now at least 136 confirmed COVID-19 cases inside Maryland state prisons.

+ In Ohio, 273 incarcerated people have tested positive for the coronavirus, 8 times the infection rate of the state as a whole.

+ Prisoners at the jail in Wayne County, Michigan allege that fellow prisoners with COVID-19 symptoms aren’t being tested. The sheriff’s office says that isn’t true. But that’s pretty hard to believe given the numbers of jail staff with COVID:

Number of staff at the jail who have tested positive: 114

Number of prisoners: 1

+ Number of detainees tested for COVID by ICE: 300

Number of ICE detainees who have tested positive: 105

Number of peopled still in ICE custody: 32,000!

+ How do you like your idiot governor now, ranchers and frackers? COVID-19 cases are spiking in South Dakota after the state’s Governor Kristi Noem deprecated social distancing and stay-at-home measures for her state. You might remember Noem as the governor who tried to make it impossible for Native Americans living on the reservations in the state to vote in the 2018 elections.

+ A public relations consultant has warned hedge fund managers that seeking seeking aid as “small businesses” shows ‘poor moral judgment’…I thought “poor moral judgment” was a pre-requisite for the job?

+ Consider that while most of us are getting a $1200 stimulus check, if the Post Office survives and the electronic deposit system doesn’t crash and the bank doesn’t steal it to cover your credit card debts, 43,000 individual tax filers who make at least $1 million a year are going to reap a savings of $70.3 billion from the Corona Stimulus bill— or about $1.6 million apiece, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

+ Ezzie Dominguez on working as a night cleaner of hospitals in Denver:

I feel very safe at my day job, but not at the nighttime cleaning job. I’m terrified to go. This week, I went to the address they gave us to clean and it turned out to be a hospital. They gave us boot protectors to put over our shoes, one pair of gloves, and a little apron to put over our clothing. That was it. I asked for a face mask, but they said I had a bandana so I could just use that. They gave us the chemicals, a mop, and a map of the floors and told us which rooms to go to. They wouldn’t tell us if the floors we were going to had patients infected with coronavirus. They just say, ‘We’ll come and get you in a couple hours,’ and that was it.

+ Guatemalan’s health minister denounced the Trump administration’s immigration and refugee policies, calling the US the “Wuhan of Americas,” and charging that deportation flights from the US are driving up coronavirus cases after a flight had 75% test positive…

+ The Brazilian state of Maranhao had 107 respirators & 200,000 masks delivered from China this week to fight coronavirus. They had to send them through Ethiopia, so they wouldn’t be confiscated by the U.S. or Bolsoanaro’s regime in Brazil.

+ The Rules are For Thee Not Me…“Ivanka Trump herself has not followed the federal guidelines advising against discretionary travel, leaving Washington for another one of her family’s homes, even as she has publicly thanked people for self-quarantining.”

+ Last month was the first March without a school shooting in the United States since 2002.

+ Søren Kierkegaard: “It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.” (Either/Or)

+ Since we may have reached the end times (if not the end of time itself), what’s the best final track on an album? My nomination… “The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss,” Los Angeles, X.

+ “Florida Man” Governor Ron DeSantis has declared the World Wrestling Federation an “essential business”, a favor, which will save the WWE millions, as Linda McMahon (Trump’s former Commerce Secretary) announced that her Super Pac will be dropping $18.5 million dollars into Florida for Trump reelection.

+ Two countries, explained in two headlines…

+ Ah, the dilemmas of the “New” South during a pandemic…state officials in Georgia are being urged to suspend a Jim Crow-era law prohibiting the wearing of masks in public, a measure originally designed to suppress Klan rallies…until all the Klan members put on suits and entered the state legislature.

+ Here’s my pitch for a sequel to the Philip Roth HBO series: The Plot to Reopen America, in which the president of the United States incites an insurrection against his own stay-at-home orders, as a killer pandemic sweeps the continent….It’s a tragic-comedy. Think Preston Sturges meets Roger Corman.

+ This is the first (and I hope last) time I’ve ever felt even the slightest tic of sympathy for the position Henry Kissinger has gotten himself into. Thanks a lot, Chelsea

+ If you want to wipe that mind-curdling image from your head, I suggest reading this essay in the New Republic written by my friend Nina Burleigh on Trump’s women:

“If Trump can be said to “empower” women at all, it is in the same way that he empowers the women closest to him, promoting them as commodities; as deal enhancers. Trump’s wife, daughters, and daughters-in-law must resemble in style and stature the thousands of women this impresario of female flesh has lined up beside himself for years in his beauty pageants and reality television escapades. They must choose his favorite shoe and relinquish their right to run…”

+ The Pharaohs don’t seem to be getting the message…the UN expects the second wave of locusts now swarming across East Africa to be 20 times worse than the previous outbreak.

+ Locusts, viruses, and radioactive fires near Chernobyl…If only we had an Oracle who could decipher what the Gods are trying to tell us.

+ The Oregon state liquor sales numbers for March are out and up 20% from a year ago. Within that increase: a 44 % jump in retail sales to individuals and a 53% decline in sales to bars and restaurants. March 19 was the biggest shipping day in OLCC history.

+ Beer and the Military in WWII: Breweries were required to set aside 15% of their production for American soldiers — but with only 3.2 percent alcoholic content…

+ After slashing mercury standards for coal plants, I think we can now say that Trump’s EPA is a greater threat to public health than COVID-19…

+ Spring Break 2020: you partied your ass off on the beach and totally survived the coronavirus pandemic, only to perish weeks later from e coli, after Trump’s FDA and Agriculture Department cut food inspection and safety standards

+ The destruction of forests into fragmented patches is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans, according to a new Stanford study. Way back in the dark ages, one of the first environmental jeremiads I drafted was an argument that the fragmentation of the deciduous forests of the Midwest threatened to decrease the genetic diversity and could ultimately lead the to the extirpation of deep forest plants and wildlife, particularly neotropical migrant songbirds, such cerulean warblers, yellow-breasted chats, Acadian flycatchers, hooded warblers, Louisiana waterthrushes, and ovenbirds. I wrote that almost 40 years ago now. David Brower thought it was groundbreaking stuff, but nobody else seemed to notice much. Maybe the the science is finally catching up, perhaps too late for our species, but maybe not for our avian friends…

+ Greenland’s ice sheet, the world’s second largest, lost more than 600 billion tons of water last year in its biggest outright drop of “surface mass” since record-keeping began in 1948.

+ Despite what Trump said last week about the air “never being so carbon-free,” atmospheric CO2 levels are actually higher than last year…

+ The so-called “Westside drought” (West of the Rockies, that is), which has parched the interior West for the last two decades, is emerging as the worst mega-drought in the last 1,200 years, according to a study published in Science this week. Fueled by climate change, naturally.

+ Russia’s draft energy strategy, released this week, would reduce emissions by 33% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. While this is a modest improvement over Russia’s current pledge to reduce emissions by 25-30% over the same timeframe, the new plan still represents a significant increase in emissions relative to today, largely because Russia’s emissions fell significantly in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s emissions today are roughly half of what they were in 1990.

+ Some encouraging poll results from the Tar Sand Province…

79% strongly agree that Alberta should transition towards renewable energy

51% strongly agree that Alberta should transition away from oil and gas

+Trump’s response to the startling decline in lynx populations across the West? Remove the lynx from the Endangered Species Act, then annihilate its habitat once and for all…

+ A new survey has found that Oregon’s wolf population has risen to 158, missing from the count, however, was OR-7, the wolf made famous by his 4,000-mile journey to find a mate in 2011…

+ How sin plucks on sin…Coastal GasLink paid $171,000 to kill wolves in the range of an endangered caribou herd that will lose critical habitat to the company’s pipeline for a gas export project

+ Generally speaking, wolves howl, not Coyotes (who yip, snarl, bark, whine, laugh, snicker, gripe and chatter), except in North Beach, after they’ve browsed the poetry section at City Lights and feasted on the Ginsberg…

+ Like almost everyone, I’ve had insomnia for the past couple of weeks and have stayed up late reading or trying to find movies to watch. Flipping through the vast ranges of cable channels last night, I stumbled on Death Wish, one of the cinematic harbingers for the Trump era of white vigilantism & male power fantasies sublimated through the sadistic use of a 38, though even Charles Bronson may be a little too ethnic for today’s MAGA crowd. Just as I was poised to click it off, I heard a few familiar funky chords on the soundtrack & was intrigued to find that the film was scored by Herbie Hancock, which lent the movie, which seethes with racial fear & hatred, a new dissonant subtext, that the death-drenched visual narrative of the film is subverted by the life-affirming music? Was Death Wish (despite the five, increasingly depraved, sequels) actually a critique of white vigilante justice? Or did Herbie just need the cash? (What’s Jimmy Page’s  excuse for scoring the soundtrack to Death Wish 3?)

+ Gary Bartz on discovering Bird: “I heard this record of Charlie Parker. Now I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what the instrument was. I just knew it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard in my life.”

RIP Lee Konitz…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

On Diversity: the Eclipse of the Individual in a Global Era
Russell Jacoby
(Seven Stories)

Killer Apps: War, Media, Machine
Jeremy Packer & Joshua Reeves
(Duke)

Apropos of Nothing
Woody Allen
(Arcade)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Live at Birdland
Lee Konitz, Brad Meldhau, Charlie Hayden and Paul Motion

Years
John Anderson
(BMG)

The New Abnormal
The Strokes
(RCA)

Nature to Them

“In a world that has been thoroughly permeated by the structures of the social order, a world that so overpowers every individual that scarcely any option remains but to accept it on its own terms, such naiveté reproduces itself incessantly and disastrously. What people have forced upon them by a boundless apparatus, which they themselves constitute and which they are locked into, virtually eliminates all natural elements and becomes ‘nature’ to them.” (Adorno, Why Still Philosophy?)

More articles by:

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

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