Opinion: A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary Reveals Trump’s Malignant Politics, Failure of Economy

A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary, by Nurse T with Timothy Sheard. New York: Hardball Press, 2020. 143 pp.

Reading A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary, particularly against prevalent media representations of healthcare workers’ experiences during this pandemic, brought to mind for me the opening words of the sketch by the U.S. radical writer Jesús Colón, “Something to Read,” from his collection A Puerto Rican in New York, in which he describes “a piece of working class literature, a pamphlet, a progressive book or pamphlet” as “precious things.” read more

Report: U.S. Economy Only Added 245,000 Jobs in November as Lawmakers Continue Work on Stimulus Deal

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the United States economy added just 245,000 jobs in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, 224,000 fewer jobs than had been projected.

Although November’s unemployment rate (6.7%) is lower than October’s unemployment rate (6.9%) this is because more workers left the workforce in November. Of those not counted among the workforce, 3.9 million people have been unable to look for work because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s disastrous effects on the job market.

In a note to clients,

Michael Pearce, U.S. senior economist at Capital Economics, wrote, “The sharp slowdown in the pace of non-farm payroll gains to 245,000 in November underlines how the renewed surge in virus cases and restrictions is weighing on services demand, which will only intensify this month.” read more

Steve Mnuchin Is Trying To Burn The Economy Down Before Biden Takes Office

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that he is ending emergency lending programs before Biden takes office in a bid to start an economic crisis.

The New York Times reported:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he does not plan to extend several key emergency lending programs beyond the end of the year and asked the Federal Reserve to return the money supporting them, a decision that could hinder President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s ability to use the central bank’s vast powers to cushion the economic fallout from the virus.

Mr. Mnuchin on Thursday said he would not continue Fed programs, including ones that support the markets for corporate bonds and municipal debt and one that extends loans to midsize businesses. The emergency efforts expire at the end of 2020, but investors had expected some or all of them to be kept operational as the virus continues to pose economic risks.

It doesn’t take an economist to understand Mnuchin’s motivation. The Trump administration has admitted that they are trying to start so many fires on multiple fronts before they leave office that the incoming Biden administration will be hobbled by crisis.

There is no reason that these programs should not be continued as the pandemic worsens in the next few months. Mnuchin has seen the recent stock market gains and he is trying to scare the markets while limiting the next administration’s ability to quickly respond to the pandemic.

Mnuchin’s steps are some movie villain level moves. The Treasury Secretary isn’t content with setting fires. He is trying to burn down the fire department so that the blazes rage out of control.

The Trump administration that their only interest has been in causing harm. Governance was never an option.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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Opinion: A Full View of the Economy Reveals Trump’s Betrayal of Americans

Polling indicates that Americans still give Donald Trump an edge over Joe Biden when it comes to their faith in either candidate to manage the economy.

While it’s true that, according to a late-August Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump’s approval rating on the economy has dipped 14% since March, putting him in negative territory with 47% approving and 48% disapproving of his management of the economy, voters nonetheless see Trump as a better bet when it comes to serving their economic interests—despite the fact that the same poll revealed that 58% of respondents believed the economy was on the wrong track. read more

What The Coronavirus Teaches, And What Trump Won’t Learn, About A Free-Market Economy

Trump cancels Jacksonville convention

Republicans continue to block legislation to provide relief to tens of millions of Americans as well as the state and local governments that provide services and employment to them. Their hand-wringing, it seems, is rooted in the worry that providing relief, such as extending enhanced unemployment benefits, will eliminate any incentive, or coercion, for people to seek employment and return to work. read more

Tom Cotton’s 1619 Project Legislation Highlights Ignorance Of Political Economy and History

Tom Cotton spreads Coronavirus conspiracy on Fox

As is now widely known, the Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton recently proposed legislation that would deny federal funding to schools that in any way used the The New York Times controversial 1619 project in its curriculum.  This series in The New York Times, of course, explores the history of the United States through the lens of slavery, premised on the fact that accounts of slavery have not been expansively, roundly, and fully incorporated into accounts of U.S. history, particularly in its earliest stages. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project’s creator, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her commentary on the series, and the Pulitzer Center and The New York Times have since collaborated to create a curriculum based on the project which schools can now adopt. read more

Dr. Anthony Fauci: We Can’t “Balance Lives Against the Economy” in Coronavirus Fight

Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that saving lives must be the priority while battling Covid-19. The nation’s top infectious disease expert explained that the public’s health had to come first.

Fauci gave an interview to the Journal of the American Medical Association on Thursday as deaths from Coronavirus approached 130,000. The interview was uploaded to YouTube.

“You have people who think in one direction and those who think in the other,” Fauci said.

“We’re in an unprecedented pandemic,” he said.

“We haven’t seen anything like this for the last 102 years in 1918, and this is something that we need to take very seriously because there’s so many implications of it.”

“You don’t want to balance lives against the economy,” Fauci explained.

“So let’s get public health to help us to get the economy open as opposed to two opposing forces.”

In the same interview, Fauci warned that the Coronavirus may have mutated and become even more infectious.

“The data is showing there’s a single mutation that makes the virus be able to replicate better and maybe have high viral loads,” he said.

“We don’t have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not; it just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible.”

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Trump’s Economy Approval Rating Drops Below 50% For The First Time In 3 Years

Trump Lauds Murderous Tyrants

More and more Americans are losing confidence in President Donald Trump’s ability to handle the economy, according to the latest Gallup poll that found his economic approval rating has dropped to 47 percent in June, a 16-point decrease from numbers reported at the beginning of the year. The poll was the first to show an economic approval rating below 50 percent since November 2017 (when 45 percent of Americans approved).

“In January, Americans were mostly positive about U.S. economic conditions, a record few cited the economy as the nation’s top problem and a solid majority approved of Trump’s handling of the economy,” Gallup reports. “Today, Americans’ views have turned negative, they are more likely to name the economy as the top problem and Trump’s job approval rating on the issue has dropped below 50%.”

Americans believe the economy is “the most important problem” facing the country today.

“Before the coronavirus brought the country to a near standstill in March, Americans’ ratings of the economy and the president’s performance on it were as good as they get in an election year,” Gallup wrote. “Other issues may have ultimately overshadowed the economy in voters’ choice for president, but the economy was still a positive component of the value proposition Trump was offering for another four years in office.”

With the U.S. economy formally slipping into a recession in February, Trump’s reelection now appears in jeopardy,” it continued. “At the same time, the 2020 recession is unusual in that it was brought on by a pandemic, at least partially shielding Trump from blame. These nuances are seen in Trump’s approval rating on the economy, which remains relatively strong, and the low percentage of Americans still citing the economy as the nation’s top problem.”

Despite this, the president’s most recent approval ratings than those former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush received prior to their re-elections in 2012 and 2004.

Trump Allies Recruiting “Extremely Pro-Trump” Doctors to Advocate Reopening Economy

According to an Associated Press report, President Donald Trump’s allies are recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television and advocate reopening the national economy as speedily as possible. This would be “without waiting to meet safety benchmarks proposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.”

AP learned the news after it obtained a leaked recording of a May 11 conference call with a senior staffer for the Trump reelection campaign organized by CNP Action, which is an affiliate of the conservative Council for National Policy. The Center for Media and Democracy, a progressive watchdog group. provided the recording.

“There is a coalition of doctors who are extremely pro-Trump that have been preparing and coming together for the war ahead in the campaign on health care,” GOP activist Nancy Schulze, who is married to former Representative Dick Schulze, (R-Pa.), said on the call. “And we have doctors that are … in the trenches, that are saying ‘It’s time to reopen.’” read more

Comedian Patton Oswalt: Fox News’ Calls to Reopen Economy Are “The Height of Evil”

Patton Oswalt has slammed Fox News for its attacks on Coronavirus lockdown measures. The actor and comedian argued that network personalities should practice what they preach.

Oswalt spoke to The Daily Beast‘s “Last Laugh” podcast about his upcoming Netflix special but he also discussed Coronavirus. He took aim at the conservative network.

Oswalt said it was “very, very frustrating when you see people’s economic and job frustration being weaponized to benefit the rich.”

He said it was “kind of the height of evil when you see the Fox & Friends people, who are all coming in remote studios and safe from each other going, ‘We need to end this social distancing, don’t you think?'”

Fox News’ staff have been told to remain at home but on-air personalities have attacked lockdown measures. The show Oswalt mentioned – Fox & Friends – has been particularly keen to push early reopening.

“Why don’t you guys do it first?” Oswalt asked.

“You’re seeing them throwing bodies onto the barbed wire to benefit themselves,” he said.

On Tuesday, Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano called on Americans to resist lockdowns.

“All of these lockdown orders are without lawful authority,” Napolitano told Fox & Friends.

“They’re unconstitutional, they violate the bill of rights, they interfere with our freedom of religion, our freedom of travel, our right to privacy, our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly. I could just go right down the line.”

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Fox News Analyst: Trump’s “Failure of Leadership” Allowed Coronavirus “To Do Greater Damage” To Economy

Writing in an op-ed for The Hill, journalist and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams says President Donald Trump’s “failure of leadership” allowed the coronavirus “to do greater damage to the economy than it otherwise would.”

“Yet an upbeat Vice President Pence is still selling the illusion that the nation will be done with the punishing virus by the end of May. And Trump is forecasting a “phenomenal” economy in time for the November election,” Williams wrote. “Any voter applauding Trump’s bluster has to close their eyes to the obvious. With the virus still spreading and many people out of work, there is not a lot of consumer confidence in an economy that thrives on consumer spending.”

Williams pointed out that most Americans “tell pollsters they have no plans to spend money to go to a movie, to go out to dinner, to attend a ballgame or travel” and suggested that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden “needs to remind voters of the Obama administration’s success in pulling the country out of recession and specifically its success in pushing the stimulus plan that got the economy back on track.”

Williams also said that the president has never grown the economy the way he’s always claimed.

“Even Trump’s most loyal backers know that despite his promise to create 4 percent or higher economic growth when he became president, he has never produced such results,” he said. “The truth is that he has averaged about 2 percent growth. And that was before the virus hit.” read more

Seth Meyers Says Trump is “Incapable of Empathy” and Will Let Americans Die to Reopen the Economy

Late Night host Seth Meyers slammed President Donald Trump over his insistence that the national economy reopen and his push for states to lift their stay-at-home orders, saying that his lack of empathy compels him to let Americans die to return to business as usual.

“You would think that putting aside his venality, his narcissism, and his deadly incompetence, Donald Trump could, at the very least, muster a little empathy for the victims of this pandemic, their loved ones, and the millions who have put themselves in harm’s way, lost jobs, or made tremendous personal sacrifices during this crisis,” Meyers said. “But of course, he can’t do that, because he’s incapable of empathy. He only has two emotions: boredom and rage.”

Meyers also took Trump to task for comments he made earlier this week referring to Americans as “warriors.”

“The people of our country are warriors,” Trump said on Tuesday. “I’m not saying anything is perfect. Yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country opened, and we have to get it open soon.”

Of that statement, Meyers said: “Trump wants you to be a warrior while he sits safely isolation at the White House. I would join in, but I feel another bone spur coming on—which is devastating to me, because the last one happened right before the Vietnam War. I mean, what are the chances that happens again now?”

“This is truly sadistic,” Meyers continued. “The president is telling you to go out and face off against this deadly virus all for the sake of the stock market. The only way that could be more out of touch is if he said it while dousing himself in Purell and holding a 36-pack of toilet paper.”

You can watch the Late Night segment below.

The president is hastening to reopen the economy and news broke earlier this morning that his administration shelved a 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework.”

The CDC’s document reportedly contains more detail than the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines released by the White House last month. The White House’s guidelines are vaguer than the CDC’s, suggesting that state and local governments can reopen in accordance with federal and local “regulations and guidance,” including monitoring employees for symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The president, who often boasted about the state of the economy during his term, now presides over the highest unemployment rate the country has ever seen.

The Department of Labor reported that an additional 3.2 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, which are used to account for seasonal hiring fluctuations. Without those adjustments, the number is 2.8 million.

The total number of unemployed Americans now stands at more than 33 million. The weekly numbers have declined since reaching a peak of 6.9 million claims in late March.

The Trump Administration Shelved the CDC’s Guide to Reopening the National Economy

An exclusive report from The Associated Press reveals that President Donald Trump’s administration shelved a 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework.” The report, the AP notes, “was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.”

The document was set to be published last Friday, but a CDC official who spoke to the AP said that agency scientists were told it “would never see the light of day.”

The CDC’s document reportedly contains more detail than the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines released by the White House last month. The White House’s guidelines are vaguer than the CDC’s, suggesting that state and local governments can reopen in accordance with federal and local “regulations and guidance,” including monitoring employees for symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The shelved report is far more strict. For example, it says restaurants and bars should install sneeze guards at cash registers. It also suggests eateries avoid having buffets, salad bars, and drink stations. It also recommends that restaurants seat diners at least six feet apart and that eateries use phone technology to alert patrons when their tables are ready to avoid touching anyone and using restaurant pagers.

The Trump administration did not want to release the CDC’s guidance because it makes specific recommendations on how sectors of the economy could reopen. The AP obtained a copy of the guidance from another federal official who was not authorized to release it.

The White House has exerted tight control over the CDC’s release of information during the coronavirus pandemic. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has been largely absent from recent appearances by the coronavirus task force. The president recently suggested he would disband the task force, but did an about-face following heavy pushback. He now says the task force will continue “indefinitely.”

Texas Governor Admitted Reopening Economy Would Spread Coronavirus During Private Call with Lawmakers

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) admitted during a private call with lawmakers that reopening the economy would spread the coronavirus even as he publicly announced that he would end an executive stay-at-home order. The news was first reported by The Daily Beast; a spokesperson for Abbott confirmed the call is authentic.

“How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?” Abbott asked during a Friday afternoon phone call with members of the state legislature and Congress. “Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.”

“The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission,” Abbott continued.

You can listen to a recording of the call HERE.

Abbott made the remarks on May 1, the same day he allowed certain businesses in his state to reopen “with limited occupancy.” At the time Abbott lifted the order, he received congratulations from President Donald Trump, whose administration continues to face heated criticism for its coronavirus response.