IF TRUMP WAS NOT SO PATHETIC THIS VIDEO WOULD BE THE HIGH POINT OF HIS CAMPAIGN
IF TRUMP WAS NOT SO PATHETIC THIS VIDEO WOULD BE THE HIGH POINT OF HIS CAMPAIGN
by Maeve sheehey
Bloomberg, July 29, 2020
Food insecurity for U.S. households last week reached its highest reported level since the Census Bureau started tracking the data in May, with almost 30 million Americans reporting that they’d not had enough to eat at some point in the seven days through July 21.
In the bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey, roughly 23.9 million of 249 million respondents indicated they had “sometimes not enough to eat” for the week ended July 21, while about 5.42 million indicated they had “often not enough to eat.” The survey, which began with the week ended May 5, was published Wednesday.
The number of respondents who sometimes had insufficient food was at its highest point in the survey’s 12 weeks. The number who often experienced food insufficiency was at its highest since the week ended May 26.
This follows deep recession resulting from the pandemic, which put millions of Americans out of work. Unemployed Americans have been receiving an extra $600 per week benefit, which is set to expire at the end of July as Congress debates a new relief package.
Other high-frequency data, including Household Pulse jobs numbers, indicate that the U.S. economic recovery may be stalling out at virus cases spike around the country and states roll back their reopening plans.
From lockdowns to testing, we showed people around the world the facts and figures on how the U.S. has handled the pandemic.
Video by Brendan Miller and
The New York Times
The United States leads the world in Covid-19 deaths, nearing 150,000 lost lives. The unemployment figures brought on by the pandemic are mind-boggling. The Trump administration’s slow and haphazard response has been widely criticized. But what does it look like to young people around the world, whose governments moved quickly and aggressively to contain the coronavirus?
We wanted to know, so we reached out to quite a few and showed them charts, facts, photos and videos illustrating the U.S. response. Spoiler: They were not impressed.
Many advanced economies, from Germany to Singapore, directly supplemented salaries to save jobs. Other nations with fewer resources started mass testing at the first sign of an outbreak. Many countries mandated universal lockdowns — and successfully flattened the curve. In some parts of Europe, you could be fined for straying too far from your home. And Vietnam, a nation of 95 million people, has not seen a single Covid-19 death.
This Opinion video is a follow-up to a popular video we produced last year, which asked young Europeans to respond to American policies such as health care and parental leave. Many comments suggested we produce a sequel. Well, here it is — the Covid-19 edition.
by Tom Hamburger
The Washington Post
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is back in solitary confinement at a federal prison facility in Otisville, N.Y., and legal scholars across the political spectrum are expressing alarm about his treatment.
Their objections center on a Federal Bureau of Prisons agreement Cohen was asked to sign last week that he and his lawyers say would limit the ex-Trump ally’s ability to work on books, including a forthcoming tell-all about the president.
Cohen’s return to jail last week is likely to open yet another legal front for a man who once described himself as Trump’s loyal “fixer” but later offered testimony implicating the president in possible crimes.
Since May, Cohen had been on a novel coronavirus pandemic-related furlough from jail, living at home in New York City. Last week, he went to New York’s federal courthouse to attend what he thought would be a routine meeting with probation officers to discuss the conditions of his home confinement.
He was stunned to be asked to sign an agreement he thought limited his First Amendment rights, according to descriptions provided last week by members of his legal team. Shortly after expressing concern, federal marshals arrived, handcuffed a panicked Cohen and returned him to prison, the lawyers said.
“This is the United States of America. We don’t send people to solitary confinement in prison because they want to write a book,” said Alan Dershowitz, a retired constitutional law professor who served on Trump’s defense team during the impeachment trial.
In a Newsmax television interview Tuesday, Dershowitz unloaded on the decision to return Cohen to prison.
“Whether you like him or hate him, the idea that he is handcuffed and taken to solitary because he won’t sign a form that says ‘I’m not going to write my book,’ the First Amendment has to have some impact here … What I see is liberty, our liberty, our constitutional rights, being endangered by the weaponization of our criminal justice system,” Dershowitz said.
Cohen revealed in a July 2 Twitter post he was close to completing a book about Trump. One of Cohen’s legal advisers, Lanny Davis, said he had small portions of the manuscript read to him and pronounced those sections “stunning” for what they reveal about Trump’s willingness to breach conventional legal and ethical standards.
Some critics this week have suggested Cohen’s re-imprisonment reflects a broader pattern by the Justice Department, favoring the president’s allies while punishing or silencing his would-be critics.
After all, Trump granted clemency and commuted the 40-month prison sentence last Friday of his former political adviser, Roger Stone, who was convicted on seven counts of lying about attempts to get dirt on Hillary Clinton and then threatening a witness who could contradict him. Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, had previously recommended a more lenient sentence for Stone than the one recommended by career prosecutors. Barr later announced the Justice Department would drop attempts to prosecute former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.
“The department’s principal work product has become releasing criminal friends of the president and then harassing his political adversaries, real or imagined,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who taught constitutional law at American University and sits on the House Judiciary Committee. “They have turned the Justice Department in to something you would find in a banana republic.”
Raskin said he and other members of the Judiciary panel plan to grill Barr about the treatment of Cohen when he appears before the committee late this month.
A spokesman for Barr did not respond to requests for comment.
However, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman, Justin Long, said Cohen was returned to prison for the duration of his sentence because “he declined to agree with all of the terms of the Federal Location Monitoring program, most notably electronic monitoring.” Lawyers working with Cohen said last week that claim was “false,” and that Cohen had repeatedly expressed eagerness to start a home confinement program and comply with all monitoring requirements.
Those lawyers, Davis and Jeffrey Levine, declined to comment this week as Cohen hired a new person to lead his legal team, E. Danya Perry, a former New York state deputy attorney general who now works on prison rights issues among other topics.
Perry confirmed her new role Wednesday but otherwise declined to comment.
On that day, his legal advisers said the former Trump lawyer went to the courthouse in New York expecting, among other things, to make arrangements to be fitted for an ankle bracelet.
While there that Thursday, probation officers asked Cohen to agree to eight conditions to remain out of jail including “no engagement of any kind with the media, including print, TV, film, books, or any other form of media/news,” according to a copy of the draft agreement.
Cohen was stunned, according to his legal advisers. He initially told officers he did not want to give up his First Amendment rights, but later — as federal marshals approached to arrest him — offered to sign the draft agreement if doing so would keep him out of jail.
Stephen Gillers, a First Amendment expert at New York University School of Law, said the proposed agreement is clearly problematic.
Prisons can limit activities by inmates if there is a clear penological reason to do so, but in Cohen’s case the proposed restrictions have nothing to do with prison management, Gillers said.
“Cohen is being treated like a convicted terrorist in Supermax confinement, where such restrictions are allowed to prevent communications with former associates,” Gillers said. “For Cohen, there is no legitimate penal interest in keeping him from press interviews or publishing a book,” he said, noting that Cohen’s information could be important for voters to consider before Election Day.
J. Michael Luttig, a former federal appeals court judge who reviewed the draft agreement at the request of The Washington Post, said Cohen’s team may be misinterpreting the language of the agreement.
“The Bureau of Prisons agreement does not, by its terms, purport to prevent Mr. Cohen from writing and publishing his book, but if it were interpreted that way by the bureau, it would be an unconstitutional infringement on Mr. Cohen’s First Amendment rights,” he said. The former judge added that, “if the Bureau of Prisons had wanted to prohibit writing of the book, it could have, and should have, clearly said that, but it did not.”
Robert Weisberg, who co-directs Stanford University’s Criminal Justice Center at the university’s law school, said he had never seen such a broad limit on First Amendment activities proposed as part of a prisoner home confinement agreement, adding the agreement appeared to be an attempt to restrain publication of a book.
That was certainly how Cohen interpreted it, his lawyers said last week.
After hearing Cohen’s objections, the probation officers said they would try to work out a solution, Davis said last week.
While waiting for what they thought would be an easy resolution, Cohen and Levine were shocked to see three federal marshals arrive with manacles to take Cohen back to prison.
A July 9 memo from a residential reentry manager in New York to the U.S. marshals said that Cohen “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring,” though it did not specify which terms.
In statements, the Bureau of Prisons similarly alleged Cohen had “refused the conditions of his home confinement” but did not specify which ones. Cohen’s sentence ends in November 2021. His lawyers vowed last week to seek his rerelease from incarceration.
Earlier this month, Cohen was photographed outside a French restaurant, Le Bilboquet, which is near his Manhattan apartment, sparking speculation he was violating the terms of his release. A Bureau of Prisons statement last week did not address that, and Levine said at the time the matter was not discussed last Thursday.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 in two separate criminal cases. In the first, he admitted to campaign finance violations stemming from payments made before the 2016 election to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and another woman who alleged they had affairs with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied their claims.
In the second case, Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about a Moscow real estate project Trump and his company pursued while Trump was trying to secure the Republican nomination to become president. In court and in public, Cohen placed responsibility for his actions with the president, saying he felt it was his duty to cover up the “dirty deeds” of his former boss.
A MOST INSIGHTFUL EDITORIAL ON BRUTAL POWER EXERCISED BY AN INSANE AUTOCRAT.
Why does the president want to open everything up? It’s not because it’s safe to do so.
by Jamelle Bouie
The New York Times| Opinion
Back in March, when Congress was debating pandemic relief, Senator Rick Scott of Florida spoke out against a Democratic plan to greatly expand federal unemployment insurance. “The moment we can go back to work, we cannot create an incentive for people to say ‘I don’t need to come back to work because I can do better some place else,’ ” Scott said at a news conference in support of an amendment that would strike the program from the bill. “These employers are going to need these workers to rebuild this economy, so we cannot pay people more money on unemployment than what they would get in their jobs.”
Most Republican senators voted to remove the unemployment expansion at its full size, but it survived. Billions of dollars of benefits have gone to tens of millions of Americans. The increase in aid was so great that, as The New York Times reported last month, the federal poverty rate declined even as the jobless rate reached incredible heights. And there’s also no evidence that additional benefits are keeping people who want to work from working.
But while that is important, I’m less interested in the trajectory of the Cares Act than I am the nature of Scott’s opposition. The Florida senator (and former governor) wasn’t so much concerned with the ability of people to work as much as he was with the ability of employers to discipline them. Workers are kept on edge — and willing to accept whatever wage is on offer — by the threat of immiseration. This, for politicians who back both big business and existing social relations, is a feature and not a bug of our economic system, since insecurity and desperation keep power in the hands of capital and its allies. Even something as modest as expanded unemployment benefits is a threat to that arrangement, as they give workers the power to say no to work they do not want.
We should keep all of this in mind as we try to understand the Trump administration’s response to the Covid-19 economic crisis, whether it is the hostility to more stimulus, the indifference to the mounting eviction crisis, the opposition to state budget aid, the drive to reopen businesses, or the current push to reopen public schools, even as the virus rages nearly out of control in huge sections of the country.
Yes, you can understand the president’s approach as an attempt to goose the economy enough for him to win a second term (Democrats “don’t want to reopen because they think it will help them on Nov. 3,” Trump said on Thursday). But there’s a reason his business allies are committed to the same course of action. A forced reopening helps keep the market afloat; it is what you would do if you were trying to protect capital from any serious losses. And it is exactly what you would expect from an administration whose central aim, beyond immigration restrictionism, is the upward redistribution of wealth to heirs, owners and industry.
Let’s turn back to schools. Trump, again, wants them open. “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” the president said on Twitter on Wednesday. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families.” He also threatened to “cut off funding if not open.” His education secretary, Betsy DeVos, said the same. “Kids have to continue learning and schools have to open up,” she told Fox News, announcing, like Trump, that she is “very seriously” considering withholding federal funding.
But it was Trump’s secretary of labor, Eugene Scalia, who made clear why the administration is so eager to open schools, even as the pandemic rages out of control. “One study has suggested that if we closed all our schools and day care for just a month — just, hypothetically, if we did that — the impact on U.S. productivity would be in the order of $50 billion,” he said at a Wednesday press briefing for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Many parents, for good reason, want to send their children back to school. Others aren’t so sure. The situation is dire. But that has everything to do with the priorities of an administration that shows no real interest in fighting the virus and has done everything it can to prevent additional lockdowns.
And so schools have to open because parents have to work, and parents have to work because the president opposes any additional aid to American families, who might stay home and avoid the virus if they had the choice. This would raise the unemployment rate — possibly jeopardizing Mr. Trump’s chances for re-election — and redistribute power from employers to workers, while also strengthening the case for a robust and generous social safety net.
Millions of Americans are in the impossible situation of juggling work and child care while protecting their families from a deadly virus, and it’s because the White House and its allies would rather try to save the stock market and pursue narrow ideological goals than try to preserve the fabric of this society.
“The ultimate expression of sovereignty resides, to a large degree, in the power and capacity to dictate who may live and who must die,” the Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe wrote in a 2003 essay called “Necropolitics.” “Hence, to kill or allow to live constitutes the limits of sovereignty, its fundamental attributes.” I read this line not long before the pandemic reached American shores, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
President Trump has lately refused almost any action to control the virus and largely abdicated his responsibility for helping Americans weather the economic crisis. But he has pushed meatpackers to go back into dangerous plants, urged businesses to reopen despite danger to the public and hindered the production and distribution of protective gear and other critical materials.
Trump has power. But in the face of Covid-19, he doesn’t use it to facilitate life as much as he does to dictate exposure to death.
Nearly 14 million children in the United States went hungry in June, as the economic fallout from the pandemic continued to batter families. That’s an increase of more than 10 million since 2018, and nearly three times the number of children who went hungry during the Great Recession, according to an analysis of Census data released by the Hamilton Project on Thursday.
The food crisis shows no signs of abating, either, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the relief measures implemented by the federal government in March are set to run out in a few weeks, and it’s not clear whether children will go back to school, where many get fed.
“It’s pretty bad and it’s not getting better,” said Lauren Bauer, an economic fellow at the Brookings Institution who conducted the research.
Typically, children are fed even in families that are really struggling; parents will go hungry in order to make sure their kids are eating.
“If you’re not able to feed your children, it’s a pretty severe signal about your household’s capability to deal with financial shocks,” said Bauer. Most of these families have run out of cushion to deal with the economic pain wrought by this pandemic.
The data relies on a survey conducted by the Census in June that asks households struggling to afford food whether, over a seven-day period, the children in their home are often or sometimes not getting enough to eat.
A stunning 16.9% of households said they were struggling to feed their children. Bauer then estimated how many children are living in those households, and examined their demographics.
The numbers are even worse for Black families, 30% of which are struggling to afford food right now. The rate for Hispanic households is 25%. The struggle to feed children is yet another way the coronavirus crisis is hitting people of color disproportionately harder.
The unemployment rate was 11.1% in June — lower than in May but still historically high — and some believe that number doesn’t truly represent job conditions currently, as many businesses have been forced to close again to deal with the resurgence of the virus.
Relief checks cut in late March helped many Americans buy food and necessities, but given how quickly the neediest households spent that money, it’s likely long gone by now. And at the end of the month the beefed up unemployment insurance passed through the CARES Act expires, too.
Even parents with jobs are struggling to pay for food. Many relied on meals provided by their children’s school to help alleviate the cost of groceries; in an ordinary year, children’s rates of food insecurity go up in the summer, Bauer said.
But the school backstop is gone. Parents are struggling to buy more food with kids at home and it’s looking unlikely that things will go back to normal in September. For example, the country’s largest school system, New York City, just announced that children will only be attending school in person one to three days a week.
Meanwhile, food generally has gotten more expensive. The average cost of groceries has gone up by nearly 5% — and as much as 10% for some categories of food like meat, eggs and dairy — over the past year, according to federal data, because of massive shifts in how we’re eating because of the pandemic. Demand for food in grocery stores went up and food suppliers weren’t prepared for the change. The rise in food prices hit lower-income families harder, too: Not only did everything cost more, but it is more difficult to bargain-hunt when you want to reduce your exposure to a virus.
None of this is surprising. As soon as schools shut down, activists and policymakers sounded the alarm. The stimulus also provided for food vouchers for kids who typically got food at school. And Congress did expand SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act it passed in March.
But the expansion didn’t really expand benefits for everyone. Because of a Trump administration decision, those already receiving the maximum amount of food assistance — $509 a month for a family of three — got nothing more.
That affected an estimated 5 million children.
The Trump administration essentially prevented the expanded benefits from going to the neediest households, Bauer said. The move stands in sharp contrast to actions taken at the federal level to expand food benefits during the Great Recession, which kept a lot of people from going hungry.
All of these benefits are set to run out soon, and Congress so far has shown little sign of doing anything.
There are relatively simple policy solutions to the problem of kids going hungry. Nothing new has to be cooked up, policymakers simply need to expand food stamp benefits through the fall and re-up the program that gives food vouchers to those who aren’t able to go back to school, said Bauer.
But so far, there’s been little attention on the issue. Instead, the media spotlight has focused on relatively well-off middle class families who are struggling with their children being at home instead of at school.
“There’s a real black hole here where the microphone has been given to people like me, frustrated by having to watch their kids while working from home,” said Bauer. “But my kid is fed.”
Recent polls have shown president losing support among older white voters to Joe Biden
by Richard Hall
Donald Trump may drop out of the 2020 presidential race if he believes he has no chance of winning, a Republican Party operative reportedly told Fox News.
The claim comes in a report in the president’s favourite news outlet that cites a number of GOP insiders who are concerned about Mr Trump’s re-election prospects amid abysmal polling numbers.
Crucially, Mr Trump has lost support from older white voters — typically a bedrock of support for the Republican Party and a group that was crucial to his narrow 2016 victory. Mr Trump is also trailing the former vice president in almost all the swing states.
“It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out,” one anonymous GOP operative told Fox News.
Charles Gasparino, the author of the Fox News report, said in a series of tweets that he had spoken to “major players” in the Republican party for the story. One of them described Mr Trump’s mood as “fragile” as his chances of a second-term looked increasingly dim.
Another of the GOP sources cited in the report said of the likelihood that Mr Trump will drop out: “I’ve heard the talk but I doubt it’s true. My bet is, he drops if he believes there’s no way to win.”
Mr Trump has repeatedly hit out at polling that shows him far behind Mr Biden. Last month, he tweeted that Fox News “should fire their Fake Pollster. Never had a good Fox Poll!”
On Monday, he tweeted: “Sorry to inform the Do Nothing Democrats, but I am getting VERY GOOD internal Polling Numbers. Just like 2016, the @nytimes Polls are Fake! The @FoxNews Polls are a JOKE! Do you think they will apologize to me & their subscribers AGAIN when I WIN? People want LAW, ORDER & SAFETY!”
But polls from all polling organisations show Mr Trump consistently behind by similar margins. In particular, they have shown high levels of disapproval over the president’s handling of the coronavirus and mass protests calling for racial justice after the police killing of George Floyd.
The same New York Times-Siena College poll found 58 per cent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, while only 38 percent approve — the worst ratings since the crisis began.
The Trump campaign called reports that the president would consider dropping out “the granddaddy of fake news”.
“Everyone knows that media polling has always been wrong about President Trump – they undersample Republicans and don’t screen for likely voters – in order to set false narratives,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told Fox News.
“It won’t work. There was similar fretting in 2016 and if it had been accurate, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House right now.”
Earlier today Art Basel opened its online viewing rooms to VIP access. To mark the event, we’re launching a series of daily ARTBnk Value checks. In addition to a daily email highlighting a particular gallery’s offerings, we’ll also be posting value checks on Facebook and Instagram throughout the day. Be sure to follow us on social media to see how the offering prices matchup against fair market values, it’s always surprising! You won’t be disappointed.
David Zwirner gallery is among the leading galleries in the world and never disappoints with their Art Basel offerings. This year is no exception. The highlighted artists run the spectrum from the remarkable Bill Traylor (1854 – 1947) who was born into slavery and only during the final decade of his life began to draw and is now considered among the most important American artists of the 20th century to Yayoi Kusama the eccentric Japanese artist whose electrifying works have been at the forefront of the avant-garde since the late 1950s. With such widely different backgrounds the common thread among Zwirner’s roster is greatness.
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