Thu, Feb

Record High of Nearly 80 Million People Forcibly Displaced Worldwide Amid Pandemic

CORONA WATCH--The United Nations announced Thursday that at least 75.9 million people were forcibly displaced as of the end of last year. (Photo: Houssam Hariri/UNHCR)

A United Nations report revealed Thursday that an unprecedented 79.5 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced by the end of last year "as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order" and now face the added threat of the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened millions and killed hundreds of thousands across the globe.

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A Hundred Thousand Americans Didn’t Need to Die

CORONA WATCH--America just passed the grimmest of milestones. A hundred thousand dead of Coronavirus. 

How can sense be made of a such a colossal number? The mind reels. It’s staggering. When I think about it, my head spins.

I think, though, that it’s such a big number that it almost becomes meaningless. So let me try to put it in context for you.

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To Defeat Coronavirus, We Need to Expand Medicare

CORONA WATCH--"To contain the virus and relaunch the economy, everyone needs health care," write Archer and Potter. "But without employer-sponsored health insurance and a paycheck, many workers are no longer able to afford the care they need. During a pandemic, that puts all of us in danger." (Photo: Paul Becker / Becker1999 / flickr / cc)

The novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed many failings in our health care system, among them the unreliability and excessive cost of employer-sponsored health insurance. More than 40 million people are newly unemployed as a result of the pandemic. According to economists at University of Massachusetts, PERI, among these newly unemployed, 25.6 million workers and their families—more than 75 million people—are also likely to be uninsured.

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The Coming of a Social-Distancing Version of War

CORONA WATCH-Covid-19, an ongoing global human tragedy, may have at least one silver lining. It has led millions of people to question America’s most malignant policies at home and abroad.

Regarding Washington’s war policies abroad, there’s been speculation that the coronavirus might, in the end, put a dent in such conflicts, if not prove an unintended peacemaker -- and with good reason, since a cash-flush Pentagon has proven impotent as a virus challenger. Meanwhile, it’s become ever more obvious that, had a fraction of “defense” spending been invested in chronically underfunded disease control agencies, this country’s response to the coronavirus crisis might have been so much better.

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The Bridge to the Post-pandemic World Is Collapsing

CORONA WATCH--Outside of Boston, a marketing company is struggling to figure out how to cover its bills. In Indiana, a dance studio is waiting on three emergency-loan applications. In Baltimore, a deli is closed and desperate for help.

The government is engaged in an unprecedented effort to save such companies as pandemic-related shutdowns stretch into the spring. But Washington’s policies are too complicated, too small, and too slow for many firms: Across the United States, millions of small businesses are struggling, and millions are failing. The great small-business die-off is here, and it will change the landscape of American commerce, auguring slower growth and less innovation in the future.

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Got Medicare? Get a No-Cost Test for COVID-19

CORONA WATCH--If you have Medicare and want to be tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Trump Administration has good news. 

Medicare covers tests with no out-of-pocket costs. You can get tested in your home, doctor’s office, a local pharmacy or hospital, a nursing home, or a drive-through site. Medicare does not require a doctor’s order for you to get tested.

Testing is particularly important for older people and nursing home residents, who are often among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Widespread access to testing is a critical precursor to a safe, gradual reopening of America.

When a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, Medicare will cover that, too.

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So Long to American Exceptionalism

THE CORONAVIRUS WAR--Remember the song “Over There”?

“Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming everywhere...”

Maybe not, since it was popular so long ago, but it was meant to inspire American troops saying goodbye to their country on their way to a Europe embroiled in World War I. Written by George M. Cohan, the song paid homage to an American wartime urge to do good in the world, to take what was precious about this country and spread it to less fortunate, endangered peoples elsewhere. As Jon Meacham and country music star Tim McGraw reminded us, that song’s message couldn’t have been simpler: The good guys are coming.

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LA Allegedly Extending ‘Stay at Home’ Order For 3 Months … Not Being Transparent With Residents

CORONA WATCH--A man looks toward the skyline from Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, Monday, March 16, 2020. Officials in six San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate Monday affecting nearly 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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Ideology and Politics Threaten America’s Oldest Institution

CORONA WATCH--The United States Postal Service is the most ubiquitous face of the federal government (with over 34,000 offices, delivering mail to over 160 million addresses) as well as the most well-regarded (scoring 10 points higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019). It’s in the Constitution (which it actually predates) and it’s helped bind Americans together ever since. But in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic — when its service is more essential than ever — rightwing billionaires could finally realize their decades-long dream of destroying it as it now exists, and privatizing whatever fragments seem profitable enough for continued plundering. 

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1,800+ Free Food Resources Statewide to Help Californians Access Healthy Meals

CORONA WATCH — With unemployment at nearly 20 percent and food banks serving up to 10 times more Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic than before, L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today launched a statewide guide to food resources.

The first and only map of its kind in the state, “Food for Californians” — accessible at lacontroller.org/foodforcalifornians — maps 1,800+ food banks, food pantries and emergency food distribution centers up and down California where residents can pick up free food. 

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Controller Launches COVID-19 Resource Hub

CORONA WATCH-- L.A. Controller Ron Galperin has released a comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Hub that gathers the latest federal, state and local data to give Los Angeles residents and businesses easy access to information and services they need to get through the coronavirus pandemic. Located at lacontroller.org/covid19resourcehub, the hub includes a dashboard illustrating the impact of the coronavirus on L.A. neighborhoods, along with a map showing how stimulus dollars will be distributed by community, and contains hundreds of resources organized into 16 categories — for employees and job seekers, freelancers, renters, small business owners, immigrants and much more. 

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CORONA WATCH--The thousands of members of the L.A. Tenants Union demand that our elected officials enact an immediate cancellation of rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the crisis.

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Heroic, Angry Badger Voters Show How to Dump Trump

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--This week’s astonishing people’s victory in Wisconsin has shattered the myth of an unbeatable Trump dictatorship.

A gerrymandered legislature and the Trumpite US Supreme Court failed to steal an election they were heavily favored to win.

The big upset victory put liberal challenger Jill Korofsky on to the Wisconsin’s supreme court. It has upended all the assumptions about November 2020. 

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Why You’re Going Broke While the Rich Get Richer


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--A fine gentleman named Nigel — not Farage, don’t worry — wrote to me recently to ask a question that’s probably on a lot of minds: 

“Why is ‘printing’ money out of thin air the only solution to governments in the face of this crisis?”

Now, I want you to really understand “money” once and for all — and why we need to reinvent it. So I’m going to try to really explain it to you. Bear with me — this might get a little tedious, but I promise, by the end, you should understand the mystery of money in an entirely new and clearer way.

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Joe Biden Must Step Aside Now

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--Joe Biden must step aside. NOW!!!

Someone else must be the Democratic Party’s nominee to run against Donald Trump.

As Trump lies to the world, day after day, and puts his ghastly son-in-law in charge of dragging us all into the morass of a lethal pandemic and a catastrophic economic crash, we hear virtually nothing from the presumptive opposition. 

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Trump Labor Dept Accused of 'Twisting the Law' to Slash Paid Sick Leave Amid Pandemic

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue attend a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Two Democratic members of Congress on Thursday accused the Department of Labor of quietly "twisting the law" to limit the scope of already inadequate paid sick leave provisions contained in a coronavirus stimulus package that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.

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AOC Won’t Give a Penny to the DCCC, and Good for Her.


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--Among politicians all across the United States and even the world, few have even come close to being the force that freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has managed to become in the year that she has held office. Other than Bernie Sanders, I don’t think anyone has restored my faith in the electorate and in the future quite like AOC has. 

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Walmart Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice. 

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If Trump Loses, Expect Violence


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--Should Trump lose the 2020 election, someone is going to die. The offices of a left-wing organization will be bombed. A mosque will get shot up. Someone’s skull will crack open in street battles. Possibly all three. While such a macabre prediction might strike readers as alarmist, it’s an outcome so probable it approaches absolute certainty.

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Rudy Giuliani: ‘You Should Be Happy for Your Country That I Uncovered This’

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--When I last saw Rudy Giuliani for lunch, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington four weeks ago, his most pressing concern was that he had been locked out of his Instagram account. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and current personal attorney to President Donald Trump, had a young woman named Audra, who told me she had won the “hottiesfortrump” Reddit channel’s “Miss Deplorable” contest three years in a row, there to assist him. As Giuliani and I spoke, roughly a dozen tourists asked him to pose for photos and congratulated him on the “work” he was doing for the country.

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How Capitalism Failed (and Took America With It)


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING--Go ahead and take a look at the chart above. What does it tell you? It tells me I’m looking at a society having the economic equivalent of a heart attack. From which there might well be no recovery. Let me explain.

The chart above is the “labour share of GDP.” What? It simply means how much of the economy goes to people who..work for a living. Who earns incomes from wages and salaries and tips and so forth.

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