Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The one real gift of the pandemic

1lady liberty
From earlier tonight,  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Lady Liberty."

With tens of millions of workers facing the triple threat of the cutoff of the $600 weekly federal supplement to their state unemployment compensation, the resumption of evictions in most states, and a renewed upsurge in the coronavirus pandemic, the response of the US Congress was to go on vacation.

The Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate adjourned July 3 without taking up an extension of the $600 weekly supplement provided in the CARES Act, which is set to expire on July 25. Congress will not return to work until Monday, July 20, and there is little prospect that the full supplement will be extended, given intransigent opposition from corporate America, which has branded the payments a “disincentive” to forcing workers back into unsafe workplaces.

The $600 supplement has been a lifeline for tens of millions of workers thrown onto unemployment lines by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. Large numbers of workers, particularly those in part-time and other contingent forms of work, actually saw an increase in income, because combined state and federal benefits brought them up to nearly $1,000 a week--above the official poverty line.

The looming unemployment benefit cutoff coincides with the expiration of temporary eviction moratoriums in 20 states, including Texas and Wisconsin. Eviction bans in nine others are set to expire by the end of the month, as well as the federal ban, which affects only properties insured or underwritten through federal agencies. A study by the real estate firm Amherst projects that almost 28 million households are at risk of eviction due to job losses related to the pandemic.

The Trump administration and most congressional Republicans are opposing renewal of the $600 unemployment supplement, proposing either a complete cutoff, an extension at a much lower level, or the transformation of the unemployment benefit into an incentive bonus for going back to work—essentially paying workers to risk their lives and the lives of their families and friends under conditions of a worsening pandemic.

The same options have been embraced by sections of the Democratic Party, with at least one prominent Democrat, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a multimillionaire, telling a local Chamber of Commerce that the $600 benefit “discourages work.” Some Senate Democrats have proposed to extend the supplement at lower levels indexed to the official unemployment rate (which grossly undercounts the actual jobless toll).

The government doesn't care about We The People.  How little it cares is one of the few gifts of the pandemic -- we now know they don't plan on serving us or representing us.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020.  Looking at the global pandemic and how Iraq is suffering from it.  

Corona, corona.

From her album CHALK MARKS IN A RAIN STORM, that's Joni Mitchell performing "A Bird That Whistles (Corrina, Corrina)."

Starting in the US and with me.  A blogger e-mailed noting that he was discussing the need for masks at his site and was encouraging others to do so as well.  He doesn't want a link so I won't link to him or name him -- if he changes his mind, I will note him.


It's not my job to tell you what to do.  Presumably most of you are grown ups.

I can share what I do.

I wear a mask in public.  I wear a mask in private if more than six people are present.

I'm in several at risk groups -- including medical (I'm diabetic and I'm back on chemo).  

Do I think a mask is a save all?


I assume the mask helps others you're around.  I also take the attitude with the masks that we had regarding condoms during the AIDS crisis.  They weren't 100% effective (they can break) but you were safer using them when you had sex.  

What about our rights?

We're in a pandemic.  Traditionally, that means some rights get curtailed.  If the wearing a mask is an infringement on rights, it's an infringement that I personally can go along with.  

Other infringements, I probably would object to.

What should you do?  

That's up to you.  The numbers are increasing, in the US and in the world.  

That's Najaf in Iraq.  It's all around the world, not just the US.  If you have ideas for how to reduce the spread of coronavirus, share them.  Share them online.  If you want, you can even send them here and I'll post regardless of where you stand on the issue -- for the rest of this week only.  It could spark a conversation that we need to have.

The hope was always that the summer, the warm weather, would send the virus packing for a few months or at least the warm weather would see a significant reduction in new cases.  That has not happened.

We would all love to see a vaccine but I'm doubtful we'll have that by the fall.  

We need to have a national conversation on this issue.

The president hasn't helped.  Congress has outright failed us (refusing to push for $1,200 a month for every American adult was failure -- and it's cute how Bernie wanted to lead the charge vocally but didn't do a thing to make it come true in the Senate).  

People who feel the mask is a violation of their rights should especially be discussing what's going on right now.  

This is about public health and public safety.  It's a dialogue that, in this country, every one needs to take part in.  That's what democracy is about.

If you need something noted on cornavirus this week -- e-mail and we'll note it.

According to WORLD OMETERS INFO, Iraq has had 62,275 cases of coronavirus with 2,567 deaths.  The CIA estimates Iraq's population (no census has been done in decades) to be 38 million.

  U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic provides new opportunities for the Islamic State extremist group, al-Qaida and their affiliates as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups.

The U.N. chief said it's too early to fully assess the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on terrorism, but all these groups seek to exploit divisions, local conflicts, failures in governing, and other grievances to advance their aims.

Guterres told the launch of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week that the Islamic State group, which once controlled a vast swath of Syria and Iraq, is trying to reassert itself in both countries, ``while thousands of foreign terrorist fighters battle in the region.''

In other news, AL-MONITOR notes:

Notable Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashimi was assassinated in Baghdad today, according to multiple reports.

On Monday, Agence France Presse reported that Hashimi was walking out of his Baghdad home when three gunmen on two motorcycles shot and killed him at close range.

Hashimi was a known and respected commentator on Iraqi affairs who was particularly knowledgable on the Islamic State. Just about an hour before his death, he tweeted that division in Iraq was the result of the ethnic and religious quota system put in place following the 2003 US invasion. The tweet, which some shared after his death, has now been liked more than 11,500 times.

Horrifying video of the assassination today of #Iraq security expert Hisham al-Hashimi. Washington Post reports about threats al-Hashimi had received from #Iran-backed militia groups recently. 1/2

These pictures today from the funeral of Hisham Al-hashimi in the city of Najaf in central Iraq - there was no official funeral by the Iraqi state, nor a military presence , these are bad signs of the performance of the new Iraqi government.
Inside Najaf's Old City
Inside Najaf's Old City
Inside Najaf's Old City
7:49 AM · Jul 7, 2020

I strongly condemn the assassination of Iraqi security expert Hisham Al-Hashimi last night in Baghdad. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Authorities must find the perpetrators of this terror act and bring them to justice.
3:30 AM · Jul 7, 2020

On that last Tweet, Depth Tweets a reply.

Condemn of killing 1 man, but not condemn the killing of servals Kurdish people by Turkish Airstrike. Bravo bravo you corrupt politican! You people deserve to be overthrown and being punished by the law!

Yes, Turkey's assault on Iraq continues.  TRINITY CHANNEL offers this report.

The following sites updated: