Saturday, May 30, 2020

Who Exactly is Doing The Looting, and Who's Being Looted ?

David Sirota,

 this morning are all about looting — specifically, looting in Minneapolis, after the police killing of an unarmed African-American man was caught on video. In the modern vernacular, that word “looting” is loaded — it comes with all sorts of race and class connotations. And we have to understand that terms like “looting” are an example of the way our media often imperceptibly trains us to think about economics, crime, and punishment in specific and skewed ways.
Working-class people pilfering convenience-store goods is deemed “looting.” By contrast, rich folk and corporations stealing billions of dollars during their class war is considered good and necessary “public policy” — aided and abetted by arsonist politicians in Washington lighting the crime scene on fire to try to cover everything up.
To really understand the deep programming at work here, consider how the word “looting” is almost never used to describe the plundering that has become the routine policy of our government at a grand scale that is far larger than a vandalized Target store.
Indeed, if looting is defined in the dictionary as “to rob especially on a large scale” using corruption, then these are ten examples of looting that we rarely ever call “looting”:
1.    The Fed Bailed Out the Investor Class“: “Thanks to this massive government subsidy, large companies like Boeing and Carnival Cruises were able to avoid taking money directly — and sidestep requirements to keep employees on.”
2.    Millionaires To Reap 80% of Benefit From Tax Change In Coronavirus Stimulus“: “The change — which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes — will allow some of the nation’s wealthiest to avoid nearly $82 billion of tax liability in 2020.”
3.    Stealth Bailout’ Shovels Millions of Dollars to Oil Companies“: “A provision of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law gives [companies] more latitude to deduct recent losses. . . . The change wasn’t aimed only at the oil industry. However, its structure uniquely benefits energy companies that were raking in record profits.”
4.    The Tax-Break Bonanza Inside the Economic Rescue Package“: “As part of the economic rescue package that became law last month, the federal government is giving away $174 billion in temporary tax breaks overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies.”
5.    Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers“: “Twenty large chains received more than $5 billion in federal grants even while sitting on more than $100 billion in cash.”
6.    Airlines Got the Sweetest Coronavirus Bailout Around“: “The $50 billion the government is using to prop up the industry is a huge taxpayer gift to shareholders.”
7.    Large, Troubled Companies Got Bailout Money in Small-Business Loan Program“: “The so-called Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help prevent small companies from capsizing as the economy sinks into what looks like a severe recession. . . . But dozens of large but lower-profile companies with financial or legal problems have also received large payouts under the program.”
8.    Public Companies Received $1 Billion Meant For Small Businesses“: “Recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more.”
9.    Firms That Left U.S. to Cut Taxes Could Qualify for Fed Aid“: “Companies that engaged in so-called corporate inversion transactions while maintaining meaningful U.S. operations appear to be eligible for two new programs.”
10. The K Street Bailout“: “Lobbyists already got bailed out, in effect, when corporations got bailed out. This is kind of the ultimate in double dipping; corporations are nursed back to health by the sheer force of Federal Reserve commitments, this allows them to keep their lobbying expenses up, and then lobbyists lobby for free money for themselves.”
This looting is having a real-world effect: as half a billion people across the globe could be thrown into poverty and as 43 million Americans are projected to lose their health care coverage, CNBC reports that “America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May.”
Apparently, though, all of that pillaging is not enough. The looting is now getting even more brazen: President Trump is floating a new capital gains tax cut for the investor class, while the New York Timesnotes that House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new proposal “to retroactively lift a limit on state and local tax deductions would largely funnel money to relatively high earners.”
We don’t call this “looting” because it is being done quietly in nice marbled office buildings in Washington and New York.
We don’t call this “looting” because the looters wear designer suits and are very polite as they eagerly steal everything not nailed down to the floor.
We don’t call this “looting,” but we should — because it is tearing apart our nation’s social fabric, laying waste to our economy, and throwing our entire society into chaos.

David Sirota,
Jacobin Magazine

Thursday, May 28, 2020

100,000 Have Died

The nation hit two milestones within the last 24 hours. The official death toll from coronavirus surpassed 100,000 Americans, and first-time jobless claims since the onset of the virus went above 40 million. In reality, we know that both of these figures were reached a while ago. Analyzing obituaries gets at the excess death problem and reveals that far more Americans died above the normal rate for this time of year than are reflected in the coronavirus death statistics. And strained unemployment systems are likely just getting around to processing older claims, not just dealing with new ones. This Census Bureau survey shows that nearly half of all households have lost income, which is a closer depiction of reality in the crisis.

What’s happening in America right now is not complicated: More people are dying because of the coronavirus than anywhere else in the world, and this is the predictable and natural consequence of having a corrupt idiot as president. But a press that’s afraid to plainly state this obvious truth is not without blame, either.

Jason Linkins, Deputy Editor. The New Republic

What Leftists Who Won’t Support Biden Overlook: Trump

What Leftists Who Won’t Support Biden Overlook: Trump: The consequences of a Trump second term don’t loom large in their electoral calculations.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Poor People's Campaign ! Join Us !

 Sacramento Poor People’s Campaign (Sac PPC). We’re just one month away from the Poor People’s Campaign Digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington June 20!  

Our goal is to activate and engage 30,000 people in each state for June 20, we’ll hit our goal of having the largest digital gathering of poor and low wealth people.  We are asking our local and state partners to commit to the following:

  1. All partner/faith organization to send the sample email in the June 20 toolkit  please visit: to their base, asking everyone to RSVP for June 20.
  2. Ask each partner to share out the June 20 promo video  on their social media channels with a message about why they’re joining June 20 and include the RSVP link (RSVP: at least once, and then share out content at least once per week from your state page or the national PPC:NCMR page in the weeks leading up to June 20. Be sure to ask partners to use the hashtag #poorpeoplescampaign so we can see what everyone is posting!
  3. Save the date: Join us next Sunday, May 31st at 6pm PST/9pm EST for "American Crisis: Poverty and the Pandemic," a special on how the coronavirus is impacting poor & low-income people on MSNBC with Rev. Barber, Rev. Theoharis, Joy Reid, and state leaders from across the country. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tweets About Virus ? Half are Bots

Hunter, at Daily Koa
If you're wondering whether some good percentage of the too-stupid-to-be-real Twitter accounts demanding America end shelter-in-place orders despite a still-raging pandemic are, in fact, too stupid to be real, the answer appears to be yes. A new Carnegie Mellon University study estimates that about one-half of the Twitter accounts pushing that demand and COVID-19 conspiracies in general are bots. They're fake.
America's dumbest people are being goaded into gun-toting protests against pandemic precautions by robot-wielding trolls. Of course they are. It’s 2020 and the president of the country is a can of expired creamed corn, so why wouldn’t there also be near-riots in state capitols spurred by fake internet accounts?
As summarized by CBS News, researchers found that "82% of the top 50 influential retweets are bots, and 62% of the top 1,000 retweeters" are fake, and that the fakes "have largely dominated" re-opening demands.
What researchers don't currently know—though perhaps government intelligence agencies might, even if they're not telling us so—is who is doing it. It's consistent with a foreign attempt to, well, get Americans killed in large numbers. It could also be random collections of idiots, trolls, or Trump's famous bedridden, 400-pound Guy Who Does These Things.
In any event, what we're seeing is an organized and very large-scale effort to get Americans to spread the pandemic inside this country, even as other parts of the world begin to see success in reducing pandemic spread. Not being a legal expert, I can't pin down which particular degree of attempted homicide this would equate to. Not being an international law expert, I can offer no solid opinion on whether, if organized in large part by a foreign power, attempting to kill off civilians by the hundreds of thousands might be considered an act of war.
It might be an intentional effort to single out and cull all the stupidest people in America in one fell swoop—like most propaganda and conspiracy efforts, it seems rather specifically targeted toward dumb people—but given the propensity of the virus to leap to nearby smarter people once it has a foothold inside the lungs of a dumb one, it'd be a bad plan. It would be nice to believe that this was entirely a foreign effort simply because one would think even the most malevolent of this nation's own chan-minded trolls would quickly realize the downside of convincing their own dumbest neighbors to go out and court a deadly infection. Maybe.
What we can take from this, however, is that the supposed (online) push to reopen the American economy no matter who it kills is almost entirely a propaganda effort, with an organized core of self-amplifying, likely professionally run bots convincing approximately one (1) American each to repeat their nonsense while polls show the vast majority of the country is quite content to help their neighbors Not Die. As Fox News shows, you can convince a certain percentage of America to believe literally anything, if you repeat it enough times.
Also, a large percentage of the anything-believers own guns. Lots of guns. Really like guns, for some reason. Is there a connection between people willing to believe anything a random internet account tells them and people who believe there may be a pressing need to murder people around them for patriotic and/or self-protecting reasons? Hard to say, right?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stay in Place ! Stay Alive ! Organize !

  • Stay in Place! Stay Alive! Organize!  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 700 people were dying every day in the U.S. because of the crisis of poverty. And because of this nation’s high tolerance for death, as long as those who are dying are poor and people of color, the national response to this pandemic has only further exposed the country’s distorted morality.
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is launching the “Stay in Place! Stay Alive! Organize!” campaign to raise a moral cry for non-cooperation with the dangerous and reckless policies to ease social distancing restrictions and reopen the economy instead of providing real relief. #StayAlive  CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION BY CALLING PELOSI & MCCONNELL OR SENDING A LETTER TO YOUR GOVERNOR:
image004.pngCALL  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & Senator Mitch McConnell and demand they provide real solutions for this public health & economic crisis to meet the needs of poor & impacted communities in the next stimulus package by implementing our #PoorPeoplesCampaign Moral Agenda! #StayAlive Call link here:

image005.jpgThe #PoorPeoplesC

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Rev. Barber's Poor People's Campaign calls for resistance to reopening plans

 The Poor People's Campaign, a grassroots group with branches in more than 40 states, is urging resistance to or noncooperation with state plans calling for the reopening of the economy just weeks after the coronavirus put most of the country on lockdown. 
In its new slogan, the campaign, co-chaired by two Christian ministers, is asking its followers to "Stay in Place, Stay Alive, Organize, and Don't Believe the Lies."
The campaign urges Congress, the president and state governors to follow the recommendations of public health experts and not risk a resurgence of the virus, which is disproportionately affecting poor, uninsured, low-wage laborers, many of them "essential workers" who have no alternative but to go to risky jobs that make them vulnerable to the virus. 
"These plans to reopen show no regard for human life," said the Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, during an online news conference on May 13. "They're prioritizing the profit of the few over the needs of the majority."
The Poor People's Campaign has long demanded that the government provide health care and paid sick leave for all. Theoharis also called for a universal guaranteed adequate income for all.
The campaign is planning a day of action on May 21 that will include a call-in to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging them to provide more relief for the poor in any future stimulus bills.
The campaign also announced that a previously scheduled June 20 March on Washington will be an online event.
Multiple studies have shown that the pandemic has been devastating economically, especially in nonwhite communities where people live in more crowded conditions and are more likely to be employed in public-facing occupations (such as food service, transportation and home health care) where they are more susceptible to becoming infected.
The latest available COVID-19 mortality rate for African Americans is 2.6 times higher than the rate for whites, according to the APM Research Lab, which tracks coronavirus deaths by race and ethnicity.

60,000 Deaths or 100,000 Deaths ?

Return with Safety: We should not concede the language of 'reopening' to right-wing liars who are sending poor people to their death.
BY Sarah Lazare
In These Times

May 14, 2020 - When President Trump, Republican leaders, right-wing think tanks and billionaire CEOs aggressively push to send people back to work before the coronavirus is contained, this is not a "reopening." It's the opposite: an unraveling of the conditions that we need to safely and sustainably reopen our society. While the red herring of a "reopening" has dominated news cycles and Trump administration press conferences, the United States has moved ever further away from what we all desperately seek: a point at which this all ends, and it's safe to go to the library, stroll maskless through a park, eat dinner with a loved one, and go to work without fear. The Right doesn't own the "reopening" terrain-it has forfeited it by barreling down a road that leads to mass death, suffering, and more and more closures down the road.

Forty-two states have either started "reopening" their economies or imminently plan to do so, despite the fact that most of them have failed to meet even the non-binding criteria put forward by the White House: that they have a 14-day "downward trajectory" of known coronavirus cases or rates of positive tests (this standard was criticized by public health experts for being ill-defined and insufficient). Alarmingly, as of May 7, more than half of the states that had either reopened or planned to do so (30 at the time) have seen an increase in case counts or positive tests over the past two weeks, according to a tracker from the New York Times. In Georgia, for example, testing levels are well below the minimum recommended by experts, and positive test rates remain above a threshold of 10%. Yet Georgia's governor, Republican Brian Kemp, has instructed nail salons and bowling alleys to open. Kemp presented himself as the champion of workers he is sending into perilous condition, declaring April 17, "I know people are chomping [at the bit] to get back to work." Trump has embraced the state-level push to reopen, and even encouraged protests against governors who maintain shelter-in-place instructions, declaring in late April, "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" and "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

It is no mystery what is going to happen as a result of this push. There is a consensus among experts that the United States doesn't have the measures in place to reopen without causing mass death. As the New York Times noted on May 11, "Deaths are already far higher than the 60,000 once predicted by August. Even President Trump has begun to talk of a toll that may reach 100,000, perhaps more." An Associated Press analysis from May 12 found that even as Trump pushes the country towards a swift reopening, "thousands of people are getting sick from COVID-19 on the job." There are signs of new coronavirus hot spots around the country, including in states that are reopening. Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden has been vocal about the dire consequences. "We're not reopening based on science," he told the Times. "We're reopening based on politics, ideology and public pressure. And I think it's going to end badly." We already know Black, Latino and poor people are disproportionately dying from Covid-19-this horrific trend is almost certain to continue in subsequent spikes.

"We are way premature for opening when the cases nationwide have not gone down but continue to go up," Deborah Burger, the co-president of National Nurses United (NNU), told In These Times. "We are still experiencing a rationing of personal protective equipment, N95 masks, and other protective gear. We just did a vigil for over 100 nurses who have died."

Dire warnings have even been issued by Trump's own health officials. On May 12, two of the top health officials in the federal government warned a Senate committee that the coronavirus is not contained and that reopening too swiftly is profoundly dangerous. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, leading U.S. infectious disease expert, warned that "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control." Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the current director of the CDC-who was hired by Trump and has a disturbing history of handling the AIDS epidemic-pleaded, "We are not out of the woods yet."

Sunday, May 10, 2020

: Dolores Huerta Endorses Biden

antiracismdsa: Dolores Huerta Endorses Biden: Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, who earlier backed Senator Kamala Harris of California for the Democratic presidential nomination, ...

Thursday, May 7, 2020

SCUSD- Internet Access

Choosing Democracy: SCUSD- Internet Access: SACRAMENTO, CA  — Sacramento City Unified School District, the City of Sacramento, and Comcast today announced a new effort to provide Sac...