(MarketWatch) The coronavirus is like a terrible hurricane heading for the coastline its gaining momentum but the public health and economic consequences are still quite tough to predict.
What is easier to say is that anything the Fed can do to assist the economy will be palliativecalls for the Fed and other central banks to act quickly are misplaced at best and more likely downright dangerous.
The most important thing to recognize is that fiscal and monetary policya quick tax cut or jolt of infrastructure spending and Fed interest rate cuts and bond purchaseswill be akin to passing out candles. They wont bring back electric power any quicker when the lines go down if utility companies dont have enough trucks and crew. And shortages of what we neednot consumers and businesses unwilling to spendis the coronavirus economic challenge.
Coronavirus is causing a recession in ChinaBeijings statisticians who serve the Communist Partys political bosses will likely tell us growth sank from about 6% to 3% in the first quarter of this year but those numbers will be about as legitimate as the claims of a used car salesman about an old clunker. .........(more)
Three people have died after dry ice was poured into a swimming pool at a party in Moscow on Friday.
The victims were connected to Instagram influencer Yekaterina Didenko, who was celebrating her 29th birthday at the pool complex in the city's south.
Dry ice had been dumped in the pool after guests exiting the sauna complained it was too warm.
Ms Didenko's husband is reportedly among the dead. ......(more)
When markets are up, President Donald Trump claims credit. Now that theyre falling, its someone elses fault.
This weeks stock market plunge sparked by fears the coronavirus will drag down the economy posed a unique dilemma for a president who has staked his 2020 re-election campaign squarely on U.S. economic growth. ....... (more)
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump is hoping for a "miracle" that will make the coronavirus disappear but tanking stock markets and signs the disease is stalking America are delivering their verdict on his scattershot management of the crisis.
A historic Wall Street sell off, the first case on US soil that could not be traced to travel to countries battling the virus, and news of drug shortages outpaced White House efforts to show everything was under control.
"It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear," Trump said at the White House Thursday as the virus marched across Asia and Europe after US officials said the US should brace for severe disruption to everyday life. ....... (more)
(MarketWatch) The. world woke up Monday to the reality that the coronavirus epidemic is going to have a much bigger impact on the global economy than investors and policy makers had assumed. Just how big, no one really knows.
Last week, it seemed as if financial markets believed that COVID-19 would be contained. But new cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran over the weekend undermined that belief. The World Health Organization tried to reassure the public on Monday, saying the disease was not yet a pandemic because it was not spreading in an uncontained way. ........(more)
An insider says that white rural Christian America has a dark, racist underbelly
on February 19, 2020
By Forsetti's Justice, AlterNet
A common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: Democrats fail to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.
Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesnt matter how many people say it, it is complete BS. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to draw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isnt East Coast elites who dont understand or care about rural America. The real problem is that rural Americans dont understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They dont want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they dont want to admit it is in large part because of the choices theyve made and the horrible things theyve allowed themselves to believe.
I grew up in rural Christian white America. Youd be hard-pressed to find an area of the country with a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on on their rural farms. I dated their calico-skirted daughters. I camped, hunted and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure to a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes and a broken-down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isnt that I dont understand these people. The problem is they dont understand themselves or the reasons for their anger and frustration.
Because rural Christian white Americans will not listen to educated arguments, supported by facts that go against their fundamentalist belief systems from outsiders, any change must come from within. Internal change in these systems does happen, but it happens infrequently and always lags far behind reality. This is why they fear change so much. They arent used to it. Of course, it really doesnt matter whether they like it or not, it, like evolution and climate change even though they dont believe it, it is going to happen whether they believe in it or not.
Gays being allowed to marry are a threat. Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed friends and family are a threat. Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms are somehow viewed a threat. The black president is a threat. Muslims are a threat. The Chinese are a threat. Women wanting to be autonomous are a threat. The college educated are a threat. Godless scientists are a threat. Everyone who isnt just like them has been sold to them as a threat and theyve bought it hook, line and grifting sinker. Since there are no self-regulating mechanisms in their belief systems, these threats only grow over time. Since facts and reality dont matter, nothing you say to them will alter their beliefs. President Obama was born in Kenya, is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood who hates white Americans and is going to take away their guns. I feel ridiculous even writing this, it is so absurd, but it is gospel across large swaths of rural America. Are rural Christian white Americans scared? Damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Hell no. The problem isnt understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that dont have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears. ........(more)
Texas Central has unveiled the first look at the interior layout of the Texas High-Speed Train, kicking off Engineering Week by focusing on engineering comfort.
The Texas High-Speed Train cars feature two by two and two by one seating only with no middle seat. This design gives passengers nearly a foot more legroom than most coach airlines seats, helping ensure a comfortable ride for all riders. Other important features include wider aisles, improved lighting and audio and visual signals for train arrivals and departures. ..............(more)
Christian Lawmakers Group Blames Satan After Twitter Poll Goes Badly Awry
The National Association of Christian Lawmakers posted a Twitter poll about religion in politics. They didnt like the response.
A group ostensibly representing Christian lawmakers launched a poll on Twitter over the weekend asking if America would be better off with more Christians in elected office.
It didnt go well:
After more than 16,000 replies, the answer was an overwhelming no, which received 95.8% of the vote. In response, the group accused atheists and Satanists of religious persecution for voting in the poll.
Congress is overwhelmingly Christian, far out of proportion with the people they represent. According to a Pew survey last year, the Senate and House are nearly 90% Christian, compared with 65% of America as a whole. ........(more)
If William Barr Truly Believed in Rule of Law, He Would Resign
By Joyce White Vance February 16, 2020
Vance is distinguished professor of the practice of law at the University of Alabama, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.
Nothing could be more destructive of our system of government, of the rule of law, or Department of Justice as an institution, than any toleration of political interference with the enforcement of the law. Those were William Barrs words at both his 1991 and 2019 confirmation hearings, the words of someone who claimed to respect the Justice Department and its mission.
Barrs commitment at his most recent confirmation hearing, reaffirming that an Attorney General must prevent political influence from corrupting the course of justice in criminal cases, was important to legitimate his candidacy to lead the department, given the concerns that arose after his nomination. But he has proven himself unable or unwilling to live up to that commitment.
Since he joined the Administration just over a year ago, Barr has operated in a manner that has raised serious questions about whether he is working to benefit the President or the people. He misrepresented the conclusions of the Mueller report. On his watch, DOJ tried to protect the President from legitimate constitutional oversight by withholding the Ukraine whistleblower complaint from Congress. DOJ then summarily declined to open an investigation into the Ukraine complaint and defended Trumps position that executive branch emails related to Ukraine did not have to be turned over to a media organization that sought unredacted versions, using the same privilege arguments Trump asserted to withhold them from Congress. Although the Department has responded to past questions about Barrs personal involvement by saying he was aware but did not participate in decision-making, we know from his takeover of Roger Stones sentencing that he is fully capable of usurping a case when he does not like how it is being handled. He has also assigned a handpicked U.S. Attorney appointed by Trump to review matters the President has shown interest in. ...................(more)
SYDNEY, Australia In a country where there has always been more space than people, where the land and wildlife are cherished like a Picasso, nature is closing in. Fueled by climate change and the worlds refusal to address it, the fires that have burned across Australia are not just destroying lives, or turning forests as large as nations into ashen moonscapes.
They are also forcing Australians to imagine an entirely new way of life. When summer is feared. When air filters hum in homes that are bunkers, with kids kept indoors. When birdsong and the rustle of marsupials in the bush give way to an eerie, smoky silence.
I am standing here a traveler from a new reality, a burning Australia, Lynette Wallworth, an Australian filmmaker, told a crowd of international executives and politicians in Davos, Switzerland, last month. What was feared and what was warned is no longer in our future, a topic for debate it is here.
We have seen, she added, the unfolding wings of climate change.
Like the fires, its a metaphor that lingers. What many of us have witnessed this fire season does feel alive, like a monstrous gathering force threatening to devour what we hold most dear on a continent that will grow only hotter, drier and more flammable as global temperatures rise. ........(more)
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