Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day

CLR James: “When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity.”
+ Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award?
+ At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that viciously attacks the lungs of humans, the Trump administration is rolling back the clean cars rule, permitting a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
+ Despite months of warning, the Coronavirus has now killed more people in the US than 9/11. By next week, it will probably be killing more people in the US than 9/11 every week. By the following week, every day.
+ 6.6 Million initial jobless claims. That’s 10 million over the last two weeks. As designed, the neoliberal system is barely capable of serving the un- & underemployed in a mild recession. It’s going to collapse under the weight of a cratering depression. Then what? Are we to suppose that Biden and Trump, two of the most ridiculous figures ever to rise to leadership positions in this country, are going to work it all out on the phone from their respective bunkers?
+ Biden was asked by Chuck Todd if there’s blood on Trump’s hands. He responded: “I think that’s a little too harsh.”
+ Wrong again, Nate. There were 1,000 Richard Clarkes warning this was coming…
+ Nancy Pelosi, April 2019: “When most people say they’re for Medicare-for-all, I think they mean health care for all. Let’s see what that means. A lot of people love having their employer-based insurance.” Have you polled the 10 million newly unemployed to see how they like it now, Nancy?
+ Is PeteBot still promoting his Medicare-for-All-Who-Want-It scheme? I bet about 6.6 million people raised their hands today…
+ When speaking about nuclear war, Jonathan Schell talked about the “two deaths”: those killed immediately in the blast and those who would die lingering deaths from radiation, starvation, economic privation. Under our merciless form of government, COVID-19 will also exact a cascading sequence of miseries: first your job, then your health insurance, then your life…
+ Warning: This is your country on neoliberalism. Reserve your space soon. The parking lot is filling fast…
+ Ralph Nader: “Trump complains that China didn’t notify us when they knew about the coronavirus, but the NSA surveils everything, and they would have scooped up the first electronic transmissions between officials in Wuhan and from Wuhan to Beijing. Letting Trump know what Chairman Xi knew.”
+ What happens when the scapegoat (China) for your own lethal incompetence is richer, bigger and in a stronger global position than you are? Buckle up, we’re about to find out…
+ South Korea had the same “intelligence” about China’s COVID-19 crisis as Trump, yet skillfully and methodically managed to shackle the spread of the virus two weeks ago, while it rages here like a climate-change driven wildfire…Looks like somebody left the rake in the barn.
+ The country of immigrants is the most anti-immigrant country in the world.
+ I take it as a basic fact that all governments lie and that all governments know all other governments lie and they lie about the lies to cover the consequences of their own lies.
+ It’s probably pointless to note that South Korea has ranked higher than the US in most global “democracy” ratings since the 2000 elections…

Here’s Seema Verma suggesting that one reason South Korea has been so effective in responding to the coronavirus is because it isn’t a “free” country like the United States
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 2, 2020

+ Speaking of the state of democracy in America, here’s Trump speaking to the very same FoxNews about the House corona relief bill: “The things they had in there were crazy. They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
+ Mike Pence Wednesday on CNN: “We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point.” (We could have been like South Korea, Japan, or Vietnam. But, no, because, you know, China…)
+ When Pence says the US is on the Italy trend, let’s be clear what he’s admitting: Italy currently has the WORST death COVID-19 death rate in the world at 218 deaths per 1 million people, though Spain is closing rapidly. That’s an admission of staggering incompetence and negligent homicide.
+ What to do when you’ve fucked up bigger than anyone has fucked up in the history of the Republic? Blame hospital workers, of course…
+ Aura Bogdado: “Maybe you have COVID so don’t leave the house and spread it. Maybe you DON’T have COVID so don’t leave the house and get it. Sorry no coronavirus tests are available. Also don’t wear a mask it’s PPE. Just kidding wear a mask it’s good public health. Sorry no masks are available.”
+ Total U.S. coronavirus tally at the end of each Friday. As Andrew Yang would say: MATH…
• Jan 17 — 0
• Jan 24 — 2
• Jan 31 — 7
• Feb 7 — 12
• Feb 14 — 15
• Feb 21 — 30
• Feb 28 — 65
• Mar 6 — 310
• Mar 13 — 2,224
• Mar 20 — 17,962
• Mar 27 — 102,636
• April 3 — 245,000 and rising…
+ According to the latest CDC modeling (assuming full mitigation measures are enforced), the virus will peak in the US at 2,214 daily deaths on April 15…
+ A couple of weeks ago, Trump said the virus would come and magically go away, killing maybe 15 people. Now, he’s saying anything less than 200,000 dead would be a big success thanks to him.
+ Anyone who survives will owe Trump a check…
+ Trump’s nightly carnival show will soon become a spectacle of him drawing lines with his Sharpie on CDC charts to explain away the daily body count of dead Americans.
+ Natalie Elsberg: “’Please don’t let anything happen to my loved ones that might require us going to a hospital’ is how millions of Americans were living without health care before COVIDー19.”
+ On April 1st, 1871, the Paris Commune abolished rent. It could happen here…if we make it.
+ The final survivor of La Nueve, the company of Spanish Republican soldiers who were the first to enter Paris in 1944, has died aftering having contracted the coronavirus. Rafael Gómez Nieto was aged 99….
+ Billionaires’ net worths, measured in the cost of ventilators:
Bezos: 4,784,000 ventilators
Gates: 4,004,000 ventilators
Buffet: 2,860,000 ventilators
Zuckerberg: 2,472,000 ventilators
Bloomberg: 2,344,000 ventilators

Hospitals in the US have a total of 170,000 ventilators. (Source: Public Citizen)
+ After announcing he is finally utilizing the Defense Production Act to make ventilators, Trump says, “C-O-V-I-D 19. You know what that is. Right? Become a very famous term. C-O-V-I-D. COVID.” Trump has all the best words, no question…
+ New York is paying enormous markups for vital supplies (as much as 15 times the normal prices in some cases), including almost $250,000 for an X-ray machine. Laws against price gouging usually don’t apply…
+ HRC with one more “bad call”…
+ Cost of hospital stay for COVID-19
Without insurance: $42k-$74k
With insurance: portion of $22k-$38k
+ Like every check Trump ever signed his name to….
NBCNews: Week of April 13 is earliest Americans will see direct deposit relief payments from the government; paper checks could take as long as 20 weeks — nearly 5 months — for some Americans
+ Nurses, the people Lindsey Graham claimed were ripping off America by making $24 an hour…

+ NYC emergency room Dr. Calvin Sun worked 18 shifts in the last 21 days, intubated his own nursing staff, and saw ER patients, who were clearly COVID positive, wait for more than 80 hours for a hospital bed.
+ One big step closer to single-payer (the hard way)…”Trump closes Obama health insurance exchanges…”
+ Dave Anthony: “It’s going to be called Trumpcare and it will be an expansion of Medicare for everyone. Democrats will have to live with that failure for decades.”
+  The Thalidomide Solution: On March 11th, the Food and Drug Administration said that it was postponing most inspections of foreign manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, medical devices and food imported into the United States.”
+ I understand why Don Jr. and Eric didn’t volunteer for military service (brain spurs). But that incapacity should in no way deter them from volunteering as human guinea pigs in clinical trials of untested potential COVID vaccines…
+ Here’s what West Virginia (!) asked for in terms of emergency COVID-response supplies and what they received from FEMA, according to the US House oversight committee…
+ Matt O’Brien: “New rule: anyone who thinks the cure is worse than the disease should be given the disease first.”
+ When Trump says he knew “thousands” would die & that it could be both “horrible” and “good”, it means he thought most of the victims dying horrible deaths would be New Yorkers, liberals, his creditors, blacks, Hispanics, women he’d sexually assaulted and people who had said bad things about him…
+ Trump, Feb. 26: “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”
Trump, March 31: “It’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”
+ How much advance warning did Trump give Hannity before he broke the news to America that the flu had flown and the vicious virus had arrived?
+ It’s not like the Trump administration is totally incapable of taking prompt actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Case in point: they moved swiftly to add firearms to the list of critical pandemic infrastructure.
+ The fact that people are dying in jails because they can’t afford bail for minor, non-violent crimes and this walking is walking free, voting on legislation that will further enrich her sums up the state of play in America. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) has reported more stock sales amid insider allegation accusations. Among that spate of sales, though, was an interesting stock purchase– in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments…
+ Loeffler spends more on her hair in a week than most people will draw from unemployment…Where’s Joe the Sniffer when you need him?

It’s easy to feel down right now. But we can’t forget: social distancing will save lives. During these times, it’s the small, positive moments that remind us why we must stay strong.
Whether you’re on the front lines or at home, each of us plays a role in getting through this.
— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@SenatorLoeffler) April 1, 2020

+ Adam Smith (1759): “The disposition almost to worship, the rich and to despise persons of poor and mean condition  [is] the cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”
+ During World War 2, FDR instituted the Lend-Lease program to provide $1 billion worth of tanks, planes and other military aid to the USSR. Now the US finds itself on the receiving end…
+ Army briefing from early February warned that Coronavirus could kill between 85,000-150,000 Americans. The assessment made it at least as far up the chain of command as the Army Secretary and the Chief of Staff….
+ It was the worst of times; it was the most absurd of times…Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shared with his cabinet a video he claimed was evidence of Iran concealing coronavirus deaths by dropping bodies in garbage dumps. Hours later, his office realized it was actually a clip from a 2007 Hallmark mini-series called “Pandemic”…Perhaps that’s where Trump got the intelligence about Iran planning to strike US bases in Iraq?
+ What if the wars you plotted as a distraction from the wreckage you made of your own country end up taking down the Empire instead?
+ Don’t let the Governor of Florida see this: Turkmenistan ‘bans the word coronavirus‘. People wearing face masks are even liable to be arrested by undercover police…
+ Among states with 5000 or mores cases, Florida was the only one that was not under a statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order (until Weds afternoon). On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference that he had no plans to issue a statewide order because “the White House had not told him to do so.” (He abruptly change his mind after Florida report more than 1,000 new cases on Tuesday night.)
+ That moment you realize that “Florida Man”…is the governor of your state.
+ Speaking of Florida Men, Brian Kolfage, a Florida military veteran who recently convinced Americans to donate millions of dollars for a privately built wall on the U.S. southern border, is now hawking millions of protective face masks in critically short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic…
+ Alabama Gov. Kay (the Executioner Lady) Ivey, explaining why she didn’t institute a state-wide stay at home order: “Y’all we are not California”.  She’s right, of course. Alabama’s Covid-19 infection rate is 25 per 100k, higher than California’s rare of 17 per 100k.
+ A jaw-dropping admission of deadly ignorance (or feigned deadly ignorance) from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who says he only just learned that asymptomatic people can transmit Covid-19. “[I]ndividuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.”
+ Florida Senator Rick Scott, whose company made $1.7 billion from fraudulent billings to Medicare  now wants to cut US funding for the World Health Organization because he believes it helped China cover up the extent of the COVID-19 crisis. Why not investigate why FLORIDA kept the beaches open for spring break, months after China informed WHO and the USA government about how infectious and lethal COVID was and revealed its genetic sequencing…eh, Sen Scott?
+ FEMA is warning states not to expect any shipments of ventilators until they are within 72 hours of a crisis. Crisis? What crisis?
+ Jared Kushner: “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be OUR stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states stockpiles that they then use.” Now that Kushner’s running COVID-ops for Trump, we’re all Palestinians …

Here’s Jared Kushner going for the world record of most meaningless corporate buzzwords used in a single one-minute video clip
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 2, 2020

+ I can to an increasingly limited extent understand the white working class’ ongoing attraction to Trump, who remains in character as a familiar rogue out the World Wrestling Federation’s cast of brawlers. But for the life of me I can’t comprehend why they don’t want to set their packs of coon dogs loose on the slumlord Jared Kushner every time he opens his whiney, condescending little mouth.
+ Trump was quick to try to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bailout the oil industry, but neglected to fill the orders for the Strategic Ventilator Reserve to bailout those whose lungs were drowning in fluids from COVID-19…
+ America First (suckers): “As coronavirus sweeps the globe, there is not a single Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator — developed with government funds — in the U.S. stockpile. Meanwhile, Royal Philips N.V. has sold higher-priced versions to clients around the world.”
+ When the people running the government don’t believe in government why would you expect even the basic & essential services of the government to work? Every one of their own failures reconfirms their believe that government should be replaced by private enterprises…
+ Camus, 60 years in the ground, on the present moment:
“Nevertheless, many continued hoping that the epidemic would soon die out and they and their families be spared. Thus they felt under no obligation to make any change in their habits as yet. Plague was for them an unwelcome visitant, bound to take its leave one day as unexpectedly as it had come. Alarmed, but far from desperate, they hadn’t yet reached the phase when plague would seem to them the very tissue of their existence; when they forgot the lives that until now it had been given them to lead. In short, they were waiting for the turn of events.”
+ Oops, he did it again…
+ As Britney Spears knows, the economic impact of COVID will not be shared equally: The average woman in the USA made just 81% of what her white male counterpart earned in 2019. Black women earned 67%, Hispanic women earned 58%.
+ COVID-19…it’s not just for geezers. (And despite what you heard from CNN & the NYT, it never was.)…28 students from the University of Texas at Austin chartered a plane to Mexico for spring break. They’ve now all tested positive for coronavirus.
+ A 42-year-old woman in Arkansas with no pre-existing health condition (and who had never been hospitalized before, according to her sister) who felt “a little sick” on March 15 and thought it to be a cold or a sinus infection. After developing shortness of breath and cough that wouldn’t go away, she was admitted to the hospital and tested positive to Covid-19. She was put on a ventilator in ICU and, after 4 days, she died.
+ There goes Ralph Nader making entirely too much sense for television again: “Not giving undocumented workers insurance for COVID-19 is foolhardy. Do we want these workers who harvest our food, serve our elderly, and other critical tasks to go without testing and treatment and be contagious? This is where compassion and self interest can join together.”
+ If CNN gave Ralph Nader just one hour each Friday evening to demolish all the nonsense Trump, Pence and Biden had spewed over the course of the previous week, can you imagine how much better informed the country would be about what is required to confront the crisis that is enveloping us?
+ In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic’s human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.
+ In California, Governor Gavin Newsom remains reluctant to release people from overcrowded prisons, even as COVID-19 spreads. The state is under a federal court order to reduce its inmate population to less than 137.5% of capacity. It is barely under that cap.
+ Most of the talk about prisons now centers on the belief that inmates will infect staffers, who will then carry the virus into the public realm, making the inmates doubly guilty: first for their alleged crimes, then for being vectors of the virus. In fact, It’s more likely that the staff will be infected by their families who will infect other staff members who will infect inmates who will infect other inmates who will infect more staffers who will infect their families who will infect….
+ Number of inmates in Oregon prisons: 14,500
Number tested for COVID-19: 10
+ I wonder if “Rev.” Franklin Graham will allow such blood (Type: O-Satan) inside his Central Park MASH units?
+ It’s as if we’re back at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, when it wasn’t enough to fight a killer virus you had to fend off the ravenous swarm of “religious” bigots as well…
+ The Trump Administration is now saying seniors on Social Security must file a tax return to get a $1,200 check. This extra hurdle means millions of Americans will likely miss out on the payment.
+ John Henry: “Suddenly, the whole nation is depending on the same people they say shouldn’t make $15 an hour.”
+ Mark Ames: “Assume they knew long ago we should all be wearing masks—this idea has been floating around for awhile—but they lied to cover up the fact that they didn’t prepare, didn’t want to prepare, and didn’t really give a shit about our peon lives anyway.”
+ I know Andrew Cuomo is suddenly the new hero of the libs, but has he really been the man of the hour?
+ There’s an impression that the NYC outbreak is largely centered in Queens. In fact, it’s all over the place. Here are the numbers from Wed. morning’s Dept. of Health update…
– 40,900 positive cases
– 932 deaths
– 13,576 in Queens
– 10,904 in Brooklyn
– 7,625 in the Bronx
– 6,446 in Manhattan
– 2,314 on Staten Island
+ Andrew Cuomo on his brother Chris Cuomo: “Everyone is subject to this virus, it is the great equalizer.” Yes, Gov, the virus is the great equalizer. It’s the kind of treatment you receive after you contract the virus which reveals the great, often fatal, inequalities…
+ Jay Inslee ain’t great (as anyone living in the PNW knows) but he looks like the best we’ve got at the moment and he beats the hell out of Cuomo. Bonus points for getting called “a snake” by Trump…
+ Average travel in Seattle per person fell from 3.8 miles per day to 61 feet per day due to social distancing…
+ Rarely has America witnessed an election where the two leading candidates for president seem so eager to kill off the electorate: Joe Biden still wants people in Wisconsin to vote in person. “A convention with 10,000 people in an very different from having people walking into a polling booth…” Biden says he also supports using “some” mail-ballots. But refuses to support an all-mail election.
+ Joe Biden just seems out of touch. In fact, he’ll touch you when (and where) you least expect it…
+ Biden surrogates have spent the last couple of days going back in their timelines to delete Brett Kavanaugh-related Tweets and Facebook posts in order not to have their “Believe the Women” standards invoked against Joe the Groper…
+ But, hey, our sexual predator isn’t as crude as their sexual predator.
+ Some things Biden doesn’t equivocate about. For example, his unyielding opposition to single-payer health care. On MSDNC just now, Joe Biden says he still opposes Medicare for All as the coronavirus crisis grows: “Single payer will not solve that at all.” (Please go back to sleep, Joe. No one except Trump wants to hear you talk.)
+ Biden is very clear and adamant about his opposition to single-payer, but generates nothing but verbal mush when questioned about the murderous toll being exacted by the US’s sanctions on Iran…
+ Whenever Biden starts a sentence by saying, “Let me be clear…” (as in “people won’t have to pay for COVID testing or treatment”), it’s a flashing indicator that he’s about to lie his ass off…
+ $300 Million: the amount of money the airline industry has spent lobbying congress since their last big bailout…
+ $47 Million: the amount of money they spent on stock buybacks over the last decade. (h/t Doug Henwood.)
+ Zoom is now valued at 50% more than all the US airlines put together.
+ Low & mid-income countries don’t have the luxury of relying on their hospitals to mop up the mess of COVID-19. They hardly have ICUs. So many are taking extreme measures to curb total disaster. Amy Maxmen, one of the best health and science journalists around, reports for Nature on how four nations are struggling to limit deaths faster than the United States and other wealthy countries.
+ Week 3: About half of U.S. workers say they or someone in their household has lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 23% who have experienced a household job loss….”
+ Your mission, should you choose to accept it, Corona…
+ Carnival Cruise CEO Arnold Donald is pleading for a bailout:
•They’re registered in Panama
•5% of their workforce are American
•They pay

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