Donald Trump seems to have successfully bullied the country into ignoring all the experts he fired and pretending like the coronavirus isn’t real. But thousands are still dying every day and we will continue to give you the truth as best we can tell it.
Meanwhile, Hungary, which was until recently a democracy, passes a new law designed to target every transgender person in the country. One human rights organization calls it a return to the dark ages in Europe.
And lastly, a new alliance forms among Democrats in Congress against their own leadership. The fight over pandemic relief legislation shows that swing-state Democrats are worried House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t bringing her A-game this election year.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Democrats in vulnerable Congressional districts are getting together with progressives to push necessary measures past their own obstructioninst leadership. This is according to The Intercept, which reported on a new alliance challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi. There has been growing dissent within the House Democratic Caucus since last year’s botched impeachment effort. It’s grown more urgent as Congress has failed to produce anything resembling aid for ordinary Americans during this pandemic.
Ten Democrats in swing districts have now rushed to support dozens in the progressive caucus in backing the Paycheck Recovery Act. Its most vocal proponent is Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. A previous version of Jayapal’s bill was included in the last coronavirus relief package, but Pelosi took it out on the grounds that it didn’t have Republican support. Now Jayapal progressives, joined by vulnerable Democrats in swing districts, are pushing forward with separate legislation. Pelosi or no Pelosi. Republicans or no Republicans. The bill would do for American companies what dozens of other countries’ governments have done, and subsidize private company payrolls in order to keep people employed through the pandemic. So far the bill has ninety-three cosponsors, including those ten front-liners identified by The Intercept – who constitute one-quarter of the vulnerable Democratic seats this year, and include some moderates. The new alliance is reportedly a threat to Pelosi’s domination of the party in the House. Judging by the results she’s been getting, that’s good news.
Deaths Climb, States Reopen
All fifty states are set to begin lifting pandemic restrictions at least in part by today, according to the Washington Post. In terms of population, that means roughly one third of the country, a hundred-million people, are getting to be out and about again. What that looks like depends on where you live. There’s basically no consistency across states or even within states. Missouri last night held the first execution of an inmate during the pandemic. Walter Barton, sixty-four, was executed for a murder that he maintained until his death he didn’t commit – and many experts including judges who later looked at the case came to agree with him. But there you go, folks: Donald Trump wanted us to get back to business as usual. And what could be more usual in the USA than executing somebody, evidence or no evidence?
The premature lifting of the lockdown shows that Trump and the Republican Party have succeeded in their efforts to spread lies and confusion about the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time he’s pooh-poohing the dangers, Trump said yesterday he will be taking advantage of this crisis to push through more cuts to federal regulation for the benefit of his corporate donors. So there’s hope yet if you’ve managed to avoid wrongful execution, or catching coronavirus without access to healthcare. You might just be lucky enough to get sick from exposure to industrial waste or tainted foods. Another thing Trump said yesterday, he is positive that everyone who’s dying is doing so just to make him look bad. Remember there was a Veterans Administration study of this malaria drug he’s been shilling for coronavirus, that found it actually produced negative results? He actually suggested the people who fared poorly in that study were his enemies and did so in order to spite him. Next they will be trotting out a cherry-picked group of pro-Trump doctors to support this reopening push, no matter what the Centers for Disease Control guidelines were supposed to say.
Here’s what’s really going on: at least ninety thousand dead across the country from coronavirus. An international humanitarian aid group, Doctors Without Borders, dispatching teams that usually go to war-torn former colonies in the global south, instead now to rural areas within the US. A pandemic that is already reported to be coming back with a vengeance everywhere restrictions were prematurely lifted. And a massive, pointless sacrifice of human life by our corrupt ruling class, who seem to think they are immune from judgment as well as consequence. But they are wrong.
Hungary Targets Transgender People
Hungary continues to supply bad omens to other countries struggling to hold on to basic rights. Earlier this year, Hungary lost its democracy when the fascist prime minister Viktor Orban claimed the power to rule by decree. But Hungary still makes law through a simulation of the ordinary parliamentary process -- especially when the regime wants to launder some especially toxic piece of legislation.
A bill passed yesterday by a nearly three-to-one margin makes it impossible for transgender people to receive legal recognition and equal treatment throughout the country. The new law makes it so people must list their sex at birth on official documents instead of simply indicating their sex. It also makes it so this can’t be changed at a later date. Lest there be any confusion that this was intended to discriminate, Orban’s deputy proposed the bill on March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility. One opposition member of parliament described the new law as evil. It certainly does empower bigots to target people who have already changed their gender and could be outed by the new paperwork rules.
Commissioners for human rights with the United Nations and the Council of Europe made more restrained expressions of concern before the proposal passed. As did some members of the European Parliament. An Amnesty International researcher told reporters the decision pushes Hungary back to the dark ages and tramples on the rights of transgender people. Indeed. Once again, Orban is daring the European Union to stand by its stated principles. He’s making a pretty safe bet that they won’t, considering that Europe’s institutions utterly failed to impose any consequences on Orban for suspending democracy. Now targeted minorities are being made to suffer. Who will be next? And which one of Orban’s fascist allies abroad will be the first to follow his lead?
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Many know the woman best-known as Jane Roe for her role in the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, later in life became anti-abortion activist. Yesterday it emerged that the woman, Norma McCorvey, was paid by right-wing Christian groups to lie about her beliefs. Now on her deathbed, McCorvey makes the confession in a new FX documentary. The former leader of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue told the Los Angeles Times QUOTE, What we did with Norma was highly unethical. The jig is up. ENDQUOTE. McCorvey jokes that she was a very good actress.
A federal appeals court judge has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that New York’s Democratic primary must continue on schedule. The state had appealed the ruling in favor of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang demanding that his voters, as well as those supporting Bernie Sanders and others, have the right to be counted. Oregon, which always vote by mail, held its primary election yesterday. Also yesterday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that all registered voters under sixty-five can apply to vote by mail during the pandemic – too late for the state’s primaries but not too late for November.
A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change found coronavirus has caused greenhouse gas emissions to decline by nearly one fifth worldwide. Scientists warned the decline is only temporary and nowhere near the targets they say are necessary to prevent total catastrophe. The seventeen percent decrease reported sounds big, and it is, but it only brings global emissions down to 2006 levels. As the study’s lead author put it, behavioral change is not enough – we need structural change.
Ghislaine (GILL-AINE) Maxwell, the alleged accomplish of the late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, filed new court papers yesterday. At least, her attorneys did. Maxwell’s own whereabouts remain unknown. The new filings, reported by the New York Daily News, concern a civil case filed by one of Epstein’s victims. Maxwell’s attorneys argue she can’t be questioned under oath in the lawsuit because she is under criminal investigation. The victim’s attorneys, naturally, disagree. A judge will hear the matter on Friday.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
May 20, 2020 #LEFTISBEST
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn