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wi61magsvieworlbucfanhumphreyDon midwest Recent comment authors

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As the coronavirus pandemic rages across the United States, the nation’s titans of industry have begun to style themselves as heroes by pledging millions of dollars to health care. Twitter and Square chief executive Jack Dorsey offered $1 billion — just under a third of his wealth — to fight the virus. Oprah Winfrey has donated $10 million. Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt have teamed up to fund the Pandemic Action Network, which seeks to influence world governments to increase their own spending on global health initiatives such as the World Health Organization.

It is tempting to laud these figures as self-made men and women paying back the spoils of their success to the rest of us. But the United States relies on, and worships, individual billionaires and their charitable efforts precisely because the country is so broken. The cultural and economic systems that made these people successful exist at the expense of the collective good. The quintessential American myth of the clever bootstrapper lionizes someone who triumphs despite the derelictions of government, infrastructure and health care that have made this pandemic so dire. Our very conception of success — resting on veneration of inimitable heroic individuals — has worsened the country’s failures.

It is perhaps laudable that many of the victors of capitalism’s spoils want to contribute to the common project of fighting the pandemic. But we should not forget that so many of the factors that have rendered the coronavirus particularly deadly in the United States — income inequality, the lack of a social safety net, the precarious standing of newly-essential gig workers, the obsession with freedom from government tyranny and the lack of a coherent civic identity — are direct products of the way we valorize self-making.

The same faith in atomized consumerism that drives people to make billions of dollars in profit also positions them to donate some of that profit now. Our faith in capitalistic individualism has allowed corporations to both circumvent and co-opt the institutions of our shared civic life. It has weakened the foundations of our political coexistence. What capitalism’s victors are contributing to the coronavirus effort now should not be celebrated as altruistic charity but rather evidence of the broken system we have helped them build.


Wonder what Bezos thinks of these opinion pieces?


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that the latest coronavirus relief bill should include guarantees that workers will continue to receive their paychecks and benefits.

The former 2020 presidential said on ABC’s “This Week” that he thought the House-passed HEROES Act was “significant,” but he wanted the Senate to “improve” with a paycheck security process that follows European countries’ examples.

The Vermont senator said such a program “says to every worker in America, ‘You will continue to receive your paycheck and the other benefits which you had when you were on the job, and when this crisis is over, hopefully sooner than later, you’re just going to go back to work.’ ”

Sanders also called for Congress to expand health insurance coverage with Medicare instead of funding the COBRA program, which allows for employees to keep their employer-offered insurance after a job loss.

Despite having some “disagreements” with the relief package that passed the House Friday, Sanders praised Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for taking steps to help the working class.

“I think Pelosi, at least, unlike the Republican leadership, said, ‘You know what? We have terrible suffering in this country,” he said. “’We need to get money out to the cities and towns, to the hospitals. We need to protect working people.’”

“And I would hope that the Republicans wake up and understand the severity of the crisis that we’re facing and the suffering that now exists,” he added.

The HEROES Act is a building block on the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress in March. The package passed Friday along party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the HEROES Act served as a Democratic “wish list” and has advocated that Congress wait and see the effects of the first four coronavirus relief packages before doling out more money.


While Trump is once again expected to attract some Americans who voted for Sanders in the primary and then helped him win crucial battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016, polls, analysts and interviews with nearly a dozen Sanders voters suggest he won’t be as successful this time when he faces presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Several Sanders’ voters who spoke to USA TODAY said they view Biden much as they viewed Clinton: an establishment candidate backed by the very corporate interests they see as obstacles to necessary progress.

“We need good health care. We need good education. He’s not going to make that possible,” said Alana Jones, 30, a freelance writer from Marshall, Missouri, said of Biden. “He’s not got an honest bone in his body.”

And yet, Jones said she’ll hold her nose and vote for the former vice president just as she did for Clinton because “obviously, Trump is so much worse.”

That lack of enthusiasm could cost Biden in the long run, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston that conducted the recent survey of Sanders voters.

“Primary among most (2020) voters on the left is making sure Trump loses,” Schaffner said. “So most of Bernie’s supporters are going to support the Democratic nominee because the alternative is just something no one on that side of the aisle wants to live with for another four years.”

Paleologos calls Biden “a shoulder shrug candidate” among Sanders supporters since three of five Sanders voters surveyed
said they were not excited by his nomination.

“When you get closer to Election Day, you need bodies, you need a ground game, whether it’s real or virtual, of course you need donations, but you need a network that’s fueled by the candidate’s appeal,” he said. “And if 60% of Sanders’ (supporters) said they’re not enthused about him running – even though they’re voting for him – that’s not a solid base to build upon.”

Sanders voters generally can be split into two camps: those who said defeating Trump in November is paramount and those who said pushing policy proposals is the top priority.

Biden does well among the first group with 94% saying they’ll vote for the former vice president in November, according to the Suffolk poll. But among those who said policy positions are more important, only 55% said they’re backing Biden. The rest are divided with 7% voting for Trump; 20% voting for a third party candidate, 5% skipping the election and 13% undecided.

Sanders’ endorsement could sway some reluctant supporters to get behind the former vice president, Paleologos said.

Among those in the Suffolk poll who knew about Sanders’ endorsement of Biden, 80% were voting for Biden, he said. Among those who didn’t, only 63% said they would vote for the former vice president.

Assault accusation:’This never happened’: Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegation, calls on National Archives to release records

Sanders “needs to make a personal appeal to those voters and/or Biden needs to demonstrate to Sanders voters how important Sanders is to his administration,” Paleologos said. “And that might be saying to Sanders voters ‘when I’m elected, Sanders will be (in the cabinet).’ Because the balance of the Sanders voters who are not with Biden need something to be enthusiastic about.”


One of the big questions when we look at national polls is whether or not they’re an accurate representation of what is going on at the state level.

One of the easiest ways to check is to compare state poll results to the past presidential vote in a given state. I did so for all telephone polls that called cell phones since the beginning of April.

When we average out these state polls, they suggest that Biden’s running about 6 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s final margin.
In other words, the state level polls suggest that Biden has a national lead of around 8 points.

That’s actually a little greater than the 6.6 points Biden has in the high quality national polling average taken during the same period. I should note that if we weight the average of state polls to each state’s population, we get a margin just north of that 6.6 point mark. (Weighting by population leaves us somewhat more susceptible to outlier polls, as we have fewer polls from the most populated states.)

Either way, all methods agree that Biden has a fairly sizable national advantage.

In the competitive states (where most of the state polling has been conducted), there has been an average swing of 6 points toward Biden compared to Clinton’s 2016 result. The same is true in the non-competitive states.

We can test our data, too, to see what would happen if the polls are underestimating Trump like they did in 2016.

What I found was Biden would still be ahead, even with a 2016 sized mishap.

The polls underestimated Trump by 1 point (RealClearPolitics) or 2 points (FiveThirtyEight) in the aggregate of the states we currently have polling from. Applying that 2016 bias to our current data, Biden would have a 6- to 7-point lead nationally.

Concentrating on just the competitive states, the polls undersold Trump by 2 points (RealClearPolitics) or 3 points (FiveThirtyEight). If the polls in the competitive states were off by as much as they were at the end in 2016, Biden would still be ahead in states like Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The bottom line is Biden’s ahead right now nationally and in the competitive states. The good news for Trump is he has about six months to change the course of the campaign, which is more than enough time to do so.


According to the polls and all the other media blather, Braindead has my demographic. Hopefully, the majority will get thru c-virus. I will, but Braindead won’t get my vote.Hey, he doesn’t need it. Good.🤮


The Covid-19 pandemic response has shown that the very foundations of our economy are shaky, fragile, and—for some of us—downright dangerous. We’re once again watching working people, especially working people of color, bear the brunt of the fallout. Meanwhile, big companies traded on the stock market took two-thirds of the money meant to bail out small businesses.

But in getting relief out, it’s also become clear that we have a plumbing problem. We are forced to rely on the banks as middlemen to deliver government assistance. Some of them are seizing our stimulus payments to pay themselves. And as big banks have exited the business of serving poor people, 1 in 4 U.S. households are now underbanked or unbanked. This has predictably led to marginalized communities and households waiting in distress for life-sustaining stimulus, simply because they lack access to a bank account.

The good news is that there’s another way. The pandemic has shown that we need a public option for basic banking services. Legal scholars Morgan Ricks, John Crawford, and Lev Menand have called for the Federal Reserve System to directly offer accounts to all U.S. citizens, residents, and small businesses. Today, only privileged banks and governmental entities are allowed to have these high-interest, low-fee accounts. But the Fed could easily offer the same option to everyone, and provide better consumer safeguards than Wall Street, as well as higher interest, faster payments, and complete deposit protection. As a recent New York Times editorial endorsing FedAccounts for getting out stimulus payments put it: “Stop Dawdling. People Need Money.”

The Fed could also work with USPS to broaden its reach—strengthening our postal system at a time when it is facing continued attacks from predators. As our friends at the Roosevelt Institute have put it, Fed Accounts For All could make sending money as easy as transferring funds through Venmo or Paypal—but with Fed Accounts For All, everyone could do it, without relying on Wall Street (or Silicon Valley).


Representative Rashida Tlaib said during a forum held on Zoom on Saturday night that the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic against black communities is being dismissed.

Tlaib, who represents Michigan’s 13th congressional district, said during “How COVID19 Disproportionately Impacts the Black Community” that she is taken aback when she hears people refer to areas with high infection rates and deaths as “hot spots”—a term she said she considers “dismissive.”

“They call it hot spots,” the congresswoman said. “You mean the African American communities. I want them to say it.”

She added: “It’s hard for me to see so many of our neighbors getting impacted by this and them feeling like nobody gives a sh*t. I want them to know people do.”


Sen. Bernie Sanders was among critics outraged that the fossil fuel industry is using tax breaks in the CARES Act meant to help businesses keep workers employed to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes — and then delivering that money to executives.

“Good thing President Trump is looking out for the real victims of the coronavirus: fossil fuel executives,” Sanders tweeted sarcastically Friday.

Reporting Friday from Bloomberg News showed that “$1.9 billion in CARES Act tax benefits are being claimed by at least 37 oil companies, service firms, and contractors” — what watchdog group Documented senior researcher Jesse Coleman described as a “stealth bailout” of the climate-killing industry.

“In the name of ‘small business,’ we’re shoveling out billions of dollars to big corporations and rich guys,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, told Bloomberg.


The former pharma executive tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the federal government’s hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine has more than $10 million in stock options in one of the companies receiving federal funding.

Dr Moncef Slaoui, a Belgian-American, was this week named Chief Scientist for Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which aims to develop a working vaccine as fast as possible.

Slaoui addressed the media in a press conference on Friday in the White House Rose Garden, where Trump described him as one of the world’s pre-eminent experts on vaccines. He worked for years at GlaxoSmithKline, rising to the position of Head of Research and Development before leaving in 2017.

In order to take up the position, Slaoui resigned his role on the board of directors for Moderna Inc., a biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the Associated Press, Slaoui’s White House role is unpaid.

However, filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show that Slaoui continues to hold valuable stock options in Moderna.

Described across four separate filings, Slaoui has 155,438 options in Moderna. The stake is worth $10,366,000 at Moderna’s current share price, $66.69 at the time of publication.

Moderna shares have almost tripled in value during 2020. The $66.69 figure represents an increase of 184% from the $23.46 it was trading for on January 1.

Part of this sharp increase was fueled by an injection of more than $400 million from the federal government to assist trials of a coronavirus vaccine.


one more time. 😍

hell, Nancy, this is what we thought you were. (paraphrased)

Don midwest
Don midwest

Lee Fang

THE FEDERAL government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.”

The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment for federal police assigned to protect Veterans Affairs facilities. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.”


The right is so good at capitalizing on disasters!