Forget Everything You Know About Money

Of course it’s about MMT.

Ok, so this is a new source, and not a Nobel Prize winning Economist or former Secretary of Labor so I’ve had to review a sampling of material and while I’m not in 100% agreement it’s no worse than Samuelson (with whom I’m also not in 100% agreement nor any of the previously mentioned sources) and he has a very reassuring Aussie accent that makes everything seem more credible.

As far as I can discern at the moment you don’t need to exercise more than the ordinary amount of skepticism.

Part of it is perspective. The United States has the luxury of being the World’s Reserve Currency and there are no proximate rivals. Oh sure, Euros and Rials and Yuan, oh my! As is correctly explained, the primary value of currency is it can be exchanged for goods and services and the US$ is practically universally accepted and no one else is even close.

So it sucks to be paid in AU$ (of course it means Australia, Austria uses the Euro and before that Reichsmarks) or CA$ (How ’bout a Beer, eh?) unless the exchange rates are good which points up an important frequently overlooked aspect of Modern Monetary Theory (though he does get the Tax thing right), that internal Inflation for local Economic Inputs (or you can call them Resources) is meaningless from a Macroeconomic standpoint. Inflation is meaningful if you are competing for External Resources.

Again, World’s Reserve Currency. Mohammed bin Salman is not going to refuse to cut a deal, especially at these prices and the whole point is to make Fracking unprofitable- we’re also the World’s Largest Oil Producer (Yup, bigger than the House of Saud by 3 Million Barrels in 2019).

Of course if it costs more than $20 to get out of the ground you can’t make any money.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: The Covid-19 Slump Has Arrived

But we’re already botching the response.

Over a normal two-week period we’d expect around half a million U.S. workers to file claims for unemployment insurance. Over the past two weeks we’ve seen almost 10 million filings. We’re facing an incredible economic catastrophe.

The question is whether we’re ready to deal with this catastrophe. Alas, early indications are that we may be handling fast-moving economic disaster as badly as we handled the fast-moving pandemic that’s causing it.

The key thing to realize is that we aren’t facing a conventional recession, at least so far. For now, most job losses are inevitable, indeed necessary: They’re a result of social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. That is, we’re going into the economic equivalent of a medically induced coma, in which some brain functions are temporarily shut down to give the patient a chance to heal.

This means that the principal job of economic policy right now isn’t to provide stimulus, that is, to sustain employment and G.D.P. It is, instead, to provide life support — to limit the hardship of Americans who have temporarily lost their incomes.

There is, to be sure, a strong risk that we’ll have a conventional recession on top of the induced coma; more on that in subsequent columns. But for now, the focus should be on helping those in need.

James E. Baker: Why Is Trump So Timid With the Defense Production Act?

The administration has all the authority it needs to produce medical supplies and prepare for a potential vaccine.

Every Marine knows better than to pull a knife in a gunfight. But so far, that appears to be the federal government’s approach to battling Covid-19. The president has “invoked” the Defense Production Act, but the government has not used the full authority of the act. There is a difference between invoking a law and using it, just as there is a difference between talk and action.

Governors and health officials tell us that there is a profound gap between the protective equipment, hospital equipment and testing resources that are needed (and will be needed) and what is available (or in the pipeline). Bill Gates reminds us that we will need to produce millions, perhaps billions, of doses of vaccine in 12 to 18 months. This isn’t a passing crisis; we will need more of everything in two months, six months and maybe years.

Don’t let debate over the details of General Motors’ and Ventec’s honorable effort to build more ventilators hide the bottom line: The federal government has all the authority it needs to close the supply gap, allocate resources among states, and prepare for the production and distribution of the vaccine to come. Until the federal government demonstrates — with statistics, contracts and timelines — that the gap is closed and the vaccine pipeline is ready, we should ask: Why isn’t the government bringing its full arsenal to the fight?

Michelle Goldberg: Putting Jared Kushner In Charge Is Utter Madness

Trump’s son-in-law has no business running the coronavirus response.

Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror.

According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.)

Even now, it’s hard to believe that someone with as little expertise as Kushner could be so arrogant, but he said something similar on Thursday, when he made his debut at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing: “People who have requests for different products and supplies, a lot of them are doing it based on projections which are not the realistic projections.”

Kushner has succeeded at exactly three things in his life. He was born to the right parents, married well and learned how to influence his father-in-law. Most of his other endeavors — his biggest real estate deal, his foray into newspaper ownership, his attempt to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians — have been failures.

Catherine Rampell:The next threat: Hunger in America

At one food pantry in Central Texas, the queue of cars waiting to pick up boxes of food stretches a quarter-mile. In Dayton, Ohio, the line extends about a mile.

In Pittsburgh, it’s miles, plural, as families wait hours so they won’t go hungry.

Across the country, one of the less visible parts of the social safety net — tens of thousands of food pantries and food banks — is starting to fray. The federal government must do more before it unravels.

Unsurprisingly, demand for food assistance is surging.

Nearly 10 million Americans lost their jobs in just the latter half of March, according to initial unemployment benefits claims, and many of those workers are struggling to pay their bills. Children are stuck home from school, which means parents who had relied on free or reduced-price school lunches are scrambling to assemble or pick up additional meals during the week. Grocery stores cannot stock products as quickly as people want to purchase them, and many households with vulnerable family members fear cramming into crowded supermarkets.

Jamelle Bouie: The Coronavirus Test Is Too Hard for Trump

The president joins Herbert Hoover and James Buchanan as a leader who failed when it mattered most.

The list of presidential failures is long and varied. But when it comes to failure in the face of an external force — a natural disaster or an economic meltdown — it is difficult to find anything as catastrophic as President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, even at this early stage of the crisis. [..]

Trump hasn’t just failed to anticipate the way Buchanan did or failed to respond like Hoover or failed to prepare like Bush — he’s done all three. He inherited everything he needed to respond to a pandemic: explicit guidance from the previous administration and a team of experienced experts and intelligence agencies attuned to the threat posed by the quick spread of deadly disease. He even had some sensible advisers who, far from ignoring or making light of the virus, urged him to take it seriously.

The federal government may not have been able to stop coronavirus from reaching the United States — that was impossible to avoid in a globalized, highly-mobile world — but it was well equipped to deal with the problem once it reached our shores.

But as the world knows, Trump ignored, downplayed and dismissed the problem until it became one of the worst crises in our nation’s history.

Cartnoon

Not that long ago actually.

The Breakfast Club (It’s Alright To Be Alone)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Martin Luther King Jr. gives speech before assasination; Bruno Richard Hauptmann electrocuted for kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s son; President Harry Truman signs Marshall plan; Jesse James shot to death; Pony Express begins service; Actor Marlon Brando born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.

Charles Lamb

Continue reading

When was it smart?

Let’s Make America Smart Again with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Vaccines

With Stephen on Coronavirus

Will People Listen To Science?

Oh, Elsa

Yeah, super powers you’re afraid of? So not like me.

Double Down

So in Blackjack you’re dealt 2 Cards, one Face Up and the other Face Down. The value of concealment is absolutely nothing because you’re not playing against anyone at the Table, only the Dealer and they have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17 (Goal 21, anything over immediately loses).

But what about the Dealer’s Down Card?

They have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17. If you’re not 18 or better you’re playing for a Bust, you’re not going to bluff them and nobody else matters.

But because there’s nothing like sucker money (ask me about Twists, I dare you) there are 2 common “Exotic” bets you can make to lose faster. One is “Splitting”, if you draw a Pair you have the option of doubling your Bet and playing each Card separately (Two, TWO, TWO! chances to lose) with additional Down Cards.

The other is called “Doubling Down”. Once again you double your Bet and you receive for your investment but a single Card, concealed, which again- so what? Dealer only cares about his Hand.

Now if you’re sitting on a 4 and a 7 or any other combination that makes 11 total you might consider it as there are tons of Cards (all the Face Cards and the 10, so 16 out of 52) that will Max you out and 12 more (7 to 9) that will make you a Contender instead of a Bum. Good odds, 54%.

Other counts? Eh… not so much.

Let’s Double Down on Unemployment Claims, shall we?

We badly need another rescue package. Here’s what should be in it.
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

New weekly unemployment numbers were released Thursday morning, and they were absolutely stunning: 6.6 million Americans filed, not just a record number but a doubling of last week’s figure, which was itself a record. As The Post’s Heather Long noted, “The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years.”

The full scope of this crisis is just coming into view, so even though Congress just passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, an unprecedented rescue package, Democrats are already planning Phase Four.

So far, Republicans don’t seem particularly interested. “We may need a Phase Four, but we’re not even fully into Phase Three yet,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed
By Heather Long, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic.

In March, more than 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department
data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is probably even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

The U.S. government has not released an official unemployment rate, but economists say it has probably jumped to 10 percent, a massive and sudden spike from February, when the nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

The gravity of the job losses is staggering. During the Great Recession era, the U.S. unemployment rate only hit 10 percent for one month in October 2010.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist at the University of Minnesota. “The scale of the job losses in the past two weeks is on par with what we saw in two years during the Great Recession.”

Economist Heidi Shierholz has spent her life studying the job market and said she was shaking when she saw the “terrifying” number of job losses in March. Shierholz is predicting 20 million Americans will be out of work by July — the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. That is her “best case” scenario if Congress does another big stimulus package to aid the economy.

Many newly unemployed have said they weren’t able to apply for unemployment benefits, because the phone lines were so swamped they could not get through.

Gig and self-employed workers like barbers and hairdressers were also not eligible to apply until the end of March, after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion relief bill to expand who qualifies for aid. These workers are only just beginning to fill out applications.

More Americans will probably lose their jobs in coming weeks as companies that have been trying to hold on to workers are forced to let them go or reduce their hours to almost nothing.

Major retail chains including Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney announced this week they are furloughing hundreds of thousands of employees, meaning they keep their health insurance but they do not get any pay because their hours are reduced to zero. These workers are also eligible for unemployment aid, but many are only just realizing they can apply.

But the pain is spreading beyond shops and restaurants. Mercedes Addington lost her job on March 23 at a company that sells trucking parts and supplies in Kansas City, Kan. Even though the business was considered “essential” during the crisis and orders were still coming in, the company laid off most of its employees.

There’s growing concern that workers losing their jobs due to the coronavirus won’t be able to return to their same position even after the health crisis ends. The longer workers are away from a job, the more they lose that attachment to their old bosses and companies.

Nations like Denmark chose to pay all workers so they would keep their jobs, even if they are at home. But the United States has largely left it up to companies to decide what to do. Economists say it’s best if companies furlough workers like Macy’s did because at least they keep their benefits and some attachment to the company.

“Don’t lay off your workers, furlough them,” Shierholz said. “The worker will still get benefits. They don’t lose their job. And companies don’t lose their workers.”

There’s a growing consensus among economists that the economy is not going to bounce back easily from this recession given how deep and widespread it is becoming.

Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve since 2007, is predicting a slower recovery, since it will take more time for people to feel comfortable to go out to baseball games and restaurants again.

“The public health aspects of this have not gone as well as they have in some other countries, so the infection rate and the mortality rate is likely to be relatively high in the United States. That also means the economic impact is likely to be more severe than in some other places,” Rosengren said.

(note: I had to use this as part of the Soundtrack for a Video I made so I’ve only heard it a Bajillion times and hate it more with each repeat.)

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Eric Posner and Emily Bazelon: Trump Is Politicizing the Pandemic. Governors Can Fight Back.

States need the federal government, and that has allowed Mr. Trump to indulge his worst tendencies.

As the Trump administration has floundered in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s governors have tried to step into the breach.

Gavin Newsom of California was the first to issue a statewide order to stay home. In Washington State, Jay Inslee’s aggressive measures have gotten credit as the rate of increase of the infection appears to be starting to slow. And Andrew Cuomo’s daily news conferences in New York have become a steady and popular source of sound information and empathy.

These governors and other local officials have offered a welcome alternative to the president’s erratic directives and briefings. And their forceful actions may seem to vindicate the wisdom of the founders, who reserved important functions to the states so that the national government would not grow too powerful. As Vice President Mike Pence put it on March 22, “One of the things that makes America different is that we have a system of federalism.”

But in the context of the pandemic, federalism has allowed President Trump to indulge his worst tendencies. States depend on the federal government to confront disease outbreaks like the coronavirus pandemic. In the early days of Covid-19, state and local officials weren’t in a position to foresee the scope of the threat or control the levers that could have suppressed it.

Amanda Marcotte: Don’t get too excited about Trump’s “somber” tone — he’ll be back to normal soon

Mainstream press gushes over Trump’s temporarily adult tone, but we all know he’ll backslide soon enough

On Tuesday, Donald Trump held a press conference that sounded slightly less like the P.T. Barnum-style daily events whose ratings he’s been bragging about ever since he took them over from Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump feared was hogging the spotlight. He managed to admit the death toll is likely to be a six-digit number and, after spending months minimizing the new coronavirus, even admitted this is worse than the flu. Naturally, the forever-gulllible press immediately began praise Trump as if he were a two-year-old who went poo-poo in the potty like a big boy. [..]

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for these folks, even though they’re marks walking into a trap laid by a con artist who has been grifting since he first went poo-poo in the potty. It’s not easy to accept the reality of our nightmarish situation. A pandemic is ripping across the country and our president, a man who meets every criterion on the sociopath checklist, does not care how many people die or face financial ruin, so long as he can win re-election. Of course it’s alluring to believe that there is a human being capable of compassion or care somewhere inside that ghoulish exterior, and that he will rise to this occasion.

This is exactly the kind of thing abuse victims go through with their abusers, often for years: Believing that this time he has changed, he won’t hit you again, those flowers he bought when he apologized are so nice, and so on. But it’s important to come to grips with the fact that he will always hit you again.

 
Jennifer Rubin: Trump is always the last to figure it out

If you watch New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or most every other governor (except the bumbling Ron DeSantis of Florida) at his or her daily news conference, you will see someone in command of the facts (e.g., number of infected patients, number of beds, number of ventilators, number of discharged patients) and with a clear sense of mission.

On Wednesday, Newsom rattled off lines like this: “Again, the prioritization of our day in date discussion interaction is the issue of hospitalizations and ICU beds. Roughly hospitalizations to ICUs are running about 41, almost 42%. You extrapolate that out based on the graph that was just provided in the model, we’ll exceed that phase one surge capacity of 50,000 somewhere in the middle part of May, and if you get up to about 66,000, that’s based upon our current modeling, we’re looking about 27,000 ICU beds that we’ll need to procure in this state.” Just imagine — no, you can’t do it — President Trump displaying that mastery of information. [..]

The contrast between the governors’ level of sophistication and Trump’s abject ignorance manages to still shock and appall us. On Wednesday, Trump explained how his thinking on covid-19 had changed. “The severity,” Trump said. “I think also in looking at the way that the contagion is so contagious, nobody’s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people all of a sudden have it just by being in the presence of somebody who has it. The flu has never been like that. . . . Also the violence of it if it hits the right person.” The contagion is so contagious. That’s the president of the United States.

Dana Milbank: Republicans were warned. Yet they persisted in defending Trump.

That notorious cut-up Mitch McConnell got an early jump on April Fools’ Day this year, blaming Democrats for the Trump administration’s failure to prepare for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial,” the Senate majority leader said Tuesday. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government.”

In addition to implicitly acknowledging that President Trump wasn’t paying attention to the growing danger, it was a curious entry into the blame game for the Kentucky Republican, who recently said this isn’t “a time for partisan bickering.”

If anybody was diverted, it was McConnell, who, along with most of his GOP colleagues, again put lockstep defense of the president ahead of the national interest. During the three weeks of the impeachment trial, public health experts gave stark warnings about the growing biological threat. In that same time, several Senate Democrats (and a few Republicans) urged a more robust mobilization.

You know who said nothing? McConnell.

Elliot Hannon: The Far Right Is Looking for Miracles and Scapegoats to Bail Us Out of the Coronavirus Crisis

The U.S. government is now providing a security detail for infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci because as his stature has grown as one of the pillars of the American response to the pandemic, so have the rumblings of the far-right, conspiracy-theory wing of President Donald Trump’s support. The 79-year-old has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than 35 years, working with numerous administrations on infectious disease preparedness and response, ranging from HIV/AIDS to SARS and H1N1. To most Americans, that is a comforting sign of the experience and expertise that you would look for and appreciate in, say, the doctor who was treating your family. To conspiracy-minded Trump supporters, those decades of experience and public service are an indicator of something sinister: the anti-Trump deep state. [..]

The right wing has struggled to come to grips with the scale and potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A mixture of disbelief of anything beyond its immediate orbit, a profound unwillingness to take any coordinated personal action beyond consumption, and an implicit reliance on divine intervention have turned a distressingly large portion of the American political spectrum toward scapegoats rather than solutions. For the most virulent part of the Trump supporter base, Fauci is one of those scapegoats. “Outlets such as the Gateway Pundit and American Thinker seized on a 2013 email—released by WikiLeaks as part of a cache of communications hacked by Russian operatives—in which Fauci praised Hillary Clinton’s ‘stamina and capability’ during her testimony as secretary of state before the congressional committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” the Washington Post reports.

Cartnoon

I am given to understand that Diabetes is a risk factor.

It’s no joke. I’ve known several people who were extremely Diabetic, I wonder how many are still alive since some of them were not very particular about their blood sugar. That’s really important, I’ve seen people pass out and it’s scary because there’s not much you can do besides call an Ambulance and hard to tell if they need sugar or Insulin.

Or at least it is for me. Not a Doctor.

Not a problem I have and I say that because I was tested in relation to my treatment for Macular Degeneration (it can be a cause). Oh, did I mention I was going blind? The good news is not anymore (Top 5% in Recovery but I bet they say that to everybody to encourage them) though it does involve letting the Doctor stick a needle in your eye fully awake with no anesthesia (this is really freaky and I don’t recommend it).

The Breakfast Club (Who Ever Said)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Pope John Paul II Dies at 84; President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany; Juan Ponce de Leon lands in Florida; Falkland Islands seized from Britain; Hans Christian Andersen Born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.

Plato

Continue reading

Daily Nightly

In The Mood For A Vacation?

Seth Explains Quaran-Teen Slang: The Mail, Corona Bae

New Full Frontal Tonight: Too Many Trees Edition | Full Frontal on TBS

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This | Full Frontal on TBS

Leftover Salmon “Aquatic Hitchhiker”

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Heather Digby Parton: Not an April Fool: This humiliating failure is actually our president during a national crisis

Turns out a second-rate celebrity whose only skill was in branding was not qualified for this. What a surprise

Donald Trump thought the job of being president was to “make deals” in the same way he made deals as president of the Trump Organization, his family business. The job does require negotiation skills, to be sure, but it turns out that Trump is very bad at those, which should have been obvious to anyone who gave a cursory look at his business career.

Trump had a lot of help from his father when it came to the real estate business, but his real talent was for turning celebrity into cash. It is literally the only thing he’s good at. He spent decades working the tabloid press in New York City, building his name as a Big Player with a Big Lifestyle, culminating in his very own reality TV show. He was a Kardashian before Kardashians had been invented — a person whose “job” is simply to live in the media.

The job of a president is just a bit more complicated than that. There is an element of celebrity, of course, especially in the modern era. Trump has indeed mastered that side of the job. In fact, it’s pretty much all he understands. He bragged about the ratings for his coronavirus campaign rallies and made this weird observation about them during Tuesday’s event:

He’s good at being the center of attention. You have to give him that. But aside from dealing with Congress and foreign leaders — which, as mentioned, he does very badly —the main job of a president is to manage the federal government and lead the nation in a time of crisis. And Donald Trump has absolutely no idea how to do either of those things.

Elinor Kaufman: Please, Stop Shooting. We Need the Beds.

Gunshot victims are fighting for space inside our overcrowded I.C.U.s.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

I get these pages almost every night at the trauma center where I work. I rush to put on my protective equipment to guard against blood and other bodily fluids. But for the first time, I’m saving clean masks to reuse them. Because of coronavirus, the parents of my patients need a special escort because visitors are not allowed in the waiting room. I can’t bring a family to a gunshot victim’s bedside in the intensive care unit. I can’t tell a frightened mother that she can stay as long as she wants.

Doctors like me are trying to keep the world safe from the coronavirus pandemic. But thousands of families in America are already caught in the country’s existing epidemic: gun violence.

Firearm injuries are calamitous for the more than 120,000 people shot each year in the United States and their families. But the consequences for our health system are even more dire as we fight the coronavirus.

We need I.C.U. beds, we need ventilators, we need personnel to care for the wave of Covid-19 patients. But gunshot victims are now fighting for space and resources inside America’s overcrowded I.C.U.s.

George T. Conway III: Impeachment didn’t distract from coronavirus preparations. Trump did.

There should have been shame enough in orchestrating the acquittal of an impeached president who, in order to extort help for his reelection campaign, unlawfully withheld security aid to an ally. Shame enough in turning the Senate impeachment trial into a sham by refusing to hear a single live witness.

But it turns out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was just getting started.

On Tuesday, he added to the disgrace by claiming that impeachment distracted officials from dealing with the coronavirus. Speaking to radio host (and Post columnist) Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said the virus “came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day, was all about impeachment.”

This is gaslighting of the highest order. Leave aside that the president now claims that he presciently “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic” and that he “always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.”

Look at the calendar. The impeachment trial ended on Feb. 5. In reality, it was over before it even started, thanks in large part to McConnell. The only drama was about whether there’d be any witnesses — and that ended on Jan. 31, when the Senate voted not to hear testimony. That left plenty of time to deal with the virus.

And while some lawyers in the executive branch and Congress were working on impeachment around the clock, impeachment didn’t consume the government. Trump managed to get to Mar-a-Lago at least four times in January and February, working in a few rounds of golf along the way. He held five campaign rallies around the country during the impeachment trial.

Robert Reich: Ignore the bankers – the Trump economy is not worth more coronavirus deaths

CEOs, billionaires and advisers have the president’s ear and want people back to work. They are callous – and wrong

Dick Kovacevich, former CEO of Wells Fargo bank, thinks most Americans should return to work in April, urging that we “gradually bring those people back and see what happens”.

Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, whose net worth is $1.1bn, recommends “those with a lower risk of the diseases return to work” within a “very few weeks”.

Tom Galisano, the founder of Paychex, whose net worth is $2.8bn, believes “the damages of keeping the economy closed could be worse than losing a few more people. You’re picking the better of two evils.” [..]

It may seem logical to weigh the threat to public health against the accumulating losses to the economy, and then at some point decide economic losses outweigh health risks. As Stephen Moore, who is advising the White House, warns: “You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillions of dollars you’re talking about.”

But this leaves out one big thing. The “trillions of dollars” of economic losses don’t exist on any balance sheet that can be tallied against human lives. An “economy” is nothing but human beings. So it matters whose losses we’re talking about – whose losses of life, and whose losses of dollars.

Ross Barkin: There is no greater illustration of corporate America’s moral decay than Amazon

The company dismissed a worker who had been protesting conditions – someone who dared to raise the consciousnesses of those around him

n Monday, Amazon fired a warehouse worker who had been protesting about conditions at a New York City facility during the coronavirus outbreak. Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, had led a walkout demanding Amazon temporarily shut the facility for cleaning after multiple workers tested positive for Covid-19.

It was a move that spoke to the inherent inhumanity of the trillion-dollar corporation, one that will need to be brought to heel by a future presidential administration. The workers were seeking hazard pay and more protective gear as they labored during the pandemic. This, along with Smalls’ willingness to challenge the company, was apparently too much to take. [..]

There is no greater illustration of the moral decay of 21st-century corporate America than Amazon. Past behemoths trafficked in noblesse oblige, tolerating unions and even investing in their workforce. Automobile plants and steel mills accepted that the price of doing business was guaranteeing their workers more than a subsistence wage.

Cartnoon

Maxwell, because he’s really important if you want to understand modern Physics-

Joan was quizzical
Studied pataphysical
Science in the home
Late nights all alone with a test tube, oh, oh, oh, oh
Maxwell Edison
Majoring in medicine
Calls her on the phone
“Can I take you out to the pictures, Joan?”
But as she’s getting ready to go
A knock comes on the door

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

Back in school again
Maxwell plays the fool again
Teacher gets annoyed
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
She tells Max to stay
When the class has gone away
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be so”, oh, oh, oh
But when she turns her back on the boy
He creeps up from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

P.C. 31
Said “We’ve caught a dirty one”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures, oh, oh, oh, oh
Rose and Valerie
Screaming from the gallery
Say “He must go free” (“Maxwell must go free”)
The judge does not agree
And he tells them so, oh, oh, oh
But as the words are leaving his lips
A noise comes from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead

So, it’s a song about a Serial Killer.

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