Archive | April 16th, 2020

Elizabeth Warren Joins the Biden Bandwagon, Betrays Supporters

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

Judge them by their actions, never their rhetoric, a rule of thumb in evaluating others, notably politicians. They all lie with the rarest of rare exceptions.

Warren’s sellout to Dem party bosses followed Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders going the same way — abdicating to wealth and power interests over honor and principles, showing their lofty rhetoric was meaningless, their trustworthiness nil.

Dems falling all over themselves for Biden show they back his pro-war, pro-business, and anti-progressive agenda. The package goes with the man. You can’t have one without the other.

Biden is a Trump clone warmonger/corporatist/racist with a party label and style difference.

As things now stand, US voters in November with get to choose between death by firing squad or hanging — meaning no choice at all, how it always is for high executive or congressional offices when so-called elections are held.

They’re more exercises in mass deception than anything else, always turning out the same way.

In her betrayal message, Warren said the following:

“In this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government—and I’ve seen Joe Biden help our nation rebuild (sic).”

“Today, I’m proud to endorse @JoeBiden as president of the United States.”

“Joe Biden has spent nearly his entire life in public service (sic).”

“He knows that a government run with integrity, competence and heart will save lives and save livelihoods (sic).”

“And we can’t afford to let Donald Trump continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of every American.”

Biden’s near-half century of public life reflects virtually  everything disturbing about dirty politics as usual in Washington.

He never met a US war of aggression against an invented enemy he didn’t wholeheartedly endorse.

Nor a banker’s grand theft through fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, pumping and dumping, front-running and scamming investors he didn’t turn a blind eye to, Wall Street giants operating like shadowy Mafia dons, an interconnected crime family feigning respectability.

Nor has Biden been shy about supporting an enhanced US military, industrial, security, media complex and prison industrial complex while backing neoliberal war on social justice.

He’s hostile to all sovereign independent nations the US doesn’t control, his actions showing contempt for ordinary people everywhere.

His near half-century as US senator and vice president was all about serving wealth and powerful interests at the expense of public rights and welfare.

Warren is an Obama clone with a gender difference, an establishment figure throughout her public life.

Militantly hostile to nonbelligerent Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and other sovereign states on the US target list for regime change, she falsely considers them a threat to US national security.

They’re at peace with other nations, at war with none, polar opposite how the US, NATO and Israel operate  — rogue states threatening everyone.

She backs illegally imposed US sanctions on targeted nations and individuals that’s the prerogative of Security Council members exclusively, never one state against others for any reasons.

Dismissive of Palestinian rights, she one-sidedly backs Israel, ignoring its history of high crimes.

In her own words, “capitalist to the bone” defines her, meaning corporate predation and exploitation for maximum unrestrained profit-making and market power.

Was endorsing Biden a sale pitch to join his ticket as running mate?

Do Sanders and Gabbard have something similar in mind — perhaps a cabinet post if not his number two?

There’s nary a dime’s worth of difference between Biden and Trump.

In November like most often earlier, options for US voters are none at all — dirty business as usual alone on the ballot for the nation’s highest office and key congressional posts.

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The Russians Get Blamed Again, but Who Is Really Subverting American Democracy?

By Philip Giraldi

It is perhaps inevitable that a major health panic like the coronavirus will have political ramifications based on whether those most affected by the illness will perceive that the government performed well or poorly in the crisis. The government for its part will engage in a blame game which seeks to place responsibility for what did not go well on an outside party. It should surprise no one to learn, for example, that Hindus in India have been blaming a Muslim group for the proliferation of the virus in their country, an accusation that has led to rioting and other violence directed against Muslims in general and which has produced some deaths.

In the United States blame for the health crisis has been more diversified and has been largely construed along existing political fault lines. Democrats are reasonably enough blaming President Donald Trump for the delays and failures to supply medical equipment while Republicans are seeking to exonerate the poor performance by the president, chiefly by editing the existing record to expunge Trump’s initial dismissal of the virus as little more than a common cold and even as a “hoax.” That refusal to recognize the severity of the epidemic cost the country several weeks at a minimum, time that might have been employed to get on top of the disease before it had a chance to gain a foothold.

More interesting perhaps is the apparent desire to find a foreign enemy as the source of the virus. That the virus originated in Wuhan is the majority view of the “experts,” though it is not clear if its genetics were the result of laboratory manipulation or were a naturally occurring mutation. And for its part, the Chinese government at a minimum was not particularly forthcoming when the virus began to spread in Wuhan and the surrounding province, failing to send an appropriate signal to the international community that a potentially highly contagious and lethal new virus had made an appearance.

In the U.S., Republican politicians and pundits, as well as the president, have exploited the uncertainty by persisting in calling the coronavirus the “Wuhan virus” or the “China virus.” There has also been considerable chatter about how Beijing is “to blame” for it, which, of course, intentionally shifts the narrative away from the actions or lack thereof by the American president. And so as not to ignore the real conspiracy theorists, there are also the stories now circulating about how the U.S. government helped fund research at the Wuhan Institute that involved bats, one of the possible sources of the virus. Additional theories being promoted by Rush Limbaugh and others promote the belief that the Chinese communists deliberately created and unleashed the virus to destroy western capitalism.Whither Coronavirus? When Will It End and What Will Happen Along the Way

It was perhaps inevitable that somehow Russia would eventually be brought into the preferred narrative to serve as a distraction that would derail the media’s 24/7 focus on the White House and its developing response to the virus. The Russian government’s shipment of a planeload of badly needed medical supplies to the United States several weeks ago notwithstanding, Moscow and President Vladimir Putin continue to be useful punching bags for both the national media and both parties in congress.

The latest tale from Yahoo news of Kremlin perfidy is also somewhat of a spy story, no doubt intended to enhance its appeal. It has not really caught on with the public yet because the panic over the virus has overwhelmed the news cycle, but there is still plenty of time to seek and find a foreign enemy who is wanting to do harm to the United States of America.

According to the news report, which is based on a paper prepared by analysts at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Russian intelligence officers are analyzing the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic to determine vulnerabilities in the American government’s procurement and emergency response system. The April 6th study, prepared by the DHS Counterintelligence Mission Center, states that the Russians are “likely are watching the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic” as “intelligence collection on medical supply chain vulnerabilities could inform future operations aimed at weakening key logistical elements in preparation for a wartime attack, or opportunistically during an emergency.”

In other words, Moscow is looking for vulnerabilities in what amounts to America’s civil defense response capability in case it has to go to war with Washington. Given the lack of evidence confirming any desire on Vladimir Putin’s part to engage in a nuclear conflict with the United States that would likely destroy most of the planet, it is difficult to imagine that Russia is war planning in any serious way. But, according to some sources, a different picture does plausibly emerge from the Kremlin’s activity, which is that Russia is working to portray itself as a competent player in the war against the coronavirus while Donald Trump and his European counterparts are being seen as irresponsible fumblers.

Moscow has indeed been extending a hand to Europeans even as the Germans have been complaining about the White House conniving to steal their medical supplies. Several plane loads of medical equipment and more than 100 personnel flew to Italy a month ago. According to Italian sources, some of the Russians were intelligence officers making independent assessments of how effectively the Italians have been able to respond to the medical crisis.

All of that should surprise no one, as that is what intelligence officers do, though it does not necessarily mean that anyone is necessarily preparing for war. And the DHS report speculates wildly when it suggests that the coronavirus operation is part and parcel of “Russia’s ongoing 2020 election interference,” a largely undemonstrated hot button designed to make the hawks in congress swoon with pleasure.

If anyone is looking for Russiagate 2, this is exactly how it begins. Blame China, and if that does not seem to be working, look for the perfidious hand of Vladimir Putin, who clearly spends all day in his office dreaming up schemes whereby providing medical supplies to the U.S. and Europe is all part of some master plan to subvert the 2020 presidential election. But wait a minute, the ballot will feature Trump against Joe Biden. Putin is too late. The election has already been subverted.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on The Russians Get Blamed Again, but Who Is Really Subverting American Democracy?

Washington Post Photographer Spots Crossed-Out ‘Coronavirus’ in Favor of ‘Chinese Virus’ in Trump Notes

“Aggressively, purposefully, maniacally, loathsomely racist.”

By Eoin Higgins

Global Research,

President Donald Trump’s use of the racist term “Chinese virus” when describing the global coronavirus outbreak is apparently counter to how his aides are presenting information to him to read to the public according to a photo taken Thursday by Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford. 

“When someone you know dies of this thing, you can find solace in the fact that when the president was supposed to be leading the nation through this pandemic, he was busy making hand edits to speeches so that the Chinese would be adequately scapegoated,” tweeted political journalist Brian Tyler Cohen.

Jabin Botsford@jabinbotsford

Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese” Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

71.5K7:06 PM – Mar 19, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy43.1K people are talking about this

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, Trump’s insistence on using the term “Chinese virus” is part of an American history of using racist tropes about disease.

The president’s own handwriting scrawling the term across his notes at a press conference drew outrage on social media as observers like Daily Beast reporter Sam Stein noted the “obvious attempts to start a debate over political correctness” rather than Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic, which threatens the lives of thousands if not millions of Americans.

“Aggressively, purposefully, maniacally, loathsomely racist,” tweeted astronomer Phil Plait.

Press Watch editor Dan Froomkin said Trump’s latest embrace of racist hate is another indication the president should be ignored as much as possible.

“This is the extent of Trump’s contribution to the debate,” said Froomkin. “He needs to be routed around, not heeded.”

At his Thursday press briefing on the coronavirus, Trump in response to a question on holding China accountable for the outbreak suggested there would be “repercussions” for Beijing.

“We’re working on that right now,” said Trump.

From Common Dreams: Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Posted in USA, China, Health, PoliticsComments Off on Washington Post Photographer Spots Crossed-Out ‘Coronavirus’ in Favor of ‘Chinese Virus’ in Trump Notes

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, CARES Act Is Business Giveaway, “Handout” to Monied Interests

By Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was unanimously passed by the Senate.

It’s scheduled to be voted on and adopted by House members on Friday, Trump to sign it into law. Its provisions are largely what was discussed in a previous day article.

There’s plenty in it for monied interests, along with the Wall Street owned and operated Fed supplying trillions of dollars in virtually free money to banks, other corporate interests, hedge funds, and large investors —  more to come as needed.

By comparison, ordinary Americans get peanuts. Households will get one-time direct deposits of $1,200, married couples to get $2,400, plus an additional $500 per child.

This applies to households earning up to $75,000, $150,000 for married couples, scaled down amounts going to households earning up to $99,000/$198,000 for married couples.

Unemployed workers will get $600 weekly for four months — through July 31.

So-called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment insurance payments to individuals not otherwise eligible to receive benefits — including the self-employed and others who exhausted their regular and extended benefits.

The bill provides 13 weeks of emergency unemployment insurance for individuals who remain unemployed after they exhausted their benefits and aren’t otherwise eligible for them.

A four-member household, including two children, will get a one-time payment of $3,400, a single individual $1,200 + $600 weekly if unemployed through July 31 in both examples.

Federal unemployment benefits are in addition what individual states provide.

According to US Census Bureau data, median US rent in 2017was $1,012, median mortgage costs $1,513.

An average one-person household spends around $370 a month for food, double this amount for a three-person household.

In 2017, average per capita spending for healthcare annually was $10,224.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average pre-tax household income in 2017 was $73,573, average annual expenses around $60,000.

The average federal income tax rate is around 20%, after-tax income less than $59,000 — minus state, property, and other local taxes, meaning most households spend borrowed money on top of income to cover expenses.

A family of four getting $3,400 + $600 a week if get federal unemployment benefits for around 17.5 weeks from April 1 through July 31 would receive $13,900 —far below what households need to cover expenses, supplemented by state unemployment benefits if get them.Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Individuals are permitted to delay payment of payroll taxes until 2021 or 2022. The same holds for eligible businesses as follows:

They can delay paying payroll taxes through December 2020, pay 50% of them in 2021, another 50% in 2022.

Hundreds of billions of dollars in government loans to business and trillions of dollars in zero-interest Fed money may end up partially or entirely forgiven.

Will unpaid business payroll taxes be treated the same way? Looking ahead, what hasn’t been paid may not be when companies begin emerging from ongoing economic and financial duress.

Dems, including  progressive Bernie Sanders, agreed to suspend business payroll taxes that’s all about weakening Social Security and Medicare trust funds — part of a longterm plan to erode and eliminate them.

He and other Dems agreed to provide business with the lion’s share of benefits, instead of demanding more for American households, including government provided healthcare for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, excluding what covered by insurers.

Taking this step would advance the ball incrementally for universal healthcare, what’s vitally needed, Sanders its most vocal congressional supporter rhetorically.

His voting record shows otherwise, including on Wednesday by supporting the so-called CARES Act.

On Tuesday, Politico reported that the Trump regime temporarily “stopped seizing the wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits of people who are in default on their federal student loans,” citing an unnamed Education Department source.

Through federally controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as perhaps the entire mortgage industry, unemployed homeowners may also get temporary payment relief if qualify, permitting reduced or suspended payments for a fixed period.

According to Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mark Calabria, “(t)hat forbearance is up to 12 months, depending on their particular situation,” adding:

Homeowners “need to contact their servicer…the lender that they send the check to every month.”

“That lender will work with them to be able to work out a payment plan. Obviously, we hope to get them back on their feet as soon as possible.”

The above is not debt forgiveness. Loan obligations will be extended for the period of reduced or suspended payments.

A plan for renters is needed. While many municipalities halted evictions of individuals unable to pay landlords, there’s no federal program that authorizes reduced or suspended payments during the current economic and public health crisis.

Companies receiving bailout help are prohibited from making stock buybacks for the term of the amount provided plus an additional year.

Dividends, capital distributions, and executive bonuses are to be suspended for the same period.

How closely this will be monitored and whether actions will be taken against violators is another matter entirely.

Health insurers are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests. The same goes for vaccines when available.

Testing is supposed to be available for everyone in need. Americans are on their own for treatment of all health issues, including COVID-19.

Even federally mandated free healthcare for seniors that began in the mid-1960s when Medicare was established is longer free, especially because supplementary insurance is needed for what Medicare doesn’t cover.

Separately, COVID-19 infections keep spreading. Through Wednesday, around 472,000 were reported worldwide.

In the US, the total exceeds 69,000, New York state its epicenter with around 33,000 cases through Wednesday, New York City hardest hit with over 20,000 cases.

According to NBC News New York, the “NYC death toll spike(ed) 110% in the (last) 36 hours.”

The city has 11,000 ventilators to help severely affected patients breathe. Around 30,000 are needed, likely many more in the days and weeks ahead.

NY Gov. Cuomo slammed the CARES Act, calling $3.8 billion in NY aid a “drop in the bucket” with around $15 billion needed at this time.

Economically and health-wise nationwide, things are likely to get much worse before improving.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security

‘Fanatical Cruelty’: As Pandemic Rages, Trump Refuses to Reopen Affordable Care Act Enrollment to Help Uninsured

“This isn’t just an outrageous decision, but it’s also a deadly one.”

By Jake Johnson

As millions of people across the United States lose their jobs—and their employer-provided health insurance—amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has reportedly decided against reopening Affordable Care Act enrollment to ease the economic pain of the uninsured and help protect them from devastating medical costs.

An anonymous White House official told Politico Tuesday night that the Trump administration will not reopen HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period as the U.S. battles the COVID-19 outbreak, disregarding urgent pleas from a diverse array of advocacy groups (pdf) and more than 100 members of Congress (pdf). The White House is “exploring other options,” the official said without elaborating.

“This isn’t just an outrageous decision, but it’s also a deadly one,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas.). “Moments ago, Donald Trump announced we should expect 100-200k deaths in the U.S. For those without health insurance, this is fatal. It’s time to end this senseless war on healthcare.”

The annual ACA enrollment period ended in December, though some are still eligible for special enrollment despite the Trump administration’s tireless efforts to restrict eligibility.

While around a dozen states that run their own ACA exchanges have reopened enrollment, most states rely on the federal marketplace directed by the Trump administration, which is currently backing a Republican lawsuit that, if successful, would overturn the ACA and throw tens of millions more off their insurance.

“In the middle a pandemic that could kill hundreds of thousands, Trump and his toadies are deliberately blocking Americans from buying healthcare,” tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.Y.). “Theirs is fanatical cruelty that will kill people.”

As HuffPost‘s Jeff Young wrote late Tuesday, “the negative consequences of this active refusal to offer help to vulnerable Americans are obvious”: The people living in the 38 states that use HealthCare.gov—and those in Idaho, which hasn’t reactivated its state-run exchange—will likely remain uninsured, leaving them potentially exposed to tens of thousands of dollars in costs if they get sick from the novel coronavirus and need medical treatment.

Moreover, the high cost of healthcare frequently discourages Americans from seeking care, especially those who are among the 28 million uninsured. And sick people not being isolated and treated means they are at risk of spreading the coronavirus to more people.

Progressives have argued repeatedly in recent weeks that the spread of the novel coronavirus and the resulting economic collapse have exposed the cruelty of a for-profit healthcare system that ties insurance to employment and essential care to one’s ability to shoulder the often exorbitant costs. Medicare for All, advocates say, is the only humane and reasonable solution to the crisis in the long-term.

In the meantime, progressive lawmakers and activists have demanded that all coronavirus testing, treatment, and potential cures by made free and available for everyone in the United States.

As Common Dreams reported Monday, an analysis by Covered California found that insurance companies could raise premiums by more than 40% next year, which would put already expensive healthcare entirely out of reach for millions of people.

“Corporate-run health insurance isn’t about saving lives,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “It’s about making as much money as possible. With Medicare for All we can finally put an end to this international disgrace.”

From Common Dreams: Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on ‘Fanatical Cruelty’: As Pandemic Rages, Trump Refuses to Reopen Affordable Care Act Enrollment to Help Uninsured

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