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Home country: USA
Current location: Southern California
Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
Number of posts: 45,250

Journal Archives

I was the 1968 version of a Bernie Bro. I still regret it.

I am trying to remember the person I was in 1968. I was 22 years old and a recent college graduate. I was angry, infuriated by the war in Vietnam and racial segregation. It was my first chance to vote in a presidential election. I was living in New Jersey — very briefly — and I voted for Dick Gregory, the brilliant comedian running as a write-in candidate, instead of Hubert Humphrey, the Democrat running against Republican Richard Nixon. It was a protest vote, obviously. I regret it to this day.
We also knew what the 1968 versions of ourselves had learned in the 50 intervening years. We had learned the importance of stability, especially in a democracy. In Beirut in 1978, I had seen a sophisticated city ripped to shreds by tribalism … and had learned how fragile a civilized society can be. We had both learned how hard it is to make a difference, that the best change comes incrementally and only with a national consensus. We had both learned that idealism needs to be enhanced by civility and some institutional memory.
My question to young voters is this: If Sanders loses the nomination to Biden, will you be as stupid as I was in 1968? Will you allow the country — the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency, the judiciary, the diplomatic corps — another four years of President Trump? Are you entirely sure we can survive that?

I am not trying to persuade young Sanders zealots that they should cast a vote for this year’s version of Humphrey. Not yet. In any case, they’re not going to listen to a geezer like me. I understand their impatience and anger, even if I don’t understand why a 78-year-old man insists on the puerile offensiveness of calling himself a “socialist” when the countries he purportedly admires — the Scandinavians — are bastions of free enterprise tempered by a robust welfare state. Perhaps Sanders needs to grow up a little, too.


Stocks Fall Sharply Despite Surprise Fed Rate Cut

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dow closes nearly 800 points lower; Treasury yields drop again despite Federal Reserve move. Many money managers had been looking for the Fed to do exactly as it did Tuesday. They argued that the worsening epidemic justified the Fed taking action before its scheduled policy meeting—something that hadn’t been done since the financial crisis in 2008.

The Fed’s move sparked a frenzy of trading. Stocks initially shot higher, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 350 points. But within 15 minutes, stocks’ initial gains gave way to jerky up-and-down trading action—with the blue-chip average and Treasury yields tumbling after Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the limits of the central bank’s actions in a press conference.

“We do recognize the rate cut won’t reduce the rate of infection,” Mr. Powell said., though he added that he believed the move would “provide a meaningful boost to the economy.”

“Cutting interest rates isn’t going to make someone take a flight to Italy if they’re too scared to do it,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stocks-gain-on-stimulus-hopes-11583206230?mod=mhp

Pet dog in Hong Kong tests 'weak positive' for coronavirus, officials say

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said authorities picked up the dog after its owner fell ill.

“The nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to COVID-19 virus,” he said.The dog’s owner is infected with COVID-19 and being treated on the densely populated territory off mainland China, Hong Kong officials said. The dog is not showing any symptoms, they said.

The dog has been put in quarantine for monitoring and testing, officials said. They say they don’t know if the dog is actually infected or if the positive test “is a result of environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose.”

The department is advising people with confirmed COVID-19 infections to put their pets in quarantine for 14 days.


UC Davis student showing 'mild symptoms' of coronavirus. 3 roommates in isolation

Source: Sacramento Bee

A student living in a dormitory at UC Davis has shown “mild symptoms” of coronavirus and has been placed in isolation, along with two other students living in the dorm, Yolo County and university officials said Thursday.

The student has a runny nose and a cough after potentially being exposed to someone with coronavirus, officials said. The individual is in isolation at a home off campus. The two other individuals in isolation are the student’s roommates and are not showing signs of the virus.

Officials declined to say whether the three are in isolation in Davis. They are isolating “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a university press release. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is testing the student’s specimen for the virus and results are expected back in three to four days.

The news comes after a patient at the UC Davis Medical Center tested positive for the virus, making the patient the nation’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus from “exposure in the community.” UC Davis Medical Center is located in Sacramento.


Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article240705041.html

Why does it take 3-4 days to get test results?

Tennessee doctor got his GOP rep to overrule CDC & repatriate infected cruise ship passengers.

This is how California got infected with Covid-19, and why we have a Covid-19 infected California woman who never left California fighting for her life now at a California hospital. As Rachel Maddow mentioned tonight, a Covid-19 infected Tennessee doctor from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan got his GOP Representative to pull strings in the Trump administration to overrule the CDC & repatriate the infected passengers. The CDC wanted the Covid-19 positive passengers to stay in Japan, and only have passengers who tested negative be repatriated. Trump's State Department ultimately overruled the CDC.

Tennessee doctor sparked evacuation from cruise ship

A Tennessee doctor with a friend in Congress was instrumental in bringing home hundreds of Americans who were stuck in Asia on a coronavirus-laden cruise ship, according to a new report detailing the government decision to evacuate the ship.

Dr. Arnold Hopland, who runs a clinic in Elizabethton, remains quarantined in Japan with his wife, Jeanie, who has tested positive for coronavirus. The couple were passengers on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship where about 3,700 people were quarantined in their cabins for weeks as the infection spread.

While Hopland remains in Asia, his calls to Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe appear to be at least partially responsible for the decision to rescue other Americans from the ship. Hopland, who is friends with Roe, detailed the deteriorating conditions on the ship to the congressman, who then pushed the State Department to bring the travelers home.

In the end, Hopland's details and Roe's urging prompted officials to finally evacuate the ship, according to a deeply-soudeeply-sourced report by The Washington Post. "That tipped the balance," an unnamed senior administration official told the Post.


Then Trump's HHS sent unprotected, untrained HHS employees to greet these 14 infected evacuees. Trump had disbanded the pandemic response team. These HHS employees were not quarantined and mingled in the community surrounding Travis Air Force Base in California where the evacuees were supposedly quarantined. At least one HHS staffer stayed at a local hotel and left on a commercial air liner. About 10 days after the infected evacuees arrived, the woman from the area came down with Covid-19 and checked herself into a local hospital 10 miles from Travis.

It is now in our communities, thanks to a Tennessee doctor who had GOP connections strong enough to overrule the CDC. Then Trump's HHS and State Department made things worse by accepting the evacuees in the most incompetent, unsafe way possible.

Never mind the stock market, people will die because of this. And my beautiful state is now ground zero, thanks to Republicans.

Asian shares slump after Trump announcement on Covid-19 plans

HONG KONG (AP): Shares fell in Asia on Thursday (Feb 27) after President Donald Trump announced the US was stepping up its efforts to combat the virus outbreak that began in China, as the number of cases surpassed 81,000.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 2.1% to 21,948.23, while in Australia, the S&P ASX/200 dropped 0.8% to 6,657.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8% to 26,491.52.

In South Korea, where 334 new cases of the virus were reported, the Kospi dropped 1% to 2,056.76. The central bank downgraded its growth estimate for 2020 to 2.1% from 2.3% and said the virus outbreak would have a short-term impact on business activity, after growth fell to its slowest in a decade last year.Previous crisis playbooks have all revolved around buying the dip in equities, so I wonder just how much further the fire sale will go before the market at least starts to scale in again," Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. said in a report.

"But based on last night's price action, it does appear that any bounce in stocks is likely to be short-lived. And eventually, the markets could fall deeper as investors start to think what's the point of trying to pick the bottom in the short term."


WaPo: Winners and losers from the South Carolina Democratic debate


Sen. Elizabeth Warren: When it comes to debate performances spanning the past two weeks, Warren’s have been the strongest. She built a case for being a general-election candidate against Trump last week by taking the bark off Mike Bloomberg. And she followed it up with a studied and detailed performance on Tuesday. Warren (D-Mass.) picked up where she left off with Bloomberg by pointing to his past support for Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and former senator Scott Brown (Mass.), whom she defeated in the 2012 Senate race. She again argued that Bloomberg had not sufficiently addressed the treatment of women at his company and went after him for doing business in China.

Joe Biden: He has regularly been a loser on this list, and he was again somewhat uneven on Tuesday night. But he’s the leading candidate in South Carolina and a player on Super Tuesday on March 3, and he seemed likely to continue to be after the debate. Biden had some good moments, including in his appeals to black voters, which will be key on Saturday and on Super Tuesday. He noted his work to secure funding for Charleston’s port, and he talked about gentrification in a way we haven’t heard much in this nominating contest so far. Biden detracted from his performance a little by — again — repeatedly complaining about not getting enough time and blaming his Catholic upbringing for his obedience to rules about the length of answers. One thing to keep an eye on, though: When asked whether he would press on if he doesn’t win South Carolina, he said he would win. At this point, he better.


Sen. Bernie Sanders: After the candidates spent much of last week’s debate focused on Bloomberg even as Sanders is threatening to take over the race, Tuesday night represented a course-correction. Warren attacked Sanders for being ineffective. Pete Buttigieg said Russia is helping Sanders, as U.S. intelligence has stated, because the senator serves its purposes. “Russia wants chaos, and chaos is what’s coming our way,” Buttigieg said. “Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump.” Tom Steyer warned about having the government “take over the private sector.” Biden mentioned the mass shooting in a black Charleston church in 2015 and noted that Sanders voted against the Brady gun-control bill five times, which prompted Sanders to acknowledge that it was a mistake. Later on, Biden and Buttigieg ganged up on Sanders for praising over the decades the good things authoritarian socialist regimes had done. It prompted Sanders to say early on: “I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit. I wonder why.” Indeed. The question is whether it’s too little, too late by his opponents.

Mike Bloomberg: It just wasn’t much better than last week, which isn’t good. Bloomberg did little to make an affirmative case for himself, even on the electability front. And he offered mealy-mouthed rebuttals to some of the attacks against him, including again downplaying the women who complained about their treatment at his companies. Bloomberg said he was “probably wrong to make the jokes” but added, “I don’t remember what they were.” He called it a “comment or two.” When Warren pressed him, he said, “The trouble is with the senator, enough is never enough. … We did what she asked and, thank you, we’ve probably made the world better because of it.” Bloomberg has released three women from nondisclosure agreements and said his company would not use them going forward, but as Warren noted, he hasn’t released all of them.

Bernie Sanders' disastrous answer on '60 Minutes

Here's the exchange between Sanders and Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes":

Cooper: Do you know how all -- how much though? I mean, do you have a price tag for -- for all of this?

Sanders: We do. I mean, you know, and -- and-- the price tag is -- it will be substantially less than letting the current system go. I think it's about $30 trillion.

Cooper: That's just for "Medicare for All," you're talking about?

Sanders: That's just "Medicare for All," yes.

Cooper: Do you have -- a price tag for all of these things?

Sanders: No, I don't. We try to -- no, you mentioned making public colleges and universities tuition free and canceling all student debt, that's correct. That's what I want to do. We pay for that through a modest tax on Wall Street speculation.

Cooper: But you say you don't know what the total price is, but you know how it's gonna be paid for. How do you know it's gonna be paid for if you don't know how much the price is?

Sanders: Well, I can't -- you know, I can't rattle off to you every nickel and every dime. But we have accounted for -- you -- you talked about "Medicare for All." We have options out there that will pay for it.

"Experts estimate that Sanders' major proposals would cost a staggering $60 trillion and would double the size of the government (while his tax plans fall $27 trillion short of paying for it). There's a reason that, when pressed on the cost of his plans, Sanders simply refuses to answer, saying he actually has no idea and 'no one does.'"

But Sanders once did admit the harsh reality of how his plans would be paid for during a debate over the summer. Here's the exchange between Sanders and NBC's Savannah Guthrie..:Sanders: People who have health care under "Medicare for All" will have no premiums, no deductibles, no copayments, no out of pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get.

So, here's what we now know about Sanders' plans for America:

1) He isn't sure how much they will cost.

2) He isn't totally sure how he will pay for them.

3) It's likely they will be paid for by an increase in taxes on the middle class.

Whoo boy. Maybe Sanders is right that America is ready for a fundamental reorienting of how we value ourselves, our society and our money. But if he's not -- and this election winds up being like virtually every other election in which people vote on who is going to let them keep more of their money -- then Sanders (and Democrats by extension) have a big problem.


Embracing Supreme Court Expansion Carries No Political Cost, Study Says

Expanding the Supreme Court, an increasingly popular reform among some progressive activists, is not politically costly for Democrats, according to an academic survey commissioned by a group that supports the idea.

The study documented reactions to the idea among 2,400 Democrats, Republicans and independents from the political swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was conducted by political scientist Aaron Belkin from San Francisco State University and James Druckman of Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. Druckman, a public opinion expert, designed the study, while the funding came from Take Back the Court, a progressive judicial reform group that Belkin runs.

The survey asked participants to react to two different Democrat-Republican matchups. The first was a “status quo” group pitting a standard Democratic candidate who wants to expand health care access, repeal President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, regulate guns and fight climate change against a Republican candidate who holds inverse positions but also wants to reshape the judiciary. 

In a second matchup, survey participants evaluated a “court expansion” matchup between a hypothetical Republican candidate and a hypothetical Democratic candidate. In that scenario, the Democrat would propose expanding the court to make it “more representative of America, bring greater balance to the court, and prevent the domination of the Supreme Court by a single political party,” according to the study. The Republican candidate would call the idea “a threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans by radical liberals trying to change the rules so a few cities in New York and California can impose their will on the rest of us.”


How To Cope With Trump-Era Depression

The psychological impact of Trump’s presidency is real and lasting. Many of his actions are unprecedented in modern presidential history. And Trump’s gaslighting is enough to cause anyone to feel like we’re losing control of our democracy. Psychologists have referred to the feelings that result from this presidency as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” It can lead to increased blood pressure, depression, and chronic health problems. For that reason, it’s important to keep perspective and take care. If you’re tired of feeling sick over Trump’s actions, these friendly reminders may lift your spirits, empower you, give you hope, and effect change.

Trump doesn’t represent the American people. Trump got 62,984,828 votes. About 174 million Americans either voted against him or didn’t vote for him, which is about 73% of the eligible-to-vote American population. Trump’s term ends in a few months. We have an opportunity to replace him with someone who leads with compassion, believes in science, sets an example, and tells the truth. In some countries, dictators stay in power for decades.

Empower yourself. There’s so much we can do to offset the damage of Trump’s presidency. Volunteer for a campaign or a nonprofit, find a job that allows you to advance your interests full-time, register people to vote, or donate to a charity. Every act of kindness makes a difference. It’s also an impactful exercise to call your senators in Congress at (202) 224-3121 to express your thoughts.

Manage your social media exposure. Avoid arguing with people who are unlikely to change their minds. It’s emotionally draining, and it isn’t worth it. There are much better ways to spend your days. Think critically about how you’re using your time on social media.

[More suggestions at link]

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