“Har! It is to laugh!” — Quote from Boris Badinov


Adding liquid Trump to our drinking water

The Environmental Protection Agency…abruptly waived enforcement on a range of legally mandated public health and environmental protections, saying industries could have trouble complying with them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil and gas industry were among the industries that had sought an advance relaxation of environmental and public health enforcement during the outbreak, citing potential staffing problems. The EPA’s decision was sweeping, forgoing fines or other civil penalties for companies that failed to monitor, report or meet some other requirements for releasing hazardous pollutants.

…Approval for less environmental monitoring at some Texas refineries and at an army depot dismantling warheads armed with nerve gas in Kentucky, manure piling up and the mass disposal of livestock carcasses at farms in Iowa and Minnesota…and on and on and on!

Covid-19 infection rate growing


Click to enlarge

In early June, the infection rate of Covid-19 testing had fallen way below 5%. Thanks to the combination of social distancing, sheltering in place, mask usage, and contact tracing we had lowered the number of daily new cases to their lowest level since early in the pandemic. Looks like June 10 was the low, with a 7-day moving average of 17,123 new positive tests out of 419,896 administered tests.

As you can see, that average is turning up. What has changed has been the move out of our self-quarantines. We lost focus, got lazy, politically weaponized Covid. We ignored Fauci, dammit! Protesters were greeted with tear gas — a great way to spread infectious respiratory diseases. And we have re-opened states that have not been following CDC guidelines.

The data reveals this simple fact: The increase in Covid-19 cases in the USA is NOT caused by an increase in testing…

Guidelines from WHO suggests countries with extensive testing for COVID-19, should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days. Looks like we are coming up on that date. Don’t be surprised when the E.U. Bars American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus – because we suck at this.

Barry doesn’t mince words. Although I would add to his commentary on practices in general – Don’t forget our government is providing shit-for-brains leadership. It’s what can happen when you let anachronistic regulations take precedence over democracy in elections.

Sheltering-in-place

Thanks, gocomics.org

For millions of Americans, venturing from home is the most dangerous thing they can do. Going to your job, grocery shopping, anything Mr.Charlie and The Man finds offensive if a Black person does it.

Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt


Zora Murff/NYTimes

❝ Over the past half-century, the number of people behind bars in the United States jumped by more than 500%, to 2.2 million. This extraordinary rise, often attributed to decades of “tough on crime” policies and harsh sentencing laws, has ensured that even as crime rates have dropped since the 1990s, the number of people locked up and the average length of their stay have increased. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the cost of keeping people in jails and prisons soared to $87 billion in 2015 from $19 billion in 1980, in current dollars.

❝ By far the most decisive factor promoting the expansion of monitors is the financial one…states and cities, which incur around 90% of the expenditures for jails and prisons, are increasingly passing the financial burden of the devices onto those who wear them. It costs St. Louis roughly $90 a day to detain a person awaiting trial in the Workhouse, where in 2017 the average stay was 291 days. When individuals pay EMASS $10 a day for their own supervision, it costs the city nothing. A 2014 study by NPR and the Brennan Center found that, with the exception of Hawaii, every state required people to pay at least part of the costs associated with GPS monitoring.

And on and on. The privatizing of our jails has raised costs to folks arrested. The increase in numbers only provides one growth statistic and it has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Only the profits of companies like EMASS.

Leading gun owners’ site says — It’s Time to De-Fund the NRA

❝ The National Rifle Association — America’s oldest civil rights organization — is in an existential crisis today brought on by mismanagement, cronyism, and self-dealing by its leadership. Every week brings forth a new allegation, a new bit of evidence that the the NRA’s leaders are more interested in lining their own pockets and enjoying the perquisites of power than promoting marksmanship, gun safety, and defending the right to keep and bear arms.

Every day this circus continues is a day that the NRA’s credibility as an organization takes another hit. This is a dangerous situation for the organization and for American gun owners because — whatever the reality — the identity of gun owners in this country is tightly linked to that of the NRA.

❝ We’d like to say that the NRA’s leadership has stepped up to the plate in response. We’d like to say they’ve at least mouthed the correct words, made promises of transparency going forward, committed to an independent audit of the books, expressed interest in correcting what were inarguably missteps (even if you believe the leadership is innocent of any actual wrongdoing, missteps in communications and public relations have certainly been made,) and of welcoming fresh blood and new voices to its ranks.

We can’t say any of that, though, because they haven’t.

I have a fondness for sporting firearms that goes back to my youth. I grew up in Connecticut, the arsenal of America in my day. My generation was the first in my family NOT to work sometime or other for a gun manufacturer. The two generations preceding, just about every man and a number of the women did work for one or another gun manufacturer – including a gunsmith who worked on the designs of many of today’s modern military rifles.

None of which diminishes my strong feeling about the need for strict regulatory standards. Above and beyond that, the hustlers and con artists who infest the so-called leadership of the NRA need to go. Time to clean house is overdue.

Shutdown somehow spares tourist site in Trump hotel


Historic Clock Tower atop Trump Hotel in DCKaren Bleier/Getty

❝ Smithsonian museums are closed. There are no federal staffers to answer tourists’ questions at the Lincoln Memorial. And across the United States, national parks are cluttered with trash. Yet despite the federal government shutdown, a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel remained open Friday for its handful of visitors, staffed by green-clad National Park Service rangers…

The Trump administration appears to have gone out of its way to keep the attraction in the federally owned building that houses the Trump hotel open and staffed with National Park Service rangers, even as other federal agencies shut all but the most essential services…

❝ A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the GSA, seeking documents explaining why the tower was open, how it continues to be funded, and any communications between the agency and the Trump Organization, the president’s company. Trump gave up day-to-day management of the firm in 2017 but continues to receive earnings from its operations.

At the very least, this smells funny.” Said Noah Bookbinder, the group’s executive director.

I wouldn’t call the smell of anything involving our fake president “funny”.

So, How Many Countries Are Bribing Our Fake President?

China…just committed $500 million to build a theme park in an Indonesian luxury mega-development that will also feature Trump Organization-branded hotels and a golf course. Days after the commitment was finalized, Trump announced that he wants to lift sanctions that have been imposed on a Chinese telecom company called ZTE, which did business with Iran…

Qatar’s government has…reportedly met multiple times with representatives of Newsmax, the conservative media outlet run by Trump’s frequent Mar-a-Lago companion Christopher Ruddy, about a potential investment in the company. The reported negotiations have coincided with a shift in the Trump administration’s rhetoric about Qatar: After initially condemning the country for supporting terrorism, a condemnation that coincided with a Qatari decision not to invest in Jared Kushner’s company, the White House has now decided that Qatar is a trustworthy ally whose leader is, in Trump’s words, a “great friend….”

• Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, named the developer of a Trump-branded building in Manila as the country’s trade envoy to the U.S.

Actually, the headline should be “How many countries are working at bribing our fake president – that we know about?” The number grows every day, Professional journalists continue to ply their craft regardless of the small but powerful number of cable news pimps, tabloid flacks and payroll politicians working their runny butts off for populist scumbags. They may have won a few rounds. Chalk that up to ignorant voters.

The best army that generals of fascism ever have is uneducated voters. Still, even the dullest follower must recognize the economic and social losses resulting from their obedience to fear and bigotry shouted out at campaign rallies. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Pollution’s Annual Cost? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead

❝ And that was just in 2015, according to a new global report on the consequences of humanity’s actions.


DelhiUdit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

❝ Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda.

In less-developed nations, pollution-linked illness and death drag down productivity, reducing economic output by 1 percent to 2 percent annually, according to the tally by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, published Thursday by the U.K. medical journal. The report is intended to illuminate the hidden health and economic consequences of harmful substances introduced into the environment by human activity…

❝ The report represents an “extremely comprehensive and rigorous quantification” of pollution costs, said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“In the scientific community, I don’t think there is any disagreement about the cost-benefit analysis of controlling pollution,” Dominici said. Reducing air pollution from vehicles and power plants, for example, would simultaneously improve human health and reduce planet-warming carbon emissions, she said. “The major barrier has been political, but not scientific.”

❝ As large as that figure is, it may even underestimate the full cost of pollution. Because the amount is derived from death rates, it doesn’t include the price of medical expenditures or lost productivity from those sickened but not killed by pollution-related disease. And it doesn’t measure some forms of pollution that are likely to have health effects, such as soil tainted with heavy metals or industrial toxins, because data to calculate its influence on health are insufficient.

No surprise when Bloomberg offers articles like this one. Folks selling services to investors realize that folks in all walks of life can develop a conscience about principled profit-making versus scumbags who don’t care how their profits are acquired.

Creepy drug company dumped opioids into Washington state black market

❝ After spending millions to combat the opioid epidemic ravaging its citizens, the working-class city of Everett, Washington, is taking the maker of opioid painkiller OxyContin to federal court. The city claims that the drug maker, Purdue Pharma, knowingly sold to black markets out of pure greed, enabling the devastating epidemic hitting Everett and the rest of the country.

❝ …Everett accuses Purdue Pharma of “knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently supplying OxyContin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies and enabling the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market, including to drug rings, pill mills, and other dealers for dispersal of the highly addictive pills in Everett.” Purdue’s goal, Everett alleges, was to “generate enormous profits” at the expense of the people of Everett.

❝ …In 2007, the infamous drug maker and three of its executives pled guilty in federal court and paid out $634.5 million in fines for purposefully misleading regulators, doctors, and patients about the addictiveness of their opioid painkiller. Around the same time, Purdue was also sued by several states, including Washington, over similar allegations. Purdue agreed to a $19.5 million multi-state settlement. And in 2015, Purdue settled a case with Kentucky, agreeing to pay $24 million…

In other words, criminal behavior ain’t anything new for these creeps.