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Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Georgia's Experiment in Human Sacrifice

Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice
The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.
Amanda Mull
April 29, 2020

At first, Derek Canavaggio thought he would be able to ride out the coronavirus pandemic at home until things were safe. As a bar manager at the Globe in Athens, Georgia, Canavaggio hasn’t been allowed to work for weeks. Local officials in Athens issued Georgia’s first local shelter-in-place order on March 19, canceling the events that usually make spring a busy time for Athens bars and effectively eliminating the city’s rowdy downtown party district built around the University of Georgia. The state’s governor, Brian Kemp, followed in early April with a statewide shutdown.

But then the governor sent Canavaggio into what he calls “spreadsheet hell.” In an announcement last week, Kemp abruptly reversed course on the shutdown, ending many of his own restrictions on businesses and overruling those put in place by mayors throughout the state. On Friday, gyms, churches, hair and nail salons, and tattoo parlors were allowed to reopen, if the owners were willing. Yesterday, restaurants and movie theaters came back. The U-turn has left Georgians scrambling. Canavaggio has spent days crunching the numbers to figure out whether reopening his bar is worth the safety risk, or even feasible in the first place, given how persistent safety concerns could crater demand for a leisurely indoor happy hour. “We can’t figure out a way to make the numbers work to sustain business and pay rent and pay everybody to go back and risk their lives,” he told me. “If we tried to open on Monday, we’d be closed in two weeks, probably for good and with more debt on our hands.”

Kemp’s order shocked people across the country. For weeks, Americans have watched the coronavirus sweep from city to city, overwhelming hospitals, traumatizing health-care workers, and leaving tens of thousands of bodies in makeshift morgues. Georgia has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and the state’s testing efforts have provided an incomplete look at how far the virus continues to spread. That testing capacity—which public-health leaders consider necessary for safely ending lockdowns—has lagged behind the nation’s for much of the past two months. Kemp’s move to reopen was condemned by scientists, high-ranking Republicans from his own state, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; it even drew a public rebuke from President Donald Trump, who had reportedly approved the measures before distancing himself from the governor amid the backlash.

Public-health officials broadly agree that reopening businesses—especially those that require close physical contact—in places where the virus has already spread will kill people. Even so, many other states are quietly considering similar moves to Georgia’s. Most are taking a more measured approach—waiting a bit longer to reopen, setting testing or infection benchmarks that must first be met—but some, such as Oklahoma and Colorado, have already put similar plans in motion. By acting with particular haste in what he calls a crucial move to restore economic stability, Kemp has positioned Georgia at the center of a national fight over whether to stay the course with social distancing or try to return to some semblance of normalcy. But it’s easy to misunderstand which Americans stand on each side. Many Georgians have no delusions about the risks of reopening, even if they need to return to work for financial reasons. Among the dozen local leaders, business owners, and workers I spoke with for this article, all said they know some people who disagreed with the lockdown but were complying nonetheless. No one reported serious acrimony in their communities.

Instead, their stories depict a struggle between a state government and ordinary people. Georgia’s brash reopening puts much of the state’s working class in an impossible bind: risk death at work, or risk ruining yourself financially at home. In the grips of a pandemic, the approach is a morbid experiment in just how far states can push their people. Georgians are now the largely unwilling canaries in an invisible coal mine, sent to find out just how many individuals need to lose their job or their life for a state to work through a plague.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 11:46 AM (7 replies)

Donald Trump prepares to move into his 2020 campaign by blaming COVID-19 on China and ... Joe Biden

Donald Trump prepares to move into his 2020 campaign by blaming COVID-19 on China and ... Joe Biden
Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday April 30, 2020 · 9:29 AM EDT

Being impeached has not slowed down Donald Trump’s attempts to weaponize intelligence agencies and foreign policy against political opponents. In fact, receiving a free pass from Senate Republicans in spite of overwhelming evidence of guilt has made it clear to Trump that he really can dragoon the whole mechanism of the federal government into the Trump 2020 campaign. For months, Attorney General William Barr and special Q-spiracy pal John Durham have been jetting around the world, trying to convince foreign governments to help Trump out by backing up conspiracy theories that he can use in his campaign against Joe Biden.

But as Trump prepares to kick the 2020 campaign into high gear, the situation in the world has changed. That’s going to require a whole new level of conspiracy theory. Now Ukraine is tired and China is wired as Donald Trump prepares to connect Joe Biden to the coronavirus.

Trump is preparing to launch his first major ad campaign for the 2020 election. Doing so at a time when the United States has over 1 million cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has just passed 61,000 may seem somewhat … problematic. But as Jared Kushner proved on Wednesday, the Trump White House is fully prepared to point out that there are still 327 million Americans who are not dead. Yet. That somehow makes saddling the U.S. with a third of all cases around the globe a “great success story.”

According to Politico, the first flight of ads will depict Trump as “showing leadership” despite having to fight against those darned Democrats and that enemy of the people, the free press. Undoubtably, these ads will focus on how Nancy Pelosi distracted Trump from preparing to face the novel coronavirus by moving forward with impeachment. It was, in fact, such a distraction, that Trump could barely manage to fill the entire months of January and February with golf and rallies.

The ads will also focus on just how eager Trump is to bring back the pre-virus economy. That’s a position that might also be a bit of a hard sell considering that the 4.8% shrinkage of the economy that was reported for the first quarter is likely to look like robust growth when the second quarter numbers come in. Donald Trump personally oversaw a disaster that is the biggest national health crisis, the biggest economic crisis, the biggest crisis since World War II, and he blew it—at a cost in lives that won’t be reckoned for months to come and a cost in damage to the economy that may genuinely bring conditions worse than the Great Depression. That is not a tenable position from which to start a campaign. Not even if it comes with a whole new motto.

Clearly what Trump needs is a solution, not one that can cure the virus or bring back jobs, one that allows him to pin the whole thing on someone else. With someone else being Joe Biden.

That’s why the ads won’t just blow the patriotic Trump-ets for more jobs and how-about-that-stock-market. The Republican National Committee has already been engaged in cranking out ads, especially on right-wing outlets, to keep Trump supporters pumped about his bigly leadership in the midst of the crisis. But the angle of those ads is about to change. Coming soon to a television, computer, and phone screen near you: ads that connect Joe Biden with China, along with accusations that China both created the coronavirus and covered up its spread.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 11:28 AM (2 replies)

Guidelines call for 14-day drop in cases to reopen. No state has met them.

Guidelines call for 14-day drop in cases to reopen. No state has met them.
Diagnostic tests and contact tracing remain key to controlling the pandemic, experts say.
April 28, 2020, 7:02 PM EDT
By Erika Edwards

As a handful of states begin to ease stay-at-home restrictions, no state that has opted to reopen has come close to the federally recommended decline in cases over a 14-day period.

Even as the U.S. hit the grim milestone of more than 1 million cases Tuesday — one-third of the world's total — Georgia, Minnesota and other states are pushing to reopen businesses, even though new infection rates are still rising.

Some states, such as Colorado and Kentucky, have reported fewer new cases in the past week. But no single state has had a two-week decline in case numbers.

The 14-day guidelines, which President Donald Trump announced April 16, "make sense," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a media briefing Tuesday while acknowledging the economic dilemma.

"We want to reopen, but we want to do it without infecting more people or overwhelming the hospital system," Cuomo said.



CORRECTION (April 29, 2020, 1:38 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article mischaracterized the federal recommendations for when states can begin to reopen businesses. It is when a state's total coronavirus cases have declined over a 14-day period, not after 14 consecutive days of declining numbers.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 10:25 AM (6 replies)

Susan Rice Slams Jared Kushner's 'Ridiculous' Boast About U.S. Coronavirus Response

CORONAVIRUS 04/30/2020 03:04 am ET Updated 2 hours ago
Susan Rice Slams Jared Kushner’s ‘Ridiculous’ Boast About U.S. Coronavirus Response
The former national security adviser denounced Trump’s son-in-law for calling the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis “a great success story.”
By Josephine Harvey

Former national security adviser Susan Rice tore into Jared Kushner on Wednesday for claiming the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has been a “great success story.”


Rice, a former Obama White House official, told CNN host Wolf Blitzer that Kushner’s claim “would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious.”

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “I don’t know how anybody with a straight face can call this a great success and declare this a mission accomplished moment when more than 60,000 Americans are dead.”

Rice also noted that according to the experts, the pandemic is far from over. Citing Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose judgment she said she trusts “implicitly,” Rice said that a second wave of infections is expected for the fall.

Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that if states ease restrictions too soon, there could be a rebound that would “get us right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago” and that a second wave was “inevitable.”



Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 08:52 AM (1 replies)

Why are people so dumb?

I can't even. I'm scared to go out.


America's Quarantine Quitters Most Seem Fed Up, Ready for Summer ... A Cross-Country Feeling
4/26/2020 1:34 PM PT

We'd like to introduce you to the Quarantine Quitters of America (the QQA for short) as a reminder folks are at their wit's end and throwing in the towel all over the country.

Click through the gallery and you'll see what we mean -- folks from coast to coast have been heading outdoors en masse over the past few weeks, hitting the beach, hitting the trails, hitting the streets, hitting anything they can to get a feeling of normalcy back.

Of course, in almost all of these cases ... so many are not practicing proper social distancing.

Whether it's beach-goers in Venice or Huntington Beach, or the good people of New York flocking out to Coney Island, or even the many protesters in Austin, TX and beyond -- people are clearly ready to break quarantine ... it looks like they've had enough, 'rona be damned.

That's a problem, obviously, because this many people going out and standing so near each other can and might very likely cause another wave of COVID-19 cases, not to mention the deaths that'll follow. These folks don't seem to care though ... apathy wins the day.

Shaking our collective heads ...
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 10:14 PM (19 replies)

Trump erupts at campaign manager as reelection stress overflows

Trump erupts at campaign manager as reelection stress overflows
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Updated 6:32 PM ET, Wed April 29, 2020

(CNN)As he huddled with advisers on Friday evening, President Donald Trump was still fuming over his sliding poll numbers and the onslaught of criticism he was facing for suggesting a day earlier that ingesting disinfectant might prove effective against coronavirus.

Within moments, the President was shouting -- not at the aides in the room, but into the phone -- at his campaign manager Brad Parscale, three people familiar with the matter told CNN. Shifting the blame away from himself, Trump berated Parscale for a recent spate of damaging poll numbers, even at one point threatening to sue Parscale. It's not clear how serious the President's threat of a lawsuit was.
The White House did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment and the Trump campaign declined to comment.

Faced with an increasingly uphill battle for reelection and aides trying to steer him in new, sometimes conflicting directions, Trump has grown increasingly unnerved in the last week about his reelection prospects. Lashing out at Parscale was just the most recent manifestation of that anxiety.

"He's p*ssed because he knows he messed up in those briefings," one Republican close to the White House said of Trump lashing out.

Last Wednesday, two days before Trump lashed out at Parscale, his campaign manager and several other top political advisers briefed him on internal campaign and Republican National Committee data showing the President was heading for defeat in key battleground states. Parscale, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other advisers urged him to scale back his daily, combative news conferences and pointed to data showing that the briefings were hurting him with critical swing voters in those states.

Trump has complained to aides that his restricted travel has hurt his numbers, not the briefings.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 07:16 PM (8 replies)

Insiders describe Kushner as 'de facto president' who played key role in delaying coronavirus closur

Insiders describe Kushner as 'de facto president' who played key role in delaying coronavirus closures: report
By Morgan Gstalter - 04/29/20 02:06 PM EDT

White House insiders describe President Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner as a “de facto president” who has played a key role in the administration’s response to coronavirus, according to a Vanity Fair report released Tuesday.

In the article, titled “Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Two Months of Magical Thinking,” sources described Kushner as the second most powerful person in the West Wing when COVID-19 began to spread across the globe.

“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official said.

The 39-year-old real estate developer, married to the president’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, reportedly has broad access in the White House and is keen on seeing his father-in-law reelected.

A New York business executive who spoke with Vanity Fair reportedly recalled meeting with Kushner last fall and leaving feeling shaken.

“I told Jared that if Trump won a second term, he wouldn’t have to worry about running again and you can really help people. Jared just looked at me and said, ‘I don’t care about any of that,’ ” the executive told the outlet.

Later, the executive added: “I wanted to tell Jared you don’t say that part out loud, even in private.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 03:11 PM (14 replies)

Two Guards at an ICE Detention Center With a Major Coronavirus Outbreak Have Died


39 mins ago
Two Guards at an ICE Detention Center With a Major Coronavirus Outbreak Have Died
Colleagues say the men died of COVID-19. Test results are pending.

Two guards at Louisiana’s Richwood Correctional Center, where at least 45 people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody have tested positive for COVID-19, have died in recent days, according to the local coroner’s office and colleagues’ posts on Facebook.

The Ouachita Parish coroner’s office confirmed both deaths and said that COVID-19 test results are pending. Mother Jones is withholding the men’s names to protect their family’s privacy.

On Facebook, colleagues mourning the deaths pointed to complications from COVID-19 as the cause of death. “We are going through it at Richwood Correctional,” one woman wrote. “2 of my coworkers has passed due to COVID-19 and plenty are infected y’all keep us in your prayers.”

“Prayers for my richwood family need as much as they can get right now!!!!” a second person posted. In response to a comment asking what happened, he wrote, “corona.”

LaSalle Corrections, the private prison company that runs Richwood, has not responded to multiple requests for comment. ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox referred inquiries to LaSalle Corrections, confirming that the two men are not ICE employees.

Richwood has more confirmed COVID-19 cases among people in detention than all but two of ICE’s detention facilities. Across the country, 425 of the 705 people in detention ICE tested had COVID-19, the agency revealed Tuesday. ICE’s 60 percent positive test rate is more than three times higher than the national average, further evidence that ICE is not testing many people who are infected.

Public health experts have been warning for more than a month that outbreaks in immigration detention centers were inevitable if ICE refused to use its power to release large numbers of people. ICE largely ignored those recommendations.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 02:44 PM (8 replies)

Illinois Lawmaker Denies COVID-19 Deaths: 'They Was Dying Anyway'


Illinois Lawmaker Denies COVID-19 Deaths: ‘They Was Dying Anyway’
Tracy Connor, Executive Editor
Published Apr. 28, 2020 11:42PM ET

Illinois authorities say three people have died from COVID-19 in rural Jasper County, but a local official opposed to the lockdown refuses to believe it. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that county board member Darrel Hickox says “nobody” in the community has succumbed to it. “There has been some coronavirus here, but they was dying anyway,” Hickox said—apparently referring to the fact that most of the cases are in a local nursing home. For good measure, Hickox said media reporting on the virus that has infected 1 million Americans and killed 58,000 of them are “socialists, liberals, and communists.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 12:25 PM (21 replies)

Rick Wilson: Trump's Too Stupid to Do Better. McConnell and His Republicans Have No Excuse.


Trump’s Too Stupid to Do Better. McConnell and His Republicans Have No Excuse.
They understand the state of the crisis and the stakes. They just don’t seem to care, so long as those deaths are slow enough that they don’t get in the way of November.
Rick Wilson
Updated Apr. 29, 2020 3:35AM ET / Published Apr. 28, 2020 8:56PM ET

Sometimes, people are so deep in their bullshit they can’t be retrieved with a tow strap and a Ford F-450.

So it is with the Republican members of the United States Senate. I’ve exhausted all my previous analytical tools in trying to explain the power Donald Trump has over them, but the last few days of this crisis have been a hell of a lesson in how supine and cowardly they’ve become.

Trump’s pronunciamientos over the desirability of bleach, disinfectants, and UV light as treatments for COVID-19, his lies about testing, and his shitter-tweeted rage fits at the “Noble Prize” media? All greeted with a wall of silence from Republican senators, even as their grip on power weakens each time Trump humiliates himself and endangers the American people.

more but there's a paywall...


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 29, 2020, 07:56 AM (1 replies)
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