By Robert A. Vella

Today, we’ll examine how economic recovery is unleashing the coronavirus pandemic once again on the world population despite its effective containment just two months ago.  “Stupid is as stupid does,” as they say.  Or, as history has repeatedly shown, human suffering and death is tolerable as long as people are making money.  Still, we’re taking a huge risk.  If COVID-19 erupts again to uncontrollable proportions, which is at least very possible, then the resulting economic damage will be far worse than had we maintained containment policies for a longer period of time.

Republicans politicians in the U.S. are so fearful of a massive defeat in this year’s elections that they are doing everything they can to suppress voter turnout no matter how corrupt their actions are; and, they’re blatantly lying about it.  In the new battleground states of Iowa and Georgia, which were solidly Republican just four years ago, public outrage is raining down on their anti-democracy parade like a tornado-spawning thunderstorm.

As police reform measures are springing up across America and the globe in response to the massive and ongoing racial injustice protests, the issue of Qualified Immunity in the U.S. is coming under intense scrutiny from reformers and defensive resistance from law enforcement organizations, Republicans in Congress, and President Trump.  It is nothing more than a legal doctrine (i.e. an interpretation of law), dating back to the turbulent 1960s, intended to protect police from civil litigation and criminal prosecution in the use of excessive or deadly force.  In fact, the immense power enjoyed by police in the U.S. is based more on arbitrary practices than it is on foundational law.  That means the barriers to reform are not by any means insurmountable.  Camden, New Jersey did exactly that in 2013 when it replaced its thoroughly corrupt police department with a new community policing service which dramatically reduced violent crime in that city (see:  Minneapolis is Not the First City to Disband Its Police Department).

Finally, Trump and his Russian puppet-master – Vladimir Putin – are working together to undermine America’s allies in Europe.  Their main target is Germany where Trump has announced a large U.S. troop withdrawal and Putin is sending Russian troops westward.  Is it hyperbolic to accuse Trump of being a traitor to his own country?  Absolutely not because the evidence is plain to see.

Unleashing the Pandemic

From:  The World Reopens, Despite Skyrocketing Coronavirus Cases

LONDON — Two months ago, when there were roughly one million confirmed coronavirus cases and the primal politics of survival was sweeping the world, shutting down was the order of the day.

This week, the number of cases soared past seven million, with 136,000 new infections detected on Sunday alone, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

The order of the day? Reopening.

Terrified after watching economies built over the course of decades hollow out in a matter of weeks, countries seem to be saying, in effect: Enough.

From:  US coronavirus: 19 states see rising cases and Arizona is asking its hospitals to activate emergency plans

Health experts have long warned about a second peak in Covid-19, and now a rise in cases has pushed Arizona to tell its hospitals to activate emergency plans.

Arizona is one of the 19 states with the trend of new coronavirus cases still increasing. While 24 are trending downward, seven states’ trends are holding steady. Nationally more than 1.9 million people have been infected by the virus and more than 112,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

From:  Coronavirus hospitalizations rise sharply in several states following Memorial Day

As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase worldwide, and more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day.

In Texas, North and South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, there are an increasing number of patients under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of coronavirus infections. The spikes generally began in the past couple weeks and in most states are trending higher.

Data from states that are now reporting some of their highest seven-day averages of new cases is disproving the notion that the country is seeing such a spike in cases solely because of the continued increase in testing, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.

From:  White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S.

The coronavirus is still killing as many as 1,000 Americans per day — but the Trump administration isn’t saying much about it.

It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is preparing to resume his campaign rallies after a three-month hiatus, an attempted signal to voters that normalcy is returning ahead of November’s election, and that he’s all but put the pandemic behind him.

Suppressing the Vote

From:  Message from GOP lawmakers to Iowans: We don’t want you voting

Republican state lawmakers are on a mission: Make it as difficult as possible for Iowans to vote.

Their latest effort to fulfill this mission came in the form of a last-minute 30-page amendment to a previously simple, noncontroversial bill. Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, said the new legislation, passed along party lines after a contentious late-night debate, is intended to support “safe, secure and reliable elections.”

It is not. Iowa already has safe, secure and reliable elections.

The goal is voter suppression.

The bill, among other things, prohibits the secretary of state from mailing absentee ballot requests to Iowans without a written voter request.

In other words, it would prevent the current secretary, Republican Paul Pate, from doing exactly what he recently did. To promote voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, he sent mail-in ballot request forms for the June 2 primary to all registered voters in the state.

The result was record voter turnout, largely due to absentee voting.

See also:  Trump hits unexpected turbulence in Iowa

From:  Long lines in Georgia, Lindsey Graham wards off GOP rivals in SC and other takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries

WASHINGTON – As five states held primary elections Tuesday amid nationwide protests against police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic, problems in Georgia took center stage.

Voters in Georgia waited in line for hours to cast their ballots and there were reports of problems with voting machines. The issues came just a week after voters in Indiana and Washington D.C. also saw long lines in the June 2 primary. Some activists and lawmakers have also warned that could signal problems for the general election on Nov. 3, where record turnout is expected.

“Today in Georgia, thousands of voters were met with long lines and confusion,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement. “In America, people shouldn’t have to wonder if voting machines will be operational, if their mail-in ballot will arrive in time, or whether they will have to wait hours in line to exercise their right to vote.”

From Wikipedia:

In 2018, [Georgia Governor Brian] Kemp was a candidate for governor where he faced Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. Kemp refused to resign as secretary of state while campaigning for governor, a move that some alleged to be a conflict of interest.[3] Kemp’s oversight of elections and election data as Secretary of State stirred controversy and accusations of abuse of power. In 2015, Kemp’s office erroneously distributed the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of registered Georgia voters. During the 2016 election, Kemp was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference. Kemp also encountered criticism from voting rights advocates; from 2012 to 2018, Kemp’s office cancelled more than 1.4 million voter registrations, and during the 2018 election, Kemp held up more than 53,000 voter registration applications, with nearly 70% of the voter registrations belonging to African Americans.[4] On the eve of the election, Kemp falsely accused the Georgia Democratic Party of cybercrimes related to the election; a 2020 investigation by the Georgia Attorney General’s office concluded that there was no evidence for Kemp’s claims.[5] In 2020, it was revealed that the supposed cybercrime that his office had been the victim of was in fact a planned security test that Kemp himself signed off on three months prior.[6] Following the general election on November 6, Kemp was declared the winner with 50.2% of the vote. Abrams subsequently suspended her campaign on November 16.[7]

More stories:

The Latest: Nevada polls close; long waits reported in Vegas

Mail-in voting delays in primary cause Pennsylvania to sound alarm about November

Reforming the Police

From:  George Floyd died after officers didn’t step in. These police say they did — and paid a price.

BUFFALO — When video of Buffalo police officers shoving and then stoically filing past a bleeding, unmoving protester went viral, former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne thought back to 2006 when, she says, a white colleague choked a handcuffed black man.

Horne says she told him to stop, then yanked the bigger officer’s arm away. According to the Buffalo News, the colleague accused her of jumping on him while he struggled for control. No one filmed the moment; other officers were there, according to news reports, but no one backed her story during an independent arbitration, and Horne was fired.

“I always say that if I had to do it again, I would,” she told The Washington Post.

Related stories:

George Floyd’s brother testifies on policing reform: Live updates

Trump Wanted to Fire Defense Chief [Mark Esper] Over Troops Dispute

Undermining America’s Allies

From:  Trump Undermines Merkel as She Tries to Stand Up to Putin

(Bloomberg) — The reverberations from Donald Trump’s latest broadside against Germany have reached all the way to Moscow.

The president’s decision to withdraw more than a quarter of the U.S. troops stationed in her country leaves Chancellor Angela Merkel exposed at a moment when she’s facing growing pressure to get tough with Vladimir Putin and was welcomed in the Russian capital.

“It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”

After days of uncertainty, Merkel’s office said Wednesday it was informed that a withdrawal was being considered. A White House press officer has repeatedly declined to confirm the deliberations. But media reports have set alarm bells ringing all the same in Berlin, where it’s been taken as another sign of the cooling transatlantic relationship and the shifting priorities in Washington.

10 thoughts on “Unleashing the Pandemic, Suppressing the Vote, Reforming the Police, and Undermining America’s Allies

  1. The relationship between the German government and the Trumped administration is really very bad. So German government officially did not get notice of this planned (?) US troops withdrawal. As far as I know these troops shall be sent to Poland But who knows for sure what is going to happen really. Ridiculous!

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    • I’m concerned that Trump and Putin are trying to squeeze the German government. It’s very dangerous geopolitics to say the least. I doubt those U.S. troops are heading to Poland because Putin wouldn’t like it and Trump is in Putin’s pocket.

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      • Well, the Polish government has explicitly asked now for such a step really, but it probably won’t happen. I do not feel squeezed because a lot of US troops in Germany are not here to protect me or Germany. They are coordinating and executing actions in the Middle-East for example, so Germany is strategically important for the Pentagon.

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