Closing Thought–09Apr20

The die has been rolled and small business should get their stim money soon…..and now there are others that are trying to claim some of the cash…..religious groups.

WASHINGTON — Prominent US religious groups clashed Friday over an administrative rule that allows funds from the coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week to go to houses of worship reeling from the economic shock of the pandemic.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) unveiled its final interim rule Friday morning that said religious groups will be eligible for funding under the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion emergency relief package that US President Donald Trump signed into law.

The Interfaith Alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates for religious freedom, criticized the move as crossing the boundaries between religion and state.

“This is a direct violation of the separation of religion and government,” said Katy Joseph, the group’s policy and legislation adviser. “Emergency assistance funding is supposed to help small businesses pay their employees during an economic crisis – not channel taxpayer dollars to private religious institutions.”

Not everyone agrees. The Orthodox Union advocated heavily for provisions that would help religious nonprofits stay afloat amid the pandemic.

These groups do not pay taxes so they should not expect the government to bail them out…..they whine at the thought that they might have to pay taxes….yet they want free money to keep themselves going…..screw them!

I agree it would be a violation of the separation of church and state……

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More Virus Idiocy

In these times of dire measure and dire results I wish I did not have to write about the idiots that are dealing with this disease in all the wrong ways.

We all have seen/heard the proper way to be dealing with this virus….and yet there are 9 states that a failing its residents…..let’s shame them as often as possible…..

Most governors have issued statewide stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus outbreak, but nine have opted against it. USA Today, the New York Times, and ABC News take a look at the holdouts. One common denominator is that all nine are run by Republican governors, and the Times sums up a sentiment: “For many conservative governors who believe strongly in small government and personal responsibility, the prospect of mandatory stay-at-home orders is anathema and they rejected what they called a catchall approach that could wreck their states’ economies.” Generally, the governors argue that a shutdown is unnecessary because they have taken other steps such as shutting schools and nonessential business, and issuing social-distancing advisories. “I can’t lock the state down,” is how Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds puts it. “People also have to be responsible for themselves.” Here are the nine:

  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

USA Today has comprehensive list of restrictions in place in all 50 states.

Most of us are doing what the experts are telling us….to shelter in place and go out only when necessary…..but with that comes an awful side effect…..

The leader of the UN has made a worldwide appeal related to the coronavirus outbreak, but it has nothing to do with equipment shortages or best practices while out in public. Instead, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is worried about “a horrifying global surge in domestic violence,” reports the AP. He didn’t call out specific nations, but he said calls to help lines have doubled in some places amid the lockdown, and he urged governments to make sure victims are safe. The problem is that police departments are frequently overwhelmed with other virus-related issues. Coverage:

  • Code word: Europe has been largely locked down for weeks, and the problem seems most pronounced in Spain and France. There, women can now go into pharmacies and use the phrase “mask 19” to alert the pharmacist to abuse, reports CNN. The pharmacist takes the woman’s information and calls police. “There has always been gender violence, but this crisis makes it all worse,” says a worker at a women’s shelter in Rome.
  • In the US: Women’s groups around the US are seeing an uptick in domestic violence calls, a sign that what’s been happening in Europe could follow suit here, reports the Wall Street Journal. The shutdown is “almost like a petri dish for violence to increase within families,” Barbara Paradiso, director of the Center on Domestic Violence at the University of Colorado Denver, tells the newspaper.
  • More on the US: NBC News reports that 18 of 22 US law enforcement agencies that responded to a request for data saw a rise in domestic violence calls in March. “The financial stress alone creates a ticking time bomb for some families with a history of domestic violence,” says Sheriff Steve Mueller of Cherokee County, South Carolina, where calls rose 35%. “Unfortunately many of these domestic violence cases occur in front of children and often the children become victims of abuse and assault, as well.” The situation is made worse because shelters for abuse victims are generally struggling to remain open amid the shutdown.
  • All over: The National Domestic Abuse hotline in the UK saw a 25% increase in appeals for help since that nation’s lockdown began, reports the BBC. The AP adds that the “the killing of women has surged in Turkey” since the lockdown in that nation, and that Australia has seen internet searches for domestic violence resources jump 75%. The story collects similar stats from India and South Africa.
  • First person: The BBC talks to one woman in the UK about the tension in her own home, which worsened with the lockdown. “As soon as he gets up, he tries to cause an argument out of nothing, and if I fire back he’ll just hit me.” She has since fled to Wales and is being helped by a charity. Advocates say the abuse is wide-ranging, including men threatening to throw out women if they get sick, preventing them communicating with relatives, and barring them from leaving the house even for groceries

Our experts and health pros are telling us that the faux treatment that the president is pushing is worthless at this time and could be dangerous…..and yet Trump’s trade adviser knows better than medical people…..

“Doctors disagree about things all the time.” So explains the heated discussion between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Peter Navarro, PhD. The White House trade adviser said that and more when asked by CNN on Monday about a tense White House Situation Room meeting Saturday in which Fauci and Navarro reportedly clashed over the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. Navarro, who is coordinating the purchase and distribution of medical supplies under the Defense Production Act, reportedly showed up to the meeting with documents that he said attested to the drug’s effectiveness; Fauci’s response was something along the lines of “what are you talking about?” Coverage:

  • In his comments to CNN, Navarro elaborated, saying, “My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist. “I have a PhD,” he continued, with CNBC reporting it’s an economics PhD from Harvard. “And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.”
  • Fox News describes the CNN interview as getting heated, with Navarro asking host John Berman if he would take hydroxychloroquine if he was infected with COVID-19. “I would listen to my doctor,” Berman replied. “I would consult my doctor… not someone involved with trade policy… do you want an internist striking trade deals?” “Touche,” said Navarro, who told Berman that Berman was “setting up a false narrative.”
  • In a subsequent Fox & Friends appearance, Navarro was again asked about the clash and distributing FEMA’s supply of 29 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine. His response: “The task force unanimously voted to [distribute it], with the provision that this can have side effects and that it has to be dispensed not by the federal government but by the patient-doctor relationship. I think history will judge who is right on this debate but I’d bet on President Trump’s intuition.”
  • Politico flags comments Fauci made on Face the Nation Sunday about how the data around hydroxychloroquine are “really just, at best, suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there’s no effect. So I think, in terms of science, I don’t think we could definitively say it works.” It notes that Fauci was asked about that and responded that Fauci could “speak for himself,” but “I would have two words for you: second opinion.”
  • Another non-medical doctor who is actively pushing hydroxycholoquine: Rudy Giuliani. He tells the Washington Post that he’s been pushing the medication in private phone calls with Trump, and that he spends much of the day doing the same with doctors, coronavirus patients, and hospital administrators on the other end of the line.
  • The Post article notes Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has spoken about the drug’s potential. On Monday, the governor discussed tests with patients in New York, where doctors have been given the green light to use hydroxychloroquine in combination with an antibiotic. “There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising,” he said. “That’s why we’re going ahead.” However, he added that it’s been too short a time to have official data, per the Hill.

Navarro is just another sycophant that will have oral sex if the prez demands it……amateurs have NO place in this pandemic……and Donald of Orange is surrounded by them and they are leading this country…..wake up before we are doomed.

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Can A Virus Save A Struggling Nation?

The virus has come upon us and we are in a panic……a president bumbling his way around the issue, markets unstable at best, and the Congress playing games with American lives……looks like our democracy is in a tail spin…..if so can we save this democracy from going the way of the Dodo?

The coronavirus pandemic is already having a profound impact on nearly all aspects of life in the United States, and even a best-case scenario will likely result in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. There is, however, one area in which it could lead to much-needed improvements: voting rights. 

For decades, some states have made it more difficult for certain Americans — namely people of color — to vote. Some of these efforts, like closing polling locations, limiting the number of voting machines available at certain sites, or reducing early-voting options, resulted in voters having to wait in line for hours to cast a ballot.

In the age of social distancing, those wait times are not just unacceptable but also dangerous. That is why experts are calling on governments across all levels to put in place measures that will protect voters from getting sick on Election Day. Implementing them would protect Americans not only from the coronavirus but also from these voter suppression efforts. 

Can the Coronavirus Heal America’s Broken Democracy?

Another thought…I have read some stuff around the news world that the DOJ is looking for expanding powers…..

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly asked Congress for a host of new powers as the coronavirus spreads across the country, including the ability to ask judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergency situations and natural disasters.

The requests, first reported by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan Saturday, come amid concerns the Trump administration is using the pandemic to implement major policy changes such as tighter border and asylum restrictions. Given President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, the powers requested by the DOJ would likely be in effect should its request be granted. However, the requests are unlikely to be approved — a bipartisan group of lawmakers has already signaled opposition to them.

Whose idea was this expansion? 

More stuff being written about…..some have said that Trump will try and postpone/cancel the election in November until he can have a more favorable news cycle….ask….can he do that?

Ohio’s director of health, Dr. Amy Acton, delayed that state’s primary election, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday. She did so with the blessing of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and of the state Supreme Court.

As a matter of law, this decision to delay the election is defensible, and there is no evidence that Acton or DeWine acted in bad faith — their efforts to postpone the election appear to be motivated by a genuine desire to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

But this delay of a state primary election understandably triggered fears that other officials, potentially even President Trump, might take advantage of the Ohio precedent to postpone or cancel November’s election if it appears that Trump is likely to be defeated.

So much disinformation……all we can do is try and separate the the crap from the sirloin……

This pandemic could save our democracy……but the people will need to want it to be saved…..

America is in a haze right now. It seems like half the country is in denial of the danger while the other half is awaking from apathy and frantically trying to prepare. This is creating a fog of confusion as one side screams “it’s nothing but the flu, stop buying up the grocery store…!”, and the other side just keeps stocking goods, though in an inexperienced way that prioritizes comfort over practicality.

The other day I went by the grocery store to grab a few peripheral items while they still exist on sale, and this was the first time since the Covid-19 situation began that people in my area actually seemed…different.   The usual carefree obliviousness was gone from their faces and they all had a deer-in-the-headlights look, their eyes wide as saucers as they nervously scrambled around the store.  None of them were absorbed into their cell phones.  All of them were alert as many people huddled over their cart, quickly snatching items from the shelves as if protecting themselves from potential thieves.  It seems that reality is finally hitting the masses square in the face like a sucker punch.

Sorry to say but the US use to be a strong leader around the world that others look to for leadership…..and after this virus is beaten the US will lead, reallY?

First, there are worrying trends to overcome. Global institutions already have absorbed damage from which it will be difficult to recover. The European Union, or EU, has taken a body blow. With the organization unable to generate a coordinated response, member countries are taking their own paths and some will be crushed by debt. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization harmed its reputation by uncritically accepting China’s official line on the virus. As internationalism recedes, more states may look inward.

It’s already happening for some citizens. Facing economic and social dislocation, the cross-border spread of the virus has increased nationalist fervor in many parts of the world. Collapsing supply-chains for things like medical equipment will increase reliance on domestic production, a change that some are cheering on. Political populism already on the rise in Europe and the United States will continue to spread, leaving a leadership void as the world struggles with recovery.

Sorry to say but I do not see this current administration capable of leading this country anywhere but ruin.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Last Time We Saw A Pandemic

To try and help my readers that are stuck at home I offer a small history class….(eye rolls allowed)……

Let’s begin with the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918…..

The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918.

It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic

We hear about the world and the the response….just how badly some countries have done…especially the US…..but it would not be the first time…..

But the last time we faced a horrible pandemic was in the waning days of World War One and after…it was called the Spanish Flu…..and President Woodrow Wilson was not ready to handle this pandemic (does it sound vaguely familiar?)

The last time the United States faced a worldwide pandemic – the “Spanish flu” of 1918 and 1919 — cities rolled up the sidewalks, closed theaters, and shuttered saloons. Firemen, policemen, nurses and panicked citizens covered their faces with gauze masks.

The virulent influenza emerged in the last year of World War I, incubated in American army camps and spread overseas on troop ships. By the time the influenza finally burned itself out, over 45,000 Americans in uniform and some 600,000 American civilians were dead of the disease. It’s estimated that the Spanish flu killed 50 million worldwide.

When the crisis hit, the country was led by a president viewed by many as among the most capable of American leaders, Woodrow Wilson. A favorite of progressives, Wilson has been hailed for expanding the federal government and celebrated for his commitment to international institutions. He has regularly been in historians’ polls of the top 10 presidents, an assessment that has only slipped in recent years as Wilson’s unreconstructed racism has been publicized. Still, one would expect a skilled advocate of federal authority to have used every power of his office to confront a scourge that was killing Americans by the hundreds of thousands. Surely his response would be a model of presidential leadership.

“Frankly, I don’t think Wilson gave much attention to the flu,” John M. Cooper, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells RealClearInvestigations. “From going through his papers, there just isn’t much there,” says Cooper, the dean of Wilson scholars.

“President Woodrow Wilson had been extraordinarily close-mouthed about the epidemic from the first,” writes Sandra Opdycke in “The Flu Epidemic of 1918: America’s Experience in the Global Health Crisis.” Historians “have been unable to find a single occasion on which he mentioned it in public.”

The Spanish Flu of 1918 should have been used as a wake up call………

The “Spanish” influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, which caused ≈50 million deaths worldwide, remains an ominous warning to public health. Many questions about its origins, its unusual epidemiologic features, and the basis of its pathogenicity remain unanswered. The public health implications of the pandemic therefore remain in doubt even as we now grapple with the feared emergence of a pandemic caused by H5N1 or other virus. However, new information about the 1918 virus is emerging, for example, sequencing of the entire genome from archival autopsy tissues. But, the viral genome alone is unlikely to provide answers to some critical questions. Understanding the 1918 pandemic and its implications for future pandemics requires careful experimentation and in-depth historical analysis.

Above was written in 2006…..and now I ask…just what did we learn?

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Be Calm…..Avoid Crowds…..Wash Hands Often….Stay Prepared

Class Dismissed!

I read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 And Central Asia

We hear all the time of the virus rampaging through China and Europe and The US……this disease is not just in the “Hot Spots” of the world…..I thought I would let my readers know that this pandemic knows no bounds…..

Central Asia is not a region that we here in the US hear much about….I have a personal fondness for the region because I have spent time in the region when I worked for the State Department.

That said what about Covid-19 and its effect in Central Asia…..

Turkmenistan: Through the looking glass
While the government seems to concede the inevitability of the incipient downturn, it is still clinging to rosy economic performance figures. This and more in our weekly Turkmenistan briefing.

Tajikistan’s nonchalance on coronavirus shows cracks
Critics are exasperated by the government’s passivity, warning that the reforms needed for Tajikistan to weather this moment should have been adopted “the day before yesterday.”

Coronavirus diary: Can Kyrgyzstan survive this?
The government is betraying signs of not knowing quite how to run a state of emergency – especially one instated to defend a population against an invisible virus.

Kazakhstan’s president has given the green light to an emergency military recruitment drive as the authorities resort to ever-broader measures to ensure order in the face of the unfolding coronavirus epidemic.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on April 2 approved a decree to call up military servicemen and task local governments mobilize levies to help handle any emergencies that arise as a result of the ongoing crisis.

Speaking at a press conference the following day, Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev said that draftees could be put to work manning checkpoints, patrolling streets, carrying out disinfection, guarding government facilities and assisting in the event of floods.

Countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia all are also considered part of the Central Asian region…..

This illustrates that even regions we do not consider are also fighting the rages of this pandemic.

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


Now that is damn mouth full, right?

But what the Hell is it?

This is that drug that our president keeps promoting……but what is it used for?  I would like to add that it is untested as a weapon against Covid-19 and yet our president keeps throwing it out into the discussion…..why?

But first……

Hydroxychloroquine is in a class of drugs called antimalarials. It is used to prevent and treat acute attacks of malaria. It is also used to treat discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis in patients whose symptoms have not improved with other treatments.

Hydroxychloroquine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. For prevention of malaria in adults, two tablets are usually taken once a week on exactly the same day of each week. The first dose is taken 1 to 2 weeks before traveling to an area where malaria is common, and then doses are continued for 8 weeks after exposure. For treatment of acute attacks of malaria in adults, four tablets are usually taken right away, followed by two tablets 6 to 8 hours later and then two tablets on each of the next 2 days.

For prevention or treatment of malaria in infants and children, the amount of hydroxychloroquine is based on the child’s weight. Your doctor will calculate this amount and tell you how much hydroxychloroquine your child should receive.

CDC has made a decision on the labeling….

What Reuters calls “highly unusual guidance” on two drugs President Trump has been pushing to treat the coronavirus has been removed from the CDC site almost as quickly as it went up. The original guidance on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which showed up over the weekend under “Therapeutic Options,” read: “Although optimal dosing and duration of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 are unknown, some US clinicians have reported anecdotally” on ways to prescribe it. Now, after a Tuesday update, the section starts: “There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the [FDA] to prevent or treat COVID-19.” Medical experts were surprised at the original wording. “No references, no nothing,” Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, told Reuters over the weekend. “Why would CDC be publishing anecdotes? That doesn’t make sense. This is very unusual.”

A CDC statement says the original guidance had been requested by doctors and the White House virus task force to be reviewed and posted “as quickly as possible.” However, the Hill notes Dr. Anthony Fauci, part of that task force, recently warned against using the drug for the virus without more study. Jeffrey Flier, a former dean at Harvard Medical School, agrees. “We are in an emergency and we need to rely on our government to ensure that all these potential therapies are tested in the most effective and objective way,” he told Reuters. “The president is short-circuiting the process with his gut feelings.” A White House statement denies any “pressure campaign” and claims Trump is simply seeking “an unprecedented collaboration to expedite vaccine development.” Politico and the Atlantic look more into hydroxychloroquine and how it has made its way into the public eye

Is there a reason that untested and untried drug is high on the president’s lips?

Maybe it is because he has a financial stake?

President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. “Yes, the heart stuff,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. Then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway. “So what do I know?” he conceded to reporters at his daily briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”

Or maybe it is something else……

The Job Creators Network was founded in 2011 by billionaire Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, a major GOP donor who spent more than $7 million through outside groups to help elect Trump in 2016. Marcus has said that he plans to spend part of his fortune to help re-elect Trump in 2020.

Job Creators Network has been funded by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a drug industry trade that counts among its members leading hydroxychloroquine makers Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Bayer. According to tax documents, PhRMA donated $500,000 to Job Creators Network in 2017. 

Pharma-Funded Group Tied to a Top Trump Donor Is Promoting Malaria Drug to the President

I think these explain much about the president’s desire to push a possibly worthless drug on society.

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Funny Thing About Socialism

It is the election season and Bernie is running for the Dem nomination and as usual there are all those people yelling about socialism or communism or Marxism…….inciting fear in any change that we could hope for….but that is somehow alright because we have a pandemic now and the GOP has become infected with the concept of socialism……you read that right…..according to the GOP socialism is good only when it helps the wealthy…..

Ted Rall, cartoon

A further reading:

The Socialist Specter in Present-Day US Politics

The Bailout package is nothing but socialism for the wealthy……they throw some bones in the bill to make it more palatable to the masses…..but in reality it is nothing more than a robbery in progress….

“It’s not a bailout for the coronavirus. It’s a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility.”

As details of the Senate’s coronavirus stimulus plan slowly trickled in Wednesday, progressive critics characterized the sprawling legislative package as a brazen attempt by both political parties to use trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out and further enrich large corporations while tossing mere crumbs to the most vulnerable.

“This is a robbery in progress,” wrote David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect. “And it’s not a bailout for the coronavirus. It’s a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility that made these companies so fragile that a few weeks of disruption would destroy them.”

The markets have rebound and rebound well….the promise of free cash has them dancing a jig…..the so-called “bear market” is over is the prediction……

A historic surge in jobless claims didn’t keep the stock market down on Thursday. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the Dow rose more than 1,300 points, or 6.3%, and the S&P surged by a similar percentage. The Dow has risen three days in a row and is up more than 20% in that span—which CNBC notes is the best three-day surge since 1931. The percentage increase means the market just went from a bear back to a bull, marking the shortest bear market in history, reports the Wall Street Journal. Whether it remains that way in extreme volatility is the big question. For the day, the Dow rose 1,351 to 22,552, the S&P rose 154 to 2,630, and the Nasdaq rose 413 to 7,797.

The increase comes as the House prepares to pass the massive stimulus bill approved by the Senate, seen as all the more pressing because of the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. “Investors believe data like today will make it more likely that the House will pass the stimulus bill,” Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab tells the Journal. “The deeper and the worse the numbers are in the near term, the more possibility there is for a [fiscal] response, which powers the rebound on the other side.”

Need we say more about how corrupt the system is?

This news explains everything you need to know about the economy of the United States…..3+ million people without jobs means nothing to the markets… money however drives the rise…..

Plus people struggling will also get free cash….not as much as the markets but free any way……should make Trump more popular for Americans loyalty can be bought.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”