What Now?! – April 15, 2020

President Trump compared the tension between him and some Democratic governors to the movie Mutiny on the Bounty: “Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!”

It’s not clear if Trump realizes that the sadistic captain in the film is eventually ousted from command.

“If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it.” — Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), quoted by Reuters, when asked what he would do if President Trump ordered him to relax social distancing restrictions.

“The basic essence of Trump’s tweet was that he was not happy with governors and this was a mutiny. The president is clearly spoiling for a fight on the issue. The worst thing we can do with all of this is start with political division and partisanship… The president will have no fight with me. I will not engage it.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), quoted by the Washington Post, responding to President Trump’s suggestion that governor’s are staging a “mutiny.”

All this after Trump claimed on Monday that he complete dictatorial powers over all of America. “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total and that is the way it’s gonna be. It’s total. It’s total. And the governors know that. When somebody is the President of the United States, the authority is total.” — President Trump, quoted by the Associated Press, at his daily coronavirus briefing.

“As governors across the country fell into line in recent weeks, South Dakota’s top elected leader stood firm: There would be no statewide order to stay home,” the Washington Post reports.

“Such edicts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said disparagingly, reflected a ‘herd mentality.’ It was up to individuals — not government — to decide whether ‘to exercise their right to work, to worship and to play. Or to even stay at home.’”

“But now South Dakota is home to one of the largest single coronavirus clusters anywhere in the United States, with more than 300 workers at a giant ­pork-processing plant falling ill. With the case numbers continuing to spike, the company was forced to announce the indefinite closure of the facility Sunday, threatening the U.S. food supply.”

“Multiple leading conservative advocacy groups plan to soon announce a joint coalition to demand the reopening of the U.S. economy despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, pushing for government authorities to loosen restrictions against the warnings of leading public health experts,” the Washington Post reports.

“The CIA has privately advised its workforce that taking an anti-malarial drug touted by President Trump and some of his supporters as a promising treatment for the novel coronavirus has potentially dangerous side effects, including sudden death,” the Washington Post reports.

“That is the biggest meltdown I have ever seen from a President of the United States in my career.” — CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, quoted by CNN, on today’s coronavirus press briefing.

Politico: “The Trump administration is moving to delay some deadlines for the 2020 census due to coronavirus, including delivering data to states for congressional redistricting. The Census Bureau is requesting Congress allow a 120-day delay on some data-reporting deadlines, according to a joint statement Monday by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. The delay would accommodate social distancing guidelines for workers to prevent the spread of the disease.”

“More than 2,100 U.S. cities are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year and many are planning to slash programs and cut staff in response, illustrating the widespread financial havoc threatened by the coronavirus pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.

“The bleak outlook — shared by local governments representing roughly 93 million people nationwide — led some top mayors and other leaders to call for greater federal aid to protect cities now forced to choose between balancing their cash-strapped ledgers and sustaining the public services that residents need most.”

A provision in the economic relief law passed by Congress allows banks to seize the $1,200 payments and use them to offset an individual’s existing debts, the American Prospect reports.

Bloomberg: “The state of Michigan, one of the hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus, has seen more than a quarter of its workforce file for unemployment benefits. The number of Covid-19 cases has climbed to 25,635, while the death toll has reached 1,602, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced during a press conference Monday.”

“More than 1 million Michiganders have sought jobless benefits.​”

“More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change tucked into the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually,” the Washington Post reports.

“The provision, inserted into the law by Senate Republicans, temporarily suspends a limitation on how much owners of businesses formed as ‘pass-through’ entities can deduct in taxes from losses on other business income. The limitation was created as part of the 2017 Republican tax law to offset other tax cuts to firms in that legislation.”

“The names of businesses that collectively will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in coronavirus relief from the federal government may not be disclosed publicly, an omission that critics say could make the massive spending program vulnerable to fraud and favoritism,” the Washington Post reports.

“A potentially even larger gap involves the trillions going out to businesses under the auspices of the Federal Reserve.”

Josh Rogin obtained a U.S. State Department cable from January 2018 that complains about safety and management weaknesses at a Chinese lab, and specifically flagged concerns that its work on bat coronaviruses could be a threat to public health.

“The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.”

The International Monetary Fund projected the coronavirus pandemic will bring about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The organization expects a recession “far worse” than the 2008 financial crisis. Growth in advanced economies is projected to be -6.1%.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Associated Press that “the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy, adding a dose of caution to increasingly optimistic projections from the White House.”

Said Fauci: “We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet.”

He added that the key is “getting people out of circulation if they get infected, because once you start getting clusters, then you’re really in trouble.”

“New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Americans responded quickly and thoroughly to directions from federal, state and local leaders, doing everything from carefully washing their hands, cleaning high-touch areas, avoiding the workplace and, in many cases, giving up much-needed income to stay at home,” Bloomberg reports.

Said CDC Director Robert Redfield: “The models underestimated the extent to which Americans would embrace the recommendations and engage in social distancing.”

Original estimates for compliance were put at around 50%, but in the end, “compliance to the message has been in excess of 90%.”

That’s good, since “a modeling study on the new coronavirus warns that intermittent periods of social distancing may need to persist into 2022 in the United States to keep the surge of people severely sickened by Covid-19 from overwhelming the health care system,” STAT reports.

Liberty University students filed a class action lawsuit against the school alleging that the university and it’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., placed “students at severe physical risk and refused to refund thousands of dollars in fees owed to them for the Spring 2020 semester,” the New York Times reports.

Falwell downplayed the pandemic for weeks before finally announcing a shift to online instruction in late March. However, the school invited students to stay in its residence halls and will only give students a $1,000 credit if the leave campus.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) “has come under fire in recent weeks for unloading stock holdings right before the market crashed on fears of coronavirus and for a timely sale of shares in an obscure Dutch fertilizer company,” ProPublica reports.

“Now the North Carolina Republican’s 2017 sale of his Washington, D.C., home to a group led by a donor and powerful lobbyist who had business before Burr’s committee is raising additional ethical questions.”

“Burr sold the small townhouse, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, for what, by some estimates, was an above market price — $900,000 — to a team led by lobbyist John Green. That is tens of thousands of dollars above some estimates of the property’s value by tax assessors, a real estate website and a local real estate agent. The sale was done off-market, without the home being listed for sale publicly.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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