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Roaming Charges: Killing Yourself to Live

Gloves under lockdown, Portland, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ Neoliberalism: an ideology of austerity, which contends that economics is a science and epidemiology is soothsaying.

+ One of the eternal axioms of American politics: When you don’t know anything claim that you’re right about everything and wrong about nothing.

+ This strategy pays off, time and time again. Consider that 3.5 years into the Trump administration, where the President averages 30 lies big & small a day, and 4 months into a pandemic he did nothing to prepare for, stop, or even slow the spread of: 44% of Americans, according to the latest Morning Consult poll, have either a “high” or “moderate” level of trust in the information coming out of his mouth.

+ Trump claimed that new COVID-19 infections had peaked on April 4 and used this clearly specious date to demand that states begin reopening, which several have to their own (and ours, eventually) peril. Today, there were 38,470+ new recorded Coronavirus cases, the highest to date. The pandemic hasn’t peaked. The estimate of 60,000 COVID deaths that Trump was patting himself on the back about only last week will probably be eclipsed on Tuesday. There are still 760,000 active cases. If new cases stopped today (which they won’t), it’s likely that there will be at least another 40,000 deaths in the US and probably far more, since the virus shows no signs of slowing down and social distancing is breaking down (or being broken down)….

+ My brain is hanging upside down…

+ You heard it here first: Within two weeks, Trump will replace Fauci with Ammon Bundy.

+ The USA is proving day after day that it’s the stupidest nation on earth and that we’re extremely proud of our singular achievement.

+ It’s indicative of our current predicament that the only mobs angry enough to take to the streets are the one’s who believe that Trump’s ruthless incompetence hasn’t killed enough people…

+ Here’s an assessment of what’s at stake by Philip Pullman, author of the great His Dark Materials series: “It’s all got to change. If we come out of this crisis with all the rickety, fly-blown, worm-eaten old structures still intact, the same vain and indolent public schoolboys in charge, the same hedge fund managers stuffing their overloaded pockets with greasy fingers, our descendants will not forgive us. Nor should they. We must burn out the old corruption and establish a better way of living together.”

+ The Madness of the King of the Ventilators…

+ The “Invisible Enemy” is same one it’s always been: the Hand.

+ Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: “We will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, aestheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists to reopen their doors this Friday, April the 24th.”

+ SoulCycle will soon take on an entirely new meaning after they re-open the gyms in Georgia…

+ Only in the funhouse of Trumpworld can the people who want to “reopen America” propose “suspending all immigration” at the same time…

+ Dan Patrick, the Lt. Gov. of Texas, went on FoxNews this week to call for the reopening of American businesses, saying:  “There are more important things than living…”

+ Join our death cult, it’s the best of all the death cults. Pick your flavor of K00l-Aid.

+ The Lt. Gov. of Texas is staunchly pro-life…until birth. Then you’re expendable.

+ Like most hardscrabble Texas politicians, Patrick is from … Maryland.

+ Here’s the Wisconsin GOP treasurer sheepishly asking members of his own party to “please leave Confederate flags and/or AR15s, AK47s, or any other long guns at home” when attending the rally Friday in Madison to “try to control the optics.” It came as news to me that Wisconsin Republican Party saw itself as a supporter of the Confederacy during the War Against Northern Aggression…

+ It’s okay, Brian, the Stars & Stripes has become the new battle flag of the Confederacy.

+ Public Citizen: “Remember when they shot Tamir Rice for holding a toy gun?”

+ Why the GOP wants to Reopen America…The latest analysis of available state and local data by the Associated Press shows that nearly one-third of those who have died are African American, with black people representing about 14% of the population in the areas covered in the analysis.

+ What “reopening” Georgia means to Georgia’s black population. Five of the top 10 counties with the highest per capita death rates in the U.S. are in Georgia. Black people are the largest racial group in all five of these counties in Georgia (and 7 of the top 10 counties nationwide)…

1. Randolph (GA). 240. 61.5% Black
2. Terrell (GA). 203. 60.4% Black
3. St. John the Baptist (LA). 131. 57.8% Black
4. Nassau (NY). 130. 59.3% White
5. NYC. 126. 32.1% White
6. Toole (MT). 121. 86.2% White
7. Dougherty (GA). 116. 70.9% Black
8. Early (GA). 116. 51.4% Black
9. Essex (NJ). 107. 41.9% Black
10. Mitchell (GA). 103. 48.1% Black

+ Atlanta’s mayor Keisha Bottoms: “I just received our new numbers, and our numbers are up 28.8% in positive tests since last week and deaths are up 37.23% since last week. We aren’t trending downwards. There’s no science or data that supports opening up our state.”

+ This protest brought to you by the same “peope” who want to mandate English as the official language of the USA…

+ These mortality statistics represent a pretty accurate portrait of the health conditions of the American electorate and the afflicted are precisely the people Cornyn and his gang of ghouls want to cut adrift from health care to die at the whims of the market. Yet how many of these preexisting conditions (which these callous political goons now treat as a death sentence) are the direct consequence of the type of cutthroat economic, environmental, energy and food safety policies Cornyn and cronies have forced on the people of this country?

+ The COVID-19 virus was detected in the US and in South Korea on the same day. Yet…

Number of coronavirus deaths in South Korea: 240
Number of coronavirus deaths in the United States: 49,769

+ At least, Dr. Kervorkian only euthanized people who wanted to die. He didn’t simply consign entire segments of the population with health problems to death for the sake of a few points on the NASDQ.

+ 400+ COVID19 deaths in Veterans’ Administration hospitals, more than the totals in 33 states.

+ Ken Klippenstein: “Pretty cool to see everyone who demanded Terri Schiavo stay plugged into a feeding tube forever decide it’s fine for hundreds of thousands to die so hedge fund managers can afford to keep vacationing in private islands.”

+ They can take our guns, our daughters, and our ventilators, but, by God, they’ll never take away our capacity for cognitive dissonance: Build the wall! End immigration!! Reopen America!!!

+ Corporations are people born without bootstraps to pull themselves up with when they fall. So they must be helped…

+ Axios, which enjoys $30 million in venture capital financing, has received a $5 million PPP loan intended for ailing small businesses. Access journalism pays!

+ As CounterPuncher Ken Klippenstein reports for The Nation that Trump’s Iran sanctions contributed to the largest COVID-19 outbreak among US troops “anywhere in the world“…

+ They can take our guns, our daughters, and our ventilators, but, by God, they’ll never take away our capacity for cognitive dissonance: Build the wall! End immigration!! Reopen America!

+ HHS’s Dr. Rick Bright on why he was removed from his position as Deputy Ass. Secretary overseeing vaccine development: “Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the Administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit. While I am prepared to look at all options and to think ‘outside the box’ for effective treatments, I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public. I insisted that these drugs be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 while under the supervision of a physician. These drugs have potentially serious risks associated with them, including increased mortality observed in some recent studies in patients with COVID-19.” Bright said just filed a whistleblower complaint…

+ Bright was locked out of his email and only learned about the reassignment when his name was deleted from the BARDA website over the weekend.

+ Bright was right to be skeptical. In a widespread analysis of hydroxychloroquine use in U.S. veterans hospitals, the malaria drug repeatedly touted by Trump for treating the coronavirus showed no benefit. In fact, there were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus those under standard care.

+ Only the best people at HHS now: Alex Azar tasked Brian Harrison, an aide who joined Health and Human Services after running a dog-breeding business for six years, with leading the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19. Harrison’s personal financial disclosure forms show that from 2012 until 2018 he ran a company called Dallas Labradoodles. Part poodle, part laboratory? Still, Harrison’s advice probably couldn’t be any worse than what Trump was hearing from the firm of Navarro, Kudlow and Kushner…

+ Remember when George W. Bush named the former head of the Arabian Horse Association as director of FEMA? And Brownie, did a heckuva job, didn’t he? So, maybe the Labradoodle guy running the COVID response team at HHS will turn out okay after all…

+ Derek Lowe of Science magazine: Derek Lowe: “Dead bodies are piling up, the economy is at a standstill, we are in a public health crisis the likes of which none of us have ever experienced, and the administration is making sure to take funding decisions out of the hands of career scientists so that cash can be steered to well-connected snake oil artists?”

+ Trump (aka, Dr. Big Sleep) on Thursday suggesting that people might consider shooting up with Lysol or Chlorox: “The disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. It gets in the lungs.”

+ Perhaps Trump is getting his medical advice from prison guards. In Fort Dix federal prison, when an inmate collapsed while waiting for a temperature check, a guard sprayed him down with Lysol as he lay on the floor.

+ After suggesting “injecting disinfectants” as a treatment for COVID-19 took a few questions…

REPORTER: “People tuning in are looking for information and guidance, not rumors.”

TRUMP: “I’m the president, and you’re fake news.”

+ Trump will become the first president to de-criminalize edible Tide Pods…Top that, Creepy Joe!

+ Question that needs to be asked by White House press corps at tomorrow’s Trump Show: “Mr President, if people don’t have any fish pond disinfectant in the house, is bongwater an acceptable substitute? Does it need to be injected? Or will an enema suffice?”

+ Since the Post Office may not be around much longer, orders for injectable Chlorox will be delivered by the 20 Mule Team from Borax…MAGA that.

+ Who owns the most stock in an injectable bleach company, Jared Kushner or the senator with Farrah Fawcett hair from Georgia? Place your bets…

+ So Trump was listening to Lou Reed this afternoon and that got him thinking. And he thunk and he thunk and thunk. And finally he got an idea, a bright idea, an idea unlike anyone had ever had before, and 20 minutes later he turned Dr. Birx told her, “I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure [coronavirus].” Cause…

White light, Aww white light it lighten up my eyes
White light, don’t you know it fills me up with surprise
White light, Aww white heat tickle me down to my toes
White light, Aww white light I tell you now goodness knows, now work it

+ This tweet should probably be posted on the door of all NYTs offices.

+ Still waiting on the Times to delete all of Judith Miller’s stories on Iraq’s “WMDs”…

+ This NYT tweet is a hilarious example of what Cockburn dubbed the Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum stylesheet of journalism, where there are always two sides to every story, even when there’s really only one…or perhaps (especially in politics) three.

+ To paraphrase Kissinger on Bill Clinton, Trump doesn’t have the moral fibre to be compared to Jim Jones. He won’t drink his own Kool-Aid.

+ A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using Trump’s magic elixir, a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients citing potential toxicities. “The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19,” the panel said. QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

+ Can the lupus patients get their drugs back from the hoarders now…for free?

+ Out with hydroxychloroquine, in with Lysol, Chlorox and … tobacco?

+ Is Jared Kushner’s Facebook Ad Hoc Coronavirus group looking into to this? How soon before Trump summons tobacco executives to the Rose Garden? Corners the market on unfiltered Camels…Or, is American tobacco too toxic, and we’ll all have to start smoking Gauloises, as I did for a few years after reading Camus, Sartre and Robbe-Grillet…

+ Sarah Smarsh: “If you’ve ever made fun of rural poverty you don’t get to flee the city with your good insurance and seek pandemic refuge near their only hospital.”

+ In over two months, the US has managed to test only 1 percent of the population and are now doing a mere 144,000 tests a day. To get 60% of the working population tested in the next 9 days would mean ramping testing up to 20 million a day–16 million more than the US has tested altogether in 60 days. Who would invest their money with a financial institution this pathologically stupid, a bank which has survived only because every time they fuck up, they get bailed out… and the bigger the catastrophe the bigger the bail out.

+ Countries (not comprehensive) with more per capita testing than the USA…

Aruba
Bermuda
Belgium
Canada
Russia
Singapore
Czechia
Hong Kong
Australia
Denmark
Channel Islands
New Zealand
Spain
Greenland
Germany
Latvia
Slovenia
Andorra
Austria
Ireland
Liechtenstein
Italy
Qatar…

+ Why does it take Little Steven to say what Biden and Pelosi ought to be saying and doing…?

+ Perhaps because Biden is getting his economic advice, not from his new pal Bernard Sanders, but Lawrence Summers, the Democrats’ version of Arthur “the Curve” Laffer. Summers is a chief architect of globalized neoliberalism, who wanted to solve the US’s toxic waste problem by dumping it in poor “under-polluted” African countries, saying the “economic logic was impeccable. As president of Harvard Summers asserted that men outperform women in math and the sciences because of genetic factors…not socialization or gender bias. In other words, he’ll fit right in.

+ Larry Summers to Ron Suskind in 2009: “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way they’re supposed to be treated.”

(from Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank)

+ Deep in his resume of villainy, we find that Summers was also a fanatical proponent of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

+ Andrew Cuomo, Il Duce of the liberals, was asked on Weds. what he’d say to people who are angry because they can’t work, they are running out of money and the government isn’t helping them fast enough, if at all. Cuomo’s acidic answer: they should go get a jobs as essential workers.

+ In New York City, more transit workers (84) have been killed by coronavirus in the past month than all of the NYPD police shot and killed in the past 40 YEARS…

+ When public bus drivers were finally given masks to wear on the job:

Apri 8: Denver, Columbus
April 10: Atlanta
April 11: Seattle
April 13: Milwaukee

+ HCA hospitals, owned by private equity giant KKR, are restricting the use of N95 masks for health care workers and not allowing workers to bring PPE from home…

+ It’s one thing to be stupid. It’s another to be vile and stupid.

+ Preliminary data (already subject to some withering criticism) shows about 13.9 percent of the population of New York state — about 2.7 million people — have at some point been infected with coronavirus. But do they know who they are and whether any of them are immune? Stay alive, then stay tuned.

+ The Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service was set up to stop the spread of infectious diseases at the US. Yet, it’s more than 6,500 medical trained medical officers were never used at airports to deal with the pandemic.

+ So Mississippi plans to sue China for damages from the coronavirus. Has Mississippi ever picked a fight it’s won? There’s rarely been a state so proud of being on the wrong side of history, morality and epidemiology…

+ Trump on Sunday: “When I did the ban on China, they say a lot of the people that didn’t come in here went to Italy. You’ve heard that. That’s why Italy was hit so hard.” In point of fact, Italy’s ban on flights from China took effect three days before Trump’s restrictions (not a ban) on China travel.

+ The Financial Times UK death model suggests that by 22 April there have been roughly 43,100 excess deaths linked to coronavirus, more than double of the official county. If a similar trend is playing out here, and there are many indications it is, then the real death count in the USA is already more than 100,000…

+ Andrew Noymer, an Associate Professor of Population Health and Disease Prevention at UC Irvine, who specializes in health demographics and epidemiology has bee doing similar calculations on the true extent of the COVID-19 crisis in the US. Here are some of his most recent calculations…

+ At least, 101 countries now have a lower coronavirus mortality rate than the U.S.

+ 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
• April 24 – 923,470 and counting…

+ Anybody checked the futures market to see which is a better buy today, West Texas crude or Hydroxychloroquine?

+ Prankster (let’s hope) infiltrates death cult protest in Nashville. Death cult stands by message, Sacrifice the Weak…!

+ You can usually tell the prankster signs by the spelling.

+ Tell Rumsfeld we found finally the WMDs…standing on a street corner in Huntington Beach.

+ License to Kill: The White House is working on a liability waiver that would exempt businesses of legal responsibility from employees who contract the coronavirus after being forced back to work…

+ Owing to the lag time in weekend reporting, Tuesday’s have set new daily mortality records each of the last four weeks…

Tues 4/21: 2,674 deaths
Tues 4/14: 2,299 deaths
Tues 4/7: 1,926 deaths
Tues 3/31: 820 deaths

+ What does Pence do with his hands? Only Mother knows for sure…

+ Jack Shafer: “If UV reliably kills coronavirus it’s safe to say that Trump’s face is absolutely coronavirus-free.”

+ On the 10 year anniversary of Deepwater Horizon, this…

+ Not sure whether that includes the price of the barrel itself, which should at least have some value on the scrap metal market.

+ Just five weeks ago Trump ordered the purchase of some 77 million barrels for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to take advantage of the “super-low” $31/barrel price of oil? How bad of a deal was that?

+ Mad Man with nukes vows to shoot down flying gunboats…

+ U.S. oil prices jumped 27% after Trump threatened to “shoot down” Iranian gunboats, which was probably the point of the TweetThreat…

+ Forget for a moment the question of who “Jack Kenny” is and ask yourself what the hell John Kerry is talking about regarding Ronald Reagan…When did Reagan take responsibility for anything? Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis for years, then blamed the victims. If I read the CDC stats correctly, the death rate from AIDS/HIV under Reagan was 95.5 percent with more than 50,000 people dying of the disease during his 8 years in office. The fed government he was in charge of simply had no interest in finding a vaccine or treatments.

+ Trump may be more like Reagan, pitchman for Borax, than Kerry thinks…

+ 88: the number of times Reagan answered “I can’t recall” or “I have no recollection” during his deposition for the Iran/contra trial of his National Security Advisor John Poindexter.

+ The Democrats are almost all Reagan Democrats now…

+ The latest bailout bill to emerge from the senate represents another total capitulation by Democrats: Nothing for states or cities, nothing for election protection or the post office, no oversight, no limits on fossil fuel bailouts, no food stamps. They got some additional testing but no contact tracing.

+ “Democrats caved” must be one of the most well-worn phrases in the history of American politics.

+ Today in 1653 Oliver Cromwell burst into Parliament and dissolved it, saying, “Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? In the name of God, go!” Where is Old Ironsides when you really need him?

+ D.C. now releases covid-19 fatality data by location. As of Monday, one death in Ward 2, the richest, versus 22 deaths in Ward 8, the poorest. Nearly half the deaths are from wards 5, 7, 8. Seven people without homes among the dead.

+ According to Edwyn Lyman at the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Nuclear Energy Institute is arguing that the NRC should change its security rules to allow for the possibility that new nuclear reactors should have NO armed security responders to protect against terrorist sabotage attacks.

+ Pompeo Maximus was asked about the US government’s views toward Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank. Pompeo replied that it was “Israel’s decision to make.” Sounds like a green light for an invasion to me.

+ According to the Colombian think tank Indepaz, at least 71 indigenous leaders were killed during the first three months of 2020; at least another dozen have been killed since Colombia’s national quarantine began. All by US-backed paramilitaries in the name of coca eradication.

+ ICE is now deporting infected migrants back to vulnerable countries as governments struggle to respond…Legal? Probably not. But who’s going to stop them?

+ Here’s NPR resurrecting the disgusting “welfare queen” shibboleth from the Reagan era against poor people trying to get by on a mere $600 a week during a pandemic. Why the GOP wants to cut their funding is a mystery to me…

+ NPR is now officially to the right of Voice of America…

+  Using COVID-19 as an excuse, corporations across the country are suspending or stopping entirely their contributions to their employees’ 401(ks). Recall that Joe Biden voted four times to cut Social Security in favor of employer-matched 401(k)s.

+ U.S. airstrikes hit all-time high as the novel coronavirus spreads in Somalia, 39 strikes this year, more than during all 8 years of the Obama administration.

+ Violent attacks by month on Palestinians by Israeli settlers before and after lockdown...

Jan: 11
Feb: 12
Mar: 23 (11 after quarantine began)
April: 23 (in first 3 weeks, all in quarantine)

+ I guess Highsmith was fortunate to have expired before she got the Ken Loach treatment for speaking honestly about Israel and Palestine…

+ Peter Thiel’s Palantir has been tasked by the Trump administration to collect the data on the spread of coronavirus. It’s info is informing the positions of the TOP officials, including Dr. Birx and Trump…

+ Paris by the numbers since the lockdown started:

+ 24% less residents
+ 32% less trash
+ 72% of shops closed
+ 90% of hotels closed
+ Metro activity down by 95%
+ Transportation, schools & rentals mostly organised around health care workers & their families

+ Before the pandemic, farm debt hit a record $425 billion. Now, supply chain disruptions and demand shifts have pushed down commodity prices, and farmers are starting to lose off-farm jobs. “It’s hard to see anything but a bloodbath coming in American agriculture.”

+ With slaughterhouses closing, farmers don’t have a market for their animals. Hog are dropping, prompting some industrial farms to mass euthanize their pigs …

+ Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is granting waivers to suspend poultry line speed of 140 kills per minute (up to 175 per minute) despite safety hazard and COVID-19 risk. Earlier this year, they terminated altogether the line speed for the slaughter of pigs. 175 kills per minute: I couldn’t do that for 2 minutes, never mind 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

+ 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute, 175 kills a minute…

+ The OED is charting the use of “key words & phrases” in the English language. In March, the top 20 “key words” all had something to do with COVID-19 crisis…

+ At least 18 Walmart workers have died from Covid-19 “We didn’t sign up to be heroes, and we certainly didn’t sign up to be martyrs,” said one grocery worker.

+ So the people running COVID response in Oregon are covering up COVID cases and exposures inside their own agency. Comforting…

+ Meanwhile, Oregon’s Portland-based medical school, OHSU, announced on Thursday that it was slashing salaries by 10 percent and expecting to “lose” more than $1.7 billion in “revenue” over the next year and a half, blaming it COVID. Apparently, they’re anticipating fewer “elective” surgeries and treatments, many of which may not have been all that necessary to begin with. This dire financial warning from a for-profit medical school/hospital may have prompted Oregon’s Governor-in-Hiding, Kate Brown, to issue her risky back to work order for elective medical procedures.

+ Only about a third of the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes have ready access to tests that can help isolate the sick and stop the spread. And homes that do manage to get a hold of tests often rely on luck and contacts…

+ 7 out of 10 of the largest clusters of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are in jails and prisons, according to new data collected by the New York Times…

+ Since January 1, 2020, at least 270 people have been shot and killed by police in the US, 98 of them since the country went into coronavirus sequestration.

+ Isn’t it time for cops to work from home?

+ Stuart Newman: “Folks may not have heard about the newly identified strain of coronavirus – the MAGAvirus. MAGA viruses were already in the US before the end of January, or were brought in subsequently by anyone but Chinese people. They are not communicable, so don’t require social distancing.”

+ In Florida, just 14.2% of the more than 668,000 unemployment claims filed since 15 March have been paid.

+ And this will only get worse in Florida as Disney stops paying 100,000 workers, roughly half its workforce–– even as the company moves to protect executive bonuses and  dole a $1.5 billion dividend payment due to shareholders in July….

+ Burgerville, the PNW’s version of In-and-Out Burger, but with halibut strips, huckleberry shakes and sweet onion rings, announced this week it is laying off nearly half its workforce…

+ A group of real estate investors furloughed their employees, paid themselves $2mm in dividends while winning the largest share ($46mm) of “small business” loans in the country. They are big Trump & GOP donors, naturally…

+ It’s just what they do….Ten of the world’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, have been sued for allegedly conspiring over nearly 14 years to rig prices in the $9.6 trillion U.S. corporate bond market, costing ordinary investors billions of dollars. Don’t expect any prosecutions, from Trump, Biden or Cuomo…

+ This week Trump’s company demanded a bailout from the UK government for his failing Scottish golf courses. What pressures will he apply this time?

+ Raccoons are prowling the aisles of our shuttered libraries, conducting deep research on how to foil the Plot to Reopen America.

+ The Chris Cuomo family’s routine under COVID quarantine: Clorox baths, vitamin drips at home in the Hamptons, and a body charger that transfers energy, breaks up, and pulls out the low frequency while replacing with a higher rate.”

+ Here’s Cristina Cuomo’s recipe to scrub your liver clean:

I made a liver-cleansing beverage with one raw garlic clove, one orange, one lemon, a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, a spoonful of olive oil, a crunch of ginger and a piece of turmeric.

+ How could you possibly refer to that concoction as a “beverage”? Who even says “beverage”, aside from K Street lobbyists for the “beverage” industry? Someone said, that’s not a drink that’s salad dressing.

+ Caution Gangster Govt. at Work: “The chief executive of a MA hospital, outbid for PPE by the feds multiple times, cut a deal, paid extra, hired the trucks — and then was interrogated by the FBI and had to get his Congressperson to intervene to keep DHS from heisting the shipment….”

+ Norman O. Brown: “The dynamic of capitalism is the postponement of enjoyment to the constantly postponed future.”

+ Leon Cannizzaro, the DA in New Orleans, sends fake subpoenas to force witnesses to testify and illegally jailed people who refused to cooperate with his investigations. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled just ruled that a lawsuit against him over his horrific prosecutorial practices can go forward.

+ New poll shows Biden up by 16 points over Trump in New Jersey…Unfortunately, the population of likely NJ Democratic voters may be 18 percent lower by the time the elections are held, if they’re held.

+ The Democrats have picked as their nominee one of the few people (living or dead) in America who could lose the “trust” factor to Donald Trump…

Trust more to handle…

The economy:
Trump 47% (+9)
Biden 38%

Jobs:
Trump 46% (+7)
Biden 39%

Economic recovery following the coronavirus:
Trump 44% (+5)
Biden 39%

National security:
Trump 43 (+2)
Biden 41

Immigration:
Trump 43 (+1)
Biden 42

@MorningConsult/@politico 4/18-19

+ Michael Caputo, the new spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services hand-picked by Trump because he doesn’t trust Alex Azar (with good reason, perhaps), recently deleted a swath of Tweets that say, among other things, that Chinese people “suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters.”

+ The Jerusalem Telegraph reported on Thursday that Caputo had also tweeted that George Soros and the Rothschild family were secretly manipulating the COVID pandemic to maximize their political and economic power. Caputo called David Rothschild (apparently conflating him with the European banking family) “an inbred elitist sphincter whose family craves control.”

+ As my friend Sanho Tree quipped, “Caputo doesn’t like Jews or Chinese food.”

+ Caputo also seems to have an anal fixation. Someone might want to check his basement and garage. He may be the guy holding all the nation’s toilet paper.

+ Too bad Lee Atwater is dead. He could be scripting xenophobic ads for the Biden campaign.

+ Barbara Ehrenreich: “I promised the grand-dots I would hold my nose and vote for Biden but since his China-bashing ad I’m just gagging and choking.”

+ This could only be described as “weird” by someone who has apparently paid no attention to American politics since the day Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton…

+ So AOC has officially endorsed Biden. Looks like the Revolution© won’t be televised after all, but you may be able to find reenactments of what it might have looked like on a public access channel in Oakland …

+ Latest numbers indicate the lives and livelihoods of 265 million people in low and middle-income countries will be under severe threat of “acute hunger” unless swift action is taken to tackle the pandemic, up from a current 135 million…

+ COVID-19 is exacerbating an already frightening food crisis on tribal lands in the Southwest. Adae Romero-Briones of the First Nations Development Institute:

“A neighboring Pueblo is probably going to be the next hotspot. They just had two cases yesterday and they’re going to have to shut down. They don’t have any test kits, so the only way they can tell if they have positive tests is to isolate the entire community and see how many people get sick. And in the meantime, we have to figure out how to feed the community when they’re in isolation, without government intervention. Once they become a hot spot, they’ll be eligible for government food assistance. Until then, what do we do?”

+ The Navajo Nation alone has lost more people to COVID-19 than 13 states

+ Rudy Giuliani was on FoxNews wearing his new “Smart Look” glasses (endorsed by Sarah Palin and Rick Perry) where he attempted to set Laura Ingraham straight on the commie-medicine concept of “contact tracing,” which he effectively disparaged by noting, correctly, that if it was so important why didn’t they do it for cancer, obesity and heart disease. (He left out toenail fungus and restless leg syndrome.)

+ It’s seems improbable, but has FoxNews gotten dumber and more dangerous since Roger Ailes got canned?

+ Looks like we’re all about to be drafted into Space Force, as Trump confidante Stephen Moore (a card-carrying member of CRAP-the Committee to Reopen America Prematurely) suggest that the economy can be revived to sending people back to work in “space outfits.

+ The Trump administration awarded a $55 million contract for N95 masks to a company with no experience producing medical supplies and whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Surprise: the masks were never manufactured. Remember the histrionics from the Republicans over the bankruptcy of Solyndra during the Obama years?

+ Halledor Energy, a coal company with a market cap of $21 million and Scott Pruitt as its lobbyist, just got a $10 million “small business” loan…Under Trump, the Swamp is more like an open-pit mine.

+ The Bronx Zoo confirms that 8 cats have tested positive for Covid-19: 5 tigers, 3 lions.

+ Just days after announcing record gains in its imperiled population, federal officials ordered the killings of four highly endangered Mexican wolves.

+ Methane emissions from the Permian basin are far higher than federal estimates, a new study warns. The amount of the climate pollutant leaked or vented into the atmosphere, it says, is enough to meet the natural gas needs of 7 million homes.

+ According to the latest assessment from NOAA, 2020 could well become the warmest year on record and is almost certain to rank among the five warmest years on record.

+Trump says he’s asked that federal funds be made available to oil companies, which is like paying reparations to professional serial killers.

+ Right now the US government could buy a 51% controlling stake in every major fossil fuel company for $350 billion. We could buy them all outright for $700 billion.

+ The latest research casts a dire forecast for the Arctic, predicting that it will become “ice-free” even if the Paris Accord goals are met: “Alarmingly the models repeatedly show the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean before 2050, almost irrespective of the measures taken to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Ed Blockley, who leads the UK Met Office’s polar climate programme and was one of the team behind the new research. “The signal is there in all possible futures. This was unexpected and is extremely worrying.”

+ It’s a stark sign of just how much the 9th Circuit Court has deteriorated when the Roberts Court has to strike down one of its rulings to defend an environmental law than Trump wanted to gut…

+ Bald eagles have been photographed nesting in a saguaro cactus in the Arizona desert for the first time since 1937…

+ I just finished Woody Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing, which will probably land me on some pervert list kept by the same people who dismissed Tara Reade’s claim she was sexually assaulted by Biden. It could have benefited from sharper editing (if publishers still employ editors) but it’s very funny, stuffed with salacious and at times creepy gossip and is not as vindictive as it might have been, though I don’t think anyone one of us would have relished being adopted by Mia Farrow. Woody got his start selling jokes like this one (which only makes sense, if you’ve read the novel) to columnists in the NY tabloids: “How will they ever make a film of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint? They’ll have to use a handheld camera.”

+ X marks the Spot(ify)…when the LA punk band dropped “Alphabetland,” their first studio album as a quartet in 35 years. You can listen to it for free or buy the damn thing here on Bandcamp.

+ The last time I saw X perform, my friend Jeff Baker and I were milling around at one of their “X-mas shows” at the venerable Roseland in Portland and I was grumbling pretty loudly about how awful one of the opening acts was when somebody tapped me sharply on the shoulder and snapped, “Hey, buddy, I choose that band and I think they’re just wonderful” and then sauntered back to the bar. Exene…

+ Billy Zoom, X’s guitarist, on how to tell if a punk band has sold out: “Selling out is when you get a bunch of money. If you didn’t get a bunch of money, you didn’t sell out.”

+ I wouldn’t call it selling out, eXactly, but in my search for late night entertainment I stumbled across a very campy LA noir called Slam Dance, directed by Wayne Wang, where John Doe (far right) shows up in more than a bit part as a kind of hip gangster…

Slam Dance (c) Island Pictures.

+ A Doberman, a Poodle, and an Australian Shepherd died and are standing in front of God at the entrance to the kingdom of heaven. God asks all three what they believe in.

The Doberman says: “I believe in discipline, training, and loyalty to my owner.”

“Good,” says God, “Take a seat on my right side.”

“Poodle, what do you believe in?” inquires God.

The Poodle answers: “I believe in loving and caring for my owner, as well as peace in the world.”

“Ah,” God says. “You can take a seat to my left side.”

Then He looks at the Aussie, skeptically. “And what do you believe in, sheepdog?”

The Aussie looked at God and replies:

“I believe you’re sitting in my seat!”

(Glad you made it to the other side, Boomer, and are assuming command. We were worried you might have taken the wrong exit.)

Boomer the Aussie, who died two years ago this week, on the cliffs of Horsethief Canyon.

+ I’ve listened to Lee Konitz’s music since the first time I found Birth of the Cool, hidden in the stacks between the Sinatra and Nat King Cole in my father’s record collection, probably in 1972 or 73. But in reviewing his recorded output since Subconscious-Lee in 1950 (one of the best debuts in all of jazz) I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. This morning I’m playing two records I hadn’t heard before, Peacemeal (recorded during the depths of the Vietnam slaughter in 1970) and Yes, Yes Nonet in (1979). Among other things, Konitz loved punning, in both his solos and his record titles, such as Lunasea (1992), which was appropriated as the name of our favorite seafood joint on the West Coast, under the shadow of Cape Perpetua in beautiful downtown Yachats, Oregon…I sure hope it can do what Lee couldn’t: survive COVID-19…

You Work Your Life Away and What Do They Give?

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Green New Deal and Beyond
Stan Cox
(City Lights)

Set the Night on Fire: LA in the Sixties
Mike Davis and Jon Weiner
(Verso)

Swinger! A Jazz Girl’s Adventures From Hollywood to Harlem
Judy Carmichael
(CreateSpace)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Mabern Plays Mabern
Harold Mabern
(Smoke Sessions)

The Common Task
Horse Lords
(Northern Spy)

Walking Proof
Lilly Hiatt
(New West)

Crossing the Dark Lake

“I lay ill through several weeks, and the usual tenor of my life became like an old remembrance. But this was not the effect of time, so much as of the change in all my habits, made by the helplessness and inaction of a sick-room. Before I had been confined to it many days, everything else seemed to have retired into a remote distance, where there was little or no separation between the various stages of my life which had been really divided by years. In falling ill, I seemed to have crossed a dark lake, and to have left all my experiences, mingled together by the great distance, on the healthy shore… I had never known before how short life really was, and into how small a space the mind could put it.” (Charles Dickens, Bleak House)

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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