31 March 2020

They are Keeping Sailors Confined to a Plague Ship

It's the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and its skipper is begging for its crew to be put ashore because of a Covid-19 outbreak:
The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.

The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”

In the four-page letter to senior military officials, Crozier said only a small contingent of infected sailors have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remain aboard the ship, where following official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing is impossible.

………

Mark Cancian, a Marine colonel who served for 37 years before retiring, said that “the Navy has got to figure out how to do this right or else they can’t deploy the rest of the fleet. 
Indeed.

The FBI Does Not Care About Your Civil Rights

There is good news and bad news in response to accusations that the FBI abused its authority in getting a FISA warrant in the Carter Page investigation.

The good news is that the FBI engaged in a completely routine investigation in this case.

The bad news is that this every one of the 29 investigation was defective:
A Justice Department audit of the FBI’s use of secret surveillance warrants has found widespread problems with the law enforcement agency’s process for ensuring that facts are backing up the claims made to judges when seeking a warrant.

The finding of broader failings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program came in a review launched by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz after an earlier inquiry found numerous errors in applications to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. In a bid to assess whether the faults in the Page’s surveillance process were an aberration or a chronic problem, Horowitz’s audit team zeroed in on 29 applications for surveillance of U.S. citizens or green-card holders over a five-year period.

Horowitz found an average of 20 errors in each of the applications.

The systemic failures in the FBI’s FISA process are sure to animate allies of President Donald Trump who have claimed that the surveillance tool was weaponized against the president’s campaign in 2016. But the findings also bolster arguments by critics of that claim who have suggested that errors in the Page application were likelier attributable to systemic sloppiness than sinister intentions.

For each of the 29 applications, Horowitz's team reviewed whether the “Woods procedures” for justifying an application were properly followed.

“We do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy, or that the process is working as it was intended to help achieve the ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” Horowitz wrote in "a management advisory” addressed to FBI Director Chris Wray.
It should be noted that I am pretty sure that the FBI considers this is a feature, and not a bug.

Having a compliant court that allows the FBI to get bullsh%$ warrant requests approved was always the goal of the FISA program.

Of Course She Is

Nancy Pelosi has a plan for additional stimulus, and the details, that it will only put meaningful money in the pockets of people who make significantly more than $100,000.00 a year should surprise no one:
As lawmakers prepare for another round of fiscal stimulus to address economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the next package include a retroactive rollback of a tax change that hurt high earners in states like New York and California.

A full rollback of the limit on the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, would provide a quick cash infusion in the form of increased tax rebates to an estimated 13 million American households — nearly all of which earn at least $100,000 a year.

………

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated last year that a full repeal of the SALT limit for 2019 alone would reduce federal revenues by about $77 billion. Americans earning $1 million a year or more would collectively reap $40 billion of those benefits. Most of the rest would go to households earning $200,000 or more.
Well, we now know who her REAL constituency is.

As an aside, this change is literally the least bang for the buck possible as a stimulus, but it does appeal to overpaid pundits living in places like DC, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and I guess that this is all that matters to her.

God, It's Me, Matthew, Could You Smite These Motherf%$#ers?

The religious nutjobs setting up a tent hospital in central park are requiring anyone who volunteers for service sign an agreement to discriminate against the LGBT community:
On Tuesday morning, a makeshift tent hospital in Central Park will begin treating overflow patients from Mount Sinai, as the spread of COVID-19 begins to overwhelm local hospitals. Announcing the 68-bed respiratory unit this weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the relief organization, Samaritan's Purse, responsible for funding and erecting the facility.

The mayor did not mention that the group is led by Franklin Graham, a notorious anti-LGBTQ and Islamophobic preacher with a track record of using humanitarian missions to proselytize an evangelical agenda.

Graham, the son of prominent minister Billy Graham, has specifically sought to recruit Christian medical staff to the Central Park facility. According to the group's website, all volunteers, including health care workers, should read and adhere to a statement of faith, in which marriage is defined as "exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female" and the unrighteous are sentenced to "everlasting punishment in hell."

………

Samaritan's Purse, which holds a reported $650 million in net assets, has a lengthy history of using disaster aid to spread their agenda. A campaign known as Operation Christmas Child, which delivers gift boxes to children in Muslim countries, has been criticized as a conversion scheme.
Seriously, Hashem, you smote the Israelites for conducting a census in an sloppy manner. 

Smite Franklin Graham.  It's long overdue.

Adding a Body Part to My List of They Who Must Not Be Named

In what must be a first, I feel compelled to add New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Nipples to my list of They Who Must Not Be Named.

It appears that in a couple of pix with him in a polo shirt, it looked like he might have had nipple piercings.

I do not know. I don't WANT to know:
Every day, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo holds a press conference to update the public amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic ravaging his state. After speaking, he takes questions from journalists about ventilators, social distancing, and when this whole thing might be over. All things the public desperately needs to know, sure, but on Monday the internet had another question: Does our governor have a nipple piercing?

Call it the delusionary effects of staying inside for three weeks or another sign of our unmitigated, isolation-induced horniness: Some on Twitter and Reddit are convinced they can see the outline of jewelry hanging from Cuomo’s chest. The rumor began over the weekend, sparked by the white “State of Emergency” polo he’s taken to wearing.

“Is it just me or is Cuomo’s nipple totally pierced?” questioned a Reddit thread. “If it is I like him even more,” one replied. “Don’t kink-shame this hero,” another scolded.
Please, just make this stop.

Don't Use Zoom

We now have news of a litany of privacy breaches and misrepresentations of its capabilities.

Given their history, the logical conslusion is that they have violating their users' private as a central part of their business model:
Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings.

With millions of people around the world working from home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, business is booming for Zoom, bringing more attention on the company and its privacy practices, including a policy, later updated, that seemed to give the company permission to mine messages and files shared during meetings for the purpose of ad targeting.

Still, Zoom offers reliability, ease of use, and at least one very important security assurance: As long as you make sure everyone in a Zoom meeting connects using “computer audio” instead of calling in on a phone, the meeting is secured with end-to-end encryption, at least according to Zoom’s website, its security white paper, and the user interface within the app. But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption, explained further below.

………

But when reached for comment about whether video meetings are actually end-to-end encrypted, a Zoom spokesperson wrote, “Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings. Zoom video meetings use a combination of TCP and UDP. TCP connections are made using TLS and UDP connections are encrypted with AES using a key negotiated over a TLS connection.”

The encryption that Zoom uses to protect meetings is TLS, the same technology that web servers use to secure HTTPS websites. This means that the connection between the Zoom app running on a user’s computer or phone and Zoom’s server is encrypted in the same way the connection between your web browser and this article (on https://theintercept.com) is encrypted. This is known as transport encryption, which is different from end-to-end encryption because the Zoom service itself can access the unencrypted video and audio content of Zoom meetings. So when you have a Zoom meeting, the video and audio content will stay private from anyone spying on your Wi-Fi, but it won’t stay private from the company. (In a statement, Zoom said it does not directly access, mine, or sell user data; more below.)

………

“They’re a little bit fuzzy about what’s end-to-end encrypted,” Green said of Zoom. “I think they’re doing this in a slightly dishonest way. It would be nice if they just came clean.”

………

Without end-to-end encryption, Zoom has the technical ability to spy on private video meetings and could be compelled to hand over recordings of meetings to governments or law enforcement in response to legal requests. While other companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft publish transparency reports that describe exactly how many government requests for user data they receive from which countries and how many of those they comply with, Zoom does not publish a transparency report. On March 18, human rights group Access Now published an open letter calling on Zoom to release a transparency report to help users understand what the company is doing to protect their data.
Not just a subpoena.  If you bribe a Zoom employee, you could get access to the chat.

Also, Zoom has been found to be sharing user data with Facebook, even if you are not a member, refused to fix a remote access vulnerability until reported to the FTC, allowing meeting hosts to spy on user's window status on their PCs, and collects personally identifiable data and links it to your IP address.

This is not a company that you want to deal with.

30 March 2020

Go to Tallahassee, Protest, and Lick F%$#ing Door Knobs!!!

This is my suggestion for the good citizens of the State of Florida.

The door knobs in question are on the state house and the governor's mansion.

For those of you who are not aware, the Honorable Ron DeSantis, has decided that instead of addressing problems with a state full of senior citizens with common sense measures to reduce the spread of the disease, he is looking to blame out of state folks.

Seriously, go to Tallahassee, and bring your salivary glands.

Maintain Proper Social Distance


So firing squad, or perhaps a pole-axe, no guillotine.

Monopoly Power

Corey Docterow has a twitter thread about how anemic monopoly enforcement may result in many thousands of deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic.
You can follow the whole thing, but the short version is that the US government funded a small company to make an inexpensive and portable ventilators, and as they were getting near to a product, Covidien (now Medtronic) purchased the company and shut down the program because they did not want it to compete with its more expensive ventilators.

Robert Bork's theory was that, "monopolies are only a problem when they raise prices in the short/medium term."

We are now literally choking on Robert Bork's dishonesty.

May Robert Bork's perfidious work be effaced.

Docterow's full twitter thread below:

Is This Sarcasm?*


The Washington Post observes that Patrick Chovanec noted this, "Sarcastically," but given that he, "Previously worked for GOP leaders on Capitol Hill," I'm not completely sure.

*Of course it's sarcasm.

Why I Disdain "Woke Culture"

Because more often than not, I see it used an an excuse for egregious behavior, such as the case of debt collectors demanding that there be no suspension of debt collection because, "Women make up 70 percent of the total debt collection workforce and 40 percent is ethnically diverse."

All too often it seems to be an excuse for saying or doing something contemptible:
Debt collectors, facing growing demands to freeze the collection of debt across the country amid the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are mobilizing their lobbyists to push back.

………

All of this has the industry deeply concerned. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, also known as ACA International, a lobby group for debt collectors, has fired off letters to Brown and federal officials, sharply criticizing the push to suspend debt collection.

………

Mark Neeb, the chief executive of ACA International, wrote that he is concerned that “certain lawmakers have suggested that eliminating the work of the ARM Industry is a prudent action that should be taken in response to the coronavirus,” a reference to the accounts receivable management industry, a term of art for debt collectors. Women, Neeb wrote, “make up 70 percent of the total debt collection workforce and 40 percent is ethnically diverse.” Shutting down debt collection during the crisis, Neeb argued, would negatively “impact the diverse workforce that makes up the collection industry” and “many of these employees and businesses would face extreme hardship."
This is completely beneath contempt.

29 March 2020

Most Twitter Tweet Ever


I would note that the whole thread interludes his Grandma's banana bread recipe.

Never Let an Opportunity for Looting Pass

In this case, the disposable plastic bag industry is trying to use the Covid-19 pandemic to overturn plastic bag bans, because, if you are going to die anyway, why not make sure that the rest of the world resembles a landfill:
They are “petri dishes for bacteria and carriers of harmful pathogens,” read one warning from a plastics industry group. They are “virus-laden.”

The group’s target? The reusable shopping bags that countless of Americans increasingly use instead of disposable plastic bags.

The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday, quoting a Boston Herald column outlining some of the group’s talking points.

The Plastics Industry Association is also lobbying to quash plastic bag bans. Last week, it sent a letter to the United States Department of Health and Human Services requesting that the department publicly declare that banning single-use plastics during a pandemic is a health threat.
F%$# them with Cheney's dick.

"Rat Faced Andy" Cuomo Strikes Again

In response to a the pandemic Andrew Cuomo is proposing cuts to the state Medicaid program, because he has spent his ENTIRE time in office cutting taxes on rich people, so the only solution to a hole blown in the state budget is to f%$# the poors:
A panel appointed by New York governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Thursday its plan to reduce the state’s Medicaid spending by some $400 million over the next year. The plan will now go to the state legislature for consideration. Remarkably, the proposal is being put forward in the middle of a healthcare crisis that threatens the very lives of the many vulnerable New Yorkers who depend upon such services as Medicaid.

The proposed $400 million cut is part of a bigger program to slash the medicaid budget by $2.5 billion over several years. As the state’s Department of Health website put it, the panel, known as the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), was put together in February with the goal of “restoring financial sustainability to the Medicaid program while connecting other programmatic initiatives that would advance the core healthcare strategies [Cuomo] has pursued since taking office in 2011.”

As the Doctors Council noted in an urgent call to action released on March 10, the MRT has “little to no frontline doctor representation or representatives of patients and communities, and no one from NYC Health + Hospitals (NYCH+H).”

I would note that this guy is considered to be the "Great White Hope" by the Democratic Party establishment (there is no Democratic Party establishment), and being considered as a replacement for Joe Biden should he have issues as a result of ……… well ……… being Joe Biden.

"Rat Faced Andy" Cuomo  abides, I guess.

ない愚かさはない薬です*

So, Jerry Falwell, Jr. decided that Covid-19 was a a liberal hoax, and brought his students back, and now there is an explosion of cases at the "educational" institution:
As Liberty University’s spring break was drawing to a close this month, Jerry Falwell Jr., its president, spoke with the physician who runs Liberty’s student health service about the rampaging coronavirus.

“We’ve lost the ability to corral this thing,” Dr. Thomas W. Eppes Jr. said he told Mr. Falwell. But he did not urge him to close the school. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,’” Dr. Eppes said in an interview.

So Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. Another eight were told to self-isolate.

………

For critical weeks in January and February, the nation’s far right dismissed the seriousness of the pandemic. Mr. Falwell derided it as an “overreaction” driven by liberal desires to damage Mr. Trump.

Though the current crisis would appear epidemiological in nature, Dr. Eppes said he saw it as a reflection of “the political divide.”
Seriously, only Jerry Falwell, Jr. could make Jerry Fallwell, Sr. look good.

There are going to be dead students at Liberty because of his arrogance, and the blood will be on his hands.

*Pronounced in Japanese, "baka ni tsukeru kusuri wanai", which means, "There is no medicine for stupidity." Apologies for any inaccuracies in the text, I do not know Japanese.

28 March 2020

Tweet of the Day (For my Philosopher/Physicist Brother)


I think that this 4-year-old has captured something essential.

Headline of the Day

Ventilators Are Too Expensive, Except When You Consider the F-35
Charlie Pierce
This is true, because it's true.

Your Daily Schadenfreude

It turns out that the bible museum founded by the Hobby Lobby family and largely populated with looted Iraqi artifact, was taken to the cleaners by someone who sold it phony fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I am amused.
Have you ever been to the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.? The museum is funded by the Green family, the very Christian founders of Hobby Lobby, who wished to dedicate an entire building to the Holy Bible. (Though I'm positive I've seen a bunch of pointy ones already serving that purpose). Over the past decade, the family has spent $400 million, money they've easily saved up by denying their female employees healthcare, on housing the greatest private collection of holy texts this side of Vatican City.

But like any money spent involving Hobby Lobby, that has mostly been netting them low-quality knockoffs. One of the Museum of the Bible's most coveted collections has been its fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that draft of the Hebrew Bible so ancient it crumbled into thousands of pieces and is now scattered all over the world like an inappropriate Easter egg hunt. But from 2009 to 2014, the Greens managed to obtain sixteen bits of Dead Sea Scrolls, fragments that experts soon after deigned to be fake as hell. In response, the Greens employed the Art Fraud Insight group to put the nasty rumors to bed and confirm that, yup, those are less likely to be a hallowed scripture of the teachings of God and more likely just a bit of old shoe.

………

Confronted with the idea they've spent millions on some ancient Huarache's with doodling on them, the CEO of the museum decried: "We're victims of misrepresentation, we're victims of fraud." But nobody should ever feel bad for the Greens or their vanity museum. The family has had a long history of deliberately not looking too closely at where their artifacts originate, something that cost the Greens $3 million in fines and most of their collection when the government uncovered that they had been using shell companies to smuggle looted Iraqi artifacts into the U.S., knowing full well they might be indirectly funding ISIS in their holy quest to build a shrine to Christianity's fiction section.
In a just world, they should probably have gone to jail for their looting, but being sold sandals as holy texts is nice.

Oh Sh%$

Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the corona virus.

One of the hardest hit cities in Italy is Nembro.

Now the Mayor of Nembro and the CEO of a chain of Italian clinic have done an analysis of excess deaths indicating that in Italy, where testing and reporting is FAR more extensive than in the US, deaths from Covid-19 are at least 4 times more than reported.

It should be noted that in unsettled situations like wars and plagues, excess deaths is the generally the best way to get accurate numbers:
Nembro, one of the municipalities most affected by Covid-19, should have had - under normal conditions - about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. But the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19 is 31.

In Nembro the almost deserted streets, the absent traffic, a strange silence is sometimes interrupted by the siren of an ambulance that carries with it the anxiety and worry that fill the hearts of all in these weeks. In Nembro every member of the community continuously receives news that he never wanted to hear, every day we lose people who were part of our lives and our community. Nembro, in the province of Bergamo, is the municipality most affected by Covid-19 in relation to the population. We do not know exactly how many people have been infected, but we know that the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19 is 31. We are two physicists: one who became an entrepreneur in the health sector, the other a mayor, in close contact with a very cohesive territory, where we know each other very well. We noticed that something in these official numbers did not come back right, and we decided - together - to check. We looked at the average of the deaths in the municipality of previous years, in the period January - March. Nembro should have had - under normal conditions - about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. That is 123 more than the average. Not 31 more, as it should have been according to the official numbers of the coronavirus epidemic.

The difference is enormous and cannot be a simple statistical deviation. Demographic statistics have their «constancies» and annual averages change only when completely «new» phenomena arrive. In this case, the number of abnormal deaths compared to the average that Nembro recorded in the period of time in consideration is equal to 4 times those officially attributed to Covid-19. If a comparison is made between the deaths that have occurred and the same period in previous years, the anomaly is even more evident: there is a peak of «other» deaths in correspondence with that of the official deaths from Covid-19.
It may be that some of these from other causes that occurred because of an overloaded healthcare system, but the overwhelming majority of those excess deaths are from Covid-19.

These numbers also set the fatality rate at an absolute minimum of 1%.

Not good.

After the Pandemic, This Gets My Donations

In what might be the most New York thing ever, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan has successfully completed ayears long search for the plans for Ebbets Field, which he intends to use to construct a ¼ size replica to house a Brooklyn Dodgers museum:
Nobody ever accused Rod Kennedy Jr. of thinking too small.

A Brooklyn Dodgers fan who took a beating in a Pelham, N. Y., schoolyard in the 1950s defending his team’s honor against partisans of the New York Yankees and Giants, he began making his living 35 years later by manufacturing tiny tin replicas of ballparks.

His favorite, naturally, was Ebbets Field, the Dodgers’ longtime home in Flatbush, where he saw Sandy Koufax pitch as a rookie in 1955 and where, he said, his “nervy” mother once slipped into the team’s locker room — “a room of half-naked men” — to collect autographs.

Dissatisfied with recapturing Brooklyn’s past in miniature, however, Mr. Kennedy soon enlarged his ambitions by many orders of magnitude, embarking on a quixotic quest to build a one-quarter-scale replica of Ebbets Field to house a Dodgers museum. To further his aim, he teamed up with Marty Adler, who ran the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame, which had no home.
This is beautiful.  I hope that they succeed.

27 March 2020

Pelosi, Schumer, and the Whole of Congressional Democrats Were Just Taken for Chumps


Hoocoodanode?
When President Trump signed the $2 trillion economic stabilization package on Friday to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, he undercut a crucial safeguard that Democrats insisted upon as a condition of agreeing to include a $500 billion corporate bailout fund.

In a signing statement released hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony in the Oval Office, the president suggested he had the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general intended to monitor the fund could share with Congress.

Under the law, the inspector general, when auditing loans and investments made through the fund, has the power to demand information from the Treasury Department and other executive branch agencies. The law requires reporting to Congress “without delay” if any agency balks and its refusal is unreasonable “in the judgment of the special inspector general.”

Democrats blocked a final agreement on the package this week as they insisted on stronger oversight provisions to ensure that the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could not abuse the bailout fund. They feared that Mr. Trump, who has previously stonewalled congressional oversight, would do the same when it came to the corporate aid program.

But in his statement, which the White House made public about two hours after the president signed the bill, Mr. Trump suggested that under his own understanding of his constitutional powers as president, he can gag the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., and keep information from Congress.

………

The signing statement also challenged several other provisions in the bill, including one requiring consultation with Congress about who should be the staff leaders of a newly formed executive branch committee charged with conducting oversight of the government’s response to the pandemic.
No one should be surprised by this happening.

In fact, it would be a shock if this were NOT the case.

Schumer and Pelosi are showing the political acumen of Little Orphan Annie.

Today in Crappy Bosses

First, we have Charter Communications, who are sending their techs into people's homes with no protective gear.

No gloves, no masks, no hand sanitizer, and no hazard pay, but they are giving their installer $25.00 restaurant gift cards, which sounds good until you realize that the restaurants are mostly closed:
Spectrum technicians connecting cable and internet for customers during the coronavirus outbreak will receive a $25 gift card for a local restaurant as a "token of our appreciation" from management, after staff called for hazard pay and protective equipment.

Spectrum employees have been speaking out against the company's response to the COVID-19 pandemic for several days now, begging to be allowed to work from home if their jobs allow it and calling for safety measures to be implemented for those in the field.

Field technicians told BuzzFeed News on Monday night they feared going into people's homes during the pandemic to fix their internet and cable without gloves, a mask, or hand sanitizer in case they got sick or carried the virus to other customers or loved ones.


………

“It’s quite literally the least they could do,” the North Carolina tech said, pointing out that to even use a gift card from a local restaurant would likely involve having close contact with restaurant staff or drivers.

[Executive vice president of field operations Tom] Adams also noted Spectrum had secured access to hand sanitizer and gloves, which would be available for workers to use “in the next few weeks.”
(emphasis mine)
That's very white of you, Tom.

And then there is Instacart, which has also refused gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and hazard pay, or at least it did, until its employees threatened a massive walkout.

Surprise, it was too little, too late:
“They are putting us directly in harm’s way while profiting greatly. We cannot let this be considered normal.”

The "Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers Collective," representing some 175,000 laborers for Instacart, plan to strike on Monday, March 30.

Organizers of the labor protest say the grocery delivery giant is denying gig workers ("shoppers") basic coronavirus pandemic protections such as gloves, soap, hand sanitizer, and pay for those with pre-existing health issues that place them at high risk for COVID-19.

Read their demands at medium.com/@GigWorkersCollective. Here's an excerpt:

On Monday, March 30, Shoppers will walk off of our jobs, and will not return to work until our demands are met. We demand that Instacart meet the following conditions:
  • Safety precautions at no cost to workers — PPE (at minimum hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes/sprays and soap).
  • Hazard pay — an extra $5 per order and defaulting the in-app tip amount to at least 10% of the order total.
  • An extension and expansion of pay for workers impacted by COVID-19 — anyone who has a doctor’s note for either a preexisting condition that’s a known risk factor or requiring a self-quarantine.
  • The deadline to qualify for these benefits must be extended beyond April 8th.
I really do hope that some increased worker protections will come out of the pandemic, but I figure that this is about as likely as a mass shooting resulting in gun control measures.

Tweet of the Day


This is a pretty good metaphor for KC-46 development.

26 March 2020

Find out What What He's Been Smoking, and Have a Few Ounces Sent to My Chamber

Over at The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Grim are suggesting that that there should be a Joe Biden/Bernie Sanders Presidential ticket.

Seriously, which ever person is at the top of the ticket, it is pretty likely that they will be succeeded by their VP, and their policies are diametrically opposed.

Additionally, the DemocraticParty establishment (there is no Democratic Party establishment) would would vociferously oppose Sanders as a running mate, (It would interfere with their keeping their phony baloney jobs)  and Sanders supporters would oppose the selection of Biden with equal vigor given that they consider Biden to have been on the wrong side of every major issue throughout his career.

This isn't journalism, it's bad fan fiction.

And Trump Gets His Slush Fund

At least in the Senate, where they passed a $2 trillion stimulus package which includes a $500 Billion slush fund for Donald Trump, and no conditions on things like stock buybacks and executive pay.

It is set to pass by unanimous consent in the House, so that they will not have to come back into session.

I am hoping that someone objects, and puts the brakes on what is a looting of the taxpayer:
Early Wednesday morning, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a financial rescue package for the U.S. economy. While the full text has not yet been released as of this writing, we do know the basics of what it contains. Here are some of the key provisions:
  • Immediate payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for most families.
  • A $500 billion fund for large businesses to keep workers on payroll (this is what Democrats previously called a “slush fund” — see below).
  • $367 billion in loan guarantees for small businesses.
  • $150 billion for states and localities to help them deal with the crisis.
  • $130 billion for hospitals and health centers.
  • Expanded unemployment benefits including $600 a week for four months on top of what states are providing.
Those unemployment benefits may be the most urgent need of all. New unemployment claims have skyrocketed, as millions of people laid off from their jobs amid the virtual shutdown of our economy seek help. Some are predicting that as many as 14 million people could lose their jobs by summer.

………

Now let’s talk about that “slush fund.” At $500 billion, it’s the single largest component of the package.

………

So Democrats forced Republicans to accept the appointment of an inspector general within the Treasury Department solely devoted to monitoring the distribution of this money, as well as a five-member bipartisan oversight board appointed by Congress. There will also be “real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations,” according to Schumer’s letter.
These supervisory provisions are largely identical to those of TARP, which is to say that they are toothless, particularly given the Trump administration that Congress has no right to demand evidence from the White House.

It's going to be an orgy of corruption, and a massive bailout for the already obscenely wealthy.

Tweet of the Day


Welcome to the Roaring 20s.

Holy Sh%$

Driiven by the Covid-19 pandemic, Initial unemployment claims hit 3.3 million, more than 5 times the previous record, last week.

By way of perspective, this is 2% of the whole workforce, so this number of initial claims constitutes about a 50% increase in the unemployment rate ……… In just week.

Unemployment rates could be over 10% by the end of April.

This could end up an economic collapse of biblical proportions, real wrath of God type stuff, Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!*
A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

“The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures.

The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.
As an aside, even accounting for the aging of the workforce, workforce participation is still lower than it was before the 2008 recession, meaning that the labor market had still not recovered from the prior recession.

And now our economy is collapsing faster than an Eastern European nations experiencing American directed shock therapy after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

*Yes, this was a cheap attempt to invoke Ghostbusters.
And I get to do All About Eve as well. Win.

I See This as a Benefit of the Pandemic

There have been a lot of changes driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, most have been destructive and negative.

However, I consider it to be a positive that companies are dropping "influencers" as they try to reduce costs.

Call me puritanical about this, but I think that the whole influencer thing to be basically a parasitic activity, as well as being a mark of the general decline of our society, so the fact that it is going away, even if just for a short time, to be a good thing:
Some large fashion and beauty retailers have paused affiliate link programmes as the coronavirus pandemic depresses sales, BoF has learned, throwing a cornerstone of the social media economy into turmoil.

Macy’s, Dillard’s, T.J. Maxx and Ulta Beauty were among the chains to at least temporarily end the practice this week, denying influencers and media companies of the sales commissions they receive from posting links to products. These links have become a multi-billion dollar ecosystem, serving as the main source of income for many influencers and a lucrative revenue stream for media brands.

But with stores closed in most major cities, and consumers cutting back their spending on fashion, retailers are slashing costs. Millions of US workers have been laid off across all industries in the last two weeks, and some economists are predicting a global recession as bad or worse than the downturn that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Dillard’s told its affiliate partners in an email that “the decision was made due to the impact of Covid-19 and the realignment of marketing strategy.”

Now, influencers find themselves scrambling to figure out how to supplement that once-reliable source of income.

25 March 2020

Democrats Bring a Rubber Chicken to a Gun Fight

Joe Biden has announced that he does not want to get involved in a political fight with Donald Trump over the latter's complete mishandling of the of the Covid-19 pandemic.

My dear Biden: If you don't want to use your Presidential Campaign I should like to borrow it for a while

This is worse than a crime, it is a mistake:

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he does not want to be in a political fight with President Trump over the coronavirus outbreak but that he would continue to call the president out on misinformation regarding the virus.

"I have not been criticizing the president, but I've been pointing out where there is disagreement on how to proceed," Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said on ABC's "The View."

"The coronavirus is not his fault, but the lack of speed with which to respond to it has to move much faster," he continued. "This is not about Democrat or Republican. This is not about what your party is. It's about getting through this."

"The American people don't want us in a political fight, and I want no part of a political fight either, but when the president says things that turn out not to be accurate, we should not say 'you're lying,' we should say 'Mr. President that's not the facts, here's the deal.
Seriously, if Joe Biden does not want to campaign for the Presidency, why does he want to be the nomineee?

109th Anniversary

Normally, there is a gathering commemorating the disaster, but the lock-down in New York City has meant that there will be no gathering to remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire this year:
“Today, we mark the 109th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, a catastrophic event in which 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, were killed as a direct result of abhorrent working conditions and woefully insufficient workplace safety standards. The loss of life was both tragic and avoidable, and sent shockwaves through our city and nation. Outraged Americans demanded that these workers’ deaths not be in vain, and the public outcry that followed brought a renewed sense of urgency to the labor movement and to the fight for stronger workplace protections and fire safety laws,”
—Workers United Secretary-Treasurer Edgar Romney & New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez, Mar 25, 2020
Normally, we gather at the site of the blaze to mark the anniversary of the Triangle Fire. We assemble at the corner of Washington and Greene Streets to watch the fire truck ladder rise to the 6th floor, which was as far as it could reach in 1911, as workers burned alive or leapt to their deaths from the factory floors above. This year, we express our solidarity by marking the occasion at home, each doing our part to flatten the wave of infections that threatens to overwhelm or city and our country. Even as we stand apart, we stand together.
146 people died, mostly young women working at the factory.

The doors were locked so they could not get out, and the fire truck ladders could not reach their floors, and many of them jumped to their deaths.

Removing the Olympics from My List of They Who Must Not Be Named

Normally, I do not watch the Olympics, summer or winter, and I do not write about it, because the coverage is painful to watch, and because I think that it does more to foment international hostility and discord than any other mass gathering in the world.

That being said, when Covid-19 forces a 1 year delay of the games, it does take on a significance beyond sport and mindless nationalism:
A week ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, were promoting the Summer Olympics in Tokyo as the balm the world needed to show victory over the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the virus won out.

Bach and Abe bowed to a groundswell of resistance — from athletes, from sports federations, from national Olympic committees, from health experts — and formally postponed the Games, which had been scheduled to begin in late July, until 2021.
I guess that the Covid-19 pandemic now qualifies as real news now.

She is Off My "They Who Must Not Be Named" List?

I have a list of people that I refuse to cover, They Who Must Not Be Named.  Basically, these are folks who occupy a significant role in popular culture, but I consider too trivial for me to write about. (Tabloid fodder)

I have applied this to actors, singers, the entire royal family, and celebrities for no reason at all, such as the the reality show family whose last name resembles an adversary race in later series in the Star Trek franchise.

My standard statement on this is:
Absent some sort of political activity, such as endorsements, running for office (PLEASE GOD NO!!), or their attempting to assassinate someone, they will not be mentioned here.
Well, the first person is coming off the list and it is Britney Spears, of all people, because she is calling for a general strike and a massive reorganization of society, which I think qualifies her for removal from the list.

Also, she is sounding Trotskyite, which means that referencing her will piss off my brother, Stephen, aka Bear who swims:
Britney Spears has called for us to strike.

On Instagram, Spears shared a graphic that included the words, “We will feed each other, redistribute wealth, strike.” Her comment on the graphic “Communion goes beyond walls 🌹🌹🌹” included three roses, the symbol associated with socialist movements in the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond. That, dear reader, is the main thing we needed to tell you.



A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on


Spears is a surprising but very welcome ally in the struggle to ensure that our response to the global coronavirus pandemic is a just one. But her meming also points to the fact that this is a very rare and unusual time: a period in which draconian, repressive government measures could be introduced, but there is also an opening for people to demand a better society. Across the globe, quarantined people are increasingly reliant on low-paid workers. Governments are swiftly discovering that the actual backbone of society is the lowest paid and, in the case of the gig economy, those with few rights.

24 March 2020

Dan Patrick, While You Are Doing Your Patriotic Duty and Expiring, Could You Please Also Dine on Excrement?

Yes, I am suggesting that the Lt. Governor of the Great State of Texas eat sh%$ and die.

After all, he is a grandparent, and apparently a card carrying member of the Cult of Trump, and he is suggesting that we need to throw HIM from the train to help the US economy:
Everyone is talking about Dan Patrick’s on-air death plea.

Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, touched off an outpouring of anger when he declared to Tucker Carlson that people like him — grandparents in their twilight years — should risk death so people can stop social distancing to avert economic calamity.

………

Patrick, a Republican, noted that it’s time to “get back to work,” adding that seniors such as him should be willing to be “sacrificed” if necessary, so our children don’t “lose our whole country” to an “economic collapse”:
No one reached out to me and said, “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?” And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.
Seriously, eat sh%$ and die dude.

It will make the world, and America, a better place.

Remember the $400 Toilet Seat?


Yes, it appears that our newest aircraft carriers, the Gerald Ford class, has another problem in addition to its advanced catapult system, advanced arresting gear, and advanced weapons elevators, it's toilets do not work properly.

Pretty much every time that they attempted to make a technological great leap forward, it simply has not been able to work reliably:
New toilets on the Navy’s two newest aircraft carriers clog so frequently that the ships’ sewage systems must be cleaned periodically with specialized acids costing about $400,000 a flush, according to a new congressional audit outlining $130 billion in underestimated long-term maintenance costs.

The Navy isn’t sure the toilet systems on the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS George H. W. Bush can withstand the demand without failing frequently, according to the watchdog agency’s report on service sustainment costs released Tuesday.

The new toilet, similar to what’s used on commercial aircraft, is experiencing “unexpected and frequent clogging of the system” so the “unplanned maintenance action” will be needed “for the entire service life of the ship,” the GAO said in the report requested by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Although the costly toilets are illustrative of the problem, “we generally did not include these types of ongoing costs in our calculation” of the Navy’s looming sustainment bill, according to the report.

………

Overall, the Ford’s estimated lifetime operations and sustainment costs have grown to $123 billion from $77.3 billion, the most of six programs GAO evaluated.

“The Carrier toilet system is indicative of the kinds of issues we highlight in our report that are requiring more money, time, and effort to fix than originally anticipated due to a lack of adequate sustainment planning during the acquisition process,” said Shelby Oakley, a GAO director who manages the agency’s ship acquisition reviews

“The pipes are too narrow and when there are a bunch of sailors flushing the toilet at the same time, like in the morning, the suction doesn’t work,” said Oakley. “The Navy didn’t anticipate this problem.”
The US Navy has almost 250 years experience with handling how much sh%$ a sailor puts out, and they could not get this right.

Hell, even Princess Cruise line can make their toilets work.

This problem is not unique to the Navy though, when the B-2 originally deployed, there was no toilet (now they have a chamber pot), and they added a cot to the back of the cockpit so that pilots could deal with the rigors of missions that could exceed 24 hours.

How does the Pentagon, and the defense contractors, miss this crap?  (Pun intended)

Taibbi Says It, so I Don't Have To



Late last week, Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina briefly became the most detestable politician in America, at a time when public outrage toward politicians was at an all-time high.

Burr dumped hundreds of thousands (if not millions) worth of stocks after non-public briefings about the extent of the coronavirus crisis in the Senate Intelligence Committee.

………

On February 7th, days after being briefed by intelligence officials on response by foreign powers to the outbreak, he co-wrote an editorial on “steps the U.S. government is taking to protect you.” In it, he declared:
The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats… in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration.
Six days later, Burr sold off 33 stock holdings. Later that month, on the same day Donald Trump was saying coronavirus will “disappear” like “a miracle,” Burr spoke at a private luncheon for heavy financial hitters at the Tar Heel Club. “[Coronavirus] is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said.

………

Recapping: the Senate’s Intelligence Committee chief was briefed by intel officials, actively reassured the public, dumped stock, whispered the real dope to rich connected folk, got busted by media, then feebly claimed he made financial decisions watching CNBC, before a seething public bracing for years of agony due to financial collapse. If there’s such a thing as a grand slam of political assholedom, Burr hit it.

………

The Burr scandal shows how difficult it is to effect meaningful reform in Washington. If not just one but many members of congress feel sufficiently bulletproof that they’re not scared of trading against a pandemic, how will the government ever deal with less obviously grotesque issues?
This is why we can NEVER trust any sort of Republican bailout package, there is literally no limit to their capacity for corruption.

Not Enough Bullets

Jeff Bezos is soliciting donations for employees of Amazon subcontractors who have been thrown out of work.

First, let us be clear:  In reality, these are Amazon employees.  Amazon dictates their hours, their delivery routes, and even the uniforms they wear.

Second, Jeff Bezos is worth about $120 billion, and he wants SOMEONE ELSE to pay for the people whose his corporate decisions have f%$#ed like a drunk sorority girl.

Mr. Bezos, this is not a good look, particularly as you continue to seek subsidies to operate in various communities:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos faces backlash after publicising a relief fund the public can donate to for his contract employees working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Amazon Relief Fund was created with $25m from the e-commerce company to assist its "employees and partners", specifically those who are responsible for the necessary task of delivering all the products consumers order across the US.

It's focused on "supporting our US-based Delivery Associates employed by Delivery Service Providers, our Amazon Flex Delivery Partners, and Associates working for Integrity Staffing, Adecco Staffing, and RES Staffing, and drivers and support team members of line haul partners under financial distress due to a Covid-19 diagnosis or quarantine."

Besides the company contributing $25m to the fund, it also allows the public to donate if they deem it important. "While we aren't expecting anyone to do so, you can make a voluntary donation to the fund if you desire to do so," Amazon wrote on its fund's website.

Amazon tweaked the wording to the above after initially encouraging people to donate via text, according to Popular Information.

But asking for public donations has still caught some backlash online.

………

Amazon is worth $1tn, and Mr Bezos is worth an estimated $114bn. In 2018, the company reported an income of $11bn but paid $0 into federal taxes.

As the pandemic continues and more consumers turn to the e-commerce site to stock up on necessary essentials, the company is anticipated to post an even larger income this year. But it is still asking for consumers to contribute to its fund if they would like.
I would note that this is the SECOND time that something like this has happened.  They did the same thing with newly acquired Whole Foods, where less than 2 weeks ago, in response to Covid-19 absences and self isolation, Amazon asked workers to donate sick days to a common fund.

Jeff Bezos is an evil jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Trevor Noah Needs an Audience

I watched The Daily Show on Monday, and they are doing a shut in show, with Noah in front of a single camera, with people Skyping in.

Noah is off his game, even though the words in his monologue and discussions are pretty much the same.  (I guess that the writers are working from home too)

His performance, though, is VERY flat.

I think that he feeds off of his audience when he does his performances, and so he is strangely unmoored when it's just him hunkering down in his apartment.

Hopefully, he will improve over time.

Joe Biden, He Can Fog a Mirror

Honest to God, that is the campaign slogan for the Democratic intelligentsia supporting the Biden candidacy.

I am NOT joking.

At The Atlantic, a bastion of the Democratic Party establishment, they just published an article titled, "Stay Alive, Joe Biden."

The subhed is, "Democrats need little from the front-runner beyond his corporeal presence."

They are literally saying that he's not dead yet, and he is not Bernie Sanders, and so he must be the nominee.

Seriously, have they learned NOTHING from the clusterf%$# that was the Hillary Clinton campaign.

23 March 2020

Proof that AirBnB is Destroying Cities




Shane Morris did a drill down on Zillow data for furnished rentals, and found that there has been an explosion of long term rentals now that AirBnB has cratered. (Read the whole Twitter thread)

This is the real world experiment which shows that, notwithstanding the

It turns out that the service does take huge amounts of residential rental properties out of the market by moving them to short term rentals (hotels).

To those who argue that hotels take up space too, it should be noted that for a given area, a hotel will house tens, if not hundreds, of times more guests than an AirBnB listing.

People are buying converting residential rentals to hotels, or in an even more destabilizing development, long term renting properties to secretly sublease as AirBnB's, which means that when there is a downturn, there are suddenly dozens of landlords who are about to discover that their "tenants" are actually speculators who are going to walk away from their leases.  (And I agrew tiht hte poster that, "The sudden collapse of AirBNB has been, legitimately, the funniest f%$#ing thing I’ve watched play out this past month."

This will not end well, but it is the inevitable result of using regulatory arbitrage to facilitate leverage, speculation, and looting.

As I have noted before, the "sharing economy" has turned out to be little more than sucking the marrow out of society.

Authorities need to stop buying into the whole "internet disruption" bullsh%$.

All it does is enrich a few at the expense of the bulk of society.

This is a Shocker (Not)

Donald Trump is talking about relaxing the Covid-19 restrictions for to boost the economy.

It turns out that he started talking about this when his most lucrative properties started getting shut down:
President Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue.


Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.

In a tweet late Sunday, Trump said the measures could be lifted as soon as March 30. “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” he wrote on Twitter.

………

The company, which Trump says is run day-to-day by his sons Eric and Don Jr., has not said whether it would apply for a bailout of the hotel industry, if Congress created one.

Trump has not, either. On Sunday, he was asked if his business would abstain from any federal bailout. He did not give a clear answer. “Everything’s changing, just so you understand, it’s all changing,” he said. “But I have no idea.”

Trump’s business includes some commercial office buildings, which have long-term leases and should not be hurt as immediately by the virus. But he is also heavily invested in the hotel business, with 11 hotels around the world.

………

So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas; Doral, Fla.; Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland — as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Many of the clubs closed because they had to, under local orders. Others closed on their own, following strong guidance or recommendations from local officials.

Those are six of Trump’s top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels, bringing in about $174 million total per year, according to Trump’s most recent financial disclosures. That works out to $478,000 per day — revenue that is likely to be sharply reduced with the clubs shuttered. The disclosures provide self-reported revenue figures but not profits.

Another of Trump’s golf clubs, in Aberdeen, Scotland, appeared likely to shut down soon, after an order from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that “nonessential” shops should close and that people should leave home only to buy food, buy medicine or exercise alone.

Even the Trump properties that remain open have been sharply affected: In Chicago, New York and Washington, the restaurants have closed, cutting off a key source of revenue.

………

If Trump did loosen restrictions on movement in the name of restarting the U.S. economy, that would probably increase the number of people staying in hotels, said Freitag, the hotel industry analyst from STR.
Donald Trump raises self-dealing to heretofore undreamt levels in the United States.

This man is literally going to infect millions of people in order to protect his bottom line.

Welcome to the 3rd World

The US State Department is begging lesser developed nations for medical supplies.

This is what 45 years of embracing neoliberal policies, or, to put it in another way, we have been eating our seed corn:
The U.S. State Department is instructing its top diplomats to press governments and businesses in Eastern Europe and Eurasia to ramp up exports and production of life-saving medical equipment and protective gear for the United States, part of a desperate diplomatic campaign to fill major shortcomings in the U.S. medical system amid a rising death toll from the new coronavirus.

The appeal comes as European governments are themselves struggling to cope with one of the worst pandemics to spread around the globe since the 1918 Spanish flu. It represents a stark turnaround for the United States, which has traditionally taken the lead in trying to help other less-developed countries contend with major humanitarian disasters and epidemics.

The request could also undercut claims by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that the United States can handle demands for tests and medical equipment on its own, declining to fully implement the Defense Production Act to mandate that U.S. companies produce these products. “We have so many companies making so many products—every product that you mentioned, plus ventilators and everything else. We have car companies—without having to use the act. If I don’t have to use—specifically, we have the act to use, in case we need it. But we have so many things being made right now by so many—they’ve just stepped up,” Trump said at a press conference on March 21.
Gee, you really think that, "The request could also undercut claims by U.S. President Donald Trump?"

Really?

Of Course Texas Joins In

Joining with Ohio, Texas is using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to ban abortions.

Can we please give it back to Mexico?
The governor and attorney general of Texas are moving to ban most abortions in the state during the coronavirus outbreak, declaring they don’t qualify as essential surgeries.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the order issued over the weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott barred “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

Failure to comply with the order can result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time, Paxton said.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” Paxton said. “Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”

………

Amid the moves by Ohio and Texas, a coalition of anti-abortion groups urged its allies across the nation to ask governors to ban most abortions on the grounds they were not essential.

“If abortion is a ‘choice’ then abortion is an elective procedure,” said Mark Harrington, president of the anti-abortion group Created Equal.
These people are beneath contempt.

This is not the opposition, it is the enemy, and it should be treated as such.

Tweet of the Day


This 8 year old will one day rule the world.

It's Like Watching Brezhnev in 1981

We waited a week for Joe Biden to give a statement on the Covid-19 pandemic, and we got a word salad delivered with all the vigor of Terri Schiavo.

Joe Biden, and his campaign, need to step up their game.

This is not just because he's now the front-runner in the Democratic Presidential primary, but because he can not get the media attention necessary to shine the light Donald Trump's attempt to make any potential economic bailout from the current emergency a way to line his own pockets.

I understand that Biden and his campaign staff think that the primary is over, and they want to give him a few days off, but they really need to turn the dial to 11 right now.