Standard Chartered CEO says UK/US politicos decided their response to the coronavirus “too late”

Standard Chartered Plc Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters said the authorities in London and Washington have been too slow in ordering the type of lockdown that China used to control the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking on Bloomberg Television, Winters became one of the highest-profile CEOs to criticize the Western response to the pandemic, saying the U.S. and U.K. had acted “too late.”

“I find it interesting to listen to the debate now that we in the West, or in the U.K., or in the U.S., couldn’t have done what the Chinese did because we don’t have that kind of society,” Winters said. “Well, we are doing what the Chinese did; we’re just doing it too late.”

Say it, again, Bill. Say it, again. The thousands who are dying for the mistakes of our politicians have no voice in this discussion…anymore.

Big Brother will never stop trying to take away that damned privacy!


Popular Resistance

It’s impossible to overstate just how much governments hate not being able to read your mail, listen to your phone calls, and peruse your text messages. When all that snoopy officials can pull up is scrambled gobbledygook, they just know they’re missing out on the good stuff, like little kids bristling at whispered adult conversations.

They warm over – the Clinton White House’s overwrought 1994 warnings that “the same encryption technology that can help Americans protect business secrets and personal privacy can also be used by terrorists, drug dealers, and other criminals.”

So, if crooks are getting away from robbing banks in cars, the government should have an easy-peasy switch they can use to disable any car owners motor vehicle, right?

But what about the rest of us? Despite all the evidence of the foolishness of their efforts, government officials keep trying to make us expose our data to them and the criminals who ride on their coattails.

Emperor Augustus Trumpustule

The Republican senators’ speedy exoneration of Trump marks perhaps the most dramatic step in their capitulation to the president over the past three years.

That process…recalls the ancient Roman senate’s compliance with the autocratic rule of the emperors and its transformation into a body largely reliant on the emperors’ whims.

Along with the senatorial fealty that was again on display, there was another development that links the era of the Roman Republic’s transformation into an autocratic state with the ongoing political developments in the United States. It’s a development that may point to where the country is headed.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the president’s personal position is inseparable from that of the nation itself. This is similar to the notion that took hold during the ascendancy of the man known as Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, who was in power from 31 B.C. to A.D. 14…

This inability to separate the personal interests of a leader from the interests of the country he or she leads has powerful echoes in ancient Rome.

Yes, we can erect a roadblock on this path to destroying our constitutional democracy. Trouble is, the Dems have done a superlative job of convincing the average American the Two Old Party-system is the best way to choose who leads our nation. We’re not supposed to worry about Tweedledee and Tweedledumber leaving us with an updated mirror image of Benito Mussolini.

Whomever the Democrats’ political herd eventually decides upon will be the sole choice reasonable Americans can support this coming November. Painful though it may be for any independent progressive-minded voter – at a minimum, we’ll have to press for a platform that takes heed of the fight for an end to endemic bigotry, social and scientific cowardice…any number of economic reforms. And…if such a platform is to be something more than a pretty poster, folks must press all the candidates opposing this fascist-minded krew of korporate klowns to grow a backbone sufficient to win.

Republican Party still trying to block the Equal Rights Amendment

…The Equal Rights Amendment, which passed Congress in 1972 and would amend the Constitution to give women equal standing under the law, is on the verge of ratification. Within the next few weeks, Virginia is expected to become the 38th state to ratify the ERA, clearing the Constitutional threshold for ratification, which is three-fourths of the states.

Already, Republicans are in court trying to block the ERA’s inclusion in the Constitution. At the end of December, three GOP attorneys general filed a suit in a federal court in Alabama to block the ERA’s ratification, arguing that it’s not constitutional…

The litigation marks the start of a new chapter in the decadeslong fight to get women’s rights into the Constitution…

“It’s kind of disturbing that in 2020 that any state would spend resources trying to maintain women’s second-class citizenship in this country,” Wendy Murphy said.

Some Democratic attorneys general also put out a strong statement…lambasting their Republican counterparts for being on the wrong side of history.

Nothing surprising to me about today’s Republican Party dedicating all its resources to reactionary and bigoted causes. Is anyone actually surprised?

Return to equitable taxation of wealth

” For most of the last four decades, the gains from economic growth have flowed overwhelmingly to the rich. Much of those gains to the rich weren’t “earned” in any traditional sense, but rather extracted, excess profits squeezed out of a system designed to favor those who already have power, position and wealth. Today, the top 1% of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90% combined…

” America’s overall tax system is only barely progressive – meaning that the richest Americans pay only a bit more in taxes as a share of their income than everyone else. And at the very top, among those taking home hundreds of millions each year, the tax code is actually regressive, meaning the more they make the less they pay. The richest 1% own nearly 40% of all the wealth, but pay only 20% of all the taxes.

” Boosting rich people’s taxes is sound policy. Extreme inequality is like economic pollution. It creates widespread harm that the polluters don’t pay for. Inequality makes bubbles more likely, it undermines the foundations for innovation and productivity, and it weakens and destabilizes consumer demand. Taxing it like pollution helps make the costs clearer and reduces the harm.

I don’t care to personalize or demonize the fight for equitable taxation. Money stashed in a no-name blank box still needs to be put to use to educate an ignorant population of children [and their parents]. There is no shortage of needs to be filled – just as there is even less of a shortage of cash. It simply needs relocation, re-allocation. That needn’t impair economic growth or innovation. Improvement is more likely.

If you believe the Democratic Party will aid the fight, please join them. I think a certain portion of effort should be allocated in that direction – if for nothing else than to reverse their history, frankly, of selling out working class families. Otherwise, move to the Left, a little or a lot. Find the level of commitment that satisfies your conscience. Everyone is welcome.

The broader and deeper any political struggle constructs a base aids the likelihood of success.

America After Trump

❝ As of this writing, Trump seems highly likely to survive impeachment itself. Many Republican senators fear him even more than they hate him, making 67 Senate votes a high hurdle. Predicting impeachment’s effect on his electoral prospects is tricky, but even in the most favorable scenarios, Trump’s 2020 map is tough. His campaign seems to accept that he will almost certainly lose the popular vote again, and probably by an even bigger margin than in 2016. Trump’s most plausible plan for reelection is to hope that, by inflaming the racial fears of white voters, he can hold most of his 2016 states and possibly flip a couple of others. To do this, he must activate intergroup hatred on a scale not seen since George Wallace—and never considered by an incumbent president since Andrew Johnson.

It might work. The damage Trump could do in a second term would be substantial, and possibly irreversible—starting with the harm that would be done to the legitimacy of the American political system if he once again wins the Electoral College while losing the popular vote…

❝ But what if, as seems more likely at this point, he is defeated? If Trump loses, a cloud will lift from American politics. But the circumstances that produced him will not vanish—and the changes that he wrought will outlast him. Like Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat, when Donald Trump fades from the scene, his teeth will linger after him—but unlike the cat’s, those teeth will not be smiling. They will bite and draw blood for years to come…

Even a roundly defeated Trump will bequeath a hard legacy to his Democratic successor, however: fiscal deficits in excess of $1 trillion for years to come; no-win trade wars, not only against China but against the European Union and other friends…under current fiscal and political conditions, a costly progressive agenda stands little chance of being enacted. Medicare for All? Student-debt relief? There won’t be money for those—nor, more pertinent, the votes in the Senate.

RTFA. It’s long, detailed, only a bit wordy – but, hey, it’s David Frum telling the truth from the viewpoint of a conservative willing and able to fight for bipartisan legislation helpful to ordinary folks.