Daily Blog March 2020

This month is “make it or break it” for Presidential candidates with Super Tuesday on the 3rd being the main determiner.

It’s time for the over-crowded clown show that has repeated too many times for the Democrats to come to an end. The big question is will it be the will of the people who pick their candidate to face Trump or a small group of well-connected insiders with ties to Wall Street and billionaires?

The “Special” post I started last month on Bernie will continue to be updated until the results of Super Tuesday are in. My goal was go gather a good sample of stories to counter the blatant bashing of the M$M by reporters, pundits and everyone else so dependent on the status-quo machine, that they will repeatedly make complete fools of themselves in an attempt to control the narrative. It’s been encouraging to see them fail.

Time to start thinking about a garden.

97 thoughts on “Daily Blog March 2020

  1. Go for the Jugular, Joe Biden

    Instead of giving Trump wise advice on the coronavirus crisis, the Democratic frontrunner ought to attack his incompetence.

    Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    It can no longer be said that Joe Biden is missing in action. Over the course of the last week, the Biden campaign, sensitive to criticism from progressives and bafflement from political reporters, has stepped up the candidate’s media appearances in order to counter President Donald Trump’s elevated visibility amidst the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday, Biden made a virtual stop on Meet the Press, where host Chuck Todd controversially asked him whether Trump had “blood on his hands” given the administration’s bungling of the coronavirus response so far. “I think that’s a little too harsh,” he replied. “I watched a prelim to your show where someone used the phrase that the president thinks out loud. He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply.”

    This prompted criticism from progressives who argued, correctly, that Trump’s misinformation and maladministration of the crisis have very likely cost lives already and put the country on the path towards a staggering number of casualties before a vaccine can be made widely available. In a Friday piece for Politico, Ryan Lizza quoted an outside Biden adviser who seemed to offer a reason for his reticence. “Biden has a thin line,” he told Lizza. “As much as I dislike Trump and think what a bad job he’s doing, there’s a danger now that attacking him can backfire on you if you get too far out there. I don’t think the public wants to hear criticism of Trump right now.”

    What we know about how the public views the Trump administration at the moment isn’t great for Biden and Democrats. But that’s all the more reason for Biden to lean harder into his critiques of the president, in keeping with the rhetorical approach he took earlier in the primaries.

    Not long ago, the conventional wisdom among pundits was that the Democratic primary had been derailed by policy discussions and criticism of the Obama administration, instead of forceful criticism of Donald Trump. In a representative bit of commentary, NBC analyst Jonathan Allen went as far as calling Trump the winner of last June’s Democratic primary debate. “For long stretches, it seemed, they completely forgot about the man who has been at the center of pretty much every discussion among Democrats for the last two-plus years—the man they’re competing to take on next year,” he said. “The obvious reason: The motivation to beat each other was, on this night, more urgent than defeating Trump—a life-or-death moment for some of their campaigns.”

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  2. How America’s Newspapers Covered Up a Pandemic

    The terrifying, censored coverage of the 1918 Spanish flu

    Red Cross volunteers in the United States during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 (Apic/Getty Images)

    When Donald Trump first declared that the coronavirus shutdown would be over by Easter, he was embracing a hallowed American tradition of happy-talk denial. As the polymath president (part wartime leader, part Nobel-level epidemiologist) said last week, “Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked into a house or an apartment or some space. It’s not for our country, and we are not built that way.”

    America was never built that way, as the history of the influenza pandemic a century ago demonstrates. In October 1918 alone, 195,000 Americans died from the virus. Yet President Woodrow Wilson, obsessed with a war in Europe that would end on November 11, made no public references to the disease. And states received no assistance from Washington, not even from the Food and Drug Administration.

    Meanwhile, the big-city newspapers—the dominant news sources in the days before radio—sugarcoated the truth, practicing an alarming level of self-censorship. Any article or headline suggesting more than casual concern about the disease would be open to attack for undermining morale on the home front during the Great War.

    “As terrifying as the disease was, the press made it more so,” John M. Barry wrote in his epic history, The Great Influenza. “They terrified by making so little of it, for what officials and the press said bore no relationship to what people saw and touched and smelled and endured. People could not trust what they read.”

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  3. All the President’s Crackpots

    Richard A. Epstein’s crank theories about the coronavirus are influential thanks to a powerful network of right-wing legal activists.

    Richard Epstein in 2018. (White whirlwind, CC-BY-SA-4.0)

    In the policy battle over the response to the coronavirus pandemic, much depends on who has Donald Trump’s ear. All presidents receive conflicting advice, but Trump in particular is susceptible to the last person who talks to him. During his press conference on Sunday, Trump seemed to accept the position of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who insist that the pandemic demands a no-holds-barred response. But Trump also said, “We had a lot of people, people were saying maybe we should not do anything, just ride it. Ride it like a cowboy. Ride that sucker right through.” Trump himself at least on occasion has echoed this line of thought, with his suggestions that social distancing policies should be ended as soon as possible, perhaps even in time to allow the churches to be full on Easter.

    The idea that the medical establishment is overreacting to the pandemic continues to be strong in some segments of the political right, especially among libertarians. As The Washington Post reported on March 23, “Conservatives close to Trump and numerous administration officials have been circulating an article by Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, titled ‘Coronavirus Perspective,’ that plays down the extent of the spread and the threat.”

    Trump wavers back and forth on coronavirus policy because he sometimes listens to medical experts and sometimes to aides who are offering distillations of Epstein’s argument.

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  4. Liberty University student tests positive for Covid-19 after Falwell reopens campus

    Nearly a dozen students showed symptoms of coronavirus after Jerry Falwell Jr defied calls for closures and invited them to return

    *erry Falwell Jr at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on 13 November 2019. Photograph: Emily Elconin/AP *

    At least one student who returned to Liberty University last week has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the conservative, Christian school’s lead physician.

    “Liberty will be notifying the community as deemed appropriate and required by law,” Liberty University’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr, told the New York Times.

    Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote
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    Last week, Falwell invited the school’s 5,000 students to return to campus after officials confirmed the Lynchburg, Virginia-based institution would defy nationwide calls for mandatory school closures and reopen.

    Now, any student returning to campus would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

    Lead physician Thomas W Eppes Jr confirmed in the report that nearly a dozen Liberty students showed symptoms of Covid-19 since returning to campus.

    According to Eppes, of three tested, one was positive, one negative and the results are pending for the third. Eight other students were told to self-isolate.

    “We’ve lost the ability to corral this thing,” Eppes told Falwell before the school’s reopening.

    Of the 1,900 students who initially returned, Falwell confirmed more than 800 had since left again. He added the university had “no idea” how many returned to off-campus housing.

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  5. As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash

    Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images

    Throughout the Democratic presidential primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren offered a slew of robust proposals to reshape the American economy. Yet the Democratic presidential primary hardly engaged with questions of whether that restructuring was wise, who would benefit, and who would lose. Instead, the debate was dominated in no small part by a single question: “How will you pay for it?”

    On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who regularly dismissed the ideas put forward by Sanders and Warren as unrealistic, waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who represents the hardest-hit neighborhood of Queens, deemed on the House floor Friday morning, but the moment is instructive. Last week, as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated, Ocasio-Cortez joined Sanders for a virtual town hall to discuss the global pandemic and the unfolding economic crisis. She raised a number of important points, but one observation touched an especially strong nerve with me.

    She was talking about the speed with which the House and Senate have been working to pass spending bills to get cash into the hands of desperate workers, struggling businesses, and major industries:

    It’s a fascinating progressive moment because what it’s shown is that all of these issues have never been about ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ It’s never been about whether we have the capacity to do these things or if the logistics have worked out.

    All of these excuses that we have been given as to why we cannot treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke and what has been revealed is that all of these issues were really about a lack of political will and who you deemed worthy to be in an emergency or not.

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  6. Charles Koch Network Pushed $1 Billion Cut to CDC, Now Attacks Shelter-in-Place Policies for Harming Business

    Charles Koch, chief executive officer of Koch Industries, at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 29, 2019. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

    The Koch network, while pushing for businesses to stay open, is taking the opposite approach for its lobbying apparatus. AFP and its affiliates, including LIBRE Initiative and Concerned Veterans for America, are now working from home. “Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of our activists, staff, and voters, our staff are working from home and are utilizing digital organizing as one way to continue their grassroots engagement,” a spokesperson from AFP told CNBC.

    [Read more ][1]
    [1]: “Read more at the source”

  7. The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
    Donald Trump arrives to speak the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House last Saturday.

    The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions

    Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

    When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.
    New York mayor urges Trump to help as more US coronavirus hotspots emerge
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    On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.

    In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites.

    One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.

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  8. Coronavirus forces economics profession to leave comfort zone

    For years there has been a stubborn reluctance to adopt a more multidisciplinary approach

    The coronavirus is devastating one economy after another. Photograph: NIAID/Reuters

    With the coronavirus devastating one economy after another, the economics profession – and thus the analytical underpinnings for sound policymaking and crisis management – is having to play catchup. Of particular concern are the economics of viral contagion, of fear and of “circuit breakers”. The more that economic thinking advances to meet changing realities, the better will be the analysis that informs the policy response.

    That response is set to be both novel and inevitably costly. Governments and central banks are pursuing unprecedented measures to mitigate the global downturn, lest a now-certain global recession gives way to a depression (already an uncomfortably high risk). As they do, we will likely see a further erosion of the distinction between mainstream economics in advanced economies and in developing economies.

    Coronavirus pandemic has delivered the fastest, deepest economic shock in history
    Nouriel Roubini
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    Such a change is sorely needed. With overwhelming evidence of massive declines in consumption and production across countries, analysts in advanced economies must reckon, first and foremost, with a phenomenon that was hitherto familiar only to fragile/failed states and communities devastated by natural disasters: an economic sudden stop, together with the cascade of devastation that can follow from it. They will then face other challenges that are more familiar to developing countries.

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  9. Road trips, yoga and LSD with the dentist: what the Beatles did next

    Fifty years after the band announced their split, Craig Brown looks back at the Fab Four’s remarkable return to ‘normal’ life

    * Illustration: Guardian Design *

    n 29 August 1966, the Beatles closed their set at the Candlestick Park baseball stadium in San Francisco with “Long Tall Sally”, an old Little Richard number that had been part of their repertoire from the very start. “See you again next year,” said John as they left the stage. The group then clambered into an armoured car and were driven away. It was to be their last proper concert.

    Their American tour had been exhausting, sporadically frightening, and unrewarding. By this stage their delight in their own fame had worn off. They were fed up with all the hassle of touring, and tired of the way the screaming continued to drown out the music, so that even they were unable to hear it. Having been shepherded into an empty, windowless truck after a particularly miserable show in a rainy St Louis, Paul said to the others: “I really fucking agree with you. I’ve fucking had it up to here too.”

    “We’ve been telling you for weeks!” came the reply.

    On their flight back to England, George told press officer Tony Barrow: “That’s it. I’m not a Beatle any more.” Like the others, but perhaps more so, after 1,400 shows he was sick to death of playing live: at the age of 23, he had had enough.

    For the first time in years, the four of them were able to take a break from being Beatles. With three months free, they could do what they liked. Ringo chose to relax at home with his wife and new baby. John went to Europe to play Private Gripweed in Richard Lester’s film How I Won the War. George flew to Bombay to study yoga and to be taught to play the sitar by Ravi Shankar. This left Paul to his own devices.

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  10. Economic numbers don’t matter right now. Government must help Americans get by
    James K Galbraith

    GDP will crash this quarter, but it’s not a catastrophe in itself. The fall is a measure of the effectiveness of the lockdown

    A closed business in Detroit, Michigan. Photograph: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

    In the United States, 3.3 million workers filed for unemployment insurances last week – about five times more than in any previous week in history. Many more will follow soon. A disaster? No. It’s a sign that there is still a support system out there, however frail it may be. To break the epidemic, people need to be home, sheltering in place. Jobless benefits are one vital way to help them get by.

    Gross domestic product will crash this quarter – also perhaps by more than ever before. The fall is a measure of the effectiveness of the lockdown. It is also a sign of the fragility of what was there before. It is not a catastrophe in itself.

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  11. The most important technology critic in the world was tired of knowledge based on clicks. So he built an antidote

    Evgeny Morozov was a critic of Big Tech long before it became fashionable. Then he built The Syllabus, an online system that breaks the laws of the attention economy. At a time when misinformation about Covid-19 can spread faster than the virus itself, his system is even more important. I was with him when he first shared it with the world.

    Illustrations by Katherine Lam for The Correspondent. During his stay at Morozov’s residence, Maurits took many photographs. The illustrations are an interpretation of these images.

    Note: This is a 20-25 minute read. It covers the final days leading up to the launch of “The Syllabus” an alternative to the click based information search you find on Google, Facebook, Twitter” because all information on these platform rely on clicks to produce revenue from advertisement. The click base system filters out the best information at the expense of what’s just popular whether it’s the best or not. I included the link to The Syllabus above because I had to check it out before I finished the article and wanted to save you a search.

    Evgeny Morozov’s The Syllabus collects the best articles, podcasts and videos about the political, economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on a daily basis. In these uncertain times, as misinformation spreads online, it is essential reading.
    ‘How is the coronavirus changing the world? Evgeny Morozov’s The Syllabus gives you essential reads and analyses’. I was with him when he first shared The Syllabus with the world.

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