Archive | April 24th, 2020

Lets Rid Ourselves of the War Virus. Liberiamoci del Virus della Guerra

Convegno internazionale nel 75° Anniversario della Liberazione

By Global Research News

TRASMESSO DA BYOBLU e PANDORATV

Sabato 25 Aprile 2020 DALLA ORE 15

In Diretta Streaming, 25 Aprile 2020

Click to VIEW at 15pm (Italia, CET), 9am (EST, USA, Canada)

April 25, 2020

***

Il 25 aprile è una data importante nella storia dell’Italia. Commemora il 75 ° anniversario di Liberazione, che è anche l’anniversario della resistenza.

L’anno scorso ci siamo incontrati a Firenze il 7 aprile, in coincidenza con il 70 ° anniversario della fondazione della NATO.

Il tema della nostra conferenza dell’anno scorso era USCITA NATO. NATO EXIT

L’evento è stato organizzato dal Comitato italiano No Guerra, No NATO, in collaborazione con il Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

La Dichiarazione di Firenze è stata redatta dal Comitato italiano e dal CRG.

Il 25 aprile 2020, commemorando la liberazione dell’Italia. Esprimiamo la nostra solidarietà al popolo italiano. Allo stesso tempo, esprimiamo la nostra preoccupazione per le basi militari statunitensi stabilite in Italia, immediatamente istituite dopo la seconda guerra mondiale.

Dobbiamo riflettere sulla nostra storia. Era una liberazione o un’occupazione?

L’Unione europea è militarizzata. Il Pentagono è attivamente coinvolto sotto bandiera della NATO in Europa occidentale e orientale.

L’Italia come molti altri paesi sta attualmente attraversando una grave crisi. Quest’anno, il 25 aprile, che commemora la liberazione dell’Italia, non siamo in grado di incontrarci a Firenze per discutere e discutere della “crisi del coronavirus” che sta colpendo milioni di persone in tutto il mondo.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 25 aprile 2020

Andremo in onda online, accogliendo numerosi oratori.

Il tema della nostra conferenza online:

Consente di sbarazzarsi del virus di guerra. Liberiamoci del Virus della Guerra

L’anno scorso ci siamo incontrati a Firenze. Quest’anno a partire dalle 15:00 CET, 9:00 (EST), trasmetteremo online in diverse lingue.

***

The 25th of April is an important date in Italy’s history. It commemorates the 75th anniversary of  Liberation, which is also the Anniversary of the Resistance.

Last year we met in Florence on the 7th of April, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO.

The theme of our conference last year was NATO EXIT.  

The event was organized by Italy’s Comitato No Guerra, No NATO, in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). The Florence Declaration was drafted by Italy’s Comitato and the CRG.

On April 25, 2020, Commemorating the Liberation of Italy. We express our solidarity with the people of Italy. At the same time we express our concern regarding the US military bases established in Italy immediately established after World WarII.  

We must reflect on our history. Was it a Liberation or an Occupation?  

The European Union is militarized. The Pentagon is actively involved under banner of NATO in both Western and Eastern Europe. 

Italy like many other countries is currently experiencing a major crisis. This year on the 25th of April which commemorates Italy’s Liberation, we are not able to meet in Firenze to debate and discuss the “coronavirus crisis” which is affecting millions of people Worldwide.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 25 April 2020

We will be airing online, welcoming numerous speakers.

The Theme of our online conference:

Lets Get Rid of the War Virus. Liberiamoci del Virus della Guerra

Last year we met in Florence. This year starting at 3pm CET, 9am (EST) 

TRASMESSO DA BYOBLU e PANDORATV

Sabato 25 Aprile 2020 DALLA ORE 15 In Diretta Streaming, 25 Aprile 2020

Click to VIEW on 15pm (Italia, CET), 9am (EST, USA, Canada)

Questa crisi è un atto di guerra economica

C’è una grave crisi sanitaria che deve essere debitamente risolta. E questa è una priorità numero uno.

Ma c’è un’altra dimensione importante che deve essere affrontata.

Milioni di persone hanno perso il lavoro e i risparmi. Nei paesi in via di sviluppo prevalgono la povertà e la disperazione.

Mentre il blocco viene presentato all’opinione pubblica come unico mezzo per risolvere una crisi globale di salute pubblica, i suoi devastanti impatti economici e sociali vengono casualmente ignorati.

La verità non detta è che il romanzo coronavirus fornisce un pretesto a potenti interessi finanziari e politici corrotti per far precipitare il mondo intero in una spirale di disoccupazione di massa, bancarotta e povertà estrema.

L’anno scorso ci siamo incontrati a Firenze. Quest’anno a partire dalle 15:00 CET, 9:00 (EST), trasmetteremo online in diverse lingue.

***

This crisis is an act of economic warfare

There is a serious health crisis which must be duly resolved. And this is a number one priority.

But there is another important dimension which has to be addressed.

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their savings. In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail.

While the lockdown is presented to public opinion as the sole means to resolving a global public health crisis, its devastating economic and social impacts are casually ignored.

The unspoken truth is that the novel coronavirus provides a pretext to powerful financial interests and corrupt politicians to precipitate the entire World into a spiral of mass unemployment, bankruptcy and extreme poverty.

Last year we met in Florence. This year starting at 3pm CET, 9am (EST) we will be broadcasting online in several languages.

Below is the text of Florence Declaration

 

Text of The Florence Declaration adopted by more than 600 participants to the Florence No War No NATO Conference, April 7, 2019.

Original in Italian. Translations into English, French, Russian, Spanish. The debates and discussions were chaired by renowned author and geographer Manlio Dinucci.

The event was organized by Italy’s Comitato No Guerra, No NATO, in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). The Florence Declaration was drafted by Italy’s Comitato and the CRG.

The risk of a vast war which, with the use of nuclear weapons, could mean the end of Humanity, is real and growing, even though it is not noticed by the general public, which is maintained in the ignorance of this imminent danger.

A strong engagement to find a way out of the war system is of vital importance. This raises the question of the affiliation of Italy and other European countries with NATO.

NATO is not an Alliance. It is an organisation under the command of the Pentagon, and its objective is the military control of Western and Eastern Europe.

US bases in the member countries of NATO serve to occupy these countries, by maintaining a permanent military presence which enables Washington to influence and control their policies and prevent genuine democratic choices.

NATO is a war machine which works for the interests of the United States, with the complicity of the major European power groups, staining itself with crimes against humanity.

The war of aggression waged by NATO in 1999 against Yugoslavia paved the way for the globalization of military interventions, with wars against Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and other countries, in complete violation of international law.

These wars are financed by the member countries, whose military budgets are increasing continually to the detriment of social expenditure, in order to support colossal military programmes like that of the US nuclear programme which costs 1,200 billion dollars.

In violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the USA is deploying nuclear weapons in five non-nuclear NATO States, under the false pretext of the ”Russian menace”. By doing so, they are risking the security of Europe.

To exit the war system which is causing more and more damage and exposing us to increasing dangers, we must leave NATO, affirming our rights as sovereign and neutral States.

In this way, it becomes possible to contribute to the dismantling of NATO and all other military alliances, to the reconfiguration of the structures of the whole European region, to the formation of a multipolar world where the aspirations of the People for liberty and social justice may be realised.

We propose the creation of a NATO EXIT International Front in all NATO member countries , by building an organisational network at a basic level strong enough to support the very difficult struggle we must face in order to attain this objective, which is vital for our future.

Video: 70 Years of NATO. The Florence Declaration Calls for NATO-Exit

Video:  70 Years of NATO; The Historical Significance. (Florence, April 7, 2019)

NATO: THE NEED TO EXIT “THE WAR SYSTEM”

Posted in Health, Politics, WorldComments Off on Lets Rid Ourselves of the War Virus. Liberiamoci del Virus della Guerra

5 Million Cases Worldwide, 650,000 Deaths Annually

The Seasonal Flu Virus is a “Serious Concern”, But the Wuhan Coronavirus Grabs the Headlines

By Tom Clifford

First published on January 27, 2020. Figures quoted for the coranavirus pertain to late January

The common flu virus will infect millions across the globe. It can be easily spread and will especially strike the young and the elderly. But this is not what has been described as the Wuhan virus. The common flu is far deadlier. This is not to downplay the Wuhan coronavirus flu, or to give it its medical name, 2019-nCoV.

The common flu causes up to 5 million cases of severe illness worldwide and kills up to 650,000 people every year, according to the World Health Organization 

In the US:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that so far this season, there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses for the 2019-2020 season, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths in the U.S. The CDC reports there have been 54 reported flu-related pediatric deaths this season from Influenza B viruses. (The Hill)

China’s Coronavirus

Keeping track of Wuhan virus figures is difficult, not least because of the two-week incubation period. The coronavirus outbreak, which is concentrated in Wuhan, a major transport hub in central eastern China, has so far killed 56 and infected almost 2,000.

The initial symptoms of coronavirus are typically similar to those of a cold or flu, which means it is hard for people to know if they are infected, especially given that the outbreak has coincided with flu season. The mayor of Wuhan said on Sunday evening that he expected another 1,000 or so new cases. But the National Health Commission in Beijing said the number of people currently under medical observation for the virus is 30,453. This raises immediate questions about how and where they are being observed.Coronavirus Outbreak, a Global Public Health Emergency?

The response to the outbreak has been criticized with people complaining that announcing restrictions hours before they could be properly implemented allowed people to evade quarantine. The strict restrictions also risk causing resentment and distrust of authorities and the health messages they deliver.

A massive construction effort is being undertaken in Wuhan to build a 1,000-bed hospital for the virus patients.

In the past week [mid January], the number of confirmed infections has more than tripled and cases have been found in 13 provinces in China, as well as the municipalities Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin. The virus has also been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

The virus seems to have a 3 percent mortality rate. However, this could be an overestimate since there may be a far larger pool of people who have been infected by the virus but who have not suffered severe enough symptoms to attend hospital and so have not been counted in the data.

Consequently, it is difficult to gauge just how contagious it is. A crucial difference is that unlike flu, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population – elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems – to protect themselves.

The common flu does not grab the headlines. But attach a foreign name to a virus – such as Ebola, Zika and Wuhan – and then the headlines flow.

Apart from the obvious health concerns, there is a political dimension. Some countries, including the US, France, Australia and Japan have suggested that they want to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan and nearby areas. Just how this would take place is unclear.

Images of foreigners being airlifted or bussed out of Wuhan, while Chinese citizens remain, could see passions rise. At the very least, it will appear that there is special treatment for foreigners.

The streets of Beijing this morning are eerily quiet. Residents of the capital would normally be celebrating Chinese new year, the year of the rat, that started on Saturday, by attending temple fairs.

All such fairs have been cancelled. Apart from the family fun on offer at the fairs, they provide a setting where families can pay homage to deceased relatives. Fake money and food would be burnt to appease the spirits of the deceased and ensure good health prosperity for the year ahead.

There is no anger on the streets but a sense of confusion and apprehension. This coming week should see hundreds of millions of people return from the hometowns where the celebrated the new year to their cities of work.

A clearer picture will then emerge of the scale of the problems facing the authorities.

Posted in Health, WorldComments Off on 5 Million Cases Worldwide, 650,000 Deaths Annually

Stop the Pandemic Profiteers

by JIM HIGHTOWER

Wartime profiteering has been as common in our country as war itself.

Indeed, during the American Revolution assorted corrupt merchants and traders lined their pockets by controlling the supply and jacking up the prices on various goods they sold to the Continental Army and to the general public.

Often though, feisty colonials struck back at the gougers.

In 1777, for example, when a Boston merchant was found to be hoarding imports of coffee and sugar to create an artificial shortage so he could charge exorbitant prices to the area’s families, a band of enraged Bean Town women took matters into their own hands — they beat up the guy and confiscated his stock.

It’s time for indignant citizens today to confront a new breed of shameful greed merchants: pandemic profiteers.

Such corporate scammers as Boeing, American Airlines, and Marriott have rushed to Washington, shoving aside millions of devastated victims of the COVID-19 crisis to demand that corporations be first in line for a massive government rescue.

Take Boeing. Its lobbyists brazenly swarmed the Capitol pleading for $60 billion from taxpayers to protect its profits after they spent their last big tax break buying back their own stock. Please!

Rather than being laughed out of town, Boeing and its fellow socialist capitalists have been handed a half-trillion-dollars of our money.

Which corporations will be favored? No telling. How much would each get? They’ll tell us later, maybe. What’s the criteria? Don’t ask. What about their workers and suppliers? Let them apply for food stamps. Aren’t you cutting food stamps? Shhh.

Democrats had enough moral fortitude to block some of the grossest giveaways in the Republicans’ $500 billion corporate boondoggle. But the greedy, profiteering giants should not have been given a single dime until the real and urgent needs of the people are met.

Profiteers should be last in line — or turned over to descendants of those Boston women from 1777.

Posted in Health, Human Rights, PoliticsComments Off on Stop the Pandemic Profiteers

Coronavirus and Rightwing Rebellion: Retreading a Tired Narrative

by ANTHONY DIMAGGIO

Photograph Source: Ɱ – CC BY-SA 4.0

Significant national media attention has focused in the last week on a slew of right-wing protests, in states like Ohio, Idaho, and Michigan (among others), demanding that the country reopen in the midst of the worst pandemic in modern history. But we should understand what forces are driving these protests, and how they differ radically from demonstrations organized by individuals on the front-lines of the Covid-19 crisis who are engaged in their own progressive rebellion against corporate power and neoliberal politics.

To be clear, these recent right-wing demonstrations are largely a reiteration of old populist campaigns in support of “limited government” rhetoric and “free market” politics. They provide cover for reactionary efforts to enhance corporate power and profits via massive business bailouts during times of crisis, coupled with opposition to policies with the potential to benefit the many. The emerging right-wing protest narrative is a repetition of protest narratives about citizen empowerment that draw momentum from the saturation coverage that was afforded to the Tea Party movement and the Trump “rebellion.”

First things first. The economic and health-related protests that have occurred across the country are motivated by very real concerns for the lives of those on the frontlines of this crisis. The worker walkouts at Instacart, Amazon, and Whole Foods are driven by two primary concerns: a lack of sanitation and safety in workplaces amidst facilities with Covid-19 outbreaks, and the lack of adequate compensation (hazard pay) for working-class and working poor Americans who are risking their lives to provide vital goods and services to the public.

The protests and demonstrations that health care workers have engaged in across the country are motivated by a lack of access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals, who are the worst exposed in fighting the Covid-19 outbreak, and who have received little to no support from the Trump administration in terms of providing for potentially life-saving medical equipment.

Those engaged in rent strike activism throughout the country are demanding political action and rent moratoriums out of a direct concern with being evicted, through no fault of their own, in a time of rapidly rising unemployment, and when millions of Americans worry about not being able to pay for basic necessities such as food and shelter. All of the above motivations are substantively different from what we’re seeing in protests demanding to reopen states and end stay-at-home orders.

News outlets like the New York Times are repeating clichés about how right-wing shutdown protests are another manifestation of working-class resentment against the system. For example, the paper speculated on April 17 about Trump’s efforts to foment dissent among Republicans in states with shutdown orders: “openly supporting those who challenge the stay-at-home orders could help the president re-energize the coalition of conservative Republicans and working-class populists who agree with the anti-government sentiment that helped power Mr. Trump’s election victory in 2016.” This narrative persists, despite a comprehensive review of the research on Trumpism demonstrating that his “working-class” base was never financially insecure, and is not motivated by concerns with poverty and economic vulnerabilities.

The Guardian and Associated Press have now published detailed profiles on the political actors involved in these protests. These news outfits have spotlighted three types of groups at the forefront of the campaign to reopen American states: 1. Astroturf national pro-business groups, including Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity; 2. Radical quasi-fascist and white nationalist groups, including the Proud Boys and militia activists; and 3. Conservative-Republican citizens groups that are primarily concerned with enhancing corporate power and promoting “small government” principles, rather than with helping those suffering most from Covid-19. I provide a detailed investigation of the groups below.

Astroturf National Groups

Faux “citizens” groups have been active for decades hoping to build support for a pro-business political agenda. For example, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Works both played instrumental roles in the Tea Party rebellion of the late 2000s and early 2010s. But as I’ve documented at length, the Tea Party was an anemic movement. There was little evidence of active mobilization across the nation in local chapters, even at the height of the movement in 2010. Rather, pro-business groups like AFP and Freedom Works, operating under the billionaire Koch activist umbrella, were the primary face of a movement with goals of promoting “free market” politics and corporate power, and limiting potential government efforts to combat poverty and inequality.

Now these groups are leading the “reopen America” movement. AFP’s motivations are clearly profit-related, as the group explicitly draws on concerns with lost economic activity, which are its primary motivation for trying to end state stay-at-home orders. As AFP argued in a recent press release: “rather than blanket shutdowns, the government should allow businesses to continue to adapt and innovate to produce the goods and services Americans need, while continuing to do everything they can to protect the public health.” Notice that concerns with public health were cited as secondary to profit interests, in AFP’s own words.

As another Koch-network plutocratic business group, Freedom Works has adopted a similar approach. Its website laments state shutdown orders, which it argues contradict longstanding conservative principles of profit-making and limited government. “Freedom of assembly,” they argue, “has been under attack” due to the shelter-in-place orders. “We’ve essentially seen civil and economic liberties suspended in response to Covid-19.” As Freedom Works argues: “States must begin to reopen their economies and this disregard for civil liberties must end. One thing past crises have taught us is that when government – whether it’s federal or state – exerts new powers, it’s very difficult to wrestle them away. It’s a question that comes up after every crisis, but some have wondered what America will look like after Covid-19.”

That these groups have become some of the most visible political actors in the “reopen America” movement speaks poorly of these protests as a representation of citizen-based grassroots empowerment. AFP and Freedom Works have one primary goal: creating a suitable political environment that’s conducive to private investment, profits, and unrestricted corporate power. By their own admission, they are not seeking to represent the interests of Americans – including health care workers and low-paid service workers – who are being hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Reactionary State Citizens Groups

Operating as an appendage to the larger plutocratic movement to reopen state economies are highly visible right-wing citizens groups. These groups are comprised of residents of the individual states affected by the stay-at-home orders. But their fringe views about reopening the economy, which are not shared by the vast majority of Americans (Republican or Democratic), are being strongly amplified by the heavy news coverage devoted to these protests. And these groups are primarily speaking on behalf of wealthy business interests, not the public, considering that the Covid-19 crisis will intensify if states reopen with a business-as-usual approach.

Among the groups most active in the push to reopen states, as the Guardian and AP report, are the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Michigan Freedom Fund, and the Michigan Conservative Coalition, among others. These groups, like AFP and Freedom Works, value economic profits, growth, and a “free market” personal freedom agenda over concerns with public health and safety. In its press release against Idaho’s initial three-week stay-at-home order, Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) lambasted the “shutdown” as imposing “counterproductive government burdens that hurt individual rights and hamper economic growth.” Residents of Idaho were being “forced to surrender their freedom for the notion of security.” Among the main points of protest against the shutdown, IFF includes that it was “too sudden,” “too vague,” “too sweeping,” that it “overrides local control,” and that it offers “no exit strategy.” Notice that concerns with the public health, with the dangers faced by health care workers, and with the rising desperation of poorer Americans who have been worst hit by Covid-19, are nowhere to be seen in this list of grievances. Rather, IFF’s interests lie elsewhere, as seen in this declaration of principles, which is attached to its protest letter about Idaho’s Covid-19 shutdown: “free market principles work and have served our state and country well. We maintain that our God-given rights, protected under the state and U.S. Constitutions, matter – especially during a crisis.”

The politics of other business-front citizens groups match those of IFF. The Michigan Freedom Fund (MFF) announces as part of its mission statement that it “fights to champion conservative policies on behalf of Michigan taxpayers. We are committed to the principles of limited government, transparency in government, and the freedoms found in the Constitution.” As related to Covid-19, the group has served as a sounding board for reactionary activists who were involved in the spearheading of the recent protests in Michigan, labeled “Operation Gridlock,” against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. In a new interview posted on MFF’s website, Operation Gridlock organizer and Michigan Conservative Coalition Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock explained the motivations behind her protest effort, which sought to spotlight Michigan’s “managed economic disaster.” The word “managed” is revealing, not only because it conspiratorially implies that the state governor is actively working toward destroying the state’s economy, but also because it runs contrary to widespread recognition among economic experts that, without stay-at-home orders that are needed to get the Covid-19 crisis under control, a return to normal economic activities is effectively impossible.

As a self-described “small business owner,” Maddock is motivated by concerns with the costs that the Michigan shut-down has imposed on economic activities, and the alleged threat it poses to personal freedoms – the freedom to move around freely, for example, rather than the freedom not to contract or infect others with Covid-19. She attacks Governor Whitmer for putting a “boot on the head of Michigan residents” and for engaging in “tyranny” by “restrict[ing] the movement of healthy people” in the state. And her attacks on Whitmer’s shut down order are clearly not informed by any careful reading of the guidelines being issued by medical experts and the CDC. This much is apparent from her attack against medical professionals tracking the rapid spread of the virus, and her statement that it is “not worth shutting down our economy based on a line graph.” Rather than public health, Maddock is primarily concerned with the effect of the shutdown on business, as reflected in her warning that “businesses right now are being bankrupted by bureaucrats here in Michigan.”

As an outgrowth of Maddock’s agenda, the Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC) also operates as a pro-business group that opposes the state shutdown. MCC declares in its mission statement support for “the principles that our Founding Fathers had laid out in the Constitution,” and for “shaping policy” by “helping to elect more conservatives to local elected positions and to the Michigan legislature,” while openly allying with groups like “Michigan Trump Republicans,” who bill themselves as “Trump loving Americans who are sick and tired of the political establishment and the political machine that is solely focused on tearing down our President and his agenda.” MCC’s own advertisement for Operation Gridlock targets Governor Whitmer for “driving” the state “out of business,” while spotlighting concerns with “economic health,” as related to “local businesses” which are “going broke” due to the shutdown. Governor Whitmer, MCC announces, is practicing “tyranny” via her “radical” and “progressive agenda” against the people (Covid-19 mitigation efforts are now apparently a “radical-progressive” agenda), and in blatant violation of state residents’ “constitutional rights.” Notice, again, that the primary concerns MCC lists emphasize business profiteering and highly abstract concerns with personal freedoms, based in right-wing principles of limited government.

White Nationalists and Militia Groups

A final front in the “reopen America” movement includes reactionary fringe groups committed to a variety of causes that are widely shunned by the vast majority of Americans. In Michigan, these include the Michigan Proud Boys and the Michigan Liberty Militia. There is little evidence that right-wing extremist groups are driven by concerns with economic insecurity. As I’ve shown in previous research that draws on national polling data, self-described supporters of the “alt-right” white nationalist cause are not more likely to be economically insecure in their backgrounds, so income insecurity is not driving their political agenda. Rather, I show that these individuals are piped into radical right-wing media echo chambers, which appear to be the primary force that is fueling and reinforcing their extremism.

There is little reason most Americans should take the quasi-fascistic agendas of these fringe groups seriously, particularly in a time of public health crisis. As reports of the Proud Boys have documented, the group is an openly white nationalist/white supremacist force, notorious for its Islamophobic, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric. The group reinforced its fascist politics in Michigan, as news reporting documented their role in ambulance-blocking and shutting down other traffic in the state’s capitol of Lansing in protest of the state’s shutdown order. Similarly, the Michigan Liberty Militia is also an extremist group that, according to its own Facebook page, is primarily committed to protecting the unimpeded American “right” to assault weapons, amidst other positions including the promotion of xenophobia and racism, and support for violent rebellion and vigilante actions against government.

The rapidly rising salience of right-wing protests fits an established pattern that has played out repeatedly over the last decade in the U.S. news media: radically exaggerate the significance of the protests of a very small number of people, who reflect extremist and pro-business opinions that are rejected by most Americans, but who claim to speak in the name of the people. This narrative has been quite harmful to American political discourse, because it obscures the role that pro-business faux citizens groups have played in creating the false impression of a mass uprising against the status quo. The overlap of these right-wing protests with the Covid-19 economic crisis means that many journalists are likely to embrace the lazy argument that economic insecurity fosters right-wing political values. But as the review above suggests, the groups that are leading this small protest movement are not organizing in the name of the vulnerable, poor, or disadvantaged. They’re mobilizing in favor of elitist principles of profit-making and corporate power, while embracing extremely general philosophical rhetoric about the need for small government and liberty. They do not represent the interests of the large majority of Americans, who embrace state-wide shutdowns to curtail the spread of Covid-19, and who are calling for massive federal intervention to provide financial assistance to Americans due to the Covid-19 crisis. Recognition of the fringe nature of these protests is vital moving forward, as we hear a constant drumbeat from the reactionary right about how Americans want “free market” and limited government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Trump’s Beijing Problem: Starting a New Cold War

by MELVIN GOODMAN

Photograph Source: Mapbox – CC BY 2.0

If Joe Biden should become the next president of the United States, there are many serious international situations that require the diplomatic tools of the Department of State and not the coercive tools of the Department of Defense.  The erratic and unpredictable policies of Donald Trump over the past three years have compromised numerous political arrangements with both allies and adversaries and, in the case of Sino-American relations, have placed us on a glide path toward a “cold war” and possible confrontation between two of the largest military and economic powers in the global community.

Fifty years ago, President Richard M. Nixon and national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger crafted an opening toward China that eight American presidents used to engage Beijing.  Both nations worked successfully to create the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world.   Tens of thousands of American companies do business in China; Microsoft’s biggest lab outside of the United States is in Beijing. Chinese students became the largest group of foreign undergraduates in the United States.

Nixon and Kissinger not only engaged Beijing, but Moscow as well, ensuring that relations between Washington and Beijing as well as between Washington and Moscow were far stronger than relations between Moscow and Beijing.  In doing so, Washington gained leverage over both the Soviet Union and China, enabling the negotiation of significant arms control measures with the Kremlin, and the establishment of stable political and economic relations with China.

Trump’s erratic policies have worsened our relations with both Russia and China, leading Moscow and Beijing to forge their closest bilateral relationship since the 1950s. He has walked away from disarmament agreements with Moscow.  And Trump’s trade war with China and the polemical accusations from both sides regarding responsibility for the current pandemic have created “cold war” atmospherics.

Instead of focusing on grounds for mutual cooperation that could address  serious issues such as climate change, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abandoned engagement and appear headed toward confrontation.  In 2018, Trump labeled trade wars as “good, and easy to win.”  Pompeo used diplomatic occasions to gratuitously pillory China.

The presidential campaign in the United States has introduced more invective against China, leading to bipartisan agreements on   record-level defense spending, and greater finger pointing on causes for the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.  Last year, the Committee on the Present Danger, which was formed in the 1950s to contain the Soviet Union, reappeared to focus on China.  The strategy appears to be working because the Pentagon has garnered bipartisan support for its request for an additional $20 billion for its Pacific forces over the next five years.

The focus of the current imbroglio between the United States and China has been the South China Sea, which China has proclaimed as a “part of China’s “core interest’ in sovereignty. Posturing by both sides has led to threatened naval collisions.  The Pentagon’s new budget request would fund more offensive weaponry in the region, including land-based Tomahawk cruise missiles that had been banned by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.  The Trump administration abrogated the treaty in 2019 in order to counter a perceived growing threat from China.

The spiral of worse-case thinking regarding China and increased defense spending are reminiscent of the spiral that took place in Washington toward the Soviet Union, which led to bloated defense spending and humongous nuclear arsenals.  The exorbitant threat assessments against the Soviet Union always worsened during the years of presidential elections, so it is unsurprising that the current spiral regarding China is now underway.

The cold war spiral between Washington and Moscow was broken by the nuclear fears that accompanied the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  A successful arms control and disarmament dialogue began in the aftermath of the crisis.  The Trump administration has no interest in arms control, particularly with China, but in view of the possibility of a naval conflict in the South China Sea between the United States and China, this is an obvious topic for a dialogue to improve and even stabilize bilateral relations.

According to one of the country’s leading Sinologists, Lyle Goldstein, a research professor at the Naval War College, leading Chinese foreign policy experts have compared the dispute in the South China Sea to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  China’s construction of airfields on the islands of the South China Sea as well as more aggressive air patrols in the region in the wake of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to China in 2011 certainly point to the need for reliance on diplomacy to curb the current round of escalation.  In the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, diplomats from the two sides negotiated a Hot-Line arrangement and the Partial Test Ban Treaty.

In actual fact, there is ample basis for a significant strategic dialogue between the two sides because the United States and China share so many concerns in East Asia.  Both Washington and Beijing want to manage the military tensions in the region so that trade and investment can develop apace.  Both want to check tensions on the Korean peninsula, and both benefit from a continued division between North and South.  Finally, both recognize the need for moderation in the Taiwan Straits and the possibility of reunification with Taiwan.  Therefore, it should not be impossible to establish confidence building measures in the region.

It is difficult to imagine the Trump administration effectively making use of its depleted diplomatic corps or having the staying power to negotiate arrangements on difficult topics.  Nevertheless, Goldstein believes there are immediate initiatives that need to be taken.  First of all, the United States could invite China to take part in regional naval exercises that focus on nontraditional security issues such as counterterrorism.  Since China has taken part in anti-piracy patrols around the Horn of Africa, where it has their only overseas naval facility, the Chinese navy obviously has the necessary interest and experience to do so.

The United States could easily reduce surveillance operations off the Chinese coast, where Chinese countermeasures caused a crisis in the first months of the administration of George W. Bush in 2001.  Then secretary of state Colin Powell rapidly orchestrated the conflict resolution for the crisis, which pointed to the ability of both sides to avoid a cycle of escalation when skilled policymakers are called upon to do so.  Finally, the United States needs to press China to clarify the precise nature of its claims to the South China Sea in order to assuage the anxieties of the littoral states in the region and perhaps prepare the way for reduced U.S. naval activity in the Pacific.

Any delays in starting a dialogue will only worsen the atmospherics between the United States and China.  Accusations regarding the origin of the current pandemic; U.S. and Chinese expanded military activities in the region; and bipartisan congressional interest in addressing so-called operational shortfalls in the Pacific have created an interest in shoring up U.S. deterrence in the Pacific.  Pentagon strategists and congressional forces exploited the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 to deploy greater forces in East Europe and the Baltic states, which only worsened U.S.-Russian relations.  In view of the domestic demands on U.S. resources in the wake of the pandemic, the United States can’t afford the geopolitical consequences of greater Sino-Russian cooperation as well as greater Sino-American rivalry in the Pacific.

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Pandemic and Protest

by RON JACOBS

It’s not surprising that certain individuals and groups in US society are starting to publicly protest the ongoing quarantine measures undertaken because of the COVID-19 virus. From the several hundred (mostly) men who strapped on their guns and drove around the capital of Michigan to the Brooklyn Orthodox community members protesting the fact that they cannot hold traditional burial services for their dead, the frustration with the current situation was certain to spill over into these types of scenarios. Add to that the college spring breakers in Florida and the holy roller pastors holding services of hundreds. Then, there’s Ivanka Trump flying to New Jersey to celebrate Passover while the majority of believers held virtual Seders or streamed their Easter services on their device.

I understand the frustration. Like millions of others, my visits with friends and families have become virtual and my part-time job uncertain. Many of those protesting are small farmers and business owners. Yet, at this point in the progress of the virus, I think the quarantine is still the right thing to do. I’m not ready to organize or attend a protest against it.

Does this mean I am not wary of the intentions of the state and its desire to increase its surveillance and control of the population? Of course not. Indeed, it’s been clear to me since the beginning of the pandemic that this is exactly what the repressive powers of the state would use this moment for. It’s the very nature of the agents of repression to use any uncertainty to consolidate their control. At the same time, the protests in Michigan and elsewhere seem like little more than temper tantrums by overgrown boys whose developmental learning stopped after learning to tell their parents no. Like the Bundy bunch in the western US whose latest claim to fame involved destroying a park ranger building in Oregon, these protesters’ definition of freedom is one that prizes their freedom above anyone else’s. It is a libertarianism that makes Ayn Rand look like a social democrat. It is also a libertarianism that hands the power of the people to the few with the biggest purses and renders those like the protesters even weaker than they are (despite their perception otherwise).

There are many small business people who wonder why their operations had to close. These include small-time contractors and, in some states, farmers. Their growing anger at the orders stems from the need to make a living. They stand to lose more than their temporary freedom. Indeed, they could lose everything they have worked for. This brings up what is probably the fundamental reason to protest the quarantine regimen—people need income to live. It is the refusal of the US government to ensure that everyone who works for a living get a livable income during the lockdown that is causing the most trepidation among US residents. If such a thing were guaranteed, then most people would accept the situation. Instead, the only US residents certain to come out on the other side of the quarantine with their assets mostly intact are wealthy. This fact says it all. Donald Trump and the rest of the rich will still be rich even if they lose a few million or a few hundred million. Furthermore, their theft of medical supplies from the general stockpile and their access to the best medical facilities means that most if not all of them will not suffer much from the virus. They want us to go back to work so they can build their portfolios, not so we can survive.

As for the religious protests, what can one say? The arrogance of the pastors who insist on holding services is counter to the strain of Christianity I grew up with. Their need to fill the collection plates now seems to matter more than the safety of their flock later. One hopes that the words of their Lord when he said he who exalts himself shall be humbled come true. It’s not that I wish death on anyone, but knocking these pastors’ income down to where they can only afford one car seems like a reasonable message from their Lord. Of course, if members of their flock do die from the virus, the pastors can (and will) write it off as the will of their god. I’m not one to challenge that claim, but I still don’t see why any true leader would put their followers in a situation that increased the likelihood of their death. It’s not war, for Christ’s sake.

To be clear. I am very wary of the potential for the quarantine to be used by the state to drastically curtail the freedoms of regular people. As anyone who has been paying attention is well aware, this process has been going on for decades. Indeed, it has intensified since September 11, 2001, especially for immigrants, radicals, Latinos and African-Americans. It intensified, even more, when Trump took power in 2017. The pandemic has provided the perfect cover for an even greater intensification. However, joining protests called by some of the same neo-fascist groups and individuals who viciously attacked anti-racists and anti-fascists in Charlottesville, Manhattan, Portland, Oregon and elsewhere in the US is not going to prevent overreach by the forces of law and order. Indeed, if fascism becomes the political reality in the United States, many of these overgrown “proud” boys with guns will be the stormtroopers for that regime. There’s a reason they wear those red MAGA hats. Donald Trump’s media events are their dog whistles and his seemingly incoherent ramblings are their blueprint.

Do I think there’s a need for protests of some kind? Absolutely. Although virtual protests seem to be the right tactic right now, that might have to change. No matter what form they take, those protests should begin by demanding a guaranteed income for all working people (including immigrants no matter what their status) who lost their jobs or business, health and safety protections and hazard pay for those considered essential workers, the release of or creation of a humane and safe environment for all those in jails and prisons, including immigrants, free testing for everyone and anyone, expanded Medicare for all, a concerted international effort to develop a safe and free vaccine, and a special tax on billionaires to pay for these demands. The potential alternative is a dystopia only the prince of darkness will revel in.

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Trumpian Nationalists Have Met Their Match in COVID-19

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Photograph Source: The White House – Public Domain

“Where does incompetence end and crime begin?” asked an appalled German chancellor in the First World War on learning that his chief military commander planned to renew his bloody but futile attacks on the Western Front.

President Trump is showing a similar disastrous inability during the coronavirus pandemic to shift from his well-tried tactics of claiming non-existent successes and blaming everybody for his blunders aside from himself. It is his first true crisis in his three years in the White House and, like that German general, he is visibly incapable of changing the way he deals with it.

Much virtual ink has been spilled over the last three years about the ineptitude and isolationism of the Trump presidency, and how far it will erode American hegemony. The pandemic has posed the question more starkly than ever before, but it has also provided something of an answer. Crudely put, the US will not remain the one single superpower if the rest of the world sees evidence day after day that the country is run by a crackpot who cannot cope with a global calamity.

More is at stake here than the future of the Trump presidency. Over the last decade, Trumpian nationalist populist leaders have taken power all around the world, and they too are being tested and found wanting. Without exception, they have shown themselves to be better at winning (or fixing) elections than they are at combating this virus. Some admit the gravity of the outbreak, but use it to enhance their power and silence their critics. Others reject social distancing and restrictive measures as unnecessary or denounce them as a hoax cooked up by the media. What comes across in all these cases is that Trumpian regimes, for all their self-serving threat enhancement, do not know what to do when there is a real threat to their nation.

In India, the Hindu nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi locked down his country with just four hours’ notice, forcing millions of jobless migrant labourers with little money or food to trek hundreds of miles to their home villages.

In Brazil, the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro took an opposite tack, downplaying the crisis and defying his own health ministry’s appeal for social distancing by going into the street to buy doughnuts and mingle with his supporters: one film shows him wiping his nose with his wrist before shaking hands with an elderly woman.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reluctant to do anything to stall the Turkish economy and is jailing journalists who say he is not doing enough for victims of the virus. In Hungary, prime minister Viktor Orban used the pandemic as an excuse to pass a law suspending elections and enabling him to rule indefinitely by decree. The dire state of underfunded Hungarian hospitals is ignored.

What might be loosely called the Trump playbook – though much of it predates Trump, and has been used by populist nationalist demagogues down the centuries – falls short when it comes to dealing effectively with a real rather than a concocted crisis. But, comforting though it would be to suppose that this would discredit leaders who pretend to be national saviours, this does not necessarily follow. In places like Hungary, Turkey and India, the media is largely under the control of the ruling party, and news of its mismanagement of the crisis, whatever its toll, will be suppressed.

Yet the pandemic is exposing the weaknesses of regimes from Washington to Delhi and Sao Paulo to Budapest. Autocracy has its disadvantages since, at the core of these governments, is a supreme leader with devoted followers who believe that he can do no wrong. Trump may have receded from his claim that he enjoys monarchical powers and can do without Congress, but the boast shows his authoritarian inclinations.

Crises expose the poor judgement of such dictatorial regimes, where leaders surround themselves with cheerleaders and courtiers who tell them what they want to hear. A diplomat in Baghdad once told me that among the senior lieutenants of Saddam Hussein the only safe course was “to be ten per cent tougher than the boss.” Trump may not shoot advisers who contradict him like Saddam, but he does sack them and shows equal intolerance towards dissenting views as the Iraqi dictator.

The Trumpian generation of leaders suffers from a further disadvantage: they come from deeply polarised countries, and are both the symptom and cause of those divisions. Minorities are persecuted: Muslims in India; Kurds in Turkey; Latin American immigrants in the US. The new authoritarians are happy to rule countries that are split down the middle, but they are finding that fighting a pandemic successfully requires a higher degree of national cohesion than they can deliver.

The pandemic will rock many of these regimes, but censorship and aggressive government PR may limit its political impact. The devastating Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19 only gained its name because Spain was one of the few countries that did not censor accounts of its ravages.

The coronavirus may ebb or news of it be suppressed, but it will be impossible to hide the deep economic depression likely to follow in its wake. It was the Great Crash of 1929 that led to the rise of Hitler and the advance of communism, fuelling ever-increasing political violence in the 1930s. A post-pandemic Great Depression mark II may have a similarly explosive political effect, turning the 2020s into the same sort of troubled time in our century as the 1930s were in the last. Rival nation-states will once again confront each other and international organisations like the UN and the EU, as with the League of Nations of old, will retreat into irrelevance. Enhanced international cooperation and integration, that once appeared to be where the world was heading, are turning out to be a mirage.

As Trump presides over the break-up of the international order and the ebb-tide of US hegemony, it is difficult to think of any historic figure that precisely resembles him. But one contender should surely be Kaiser Wilhelm II, the swaggering, opinionated German emperor with catastrophically poor judgement, who led his country to defeat in the First World War. As with Trump, he warned – somewhat prematurely – of the rise of China and “the yellow peril”. And, again like Trump, he forecast that the great crisis that he could not cope with would soon be over, promising his soldiers in 1914 that they “would be home before the leaves fall”.

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A View From a Pandemic: New York During COVID-19

by JOSEPH GROSSO

Photograph Source: Ron Cogswell – CC BY 2.0

Living in New York City the past month has become a grim game of simply hoping that rock bottom has at least been hit. The haunting daily tolls continue to fill the local press. The first death from COVID-19 occurred on March 15. By March 31 there were around 1100 deaths. By April 7: 3485. April 13: 6898. On April 14 the city’s Health Department added 3700 deaths to the total to account for those who perished at home or in hospitals without being tested, bringing the count to over 10,000. The medical examiner’s office estimates that 200 a day are dying at home, compared to 20-25 people before the pandemic.

Hart Island, a mile-long stretch of soil off the Bronx that for generations has served as the city’s Potter’s Field, has seen burials quintuple. During normal times burials are scheduled once a week. Now they are happening five days a week. For a long time, prisoners from Rikers Island have labored as gravediggers. For the increased pandemic workload, the city offers prisoners personal protective gear and $6 per hour. A couple of weeks ago Mark Levine, city council member and chairman of its health committee, suggested that city parks could be dug up and used as mass graves (fitting in one sense- Washington Square Park and Madison Square Park are already built on top of the graves of victims of successive yellow fever pandemics). That suggestion was quickly dismissed by the Mayor’s Office.

The city’s glorious canopy of sound has been replaced by a never-ending drone of dull sirens. Still the city’s inept, tedious politics grinds on. Last week Mayor De Blasio and School Chancellor Raymond Carranza held a press conference to announce that city schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. The city government had dragged its feet on closing the schools in March as the cases of the virus began to surge. Yet an hour later Governor Andrew Cuomo, an ego-maniac and glory hog of the highest order who has managed to achieve messiah status in MSNBC circles, held his own press conference to announce that in fact he would make the call on the schools and that his decision hasn’t been made. Yesterday Cuomo extended the shutdown order to May 15.

This kind of tone was set from the beginning. For all the obvious outrage over Trump’s buffoonery, early on the New York politicians were not much better. At a press conference on Feb. 2, the city’s Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, referring to the annual Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, said ‘There is no reason not to take the subway, not to take the bus, not to go out to your favorite restaurant, and certainly not to miss the parade next Sunday.’ A week later Barbot declared on TV ‘We’re telling New Yorkers, go about your lives, take the subway, go out, enjoy life.’ As late as March 2, De Blasio tweeted ‘Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor”…’.

New York is by far the most densely populated city in the U.S., and it has the highest use of public transit. Yet it is worth a comparison with San Francisco, the second densest city. The San Francisco Bay Area issued the country’ first shelter-in-place order on March 16. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the statewide order three days later. Cuomo didn’t get around to it until March 22. He also dismissed the idea of a shelter-in-place for New York City on March 18, again just hours after De Blasio said residents should immediately prepare for it. While the exact effect of the delay will perhaps never be calculated, Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC, estimates the death toll in the city could have been cut by as much as 80 percent. New York has around 14 times as many deaths as California. San Francisco thus far has suffered 20 deaths.

Cuomo also just announced that the state, in conjunction with seven other East Coast states, hired McKinsey & Company to develop a science-based plan to reopen the states’ economies. An advisor to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy stated the goal is to ‘Trump-proof’ the plan. This is an ironic goal as the Trump administration has already paid the firm as much as $19 million dollars in recent weeks to advise the departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs (McKinsey has also done business with an assorted cast of characters included state-owned enterprises in China and Erdogan’s government in Turkey). The idea is for McKinsey to produce models on key data points such as testing and infections that will guide decisions on how to reopen.

Those in New York who go back to the darkest days of the urban crisis from the late 1960s through the late 1970s, may recall that the city at the time partnered with the RAND Corporation to streamline fire service. A perfect storm of ‘systems analysis’ and budget cuts led to the withdrawal of firehouses from the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The inevitable fire epidemic emerged. For all the mythology about ghetto arson, until 1975, with the epidemic already well under way, the percentage of fires attributed to arson never rose above 1.1 percent. At its peak in the late 1970s arson still made up less than 7 percent most of which occurred in already burned out buildings. In their book A Plague on Your Houses,Deborah and Roderick Wallace calculated that fires displaced two million people citywide.

It the current moment, with much of the national focus is on the shuttered theaters on Broadway, the highest number of cases are outside Manhattan. Echoing the national trend, it is the poor, African-American neighborhoods in the Bronx, where social distancing is more of a luxury, that are dying at the highest rates. Such areas were the victim of expert management and budget cuts a generation ago. As the city faces large budget cuts and high-priced consultants again, the local government does not inspire hope for better results this time.

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Starving the Cities and States

by EVE OTTENBERG

Photograph Source: Angel Talansky – CC BY 2.0

Disaster capitalism is in high gear. The stock market plunged, so Trump, hysterical, whipped out the federal checkbook. The result? Unlimited bailouts of shoddily-run corporations, criminally managed banks and other assorted oligarchs with their hands out. But hey, it got the stock market soaring, because now investors know Washington will rescue them, whatever idiocies they commit. Everybody else is on their own. After they cash that one-time stimulus check, they get to join the rest of the unemployed in the line at the food bank. Meanwhile the lifeline for the 22 million people who have lost their jobs is their unemployment check. For that they turn to their state. And guess what? The Covid-19-caused economic shutdown is bankrupting the states.

Governors have been open about this. Washington Governor Jay Inslee said back in March that the stimulus for the states was not enough. Andrew Cuomo was on television recently telling Trump New York State needs more money. The $150 billion in the last stimulus bill won’t cut it. So congressional Dems tried to add more money for state governments to the small business loan program, but no luck. The Republicans don’t like it. They say do it later, which is code for never. The message from Washington to state and municipal governments couldn’t be clearer. It is: drop dead.

Not that the money’s not there. Oh no. The Fed has turned on the cash spigot for Wall Street and will buy stock in corporations going bankrupt because well, their customers went bankrupt. The Fed’s not so concerned about those customers. Who needs them? They’re the little people who fly coach, not business class or on a private jet. So what if they can’t afford it anymore? The main thing is making sure those bankrupt airlines can still pay their ceos.

A trillion here, a trillion there, before you know it, as the saying goes, we’re talking about real money. But that doesn’t matter to the Fed, congress or Trump, so long as that real money is showered on corporations, Wall Street, billionaires and other plutocrats. No, no. They are the deserving rich. But those tens of millions who lost their incomes because if they didn’t practice social distancing they could catch Covid-19 and die? They are barely on Washington’s radar. They are, at best, an afterthought. They are incidental to the form of capitalism being developed here: actual corporate socialism – the genuine article – that leaves everyone not in the 1% destroyed by debt.

That includes cities and states. Take New York City. Comptroller Scott Stringer told the Atlantic that the pestilence has drained the city’s funds: “New York City stands to lose $4.8 billion to $6 billion in tax revenue. The money helps the city fund schools, repair roads and pay off debts.” The same thing is happening at the state level. But congressional Republicans and Trump are just as happy to watch cities and states go broke. It proves the discredited theory they’ve been shoving down everyone’s throat since Ronald Reagan started it – that governments don’t work because governments are, by definition, broken. No matter that these elites are the ones who broke them.

Congressional Democrats are hardly saviors. If what they’ve negotiated for most of us is any example of their capabilities, we’re in for really tough times. And when it comes to health care – a crucial concern in a pandemic – so far, they’re to the right of Trump, if such is conceivable. Biden said he’d veto Medicare for All if it crossed his desk. Then Trump quietly arranged for the government to pick up the tab for Covid-19 treatment of patients without health insurance. So Biden hastened to tell us that everyone sick with this disease should be covered. His corporate health-care backers probably didn’t like that too much, but they can take comfort in the fact that with Biden, as with Trump, anyone unlucky enough to need heart surgery while un- or under-insured will be bankrupted by their medical bills.

Just last week a group of governors asked congress for $500 billion, because states have shelled out all they’ve got to cover costs of Covid-19. Maryland governor Larry Hogan wrote that without this federal support “critically important services” will suffer. That translates to schools, roads, Medicaid, rental assistance programs and more. Governors quoted by the Washington Post “said the most recent federal rescue package contained no money to help states balance their books.” This, folks, is called austerity. And it is the road to ruin.

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The Massive Covid-19 Hoax

By Tony Cartalucci

By all accounts and from the very beginning it was clear that Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) was at the very most a bad cold – little more dangerous than the annual flu – but being deliberately hyped to stampede the public into a tangled web of bad policies.

As early as last month cooler-headed experts warned that hyped death rates spread by politicians, the Western corporate media, other various panic-mongers, and even World Health Organization (WHO) officials would give way to much, much lower death rates as more people were tested, found to have had the virus, and showed little to no symptoms.

The numbers of infections versus deaths in Iceland where testing has been the most widespread shows a death rate of about 0.5%, though only 5% of the population has been tested. 50% of those tested showed no symptoms at all meaning that many, many more Icelanders likely had the virus, overcame it with ease, and never visited a doctor or hospital to avail themselves for testing or to make into national Covid-19 statistics.

Another study conducted in the United States by Stanford University found the infection rate was likely 50-85 times higher than reported – meaning the death rate was astronomically lower than reported at around 0.2% to as low as 0.12% – not the 3-4% claimed by the World Health Organization.

In other words – Covid-19 is no more dangerous or deadly than the annual flu. But it has been hyped as such by Western politicians, the Western corporate media, and even international institutions like WHO – a deliberate deception accompanied by coordinated theater including government briefings with reporters comically spaced out in “fear” of contracting Covid-19.COVID-19 “Worldwide Epidemic of Biblical Proportions”

Other props used to panic the public into imprisoning themselves at home and accepting the immense socioeconomic damage “lockdowns” are causing included showing the expotential graphs of infections seemingly rising straight up with no end in sight.

If responsible journalists put these graphs in context – say, perhaps next to annual flu infection curves – the public would notice they are identical and simply represent the way the flu, colds, and Covid-19 which is related to both – work their way through populations.

The same goes for total deaths. Should the media present Covid-19 deaths in the context of and in comparison to annual deaths from the flu, Americans – for example – would see that versus the 2019 flu season, Covid-19 is actually 30,000-40,000 deaths short of just matching the common flu – saying nothing of living up to the hype and hysteria the government and media have deliberately created around Covid-19 to justify lockdowns.

So why have governments around the globe crippled their economies, put millions out of work, and placed draconian measures in place to, in essence, imprison their populations at home?

Those with power and money seek to keep what they have and to take what little is left in the hands of others. During the manufactured “War on Terror,” similar hysteria was deliberately spread across society to justify draconian police powers at home and endless wars abroad – pouring ultimately trillions into the accounts of defense contractors and the financial institutions invested in them.

During a manufactured health crisis like the 2009 H1N1 “Swine Flu” outbreak, the unfounded fear of an uncontrollable pathogen ravaging the population helped justify the centralizing of control over people’s health and lifestyle while pumping billions in pubic funding into the coffers of big-pharma.

And here we are again with the very same interests who lied to us about all of the above, doing it again and on a much larger and more destructive scale – creating socioeconomic havoc virtually no one will escape completely.

If the Covid-19 hoax doesn’t convince you to divest from the politicians and the corporations they serve – including divesting from big-business’ goods and services – nothing will. Special interests just beta-tested turning entire nations into virtual prisons. If people allow it this time, their ability to do it again and to an even greater and more disruptive degree is all but guaranteed.

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