Memorial day thought: what does American society come back from — or come back to — after coronavirus?

coronavirus up close
This virus doesn’t discriminate. But money helps you avoid dying so fast …

Here’s what “We’re in the same boat” means during a pandemic right now.

Answer this: if someone has been aporophobic or racist — be it blatant, passive, willfully ignorant or plain hateful — for much of their lives, how is a coronavirus pandemic going to magically make them believe “we’re in this together” or “in the same boat”?

For them, banging on pots and pans out of windows each night while they wait for some low-paid immigrant to deliver dinner will never become their exorcism.

In some instances, I’m beginning to believe the pots-and-pans celebration ritual has become a ritualistic affirmation of their privilege.

But … I’m open to having my mind changed.

I need to change some details of the following true story to protect the innocent: a wealthy Brooklyn couple furloughed their nanny because of New York State’s pandemic shelter-in-place orders. The wife later calls the nanny back to work for an urgent and unique assignment — to sit with the wife’s bedbound mother-in-law who resides in a nursery home, a known nest of COVID-19 deaths.

Doesn’t seem like the same boat to me.

For the record, my friend refused the death assignment.

I also don’t see how enticing Instacart delivery staff with $50 tips to complete a grocery order, only to reduce the tip to ZERO at the last minute, reflects a same-boat mentality.

And with respectful apologies to Reverend Al Sharpton and Peggy Noonan, this pandemic livescape doesn’t even look like separate boats.

I see one boat with an expectation that satellites of people will find ways to float in order to serve it — regardless of the water’s anger.

Homeless New Yorkers have adjusted to pandemic reality by positioning themselves for cash donations in front of every neighborhood store deemed by government officials to be sufficiently essential to remain open for business. The real-time struggle by the most unfortunate of New Yorkers to live has become social media content — or at least smartphone fodder — for Tribeca residents, who are killing time after acquiring even more toilet paper and bleach than they could possibly use during the next three years.

No, shopping product minimums do not exist. Yes, stores are bowing to the bellows of the well-heeled. I’ve witnessed it.

My remark about residents taking on the role of amateur journalists for kicks assumes the locals didn’t leave town by now. 

While I took a southward walk through Midtown Manhattan a week ago,  the streets were filled with homeless and delivery workers of color — and plenty of police cars. They all outnumbered the trickle of residents making (presumably) essential store trips.

In another neighborhood, I saw a socially-distanced queue of wannabe Whole Foods shoppers that extended down the block. The long side of a city block. They complained about their inconvenienced lives just before surrendering money to one of the more expensive grocery chains in America — all while passing a man on the immediate corner asking for food or money.

I carry these thoughts into Memorial Day today, where the US government has included pandemic essential workers — living and dead — in the heroic celebrations of fallen military personnel.

Except these workers were drafted in a deadly war without proper survival training, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, a national disease testing regimen, the disappearance of hazard pay with a public health war in progress, and a President with all the legal authority to change the current level of “troop” support, has instead chosen to romanticize health care personnel “running into death” as a “beautiful thing to see”.

My sight tells a different story: grateful for the workers’ sacrifice but there will be more social inequality; a prediction of even more inequality; an economic recovery that will not happen soon; an assumed sense privilege among some citizens, or a patriotic sense of duty to not wear masks and possibly infect the poor and older Americans with COVID-19 “freedom”; and a government that has effectively urged an immediate return from state- and local-sanctioned quarantine orders while accepting the risk that more vulnerable Americans will die.

Or as Nazi Germany described the more vulnerable, a “life not worthy of living.”

For people who want to see “America’s come back”, I have to ask two questions.

Come back to what? Come back from what?

My future vision still sees only one boat and many scrambling satellites …

song currently stuck in my head: “the gentle rain” – george benson

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‘You ain’t Black’ Part 3: how Biden can fix the mess he’s made

Joe can lose the arrogance, for starters …

It’s time for the Presidential hopeful to share and discuss his platform on race — and understand his place in the eyes of the Black electorate. Plus, a rare endorsement from this blog.

About four years ago, but without a public endorsement, I categorized the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Presidential race as a question of where you want to count the dead bodies — within the US, or in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Trump has proven to be every bit of the domestic death option.

I never made endorsements on this blog, but at this point, I would endorse Joe Biden for President.

To be honest, Biden never made the top of my list of candidates to support — he never made any list of mine at all.

I’m not the only one with that point of view, based on the low level of voter enthusiasm around him.

I would endorse Biden because I don’t want President Donald Trump and his team around to deal with the next pandemic. Or any other crisis. He’ll get us killed.

Biden will do less harm.

Still keeping it real — Biden is enjoying President Obama’s halo. Yes, I said it.

Biden crashed so hard and early during the 2008 campaign that some of us forgot that he actually tried to be President back then. Had he not served as Obama’s Vice President, I seriously doubt he would be a contender for President today. This is why I was a bit tickled to see Biden’s fire-from-the-hip arrogance during yesterday’s appearance on The Breakfast Club show with Charlamagne the God.

Still, Biden is not Trump.

There are some international concerns I have about Biden, but we’ll need to deal with them on the picket lines and in legislative offices. More on that some other time.

Whatever bad vibes the current President gives you will become even more toxic, more dangerous, and more global if he receives four more years in office. Mind you, I didn’t say this four years ago.

Vice President Biden should not abuse this endorsement, or the endorsements of other Black community members. Acts of complacent idiocy like what we witnessed from him yesterday will only jeopardize his standing in November.

If Biden wants to win in November, he needs to commit to an equity agenda that respects the needs of the poor and communities of color, and then return to the mic with thoughtful discussions about that agenda. The Breakfast ShClub ow would be a good start.

And he needs to have this discussion immediately. Otherwise, I’m afraid the communities who can help him win will stay home …

song currently stuck in my head: “verbal penetration” – jesse johnson

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‘You ain’t Black’ Part 2: Biden has been enabled to have enough nerve to say that.

Joe should take Black media and Black folks seriously …

Presumptive Presidential candidate Joe Biden clearly had a problem with coherently discussing a vision for racial equity with Charlamagne tha God. But why?

The Vice President’s remarks during yesterday’s appearance on The Breakfast Club can be entered as evidence of a problem he has with holding a serious discussion about race in America.

I’ll go further than I did in the previous post: Biden’s behavior seemed to be a bit too familiar for my taste.

Like a longtime neighbor you recently employed, and who strains the personal relationship by becoming familiar and reporting to work late every day.

Or like your elderly White neighbor arriving at the damn-near-all-Black backyard cookout drunk, staring at the young azzes, and then calling out the n-word repeatedly as if it’s an ED or anti-aging potion.

If, for his past four decades in Washington, Biden never had to seriously consider an equity agenda that can improve the health and wealth of Black and poor people, why should we be surprised about yesterday’s behavior?

I’ll return to Biden’s crime bill for a moment. The legislation at the time also prompted another bill to be passed that banned inmates from receiving Pell Grants — a mindblowing act of social hatred if prison is still considered a place for social rehabilitation.

More generally, why should we be surprised at the DNC establishment’s behavior toward the poor and people of color?

Before you wonder about debating me on this point, take a look at the number of people either major party has lifted — not erased — from poverty.

Biden needs to understand that an endorsement isn’t a Black card. There was no reason for him to act so familiar with The Breakfast Club host or the show’s audience.

Okay, that may not have been fair for me to say since I don’t hand out Black cards to every person I see who walks and appears to get along with 

African descendants. Also, I don’t walk around with a roll of cookout invites on my sleeve.

But I think every person, regardless of skin color, should be judged according to their values, policies, or results.

This is why Biden’s performance yesterday continues to clang in my head. His answers — besides not being sharp — struck me as if he viewed neither the interview, nor The Breakfast Club, nor the audience, as powerful platforms. Or as if he was enjoying locker room banter with the resort towel boy. I’m surprised he didn’t strike up a hot sauce discussion.

And how about the assistant who you can hear calling out to Biden that time was up, and he needed to end the interview and transition the at-home interview station to his wife Jill for another presser? I mean, no hand signals or big signs behind the camera for Joe to see? No respect for scheduling where The Breakfast Club would have a proper slice of time to discuss the issues? I can’t envision that kind of disrespect occurring on MSNBC or CNN during prime time.

In general, the Democratic Party establishment’s social conditioning and paternalistic relationship with the poor, young adults, and people of color are not sustainable for the long term-health of this party. Symptoms of fissure can be seen in the emergence of further-Left Democratic leaders like AOC, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.

Decades of paternalism can be the only reason behind this exchange between Biden and Charlamagne the God in during the interview’s closing minute:

Charlamagne the God: Look, you gotta see us when you come to New York, VP Biden.

Biden: I will.

CtG: It’s a long way until November [and] we got questions — 

Biden: You got more questions but I’ll tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.

CtG: It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact that I want something for my community. I would love to see — 

Biden: Take a look at my record, man! I extended the Voting Rights [Act] 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. The w — I mean, come on. Take a look at the record. 

The Breakfast Club interview, 5/22/2020

The way Biden touts his support of the marginalized people’s right to vote as a limited-time act to be periodically extended by Congress explains plenty …

song currently stuck in my head: “só danço samba” – stan getz

In case you haven’t seen the interview …
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‘You ain’t Black’ Part 1: what will you do for Black people — er, what the hell did you just say, Vice President Biden?

vice president joe biden "you ain't black" charlamagne the god controversy
Charlamagne tha God with the Veep

Lawd. The Democratic Presidential candidate’s appearance with Charlamagne tha God yesterday has left plenty to unpack — and the “You ain’t Black” comment is the least of them. But I’ll cover that too. Here’s the first of three parts.

Joe Biden’s words — spoken and not — speak volumes about the lens he places on Black folks’ needs. 

That’s why — other than the setup I’m about to provide, this piece mostly features one long-winded quote from Biden.

Some of you literally groaned after hearing Sean Combs eleventh-hour “Black vote is not free” message to Presidential hopeful Joe Biden. 

Sure. The timing sucked. Brought new meaning to CPT, or more like CPPT.

But you can’t argue with the validity of Diddy’s question: “What are we [as a Black community] getting in return for our vote?”

Yesterday, “The Breakfast Club” show host Chalamange tha God picked up Combs’ reference and posed the same question to Biden.

I took laugh breaks while transcribing Biden’s answer.

Let’s add another reference for context. Earlier this week, Joe Biden spoke with Jewish donors and provided a specific set of ideas that addressed the group’s interests. Annexation of the West Bank, anti-semitism, and the US embassy’s new Jerusalem location were among the issues discussed.

By all accounts Biden and the donors had a substantive conversation.

Back to Biden’s answer. Read my transcription below or view the embedded video at 5:35:

Biden: Remember when I said Biden can’t win, the primaries? 

Charlamagne tha God: Yes.

Biden: I kicked everybody’s ass — I, excuse me.

CtG: It don’t work like that. I need you to say that. You did what?

Biden: I won overwhelmingly. I told you when I went to South Carolina, I won every single county. I won a larger share of the Black vote than anybody has, Including Barack [Obama]. I increased the vote in Virginia overwhelmingly by 70 percent.

Look, what people don’t know about me is I come from a state that [has] the eighth-largest Black population in America. The eighth largest. I get 96 percent of that vote for the last 40 years. They are the folks — as they say around my way — brung [sic] me to the dance. That’s how I get elected every single time. And everybody’s shocked! I get overwhelming support from the Black leadership, young and old. Every poll shows me way ahead. And it’s not just — I hear this “Oh yeah, all Blacks are with Biden.” but [doggone(?)] — look at the polling data. Polling data, let’s say it’s off by half. Come on, man! Give me a little break here. This is where I come from.

I got involved, I came home from college, and I had a job with a really fancy law firm out of law school. And my city is the only city in America occupied by the National Guard, the military, for ten months, when Dr. King was shot. And I had this fancy job, a kid coming from a, from a lower-middle-income household. I quit, became a public defender. And I stayed in that community. I was the only guy, when I was in high school, I had a job, a country [unintelligible] — kind of job with a — at a swimming pool. I was the only White employee in the East Side because I wanted to work in the projects. Because I wanted to understand. That’s how I got involved in politics. That’s what this is all about for me. It’s about equality. It’s about dignity. It’s about treating people with respect.

And so, you know, when you take a look at my record people talk about the crime bill. The crime bill didn’t increase mass incarceration. Other things increased mass incarceration. And the reason why, if you go back and look — and I know you talk about it — you go back and take a look! That’s why you have the vast majority of the Black Caucus at the time supporting the crime bill. Almost every major-city Black Mayor supported the crime bill. Because Blacks were getting killed overwhelmingly as well. And what happened [unintelligible] with that crime bill? It had four, five really important things. It had the Violence Against Women Act. It said ‘Drug court, don’t send anybody who has a drug problem to jail, send them to rehabilitation, to a drug court. It had in it — It had — the uh, the assault weapons ban. Getting rid of assault weapons. Getting rid of the rounds — the number of rounds you could have in a gun. It also had in it a whole range of other things, but it had things I didn’t like. [President Bill] Clinton wanted to put in a deal where, in fact, three strikes and you’re out. I opposed that three-strikes-and-you’re-out bill. I opposed the position taken that, saying that, you’re gonna have any mandatory sentences. But on balance, the whole bill, what happened was, it did in fact bring down violent crime in Black communities as well. And guess what? The fact is, [the] prison population didn’t increase. 94 percent of every prisoner in jail is in a state prison. Not a federal prison. No federal law.

And here’s the deal: the one thing I opposed in that bill was people wanting to give money to state prisons to build more prisons. I opposed it. But the point was, on balance, everything through the assault women’s ban [sic], through the Violence Against Women’s Bat (BK’s note: “Bat” sounded like a mix of “Ban” and “Act”), through the drug courts, they were important. And now, look at what we can do. 

Look, I’ve been pushing, along with my colleagues in the Black Caucus in the United States Congress, We should change the entire — we’ve been doing this for a while. Change the entire prison system from one that is punishment to rehabilitation. There’s a couple of things everyone has in common in jail. One is, they were the victims of abuse or their kids were, or their mother was; number two, can’t read; number three, they don’t have any job skills. They were in a position where they didn’t get a chance. Why does it make sense, why did I come along and write the first act that said when you get out of prison, you don’t just get a notion where you get 25 bucks and a bus ticket. You’ll end up under the bridge. You end up under the bridge and just do the same place. So every single solitary person being released from prison should have access to every single government program. Why doesn’t it make sense to have African Americans who are getting out of prison, serve their time — everybody for that matter; to be able to have public housing. Why didn’t it make sense that they can have Pell Grants to go to school? Why didn’t it make sense that they have health care? What, are they nuts? That’s what they keep doing.

Remember the question, right?

“What are we [as a Black community] getting in return for our vote?”

Biden didn’t answer the question.

Charlamagne tha God astutely recognized that and followed up with a statement later that led to Biden’s “You ain’t Black” remark.

The VP’s response involved gifting us with personal recollections of his street cred, and — I won’t let him get away with this — a volunteer self-propulsion into the merits of the 1994 crime bill where he was a lead sponsor. The legislation that has been criticized for serving as a mass-incarceration catalyst.

Plus, we don’t have to be stuck in 1994. Biden seems to have been a serial crime bill proponent for years prior to that.

Passage of Biden’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was not the main driver behind the drop in crime. We had an improving economy at the time to thank for that.

Biden’s comments about the Congressional Black Caucus only confirms why I write about them so infrequently. They were legislatively absent during the reign Bush the Second; largely ignored by Obama, except when he needed an extra vote in Congress; and served as a backing choir during the days of Trump since the song “Trump is a White Supremacist” is pretty well known around these parts already.

But I won’t spend this post tearing apart Biden’s version of reality — especially since his rehash of the bill does not equate to a coherent vision of what he will do for people of African descent. We have other material to cover.

This is the right time to address “You ain’t Black”. See you in the next post …

song currently stuck in my head: “voodoo ray” – a guy called gerald

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Aural Dive: “Maxine” by Saoul

The new single is out now

Funk as a music genre is far from dead.

For the moment, it’s spending time in the worthy hands of multi-instrumentalist Saoul in the form of “Maxine”, the funkiest track I’ve heard so far this year.

What makes Saoul’s Funk so unique for 2020 is that he moves beyond the basic, lower-shelf grooves and immerses himself in the filthy, psychedelic, Rock-tinged variety. And you will dance. No surprise for an artist who finds his inspiration in Sly Stone, Prince, and Stevie Wonder.

Plus, the lyrics are pandemic-ready for your home-alone party.

The rich is still getting /
Richer /
While your a$$ work from home.

Saoul — “Maxine”

Okay, assuming you actually have a job to do that sort of thing, or not outside fetching lunch for someone you don’t know under a daily hero’s accolade with limited health protections

Saoul posits the vaccine taking on its new standing as the new potion in the new normal, as the world yearns to escape from home. He does a deft job of folding lust, joy and choice into messages of inequality and surveillance.

But back to the music. Your living space needs this song right now, especially if you’ve been losing track of days and time. Saoul’s vocals and the two-punch mic support from George Andre and the debut of Lorayne Marlene shapes the track into a sexy 4/4 slam, murky soundscape and all. Saoul’s fiery guitar attacks — which is no surprise to folks who know Saoul by now — keep you locked in the urging beat. Club Night is just a “play”-tap away.

Saoul has independently released “Maxine”. Preview track is below. Hit Saoul’s Bandcamp page and keep the party going.

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Aural Dive: Jamal Dixon — Brick City EP 2020

Brick City EP is available on Nylon Recordings

Coronavirus pandemic be damned, this is Jamal Dixon’s time to fly.

Somewhere and somehow between sets during his busy NYC-based Standard Hotel residency, DJ and producer Jamal Dixon released his Brick City EP earlier this year to the world — and the results have the power to connect with nightclubs far outside of America.

The title track is a stomper — the Afro sides of House and Techno are expressed in layered rhythms and a melody that swims in between them. But don’t worry, Dixon seems to effortlessly lead you through all those elements to jump in that pocket. He’s a DJ at heart so wants you to do your best on the dance floor.

“Weequahic Park” takes a more serious path with hallowed key vamps while maintaining a lovely and modern nod to Detroit Techno and Italo Disco. Highly danceable, and the audio effects alone will make DJs keep this track in their drives for late-night vibing with the dancers.

The “Jaymz Nylon Afro Tech ReShape” of the title track keeps the energy flowing with a minimalist South African House vibe.

Brick City is released on the Nylon label and available everywhere. Tracks for preview are below.

Fly on, Mr. Dixon …

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William “Roddie” Bryan, the camera-happy guy who we suspected had something to do with Ahmaud Arbery’s lynching, has been arrested for just that

We’ve had our thoughts about you, Billy …

The investigative loop is tightening around the group of people responsible for Arbery’s death — or the group is growing …

88 days after Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, a video of the young man’s final seconds of life, shot by William Bryan, shows up and filled many of our brains with the same question: Why isn’t Billy in jail right now?

And we had more questions. (Warning: do not press the video play button below if you’ve seen the Arbery killing and rather not see it again, or you are emotionally triggered by violence.)

What was Billy filming in the first place where he just happened to have captured a murder in progress, while DRIVING?

Did Billy have his phone out capturing the landscape — while DRIVING — all the time before the murder?

If Billy never dialed 911 — I mean, he’s driving and not Mr. Fantastic so he cannot possibly witness a lynching, drive, film the lynching, and call the police at the same time — what exactly did Billy do right after Arbery fell to the ground?

Is there any post-killing footage to see, given how Billy likes to run the camera so damn much?

The video shows Arbery curiously running into the ready firearms of lynch mob leaders Gregory and Travis McMichael. Why didn’t Arbery turn around, acting as if he had additional escape routes — like behind him and towards the direction Billy was driving from?

Doesn’t it seem like Billy is part of that lynch mob?

Looks like the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had the same questions — word has come in that Bryan has been arrested for felony murder in connection with the Arbery case

Observers wonder if the US Justice Department — known to me right now as the Trump Justice Department — should get involved in the Arbery investigation.

Given everything we know at this point — inside and outside of Georgia — how do you feel about either option?

song currently stuck in my head: “my cherie amour (live in paris, 1970)” – rahsaan roland kirk and the vibration society

[More — I still think the McMichaels could be serial killers. Search basements. And dig backyards.]

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Will the pandemic cause commercial real estate to implode, or will bank fraud do the job first?

example of a mall
Are we looking at the next bubble to burst?

I attended a roundtable discussion a while back, where we discussed worldwide trends. 

A question about business came up: “What business functions will never go out of style?”

My answer: “Debt, equity, and liquidity.”

Seems simple and practical, right? 

You have a business idea or life aspiration, and someone rolls up to enable those goals by either offering a loan, selling shares on your behalf to potential investors, or providing tools for managing cash flow so that your goals can stay alive.

There’s plenty of money for banks to make by doing these three things, so why does a bank need to commit fraud like money laundering, LIBOR manipulation, tax evasion, municipal bond bid rigging, winning municipal business through bribery, misrepresentation of mutual fund risks, undisclosed billing for identity theft protection, improper foreign exchange trading, futures market trading violations, failure to disclose conflicts of interest, obstructing investigations of suspected trade violations, illegal opening of credit card and bank accounts, misrepresentation regarding loan interest rates, illegal student loan practices, misuse of insider information, and so many other shady activities?

Greed is my guess. Because making good money is never enough for bankers.

But you have to admit it takes an impressive amount of nerve to commit enough residential mortgage fraud to crash the financial markets in 2008 — resulting in a long recession and recovery period — and then receive money from the government to cover these losses from fraud and expand their businesses, making it almost look like the banks received a reward for nearly destroying Western civilization.

Fast-forward to the present and it looks like the fraud hasn’t stopped. Truthout reports that a whistleblower complaint has been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that alleges banks are committing a similar kind of mortgage fraud — except the loans referenced in the complaint involve commercial borrowers, who are typically investors themselves.

Meaning, the NINJA concept of lending to consumers has become the overstatement of income flows of commercial property owners to secure larger loans than deserved.

Residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), based on one- or two-family homes, are now commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), based on the assumed value of malls, office buildings, and apartment complexes.

The scam in both instances involves banks knowingly issuing loans that don’t match with the borrowers’ financial strength, unjustifiably overvaluing assets, or mysteriously restating profits upwards of properties owned by businesses.

Mall property values have already been taking negative hits for the past few years. I mean, who goes to malls these days?

But the coronavirus pandemic has caused virtually all commercial real estate property values to sink. Mall prices have imploded the most —  especially since the retail stores housed by malls have been closed and lack the money to make lease payments to landlords. Add to this trouble the high likelihood that more retailers that will permanently close, and we’ll see malls face even more downward pressure, which will also tank the value of CMBS.

If the whistleblower complaint allegations are verified to be true and the commercial real estate fraud is systemic, we could have a perfect storm for a not-so-trivial financial event in the near future — assuming the federal government doesn’t step in to help.

Have we learned anything from 2008? There has not been a formal response from the SEC regarding the complaint.

Read the Truthout piece and come to your own conclusions …

song currently stuck in my head: “look up” – chico freeman

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Senate hearing with Mnuchin and Powell is happening now — and you can see the most obvious B.S. about reopening the US economy

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at US Senate Banking Committee hearing May 19, 2020
Secretary Mnuchin testifying remotely at US Senate hearing

Right now, US Fed Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are remotely testifying to the Senate Banking Committee about stimulus spending and the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin’s view is similar to that of his boss, President Donald Trump: they want scared and brave Americans to re-open the economy by leaving their homes and start going to work.

Like, to hell with a virus that has killed more than 90,000 people in the US alone so far. The poor and people of color represent a disproportionate number of those deaths.

Mnuchin also mentions that irreparable damage to the economy can occur if businesses don’t reopen soon.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) asked Mnuchin “How many workers should give their lives to increase the GDP or the Dow by 1,000 points?”

Mnuchin responded “No workers should give their lives to do that, Senator, and I think your characterization is unfair”.

But have you noticed something that calls out all the bullshit in this narrative?

Mnuchin IS NOT testifying in front of the Senate in-person.

And the Senate committee members aren’t congregated in the same space, sharing their germs with each other.





But they want laborers to go out and risk ‘Rona without comprehensive testing and other essential safety protocols.

More proof that the “Reopen America” movement is full of the lowest-quality rat turd you can find.

And the “Celebrate our workers” meme is fast becoming the new “Thank you for your service” to Army vets who lost their limbs over WMD lies …

song currently stuck in my head: “mind over matter” – joe henderson

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Three last words about the Obama pandemic playbook debate: it doesn’t matter.

President Donald Trump press briefing
See a problem you don’t understand? Yell at it, right?

A reliable source of quarantine-era annoyance arrived in the form of President Donald Trump and his team, who straddled weeks of mounting news about American deaths resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, sluggishly following through with additional public health protection measures beyond executing the delayed and scattered thinking of travel bans (here’s one big reason out of several why the stream-of-consciousness bans didn’t work), and calling COVID-19 the “new hoax” (still), while spending a fair amount of time lamenting the preceding Obama administration’ failure to leave behind no pandemic support — no personal protection equipment, no medical machinery, No tests (laughing), and no playbook for fighting pandemics. Trumps allies maintained this story up to last week. Obama officials insisted that they left behind a playbook (pdf).

Meanwhile, the mainstream media seemed to be pandering to Trump as he acted every bit of a senile old man with anger management issues, while alternatively treating Obama as some Black boy who once again needed to prove he owns a US birth certificate.

The playbook debate appears to be over (laughing), I think, as if observing the current administration’s incoherent crisis management skills on television offered no clue of the white-collared shit show that wants to wrap around this country’s potential death spiral.

Anyway, I’ve been over the playbook debate for quite a while.

Because it doesn’t matter.

And if the mainstream media didn’t defer to Trump’s sense of privilege, they would’ve been over it too and shut down this brainless argument.

Let’s say the Obama team left ABSOLUTELY NOTHING behind. Y’know, like the way Trump lied described.

Let’s assume that not even a playbook was left to fathom.

Are we going to ignore the fact that Trump and team failed to produce and follow a playbook of their choosing for nearly four years?

This is yet another strike in Trump’s managerial malpractice ledger.

Assuming I take Trump’s lies for truth, he can’t complain for nearly four years about a playbook that someone else should’ve written before his arrival, and yet do nothing about that deficiency from his first day on the job until now, without most knowing leaders calling him an idiot.

And I’m not counting Team Trump’s junior high school trick of flashing two immaculately-published playbooks for the first time last week while claiming to the press they existed all along.

Trump calls himself a “successful businessman” so I’ll pass judgment in terms he’ll understand (I hope): no Fortune 100 company would tolerate such executive incompetence from a CEO for this long and leave that person in the same position to further harm the company and the public ad infinitum. 

Doubters should face reality. Until this spring — and despite warnings from others with experience — neither protecting the public health of Americans, nor collaborating with global partners to do so for the benefit of all, appeared on Trump’s list of priorities.

Corporate tax cuts, defense spending, stock market prices, and configuring public education and housing to the benefit of private interests, seem more important to him …

song currently stuck in my head: “the night has a thousand eyes” herb ellis & remo palmier

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