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updates to my blog, https://theworldaccordingtocosmos.com containing my latest stories
#978500 added March 19, 2020 at 3:52am
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corona virus pandemic thoughts
Part Two here are some useful articles.

Updated articles first
March 18
Right-wing pundits’ shameless coronavirus pivot: It was a ‘hoax’ — but now it’s an ’emergency’

Published 12 hours ago on March 17, 2020
By Amanda Marcotte, Salon

For weeks, Donald Trump clearly believed he could lie the coronavirus away. As David Leonhardt of the New York Times carefully chronicled, starting on Jan. 22, Trump began a campaign of falsehoods geared towards tricking Americans — and especially the stock market — into thinking everything was going to be fine, this epidemic was "very well under control," that "like a miracle" the virus "will disappear" and that anyone who suggested otherwise was participating in a "hoax." Fox News and other right-wing media, in the endless infinity symbol of conservative lies, both led and followed Trump on this, blanketing red-state America with a steady drumbeat of assertions that the "liberal media" was exaggerating the crisis to hurt Trump.
Trish Regan ‘unlikely to return’ to Fox after getting benched for coronavirus wing-nuttery: report

Inside the shocking pro-Trump Facebook group where first responders call coronavirus a hoax

Here’s the MSNBC interview with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that drove Trump up the wall

Trump slapped with a furious backlash after insisting he always treated coronavirus ‘seriously’

From licking floors to praying for an inept government: America’s churches react to the coronavirus
Why the coronavirus could be the tipping point in reshaping the global economy

Published 1 hour ago on March 18, 2020
By Marshall Auerback, Independent Media Institute

The coronavirus has now gone global, and economies are in freefall. The pandemic is clearly the precipitating cause of today’s crisis, but there’s an underlying disease that has been with us for a long time: neoliberal economics. Globalized travel and trade, multinational supply lines, offshoring and overly financialized economies that have prioritized banking interests, cartels and oligarchy above all else have made a large portion of our population highly vulnerable to the effects unleashed by this pandemic.
Policymakers have a tricky task ahead of them. The virus has created a supply shock, as businesses have shut down and workers have been told to stay at home. In response, demand is plunging as a result of the lost income and the corresponding collapse in sales. That’s highly deflationary (as the bond markets are now signaling). What is required is a robust fiscal response so that workers’ incomes are protected and have adequate financial resources to get health care.

Coronavirus is panicking Wall Street — but it’s got investors in Donald Trump’s second biggest creditor terrified

Published 8 hours ago on March 17, 2020
By David Cay Johnston, DC Report @ Raw Story

Shares of the little, and little known, Ladder Capital (LADR) closed Monday at $8.32 a share, down from $18 less than three weeks ago.
LADR shares lost 54% of their value. That’s double the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial average. Shares of Trump’s biggest creditor, the large Deutsche Bank, are down 43% in the same period

Pastor: Churches That Close Due to Coronavirus Are Run by Neutered “Pansies”
MARCH 12, 2020

Note: it would be poetic justice if this pastor contracts the Corona virus.
Last time we heard from pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth, he claimed that America will be spared from the coronavirus because Donald Trump is “pro-Israel.”
That didn’t pan out. Businesses, schools, and major events are shutting down across the country as COVID-19 spreads. So he’s updated his prediction to say something more sensible.
I’m just kidding. He says that any churches that close in the wake of the disease are run by neutered loser “pansies.”

Right Wing Watch


Right-wing evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth has no time for "loser" pastors who are canceling services because of the coronavirus, saying they should instead be holding mass gatherings to demonstrate the power of their faith.

“If you’re putting out pamphlets and telling everybody to use Purell before they come into the sanctuary and don’t greet anyone, you should just turn in your ministry credentials and burn your church down — turn it into a casino or something. You’re a loser … Bunch of pansies. No balls. Got neutered somewhere along the line and don’t even realize it.”
“Let me tell you if the devil doesn’t want there to be mass gatherings — it’s time to hold mass gatherings. If I lived in Italy I would call an open-air crusade to pray for the sick. If you have to go to jail, go to jail.”

The virus is not some kind of anti-Christian attack. By treating it as such, Shuttlesworth is potentially exposing more Christians to the disease.
The reason everything is shutting down is to protect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — the most vulnerable populations to the coronavirus. That, by the way, is a good way to care for “the least of these,” as Jesus commissioned.
Staying home isn’t just about self-protection but making sure that others don’t get sick, even if it means skipping meaningful events like church. Self-sacrifice, something else Jesus praised, shouldn’t be mocked or demeaned at a time like this.
Besides, people can still participate through livestreams of sermons if they want to. If hearing the word of God is all that matters, there are ways to make that happen without facilitating the spread of the virus. Far from a cowardly move, it’s what pastors should do if they genuinely care for their congregations.

One positive takeaway from the world’s response to the coronavirus epidemic is that it’s entirely possible to successfully combat two other existential and intertwined global crises: climate change and air pollution. But “possible” doesn’t mean “probable.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) has produced a remarkable new videousing data gathered from their Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, which specifically tracks atmospheric air pollution. The images reveal a sharp and sudden decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over Italy from January to mid-February, which scientists believe is tied to the reduction in human activity in the nation due to the coronavirus outbreak. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte ordered a lockdown across northern Italy on March 8 to try to contain the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19.
High concentrations of NO2, a highly reactive gas that forms from vehicle emissions and power plants, can harm the respiratory systems of humans and animals, aggravating respiratory diseases like asthma and increasing the risk of respiratory infection. NO2 can also reduce plant growth and even cause acid rain.
“Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities,” said Claus Zehner, the mission’s manager at ESA, in a statement.

This discovery comes on the heels of a similar one made by ESA’s Sentinel-5P and NASA’s Aura satellite, both of which detected significant drops in China’s atmospheric NO2 over a similar period when the Chinese government ordered a quarantine across the country in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.
“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” said Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
In fact, putting the brakes on China’s economy to contain the virus has prevented 200 megatons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, according to analysis from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which represents a remarkable 25 percent reduction in the nation’s emissions.
These realities reveal that it is possible for nations to significantly reduce vehicular and power plant emissions, which would result in better air quality and a lessening of other global warming gases, specifically carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is the primary driver of climate change. Of course, that would also mean a reduction in productivity, which would impact the economy.
But it also suggests the possibility of a fascinating scenario, one in which society decouples growth from gross domestic product (GDP). The common “wisdom” is that economic growth is tied to growth in production. But this setup, which puts serious pressure on environmental and climatic health, mainly through the emission of atmospheric pollutants, has brought society to an existential crisis far more dangerous than the coronavirus pandemic: climate change.
In 2011, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) panel warned that by 2050, humanity could ply through a staggering 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year—three times our current appetite—unless government moved to decouple the rates of economic growth from natural resource consumption. “People believe that environmental ‘bads’ are the price we must pay for economic ‘goods’,” said UNEP executive director Achim Steiner. “However, we cannot and need not continue to act as if this trade-off is inevitable.”
But will governments mandate that millions of vehicles be taken off the roads, even for a short period of time, to give the climate a badly needed break from emissions? It’s highly unlikely since we don’t treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as we have done with the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of it may be the fact that the mainstream media doesn’t give nearly enough attention to the climate crisis, while the coronavirus pandemic gets 24/7 coverage. Last year, major network news broadcasts aired a mere 238 minutes of climate crisis coverage—comprising just 0.7 percent of overall nightly broadcasts and the Sunday morning news shows, according to a recent Media Matters study.
“Americans are seeing coverage of the virus across multiple media platforms in a consistent manner, which is bringing awareness and driving public concern,” write Monica Medina and Miro Korenha of Our Daily Planet. “On the other hand, you’ve probably seen very little coverage that [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] predicts this year’s flooding in the Midwest could rival last year’s catastrophic floods that claimed lives and also helped spread disease to livestock and people.”
Some experts say that nations may even ramp up their economic activity to a higher point than before the epidemic broke out. “When the Chinese economy does recover, they are likely to see an increase in emissions in the short term to sort of make up for lost time, in terms of production,” said climatologist Zeke Hausfather, the director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute, which supports climate action.
The failures of governments have been exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, from the failure of the American healthcare system to the failure of China to clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade, which was the source of coronavirus. But being wrong can often lead to being right. As Benjamin Disraeli, a Victoria-era prime minister of the United Kingdom, once observed, “All my successes have been built on my failures.” It’s probable that improvements to public healthcare will happen in the wake of the pandemic. And last month, in response to the outbreak, China permanently shut down its $74-billion wildlife-farming industry.
Hopefully, for the sake of the planet and for future generations, today’s leaders will realize that the biggest failure revealed by the coronavirus pandemic is their tragically ineffectual response to the climate crisis—and then turn it into a success.

By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

For three years Donald Trump led a charmed life. He faced only one major crisis that he didn’t generate himself — Hurricane Maria — and although his botched response contributed to a tragedy that killed thousands of U.S. citizens, the deaths took place off camera, allowing him to deny that anything bad had happened.
Now, however, we face a much bigger crisis with the coronavirus. And Trump’s response has been worse than even his harshest critics could have imagined. He has treated a dire threat as a public relations problem, combining denial with frantic blame-shifting.
His administration has failed to deliver the most basic prerequisite of pandemic response, widespread testing to track the disease’s spread. He has failed to implement recommendations of public health experts, instead imposing pointless travel bans on foreigners when all indications are that the disease is already well established in the United States.
And his response to the economic fallout has veered between complacency and hysteria, with a strong admixture of cronyism.
It’s something of a mystery why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, normally a highly competent agency, have utterly failed to provide resources for widespread coronavirus testing during the pandemic’s crucial early stages. But it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that the incompetence is related to politics, perhaps to Trump’s desire to play down the threat.
PAUL KRUGMAN’S NEWSLETTERGet a better understanding of the economy — and an even deeper look at what’s on Paul’s mind. Sign up here.

According to Reuters, the Trump administration has ordered health agencies to treat all coronavirus deliberations as classified. This makes no sense and is indeed destructive in terms of public policy, but it makes perfect sense if the administration doesn’t want the public to know how its actions are endangering American lives.

In any case, it’s clear what we should be doing now that there must already be thousands of cases all across the United States. We need to slow the disease’s spread by creating “social distance” — banning large gatherings, encouraging those who can to work from home — and quarantining hot spots. This may or may not be enough to prevent tens of millions from getting sick, but even spreading out the pandemic over time would help prevent it from overloading the health care system, greatly reducing the number of deaths.
But there was almost none of this in Trump’s speech; he’s still acting as if this is a threat foreigners are bringing to America.

And when it comes to the economy, Trump seems to fluctuate day to day — even hour to hour — between assertions that everything is fine and demands for enormous, ill-conceived stimulus.
His big idea for the economy is a complete payroll tax holiday. According to Bloomberg News, he told Republican senators that he wanted the holiday to extend “through the November election so that taxes don’t go back up before voters decide whether to return him to office.” That is, he apparently said the quiet part out loud.
This would be an enormous move. Payroll taxes are 5.9 percent of G.D.P.; by comparison, the Obama stimulus of 2009-2010 peaked at about 2.5 percent of G.D.P. Yet it would be very poorly targeted: big breaks for well-paid workers, nothing for the unemployed or those without paid sick leave.
Why do it this way? After all, if the goal is to put money in people’s hands, why not just send out checks? Apparently Republicans can’t conceive of an economic policy that doesn’t take the form of tax cuts.
Trump also reportedly wants to provide aid to specific industries, including oil and shale — a continuation of his administration’s efforts to subsidize fossil fuels.
Democrats, by contrast, have proposed a package that would actually address the needs of the moment: free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave, expanded unemployment benefits and an increase in federal matching funds for Medicaid programs, which would both help states meet the demands of the crisis and sustain overall spending by relieving the pressure on state budgets.
Notice, by the way, that these measures would help the economy in an election year, and therefore arguably help Trump politically. But Democrats are willing to do the right thing anyway — a stark contrast to the behavior of Republicans after the 2008 financial crisis, when they offered scorched-earth opposition to anything that might mitigate the damage.

The White House, however, is having none of it, with an official accusing Democrats of pushing a “radical left agenda.” I guess sick leave equals socialism, even in a pandemic.
Note: perhaps someday soon a rich billionaire is going to realize that if his gardener or maid or other servant who works for contractor that does not offer sick leave or medical care comes to work sick he or his family members could get sick and die. Only then will we finally get health care reform and paid sick leave. Democrats should start promoting that idea – we are in this together – we are all Americans together. End note
But this is a meltdown — not just a meltdown of the markets, but a meltdown of Trump’s mind. When bad things happen, there are only three things he knows how to do: insist that things are great and his policies are perfect, cut taxes, and throw money at his cronies.
Now he’s faced with a crisis where none of these standbys will work, where he actually needs to cooperate with Nancy Pelosi to avoid catastrophe. What we saw in Wednesday’s speech was that he’s completely incapable of rising to the occasion. We needed to see a leader; what we saw was an incompetent, delusional blowhard
9 Charts That Explain the Coronavirus Pandemic
By Dylan Matthews, Vox
14 March 20

What symptoms are most common, which groups are most at risk, and more.

he outbreak of Covid-19, a coronavirus-caused illness that originated in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to most of the world, is one of the most serious public health crises in decades. It has spread far wider than Ebola did in 2014, and the World Health Organization has designated it a pandemic.
As of March 11, there have been more than 125,000 reported cases, more than 4,600 deaths worldwide, and more than 1,200 reported cases and 29 deaths in the US, according to Johns Hopkins’s tracker; its count is usually up to date and worth bookmarking as the crisis progresses.
The situation on the ground is evolving incredibly quickly, and it’s impossible to synthesize everything we know into clean, intelligible charts. But we do know a fair bit about how bad the outbreak is, what the disease does, and what controlling and ultimately ending the outbreak will look like.
With that in mind, here are nine charts that help explain the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.
1) The virus is spreading rapidly

As of this writing, the Covid-19 caseload is rising rapidly day to day, but here’s where things stood as of March 8. The vast majority of reported cases are still in China, where the outbreak began, but whereas the number of new Chinese cases is falling, the number of new international cases is rising, indicating that the epicenter of the problem is shifting from China to new places like Italy.
Note that the huge spike in new cases was due to improved data reporting from China; there was not one particularly bad day in the middle of February.
2) Know the symptoms
The symptoms of Covid-19 vary from case to case, but the most common ones in China, from February data, are fever and dry cough (which are each seen in a majority of cases), fatigue, and sputum (the technical term for thick mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract).
If you have a fever and dry cough, that could be a good reason to get yourself tested if possible.
Note: if possible is the caveat. We don’t have enough tests still end , China has offered test kits, WHO, and South Korea but so far the Trump administration has refused all such offers perhaps because he does not want to appear that we are now a third world country in need of assistance. End note
3) Death rates in China have declined over time
One glimmer of hope in this story is that Chinese medical authorities appeared to get better at treating infections and preventing death as the outbreak proceeded. “Even the first and hardest-hit province, Hubei, saw its death rate tumble as public health measures were strengthened and clinicians got better at identifying and treating people with the disease,” Vox’s Julia Belluz explains.
The rate didn’t go down on its own; China took drastic, even authoritarian measures to lock down affected areas and contain the virus’s spread so that the medical system was not overwhelmed.
4) Older people in China have been at the greatest risk of dying from Covid-19
The Spanish flu of 1918-’19, the most horrific pandemic in modern times, focused mainly on the young. It had biological similarities to a flu pandemic in the 1830s that gave some older people in the 1910s limited immunity.
Covid-19 is not like that. So far, deaths in China have been concentrated among older adults, who have weaker immune systems on average than younger people and have a higher rate of chronic illness. People of all ages with chronic medical conditions are also at higher risk. The risk of death is real for younger people as well, but older people have the most reason to take care.
5) This is much more severe than an ordinary flu
It is tempting to compare Covid-19 to a more familiar disease: the seasonal flu. After all, the flu also has mild symptoms for most people, and can be dangerous and lethal among vulnerable populations like the elderly. President Trump even made this comparison recently.
But as the case fatality data shows, there’s no real comparison. About 6 percent of people 60 or older infected with Covid-19 die, according to data we have so far; that’s over six times the fatality rate for elderly people infected with the flu. The overall case fatality rate is at least 23 times greater (the fatality rate has risen since this chart was made).
6) Experts also think Covid-19 is more contagious than the ordinary flu

There’s another way that Covid-19 is a tougher adversary than the seasonal flu: Its R0 (“R nought”) is over 2, indicating that it’s more contagious than the typical flu. R0 estimates the number of people an average infected person spreads the disease to. “R0 is important because if it’s greater than 1, the infection will probably keep spreading, and if it’s less than 1, the outbreak will likely peter out,” the Atlantic’s Ed Yong explains. Covid-19’s R0 is substantially higher than 1, giving more reason for concern.
7) Spending on airlines, hotels, and cruises is collapsing
Warnings to avoid crowds, and cancellations of major gatherings like conferences and parades, have put a damper on travel in the US, and the consequences for airlines have been dire. According to Earnest Research, spending on airlines fell 16.5 percent in the last week of February relative to a year prior. Cruises have seen a similar dip, while hotels are only now starting to see sales mildly decline.
It’s unlikely that the economic impact will stay limited to the hospitality industry, as social distancing leads people to avoid coffee shops, restaurants, gyms, bars, etc.
For more, see Rani Molla’s write-up for Recode.
8) The US is not testing enough people
The Trump administration’s slow rollout of testing for coronavirus has become something of a national scandal, and it’s easy to see why when you compare the US testing rate to that of other affected countries. South Korea stands out for its rapid rollout of extensive testing, including through innovative drive-through testing programs.
Drive-through testing is being piloted in some parts of the US, like New Hampshire, but we still have a long way to go before we match South Korean and Chinese testing levels.
9) Why canceling events and self-quarantining is so important

Covid-19 has quickly made large-scale gatherings and conferences unpopular if not socially frowned upon. This change arrived quickly, and may seem jarring, but it’s easier to see the logic when you understand the theory behind this kind of “social distancing” policy. The key is to “flatten the curve”: slowing the rate of increase in infections so that you spread out the cases, even if the total number doesn’t change. Flattening the curve slows the rate at which new cases arrive in hospitals, easing the burden on health care infrastructure and improving the odds that individual patients will survive.

Did Trump's inaction make the coronavirus outbreak worse?

Cartoon Trump: ‘The markets are supposed to jump up and down! That means they’re excited!’Published 20 mins ago on March 15, 2020By Sarah K. Burris

President Donald Trump's cartoon avatar appeared in the fake press briefing room Sunday evening to explain that everything was fine, and people shouldn't panic over the coronavirus.

With sweat dripping off of his orange face, cartoon Trump was excited about the disaster, saying it meant he could work from home in his pajamas.

"What an exciting time to be barely alive!" he exclaimed from the podium.

When cartoon Vice President Mike Pence took to the podium, he explained that in troubling times he turns to the Bible. Trump then interrupted because he was bored.

"What can the American people do to stay safe?" a reporter asked.

Mike Pence’s moment to shine over coronavirus just makes Donald Trump look worse:

If there's one thing that has been revealed by the coronavirus crisis is that President Donald Trump had never been tested and wasn't prepared for it. Vice President Mike Pence, however, is earning praise for remaining calm, reassuring Americans and not screwing anything up. The bigotry of low expectations, combined with Trump's failed leadership made it clear the president wasn't prepared for a crisis.

An Axios piece highlighted the praise for Pence's keen ability not to destroy the country and keep the stock market from falling when he speaks.

Trump's coronavirus response fracturing his MAGA base, creating a potential electoral disaster

Kerry Eleveld
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday March 17, 2020 · 2:54 AM Korean Standard Time

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In some cases, Donald Trump's base reportedly trusts him exclusively to handle the coronavirus crisis gripping the nation. But in other cases, fissures appear to be developing among some of Trump's most fervent acolytes that could doom him electorally in November.
Politico reports that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson dared to tell his loyal following last week that Trump officials were trivializing “what is clearly a very serious problem." Meanwhile, Sean Hannity framed the outcry among Democratic officials as “fear-mongering by the deep state.”
The mixed messages from Trump loyalists have played out across the board, from media figures to religious leaders to GOP lawmakers themselves. Even as Trump downplayed the coronavirus for weeks to the point of encouraging people to go to work with it, some of his most fervent defenders on Capitol Hill decided to self-quarantine and get tested, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Trump's newly tapped chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Seth Mandel, editor-in-chief of the right-leaning Washington Examiner magazine, noted that conservatives have gone from electoral euphoria to dread in the span of about two weeks as they watched the prospect of a Trump reelection bid against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders turn to dust and horrifying coronavirus news out of Italy start migrating to U.S. headlines.
Mandel also lamented how Trump had initially responded to a crisis uniquely suited to a nationalistic framework—i.e., fear of outsiders, particularly China and its economic dominance. "When the president had a crisis that hit that would have, theoretically, been designed perfectly for the nationalist argument, he didn't reach for it. So maybe he doesn't really believe it,” he told Politico.
But bottom line, the mixed messages and splintering among his base are problems Trump simply can't afford, given his razor-thin margin for error in November.
Trump Transition Team Was Uninterested In Obama Planning To Battle the 'Worst Epidemic Since 1918'

Tuesday March 17, 2020 · 5:29 PM Korean Standard Time

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During the transition, Trump cabinet officials and other aides were given a three hour brief and a hypothetical exercise in responding to a global epidemic.
Detailed briefing books were prepared by Obama administration officials for scenarios like this and others. They were later found in the trash.
As Politico reports, incoming Trump administration officials gave Obama officials a big “meh.” Consequently, coupled with the tremendous turnover during the tumultuous Trump’s presidency, the U.S. was unprepared, by choice, to to meet the challenge of this very real global epidemic that has beleaguered America.
In a tabletop exercise days before an untested new president took power, officials briefed the incoming administration on a scenario remarkably like the one he faces now.
The briefing was intended to hammer home a new, terrifying reality facing the Trump administration, and the incoming president’s responsibility to protect Americans amid a crisis. But unlike the coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the globe, this 2017 crisis didn’t really happen — it was among a handful of scenarios presented to Trump’s top aides as part of a legally required transition exercise with members of the outgoing administration of Barack Obama.

POLITICO obtained documents from the meeting and spoke with more than a dozen attendees to help provide the most detailed reconstruction of the closed-door session yet. It was perhaps the most concrete and visible transition exercise that dealt with the possibility of pandemics, and top officials from both sides — whether they wanted to be there or not — were forced to confront a whole-of-government response to a crisis. The Trump team was told it could face specific challenges, such as shortages of ventilators, anti-viral drugs and other medical essentials, and that having a coordinated, unified national response was “paramount” — warnings that seem eerily prescient given the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Susan Rice had this to say about this January 2017 meeting and the reasons we now find ourselves facing likely mass infection in the U.S.
“Rather than heed the warnings, embrace the planning and preserve the structures and budgets that had been bequeathed to him, the president ignored the risk of a pandemic,” Rice wrote. (Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, who oversaw the dissolution of the NSC’s global health security and biodefense section, has defended it as necessary streamlining, countering that global health “remained a top NSC priority.” Trump, when recently asked about the reshuffling, called the question “nasty” and said, “I don’t know anything about it.”)
The story is another example of the unforced errors and nonchalance that led to threats we now face. Probably ‘because Obama.’ This event precedes Trump’s disbanding of the Pandemic Response Unit at the NSC.
Thanks to the arrogant attitudes and inaction, the dangerous clown show Trump and his aides have made of their (oh, the irony) ‘pandemic response’ has put us all in danger.
Share stories like this far and wide. Perhaps some of Trump’s ardent followers will finally admit The Emperor Has No Clothes.
Another truth to share is Trump disbanding the Pandemic Response Unit of the NSC. He admitted it twice, now denying he knew nothing about it. Of course.
The article the diary was drawn from is linked here, along with other links about his calling for cuts at the CDC:
Trump Struggles To Explain Why He Disbanded Pandemic Response Unit

Trump Struggles to Explain Why He Disbanded The U.S. Pandemic Response Unit

Eck. One more turd to plop in the festering stew of Trump’s incompetence, evidencing how careless, unprepared, and unworthy Trump is to be POTUS.
NBC News had a good report on this recently, noting that the president's decision "to downsize the White House national security staff -- and eliminate jobs addressing global pandemics -- is likely to hamper the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus."
The truth is probably “because Obama,” who with VP Biden established the permanent Pandemic Response Unit within the National Security Council, able to rapidly respond in the U.S. to epidemics and work in concert with governments around the world to curb the spread of deadly diseases. Ebola and SARS outbreaks made it apparent we needed to be prepared for viral contagion that would more than likely arrive on our shores in the future.
The future arrived.
Before we dig into Trump dismantling the Pandemic Reponse Unit, let’s first recall that Trump has previously tried to slash funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America’s preeminent authority on disease and pandemics. Unbelievably, he just proposed 16% in cuts to the CDC’s 2021 budget at the same time COVID-19 coronavirus arrived in the U.S.!
When first questioned about why he disbanded the Pandemic Response Unit in 2018 — the same year Trump and Republicans had no problem giving a trillion dollar tax cut to people who didn’t need it— he responded:
"I'm a business person," he explained two weeks ago in response to a similar question. "I don't like having thousands of people around when you don't need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly."
Except you can’t reassemble a team like that ‘very quickly.’ One more check mark in the long column of items on the “Trump is clueless about ...’ list. This one glaringly evidencing how utterly devoid he is in understanding, concern, or interest in how the executive branch should work.
Not to mention his absolute disregard as president in fulfilling his duty to protect American lives behind the scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling. When they are, he pompously pretends to have it all under control. His ego-driven dysfunction has put the health of all Americans in jeopardy.
We don’t yet know the extent of contagion because we haven’t had enough tests to go around. And the Trump administration wouldn’t allow independent testing.
As the threat to the U.S. grew, late last week he spewed a word salad of a differentexcuse when pressed again by a reporter about his 2018 decision to disband the pandemic response team we sure could have used right about now:
"I just think this is something, Peter, that you can never really think is going to happen. You know, who -- I've heard all about, 'This could be...' -- you know, 'This could be a big deal,' from before it happened. You know, this -- something like this could happen.... Who would have thought? Look, how long ago is it? Six, seven, eight weeks ago -- who would have thought we would even be having the subject? ... You never really know when something like this is going to strike and what it's going to be."
So, let’s get this straight: he disbanded the NSC Pandemic Response Unit because he never realized America might need it one day (and “de-Obamacizing, no doubt).
Hm. Does having a military ‘just in case’ there’s an attack on the U.S., or the presidential bunker he can retreat to ‘just in case’ ring a bell? Or why we have fire departments ‘just in case’ there’s a fire? Helllllllo?
It’s clear the concept of ‘insurance’ is foreign to him.
We need to get rid of this clueless, narcissistic moron in November and replace him with someone who’s dedicated to the welfare of the American people instead of dedication to his self interests and daily displays of pomposity.

There is so much at stake in November.
I’m Voting Blue No Matter Who.

The Bay Area, long one of the world’s mightiest growth engines, could be headed for a coronavirus-induced recession, as shelter in place orders shutter stores and bars, construction grinds to a halt, and the tourism and hospitality industry all but disappears.
This week, UCLA Anderson Forecast issued its first revision to its quarterly report in its 68-year history. Despite a strong start to the year, it’s now predicting two quarters of negative economic growth nationally — enough to be considered a recession — and for the economy to take until 2022 to be fully recovered. California, according to the forecast, will be harder hit, with a projected 280,000 jobs lost in the state. And that’s not even accounting for the shelter in place order imposed on Monday throughout the Bay Area.
“We’re in uncharted territory as to the economic effects of the measures being taken to control the spread of this pathogen in the Bay Area,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, director of UCLA Anderson Forecast.
The forecast predicts unemployment in the state will reach 6.2 percent by the end of the year and average 6.6 percent during 2021. The January statewide unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department. Personal income, adjusted for inflation, is expected to stay basically flat until 2022.

Not everyone is convinced about the worst-case outcome for the region, though.
“This is business delayed, not business canceled,” said Chris Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics. “At least not yet.”
UCLA Anderson projects California will be hard hit because it has a large presence of the industries likely to be most affected by coronavirus, Nickelsburg said. That includes hospitality, tourism, leisure — bars, restaurants and entertainment — and warehousing and transportation.
There are about 165,000 warehouse and transportation workers in the San Jose and San Francisco metro areas alone, which covers the five-county Bay Area plus San Benito County, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Another 313,000 work in leisure industries including arts, accommodation and food services. About a third of the job losses projected in the state by the UCLA Anderson Forecast will come from those industries.
Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center, is particularly worried about those workers because they tend to be lower paid. Other vulnerable populations she’s watching for are those who are at risk of being homeless — for example people couch-surfing with friends — and undocumented residents who can’t access all the same public benefits.

“My fear is that those folks will then become economically unstable for a much longer period of time, they’ll be less able to recover quickly,” Hoene said. “We could see an increase in the state’s already high levels of homelessness. We could see an increase in the poverty level.”
If those workers aren’t able to recover quickly it could make it harder for the whole region to recover, she said.
Ted Egan, chief economist at the San Francisco Office of the Controller, said some Bay Area businesses are also being affected by the potentially long-lasting damage the outbreak has done to the global supply chain.
“I think that there’s some types of business — you think about takeout and delivery services — that people will turn to when they can’t turn to their retails in person,” Egan said, which could include tech companies that do deliveries like DoorDash or online shopping like Amazon.
But in a recession where the financial system is in trouble and consumers are suffering, not even those businesses will be safe.
The Bay Area’s construction industry also is affected, with all but a few essential jobs at hospitals and public transit being postponed, said Daniel Romero, assistant business manager for electrical workers union in Santa Clara County.
“One guy called me, he was almost in tears yesterday,” Romero said. “He barely got back to work and the job was shut down.”
It’s hard to know if all building has stopped — housing construction is considered an essential service that will be allowed to continue — but Romero said he’s directing his members to file for unemployment if their job is shut down or to access the union’s disability benefits if they test positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, the union has closed its apprenticeship program and is down to a skeleton crew.
“The unknowing I think is the hardest part,” he said. “We’re complying, so we’re just doing the best we can.”
For those hoping that at least a recession might bring down the region’s sky-high home prices, research suggests that might not happen, according to a Zillow analysis of past outbreaks. During the SARS epidemic, Hong Kong’s home prices stayed basically the same but the number of home sales declined by as much as three quarters.
Although most forecasters are predicting short-term economic declines, not everyone thinks the region is headed toward a recession.
“Everybody take a deep breath,” said Thornberg, of Beacon Economics.”Shutting everything down right now is a way of preventing a problem, not causing a problem.”
He compared the outbreak to natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, which cause temporary disruptions but aren’t a sufficiently long-term shock to tip the economy into a recession. He said it’s possible we’ll have one quarter of negative economic growth, but that’s it.

But all forecasters and experts agree on one thing: The economic damage done by the pandemic will be determined by how long it lasts and how quickly it is brought under control. In announcing its revision predicting a recession, UCLA Anderson Forecast included an important caveat.
“If the pandemic is much worse than assumed, this forecast will be too optimistic,” it said.
Welcome to The Hill's daily roundup of coronavirus news.
There are 5,894 known cases in the U.S., including 97 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Trump administration wants to send checks to every American in an effort to try to blunt the worst of the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak — but that might run into problems with Senate Republicans, who are frustrated that they were largely left out of the negotiations on the most recent House-passed bill.

Meanwhile, frontline health workers are running out of protective supplies, and states say they are not getting the help they need from the federal government. The Pentagon says it's willing to help, but it will only be a temporary solution.
Here's what you need to know today...

From the White House and Capitol Hill:
• Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Trump administration wants to send checks to Americans in the next two weeks in order to address the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Mnuchin and Trump said the idea was to get checks to the American public as quickly as possible. Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels have more here.
• But Mnuchin got pushback when he briefed Republican senators on the idea shortly afterwards. He also heard strong GOP criticism on the possibility of providing tens of billions of dollars to bail out the ailing airline industry. Alex Bolton has the rundown on Mnuchin's visit to the Senate today.
• Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed the Senate will not leave town without passing the coronavirus package. More here from The Hill’s Jordain Carney.
• The Trump administration is expanding telehealth benefits for Medicare users. The option lets seniors, who are most at risk for the coronavirus, get some medical care without leaving their homes. Read Marty Johnson on the move here.

From the frontlines:
• Nurses and doctors say they don’t have enough gear to protect themselves from the coronavirus. States have asked the federal government for more supplies but have only received a fraction of their requests. Shortages could endanger health workers on the frontlines of the pandemic and weaken the public health response. Read more from Jessie Hellmann here.
• President Trump is sure to hear more on that issue from nurses when he meets with them Wednesday. Representatives from about a dozen nursing organizations are expected to attend, along with members of the White House’s coronavirus task force, The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel reports.
• The Pentagon will give 5 million respirator masks to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) but that makes up a small amount of the masks that U.S. is expected to need during the pandemic. There are currently 10.5 million respirators in the National Strategic Stockpile, but the HHS secretary says the U.S. needs at least 100 million. Ellen Mitchell has the full story here.

From the cities and states:
• New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering issuing a “shelter in place” order for all city residents. Six San Francisco-area counties issued a similar order Monday. De Blasio's move comes as the city tops 800 coronavirus cases. Read more from Marty Johnson here.
• The presidential primary will continue as scheduled Tuesday in Arizona, Florida and Illinois, as state officials say they’ve taken the necessary precautions to ensure that voters can safely cast ballots. Officials though are expecting light turnout. One state where it won't happen? Ohio. Get the rest of the story from Jonathan Easley.
• And as for the state to come, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is asking them to not postpone primaries, but instead to make voting safer. More from Jon on the DNC.

From Wall Street:

• Stock markets rebounded Tuesday after one of their worst drops in history a day earlier, as President Trump and Congress and Congress advanced economic stimulus plans and the Federal Reserve took actions to shore up the financial system in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The Hill’s Niv Elis has the full story here.

From beyond the U.S.:
• The European Union agreed to close external borders to most travelers for at least 30 days to ward off the advancement of the coronavirus. Britain is not participating in the travel ban. Read more from Kaelan Deese.

President Donald Trump offered assurances that the worst of the coronavirus might be over by the end of this month.
The president spoke Tuesday morning from the White House on the COVID-19 outbreak, which has resulted in mass closures of schools, churches, stores and businesses — and he broke with many doctors and scientists to claim the situation might be relatively short.
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“Our guidance yesterday urges Americans to take action for 15 days to help stem the outbreak,” Trump said. “So it is a 15-day period. They would say it is a 14-day period. We are asking everyone to work at home if possible, postpone unnecessary travel, limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people. I am making shared sacrifices and temporary changes. We can protect the health of our people, and our economy, because I think our economy will come back very rapidly. So it is 15 days.”
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Trump again assured the public the viral outbreak would dissipate, and possibly soon.

“It’s going to pop,” he said. “One day, we’ll be standing, possibly, up here, we’ll say, ‘Well, we won,’ and we’re going to say that. Sure as you’re sitting there, we’re going to say that, and we’re going to win, and I think we’re going to win faster than people think. I hope.”

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From licking floors to praying for an inept government: America’s churches react to the coronavirus

By Daniel Schultz, Religion Dispatches @ Raw Story - Commentary
Published 20 hours ago on March 17, 2020
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It’s particularly important for churches that continue to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic to follow the guidelines laid out by health experts given that worship services are among the largest regular gatherings in modern society, among the most physically intimate, and likely include the greatest number of vulnerable people. Even single members of large congregations can have a dramatic effect on how coronavirus spreads or doesn’t, as South Korea found out the hard way.

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While many aren’t meeting at all or are streaming services, some churches that do meet feel like they need to support those who need it, in worship or otherwise. My mother’s congregation in Madison, Wisconsin elected to close for a week or two, but also voted to continue to allow Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs to continue to meet in their building, at those groups’ discretion.

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And some have a message to deliver:


[The Rev. Graylan Hagler] preached a fiery sermon for the small congregation, denouncing the Trump administration for spending money on a border wall while cutting public health teams that might have otherwise been ready to respond to the pandemic.

“Yes, we will come through the coronavirus! Yes, we will come through the city quarantines,” he avowed. “Yes, we will come through an inept government that can’t handle a real crisis. Yes, we will come through an election season, in victory, I pray … Yes, we will come through all our troubles in hope.”

Other Christians seem less pro-social, let us say. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, a Tampa Bay televangelist, equated changing habits in an effort to “flatten the course” with weakness, declaring that his congregation wouldn’t adjust their behavior in worship because they weren’t “pansies.”

Right Wing Watch

Right-wing pastor Rodney Howard-Browne is not about to cancel church or prevent congregants from shaking hands because they are not a bunch of "pansies."

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4:08 AM - Mar 16, 2020
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Others are willing to go some lengths to show they just don’t believe in this whole coronavirus thing:

In Arkansas, the Rev. Josh King met with the pastors of five other churches on Thursday to decide whether to continue holding service. Their religious beliefs told them that meeting in person to worship each Sunday remained an essential part of their faith, and some of their members signed on to Trump’s claims that the media and Democrats were over-blowing the danger posed by the virus.

“One pastor said half of his church is ready to lick the floor, to prove there’s no actual virus,” said King, lead pastor at Second Baptist church in Conway, Ark.

“In your more politically conservative regions, closing is not interpreted as caring for you. It’s interpreted as liberalism, or buying into the hype,” said King, whose church draws about 1,100 worshipers on a typical Sunday.

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I’m not sure what’s daffier or more offensive: the notion that God’s supposed demand for adherence to rigid gender roles outweighs protecting vulnerable members of the community, or the idea that coronavirus is just a conspiracy theory cooked up by liberals—never mind the insanity that it’s Christians’ duty to protect a president from political attacks. (On a separate note, floors aren’t particularly known to be COVID-19 transmission agents. They might get plenty of other nasty bugs that way, though.)

Like the Trump administration’s bumbling efforts, these local responses to the current situation relate back to conceptions of truth on some level. On the one hand, while there’s a recognition of the coronavirus’ power, there’s a sense that it’s more important to preach a message of comfort or a word of judgment against the White House.

On the other hand, there’s a denial of the reality, and a desire to demonstrate a counter-power in butch demonstrations of faith in God, or the inscrutable gnosticism of believing it to be nothing more than a liberal plot against God and country—and God and country’s designated representative, Donald Trump.

Religious types aren’t the only offenders, either. Twitter was on fire over the weekend with sightings of young folks partying it up, apparently either in the belief that COVID-19 wouldn’t affect them, or in simple defiance of health experts:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

· Mar 15, 2020
To everyone in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again):

PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now. Eat your meals at home.

If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID.

Katie Williams
I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.

It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I'll do what I want.

6:16 AM - Mar 15, 2020
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Killing Grandma to own the libs is a heck of a political stance, to be sure.
Continuing to participate in massive boozefests seems ill-advised at best, downright irresponsible at worst. So does prompting a large congregation essentially to flip public health measures the bird.

Yet I want to hold back at least a bit of judgment. For one thing, the nation has hardly been getting clear signals from the top on how to respond to coronavirus. Sure, there are all kinds of reminders about what to do; but then there’s a president who mutes or undermines every single message his own administration puts out.

For another thing, this is a very abnormal time in what has been a very abnormal three years. The craving for some kind of ordinary life is readily apparent across all kinds of social boundaries. However unfortunate their methods, people will fight to maintain homeostasis. My own family went out for dinner on Friday night, and were pleased to do so knowing that in particular service workers will need the money in coming weeks. Tomorrow our son will go to school for one last day, and I’ll keep a coffee date. Life goes on, one way or another.

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At the same time, it seems spectacularly incompatible with the declared teachings of most religions to act so recklessly when so many lives are in the balance. So I’d like to propose a variation on Pascal’s famous wager: if you act as though COVID-19 were a real menace and you turn out to be wrong, you’ve lost nothing more than a few handshakes in church. But, if you blow the threat off and it turns out to be much more dangerous than you thought, you’re potentially responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Pascal’s countryman (and NBA star) Rudy Gobert learned this the hard way.

Wouldn’t it be better in the eyes of your fellow citizens and whatever power you believe in to have erred on the side of caution? Or, you know, sure, don’t be a pansy. Go ahead and put the vulnerable at risk to make America great again. Super idea. And to my fellow Christians: St. Peter will no doubt be a big fan of that one at the Pearly Gates.

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Biden clean sweep in 3 states puts him on track for Dem

Did Trump's inaction make the coronavirus outbreak worse?
Why the coronavirus could be the tipping point in reshaping the global economyPublished 1 hour ago on March 18, 2020By Marshall Auerback, Independent Media Institute
The coronavirus has now gone global, and economies are in freefall. The pandemic is clearly the precipitating cause of today’s crisis, but there’s an underlying disease that has been with us for a long time: neoliberal economics. Globalized travel and trade, multinational supply lines, offshoring and overly financialized economies that have prioritized banking interests, cartels and oligarchy above all else have made a large portion of our population highly vulnerable to the effects unleashed by this pandemic.

Policymakers have a tricky task ahead of them. The virus has created a supply shock, as businesses have shut down and workers have been told to stay at home. In response, demand is plunging as a result of the lost income and the corresponding collapse in sales. That’s highly deflationary (as the bond markets are now signaling). What is required is a robust fiscal response so that workers’ incomes are protected and have adequate financial resources to get health care.

CONTINUE READINGCoronavirus is panicking Wall Street — but it’s got investors in Donald Trump’s second biggest creditor terrifiedPublished 8 hours ago on March 17, 2020By David Cay Johnston, DC Report @ Raw Story
Shares of the little, and little known, Ladder Capital (LADR) closed Monday at $8.32 a share, down from $18 less than three weeks ago.

LADR shares lost 54% of their value. That’s double the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial average. Shares of Trump’s biggest creditor, the large Deutsche Bank, are down 43% in the same period.


Right-wing pundits’ shameless coronavirus pivot: It was a ‘hoax’ — but now it’s an ’emergency’Published 12 hours ago on March 17, 2020By Amanda Marcotte, Salon
For weeks, Donald Trump clearly believed he could lie the coronavirus away. As David Leonhardt of the New York Times carefully chronicled, starting on Jan. 22, Trump began a campaign of falsehoods geared towards tricking Americans — and especially the stock market — into thinking everything was going to be fine, this epidemic was "very well under control," that "like a miracle" the virus "will disappear" and that anyone who suggested otherwise was participating in a "hoax." Fox News and other right-wing media, in the endless infinity symbol of conservative lies, both led and followed Trump on this, blanketing red-state America with a steady drumbeat of assertions that the "liberal media" was exaggerating the crisis to hurt Trump.


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Alabama pastor invited people infected with coronavirus into church for ‘faith healing’ treatment
Published 15 hours ago on March 17, 2020 By Brad Reed

Note: Another pastor who might get poetic justice – there are so many of them! End note

A pastor in Alabama this week invited people who have been infected with coronavirus into his church so that they could be treated with the power of prayer, despite guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control to avoid large gatherings.

Patheos reports that Chris Bartlett, pastor of the Boaz Church of God in Boaz, Alabama, wrote a now-deleted Facebook post in which he criticized other churches for temporarily closing to help slow the spread of the disease.
“I am somewhat moved over the fact that all it takes to disassemble God‘s church is the threat of sickness by germ spreading,” he wrote. “It seems the early church wouldn’t have made very far with this type of timidity.”

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He then vowed to make sure his own church would not be like the “timid” Christian churches that are looking out for their parishioners’ personal health.

“So with boldness of faith if you have the coronavirus or feel threatened by such, you are most welcome at Boaz Church of God Sunday morning at 10 AM where we will anoint the sick with oil and pray the prayer of faith over you!”

Website Bama Politics reports that many people were outraged by Bartlett’s defiance of public health guidelines, and they left comments referring to him as an “idiot” and a “monster” on his Facebook post before he deleted it.

In a followup video, Bartlett said that he would still be holding services on Sunday, but he assured parishioners that he and his staff had done their best to sterilize the church and he said that there would be a live stream of the service for anyone who didn’t feel comfortable coming in.

The conservative lurch toward propagandism and conspiracy theory now turns deadly

Daily Kos Staff
There are specific demographics that appear to be especially resistant to public health advice during a crisis. For expediency, we will call them the Fox News demographic. They are conservative; they are, shall-we-say, performatively religious; they likey their guns and have certain fantasies about how they may someday use them; and they are deeply distrustful of experts and government while quick to believe ideological allies, no matter how obviously fraudulent their claims might be.
If you tell them a foreign terrorist group is operating out of a Chuck E. Cheese's ball pit, now that they may believe, so long as it is Sean Hannity saying it. If you tell them a virus is spreading that is absolutely certain to have the same effects on our population that it is having in China, in Italy, and elsewhere, they will tell you you are wrong. We are seeing the results of this now: the COVID-19 pandemic now seems likely to spread through conservative populations at far higher rates than other groups. Some of them will die, and all are likely to spread the virus throughout their communities and regions before becoming sick themselves.
From The News & Advance, here is one quote from a West Virginian who traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, for a conference on "taking back Biblical manhood":
“Everywhere you look, on your phone, on the news, it’s all bombarded. It’s overrated. It’s over- exaggerated. It’s bad news, so the media loves it. But it doesn’t concern me. It’s blown out of proportion.”
Another, from a Los Angeles Times report interviewing customers in an Oklahoma gun store doing "booming" business: “People all scared of this—it’s the flu. It’s some made up stuff from the coasts.”
There's the hard-right Florida megachurch pastor who's confidently predicting that Jesus will protect his congregation from the virus, and argues "if we die, we die for Christ." There's Fox News, as in all of it. There's celebrated far-right lunatics like ex-Sheriff David Clark, whose Twitter profile currently proclaims he is "LEAVING TWITTER" after Twitter pulled some of Clark's weekend rants encouraging his followers to, essentially, go get themselves killed.
GO INTO THE STREETS FOLKS. Visit bars, restaurants, shopping malls, CHURCHES and demand that your schools re-open. NOW!
If government doesn’t stop this foolishness...STAY IN THE STREETS.
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) March 15, 2020

David A. Clarke, Jr.@SheriffClarke

This man was in line for a position within the Trump administration, at one point. We were not far from a timeline in which he was one of the people standing behind Donald Trump, behind Mike Pence, during these daily briefings.
At this point it's difficult to know quite what to say. We are entering a period when the conservative push toward disinformation on all subjects will, with absolute certainty, be killing a great number of Americans. It seems likely that conservatives, and perhaps especially hard-right religious conservatives, will die in greater numbers than others—but that is unclear, due to the inevitable "community spread" from infected individuals ignoring public warnings as a media "hoax."
And if it does ... then what? There are no laws against it. There have been no previous instances in which movement ideologues responsible for vast numbers of human deaths have been shunned or discredited; those that insisted the Iraq War would be quick, cheap and democracy-spreading still have their perches, and still sing their songs. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have no stomach for doing the bare minimum to restrict false information. Fox News will come back from the pandemic unconcerned, unapologetic, and belligerent, this time with a new reason why the deaths were, in fact, the fault of anyone and everyone who isn't them.

This may not be the right time for any analysis other than the basic one. Fox News, the corporation, is emptying out its studios to protect against the virus after weeks of their hosts telling viewers, falsely and unforgivably, that the concerns are overblown. Many of the people working hardest to downplay the virus do not believe their own claims, but continue to peddle the ideological lines that best serve an incompetent administration careening from snap decision to snap decision based on the political needs of any given day.
But it does look likely that the conservative insistence on peddling conspiracy over fact, on dismissing the free press as "fake news" that cannot be trusted on any issue in which facts or events conflict with party orthodoxy, on stubbornly lying to their audiences even in matters of life and death—it does look likely that those efforts will see a harvest, now. It is almost certain to cost lives, and possibly many, many lives.
When it does, what will the response be? What response could possibly be sufficient

The country has around 125 confirmed cases, and it’s a bit of a puzzle how the world’s second-most-populous nation, with 1.3 billion people, has seemingly remained unscathed so far.

There could be many more cases in India than have been detected, because of the difficulties of getting tested. But it’s also possible that the country has actually managed to so far escape the worst — either because of quick and strict efforts right from the start, or another mix of factors.

The relative calm has fueled disbelief in some quarters that the virus is even a threat. Over the weekend in Lucknow, one of India’s bigger cities, young people packed into pubs. “I am not scared. I eat, party, sleep,” said Akshay Gupta, an accountant who was bar hopping on Saturday night. “The scare is overhyped.”

Elsewhere in Asia, countries have begun to impose strict measures, including lockdowns in the Philippines and Malaysia and the widespread closure of schools, businesses and entertainment venues in Thailand. Some nations face a worrisome rise in cases without health care systems that can deal with a major outbreak.

Case studies: Early intervention, meticulous tracking, quarantines and social distancing helped Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong get their outbreaks under control.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the outbreak.

In other developments:

■ New York City residents were told to prepare for a possible “shelter in place” order in the next 48 hours. Separately, the Trump administration will seek to send cash payments directly to Americans to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic.

■ The first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine has begun, but even if it is proved safe and effective, it will not be available for at least a year.

■ The European Union has adopted a 30-day ban on non-essential travel to European countries from the rest of the world, starting a stretch of isolation like nothing in modern history outside wartime.

■ After suffering their worst day in decades, stocks bounced back: The S&P 500 rose about 6 percent as Washington policymakers talked up plans to try to cushion the economy.

■ The actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been released from the hospitalafter contracting the virus.

“The Daily”: Our latest episode includes an interview with a doctor in Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

What to know: The Times is providing free access to much of our coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free.

A musician plays for residents of his apartment block in Erbil, in northern Iraq, on Tuesday. Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What we can do next

Melina caught up with Donald G. McNeil Jr., our infectious diseases reporter who has been covering epidemics for nearly two decades. He has been reporting on experts’ recommendations for what to do next.

You’ve said this is a crisis but it’s not unstoppable. How do we stop it?

We need to shut down all travel, as experts have said. And then we really aggressively tackle the clusters. People have got to stop shaking hands; people have got to stop going to bars and restaurants. New clusters are appearing every day.

It’s basically urgent that America imitates what China did. China had a massive outbreak in Wuhan, spreading all over the country, and they’ve almost stopped it. We can shut off the roads, flights, buses and trains. I don’t think we’ll ever succeed at doing exactly what China did. It’s going to cause massive social disruption because Americans don’t like being told what to do.

In places like China, Singapore and Taiwan, they’ve gone through SARS — they know how scary it is.

Is that what some countries are missing? This sense of collective action and selflessness?

That is absolutely what many Americans are missing — that it’s not about you right now. When I was a kid, my parents were in the World War II generation and there was more of a sense of, hey, we did something amazing; we ramped up this gigantic society effort. It was this sense of we’re all in this together.

We’ve got to realize that we’re all in this together and save each other’s lives. That has not penetrated yet and it needs to penetrate because we all have to cooperate.

The sad thing is: Most people — this has been true in every epidemic I’ve covered, whether it’s Zika in Puerto Rico or AIDS in South Africa — don’t believe in the disease until they see someone get sick and die from it, someone they know. And it’s too bad. It’s: Oh, that’s happening to those people over there; that’s happening in China; that’s not going to happen to us.

I imagine that after decades of covering epidemics, you understood Covid-19’s severity early on. Tell me about when this became serious for you.

I remember vividly — I went on vacation to Argentina, not thinking this was terribly serious: It sounds like an animal disease and it’s going to kill a limited number of people. By the time I came back, China admitted there was sustained human-to-human transmission. I started watching the case counts double and doing the math in my head, and I realized, oh my god. This is going pandemic.

When was that?

It was late January. I was on the subway, going from work to my girlfriend’s house, just sort of thinking about the numbers and realizing: Wait a minute, that doubling rate is so fast, there’s no way this isn’t going to become a pandemic. I started writing on a piece of notebook paper trying to see if I was crazy — and then went looking up the 1918 pandemic and realized that was the closest model to this.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in Beijing on Monday. Andy Wong/Associated Press

China bans American journalists from major outlets

Beijing announced that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and also ban them from reporting in territories like Hong Kong and Macau.

It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the government with information about their operations. The full scope of the directive was not immediately clear.

The latest move in the tit-for-tat campaign between Washington and Beijing comes at a moment when reporting on the coronavirus is a global, 24-hour operation for most news outlets. Last month China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters from the country. President Trump responded this month by limiting the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the U.S. for five state-controlled Chinese news organizations.

Related: China has been cracking down on online anger toward the government for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. A new internet police force is knocking on doors of suspected critics, subjecting them to hours of interrogation and in some cases forcing them to sign loyalty pledges.

And final one – there is just too much news to report

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As nations around the world buckle down amid coronavirus outbreaks, approaches to isolation and social distancing are inconsistent, at best, in the United States. While some cities and states are implementing bans on restaurants and bars staying open and capping the number of people in a space, some groups are moving forward with, ahem, business as usual. One example from last Sunday morning? Pastor Guillermo Maldonado, of King Jesus International Ministry, a megachurch in Kendall, Florida, encouraged his congregation to keep coming to service, downplaying concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by the Miami Herald.
“Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not,” Maldonado, a Trump supporter, said to his congregation, as reported by the outlet.
“This service is usually packed. So now they’re home in a cave afraid of the virus, that you want to transmit the virus,” Maldonado continued. The Herald noted the venue “appeared half empty.”
Maldonado’s take contradicts advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel group gatherings of more than 50 people for the next two months. It also stands in opposition to what other religious groups are doing. For example, Catholic churches have begun canceling mass until further notice, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon church) canceled service indefinitely, and even some megachurches have switched to virtual services.
Of course, this is far from the first time Maldonado has been outrageous. The pastor once told his congregation that no undocumented immigrants would be deported if they attended a Trump campaign rally held at the church. As reported by The Advocate, Maldonado has claimed homosexuality “invites unclean spirits into our lives” and may stem from a “demonic attack while in the womb.” In terms of being chummy with Trump, Maldonado was selected to pray for the president as part of the “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in January.
Maldonado is not the only religious leader dismissing coronavirus concerns. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, also a Trump supporter, encouraged people to shake hands while at service in Tampa, Florida, as seen in the Twitter video below.


A revivalist church in Tampa, Florida was open today despite a global pandemic because they're "not pansies."

The pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, is a climate change denier and, despite warnings from medical professionals, encouraged people to shake hands.

5:55 AM - Mar 16, 2020
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“If we die, we die for Christ,” Maldonado told parishioners. “If we live, we live for Christ, so what do you lose?”
Given that a mere 26% of Republicans believe coronavirus will impact their day-to-day life in a major way, perhaps this isn’t surprising. But it’s definitely concerning, especially as we consider that people generally leave these large, congested spaces and go back into the world with everyone else, including the immunocompromised and the elderly. Decisions like these are dangerous for all involved and reinforce the point that amid rampant misinformation, we should be trying to educate others with patience, not mock or dismiss.

Part Thee Corona Virus Poems

and my poems on the corona virus. if you have comments please send them in and i will post updates. Stay safe and take care of one another. We can do this.

the Virus from Hell is amused

the Virus from Hell is amused
laughing at the world’s panicked reaction
as it marches through the world unabated

infecting everyone in its wake
as the world awaits its fate
the virus smiles he ain’t no fake
he is the real deal

he is death itself
he is the end of the world
the grim reaper is smiling
god is silent as usual

and the virus is the world’s worst nightmare
the world’s leaders dither and dather
as the economy craters
everyone hoping that God will save them

the virus does not care
insults and orders do not work
the virus simply does its virus thing

infecting everyone it encounters
and thousands will die
equal opportunity offender
killing the rich and the poor alike

the virus smile
his work is done
and mankind is doomed
so be it the virus thinks

that is the way of the world
and the virus is the new king
of the world

End of the world

end of world
the fears world wide
soon find us dead

bring out the dead
all the dead die
death lies here there

there goes here
as death here comes
soon here death comes

every day I turn on the news

every day I turn on the news
nothing but news about the virus
the virus from hell

the world is filled with fear
and my anxiety levels rise
every time I turn on the news

oh my god I say
we are all going to die
and I am so afraid

afraid of everyone
afraid of everything
dreading the latest news

and nothing relieves my fear
I watch the world
loosing its collective mind

wondering how much more of this
can we all take

I scream out
Dear God save us all
god is silent as usual

and so I realized
we are doomed
perhaps it is the end times
perhaps not

I turn off the TV
try to stay calm

hoping the madness
will not overwhelm us all

Irony Meter on Alert

the Irony gasket
is blown again
and again

with every statement
of our chaos president
and his endless surrogates
promoting the latest Presidential
on spot guidance

that must be true
because our dear leader
says it is so

The President accuses his democratic rival
of being senile and needs to be in home
and will be run by his radical left allies

and the right wing media
echoes the presidential absurd comments
refusing to acknowledge
that the president himself
is rapidly fading into dementia

and his radical right aids
are looting the government
driving out expertise
even in the midst of pandemic

Oh yeah the irony meters
are blowing gaskets
every single day


the world descends into chaos
as our world leaders
led by the chaos president

are overwhelmed
by the smallest enemy of all

a simple virus
blows through the crumbling public health infrastructure
and no one is prepared

and panic ensures
with every Presidential tweet
as people don’t believe
a word he says

conspiracy rumors spread
everyone believes their own reality
as the world spins out of control

the chaos king is in his element
convince that only he knows
the deal

and everyone else
is iust a bit player
in the reality show
that he presides over

and so the rest of us
hunker down
just hoping for the best

as the panic and chaos
spreads faster
than the virus

are we doomed
can we survive
will God save us?

he is silent
as always

Corona Virus Fears Tanka

Corona virus
lurking fears all around me
we all will die
the TV screaming nonstop
Must be afraid be afraid

My Phobias Overwhelm Me

lately I have become scared
of everything
the news scares me, the corona virus scares me, the presidential race scares me
fears of gun men in the street, terrorism, fears of getting sick, fears of dogs
fears of other people, fear of loosing money

all these phobias overwhelm me
time to walk away from my fears

and realize
it will be alright
everything will be alright
As long as I have you
by my side

Fear Fills the Air

watching the news
blather on and on

the world is ending
pandemic is coming
we are going to die

and the fear grows
and the restrictions grow
travel comes to stop
the economy comes to a stop

everyone is so afraid
our leaders fret
say that everything is fine
as the world enters
the second great depression

and we are faced
with the reality
all over the world
idiots are in charge

the internet spreads
the wildest rumors
the truth is lost
in the shuffle

no one believes anyone
everything thinks
that they know
it is all a conspiracy

the thought comes to mind
we are all so ’S….
end of the world
is upon us

the best we can get

watching the news
one wonders
how in this great country
of ours

we can end up
with such idiots
in charge

no disrespect intended
both political parties
all corporations
and our institutions
except maybe the military

has been infected
by this virus
of epic incompetence
greed and indifference
to the general good

it is all about me
and mine
and you can go
to hell
if you dare to disagree

and so we tweed and titter
and watch the news
reading the latest rumors

and I wonder
if there is a god
or if there is a devil

and are we overwhelmed
by the dismal news

why can’t we have better
better people
in our leaders
around the world

has god abandoned us
are we in hell

or did god ever exist
except in our fevered imagination
will god save us all

or will the world
just go around the sun
indifferent to our pleas?

no answer
must watch the news
consumed by the need
to see the latest news

and so it goes
and I wake up
the sun is up
and the nightmares
fade away

until I watch the news
and the madness consumes
us all again and again

More Trouble Every Day

The Old Zappa song plays
on in my head
every time I turn on the news

and see more trouble every day
no one can delay
the trouble coming every day

Frank Zappa died too soon
before the horrors of the Trump era
that he would have foreseen
if he had lived on

he was truly a prophet
crying in the wildness
while making money
as an over night sensation

as he saw the slime
oozing out of the TV sets
we will do what we are told
for the rights to us have been sold

And Jesus too
has been sold
to the highest bidder

nothing but a business deal
in America
the land of the constant deal

and so I turn off the TV
and realize that
the torture never ends
the torture never ends

by pass the alarms spreading across the land

to bypass the alarms spreading across the land
the circuit breakers are breaking down
as the alarms go on and on
with the end of the world
the end days approaching
spreading the alarm far and wide

corona cinqku
it came from hell
we must be all prepared
meet God  
Taking a Walk in the Corona Era

Taking a Walk in the Corona Era

every day I go for a walk
in the spring time woods
near my house
braving the weather
and the dreaded corona virus

wearing masks and gloves
keeping a distance
from anyone we encounter

that is life it seems
in the era of the corona virus
when will it end
no one knows

until then
I will brave the viral threat
and confront my fears
and walk in the park

with the love of my life
my bride my wife
by my side
in these challenging times
that is all we can do

A lone man stands in an empty parking lot

A lone man stands in an empty parking lot
contemplating the new normal
social distancing run amuck

as fears of the corona super plague
plague the land
driving everyone inside

sheltering in place
afraid to go out
afraid of the deadly c virus
It is a hell of a world we live in ain’t it?

It is a hell of a world we live in ain’t it?
said the old man to me
sitting on a bench
in the park in the woods

as we both sought shelter
from the spreading chaos
the pandemic swirling around us

Yes I said
standing up
to enforce the proper distance
between us

don’t want to give the virus a chance
to spread between us

he smiled and said
relax I already went through it
I am fine and you will too

Pause for a moment admits the media madness
Pause for a moment admits the media madness
All around us fears and chaos
Unlike the end of the world approaching us
Sadness overcomes us dooming us to our fate
Every we go nothing but death awaits

A man comes to a cross roads

a man comes to a cross roads
deep in the countryside
lost in thought
wondering which path
he should take

he was lost
never been here before
and did not know
where he was
or when he was
or who he was

he stared at the road
and decided he would take the right path
and hope that it would lead him straight
to his final destination
wherever and whenever that would be

I feel as if the whole world

I feel as if the whole world
needs to be canceled
due to rough times ahead
due to the corona madness
and the thread of pure craziness
that it inspires in us all

submitted to pensively 101

the world is in full panic mode

the world is in full panic mode
as the dreaded C virus spreads through the land
making us all want to punch the walls
and scream make it stop make it stop

but the virus does not listen to us
it does its virus thing
infecting both the rich and the poor alike
eqaul opportuntiy offender

but more poor people
because there are so many of them
and so few billionaires

© Copyright 2020 JCosmos (UN: jcosmos at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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