TBR News April 27, 2020

Apr 27 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 27, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it. “
Comment for April 27, 2020:” It was in the Spring of 2001 when a young computer expert living in the Mid-West developed a lethal virus intended to do a full-bore global destruction to the international computer/internet system.
The virus is spread from computer to computer system to computer and it is so constructed that it cannot be searched out by any known computer security system. The virus remains placidly dormant until it is triggered and then after a specific lapse of time, is fully activated.
What does this virus do?
Totally obliterates the computer hard drive and expunges it of all memory.
In essence, the hard drive is flat line and cannot be reconstructed.
What sort of a trigger would activate this?
Perhaps a first, middle and last name coupled with a fake social security number.
The probability of this trigger accidentally emerging would be a mathematical impossibility.
Let us say that this was triggered on the computer system of a major bank.
When the activating time arrived, everything on the bank computer would be gone. No one could access the ATM machine, cash checks, or otherwise have access to the bank’s services.
There would be mass panic and the bank’s computer people would install backup systems.
After a frenzied flurry, all would return to normal, that is until the activated triggers would work again.
Official records, social security, food stamps, passport data, criminal rap sheets, and dozens and dozens more of vital services would, in essence, be gone with the wind.
And since this project has been silently contaminating the global systems since 2001, the length and depth of the infections would be immense and all-inclusive.
Of course the Russians would be blamed but the computers would be as dead as a squashed cockroach and the entire societal global informational and business structures would gasp, gurgle and die.
People could not buy food, electrical systems would fail and soon, the woodlands of America, and the world, would be filled with frantic citizens digging caves in the soil, or places to bury their surviving family members.
The motto?
Never put all your eggs in one basket”

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose.

The Table of Contents
• Trump is a danger to the American people. But the Republicans refuse to stop him
• Making America Great Again: Trump’s Impossible Challenges
• With Millions Unable to Pay for Housing Next Month, Organizers Plan the Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century
• Trump slams cities, states seeking U.S. aid to offset coronavirus losses
• Coronavirus: The US resistance to a continued lockdown
• Covid-19 pandemic shines a light on a new kind of class divide and its inequalities
• US Atrocities in Korean War – Chem and Bio Weapons, Mass Civilian Bombing and Execution
• Encycopedia of American Loons

Trump is a danger to the American people. But the Republicans refuse to stop him
The president is vilified and ridiculous – and he will continue to spout dangerous, offensive nonsense as long as his party supports him
April 27, 2020
by Suzanne Moore
The Guardian
Don’t drink bleach. Don’t jack up Dettol. When people have to be told that this is not a good idea – even though their president has floated it – we are definitely not in Kansas any more. Or maybe we are. At a protest where people equate physical distancing with communism.
To be fair, Donald Trump did add the helpful caveat: “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what,” while pointing at his head.
Yeah, whatever. He should win the “Noble prize”, as he calls it, for his “you-know-what”. He later claimed the disinfectant comments were sarcastic and stopped his press briefings. It was reported that he may have reached “a tipping point” with his advisers. But surely we know by now that, with Trump, there is no tipping point. After calling Mexicans rapists and boasting about “pussy grabbing”, his parade of bile and ignorance seems limitless.
I don’t know how many psychological profiles I have read of him in which he is diagnosed as a malignant narcissist, or it is suggested he has a cognitive impairment, or suffers from delusional thinking or a sociopathic inability to experience basic empathy. Yada yada yada. None of it matters. He promised an end to “American carnage”, but that is exactly what he is presiding over.
Analysing his psyche is not an act of opposition. Trump could not operate without all those around him, especially the support of the Republican party.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, finds the briefings he has to do with Trump “draining”. No wonder, as he talks passionately about physical distancing while Trump contradicts him. Dr Deborah Birx, Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, recently stood there looking alarmed while Trump riffed on disinfectant. Vice-President Mike Pence looks on, zombified. It is only now that US media has begun to argue with him.
He carries on, vilified, a laughing stock, a pathetic mobster, but with the support of the rightwing establishment. Focusing on his latest lunacy is entertainment. How the Republican party keeps him in power is the issue, for it is they who enable him. The tipping point will be reached when they decide to take him down.

Making America Great Again: Trump’s Impossible Challenges
by Christian Jürs

Once the most powerful nation, the United States is rapidly losing its premier position in the international sphere while at the same time facing a potential serious anti-government political movement developing in that country.
The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is always improving but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public
This situation is caused by the movement, by management, of manufacturing businesses to foreign labor markets. While these removals can indeed save the companies a great deal of expenditure on domestic labor, by sharply reducing their former worker bodies to a small number, the companies have reduced the number of prospective purchasers of expensive items like automobiles.
The U.S. government’s total revenue is estimated to be $3.654 trillion for fiscal year 2018.
•Personal income taxes contribute $1.836 trillion, half of the total.
•Another third ($1.224 trillion) comes from payroll taxes.
This includes $892 billion for Social Security, $270 billion for Medicare and $50 billion for unemployment insurance.
•Corporate taxes add $355 billion, only 10 percent.
•Customs excise taxes and tariffs on imports contribute $146 billion, just 4 percent
•The Federal Reserve’s net income adds $70 billion.
•The remaining $23 billion of federal income comes from estate taxes and miscellaneous receipts.
•The use of secret offshore accounts by US citizens to evade U.S. federal taxes costs the U.S. Department of the Treasury well over $100 billion annually.
By moving from a producing to an importing entity, the United States has developed, and is developing, serious sociological and economic problems in a significant number of its citizens, and many suffer from serious health problems that are not treated.
It is estimated that over 500,000 American citizens are without any form of housing. Many of these people either are living on the streets, in public parks, living in cars or in charity shelters. There are at present over 200,000 family groups in America with over 300,000 individuals involved and 25% of the total are minor children.
Over 80,000 individuals are permanently without any residence. Many of these have physical disabilities such as chronic alcoholism or drug addiction. Many are classified as having severe mental disorders.
About 50,000 of these homeless individuals are military veterans, many of whom have serious physical or mental problems. One of the most common mental disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Governmental treatment for these individuals is virtually non-existent. Approximately half of this number are either black or Latin American (“Hispanics” in official designation.)
Of the total number of the homeless individuals, approximately 10% are female.
Official but private, estimates are that there over 500,000 youths below the age of 24 in current American society that find themselves homeless for periods lasting from one week to a permanent status.
Over 100,000 of this class are young people who are defined as being homosexual. Those in this class find themselves persecuted to a considerable degree by society in general and their peer groups in specific.
Approximately 50% of this homeless population are over the age of 50, many of whom suffer from chronic, debilitating physical illnesses that are not treated.
Drug deaths in the U.S. in 2017 exceeded 60,000. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involved prescriptions. Opioids are a class of strong painkillers drugs and include Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin which are synthetic drugs designed to resemble opiates such as opium derived morphine and heroin. The most dangerous opioid is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. The increasing demand for these drugs is causing them to be manufactured outside the United States.
Suicide is the primary cause of “injury death” in the United States and more U.S. military personnel on active duty have killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.
The growing instability of American families is manifested by the fact that:
• One out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
• More than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock for women under the age of 30 living in the United States
• The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world although the numbers have declined in recent years due to the use of contraceptives.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world. The criminal justice system in the United States holds more than 4,166,000 people in 1,719 state prisons, 102,000 in federal prisons, 901,000 in juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,163,000 in local jails. Additionally, 5,203,400 adults are on probation or on parole.
The number of people on probation or parole has increased the population of the American corrections system to more than 9,369,400 in 2017. Corrections costs the American taxpayer $69 billion a year.
There are a huge number of American domestic and business mortgages, (67 million by conservative estimate) which have been sliced up, put into so-called “investment packages” and sold to customers both domestic and foreign. This problem has been covered up by American authorities by cloaking the facts in something called MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System)
This results in the fact that the holders of mortgages, so chopped and packed, are not possible to identify by MERS or anyone else, at any time and by any agency. This means that any property holder, be they a domestic home owner or a business owner, is paying their monthly fees for property they can never own.
Another festering problem consists of the official loans made to students in colleges and universities in the U.S. the predatory nature of the $90 billion student loan industry. These so-called student loans are the most serious economic problem faced today by American university students.
This problem arose due to federal legislation originating in the mid-1990s which effectively removed basic consumer protections from student loans, thus permitting extensive penalties and the methodology for enforced collection.
Because of the highly inflated cost of higher American education, very few students from high school can afford university education. The new college graduate has, on average, a student loan in excess of $20,000 and students attending graduate programs have average debts of over $40,000.
America today has seriously failing public school systems. Upper economic class Americans are able to send their children to expensive private schools and avoid the exceedingly incompetent public systems. The average American lower school graduates are only a step above illiteracy and their lack of knowledge of world affairs is quite unbelievable.
A small number of extremely wealthy men control and operate all of the major American print and television media.
Each of the few very powerful, rich men have their own reasons for deciding what qualifies as news.
But the public in America now gets its news, without cost, from various internet sites and the circulation number of major print news has dropped dramatically. This has forced the internet editions of the print news media to erect what they call “paywalls.” This permits a very limited number of articles to be read or downloaded before the system demands money for the use of additional material.
The major print media in America is faced with imminent bankruptcy and are making frantic efforts at attempts to prevent free news sites from being aired on the internet.
Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance. This includes mail, television viewing, telephone conversations, computer communications, travel, ownership of property, medical and school records, banking and credit card transactions, inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.
This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.
Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene. The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.
The attitudes of the working class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes. By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.

With Millions Unable to Pay for Housing Next Month, Organizers Plan the Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century
April 25, 2020
by Natasha Lennard
The Intercept
Want a grim picture of the state of American dissent during the coronavirus pandemic? Take an overview of media coverage from the last week. The press focused disproportionate attention on a few hundred white reactionaries, in a small number of states, rallying against social distancing measures — buoyed, of course, by tweets from President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, some of the most radical and righteous acts of mass resistance this country has seen in decades — from a wave of labor strikes to an explosion of mutual aid networks — are earning but a fraction of the media focus accorded to fringe, right-wing protesters.
Based on mainstream news coverage alone, for instance, you’d likely never know that organizers and tenants in New York are preparing the largest coordinated rent strike in nearly a century, to begin on May 1.
At least 400 hundred families who live in buildings each containing over 1,500 rent units are coordinating building-wide rent strikes, according to Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice For All, a New York-based coalition of tenants and housing activists. Additionally, over 5,000 people have committed, through an online pledge, to refuse to pay rent in May.
Precise strike numbers will be impossible to track, but the number of commitments alone points to a historic revival of this tenant resistance tactic. Coordinated rent strikes of this size in New York City haven’t been seen since the 1930s, when thousands of renters in Harlem and the Bronx successfully fought price gouging and landlord neglect by refusing to pay rent en masse.
The numbers committing to a rent strike might seem insignificant compared to the millions who don’t frame nonpayment as a strike, but simply will not be able to pay rent in the coming month. By the first week of April, one-third of renters nationwide — approximately 13.4 million people — had not paid rent; since then, 26 million workers have joined the ranks of the unemployed.
Meanwhile, government stimulus checks of $1,200 are disorganized, overdue, and woefully inadequate. The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, for example, was $2,980 last year. The federal government’s pitiful offering is also, of course, unavailable to many immigrants. Since we can therefore expect nonpayment of May’s rent to reach an unprecedented scale anyway, the idea of advocating for a rent strike might at first seem moot.
Organizers of the rent strike, however, make clear the action’s relevance. The slogan of the rent strike campaign says it all: “Can’t pay? Won’t pay!” The reframing of nonpayment as a strike — an act of collective resistance — is a powerful rejection of the sort of capitalist ethic that accords moral failing to an individual’s inability to pay a landlord.
“We don’t need to organize a rent strike to be able to say that millions of New Yorkers will not pay their rent on May 1,” Weaver told me. The call to a rent strike thus poses a crucial question to tenants who can’t afford rent, Weaver said: “Do you want to do that alone? Or do you want to do that connected to a movement of people who are also in your situation and are calling for a deep and transformative policy solution. It’s better if we can do this together.”
For tenant organizers on the front lines of New York’s housing crisis, which far predated the pandemic, the answer is clear. “The rent strike is a cry for dignity: We are all deserving of a home, no matter the color of our skin, financial status, or culture,” said Donnette Letford, an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica and a member of the group New York Communities for Change.
Until a month ago, Letford had worked as a home health care attendant. Her employer of over 10 years passed away, having contracted Covid-19. She is now jobless and mourning in quarantine, having cared for her employer until her death. “Under any circumstances, a loss like that is hard to bear, but during a pandemic it’s devastating,” Letford, a mother of one, noted in an email, urging others to join the rent strike. “The Covid-19 crisis is making clear what many tenants have known for a long time: We are all just one life event — the loss of a job, a medical emergency — away from losing our homes.”
Organizers are asking those who are able to pay May’s rent to refuse to do so in solidarity with those who can’t. The move is aimed at pressuring city and state leadership to respond in the only way appropriate to the exacerbated housing crisis: by canceling rent.
Before housing rights advocates in New York escalated calls for a mass rent strike, they had been calling, along with a small number of lawmakers, for a temporary rent suspension. And while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a crucial eviction moratorium, without also canceling rent during this time, back pay will accrue and the threat of future evictions looms over millions of renters who have lost all sources of income. The rent strike is an unambiguous escalation to demand robust action from Albany.
“We’re still calling to #CancelRent and reclaim our homes — that is the demand of the rent strike,” Weaver said. “So far, our cries for help have been ignored in Albany. In fact, they’ve done the opposite of ignore us. Gov. Cuomo rammed through an austerity budget that harms low-income tenants and homeless New Yorkers. In the face of sustained unemployment and a never-before-seen eviction crisis, they are offering nearly nothing.”
Like the historic rent strikes of the 20th century, which led to some of the first rent control laws in New York, the coming strike makes specific demands. According to a petition from Housing Justice For All, strikers want a statewide rent cancellation for four months, “or for the duration of the public health crisis — whichever is longer”; a rent freeze and the assurance that every tenant is given the right to renew their lease at the same price; and that the government “urgently and permanently rehouse all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and invest in public and social housing across our state.”
As Weaver put it, “One way or another, we are looking at some form of government intervention.” She added, “But we need to make sure that government intervention happens on our terms. We are escalating to collective non-compliance with rent in order to force a crisis.”
Concerns in response to calls for rent cancellations and strikes are as predictable as they are unfounded. Most common among them is the claim that small landlords, who survive and pay mortgages through collecting rent, will face ruination. Yet it is well within the government’s capacity to provide relief and support for landlords in these situations: Mortgage payments should be canceled too.
Some of the nation’s better lawmakers are trying to pass bills that combine rent and mortgage cancellations on a national level. On Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which would provide rent and mortgage forgiveness while also providing relief to landlords to assist with lost payments.
Passing such legislation in Washington is perhaps a Sisyphean task, but it’s more feasible on a state level. The problem is the political will: If Cuomo, for instance, were truly the “crisis daddy” he’s been nauseatingly hailed to be, he could make it a swift reality in New York. Meanwhile, it should go without saying that large real estate corporations and powerful landlords can take the hit of a few months’ canceled rent and deserve no less, after years upon decades of exploitative and extractive capital accumulation at the expense of tenants.
Prior to the pandemic — and thanks to the tireless work of tenants’ unions, activists, and a few progressive Democrats elected in New York in 2018 — a number of pro-tenant legislative reforms were passed last year. These laws, while welcome, were but a small step in the right direction to undo the decades of unchallenged complicity between New York’s politicians and the mighty real estate lobby. For rent strike organizers, the ideal is by no means a return to a pre-crisis status quo. As Weaver put it, “We’re demanding that we not return to the world we lived in pre-Covid — a world with 92,000 homeless New Yorkers and millions of people living just one paycheck away from an eviction.”
Phara Souffrant Forrest, a nurse and a tenant rights activist who is currently campaigning to become a New York State Assembly member, asked voters in her Brooklyn district of Crown Heights to sign a petition for rent cancellation. “We received a huge amount of support for it, but then it was as if we were talking to ourselves, we weren’t getting any response,” she told me, decrying the lack of action from sitting lawmakers. She noted that 44 percent of her district was already “rent burdened” before the pandemic, meaning that over one-third of their paychecks went to rent and utilities. Four in 10 of the entire country’s 43 million renters are in the same position.
Souffrant Forrest is organizing alongside rent strikers in the explicit recognition that the power structures by which housing is organized need to be toppled — now and long after the coronavirus crisis has passed. “We need to support candidates who believe that housing is a human right,” she said. In the knowledge that all too few such politicians currently exist, the nurse and organizer has been calling up her neighbors and telling them about the rent strike.
“Housing is a human right” has long been the cry of tenant organizers and social-justice fighters. What would it mean, though, to have a system in which housing were in fact treated as a universal human right? You wouldn’t have to pay to access those rights, for one. A rent strike is not a request for the human right to housing to be recognized; it’s instead an immediate and embodied claiming of that right. The strike makes demands, yes, but also provides an end in itself.

Trump slams cities, states seeking U.S. aid to offset coronavirus losses
April 27, 2020
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday slammed U.S. cities and states seeking billions of dollars in more federal aid to offset huge losses amid the coronavirus outbreak as lawmakers spar over the next round of potential economic relief along sharp party lines.
Democrats are calling for more aid to help beleaguered municipalities left out of recent stimulus measures. But some Republicans have balked at the price tag, while the Senate’s top Republican said he would back state bankruptcy before giving them more U.S. funding.
“Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help? I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?” Trump, a Republican, tweeted.
Mayors and governors have spent billions in recent weeks as U.S. coronavirus cases topped 960,000 and led to more than more than 54,700 COVID-19 related deaths as of this weekend. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders implemented across most of the nation to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus have also triggered a surge in unemployment, curtailed consumer spending and depressed local tax revenue.
Congress previously allocated $150 billion for governments, but governors have asked for another $500 billion while cities and counties are seeking $250 billion, saying the money is needed to cover the costs of responding to the outbreak as well as revenue lost while residents shelter in place.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, appeared to back Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who last week told a conservative talk-radio host that he “would certainly be in favor” of letting states enter bankruptcy.
But other Republicans, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association (NGA), and some Republican senators, have backed funding for state and local governments.
Democratic governors, including NGA Vice Chairman and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, have blasted McConnell’s idea, saying their states have an outsized role in filling the nation’s coffers and allowing bankruptcy would upend financial markets.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Doina Chiacu; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

Coronavirus: The US resistance to a continued lockdown
April 27, 2020
by Aleem Maqbool
BBC News
In these times, the sight of a public gathering of hundreds of people mostly without face masks is alarming.
But that is what happened at a demonstration against the shutdown measures in Washington State.
“We believe that the state governor has gone beyond his constitutional authority in shutting down businesses and ordering people to stay at home,” organiser Tyler Miller says from the grounds of the state capitol.
In mid-March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation mirroring many issued around the world; closing restaurants and bars and banning large gatherings.
But protesters say that was unconstitutional.
“The state constitution says that the right of the people to peaceably assemble shall never be abridged. We believe that the (emergency coronavirus) proclamations that the governor here ordered violate that,” Mr Miller says.
Mr Miller said he was not protesting against the recommendations from the public health bodies and respected the need to ‘flatten the curve’.
“I even self-quarantined for 14 days back at the very beginning of this myself, when I had an illness that mirrored some of the symptoms,” he says.
“The fact I am protesting does not mean I think it is a good idea to have gatherings, I just believe that the government has no authority to prohibit them.”
Throughout the crisis, Mr Miller has also been able to continue his work as an engineering technician with the US Navy.
He says the thing that has angered him is what he feels is an un-American overreach of power by the Democratic governor.
The restrictions differ from state to state, and about 20 states have had protests against the measures. These demonstrations vary in size from a few dozen people to thousands.
They come as the US finds itself still very much in the grip of this crisis.
There has not yet been a sustained drop in the numbers of US deaths linked to Covid-19 and yet the clamour to lift restrictions is coming not just from those taking to the streets but from politicians too.
“The hysteria that surrounded the coronavirus from the beginning was disproportionate,” says Rick Becker, of North Dakota.
“There was an overreaction by state governments with regard to mandatory shut downs, shelter in place, and so forth,” he says.
When it is put to the state representative that tens of thousands of people have died across the country and that it could have been many more if restrictions were not in place, he dismisses the notion.
“That is something that you’re going to be able to say no matter what; that there may have been more deaths,” says Mr Becker, who is also a qualified doctor.
“You’re taking the ‘if it saves just one life’ argument, and I would say that if I would drive 20mph instead of 50mph, it’s possible that I might not kill somebody, and you can look at all aspects of our lives that way. But our whole way of life in this country would collapse and we can’t live life that way.”
n neighbouring South Dakota, one of those who died with the coronavirus was Bob Glanzer, a state representative.
“He was a very caring, giving, listening type of individual and certainly faith was a big part of his life. He’s going to be sorely missed in the legislature,” says party colleague Jean Hunhoff.
Representative Hunhoff describes how she and other legislative members lined the route of Mr Glanzer’s funeral procession waving American and South Dakota flags.
There were social distancing measures in place for the commemorations, even though South Dakota is one of a handful of states where a state-wide stay at home order has never been imposed.
“I support the decisions of our governor. She laid out guidelines and then really left the decisions up to local communities,” says Jean Hunhoff, who also has a public health background.
“I am a registered nurse and I believe it is data that should drive decision making and I think we have done that here. It is easy to stand on the outside and post judgment.”
There has been criticism of states like South Dakota that have refused to issue state-wide shut down directives in spite of coronavirus outbreaks there.
Polls show the majority of Americans are still in favour of measures imposed to try to curb the spread of the virus. And some are vehemently opposed to the protests.
Mary Turner, a nurse leader in an intensive care unit in Minnesota, describes them as a “kick in the teeth” because of the risks she and her colleagues are taking.
“These protests here are so discouraging. With no one doing social distancing or wearing masks, and they all say they are outraged. I don’t know if this is a problem anywhere else in the world.”
But the placards at the demonstrations decrying government interference suggest those involved feel there are bigger issues at stake than public health.
“Scepticism of the government is a deep strain in America. It waxes and wanes – though we’re in a period where it’s been waxing for quite a while,” says Theda Skocpol, author and professor of government and sociology at Harvard University.
With regard to the anti-shutdown protests, Professor Skocpol says it is political beliefs and not economics that have definitely been the driving force.
She cautions against the notion that they are an organic reaction to the crisis, feeling instead that there is a level of national organisation.
“You don’t see the US Chamber of Commerce in the vanguard here. These are ideological forces at play, with some professionally run conservative advocacy groups behind the protests,” Professor Skocpol says.
“Their cause is to make sure Americans don’t become too trusting of government. They don’t worry whether the motives of the people on the ground are exactly the same as theirs. They’re probably not. I think most of the people at the protests are just passionate Donald Trump supporters.”
While some at the protests say they are there because they are losing money during the shutdown, Trump 2020 flags, hats and shirts have been very evident, particularly at the large demonstrations in states run by Democratic governors. They have taken on the look of small Trump rallies.
The politicians most vocally calling for the shutdown to be lifted now, like Dr Rick Becker of North Dakota, are mainly Republicans. All of the governors who did not impose stay at home orders, like the governor of South Dakota, also belong to the president’s party.
While the GOP does have its libertarian streak, Professor Skocpol feels that there is more to it than that, and that many of the people and politicians protesting are taking their cues from the president.
“Donald Trump is really not all that secretive about what he’s thinking, he sort of says it. I think that there’s a lot of evidence that he’s worried that this terrible pandemic and his handling of the early stages, combined with the economic impact, could sink his presidency,” she says.
“You can’t expect him, his party and those who support him to sit back and take that lightly, so what is plan B or C? It is to go from blaming Obama, the Chinese, the WHO, to now blaming those who are leaving restrictions in place.”
Indeed, over recent weeks, Donald Trump has openly supported the protesters.
But mixed messages from the White House have been a feature of this crisis. After signalling that he wanted some Democratic-run states “liberated” and opened up, the president then said he was “unhappy” when the Republican governor of Georgia made the decision to reopen the economy.
With many hundreds still dying of the virus here each day, state governors are in the tough position of trying to make the right decisions to keep people safe.
But it is the face of a deadly virus on the one hand and massive economic and political pressure on the other.
Additional reporting by Eva Artesona

Covid-19 pandemic shines a light on a new kind of class divide and its inequalities
A disproportionate number of Americans fall into the three groups who aren’t getting what they need to survive this crisis
April 26, 2020
by Robert Reich
The Guardian
The Covid-19 pandemic is putting the deepening class divide in America into stark relief. Four new classes are emerging.
The Remotes: These are professional, managerial, and technical workers – an estimated 35% of the workforce – who are putting in long hours at their laptops, Zooming into conferences, scanning electronic documents, and collecting about the same pay as before the crisis.
Many are bored or anxious, but they’re well off compared to the three other classes.
The Essentials: They’re about 30% of workers, including nurses, homecare and childcare workers, farm workers, food processors, truck drivers, warehouse and transit workers, drugstore employees, sanitation workers, police officers, firefighters, and the military.
Too many Essentials lack adequate protective gear, paid sick leave, health insurance, and childcare, which is especially important now that schools are shuttered. They also deserve hazard pay.
Their vulnerability is generating a wave of worker activism at businesses such as Instacart, Amazon, Walmart, and Whole Foods. Mass-transit workers are organizing work stoppages.
Trump’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the legal authority to require private employers provide essential workers with protective gear. Don’t hold your breath.
The Unpaid: They’re an even larger group than the unemployed – whose ranks could soon reach 25%, the same as in the Great Depression. Some of the unpaid are furloughed or have used up their paid leave. So far in this crisis, 43% of adults report they or someone in their household has lost jobs or pay, according to the Pew Research Center.
An estimated 9.2 million have lost their employer-provided health insurance.
Many of these jobs had been in personal services that can’t be done remotely, such as retail, restaurant, and hospitality work. But as consumers rein in spending, layoffs are spreading to news organizations, tech companies, and consumer-goods manufacturers.
The unpaid most need cash to feed their families and pay rent. So far, the government has failed them
The unpaid most need cash to feed their families and pay the rent. Fewer than half say they have enough emergency funds to cover three months of expenses, according to a survey conducted this month by Pew.
So far, government has failed them, too. Checks mailed out by the Treasury last week are a pittance. Extra benefits could help, but unemployment offices are so overwhelmed with claims that they can’t get money out the door. Loans to small businesses have gone largely to big, well-connected businesses, with banks collecting fat fees.
On Wednesday, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he is opposed to any further federal aid to state and local governments, suggesting states declare bankruptcy instead. Which means even less money for unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and everything else the unpaid need.
The resulting desperation is fueling demands to “reopen the economy” long before it’s safe. If it comes down to a choice between risking one’s health and putting food on the table, many will take the latter.
The Forgotten: This group includes everyone for whom social distancing is nearly impossible because they’re packed tightly into places most Americans don’t see: prisons, jails for undocumented immigrants, camps for migrant farmworkers, Native American reservations, homeless shelters, and nursing homes.
While much of New York City is sheltering at home, for example, more than 17,000 men and women, many already in poor health, are sleeping in roughly 100 shelters for single adults.
All such places are becoming hotspots for the virus. These people need safe spaces with proper medical care, adequate social distancing, testing for the virus and isolation of those who have contracted it. Few are getting any of this.
Not surprisingly, the essentials, the unpaid, and the forgotten are disproportionately poor, black, and Latino
Not surprisingly, the Essentials, the Unpaid, and the Forgotten are disproportionately poor, black, and Latino and they are disproportionately becoming infected.
An Associated Press breakdown of available state and local data showed close to 33% of those who have died from Covid-19 are African American, despite representing only 14% of the total population in areas surveyed. The Navajo Nation already has lost more people to coronavirus than have 13 states. Four of the 10 largest-known sources of infection in the United States have been correctional facilities.
These three groups aren’t getting what they need to survive this crisis because they don’t have lobbyists and political action committees to do their bidding in Washington or state capitals.
The Remotes among us should be concerned, and not just because of the unfairness of the Covid-19 class divide. If the Essentials aren’t sufficiently protected, the Unpaid are forced back to work earlier than is safe, and if the Forgotten remain forgotten, no one is secure. Covid-19 will continue to spread sickness and death for months, if not years to come.

US Atrocities in Korean War – Chem and Bio Weapons, Mass Civilian Bombing and Execution
Koreans not only have good reason to view the US with suspicion and mistrust, it’s a miracle they don’t hate us for all eternity
With the world’s press spending a great deal of its energy on the rather fractious relationship between the United States and North Korea, a look back in time gives us some fascinating insight regarding the geopolitical stresses that rule the region, particularly the stresses that occurred during the Korean War.
Thanks to the International Action Center and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a Non-Governmental Organization which was founded in 1946 and acts as a consultative group to UNESCO, we have an interesting document that outlines some of America’s actions on the Korean Peninsula during the early 1950s.
In March 1952, the IADL issued a Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea during the Korean War. Here is a screen capture showing the title page:
In the early 1950s, the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea repeatedly asked the United Nations to protest violations of international law by their enemies, the United States-led international coalition.
These requests were ignored by the United Nations and, as such, the Council of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers set up a Commission consisting of lawyers from several nations to investigate these allegations with a “boots on the ground” trip to Korea which took place from March 3rd to March 19th, 1952, visiting the provinces of North and South Piengan, Hwang Hai, Kang Wan, including the towns of Pyongyang, Nampo, Kaichen, Pek Dong, Amju, Sinchon, Anak, Sariwon and Wonsan among others.
The IADL notes that, under United Nations rules, the U.S. intervention on the Korean Peninsula was unlawful and that President Truman’s orders to the American Navy and Air Force should be considered an “aggressive act” that went against the United Nations Charter.
Here are some of the more interesting findings of the IADL Commission:
1.) Bacteriological Warfare:
The Commission investigated the allegations that American forces in Korea were using bacteriological weapons against both the DPRK armed forces and the nation’s civilian population. Between the 28th of January and the 12th of March (i.e. during the dead of winter), 1952, the Commission found the following insects which carried bacteria in many different locations:
The Commission noted that many of the insect species had not been found in Korea prior to the arrival of American forces and that many of them were found in mixed groups or clusters that would not normally be found together, for example, flies and spiders.
It also noted that the January temperature was 1 degree Celsius (just above freezing) to 5 degrees Celsius in February but that the prevailing average temperature was far below the freezing level, temperatures that are extremely hostile to insect life.
The insects were infected with the following bacteria which include plague, cholera and typhus:
Eberthella typhus
Bacillus paratyphi A and B
Shigella dysenteriae
Vibrio cholera
Pasturella pestis
In addition, a great quantity of fish of a species which live in regions between fresh water and salt water were found; these fish were found in a half rotten state and were infected with cholera.
2.) Chemical Weapons:
On various occasions since May 6th, 1951, American planes used asphyxiating and other gases or chemical weapons as follows:
In the first attack on Nampo City, there were 1,379 casualties of which 480 died of suffocation and 647 others were affected by gas.
3.) Mass executions of civilians:
According to witnesses, the commander of the U.S. Forces in the region of Sinchon by the name of Harrison ordered the mass killing of 35,383 civilians (19,149 men and 16,234 women) during the period between October 17th and December 7th, 1950.
The civilians were pushed into a deep open grave, doused with fuel oil and set on fire. Those who tried to escape were shot.
In another case, on October 20th, 2015, 500 men women and children were forced into an air raid cave shelter located in the city of Sinchon. Harrison ordered American soldiers to put explosives into the shelter and seal it with sacks of earth prior to the fuse being lit.
Here are other examples of mass murders:
4.) Bombing and Attacking Civilians:
Prior to the Korean War, the capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang, had a population of 464,000. As a result of the war, the population had fallen to 181,000 by December 31, 1951. In the period between June 27, 1950 and the Commission’s visit, more than 30,000 incendiary and explosive devices were dropped on the city, destroying 64,000 out of 80,000 houses, 32 hospitals and dispensaries (despite the fact that they were marked with a red cross), 64 churches, 99 schools and university buildings.
Here is the conclusion of the Commission:
The IADL Commission unanimously found that the United States was guilty of crimes against humanity during the Korean War and that there was a pattern of behaviour which constitutes genocide.
Let’s close this posting with the conclusion of the 2001 Korea International War Crimes Tribunal which examined the testimony of civilians from both North Korea and South Korea over the period from 1945 to 2001:
The Members of the International War Crimes Tribunal find the accused Guilty on the basis of the evidence against them: each of the nineteen separate crimes alleged in the Initial Complaint has been established to have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The Members find these crimes to have occurred during three main periods in the U.S. intervention in and occupation of Korea.
The best-known period is from June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953, the Korean War, when over 4.6 million Koreans perished, according to conservative Western estimates, including 3 million civilians in the north and 500,000 civilians in the south. The evidence of U.S. war crimes presented to this Tribunal included eyewitness testimony and documentary accounts of massacres of thousands of civilians in southern Korea by U.S. military forces during the war. Abundant evidence was also presented concerning criminal and even genocidal U.S. conduct in northern Korea, including the systematic leveling of most buildings and dwellings by U.S. artillery and aerial bombardment; widespread atrocities committed by U.S. and R.O.K. forces against civilians and prisoners of war; the deliberate destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic production; and the use of illegal weapons and biological and chemical warfare by the U.S. against the people and the environment of northern Korea. Documentary and eyewitness evidence was also presented showing gross and systematic violence committed against women in northern and southern Korea, characterized by mass rapes, sexual assaults and murdersLess known but of crucial importance in understanding the war period is the preceding five years, from the landing of U.S. troops in Korea on September 8, 1945, to the outbreak of the war. The Members of the Tribunal examined extensive evidence of U.S. crimes against peace and crimes against humanity in this period. The Members conclude that the U.S. government acted to divide Korea against the will of the vast majority of the people, limit its sovereignty, create a police state in southern Korea using many former collaborators with Japanese rule, and provoke tension and threats between southern and northern Korea, opposing and disrupting any plans for peaceful reunification. In this period the U.S. trained, directed and supported the ROK in systematic murder, imprisonment, torture, surveillance, harassment and violations of human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, especially of those individuals or groups considered nationalists, leftists, peasants seeking land reform, union organizers and/or those sympathetic to the north.
The Members find that in the period from July 1953 to the present, the U.S. has continued to maintain a powerful military force in southern Korea, backed by nuclear weapons, in violation of international law and intended to obstruct the will of the Korean people for reunification.Military occupation has been accompanied by the organized sexual exploitation of Korean women, frequently leading to violence and even murder of women by U.S. soldiers who have felt above the law. U.S.-imposed economic sanctions have impoverished and debilitated the people of northern Korea, leading to a reduction of life expectancy, widespread malnutrition and even starvation in a country that once exported food. The refusal of the U.S. government to grant visas to a delegation from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea who planned to attend this Tribunal only confirms the criminal intent of the defendants to isolate those whom they have abused to prevent them from telling their story to the world.
In all these 55 years, the U.S. government has systematically manipulated, controlled, directed, misinformed and restricted press and media coverage to obtain consistent support for its military intervention, occupation and crimes against the people of Korea.
It has also inculcated racist attitudes within the U.S. troops and general population that prepared them to commit and/or accept atrocities and genocidal policies against the Korean people.
It has violated the Constitution of the United States, the delegation of powers over war and the military, the Bill of Rights, the UN Charter, international law and the laws of the ROK, DPRK, Peoples Republic of China, Japan and many others, in its lawless determination to exercise its will over the Korean peninsula.
The Members of the Korea International War Crimes Tribunal hold the United States government and its leaders accountable for these criminal acts and condemn those found guilty in the strongest possible terms.”
And Washington wonders why the North Koreans are so hostile toward the United States!
The irony of Washington’s criticism of other nations (i.e Syria) and their use of chemical weapons is stunningly hypocritical

Encycopedia of American Loons

Roy Taylor

No, he is probably not much more than a deranged lunatic with web access, but Roy Taylor, of something called Roy Taylor Ministries, is one of those people who help make the Internet such a fascinating place. Taylor is a conspiracy theorist whose general theme appears to be impending Armageddon, and he seems to see the signs everywhere. His webpage is here.
So for instance, according to Taylor, “[b]oth Russian sources and US military have confirmed a huge military tunnel beneath the BERING STRAIT, linking SIBERIA with ALASKA. No, it was not DUG out, but BORED OUT using nuclear power that melted it’s way through solid rock, six miles a day.” Some readers might have expected a reference to these confirmations, but Taylor isn’t concerned with such details (turns out the source is Pam Schuffert, of course); instead, he cites Bible verses that, with interpretive help from Taylor, might be given an ominous slant – “knowing the scriptures as I do I know that the Kings of the East and their vast armies will come to America from out of the North to participate in the last battle of God Almighty. These armies will come to America from Asia and from the Middle East. These armies of the Kings of the East will travel like a train across Russia and Siberia to the Bering Strait. They will then travel under the Bering Strait by way of the existing Bering Strait Tunnel into Alaska (North America). The Bible says that these heathen armies will continue on down through Canada and into America (the Zion of Bible Prophecy) where they will be destroyed.” He backs up the idea in part by an email he received from an unknown source (possibly spam), according to which “AMERICA WILL BE DIVIDED LIKE A PIE AND GIVEN AWAY TO THE HEATHEN PIECE BY PIECE,” which is scary since “[t]his is exactly what the prophetic song ‘American Pie’ says” (it really isn’t.)
Taylor’s main project, however, seems to be something called “Global Warming and the Sixth Angel”. Precisely what it involves is somewhat hard to determine (you can try yourself here), but the premise is that although “[m]illions of people believe that there is a definite climate change going on but they cannot agree on what is causing it. Some scientists believe that it is just a natural occurring weather cycle and these same people most certainly do not know why it is happening.” Or put differently: since Taylor doesn’t know and cannot be bothered to find out, then no one knows. But it is certainly a conspiracy, and it has to do with the UN, “which is in opposition to Christianity” and largely controlled by “Russia, and China (Kings of the East), which are declared enemies, of Christianity” – this is why “[n]o mention of Jesus Christ is allowed in the United Nations,” for instance (bet you didn’t know that!). And at present, “the only thing that would stop the anti-Christians, from eventually attacking America, would be our surrender, and our acceptance, of rule by the Red World Government controlled by the Red-Jews [but of course]. Their goal is world rule (Note that they want to come out of the shadows), they have worked at it for centuries, they have stated, that they will make no compromise in their goal, and they claim Marx, and Lenin, as their guide.” The global warming connection appears to have been lost along the way here, but Taylor has a lot of material organized somewhat confusingly, so we might have missed something. But here you can at least read about “The Days of the Son-of-Man, The Armies of God, and UFO’s,” which is a “Bible study project” that “will explain what UFO’s are, where they come from, and what they are here for.” It’s a fascinating collection of youtube clips and free use of imagination, but part of the point is to counter the idea that UFOs are somehow Satanic; indeed, we “believe the attempt by false prophets in the mainstream church to convince the world that Satan is at the helm of the UFO phenomenon will add great weight to that deception.” Taylor seems to have an unusual understanding of “mainstream”.
Diagnosis: Mostly harmless fun and fluff and color. There seems to be enough of these people around to have a real effect on elections, however, which tarnishes one’s enjoyment of sites like Taylor’s a little.

Lia Shapiro
A.k.a. Lia Light

Yes, more Pleiadians. As you may know, Pleiadians are fictional humanoids hailing from the stellar systems surrounding the Pleiades stars who contact “very special” New Age healers and psychics with information about whatever the New Age healers and psychics want to convey information about: common themes include vibrations, Atlantis, orgone or ascending to higher dimensions of consciousness. Pleiadians are apparently very concerned with the well-being of Earth, though unfortunately seem unable to make their concerns known through anything but handwavy word salads. It often turns out that the contactees are, in fact, Pleiadians themselves.
Lia Shapiro, or Lia Light, is one of those who claim that Pleiadians are using her as a channel. Her book, written by aliens about how they have come to Earth to help us evolve, is called Comes the Awakening –Realizing the Divine Nature of Who You Are (yes, even hardened self-help enthusiasts may have second thoughts on that title, but who knows?). We admit that we haven’t read it, but her website is here. Its marketing slogan seems to be “We are her to help raise your frequency”, which would probably not be a good think if she meant frequency, but she probably doesn’t. Another prominent insight on the website, “AWARENESS brings REALIZATION. Realization causes an Awakening. Awakening will bring you to an in-lightened state. In the Light, you will find your TRUTH…and finally you will know that the POWER IS WITHIN YOU” (random capitalization in the original), suggests that she hasn’t quite mastered the powers of fluffy-slick choprawoo with the slickness required to go mainstream.
The main alien messages seem to be:
– “What the world needs now is love.”
– “The Pleiadians say you control the power of all you are” (“It is important that you understand this” and “vitally important” that you understand that you can share your wisdom with others. Moreover: “[d]uring conversation with others, if you believe in your own truth and tap into your heart and soul for inspiration, you will always find that the Spirit within will help you. No matter where you originally have found answers, your inner resources become your own as you access information, taking what you need and discarding what you do not need.” Or, said more simply: when you talk to people you may evaluate the information they give you. We are lucky to have aliens traveling 400 light-years to teach us this).
– “The Pleiadians call on you to awaken.” Apparently it will cause “a quickening to your vibration that others will perceive and respond to”.
– “Navigat[e] with soul eyes.” Apparently your physical eyes are shit, but you are conditioned to use them because your “Earth home vibrates to a lower frequency, it manifests in a more physical density, thus all the problems associated with such a realm with all its physical characteristics.”
– Finally, “The Pleiadians say you are the Light of God”, that “you are more than you think you are”, and they “ask you to visualize your soul”. And so on.
She also seems to make music under the artist name “ALiEn Tribe”. The music is “inspired by my book”. We have not sampled it. (In fairness, people with whackier beliefs than Shapiro – Prokofiev and his Christian science nonsense, for instance, comes to mind – have made great music, but we don’t really feel the urge)
Diagnosis: She seems to be aiming for some kind of world record in hollow fluffery, with occasional lapses into serious lunatic ramblings about frequencies and vibrations. Completely harmless, though.

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