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#1061
Jessica

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Feds Loosen Virus Rules To Let Essential Workers Return

Source: AP



WASHINGTON (AP) — In a first, small step toward reopening the country, the Trump administration issued new guidelines Wednesday to make it easier for essential workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to get back to work if they do not have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced at the White House that essential employees, such as health care and food supply workers, who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed or suspected case of the virus can return to work under certain circumstances if they are not experiencing symptoms.

The new guidelines are being issued as the nation mourns more than 14,000 deaths from the virus and grapples with a devastated economy and medical crises from coast to coast. Health experts continue to caution Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid returning to their normal activities. At the same time, though, they are planning for a time when the most serious threat from COVID-19 will be in the country’s rear-view mirror.

President Donald Trump said that while he knows workers are “going stir crazy” at home, he can’t predict when the threat from the virus will wane. “The numbers are changing and they’re changing rapidly and soon we’ll be over that curve. We’ll be over the top and we’ll be headed in the right direction. I feel strongly about that,” Trump said about the coronavirus, which he called “this evil beast.” ...

 



Read more: https://apnews.com/f...57f7fab059c2ccb



#1062
Jessica

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WaPo : Trump administration pushing to reopen much of the U.S. next month

https://www.washingt...3288_story.html

 

The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among health experts and economists of a possible covid-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out. Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said. Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

Trump said at his daily briefing Thursday that the United States was at the “top of the hill” and added, “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.” Multiple Cabinet secretaries in recent days have publicly expressed hope that the various government orders directing residents to stay at home and forcing nonessential businesses to close could at least be partially eased next month.

Asked Thursday during an appearance on CNBC whether he thought it was possible that the country could be open for business next month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said, “I do.” A day earlier, Attorney General William P. Barr had called some of the stay-at-home orders and other restrictions “draconian” and suggested that they needed to be reevaluated next month. “When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said on Fox News.

 



#1063
Erowind

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Internal socio-political tensions are heating up. The country is overdue for a recession. The president has escaped impeachment. And it's an election year. I think the US is going to be in a state of chaos by the end of the year.

This aged well 



#1064
wjfox

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#1065
Jessica

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Oversight erased, Supreme Court hijacked: Trump turns the presidency into a dictatorship
https://www.usatoday...umn/2973535001/

. . . In the course of three days, Trump fired an IG for telling the truth, attacked another for exposing the totality of a health care pandemic, and removed another in a brazen effort to avoid being held accountable for how trillions of taxpayer dollars will be allocated. The sum of these actions is nothing short of blatant corruption in plain sight. Free from the limitations of accountability, there is nothing stopping the president from turning the so-called “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into a $2 trillion personal slush fund.

Trump feels empowered to obliterate the guardrails of checks and balances. Bit by bit, he has stripped away the levers of oversight until there's nothing left. It started by ignoring congressional subpoenas for his financial records. It continued as Trump refused to cooperate with the House impeachment investigation, stonewalling Congress’ attempts to hear witness testimony and conduct depositions with administration officials close to the president. And now he is leading a purge of the final remaining frontier of oversight — the inspectors general.

Supreme Court's dangerous path
For anyone hoping the Supreme Court will assert its role as the third branch of government, it has delayed hearing cases, including three lawsuits involving Trump’s tax returns and financial dealings. And yet, somehow, the Supreme Court managed to reverse a federal judge's order to extend absentee voting by a week in Wisconsin's primary on Tuesday. The result was that voters had to choose between their health and their civic duty.

The court’s refusal to move forward with cases that impact the president, coupled with its willingness to interfere with the Wisconsin election, foreshadows a very dangerous path as we look ahead to the November elections. In essence, the court’s conservative majority is just another political instrument for Trump to wield.

It may be hard to see the forest through the trees in this time of social distancing, but make no mistake about it, our democracy is in the midst of a three-alarm fire. The highest court in the land has effectively been hijacked — serving only the interests of Donald Trump. Congress is no longer a co-equal branch of government, a result of Trump’s toxic brand of obstruction.

By taking a wrecking ball to independent oversight, Trump has made the presidency into a dictatorship. At this point, the only recourse we will have left to save our democracy, repair the institutions of government, and restore accountability to the American people, is to vote in November to save “the soul of this nation.” That is, assuming Trump, the Republicans and the Supreme Court let us.

 

 



#1066
Cyber_Rebel

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Having to vote for a Republican to save the country from an autocratic Republican, sickening. Just let the state collapse, many others will rise up in its place. This nation no longer has a soul worth saving, Biden appeals to an age long past.

 

America Is Acting Like a Failed State

 

Many businesses, local governments, and individuals are doing what is necessary to beat back the coronavirus—with little help from the White House.

 

https://www.theatlan...gton-is/608026/

 

A global pandemic is a mandatory exam in national competence. It is a test for individuals, who have to change their life and withdraw from public events to slow the spread of a disease through crowds and social networks. It is a test for companies, which must change their protocols to protect their employees, sometimes by banishing them from the office. It is a test for institutions, which must decide whether to uphold traditions and festivals for the sake of public morale, or to cancel events, tournaments, conferences, and concerts. 

 
And it is, above all, a test for the state. Only the national government can oversee the response to a national outbreak by coordinating research on the nature of the disease. Only the state can ensure the national regulation and accuracy of testing, and use its fiscal and monetary might to stimulate the economy if the pandemic threatens people’s income and employment.
 
Throughout the world, the most effective responses to the historic threat of the coronavirus have come from state governments. China imposed a lockdown of tens of millions of people in Wuhan and other cities. In Singapore, the government built an app to inform citizens how to contain the virus and what public spaces to avoid. South Korea opened a number of drive-through centers to accelerate diagnostic testing.
 
But in the United States, the pandemic has devolved into a kind of grotesque caricature of American federalism. The private sector has taken on quasi-state functions at a time when the executive branch of government—drained of scientific expertise, starved of moral vision—has taken on the qualities of a failed state. In a country where many individuals, companies, institutions, and local governments are making hard decisions for the good of the nation, the most important actor of them all—the Trump administration—has been a shambolic bonanza of incompetence.


#1067
Cyber_Rebel

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*sigh* I honestly believe Trump will ensure a second wave of Covid-19 

 

#FireTrumpNotFauci Trends After President Goes After Trusted Infectious Disease Official

 
"Trump could well get tired of being contradicted by Dr. Fauci, and we know he fires people at the drop of a hat."
 
by Jon Queally, staff writer - Common Dreams: https://www.commondr...ectious-disease
 

After President Donald Trump retweeted a message Sunday night that declared #FireFauci, it didn't take long for the #FireTrump and #FireTrumpNotFauci hashtags to emerge overnight as an immediate and popular response.

 
Just hours after Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CNN Sunday morning and confirmed the U.S. federal government "could have saved more lives" if it had acted earlier and more urgently to address the coronavirus, Trump issued an ominous threat against the widely respective infectious disease specialist by retweeting a post that declared "Time to #FireFauci."
 
The attack on Fauci was just one of many Trump posted to the social media platform Sunday night that attempted to defend his management of the outbreak, deflect criticism, and blame others.
 
 
Fauci will be replaced by some unscientific joke who advocates the stock market over actual reasonably safe policy. America will reopen far too soon, and the curve will never be flattened. It'll the the White House vs state Governors who tell people to stay home vs other countries who are still on lockdown. 


#1068
Cyber_Rebel

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Gavin Newsom Declares California a ‘Nation-State’
 
The state is at odds with the federal government over coronavirus plans and much else.
 
 

California this week declared its independence from the federal government’s feeble efforts to fight Covid-19 — and perhaps from a bit more. The consequences for the fight against the pandemic are almost certainly positive. The implications for the brewing civil war between Trumpism and America’s budding 21st-century majority, embodied by California’s multiracial liberal electorate, are less clear.

 
Speaking on MSNBC, Governor Gavin Newsom said that he would use the bulk purchasing power of California “as a nation-state” to acquire the hospital supplies that the federal government has failed to provide. If all goes according to plan, Newsom said, California might even “export some of those supplies to states in need.”
 
“Nation-state.” “Export.”

 

Calexit? I mean, they are technically financially comparable to a sovereign nation-state with the world's 5th largest economy. Culturally, they are basically dominant compared to every other state including my own, and silicon valley is the heart of 21st century technological megacorps. I don't think they'd suffer the same issues as Brexit, though it would set a precedent for other states to leave. Then again, other states would have to make the same argument for why they could function independently.



#1069
Yuli Ban

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Washington, Oregon and California announce Western States Pact

Today, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.
 
COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.
 
We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#1070
PhoenixRu

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Gavin Newsom Declares California a ‘Nation-State’

 

 

Separatism?

 

Unlike of naive and stillborn "uprising" in 2017 this time... well, I'll watch this. One thing we can be sure about: the economic, social, political, and even cultural consequences of COVID-19 will be huge. And the most of them are still ahead.



#1071
Cyber_Rebel

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^ Not just West Coast, East as well:

 

Massachusetts Joins New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island's Multi-State Council to Get People Back to Work and Restore the Economy

 

https://www.governor...d-rhode-islands

 

Council Will Include One Health Expert, One Economic Development Expert and Respective Chiefs of Staff from Each State

 
Council Will Develop a Fully Integrated Regional Framework to Gradually Lift the States' Stay at Home Orders While Minimizing the Risk of Increased Spread of the Virus
 
New Effort Builds on the States' Ongoing Regional Approach to Combatting COVID-19

 

I have a suspicion that this will become a 'norm' as Trump continues to try and undermine state sovereignty. Saying that is honestly weird, because states rights were always in the realm of the right wing within this country, while the will of the national gov. was traditionally seen as the left. A political realignment is most certainly underway. 

 

The end result of this may actually be a "balkanized" America, even if not officially so. It's possible that the federal government will emerge impotent after the severe fuck ups taking place under the Trump administration, while these new states pacts remain in play for better handling other issues, such as climate change in a more regional sense. We could actually accomplish more that way, as regions can exert bargaining power in a way single states or their senators couldn't. 

 

Whether we'll completely balkanize... ie actual formation of new countries later on, that remains to be seen. I certainly think this has more weight to it than the silly Texas/Cali succession "movements" of previous administrations. If Trump is elected for a second term and continues battling governors, well, we could be seeing history unfold. 



#1072
caltrek

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Republicans Tried to Use the Coronavirus to Steal a Wisconsin Supreme Court Election. The Liberal Challenger Just Won Anyway.

 

https://www.motherjo...ts-liberal-win/

 

Introduction:

(Mother Jones) Jill Karofsky, the liberal challenger in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race, has unseated conservative Supreme Court justice Dan Kelly in an election that almost wasn’t held at all.

 

Though many states have postponed their elections during the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin proceeded with its primary last week despite a statewide shelter-in-place order and a dizzying ping-pong of conflicting orders by the State Supreme Court, the governor, and the United States Supreme Court. In Milwaukee, which has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus and which is home to two-thirds of the state’s Black population, only five of 180 polling stations were open last Tuesday after many poll workers opted to stay home. Some voters reported waiting in line for five hours. Viral photos showed voters wearing masks and standing six feet apart in long lines, with some holding signs in protest.

Conclusion:

Still, Karofsky won, despite the apparent political calculus that holding an election in a pandemic would benefit Kelly. (The results were released almost a week after the vote due to a court ruling that allowed absentee ballots to be counted through Monday April 13.) Karofsky’s victory will narrow the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 5-2 to 4-3, which could have implications for future elections. An entrenched conservative majority would have made it more likely the court would allow the state to “purge 232,000 voters, disproportionately from Democratic areas like Madison and Milwaukee, from the voter rolls before the 2020 general election,” as Ari reported.

 

“Although we were successful in this race, the circumstances under which this election was conducted were simply unacceptable, and raise serious concerns for the future of our democracy,” Karofsky said in a statement. “Nobody in this state or in this country should have been forced to choose between their safety and participating in an election.”

AP_20098501403870-1.jpg?w=990

Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#1073
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ro3zv1y5h6n41.jpg



#1074
Jessica

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'Beyond Predatory': Trump Treasury Department Gives Banks Green Light to Seize $1,200 Stimulus Check

Source: Common Dreams


President Donald Trump's Treasury Department has given U.S. banks a green light to seize a portion or all of the one-time $1,200 coronavirus relief payments meant to help Americans cope with financial hardship and instead use the money to pay off individuals' outstanding debts—a move consumer advocates decried as cruel and unacceptable.

"The Treasury Department effectively blessed this activity on a webinar with banking officials last Friday," The American Prospect's David Dayen reported Tuesday.

In an audio recording from the webinar obtained exclusively by the Prospect, Ronda Kent, chief disbursing officer at the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service, told bankers that "there's nothing in the law that precludes" financial institutions from seizing a person's payment and using it to pay off the individual's debts.

 


...

Read more: https://www.commondr...ight-seize-1200



#1075
Jessica

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Glitches prevent $1,200 stimulus checks from reaching millions of Americans

Source: Washington Post



Many Americans woke up Wednesday expecting to find a payment of $1,200 or more from the U.S. government in their bank account, but instead they realized nothing had arrived yet — or the wrong amount was deposited. Parents of young children complained they did not receive the promised $500 check for their dependent children.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has instructed the Internal Revenue Service to get payments out as fast as possible to help offset the pain of losing jobs and shutting down businesses, but numerous glitches — affecting filers who used tax preparers, parents of dependent children and people with 2019 tax returns still to be processed — are delaying payments and causing confusion.

Several million people who filed their taxes via H&R Block, TurboTax and other popular services were unable to get their payments because the IRS did not have their direct deposit information on file, according to the Treasury, companies and experts.

The IRS launched a “Get My Payment” tool Wednesday for people to track the status of their payment and enter direct deposit information, but many who used it said they received a message saying “Payment Status Not Available,” a frustration that left them without answers.

 


Read more: https://www.washingt...stimulus-check/



#1076
Jessica

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Philly Fed manufacturing index plunges in April (Lowest since 1980)

Source: Marketwatch



Index drops to -56.6, worse than anything seen in Great Recession

The numbers:The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index in April dropped to -56.6 after registering -12.5 in March. This is the lowest reading since July 1980.

Any reading below zero indicates deteriorating conditions. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a -37.5 reading.

What happened: The headline index is based on a single stand alone question about business conditions unlike the manufacturing index which is a composite based on components

The components were also weak. The new orders index fell to -70.9 in April from -15.5 in the prior month. The employment index dropped to -46.7 from 4.1 in March. Firms do expect things to get better in six months as the index for future activity rose 8 points to 43.

 


Read more: https://www.marketwa...6?mod=home-page



#1077
Jessica

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Small business lending program on hold after reaching limit

Source: AP

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG and ANDREW TAYLOR

NEW YORK (AP) — The government’s lending program for small businesses is on hold.



The Small Business Administration said Thursday that it reached the $349 billion lending limit for the program, after approving nearly 1.7 million loans.

Thousands of small business owners whose loans have not yet been processed must now wait for Congress to approve a Trump administration request for another $250 billion for the program. Lawmakers have been haggling over whether to extend the program as it stands now, or whether to add provisions that, among other things, would help minority businesses. It’s unclear when they might reach an agreement that would allow loan approvals to continue.

Business owners left in limbo were getting more anxious after hearing the program was on hold.

 



FILE - In this April 2, 2020 file photo, a notice of closure is posted at The Great Frame Up in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. The government is closing in on the $349 billion lending limit on its Paycheck Protection Program that is sending relief money to the nation’s small businesses. The Small Business Administration says that it has approved more than 1.6 million loans worth more than $339 billion. The program will likely reach its ceiling Thursday, April 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)


Read more: https://apnews.com/d...3f4046bbe857d2e



#1078
Jessica

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New unemployment filings are so high only the Great Depression compares
The numbers are staggering and probably underestimated.

By Matthew Yglesias@mattyglesiasmatt@vox.com Apr 16, 2020, 9:40 am EDT


The US Department of Labor registered 5.2 million initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 11, bringing the total filings to 22 million since social distancing measures took effect in March — a pace of economic collapse so staggering that the Great Depression is the only comparison.

Last week’s claims slightly improved upon the 6.6 million initial claims the previous week, and the 6.9 million claims the week before that. But even if the peak of the joblessness wave seems to be behind us, the US is in uncharted waters. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the worst-ever initial claims number was about 700,000 job losses back in 1982.

Economists offer two caveats to this data. One is that the recently enacted CARES Act to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic expands the scope of unemployment insurance eligibility to cover more independent contractors and gig economy workers. So claims are surging, at least in part, because more people are eligible, making comparisons to past data slightly invalid.

At the same time, state UI systems — which are often built on obsolete code, starved of resources by state governments, and not designed to handle this volume of claims — have become overwhelmed, with people unable to get through on the phone or online. Consequently, the actual number of people trying to apply for assistance likely exceeds the numbers the country is seeing.

 



https://www.vox.com/...reat-depression


#1079
wjfox

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Coronavirus: ten nurses suspended for refusing to work without N95 masks

Fri 17 Apr 2020 08.20 BST

Nurse Mike Gulick was meticulous about not bringing the coronavirus home to his wife and their two-year-old daughter. He’d stop at a hotel after work just to take a shower. He’d wash his clothes in Lysol disinfectant.

But at Providence Saint John’s health center in Santa Monica, California, Gulick and his colleagues worried that caring for infected patients without an N95 respirator mask was risky. The N95 mask filters out 95% of all airborne particles, including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks. But hospital administrators said they weren’t necessary and didn’t provide them, he said.

Then, last week, a nurse on Gulick’s ward tested positive for the coronavirus. The next day, doctors doing rounds on their ward asked the nurses why they weren’t wearing N95 masks, Gulick said, and told them they should have better protection.

For Gulick, that was it. He and a handful of nurses told their managers they wouldn’t enter Covid-19 patient rooms without N95 masks.

“I went into nursing with a passion for helping those who are most vulnerable and being an advocate for those who couldn’t have a voice for themselves, but not under the conditions we’re currently under,” Gulick said.

https://www.theguard...sks-coronavirus
 
 
8RSC7mQ.jpg



#1080
Jessica

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Trump Encourages His Supporters To Defy Stay At Home Orders

From the article:


Trump was asked multiple times to tell his supporters to follow the stay at home restrictions in their states, but he refused to do so.
Trump was questioned about his supporters protesting stay at home orders, and he answered:
Well, they’ve been going through it a long time, Jon, and it’s been a tough process for people. You know, I told you, there’s death and there’s problems in staying at home, too. It’s not just isn’t it wonderful to stay at home. They’re having — they’re this country wasn’t built that on principle. It was built on an exact opposite principle actually. And I watched, in one particular state, where they were — they want to get back. They want to get back. There were very strict sanctions that were put on people, that was probably the most strict of all.

 

 

To read/see more:

https://www.politicu...ome-orders.html







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