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The Virus, the Media and the Economy

A friend tweeted from Ireland (in time for St. Patrick’s Day), blaming President Trump for the major decline in the value of stocks. This same friend credited Barack Obama’s economic policies when the Dow Jones Industrial Averages approached 30,000.

This — and more — is part of our political, economic and medical divide with mixed messages coming from supposed professionals, amateurs and people who don’t know what they are talking about.

According to Dictionary.com, “panic” is “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”

Is this panic over the coronavirus that has caused the closing of Broadway shows, sports arenas, church services and many schools with or without cause? Is it justified, or not?

We’ll soon know, but as of Monday, 69 people had died from the disease in the U.S., 27 of them at a senior facility in Seattle, Washington.

Here’s a piece of news that has been buried by major media. An Associated Press headline read, “Most coronavirus patients recover, still anxiety, fear loom.” Gee, I wonder why fear and anxiety are looming? Could the major media, which love promoting fear when it comes to hurricanes, also be promoting fear while mostly ignoring those who recover from the virus?

Last Friday CBS reported on the number of people infected, but waited until the last sentence to say this: “The vast majority of cases are mild, and almost half of those infected have recovered.”

A banner headline in red on The Drudge Report said, “150 million Americans could get infected.” This while medical “experts” tell us how to avoid infection with regular handwashing, avoiding people who appear sick, not gathering with large crowds, etc.

Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders aren’t helping to lower anxiety. Biden delivered a speech last week in Delaware with fewer than his usual rhetorical stumbles. As The Hill reports, Biden proposed “…making testing free and widely available” and establishing “10 mobile sites and drive-thru facilities per state, in addition to greater transparency from the White House…” Sanders, on the other hand, “has used the outbreak as an opportunity to push his progressive agenda, specifically his ‘Medicare for All’ proposal.” Sanders says his plan would ensure free vaccines and treatment to those infected. The Trump administration has outlined similar actions.

Are we being subjected to doublespeak when on the one hand we are told the coronavirus is nothing to be afraid of, if we take precautions, and on the other we are told to run for the hills? Is this a biblical plague or a manageable ailment? Are we facing the judgment of God, or will this, too, pass like the flu, or a cold, or other ailments from which most of us recover?

If the weather is difficult to accurately predict, why would anyone think forecasts related to a virus might be accurate and trustworthy?

I am no prophet, but just as other challenges have confronted America, we will recover from this one. The stock market will revive (it was up nearly 2,000 points last Friday) because the economy remains strong. Schools that are closed will reopen. Broadway lights will go back on. Sports contests with fans in the seats will resume. Church doors will reopen. Normalcy will return.

Last Friday at the White House, Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, announced that parking lots at some of his stores will be used for drive-in coronavirus testing. And Variety reports that Verily, the life sciences division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, “is in the ‘early stages of development’ with a test slated to roll out initially in the San Francisco Bay Area. … At some point, Verily said, it may expand the tool more widely.”

CEOs from Target, Walgreen’s and CVS were among those also pledging cooperation. Now if only the politicians would stop fighting each other and instead unify to fight the virus.

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Univision Just Can’t Quit Bernie, Touts Single-Payer

If polling is correct, then socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is on his way to a resounding defeat in Florida’s Democratic presidential primary. But that won’t stop the nation’s leading Spanish-language network from boosting Sanders to the bitter end.

Watch below at how the network makes sure to frame its coverage of a poll unfavorable to Sanders in the friendliest manner possible:

 

 

BORJA VOCES: Now, Univision News is publishing the results of a Florida poll- one day before that state’s primaries. Let’s begin, Ely. Look. The poll shows that support for President Trump is strong. We’re talking about 54% approval. If we go to Latino voters it dips a bit more. We’re talking about 38%. 46% disapprove.

ELYANGÉLICA GONZÁLEZ: Well, also: is enough being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus? Well, what people say is that 53% believe so, 48% of Latino voters believe so, and 43% say no compared to 46% of Latino voters. There are people who’d rather say that they don’t know and therefore give no response, 4% of all voters, 6% of Latino voters.  

VOCES: And next, the poll also indicates that there is great support for the establishment of universal healthcare insurance which guarantees healthcare for all. And much more so among Latino voters. We’re talking about 71% in support of that healthcare coverage for all, one of the showcase proposals of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

GONZÁLEZ:  Which is so necessary right now, given that we’re talking about Coronavirus. 

VOCES: That’s right.

GONZÁLEZ: The insurance issue.

 

The Florida poll, commissioned by Univision and Latino Decisions, finds both that Sanders is going to lose Florida and that President Donald Trump would beat either Democratic presidential candidate in the general election. But neither Borja Voces nor Elyangelica González mentioned that. 

After showing that voters approve the Trump Administration’s handling of the Wuhan Virus pandemic, Voces went to the part of the poll most favorable to Sanders and most in furtherance of the narrative of mass Latino support for Sanders: 71-29 support for “Universal Health Insurance System That Guarantees Care For Everyone”. However, Univision didn’t drill deeper into potential definitions of “universal healthcare”. Pew Hispanic did, in a nationwide poll conducted a few weeks prior to Univision’s poll, and found that although the same 71% support government-run healthcare, only 38% support the imposition of single-payer healthcare.

Unfortunately, this didn’t stop González from boosting single-payer as “so necessary” in the face of the Wuhan Virus. 

The market continues to cry out for an alternative.

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Stunned CNN Offers Rare Praise for Trump’s Leadership After Coronavirus Presser

Well this is not something you see very often, or hardly ever, on the rabidly anti-Trump network, CNN. After President Trump and his coronavirus task force team fielded questions from reporters Tuesday over what his administration was doing to combat the coronavirus, CNN’s Dana Bash and her liberal peers seemed amazed in its aftermath and actually found some positive things to say about the president.

Shortly after the press conference finished, Inside Politics host John King, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and chief White House correspondent John Harwood seemed stunned by what Trump had to say and the measures the government was taking to help protect people. King even managed to offer this tepid compliment: “That was a president who seemed much more up on the brief today than he has been in the past,” he said, adding, “For most of that briefing, the president went out of his way to be more gracious and magnanimous.”

But CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash went beyond her colleague’s reluctant compliments to offer unfettered, rare praise for Trump’s leadership:

If you look at the big picture, this was remarkable from the President of the United States. This is a non-partisan, this is an important thing to note and applaud from an American standpoint, from a human standpoint. He’s being the kind of leader that people need at least in tone today and yesterday. In tone that people need and want and yearn for in times of crisis and uncertainty.

 

So we have been talking about a lot of specifics that they brought up today whether it’s construction companies asking them to give masks to hospitals, the fact that they’re thinking about a thousand dollars perhaps, the Andrew Yang idea, to people, but big picture, the fact that the president has been convinced to be different, whether it was Chris Christie’s op-ed asking him to do it or whether it was Newt Gingrich sitting in Italy watching firsthand of what’s happening or his friends at Fox News have changed their tone. Probably all the above is what’s happened. But It is so important to hear him strike that tone of calm and of understanding of how incredibly dire this is, and the fact that he even said on the notion of people going out, somebody asked about ‘well, what about people of all generations going out when they shouldn’t?’ He said they shouldn’t and they’re actually performing self policing. They’re telling–It is peer pressure, telling people not to do it. That’s pretty incredible from a guy who a couple of days ago was downplaying it to keep the economy going.

There’s been a pattern of more positive media reports and analysis in the past 24 hours. On Morning Joe Tuesday, co-host Joe Scarborough managed to muster up praise for President Trump, even though it must have pained him.

On Monday night, NBC Nightly News deserves credit as well for trying to calm the public’s fears instead of stoking them about the virus’s impact on the food supply.

 

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Is Tech Transparency Enough to Guard Conservative Speech Online?

A new report is urging Congress mandate greater transparency from Big Tech, not a Section 230 overhaul.

But will that be enough to protect conservative free speech online?

Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) released a report Tuesday headlined “It’s Not Just the Content, It’s the Business Model: Democracy’s Online Speech Challenge,” as federal lawmakers look into reining in Big Tech over concerns about free speech, online child exploitation, privacy and misinformation.

The non-profit housed at Soros-funded New America and affiliated with the Open Technology Institute called on tech “companies to be much more transparent about how they work.” It also cautioned against making changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

“[I]nstead of seeking to hold digital platforms liable for content posted by their users, regulators and advocates should instead focus on holding companies accountable for how content is amplified and targeted,” RDR argued in its report. “It’s not just the content, but tech companies’ surveillance-based business models that are distorting the public sphere and threatening democracy.”

In a recent speech, however, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen asked if Big Tech should get full statutory immunity for “removing lawful speech and given carte blanche as a censor if the content that is not ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, or harassing’ under [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act].”

Rosen briefly summarized Section 230 as applied to a social media site as follows:

“Under Section 230, the social media site is not liable for what the user says, although the user themselves may still be liable. Section 230 also immunizes a website from some liability for ‘in good faith’ removing illicit user-generated content that is ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.’”

The RDR report recommended federal legislators consider requiring online platforms do the following, according to Axios:

“[P]ublish their rules for what content and targeted advertising they allow; issue reports on the content and ads they take down for breaking the rules; and explain the algorithms that determine what ends up on someone’s screen.”

“‘This kind of transparency is not the end goal,’” said Nathalie Maréchal, one of the authors, reported Axios. “‘This kind of transparency is a necessary first step toward accountability.’”

U.S. Attorney General William Barr took a different tack during his introductory statement to the recent Department of Justice Section 230 Workshop.

“No longer are tech companies the underdog upstarts,” said Barr on Feb. 19. “They have become titans of U.S. industry.” This boom has left consumers with less options, said the attorney general.

“The lack of feasible alternatives is relevant in the Section 230 discussion — both for those citizens who want safer online spaces and for those whose speech has been banned or restricted by these platforms,” he said. Barr also said that due to the rise of algorithms, content moderation, and recommendations, the lines between “passively hosting third-party speech and actively curating or promoting speech” were blurred.

Indeed, Rosen pointed out the Good Samaritan provision of Section 230 in his recent speech, noting that “platforms have the ability to remove content that they have a ‘good faith’ belief is ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.’”

But he also made clear one distinction: that Big Tech lacks oversight and has been given “a blank check, ignoring the ‘good faith’ requirement and relying on the broad term ‘otherwise objectionable’ as carte blanche to selectively remove anything from websites for other reasons and still claim immunity.”

MRC TechWatch Senior Analyst Corinne Weaver and MRC TechWatch Contributing Writer Alexander Hall contributed to this report.

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Reporter Frets Over ‘Stigma’ of Trump Saying ‘Chinese Virus’

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force, a reporter fretted that President Trump using the phrase “Chinese virus” in a tweet was creating a “stigma” about the disease. In response, the President reminded the media that China chose to spread lies and conspiracy theories in an effort to cover-up the extent of the virus in the early days.

“China and others have criticized you for using the phrase ‘Chinese virus.’ How do you feel about that, are you going to continue using that phrase?,” the unidentified reporter worried. Trump pushed back:

 

 

Well, China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from, it did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term. But no, I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody.

The journalist then pressed: “Critics say using that phrase creates a stigma.”

The President rejected the argument: “No, I don’t think so. No, I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”

Late Monday night, NBCNews.com decried Trump’s use of the “offensive remark” and touted a parade of liberal critics accusing the President and other Republicans of “racism.”

Before the phrase was deemed racist, the media had no trouble routinely using terms like “Wuhan” or “Chinese coronavirus” to discuss the pandemic.

As the presser ended Tuesday afternoon, the Chinese government announced it would be banning all American journalists working for The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, among others. Maybe reporters should think twice before rushing to promote the authoritarian regime’s messaging concerns about the coronavirus.

Here is a transcript of the March 17 press conference exchange:

12:51 PM ET

(…)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: China and others have criticized you for using the phrase “Chinese virus.” How do you feel about that, are you going to continue using that phrase?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from, it did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term. But no, I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody.

REPORTER: Critics say using that phrase creates a stigma.

TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. No, I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.

(…)

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DEMOCRAT Chris Cuomo Talks to DEMOCRAT Andrew Cuomo

Does it make sense for liberal CNN host Chris Cuomo to interview his liberal Democrat brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the network’s prime time line-up? According to the network, it’s the perfect place for two members of a prominent Democrat family to bash the Republican president. That’s exactly what happened on Monday night. 

Despite proclaiming, “I don’t want to talk politics” on the Coronavirus, Chris Cuomo highlighted the Twitter battle between Donald Trump and the governor: “You and the President go back and forth a little bit. He cleans it up later on in a press conference. But the substance of the back-and-forth was about what needs to happen and who needs to do it. And in a rejoinder tweet that you sent to the President, you said you’d love to be doing more. ‘Give me the control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I’ll take it from there.’ First of all, do you have any reason to believe that you will get that kind of assistance?”

Andrew Cuomo scoffed to his younger brother: “Look, you don’t know. You don’t know how [the President is] going to react.” Again, despite claiming that this wasn’t going to get political, the two Cuomos found ways to do just that: 

This is the second time in less than a week that Andrew Cuomo appeared on his brother’s show. The idea that CNN had no problem with Democrat Chris Cuomo interviewing Democrat Andrew Cuomo (both children of Democratic governor Mario Cuomo) is bizarre. Was Anderson Cooper not available? 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Cuomo Prime Time
3/16/2020
9:01 PM ET

CHRIS CUOMO: If you don’t believe it from me, hear it from one of the many Governors, responding to this crisis. He just wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on the President needing to mobilize the military. You know him as the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, my Big Brother, of course. It’s good to see you, brother. What is the reality on the ground? What is working and not working for you?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Well the – the reality is exactly – exactly what you said, Chris. We have to engage this. 

CHRIS CUOMO:  And you don’t have the control. It has to be the federal government. So, the question becomes it is no secret that the people around the President, let’s take him out of the equation, they know that you have capacity issues. They have not enlisted the military. What does that tell you?

ANDREW CUOMO: I think they have not yet fully owned this. I think they’ve been watching it.
I think they don’t understand the capacity of the federal government and what it can do. And I think they have to own it, step into it, understand that this is not working, “Every state, do your own thing, figure it out.”

9:17 PM ET 

CHRIS CUOMO: The Governor, of course, is my brother, Andrew Cuomo. So, I don’t want to talk politics about this. But, you know, you and the President go back and forth a little bit. He cleans it up later on in a press conference. But the substance of the back-and-forth was about what needs to happen and who needs to do it. And in a rejoinder tweet that you sent to the President, you said you’d love to be doing more. “Give me the control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I’ll take it from there.” First of all, do you have any reason to believe that you will get that kind of assistance?

ANDREW CUOMO: Look, you don’t know. You don’t know how he’s going to react. And – and you are right, we go back and forth. Look, I tell him the truth, right? And I said, by the way, a week ago, I said the testing is a debacle, and we’re not testing fast enough in this country. We knew China was coming in November. Why didn’t we start ramping up testing? And that the federal government should decentralize testing and give it to the states. I have 200 labs in this State. Let me use my 200 labs. Why am I waiting on the FDA and CDC? And the President, to his credit, to his credit, I credit the President, he said, “You’re right,” and he gave New York the authority to do the testing.

ANDREW CUOMO: You watch those numbers, the numbers keep going up, you tighten the valve more, to get less density, less density, less spread. Curfew, I don’t like the word “Curfew.” Dad tried to have a curfew for me. I never got past the resentment. But I do believe you’ll see more tightening–

CHRIS CUOMO: It’s the least of your problems, by the way.

ANDREW CUOMO: –if the numbers don’t slow.

CHRIS CUOMO: Your problems with the curfew, it’s the least of your problems.

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FREE MONEY? CNBC Boosts Romney’s INSANE Coronavirus Plan to Give EVERY American $1,000

CNBC apparently had no problem treating Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) insane coronavirus plan to give “every” American $1,000 as a rational idea.

CNBC came right off the bat to make the senator look like some sort of philanthropist: “GOP Sen. Mitt Romney proposed on Monday sending every American adult $1,000 to ease the financial pain of the coronavirus pandemic that has tanked global markets and threatened to grind U.S. economic activity to a halt.” [Emphasis added.] Did the outlet consider the irony that such a policy would essentially require massive spending and tax increases that would further “grind U.S. economic activity to a halt”?

Romney apparently wasn’t finished there. His proposal would also “require all private insurance companies to cover telehealth services related to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.” [Emphasis added.]

So, free money (not really) and compelling private business to do the government’s bidding? Got it.

 

In fact, with a national population exceeding 329,404,000, it would take approximately over $329.4 billion in spending to accommodate doling out $1,000 to every American.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow answered a reporter’s question about giving direct cash assistance to Americans with a simple, “‘The answer: could be,’” CNBC said.

Is Kudlow’s idea of “cash assistance” the same as Romney’s? CNBC doesn’t say, but making it appear as though the White House is on the same track with Romney’s thinking definitely could serve a liberal narrative.

After all, CNBC wrote that “the idea of sending out stimulus checks has been gaining traction in recent weeks.” Was the outlet considering MSNBC talking heads like Chris Hayes who recently wanted Congress to pass a foolish $1 trillion stimulus bill in “direct cash” to all Americans?

CNBC linked to an article written by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and American Enterprise Institute Director Michael Strain, saying that the two “also pushed the idea of direct cash assistance to low-income Americans.” [Emphasis added.]

Someone should tell CNBC that a proposal for cash assistance to “low-income” Americans is very different from a proposal that covers “every” American. CNBC also ignored Gottlieb and Strain’s important caveat that “Amid trillion-dollar deficits, the federal government shouldn’t spend more money unless necessary.” [Emphasis added.]

Current federal spending for fiscal year 2021 is $4.829 trillion.

CNBC also touted socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) expressing similar sentiments, in an apparent showcase of bipartisan support of redistribution of wealth:

“On the left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has suggested a universal basic income as a possible remedy. ‘This is not the time for half measures,’ she wrote in a post on Twitter. ‘We need to take dramatic action now to stave off the worst public health & economic affects.’”

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CNN Aims for Cheap Political Points By Omitting Key Trump Corona Quote

CNN does it again. Rather than rally together in a time of crisis, the liberal cable network is trying to score cheap political points. The latest example came as Donald Trump held a call with the nation’s governors on Monday to address procurement concerns surrounding vital medical equipment that people may require when getting treatment for COVID-19. Afterwards, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joined CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin to talk about it, but left out crucial context of Trump’s remarks.

Regarding the purchase of respirators and ventilators, Collins reported, “He essentially told the states they need to work on getting this additional medical equipment that they’re saying they need before the federal government is going to try to intervene.”

Collins then read a quote from Trump, “Now, he did say the federal government would try to help them, would — let me read you the quote we got from this he said, ‘we will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves.'”

 

  

This quote has been widely circulated, but the New York Times added crucial context that Collins and others have omitted. After telling states to try to get the equipment themselves, Trump added a reason as to why, “Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself,” which makes sense as it removes a layer of bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, Collins focused more on the “getting it yourselves” part of Trump’s comments than the “we will be backing you up” part as she called out Trump for tweeting at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after Cuomo implored the feds to do more.

Collins wrapped up by declaring, “That comes as there has been some criticism of the way the Trump Administration has been slow to respond to things that people need like testing. So, of course, that’s the only governor the president singled out in the tweet, we’re waiting to learn more about what it was he said on the call.”

Maybe things are slow, because of the many layers of bureaucratic red tape, which Collins could have referred to, if she reported on Trump’s full quote, rather than uncritically repeating Democratic criticisms.

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

2:02 PM ET

KAITLAN COLLINS: Reporter: Yeah so they had this call, it was the president and all these governors on this telecall and one thing that he did say, according to someone who is familiar with that call, Brooke is that he essentially told the states they need to work on getting this additional medical equipment that they’re saying they need before the federal government is going to try to intervene. Now, he did say the federal government would try to help them, would — let me read you the quote we got from this he said, “we will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves.” Now, of course, this equipment is going to become incredibly important if it is not already in the next few days as we’re moving from this phase where you saw people calling for these demands and increased testing to now figuring out what they’re going to do with all these patients who have coronavirus. And how they are going to likely overwhelm the health system as people are trying to really limit that. So it is notable that is something that – that was essentially his message to these state officials on this call, urging them to try to take action first, because remember, Brooke, on Friday, we saw that statement that letter, from Democratic governors urging the president to invoke this mandate where essentially the federal government could help speed up the supply of creating ventilators, respirators, things the hospitals are going to need in the coming weeks. 

BROOKE BALDWIN: Yeah

COLLINS: Now, we haven’t heard anything else about what exactly was said on this call, we’re still waiting to learn that, but we should note that the president just tweeted a few moments ago, talking about this call and he didn’t single out anyone except for one governor, of course, that’s Andrew Cuomo of New York where the president said “just had a very good tele-conference with the nation’s governors” it “went very well” and then he said “Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more.’” It is notable president only singled out that one governor, the one governor that held a very lengthy press conference earlier today. And of course, they’re one of several states making these decisions, closing gyms, restaurants, bars, all these places starting Monday night, tonight, of course. And so, the president is urging him to do more, we have certainly seen Governor Cuomo out there not only saying — talking about what New York is going to do and what he’s doing but also urging the federal government to get more involved and that comes as there has been some criticism of the way the Trump Administration has been slow to respond to things that people need like testing. So, of course, that’s the only governor the president singled out in the tweet, we’re waiting to learn more about what it was he said on the call. 

 

 

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NY Times Reporter Blames Racism, ‘Freaked-Out Whites’ for Lack of Safety Net, High Taxes

Eduardo Porter, economics reporter for the New York Times, equated the United States’ lack of his preferred European-style levels of “safety net” taxes and welfare spending to racism in his Sunday Review piece: “Why America Will Never Get Medicare for All.” It’s adapted from his new book American Poison: How Racist Hostility Destroyed Our Promise.

The online subhead argued America’s problems went deeper than even economics: “Forget politics or money. Racism explains why the country lacks the safety net its citizens deserve.”

So far, the debate around [a robust expansion of government programs] has focused on the fiscal and political obstacles (Mitch McConnell, ahem). But there’s a bigger problem. Americans have repeatedly rejected expansions of the social safety net because it inevitably collides with one of the most powerful forces shaping the American experience: uncompromising racism.

The United States alone has crumpled because it showed no interest in building the safeguards erected in other advanced countries to protect those on the wrong side of these changes. Why? Because we couldn’t be moved to build a safety net that cut across our divisions of ethnicity and race.

The paranoid left-wing screed from an ostensible economics reporter continued.

Medicare and Medicaid, which became law in 1965, were the last major programs inspired by the New Deal. Since then, America has turned against welfare in favor of another, different tool of social management: prison…..By the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was slashing government spending and asserting that taxpayers were being defrauded by undeserving black “welfare queens.”

Porter even went after Bill Clinton for welfare reform, then got back on the prison hobby-horse.

 But imprisonment grew: By 2016, 679 out of every 100,000 Americans languished in prison or jail, almost four times the share in 1960.

….

The demographic determinism is problematic. Do we have to wait until the 2040s, or longer, to get the sort of country that cares for everybody?

….

….While minorities might eventually reshape American politics into something more inclusive, until that happens politics will be determined by the efforts of freaked-out whites to resist this change. Republicans’ efforts to ensure a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a generation, like state-level efforts to suppress the vote of people of color and gerrymander districts to dilute their electoral clout, are a clear expression of white fear.

….

Ask yourself why the United States, alone among the world’s richest nations, still doesn’t provide its citizens comprehensive, universal health care….

Perhaps part of the reason why we’re the richest nation is that we don’t have government-run health care?

Porter made the same argument in November 2017, wailing:

It is hard to understand the deep reasons behind the American aversion to taxes and government. Is it the vestigial expression of a rugged individualism born on the American frontier? Is it racial hostility — an unwillingness by whites to fund social programs that some believe unduly benefit minorities?

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‘Who Is That Man’ at the Press Conference?

Joe Scarborough praising President Trump? Was it one of those lip-synch spoofs? But no, in a sign of just how profoundly the coronavirus has altered virtually everything, Scarborough today did indeed offer clear, if cautious, praise for President Trump’s performance at yesterday’s press conference. Scarborough said that the president was somber and serious and “did what a president is supposed to do.”

At end of the segment, Scarborough acknowledged the obvious: that over the last three-and-a-half years, the show has been critical of virtually everything President Trump has done. But Joe went on to recognize that “we only have one president at a time,” and expressed the hope that yesterday marked a “new beginning.”

Note: Scarborough had adopted a more measured tone about President Trump in his tweet of yesterday, and it obviously carried over onto today’s show. We’ll monitor how long Joe’s change of heart lasts!

Here’s the transcript.

MSNBC
Morning Joe
3/17/20
6:02 am EDT

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Donald Trump held a press conference with his team around 3:00, 3:30, and —

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Boy, did everything change.

SCARBOROUGH: It was a remarkable change. As far as the focus of the federal government, the focus of the coronavirus task force, and most specifically, the focus of Donald Trump. 

. . . 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ve spoken actually with my son. He says, how bad is this? It’s bad. It’s bad.

. . . 

SCARBOROUGH: While this press conference was going on, I got phone calls from several people, saying who is that man at the press conference? The president was sober. He actually did what a president is supposed to do. He delivered the bad news . . . This was a president even talking about, saying to his son, when asked how it was, he said, it’s bad, it’s bad. But hopefully, we can avoid the worst-case scenarios and bring this in for a landing and have the best-case scenarios. The president is doing what, at least I have said, and I think a lot of other people have said he should be doing from the very beginning, and that is, tell the truth. Give Americans the worst-case scenario. They can handle it. And start from there.

. . . 

If you’ve watched the for more than ten minutes over the last three-and-a-half years, you understand we’re critical about just everything the president does. But Mika, as Jon Meacham said, I’m going to pull out Jon’s World War II analogy, and us being a position a Brit was. We are all joined together as a country, fighting an epidemic that could end up — let me say this again. Based on the study that got to the White House yesterday — kill more people, kill more Americans, than died in World War I, World War II, the Civil War, and Vietnam. 

We all have to work together. I am hopeful that the White House and that the president continues this somber approach. Because, you know, at the beginning of this administration, when we had a lot of leaders, like, well, your father, Robert Gates, others, all said, we only have one president at a time. We have to do everything we can do to make sure this president succeeds. Well, obviously, this president has made that very difficult over the past three years. I’m hopeful that yesterday was a new beginning, especially as it pertains to this battle that we’re all facing.