Monday, May 11, 2020

Another week begins, and all over the country more and more states are opening up, or trying to anyway. The President is pushing for more folks to get back to work and, indeed, he seems to be ready to move on from even considering COVID-19. You can’t really blame him. Everyone’s getting a bit tired of this whole deal.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t really give a damn and the coronavirus continues to burn through humanity and specifically the United States. Out of 281,000 deaths worldwide, the United States leads the pack as we topped over 80,000 today. The States also accounts for a full third of the cases on the planet, and it’s probably not going to get better. Analysts from the Center for Disease Control say the death toll could reach 130,000 by August, and this really doesn’t take into account the rather haphazard, patchy reopening seen across the country.

But the President is ready to move on, reality and common sense be damned. He spent all day yesterday throwing one of his Twitter fits, missing his one-day record by just 16 tweets. Between retweeting the QAnon dingbats, whining about his impeachment, and trying to pretend Gen. Mike Flynn wasn’t getting a pass because of AG William Barr’s crooked ass, he didn’t get around to even mentioning Mother’s Day until early evening. Hell, he never got around to acknowledge the mother of his youngest child. I’m sure she’s used to that, though. Probably was part of the pre-nup.

One thing that he’s decided to run with – and was quickly picked up by the Base and Fox News’ clown show – is “Obamagate”. Apparently, whatever “Obamagate” is, it’s the biggest political scandal in history. Bigger than Watergate. Bigger than the Teapot Dome Scandal. Bigger than the Whiskey Ring Scandal of U.S. Grant’s presidency. All across the country, people are on tenterhooks to find out just what “Obamagate” is, and whatever it is, the True Believers are confident former President Barack Obama is guilty as hell.

It seems Trump is waiting to find out what “Obamagate” is just like the rest of us, because he doesn’t seem to know. During an incredibly entertaining press conference today, Trump merely responded “Obamagate” when asked what his predecessor was guilty of. When pressed on just what “Obamagate” entailed, he responded “it’s obvious” and refused to elaborate. We’ll all find out what “Obamagate” is in a couple of weeks, he says, presumably after he finds out. Regardless, Fox and the True Believers are saying Obama’s days as a free man are numbered because their faith is solid as a rock.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. That press conference. Man alive, it was one of his best. Petulant, sloppy, silly, and just a bit racist, Trump outdid himself in showing just how completely unprepared he is not just for this job but also the least little bit of challenge. After bragging about how well the United States is beating everyone else in testing, without any evidence to say so, CBS reporter Weija Jiang asked why that “global competition” was so important when the death toll in the US was over 80,000, Trump had a truly charming answer.

“Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world,” he said. “And maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me.Ask China that question, OK? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer.”

Racist, stupid, sexist, and evasive – a rare four-leaf clover of Trump awfulness – the China-born Jiang was deservedly shocked by the president’s response. When asked why he asked her that question, President Prissy Britches said he’d respond like that to anyone who asked such a “nasty question”. For the record, all “nasty questions” seem to come from female reporters. Anyway, he tried to move on to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, but when she gave Jiang room to continue her questioning, our punk-ass president took his ball and went home.

I wonder how he thinks that would work. Is Jiang supposed to ask, presumably, Xi Jinping, “General Secretary, why do you think the U.S. president’s got such a hard-on for being the number-one testing country in the world?” You’d think after three years on the job he’d have a better handle on how things work, but here we are.

Anyhow, he was undoubtedly dealing with a bit of the red ass by the time Jiang and Collins made him cry, so let’s get back to that. As noted above, he really didn’t have an explanation of what “Obamagate” was, so let’s explore that a bit more. Going off about the “misconduct” performed by the FBI in their investigation of Gen. Flynn, with no evidence whatsoever, The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker asked the President of the United States of America. Let’s just enjoy this exchange.

Rucker: “In one of your Mother’s Day tweets, you appeared to accuse President Obama of ‘the biggest political crime in American history, by far’ — those were your words. What crime exactly are you accusing President Obama of committing, and do you believe the Justice Department should prosecute him?”

The man in charge of the nuclear codes: “Uh, Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time,” he began. “It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again. You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

Let’s be real for a moment. Over 80,000 people have died and we’re no closer to a vaccine or even a treatment than we were back two months ago. Economic insecurity is a real thing, with people having trouble making rent (because landlords are still demanding rent) and small businesses getting the shaft because most of the PPP money went to publicly traded companies. The states are reopening in fits and starts with no plan and very little cooperation from the public. The country’s food supply is strained almost to the breaking point and workers are not being protected.

And this is the guy that’s supposed to be steering the ship of state? This petulant, whiny, vindictive pinhead who can’t answer for his own bullshit is supposed to be the guy to lead the nation? Worse, I’m supposed to respect him and take him seriously, not to mention the horde of dingbats who consider him the Second Coming?

Man, get out of here. The fact this dope wasn’t run off by his own party after winning the nomination in 2016 is a condemnation of not just how far the Republican Party has devolved but also how the whole electoral process probably needs a serious overhaul.

The Weekend: May 9-10, 2020

 I don’t know if it’s become apparent yet or not, but I take weekends off. Beyond doing the News three days a week, Gibberish three days a week and the Actual Paying Work, I need the occasional break. Granted, the Gibberish isn’t that much of a strain. More fun than anything, and that’s what this weekender is: just me having fun and keeping up the work.

 I’m trying to ease into more of a feel for both places. A little less navel gazing at the Gibberish and a little less editorializing here. The former will still be for the pure opinion-tough-if-you-don’t-like-it and I’m not even going to pretend the News will become an ideal of objectification. I will let my biases be easily known, if just to make it easier for the readers. Some people have a hard time with that concept.

 Taking a bit of a detour for a bit, I want to reiterate that my politics and view of the world is fairly hard left. Anti-racism, anti-facism, anti-corporatism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-xenophobia, and pretty much anti-being-a-dick-to-people-because-it-makes-you-money-or-you-get-a-sense-of-power-to-it. I make no bones about that and it will be reflected in everything I write. The Democrats are a gormless mess but the Republicans actively get off on hurting people and maintaining an evil Status Quo, if that means anything to you. I’ve got no respect for unearned authority and barely any for earned. I am not impressed by wealth, patriotism, religious faith, loyalty to the past, any sort of artificial hierarchy, patriarchy, or anything that tells people, beyond basic physics, they can’t do something because “they’re not allowed”. I do feel that needs to be brought up from time to time.

 Okay, got that off my chest so it’s time to climb down off the soap box. I should throw in this week’s Gibberish links before I get too far down, if I haven’t already. I went off a little bit Tuesday about the soi-disant socialist/liberal’s favorite go-to of “fuck the South/Red States”. You can do what you want, but all I hear when you say that is, “I don’t care about people of color in the South, especially black people, nor do I really care about LGBT or the disabled or women’s rights to choose or the poor. In fact, all my leftist dogma is performative because I’ll be fine either way”.

 Don’t get it twisted. I don’t let the various evils of the South off the hook. Like liberal Christians who combat right-wing Bible thumpers and responsible gun owners who show that not everyone who’s armed is a deluded loony with a persecution complex and a small dick. Of course, the difference is I actually say shit instead of complaining about people being mean. With that in mind, Thursday was dedicated partly to how the state of Mississippi screws over it’s poorest and most desperate and mostly to the rampant racism-slash-gun-culture in the South – which is America distilled – that led to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery by to well-connected crackers. Unfortunately, this isn’t contained solely below the Mason-Dixon, as video of Arbery looking into a house under construction was released and the dickbags all decided it meant extra-judicial vigilante murder without trial or jury was okay just because someone feels like it.

 Saturday was basically navel gazing with a bit of disgust with American culture and humanity in general, but particularly the humanoids deciding even though 80,000 people of all ages and stages died in two months, COVID-19 isn’t that big a deal. So, they’ll go to restaurants and not wear masks and pretend it won’t affect them, all the while getting madder and madder because people disagree with them. Damn the torpedoes, y’all, I’ll stay out here in the boonies.

 And that’s pretty much where I stand. There’s a tweet going around showing some restaurant packed to the gills for Mother’s Day while the president spent all day tweeting conspiracy theories and complaining everyone was mean to him. So, normal Sunday for him, anyway.

 Beyond all that, it’s Mother’s Day. If it’s something you can do, call your momma. If not, hope your Sunday’s been nice. See you tomorrow.

Friday, May 8, 2020

 It’s the end of the week, and what it’s been. More cracks in the American Way Of Life are exposed and we get more examples of how the government that’s supposed to work for us, particularly the federal government, just doesn’t give a damn. Regardless, it’s Friday and we’re here to do the Job, so let’s do it.

 Let’s catch up on the Ahmaud Arbery shooting that’s pissed off all but the scum of the nation after it was made known Glynn County, GA, prosecutors punted the ball for nearly three months before social media outrage shamed them into doing their jobs. The father-son pair involved in the shooting have been arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. Booked on charges of murder and felony assault, Glenn McMichaels and his son Travis were incarcerated in the Glynn County jail and denied bond for their involvement in the Feb. 23 shooting. It took the GBI less than 36 hours to do what the county government refused to do.

 As expected, the arrests caused uproar among conservatives, gun rights activists and, for some reason, “men’s rights” activists are raising hell because white men are being held accountable for shooting an unarmed black guy for, at the very best, a case of mistaken identity. So far it’s kept itself relegated to the swampy dark side of Twitter, but I’ve no doubt someone on FOX will complain about it before the weekend’s out.

 As with the Trayvon Martin and the Michael Brown shootings, one of the things these clowns miss or ignore is that it goes beyond just a killing that was possibly racially motivated. Like those two cases – and far too many others – the local law enforcement seems to do its damndest to stonewall any attempt at prosecution or even investigation. As was noted, Glynn County DA Jackie Johnson had to recuse herself from the case because the elder McMichael had worked as an investigator for her office.

 Well, turns out there’s more to it than just that. According to a pair of Glynn County commissioners, the police department was ready to make arrests but Johnson put the kibosh on that, telling them to lay off.

“The police at the scene went to her, saying they were ready to arrest both of them. These were the police at the scene who had done the investigation,” Commissioner Allen Booker, who has spoken with Glynn County police, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael.”

 The case was kicked to George Barnhill over in Waycross County. Turns out he also had to recuse himself because his son works in Johnson’s office, though he took his sweet time to do so. Before he did, however, he wrote a letter saying he didn’t see sufficient reason to charge the McMichaels, brought up Arbery’s high school troubles with the law, and apparently completely made up a claim that the slain man had “mental issues”. Gov. Doug Kemp’s called for aiding prosecutors with some big guns and there’s been calls for federal intervention due to other legal shenanigans by Georgia courts that sort of soils their respectability on the matter.

 Moving on, the COVID-19 epidemic continues to ravage the world and the Trump Administration continues to fumble the ball like the ’80s era Saints, except on purpose. We’re up to 1.32 million cases here in the States, a full third of the world’s total, and 78, 185 deaths. It doesn’t really seem to be slowing down despite claims, and some new wrinkles have evolved.

 In New York City, the epicenter of America’s cases, a five year old has died of what appears to be related to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome brought on by the virus. This comes on the heels of news that 85 kids across the country have come down with something that’s been called “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome”. Essentially, it’s the kids’ immune systems kicking into overdrive to try and fight off the virus, causing dangerously severe inflammation. Researchers point out they’re just now discovering this being a thing, as they just here lately came up with the name, and it may not be related to COVID-19. It’s too soon to tell.

 One wonders if this will dampen the enthusiasm of the “old people can die for the stock market crowd,” but since their “respect for life” seems to end at birth, I am not sanguine. That being said, the economy is indeed getting the crap kicked out of it. Over 20.5 million people have filed for unemployment, driving up the national rate to an unprecedented 14.7%. Of course, we’re being given the false dichotomy that all we can do is either die from the disease or die from economic collapse, a stance that seems to be encouraged by some of Trump’s head minions.

 Interestingly, though, after being a callous dick about it, COVID-19 has hit Trump at home. One of his valets – and how would you like to be the Jeeves to this guy’s Wooster – has come down with the virus. So has Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, as well as at least 11 members of the Secret Service guarding the President and Vice-President. This means everyone in Trump’s inner circle has been exposed to COVID-19, either directly or indirectly.

 If you’ll recall, Miller recently married Trump’s Minister of Propaganda Steven Miller. I doubt he’s in any danger of getting the virus, though. While cats and dogs have tested positive for it, it doesn’t seem to cross over to snakes.

 Have a nice weekend.

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2020

Okay, neighbors, we got a big mouthful of awful to chew through to do, so get comfortable and put your bib on. In any event, I think we’re all glad from focusing solely on COVID-19. That being said, the epidemic that we’re totally awesome at handling (sarcasm, yes) is affecting both issues.

 First off, we’ll do the local mess. As we touched on back at the beginning of February, there have been some shenanigans involving funds earmarked for the Mississippi Department of Human services concerning around four million dollars that were supposed to help folks on welfare but wound up in all sorts of interesting places. Some went to Christian wrestlers, some went to Gov. Tate Reeves’ election campaign and some went to lobbyists and “consultants”.

 It didn’t really make much news at the time, as this was about the time everyone started to realize the COVID-19 business would be taking up much of our time. Well, thanks in large part due to some excellent journalism from Luke Ramseth of Jackson’s Clarion Ledger and Ashton Pittman of Mississippi Today, hoo buddy, turns out that wasn’t even the half of it. According to a study by State Auditor Shad White, a grand total of 98 million dollars that was supposed to go to poor families in the poorest state in the union instead went to buy cars and boats for politicians, scam jobs by third-generation wrestlers and Brett Farve actually doing something decent besides being a good quarterback. It also goes as far back as former Gov. Phil Bryant’s time in the Capitol.

 The money came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, which allocated federal funds to be distributed to, well, needy families living in poverty with a particular emphasis on helping out poor children. Instead, it went in the pockets of lobbyists, politicians and what can only be described as scam artists. A million-plus went to lobbyists and “consultants” that was spent on things like putting on religious concerts apparently for the hell of it and vacations to fancy destinations (outside of Mississippi, of course). Former Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase scored $1.9 million for his “Heart of David” ministries, who basically put on Christian wrestling shows. His two sons Brett and Ted Jr., also professional wrestlers but not quite having the same impact, were paid over two million for, respectively, the “Law of 16” self-help group and to provide anti-drug classes that were never given.

 It wasn’t all celebrities, either. Along with former director of MDHS John Davis, five other politically connected people have been charged with all six pleading not guilty. One example was Nancy New of the Mississippi Community Education Center, one of the two non-profit organizations listed in the charge. She’s accused of spending up to $150,000 on three new pickup trucks used by her and her sons. Over $650,000 was spent on grammar books and books on the Ten Commandments because that makes sense.

 On the very local front, the Family Resource Center based in Tupelo is also pulled into this mess. Full disclosure, I used the FRC’s services to hook up with my current psychiatric doctor and a childhood friend is an administrator there. As of right now, I can’t find what specifically part the FRC has in all this and I’m not going to bother my old friend, so there’s that there then.

 Perhaps the most egregious example of graft came in the form of $1.1 million dollars to former Green Bay quarterback and native son Brett Farve’s organization that’s dedicated to studying, quite naturally, the cumulative long-term effect of head injuries. Partly spearheaded by Bryant, Farve was paid that money to give speeches but it turns out he never showed. Credit where credit is due, though, he’s said he’d give the money back and had no idea anything shady was going on. Considering how bad his rep is these days, it’s probably a good move. At this time, no one’s heard what the DiBiase family is going to do.

 All of this comes screaming in on the heels of a very scandal-ridden Tate Reeves. His “Restart Mississippi” program, designed to help the state get back to work in light of the COVID-19 epidemic and over 200,000 unemployed folks, is looking pretty dirty. It’s come under accusations over the lack of diversity of anything but 17 rich white dudes, businessmen and lobbyists, which is one thing. Problem is, though, those rich white dudes were all contributors to various political campaigns Reeves has run going back to 2008, to the tune of over $330,000. The program has allowed almost zero oversight, which is part of the issue of the TANF program. That has almost no oversight with the end result being not only the aforementioned scandal but saw very little actually doing anything to help poor folks. According to a ThinkProgress investigation, only 167 of the 11,700 families applied for the aid in 2016 were actually accepted.

 One wonders if all of this isn’t the source of some of the animosity that’s sprung up between Reeves, his Lt. Gov. Delbert Hossman and the mostly Republican legislature. If you’ll recall, they’re all in a slap fight over who gets to decide where 1.25 billion smackers in federal funding to aid in COVID-19 recovery is supposed to go. Reeves has been on television daily claiming it’s his decision to make while everyone else is telling to go screw.

 This is noteworthy because the lieutenant governor of Mississippi has more actual power in the state than the governor, and Reeves was known to have burnt bridges and been considered generally sleazy and unlikable during his time in the seat. It should be noted he won against Jim Hood with the smallest margin of a Republican candidate since the two parties switched places, and this was three days after a rally held by President Trump in Tupelo.

 Again, the governor of Mississippi doesn’t hold quite the same amount of power as governors of other states, though it’s sort of like that across the board. In Texas, for example, the Agricultural Commissioner has more power in the state than the governor. Furthermore, the legislature here has always been very tight knit, even across party lines. I don’t know what it means for Reeves’ political future, but we’ll keep an eye. No one likes him as it is.

 I went on longer than I meant to about this, but I do want to talk a bit about Ahmaud Arbery. By now I’m sure we’ve all seen the video on Twitter or Facebook. I’m not going to link to it because I always find those things disturbing and couldn’t watch the whole thing. As always in these cases, you’ll find some who want to “have all the facts” before making a decision. Usually what they mean is “I don’t mind a black person got shot for no good reason and the shooter got off, but don’t you dare call me racist” even though they generally are. It’s sort of a tell.  So, let’s look at the facts.

A now-deleted video posted on a Georgia radio’s website showed an altercation between Arbery, African American, and two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis. The video shows Arbery running around the pair’s pickup before the younger McMichael, carrying a shotgun, initiated a physical altercation. The elder McMichael had a handgun but didn’t get physically involved, and at least one of three shots took place off camera. Arbery got off one left-handed punch while he and the younger McMichael struggled with the shotgun.

 Two more shots went off and Arbery lay dead in the street. This was all recorded by a heretofore unknown fourth person who wasn’t actively involved in the altercation. The whole affair took place on one street in the predominately white Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, GA, about an hour-and-a-half south of Savannah.

 That’s what we know. Those are the undeniable facts. Moving on, then. Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper said her son was a fitness nut and former high-school football player who ran daily to keep in shape, sometimes through the Satilla Shores neighborhood. According to the McMichaels, they saw a “black guy” running down the street. Recently, McMichael claims, $2,300 in fishing equipment was stolen from a neighbor, who didn’t report it, and a 9 mm handgun out of the younger McMichael’s car, who did report it. According to a report from the Glynn County Police Department, after seeing Arbery running down the street, the elder McMichael said, “Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go.”

The McMichael’s claimed they also saw Arbery look into the window of a house under construction, which isn’t against the law. Either way, before the fatal altercation began, McMichael told Arbery “Stop, stop. We want to talk to you.” Initially, they pleaded “stand your ground” but recently changed that to “citizen’s arrest”. Calls to 911 were made, but S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, said although the operator asked what the issue was, all the McMichaels would say was, “He’s a black man running down our street.”

 Okay. Are you ready to hear why people are so righteously pissed off apart from what may just have been a tragic if rock-stupid mistake? This all happened Feb. 23 and it wasn’t until April when the video surfaced that the Glynn County DA took any action whatsoever. So far, no charges have been filed and three attorneys from the county have recused themselves due to conflict of interest. Why? The elder McMichael worked as an investigator for the district attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit Jackie Johnson. After she recused herself, it went to George Barnhill, the district attorney of Waycross, GA. However, he recused himself when Arbery’s mother brought to attention that his son works in Johnson’s office. The matter is now in the hands of DA Tom Durden of Hinesville, some 70 miles away. Muddying the waters even further, Barnhill wrote a letter explaining why the McMichaels did nothing wrong under the “stand your ground” law Georgia has, even though they later changed it to “citizen’s arrest”

 He went one step further, claiming without evidence Arbery had “mental health issues” and pointed out that Arbery had once been arrested in high school for shoplifting and another time for bringing a gun to campus. Merritt dismissed both Barnhill’s interpretation of “stand your ground,” noting the McMichaels claim “citizen arrest” even though they saw no crime in action as the law states is necessary. As for Arbery’s high school history, Merritt dismissed them as completely inconsequential to the case, noting that all that the McMichaels accused Arbery of doing was looking into an under-construction house’s window, which doesn’t make the nut nor justify shooting Arbery.

 Supporters of Arbery and his family have been demonstrating outside the Brunswick Courthouse over the injustice of the matter. Notably, they were not armed with high-powered rifles like the anti-shut down “protesters” up in Michigan because they can’t get a haircut. Governor Doug Kemp, Democratic rising star Stacey Abrams, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have all stuck their fingers in, and Joe Biden has condemned the whole mess. Trump hasn’t said a thing, which is probably for the best.

 Due to the epidemic, Georgia won’t be empaneling any grand or trial jury through at least June 12. One hopes the law in Georgia doesn’t forget that a black man was shot and killed by a white man for, if anything, because he “fit the description” of who he thought might have stolen less than $3,000 worth of guns and fishing equipment, and that probably deserves at least a solid looking into. When we remember Trayvon Martin and Botham Jean, well… let’s just say we’ll be keeping an eye on them.

 Okay. Them’s the facts and that’s what the police report says. This is the judicial field the case is being decided on, and that’s how the participants are all connected. Tune in tomorrow to the Blogger site, and we’ll get into supposition and opinion. All I will say is the elder McMichael claimed race had nothing to do with it, and speaking as a Southern Man, I can’t help but be skeptical that’s anything but bullshit. I’ll apologize if I have to, but I ain’t holding my breath.

 

Monday, May 4, 2020

 Well, we’ve got a new day, new week and a new month to work with. One hopes it will be less depressingly stupid than the last couple, but one shouldn’t get one’s hopes up. There’s been a mess of Dumb in the past 24 hours.

 First let’s find our bearings. As of today, going on seven weeks since the first case, there have been 1.21 million cases of the coronavirus novel in the United States with 160,000 recovered. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen 69,550 deaths due to COVID-19. Trumps was righteously catching it for some of his earlier prognostications, but as the White House’s coordinator Dr. Deborah Brix pointed out, their best-case scenario was 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. No one should be paying attention to Trump because of obvious reasons, but he is the president, unfortunately, and no one can get him to shut his word hole.

 The “best-case scenario” may not come to fruition thanks to good ol’ American arrogance. Something like 37 states eased up on their “stay-at-home” measures to some degree or another. California’s looking at Friday and apparently folks were up at daylight in Florida to get to the beaches. Texas has seen three straight days of over 1,110 new cases since it reopened, and some people fear the worst is yet to come. It’s not over yet, y’all.

 On an even dumber note, the “Reopen America” quote-unquote “movement” saw its first casualty, if you want to look at things that way, and I say why not. Long story short, a security guard at a Detroit-area Family Dollar turned away a woman because her daughter wasn’t wearing a mask as according to store policy.

 One thing led to another, and the woman’s husband came back and shot 43-year-old father Calvin Munerlyn dead. So not only did someone have to die for friggin’ Family Dollar, there was “disrespect” involved. Also, some absolute jabroni went grocery shopping wearing a without-a-question Ku Klux Klan hood because he’s a butthole and there’s no other explanation. The only bonus in my eyes is that it took place in San Diego rather than within an hour’s drive of me. In Colorado, FBI agents picked up a well-known loon and “activist” stockpiling pipe bombs to “protest lockdown measures. These are serious people and we should pay attention to them.

 Protesters, those backed by big money right-wing groups and just random yay-hoos who’re sick of being around their families, continue to raise hell and vaguely threaten the rest of us. It’s still a small number of people, despite the growing discontent and economic hardships, and some people seem genuinely confused why this bunch is getting such oversized attention from the press while, for example, the anti-war protests on the eve of the Iraq War numbered in the tens of thousands were basically ignored. You’re seeing the same thing with rent strikes across the country, protests for disability rights, and the recent demonstrations against the Standing Rock pipeline.

 It’s actually quite simple. Those last three go against the wishes of the Powers That Be, especially since all three are against the very rich making even more money off the already poor enough. Whether the pipeline was needed or not, someone was going to make out like a bandit with it. One of the sillier takes on a hopeful Bernie Sanders presidency and the current hard-on for Jesse Venture, of all people, is the idea that those PTB that are making a literal killing off America’s bullying foreign policy will let anyone, president or not, make any significant changes to it.

 But those protesters demanding to go back to work? Hell, that’s what your Boss wants. They want you to be willing to work yourself to death to fatten their pocket book, or at least be unable to do anything otherwise except starve. Again, we understand that things are getting tight and people have to feed their kids, regardless of how the landlords across the country will or won’t sit on their thumbs for a bit. That being said, hedge funds have scored the already stinking rich between 33 and 50 million dollars since this whole mess started due to fluctuations in the stock market. So the money is there, but we’re conditioned to not question who gets paid when the day’s done.

 Anyhow.

 Enough of that. Moving on, Mitch McConnell is taking after Donald Trump, not letting the epidemic and economic instability slow down them being absolute assholes. For one, McConnell is using the disinclination for folks to gather in large bodies to push through as many wingnut toadies to fill up the various judicial holes across the country. He’s also demanding that whatever the next stimulus effort comes across his desk makes it so workers can’t sue corporate entities who take advantage of workers during this whole mess.

 As for Trump, he’s being sued by six different Native tribes, including three from Alaska, to halt a proposed plan that would give as much as half of $8 billion in emergency relief funds earmark to the nation’s tribal governments to the private Alaska Native Corporations, who collectively generate more than $10 billion in revenue from their significant oil and gas developments. This is another example of how the lack of any real oversight saw the bulk of the $350 billion from the last stimulus package earmarked for small businesses go to publicly traded corporations.

 He’s also ordered the members of his Task Force to not answer any Congressional summons when called up to the May planned authorizing committee and appropriations subcommittee for the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. This comes after he started keeping Dr. Anthony Fauci from talking to the press because he made Trump look bad and continues the administration’s distaste for transparency concerning how it handled the epidemic making a mess out of everyone’s spring.

 And finally, a worldwide collaboration between a number of countries to raise up to $8.2 billion from governments, philanthropies and charities to develop medication to combat the virus and cash to help the economically strapped. Spearheaded by the European Commission, world leaders held a virtual meeting to discuss the subject, but for reasons known only to themselves, the Trump Administration just couldn’t be bothered. Because of course not.

 Well, that’s enough for today, I suppose. Mississippi’s got some interesting stuff going on, but I think I’ll save that for Wednesday. To end on a super-positive note, Nikole Hannah-Jones’ introductory essay for The New York Times’ superlative 1619 project won a Pulitzer. One of the best examples of journalism of the past year, Hannah-Jones was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Of course, racists dillweeds from Ben Shapiro to The New York Post to random jackanaps on Twitter are big, big mad.

 And that, neighbors, ain’t never a bad thing.