Dramatic flooding in Michigan takes out two dams, threatens a nuclear reactor, and forces ten thousand people to evacuate. And that’s just one natural disaster related to climate change that is happening, very inconveniently we might add, during this pandemic.
Meanwhile, health authorities are warning the world that, whatever the state of lockdown is were you are, this week saw the single largest daily increase in cases since coronavirus began to spread. The places where things are getting worse have something in common: terrible far-right governments.
And lastly, a wave of wildcat strikes sweeps the United States as essential workers are pushed to the breaking point. Hundreds of agricultural workers in Washington State walked off the job, as did McDonald’s employees around the country – and more power to them.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
There are massive floods in Somalia. India is getting hit hard by a cyclone. And the state of Michigan also cannot catch a break. Ten thousand people evacuated their homes yesterday after two separate dams failed on the Tittabawassee River (TIT-UH-BUH-WAH- SEE) in the city of Midland near the Saginaw Bay. The flooding followed days of heavy rains. What’s worse, the floodwaters threatened a toxic Superfund site as well as a Dow chemical plant that has produced Saran Wrap and Styrofoam as well as Agent Orange and mustard gas. The factory also contains what The New York Times described as a tiny nuclear reactor, and Dow filed a so-called unusual event notice with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the floodwater threat. As it happens, a former Dow lawyer who helped the company mislead regulators is now in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund cleanup program. Thanks to Donald Trump. Dow Chemical will be fine, but the public sewer and water systems are at risk. Not to mention members of the general public. No casualties were yet reported, but any disease from pollutants could take years to manifest.
Five hundred people who were forced into emergency shelters were being tested for coronavirus. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency and called the situation devastation. The National Weather Service said it was catastrophic.
On the very day of this disaster, Donald Trump threatened to revoke federal aid from Michigan. His beef is that the state might go for mail-in voting. In recent weeks Trump has cheered on armed goons as they stormed the state capitol and shut down democracy. Now Michigan faces a disaster on top of a pandemic, and he’s threatening the right to vote.
According to the Washington Post, sixty percent of Superfund sites are in flood-prone areas. Last year, an Associated Press investigation found more than sixteen hundred dams around the country to be at high risk of failure. Experts say climate change played a role in this Michigan flooding. So maybe two dams failing in one big storm is part of this horrifying new normal we all share. We desperately need better leaders.
WHO Warns Coronavirus Surging
If you got fooled into thinking -- even for a second -- that the coronavirus was on the way out, pretty please, reconsider. Yesterday the World Health Organization reported the largest increase in confirmed cases in one day since the pandemic started. In a single twenty- four hour period, the WHO recorded one-hundred and six thousand new cases around the world. WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (TED-ROSS AD-ANOM GAY-BREE- ASUS) said two-thirds of the new cases were in four countries: Russia, Brazil, India, and the great US of A.
Is it a coincidence that these countries have fascist leaders who are all buddies with each other? It could be a coincidence! Doctor Tedros didn’t say. But it’s probably not. Trump, Putin, Modi, and Bolsonaro have all denied and stonewalled as the coronavirus spread. Millions live inside their alternate reality bubble where this historic plague is fake news. Here are a couple of headlines you won’t be hearing in today’s White House press briefing: Montgomery, Alabama, is one-hundred percent out of room in its intensive care units. The mayor said hospitals through the region are at capacity and that if you need an ICU bed, QUOTE you’re in trouble ENDQUOTE. In Georgia, a church has closed two weeks after reopening, because several families came down with coronavirus – expect to see many versions of this story as states re-open. Finally,
a new survey of twenty-three thousand nurses in all fifty states by National Nurses United found that eighty-seven percent had been forced to re-use protective gear like masks. The union’s executive director, Bonnie Castillo, said QUOTE They did not sign up to die needlessly on the front lines of a pandemic. ... For our sake, for the public’s sake: give us PPE. ENDQUOTE. Seems like a reasonable ask!
Wildcat Strikes Across US
The PayDay Report, a labor news publication that keeps track of these things, counted two-hundred and ten strikes ongoing in the US as of yesterday. They’re calling it the COVID-19 Strike Wave. This figure includes wildcat strikes that aren’t legally recognized. The website’s Mike Elk reports as follows:
In some places, workers are simply calling out sick en mass and refusing to show up so bosses shut dow their plants. Many areas have no reporters with connections to the labor movement so many strikes are going completely uncovered. In other places, workers have protested for an hour or two before bosses have agreed to workers’ demands. Also, some union leaders are hesitant to get the media involved out of fear of retalation.
That was from PayDay report. McDonald’s workers around the country were on strike in their Fight for Fifteen campaign. And in Yakima, Washington, fruit workers entered their second week on strike. The local newspaper there reported that two workers commenced a hunger strike. Other striking agricultural workers said they’d gotten threats violent threats. We’re talking about white men with guns threatening Latino workers holding only signs. Charges have not yet been filed. These people on strike, facing threats, are keeping us fed. They’re demanding hazard pay and safety measures during the pandemic. Hundreds have walked off the job. And there is a verified GoFundMe for these essential workers, please check the Majority Report and its Twitter account for those details.
Elsewhere in labor news, New Zealand’s increasingly popular prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, proposed moving to a four-day work week. Sold!
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The US Supreme Court yesterday blocked House Democrats from accessing material from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump. The decision overturned an appeals court opinion, and effectively blocks the opposition party from accessing the full Mueller report. Justices gave no explanation. None dissented. The Supremes went along with what Trump wanted and didn’t even explain why they were snubbing Congress. It’s a bit weird.
Thousands of ballots are still uncounted in Oregon after Tuesday’s primary election. Republicans there nominated a Q-Anon nut as a candidate for the US Senate. Jo Rae Perkins swept with over fifty percent of the vote in a four-way race. Perkins posted, then deleted, a video promoting that conspiracy theory ahead of the election. Apparently she thinks Trump is Q, or one of the Qs? I don’t know. The good news is, a progressive district attorney won in Portland, and city voters passed a big business tax to fund homeless services.
The only man convicted over the nine-eleven terrorist plots, Zacarias Moussaoui (ZACK-UH-RYE-ASS MOOSE-OWIE) said in a court filing that he is renouncing terrorism and Al Qaeda. Moussaoui is fourteen years into a life sentence at a federal prison in Colorado. His handwritten petition for a reprieve denounced Osama Bin Laden as QUOTE a useful idiot of the CIA slash Saudi ENDQUOTE. He also requested that either Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz be appointed to represent him in future court proceedings. Sure why not.
Scientists working for NASA in Antarctica detected the existence of a parallel universe where time runs backwards. A series of experiments with NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, known as Anita, made the conclusion after looking closely at the paths of neutrino particles. The scientists reportedly saw the particles moving in impossible ways. They decided the simplest explanation was that the particles were coming from another universe, right next to ours, where time moves in reverse. Count me first, or last, in line to go.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
May 21, 2020 #LEFTISBEST
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn