America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

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America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

FILE PHOTO. A bicycle delivery person rides through a mostly deserted Times Square. ©REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

 

Poorer Americans are more likely to have lost their job or be forced to work as usual amid the coronavirus epidemic. But those in the upper classes can work remotely while stressing out about the crisis.

At least that’s the indication of an Axios/Ipsos poll about the working status and emotional wellbeing of people in the US. Almost half of upper middle class Americans have switched to working from home amid the health crisis. The same is true for 39 percent of the upper class.

In contrast, only three percent of lower economic strata had the same luxury. Between 26 and 34 percent of lower-to-middle class Americans are working the same way as they did before the outbreak, exposing themselves to a greater risk of being infected. And 15 to 20 percent have lost their jobs.

But the Americans who are better off tend to be more upset about the situation than their economically struggling compatriots, according to the poll. Almost half of the rich (47 percent) said their emotional well-being has gotten worse, compared to 34 percent on the other side of the socioeconomic scale […]

via America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

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Amazon fulfillment center

It would be ironic if Amazon’s fall were to come about due to the failure of its third-party sellers, given that Amazon has received so much criticism for pushing smaller retailers and brands out of business. Yet it remains a possibility.

Over 50% of Amazon sales are made through third-party sellers, and they are the foundation of Amazon’s meteoric growth in the last few years. However, Amazon has been slowly selling them out, and COVID-19 could finally push them under.

For many vendors, Amazon is their only point of contact with customers, but now Amazon is turning away shipments of “non-essentials” to FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) warehouses, in order to support smooth flow of “essentials.” This decision has affected approximately 53% of Amazon sellers, preventing them from shipping products to their customers.

via Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

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Amazon is lucky to get stuff to people within a MONTH now, which means it is failing to meet it’s primary reason for being, which is 1 day delivery.

As truckers get resistance from cities and states locking down, and they are getting sick too, that disrupts things more.

People are waking up to the darkness that is Amazon, and they are switching to local sellers, suppliers and local farmers.

via Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

Europe sends medical supplies to Iran in first INSTEX transaction: Germany

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Press TV – March 31, 2020

Germany says the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have registered the first transaction under a trade system set up last year to protect companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions, delivering medical supplies to the Islamic Republic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Berlin’s Foreign Ministry said Germany, France and Britain “confirm that INSTEX (trade system) has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran.”

“These goods are now in Iran,” it said in a statement, giving no further details.

The German Foreign Ministry added that Berlin hopes to enhance the mechanism and carry out more transactions with Tehran.

“Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI (Special Trade and Finance Instrument) will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism,” the German Foreign Ministry said.

Iranian authorities have not commented on the news so far.

The transaction comes over a year after the European trio announced the creation of INSTEX — a non-dollar direct payment channel officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges — in an effort to keep Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers alive.

The apparatus was designed to circumvent the sanctions that the United States re-imposed against Iran after leaving a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, the trio, plus Russia and China.

However, the Europeans have not been able to operationalize the non-dollar trade mechanism under pressure from the US […]

via Europe sends medical supplies to Iran in first INSTEX transaction: Germany

The Army’s Mismanagement of Coronavirus


Endless War

Absurdity and the Army: The myth of ‘readiness’ in the corona-age


Danny Sjursen

Banality may mask absurd tragedy. The Pentagon specializes in such veiled bromides. If anything, this Age of Corona is thus illustrative. To wit, Americans awoke on Thursday to this report in the nation’s “paper of record” — “The Army earlier this week ordered a halt to most training, exercises and nonessential activities that require troops to be in close contact…but abruptly reversed itself. …”

On a certain level, the rescinded order made sense. After all, military decisions flow downward. Atop that hierarchy sits the commander-in-chief, who, just days ago, hinted at rapidly curtailed social distancing policies, a reopened economy, and visions of “packed churches” on Easter Sunday. That’s two odd weeks from now.

Still, in the wake of the Army’s volte-face, word was, a sort of befuddlement ensued — in the ranks, and among commanders. Yet I couldn’t help but think: vacillation, conflicting leadership priorities, uncertainty (plus cynicism) in the ranks, and confusion up and down the chain-of-command — what else is new? Sardonicism aside, my sympathy lay, partly, with the common soldiers and junior officers — many still-serving personal friends — caught up in the whole fiasco.

The decision was absurd; that much seems certain. The famed — and ever-so corona-relevant — philosopher, Albert Camus, defined the contours of absurdism in his 1942 classic, “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Absurdity: there’s no term more fitting for such Army decision-making in the face of increasingly stark facts.

Like this one: on Thursday morning, the Pentagon reported “280 cases of coronavirus among active-duty troops, putting the infection rates at higher levels in the military than in the United States itself: 210 positive tests per million people versus 166 per million.” This from the Joint Chiefs’ top medical adviser, Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs, who confessed, “Our curve is not flattening.” Worse still, at one joint base, Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti — part of an increasingly expansive African network — there were reports of an infected DOD contractor. This installation (a former Imperial French Foreign Legion garrison) counts some 3,000 U.S. personnel. It does not, however, possess a requisite supply of ventilators. And Lemmonier is by far the Pentagon’s largest on the continent.

The sizable assortment of much smaller, widely dispersed, far-flung bases are undoubtedly less prepared for pandemic. No matter, the Army — and one presumes the whole DOD — seems intent to drive on with not only the most imperative but (according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper) “all of our missions.” Assume, for the sake of argument, that Esper really meant the “essential” stuff. This still begs the question of how the Army defines mission essentiality.

Early signals are disturbing. This week, the military went ahead with a 4,000 troop Army-Marines joint exercise alongside America’s Emirati “allies.” The mission’s fittingly neo-colonial title was Operation Native Fury. Therein, the partnered force seized “a sprawling model Mideast city,” to, presumably, prepare against the decidedly non- (or at least wildly exaggerated) Iranian threat. “Provocative? I don’t know,” was about all the ranking U.S. commander had to say about that.

All indications point to a White House and Pentagon possessed with an irrational attachment to “essential” missions that aren’t. Indeed, the very term’s prevailing definition stretches the English language past any reasonable breaking point.

Former Army head-honcho, and current Joint Chiefs Chairman, Mark Milley, has repeatedly, and forcefully, defined “readiness” as his top priority. Real coherency on (readiness) “for what” has been less forthcoming. Regardless, his resolute guidance and Esper’s recent incongruous general instructions -—“find a way” to both “protect troops [from Corona]” and “still perform” essential operations — lock subordinates in an absurd Catch-22.

It goes something like this: the Trump-Esper-Milley national security formula, like that of their recent forbears, requires incessant forward deployment and its incumbent joint training and exercises. That, however, makes the DOD’s own social-distancing policy inherently unworkable, thereby risking a sweeping corona-outbreak in the ranks that’s liable to paralyze the very “readiness” they purport to preserve […]

Via

Absurdity and the Army: The myth of ‘readiness’ in the corona-age

The US is losing its world superpower status – and this time, it might not recover

The fall in US influence was visible this week at virtual meetings of world leaders where the main US diplomatic effort was devoted to an abortive attempt to persuade the others to sign a statement referring to the “Wuhan virus”, as part of a campaign to blame China for the coronavirus epidemic.

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By Patrick Cockburn

March 30, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – The US may be reaching its “Chernobyl moment” as it fails to lead in combating the coronavirus epidemic. As with the nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986, a cataclysm is exposing systemic failings that have already weakened US hegemony in the world. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, nobody is today looking to Washington for a solution to the crisis.

The fall in US influence was visible this week at virtual meetings of world leaders where the main US diplomatic effort was devoted to an abortive attempt to persuade the others to sign a statement referring to the “Wuhan virus”, as part of a campaign to blame China for the coronavirus epidemic. Demonising others as a diversion from one’s own shortcomings is a central feature of President Trump’s political tactics. Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton took up…

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Déjà Vu: Why the WHO Faked the H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic in 2009

WHO’s 2009 H1N1 pandemic hoax.

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Global Research, March 30, 2020
Forbes 5 February 2010

This Forbes Opinion Article was first published on Forbes in February 2010 under the title Why the WHO Faked the Pandemic. (edit to the title)

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The World Health Organization has suddenly gone from crying “The sky is falling!” like a cackling Chicken Little to squealing like a stuck pig. The reason: charges that the agency deliberately fomented swine flu hysteria [in 2009]. “The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible,” the agency claims on its Web site. A WHO spokesman declined to specify who or what gave this “description,” but the primary accuser is hard to ignore.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a human rights watchdog, is publicly investigating the WHO’s motives in declaring a pandemic. Indeed, the chairman of its…

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COVID-19, Urgent Reassessment, Diagnosis and Basic Principles of Infectiology: Open Letter from Professor Sucharit Bhakdi to German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel

German epidemiologist questions scientific basis of Merkel’s lockdown.

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Global Research, March 30, 2020

An Open Letter from Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, to the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. Professor Bhakdi calls for an urgent reassessment of the response to Covid-19 and asks the Chancellor five crucial questions. The let­ter is dated March 26. This is an inofficial translation; see the original letter in German as a PDF.

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Dear Chancellor,

As Emeritus of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz and longtime director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, I feel obliged to critically question the far-reaching restrictions on public life that we are currently taking on ourselves in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

It is expressly not my intention to play down the dangers of the virus or to spread a political message…

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