Saturday, February 29, 2020

Why Are People Blaming American Exposure To The Coronavirus On Trump?


In a post for Raw Story last week, Sarah Burris succinctly laid out the 5 reasons we have Señor Trumpanzee to thank if we get coronavirus:
1- Bringing infected people into the U.S. against the Center for Disease Control’s objections.
2- Trump refuses to listen to science over his buddy, Xi Jinping.
3- Trump lies about the facts of the coronavirus.
4- Trump and the GOP seriously cut public health funding.
5- Trump slashed resources form the Center for Disease Control.

Let's take a look at #4 and #5. "One of the greatest allies in a disease outbreak can be public health funding. However, the budget passed in 2018 killed over $1 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). 'When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law on December 22, 2018, it cut $750 million from the PPHF, diverting the money to cover costs of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program,' The Scientist reported. 'CDC relies on PPHF for 12 percent of its budget, with much of that money going toward state and community programs.'
The PPHF acts as the "core of public health programs" in the U.S., according to former director Tom Frieden. When Obamacare was passed in 2010, it financed the PPHF, but Republicans have worked to undermine the law.

"It was established in 2010 and financed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," The goal was to improve health outcomes and enhance the quality of care. The first initial investment form Obamacare was $500 million, and it grew to over $2 billion by 2015. It was supposed to be protected from Republicans eager to cut funding to anything affiliated with the Democrats’ healthcare law.

During the 2017-2018 government shutdown, sequestration took $69 million from the fund, “PPHF was left with $931 million annually to support public health, wellness, and prevention activities,” in the entire country.

“In the same fiscal year, the CDC received more than $891 million from PPHF to support vaccine coverage, respond to outbreaks of foodborne infections and waterborne diseases, develop programs to counter the leading causes of death and disability, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and eliminate childhood lead poisoning, among other initiatives,” the report said.

While the reduction in funding to the PPHF has been drastic, it doesn’t mean the CDC has gone without its own budget cuts.

“The Trump administration in 2018 further diverted millions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said The Scientist.

“CDC’s mission is to keep Americans safe,” said Frieden. “But without funding, the CDC won’t be able to protect us.”

As the president presents his new budget for 2020, the cuts to public health and the CDC are even more drastic.

Thankfully, that budget isn’t likely to pass either chamber of Congress.

Ultimately, as the coronavirus begins to take over the world, it’s not surprising that Trump’s campaign is worried that the president’s bumbling response could cost him votes in November.

Trump’s budget to the World Health Organization that he’s proposed would leave everyone at risk. While he complains that other countries aren’t paying their fair share into NATO, when it comes to the WHO, Trump wants to gut the U.S. contribution. Diseases aren’t like wars; they don’t stay contained in borders; everyone is at risk. Trump’s budget proves that the president doesn’t understand this important fact.
A few days later, Business Insider noted that while Trump was playing down the danger to Americans and boasting about how he had saved everyone anyway, his comments "are at odds with reality" and that the same day he was trying to gaslight the public, "the CDC announced that it expected the virus to spread enough within the US to cause a "disruption to everyday life." And they reported that by spending "the past several years dismantling the very government programs responsible for combatting a global health crisis," Trump has placed us all in more danger than we would have been.
In 2018, for instance, the CDC cut 80% of its efforts to prevent global disease outbreaks because it was running out of money. Ultimately, the department went from working in 49 countries to just 10.

Here are some other actions the Trump administration undertook to dismantle government-spending programs related to fighting the spread of global diseases, according to Foreign Policy:
Shutting down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council.
Eliminating the U.S. government's $30 million Complex Crises Fund.
Reducing national health spending by $15 billion.
Consistently attacking Mark Green, the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
This guy sounds completely, utterly insane, a stereotypical "the sky is falling" crackpot-- and it worries me that I get so much information from this website's other host, Chris Martenson. I hesitate to even post it but I found it useful in terms of knowing what kind of lunatics to avoid listening to.

Ah... and Chris is back, and just as we published. This will make a lot more sense-- and is actually worth listening to carefully; ignore the lunatic in the clip above:


California Split Property Tax Role-- A Guest Post From Jerry Manpearl


Jerry Manpearl is a civil rights and civil litigation attorney who has argued both in the California courts and the United States Supreme Court. Jerry is has been an expert in real estate law expert for 4 decades so I went to him for advice on California State Measure 13, which is on the ballot next week and which everyone has been asking me about. This is what Jerry wrote up for us:
The effort to have a split property tax roll is finally coming to fruition after many years and will be on the Nov 2020 ballot.

The purpose of the split role is to separate commercial and industrial properties from the benefits of proposition 13. Under a split roll some industrial and some commercial properties (over $3 million in value) will lose the protection of proposition 13, and would have their assessed basis increased to market value (with certain exemptions).

This would not affect residential property (both single family and multi-residential) which would retain the benefits of proposition 13.

Real estate brokers are now sending out warnings to the public and particularly their commercial and industrial clients outlining the alleged tragedy of a split roll, and the dangers it presents to their investments and to the economy.

This may be very wrong and an effort should be made to inform brokers of the potential benefits of a split role.
a split role may be one of the largest benefits and windfalls to real estate brokers in decades, as a result of increased turnover.
a split role will benefit all of California by benefiting our grade schools and our universities.
a split role will benefit the California economy, it’s citizens, and the welfare of the state.
a split role will increase economic activity, increase real estate sales, improve neighbourhoods, and benefit the poor and rich.
yes there will be losers under a split role, but far more winners. 
How Will All This Happen:

First it must be understood how proposition 13 damaged the California economy, and particularly the school and university systems.

Prior to 13 California spent one of the highest rates per student in the country and had a university system that was envied and admired world wide.

California now spends about what Mississippi spends per grade school student. Depending on the study you use California is 27th - 42nd nationally, spending about $10,000 per student. New York spends $20,000 per student.

Our universities in the 1950, 60s & 70s attracted the world’s best professors and was virtually free to residents. The system made California the envy of the world, a world class development and industrial power, with an educated population and scholars flocking.

California is still a scientific and industrial power, but that will be lost without a highly educated population. And a great deal of blame can be attributed directly to 13, and the decline of our educational system. (The United States is first in gun violence, violence of all kinds, prisons, and military spending. We are 27th - 42nd in education and health care.)

When a country or a state has a depression or even a recession everyone is hurt and suffers. The poor suffer tremulously, the middle less, but jobs are lost and wages decrease. The rich may not have their standard of living drop, but their investments, assets and income will suffer.

However, when real estate goes up or down, it does not necessarily affect the entire economy. Yes there will be winners and losers. Some investors will gain and other will lose. But real estate doesn’t go away. It simply changes hands as rents, profits, and earnings go up or down.

Take a simple case: an area is rezoned to a higher use. The land owner may profit, but the commercial or residential tenants may suffer as they are displaced by a higher use.

Conversely, if restrictions are imposed on the use, building codes are tighten, or use is downgraded, some landowner will suffer, but the property is still there, still useful, and other businesses and other investors will benefit. Owners with highly leveraged properties may suffer or even lose their investment. But the economy does not necessarily suffer.

In both cases economic activity increases. Properties sell more often, brokers sell more, and development increases.

Prior to proposition 13 industrial and commercial property contributed about 65% of the property tax revenue. Now they contribution about 35%. Commercial and industrial property does not turn over as often as residential.

There is a great incentive for an owner to retain property with a low tax base under 13. The owner can charge and keep more rent and more profit. Why sell when the owner would now pay full taxes on any replacement investment, and would keep less profit.

Sometimes property tax increases can be passed on to the tenant, but often the landlord just has to pay more. That is the economics of real estate ownership, economics of 13 and the disincentive to selling.

Again, a split role would increase economic activity and certainly benefit brokers.

Don’t be fooled. Large landowners and developers will spend billions to defeat this measure. They will use scare tactics claiming it will hurt small business, employees, and the public. They will quote BS studies they paid for, telling you how much business will be lost. How many jobs will be lost. Not true. It will hurt them!!!!

Large land owners may have to lower rents. The may have to lower their selling price. But the businesses will stay. The employees will stay. Business will continue as usual.

Yes, some landlords will not make as much money.  Some may have to sell for less. But everyone else will benefit, sales activity will increase, brokers will do more deals.

As you know, during economic downturns landlords often have to lower rents. Periodically landlords have to actually lower rent as the economy changes. We have seen this over and over for many reasons. Nothing terrible happens.

The buildings don’t go away. Business and life goes on. Just some win and some lose. I am a landlord that will be seriously affected by this change. I have buildings I have held for over 35 years, and a large incentive for not selling has always been the low tax assessments.

But I am also a father, a grandfather, a member of this community, and a concerned citizen. It is the right thing to do, and the economic thing to do.  


The Numbers Are In: Trump Has Been Bad For The Economy-- Even Before His Stock Market Collapse-- And There Will Be Electoral Consequences


Trump's economy is coming apart-- and it's not just the coronavirus' impact on Wall Street. Newsweek reported that since Señor Trumpanzee took office, income growth has slowed significantly compared to the growth rate under Obama. Jessica Good heart wrote that "All but two states saw a decline in growth of real median household income under Trump-- including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida, four states widely regarded as the key electoral battlegrounds that will likely determine the 2020 presidential election. Middle-class incomes grew at a rate of 2.7 percent from 2016 through 2018, compared to a 5.8 percent growth rate from 2014 through 2016 when accounting for inflation." The states that had it worst-- a decline in real median household income-- were Alaska, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Wyoming, although New Mexico and Connecticut were also hurt badly from Trump's economic policies.
Presidents often claim too much credit and take too much blame for the country's economic performance, economists agree. Indeed, David Cooper, a senior analyst with EPI, who led the analysis of Census data, says that Obama benefited from a prolonged low rate of inflation during the last two years of his presidency. A low inflation rate makes it easier for households to stretch a dollar to cover basic necessities.

But, economists also say Trump has squandered opportunities to support greater gains for middle-class families, and, in some cases, he has backed policies that have worked counter to their interests.

"An infrastructure bill would clearly have [had] a marked impact, especially on middle-level jobs," says Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute's Metropolitan Policy Project. "Manufacturing is going in the wrong direction. I think there are all kinds of policy opportunities that have not been exploited."

Muro sees some warning signs for 2020, such as the manufacturing recession and uncertainty over trade due to the lingering effects of the trade war and now the coronavirus, which has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and shuttered factories. Factory production in the U.S. shrank by 1.3 percent in the past year, according to the Washington Post.

EPI's Lee argues that Trump has taken steps that have hurt the middle class, including the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the overturning of regulations like overtime protection that shore up workers' paychecks. "The current administration's focus on cutting taxes for the wealthy, expanding tax incentives for outsourcing, and undercutting workers' rights has left ordinary working households in most states barely gaining ground," notes Lee.

But we ain't seen nothing yet. Sane people expect the coronavirus disaster to make the economy far worse. One of those sane people, Matt Stoller, wrote for Wired this week that Covid-19 Will Mark the End of Affluence Politics. For example: "we will, in all likelihood, be locking down travel in some areas of the U.S. for several weeks, as they did in China. People may be advised against gathering in large groups. It's not clear what any of this will mean for campaigning or primary voting, whether most of us will vote by mail or have our votes delayed. Moreover, the coronavirus is going to introduce economic conditions with which few people in modern America are familiar: the prospect of shortages. After 25 years of offshoring and consolidation, we now rely on overseas production for just about everything. Now in the wake of the coronavirus, China has shut down much of its production; South Korea and Italy will shut down as well. Once the final imports from these countries have worked their way through the supply chains and hit our shores, it could be a while before we get more. This coronavirus will reveal, in other words, a crisis of production-- and one that’s coming just in time for a presidential election."
We've been through something like this once before. My book Goliath describes the 1932 campaign for president, one that was carried out at the depths of the Great Depression and during an era when our productive capacity was shut down. Though the crisis at that time was caused by a banking collapse, not a pandemic, the political backdrop was analogous. Eighty-eight years ago, “old order” politicians, as they were known, proved unwilling-- even in the face of crisis-- to have the government apply its power toward the broader public benefit. Their recalcitrance prefigured, in certain ways, the reflexively libertarian thinking of today.

A toxic ideology invited disaster in 1932, as policymakers did little in response to the collapse of thousands of banks and businesses. At the depth of that depression, cotton hit its lowest price in 200 years and steel production fell to 15 percent of capacity. The situation became so desperate that in just one city, Toledo, Ohio, 60,000 of the 300,000 residents stood in bread lines every day. Children were competing with rats for food. And thousands were dying of dysentery. The politics too turned desperate, with one labor leader telling Congress that "if the Congress of the United States and this administration do not do something to meet this situation adequately, next winter it will not be a cry to save the hungry, but it will be a cry to save the government.”

And yet, the old order had no answers. Congress held hearings, but businessmen, academics, and bankers proffered only belt-tightening. Within the Republican establishment, President Herbert Hoover worked 18-hour days, exhorting confidence while refusing to take even basic steps such as having the government guarantee bank deposits. Instead, his administration’s army attacked hungry protesters in Washington, DC, a move that prompted an angry Republican congressman, Fiorello La Guardia of New York, to remind the president: “Soup is cheaper than tear gas bombs.”

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, conservatives and progressives in the party were locked in a bitter battle for the nomination. Many Democrats agreed with Hoover. Maryland governor and presidential candidate Albert Ritchie, for instance, argued that we should rely “less on politics, less on laws, less on government.” Another candidate, Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, claimed the greatest threat was the “tendency toward socialism and communism” and pledged a massive cut in government spending, as well as a sales tax increase. Others turned to extreme racism and xenophobia. Only Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who went on to win a contested convention, campaigned on aggressive government involvement in the economy—or as he put it, a “workable program of reconstruction,” which later became the New Deal.

That era’s political desperation is alien to us for a few reasons. First off, we haven’t faced shortages of such magnitude for a very long time. More importantly, we have for decades lived under a political framework known as affluence, a term popularized by economist John Kenneth Galbraith in the 1950s. As an affluent society, America automatically produces a surfeit of jobs and wealth, and the problem is solely one of distributing the bounty.

Under the siren song of affluence, we began offshoring critical production capacity in the 1960s for geopolitical reasons. In 1971, economist Nicholas Kaldor noted that American financial policies were turning a "a nation of creative producers into a community of rentiers increasingly living on others, seeking gratification in ever more useless consumption, with all the debilitating effects of the bread and circuses of imperial Rome." Still, Bill Clinton and George Bush accelerated this trend throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Affluence politics is not the politics of being wealthy, though, but rather the politics of not paying attention to what creates wealth in the first place. That is to say, it’s the politics of ignoring our ability to make and distribute the things people need. With the banking collapse in 2008, the election of Trump in 2016 and his mourning of empty factories, and now with Bernie Sanders dominating the early primaries, that era may at last be passing. A pandemic disease outbreak would only hasten this progression and force us back into the politics of production.

With potential shortages of goods, and restrictions on people’s movement, both parties are heading into unknown territory. It is likely Democrats will use this opportunity to further their case for Medicare for All. Pandemic surveillance and medical bureaucracies focused on billing do not mix well-- stories about astronomical out-of-pocket costs for Covid-19 testing are already circulating. Republicans are likely to take a more xenophobic approach, emphasizing restrictions on foreigners and infected Americans. When it comes to managing shortages, however, both parties are split, just as they were in 1932, between their Wall Street factions that assume affluence and the less mature populist factions that seek assertive public power. The Democratic Party primaries certainly echo those of the Great Depression, with candidates from Bernie Sanders to Amy Klobuchar trying to wrap themselves in FDR’s mantle.

Regardless, the end of affluence politics means focusing on whether medicine is on shelves, not bitter disputes over bloated and wasteful hospital and insurance billing departments. It means caring about bureaucratic competence in government, and accuracy in media, not because these are nice things to have but because they are necessary to avoid immense widespread suffering. It means understanding that pharmaceutical mergers that benefit shareholders while laying off scientists are destructive, not just because they are unfair, but because they make us less resilient to disease. (Shareholders, as it turns out, also have lungs.) Finally, it means recognizing that wealth, real wealth, is not defined by accounting games on Wall Street, but the ability to meet the needs of our own people.

We came to these realizations once before in 1932, and created a vibrant democratic state over the following few decades-- one that rapidly expanded our life spans, defeated the Nazis, and helped create Silicon Valley. The convergence of the Covid-19 outbreak and the presidential election will force us to do it once again. We've lived in the world of unreality for far too long.

As Richmond Federal Reserve Bank president Tom Barkin recently put it, “Central banks can’t come up with vaccines.” It's time to get ready for what that implies.
Yesterday, Trump was in South Carolina giving his supporters exactly the kind of information that will kill them. He called the coronavirus the Democrats' "new hoax... The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They're politicizing it. They don't have any clue. They can't even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can't. They can't count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax." He's literally going to kill his own supporters. Listen to this:

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South Carolina Voters Need To Ask Themselves If Mayo Pete Respects African Americans?


I had dinner with civil rights icon Fergie Reid last night and we were discussing how both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had backed the 90for90 voter registration initiative but how Mayo Pete's team had refused. I noted that Mayo's racism was hardly something new or unknown. Oddly, after having tried to get him to embrace the initiative, he finally did-- just hours after our dinner and hours before South Carolina primary day! A creation of intelligence agency spooks, did the Mayo campaign have our table bugged? I doubt it but it does seem like an act of desperation or, at least, one that lacks a certain comprehension. His outsider imagine has been carefully constructed by spin-masters to obscure his deep establishment roots, such as the fact that his foreign policy adviser is a powerful Pentagon insider , Doug Wilson, who started mentoring him right out of college, the same man who encouraged once-peacenik Buttigieg to join the military, an important factor in his political climb. Russ Baker:
In a February 25 pre–South Carolina primary debate during which Sanders took fire from all five candidates, Buttigieg called attention to himself by the intensity of his attacks on the frontrunner.

At one point, an argument broke out between the two after Sanders took aim at US foreign policy for being responsible for overthrowing “governments all over the world in Chile, in Guatemala, in Iran,” and supporting pro-business dictatorships. Buttigieg responded that Sanders represents the “revolutionary politics of the 1960s”-- and hammers a recurring theme, that the Vermont senator is as divisive and dangerous as Trump.

Buttigieg was able to put his military service front and center at the debate. Responding to a question framing him as the only veteran on the stage, he brought up his first trip to the state, when he attended Fort Jackson for three weeks of special training before being deployed to Afghanistan in 2015. He recalled looking down at his uniform sleeve and feeling pride that “the flag on [his] shoulder represented a country known to keep its word.”

Since 400,000 vets live in South Carolina, and it has eight bases, representing Army, Navy, the Marines, and Airforce, military service carries special weight there.

How was the little-known mayor of a small American city (ranked 308th largest) transformed into a candidate deemed most qualified to handle some of the most complex decisions facing this country and the world, at a time perhaps more challenging than any in history?

The answer, research suggests, is that Buttigieg has benefited — like many politicians — from a career-long shaping, punctuated by repositionings and makeovers, until he had the right set of credentials and backers to make it to the top. But the particulars of the makeover are like no other.

The Buttigieg we think we know today came into focus over the course of about 16 years, as he was bundled into a package of appealing but vague impressions-- energetic, reformer, articulate, thoughtful, youthful, reasonable.

During his presidential campaign, his handlers have pivoted from difficult-to-prove and politically profitless assertions about his tenure in South Bend, IN, to equally vague but far more savvy branding as a healing national figure, a hardheaded realist, and seasoned man of the world: global businessman and traveler, and, not least, military veteran.

Perhaps paradoxically, he turns out to be backed by a mighty retinue from the very national security elite he says he hopes to “upend.”

Henry Davis, Jr., currently serving his third term on the South Bend City Council, and Jordan Giger, a school teacher and leader of the South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter, are clearly not on Team Buttigieg. Yesterday the two had an OpEd published by one of South Carolina's biggest newspapers, The State: If black voters in SC support Pete Buttigieg, they will only re-elect President Trump. "Before South Carolina votes in Saturday’s Democratic Party primary," they wrote, "we feel a duty-- as black leaders who know former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg very well-- to issue a political warning to anyone who cares about defeating President Donald Trump in 2020." And did they ever!
Simply put, if Buttigieg becomes the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, his candidacy will be damaged by at least three ticking legal time bombs that are set to go off during the 2020 election-- all of which will serve to help Trump depress black voter turnout and win re-election.

Voters deserve to know that there is a pending special prosecutor investigation into the June 2019 death of Eric Logan, an unarmed black man shot by a white South Bend police officer while walking to his mother’s home from a family event. Buttigieg was still mayor when the shooting occurred, and he was forced to leave the presidential campaign trail to face the anger and anguish of our community. The Indiana attorney general’s office says that the special prosecutor’s report on Logan’s death will likely be released soon.

There is also a wide-ranging federal civil rights lawsuit into systematic racism in the South Bend Police Department while Buttigieg was the city’s mayor. Civil rights law gives plaintiffs broad discovery power to unearth the racist behavior that plagued our community during Buttigieg’s two terms leading South Bend-- and our former mayor may be among those subpoenaed to give a deposition.

That represents the second ticking legal time bomb hovering over Buttigieg’s campaign.

And here is the third one that voters deserve to know about: the South Bend City Council brought a pending lawsuit against Buttigieg to demand the release of secret tapes revealing racist and criminal acts, including white police officers plotting against the city’s first black police chief in an attempt to get him fired.

This controversy has drawn national coverage: the New York Times, for example, published an April 2019 bearing the headline “Pete Buttigieg Fired South Bend’s Black Police Chief. It Still Stings.”

During the 2020 election President Trump will try to suppress the black vote, possibly with help from the Russians. Now just imagine the field day they will have as these Buttigieg-related lawsuits, depositions, subpoenas, reports and other revelations become public throughout the 2020 campaign.

It could resemble the 2016 election furor over Hillary Clinton’s emails, only on steroids. And the furor over the Buttigieg material will be far more warranted, because the systemic racism Buttigieg appeared to tolerate is real.

Before they vote, South Carolinians deserve to know that Buttigieg’s problems with black voters will not go away anytime soon, and that these problems exist for good reason.

Thanks for listening to our voices.

Hard to understand how a completely fabricated empty suit like Mayo could be polling even 4th-- and at almost double what Elizabeth Warren is polling-- in South Carolina. The Real Clear Politics average for the state looks like this going into primary day today:
Status Quo Joe- 39.7%
Bernie- 24.3%
Steyer- 11.7%
Mayo Pete- 11.3%
Elizabeth- 6.0%
Klobuchar- 5.7%
Tulsi- 2.3%
We'll see how accurate that turns out to be in a few hours but now consider this. Did Mayo Pete just expose South Carolina Blacks to whatever contagion prevented him from meeting Florida Whites? In South Carolina on Thursday afternoon, Buttigieg shook hands and greeted each of nine African American health care leaders. But in Florida Mayo canceled plans for two rich people-only fundraisers scheduled for Wednesday evening at private residences in Palm Beach and Wellington as well as two appearances scheduled for earlier Wednesday in Miami, citing an unspecified illness.

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Elizabeth Warren Apparently Isn't Interested In Becoming Bernie's Vice President


Elizabeth Warren has let her dogs loose on Bernie. In the last week, the PCCC-- which has been respectful of Bernie while they valiantly supported their candidate... even as her campaign started sinking and laying off staff-- has gone into opposition mode against Bernie as though they were dealing with Bloomberg or Trump. I guess the results from the WBUR and UMass Amherst polls of Massachusetts primary voters, aren't going to calm them down at all. Both show Bernie leading in Warren's home state with her placing second, Bernie even beating Warren among women. That, along with expected losses everywhere else on Tuesday, would effectively end her campaign for president. She would have made such a great vice president, especially if she was VP and Secretary of something where she could kick bankster ass day in and day out.



Bernie is also seen by the most voters as the most likely candidate to be able to beat Trump:
Bernie- 27%
Bloomberg- 19%
Status Quo Joe- 14%
Elizabeth- 12%
Mayo- 5%
Klobuchar- 4%
Steyer- 2%
Tulsi- 1%
In the one-on-one match-ups, they found Bernie with the most support against Trump as well. Obviously nearly all the Democrats would be eager to vote Trump out, although Republican oligarch Michael Bloomberg can't seem to garner the kind of support the actual Democrats do:
Bernie- 82%
Elizabeth- 81%
Status Quo Joe- 80%
Klobuchar- 80%
Mayo- 80%
Bloomberg- 73%
The also asked respondents to describe each candidate with one word. I guess socialism isn't scaring off Massachusetts Democrats!





Status Quo Joe:


Most Important 2020 Issue:

WBUR reported that "The new poll is evidence of a big challenge for the Warren campaign, following disappointing results in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. It appears that now the senator faces a tough fight at home. "The Warren campaign is working hard in Massachusetts, understanding full well that a loss at home would be devastating to a presidential bid trying to regain its footing. Earlier this week, volunteers launched a canvassing effort in Cambridge, led by Congressman Joe Kennedy III, a Warren backer, who says he is not worried about Warren's fight for Massachusetts."

The latest UMass polling shows incumbent Democrat Ed Markey beating Kennedy in the Senate race.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth got some more bad news from CNN polling in California and Texas as well. Bernie is way ahead of her-- and everyone else-- in the two states with the biggest share of delegates up for grabs Tuesday.
In Texas, Sanders holds 29% support among likely primary voters, former Vice President Joe Biden has 20%, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands at 18% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is at 15%. No other candidate reaches double-digits. Sanders (+14) and Bloomberg (+13) have posted the largest gains since a December CNN poll, while Biden has slipped 15 points. Warren has held roughly even.

The California results suggest the same four contenders hold the most support, though Sanders stands well ahead of the three contending for second place. Sanders holds 35% support, Warren is at 14%, Biden is at 13% and Bloomberg is at 12%. Sanders' support in the state has climbed 15 points since December, while Biden's has slid eight points. Bloomberg has gained seven.

Decisive wins for a single candidate in California and Texas-- states which will award more than 600 of the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination-- could change the tenor of a race that has at times seemed headed for a protracted fight.


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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

C'mon folks Relax!! Leave Donnie Head Case alone. Look at the great job he did with Puerto Rico! I see a future where he's tossing boxes of tissues to crowds of stricken Americans. OK. Actually, no, he won't be doing any such thing. He wouldn't want to be so close to the virus's victims. Besides, Trump can't control his own behavior. How is he ever going to control an epidemic.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Start Envisioning A President Bernie Sanders-- A Peoples' President Of The United States


The new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin voters was released yesterday. They tweeted it out. Here's a narrative version of the tweets, starting with how much they find Wisconsin is feeling the Bern. He's in first place leading the field with support of 29% of expected Dem voters in April 7 primary.

Bloomberg is second with 17% followed by Status Quo Joe at 15%, Mayo Pete at 13%, Midwestern neighbor Amy Klobuchar at 11% and the fading Elizabeth at 9%, although she's the second choice of a plurality of voters (23%).

In Marquette's January poll Biden had 23% and Bernie followed at 19%. Since November, support among Wisconsin Democratic voters for Sanders has risen from 17% to 29%, while support for Biden has fallen from 30% to 15%. Here the the favorable/unfavorable opinions of the major candidates among Wisconsin Dems:
Bernie- 62% favorable, 29% unfavorable
Status Quo Joe- 61% favorable, 30% unfavorable
Elizabeth- 56% favorable, 24% unfavorable
Mayo- 52% favorable, 19% unfavorable
Klobuchar, 47% favorable, 15% unfavorable
Bloomberg, 35% favorable, 37% unfavorable (the only candidate underwater)

About 9% of Republicans say they intend to vote in the Democratic primary. No Democrats say they will vote in the Republican primary.

Who would be the strongest candidate against President Trump in Nov.? Among Dems, 34% say Sanders, 18% Bloomberg, 16% Biden.

Head to head match-tops against Trumpanzee shows only Bernie would beat him:
Bernie- beats Trump 48-46%
Biden ties Trump 46-46%
Mayo ties Trump 45-45%
Klobuchar ties Trump- 46-46%
Trump beats Elizabeth- 47-44%
Trump beats Bloomberg 46-44%

That said, New York Magazine looked at the likely November election match-up-- two posts, one by Eric Levitz and one by Frank Rich. Let's start with Rich's-- Is Trump Ready For Coronavirus?-- even though you know the answer is of course not.
With the CDC now asking Americans to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak, White House and Cabinet officials seem unprepared-- when they aren’t spreading misinformation or addressing the virus in terms of the stock market. If CDC warnings are correct, will a public-health emergency become a political one?

As far as the White House is concerned, the coronavirus epidemic is solely a political emergency, not a public-health crisis. President Trump’s record speaks for itself. Last night he declared his efforts to date a “tremendous success” and the coronavirus risk to Americans “very low.” He said that the prospect of a Democratic president, not fears of a pandemic, was the main cause of the nearly 2,000 point two-day drop in the Dow. He said a vaccine would be coming in a “fairly quick manner.” He assigned management of the nation’s coronavirus response to his vice president, who, as governor of Indiana, had accelerated HIV infections in his state by opposing needle-exchange programs and turning to prayer.

In other words, not a single thing Trump said or did last night-- with the possible exception of advising the public to wash its hands-- bore any real-world relation to the public-health emergency supposedly under discussion. The only reason he even held the press conference was political: not the number of known American coronavirus patients (which he understated by 75 percent) but the numbers of Wall Street. For Trump, the Dow is the second most important barometer for assessing his political standing after Fox News.

And so, predictably enough, even before the press conference was over, the CDC announced that a new coronavirus patient had been discovered in California with the cause of the infection unknown. The morning after, the market started to tumble again. And Trump tweeted out the “breaking news” that he would be holding a rally in Charleston on the eve of the Democratic primary.

Welcome to what Never Trump maestro George Conway has called “the first time” that Trump has had to “deal with a real crisis not of his own making.” How will he deal with it besides holding rallies to blame the Democrats? In 2018, his government fired the entire pandemic chain of command in the White House, and shut down the global health security unit both at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security. The Homeland Security department is now run by an acting secretary who couldn’t cite the barest facts about the coronavirus when testifying before the Senate this week. The acting deputy secretary publicly complained on Twitter that he couldn’t consult a map showing the international spread of the virus because he didn’t have access to a Johns Hopkins website, apparently his only source for the information.

Though many thought Trump might blow up his country and himself with a war against Iran, he is now poised, if things don’t proceed as rosily as he claims, to blow up America with his war against science. Let us pray.
And now Levitz's Why Bernie May Benefit From the Threat of a Contested Convention
Once the threat of a contested convention became tangible, Trump-skeptical Republicans opted to unify behind a nominee they didn’t love-- and whom they’d been given every reason to consider unelectable and unacceptable by party elites and Establishment media-- out of an ostensible aversion to prolonging intraparty discord and embracing an anti-democratic process.

Democratic elites would be wise to mind this recent history.

Or, more precisely, the segment of such elites who disdain Bernie Sanders would have been wise to remember to do so before telling the paper of record that they’re preparing to block the socialist senator’s nomination by any means necessary.

...There are obviously important differences between the voting behavior of each party’s base (Democratic voters have historically been less ideological and antagonistic to their party’s leadership than GOP ones). But there’s little reason to believe that Democratic voters wouldn’t emulate their Republican counterparts, were they presented with a choice between rallying behind their party’s insurgent front-runner, or accepting the inevitability of a contested convention.

After all, most of the distinctions between the two contexts make the prospect of unifying behind Bernie Sanders more appealing for Democrats than unifying behind Trump was for Republicans.

In January 2016, Trump had an exceptionally low in-party approval rating; in January 2020, Sanders had an exceptionally high one.

In fact, multiple recent polls have shown the Vermont senator boasting better favorability numbers among Democratic voters than any other 2020 candidate. Meanwhile, a Yahoo News/YouGov survey released earlier this month found Sanders beating every one of his Democratic rivals in a two-way contest.

After triumphing in early states, Sanders has weathered some attacks from his primary rivals. But none have been nearly as brutal as those that Trump endured. Marco Rubio never insisted that he liked Trump personally before assailing his fitness for the nomination; Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden routinely stipulate their personal affection for their longtime colleague before critiquing his policies. What’s more, the broader Democratic Establishment isn’t nearly as united in opposition to Sanders as the GOP’s was to Trump. Several Senate Democrats told Politico last week that they are confident Sanders can beat Donald Trump. And Nancy Pelosi told her caucus Wednesday that she expects them to “wholeheartedly embrace” the party’s standard-bearer, “no matter who the nominee is for president.”

While the mainstream press has presented Democratic voters with no small number of warnings about the 78-year-old socialist’s general election liabilities, these arguments aren’t nearly as well substantiated as indictments of Trump’s electability were circa February 2016. At this time four years ago, Trump’s net-approval among the general public was -23 percent. Today, Sanders’s net-approval is -2.7. Joe Biden’s, by contrast, is -5.4; Michael Bloomberg’s is -7; and Elizabeth Warren’s is -7.3. Further, hypothetical general elections polls show the Vermont senator performing about as well, if not better, than his rivals against Trump: On Thursday morning, Muhlenberg College (an A+ pollster, per 538) released a poll of Pennsylvania in which Sanders is the only Democrat who bests the incumbent president.

Anti-Sanders Democrats do have a path for blocking his nomination. The last batch of South Carolina polls suggests Joe Biden may pull out a landslide victory Saturday. If so, the former vice-president may be in a position to limit Sanders’s delegate haul on Super Tuesday, and then power past him (perhaps, with the aid of an infusion of Bloomberg bucks) over the ensuing months. Which is to say: If the moderate wing of the party can coordinate well enough to present Democratic voters with a clear choice between Sanders and Biden, they might (emphasis on might) be able to keep blue America from “going red.”

But if the only choice they can offer is one between Bernie Sanders and a contested convention, there is every reason to believe Democratic voters will unite behind their socialist standard-bearer before delegates descend on Milwaukee.

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The Pencedemic


You probably already know that the NY Times reported that Trump said he picked Pence to head up the government's coronavirus response because he didn't "have anything else to do." Yesterday the New York Times reported that "Federal health employees interacted with Americans quarantined for possible exposure to the coronavirus without proper medical training or protective gear, then scattered into the general population, according to a government whistle-blower. Without proper training or equipment, some of the exposed staff members moved freely around and off the bases, with at least one person staying in a nearby hotel and leaving California on a commercial flight. Many were unaware of the need to test their temperature three times a day."

CNN has a couple of interesting coronavirus reports, one of which is on the whistleblower who is seeking federal protection because she was improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within the office of HHS Secretary Alex Azar."

The other CNN story is political-- and ugly. Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and other Fox News Trump propagandists-- who are pushing the Trumpist position that it's just a common cold-- are now claiming that mainstream media and Democrats "are weaponizing fear in a bid to hurt the President's re-election efforts."

While it's not unusual for high-profile members of the pro-Trump media to go to extensive lengths to align themselves with Trump or paint him in a positive light, the comments on the coronavirus are alarming given the public health risk. The virus has killed at least 2,800 people and infected 82,000 worldwide. The remarks from the hosts also raise concern given how much influence figures like Hannity and Limbaugh wield over Trump.

On Thursday's Fox & Friends, one of Trump's favorite cable news programs, the hosts suggested top Democrats and news organizations were hyping fear over the coronavirus to score points against Trump.

"They shouldn't make it political," co-host Ainsley Earhardt said.

"They have been-- these are all Democrats," added co-host Pete Hegseth. "They've been resisting the President from the very beginning of the administration."

Hegseth then mocked a story in The New York Times that said Trump had been warned for years about "squandering the credibility he could need in a moment of national emergency."

Co-host Steve Doocy chimed in to read an editorial from the conservative tabloid New York Post that said "the sad truth" is that "global health bureaucrats use these outbreaks to push for greater funding, with utter disregard for the truth."

The prime time programming on Fox News hasn't been any better.

Hannity, who hosts the top-rated television program on cable news, told his millions of viewers on Wednesday night that Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was using the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States as a way to "bludgeon" Trump.

As an on-screen graphic showed pictures of Pelosi and Schumer overlaid with text that said in all caps "BLAME TRUMP GAME," Hannity accused Schumer of being engaged in the "shameless politicizing of health and the well-being of Americans."

Hannity then attacked the "mob in the media" and echoed the White House's messaging, telling viewers that the Trump administration has "been aggressively responding to the corona outbreak for quite a while."

In the following hour, Ingraham ratcheted up that messaging at the top of her show, referring to the Democratic Party as the "PANDEMIC PARTY," with the D-E-M in "pandemic" highlighted in blue, while the chyron text in the lower portion of the screen said "LEFT WEAPONIZING CORONAVIRUS FEARS."

Using similar language as her Fox cohorts, Ingraham told her viewers that top Democrats and "their media cronies" have "decided to weaponize fear and also weaponize suffering to improve their chances against Trump in November."

"It's time for calm, measured pragmatism, not panic and political opportunism by a party that's been buffeted by its own missteps and failed strategies," Ingraham said. "If they appear to be rooting for Americans suffering in pain during an election year, I promise you that the voters will put them in a political quarantine come November."

Over on conservative talk radio, Limbaugh has been attacking Democrats and news organizations all week while incorrectly telling his listeners that the coronavirus is "the common cold."

"It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump," Limbaugh said.

Later in the week, Limbaugh said members of the media "would love for the coronavirus to be this deadly strain that wipes everybody out so they could blame Trump for it."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this week that an outbreak of the coronavirus inside the United States is inevitable. The federal agency said it is not a matter of if anymore, but when, it will happen.

Yesterday, Rev. John Pavlovitz reminded his readers that Trump can't gaslight a pandemic, even if he's trying to. Nor can he bully it into compliance or lie to it and hope it won't run a fact check. His followers kids and parents and neighbors and spouses and co-workers are going to get sick. Some will die. Some may figure out the difference between how he handled it and competent, less self-centered leaders, like Germany's, handled it.
You can’t pay for its silence or promise immunity.

You can’t threaten its reelection bid if it breaks ranks.

You can’t fire it when it dissents from your ramblings.

You can’t impugn its character with baseless attacks.

You can’t fool it with talk about God.

You can’t bury it with FoxNews fluff pieces.

You can’t drown it in nationalism.

You can’t dismiss it with cries of fake news.

You can’t pardon it after it completes its assaults.

You can’t give it a demeaning nickname and hope to deflate it.

You can’t rage-Tweet it into exhaustion.

You can’t avoid it by appointing corrupt judges to do your bidding.

You can’t give it free tickets in order to fill vain arena celebrations of your ego.

You can’t frighten it with fairy tales about migrant boogeymen and transgender monsters.

You can’t hope it will blow over while you golf once again.

You can’t mischaracterize it with racial stereotypes.

You can’t pretend you can pray it away.

You can’t blame it on Barack Obama or windmills or the Gay Agenda or Hillary’s emails.

You can’t bullshit a pandemic-- so nothing you know how to do will help you here.

A pandemic is not an election or a Supreme Court seat or Franklin Graham or Lindsey Graham or the Republican Party-- so it cannot be bought.

A pandemic is not an uneducated voting block so it will not be swept up in the emotional fervor of dog and pony patriotism, or duped by ceremonial religiosity.

A pandemic is a reckless, brutal, unruly, violent thing, and none of your sideshow huckster repartee or your cheap parlor tricks or your legal gymnastics will save you or anyone else.

Only intelligent, qualified, reasonable, compassionate people who trust science and want to protect human beings can help at times like these-- which is why you are completely useless.

Worse than that, it’s why you will make things much worse.

Pandemics thrive on fear, and fear is your only commodity. It is the one weapon at your disposal-- and it only helps the sickness.

In the raking light of an actual emergency, you are being revealed as a fraudulent, callous, completely unprepared and outmatched imposter.

History is recording how ill-equipped you are for the serious, grievous, and terrible things real leaders are required to engage and confront.

You’re being exposed in these days for what you are: a public health crisis endangering millions of people; a reckless, brutal, unruly, violent thing that is spreading sickness.

The only hope we have for a cure comes in November.

You look scared, Donald.

We are too.

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