Trump’s ICE endangers children during coronavirus pandemic

This March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Out ICE For ‘Trafficking’ Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic | NowThis

AOC confronted this ICE agent at the airport for ‘trafficking children across the country’ during a pandemic.

In US news and current events today, local activists heard ICE was trafficking minors during a pandemic. AOC rushed to the airport to demand answers upon their arrival. ICE said it will limit enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic to ‘public safety risk’ & mandatory detentions on criminal grounds. A Dept. Health & Human Services office oversees the care of unaccompanied migrant children, ICE facilitated the transfer of custody of a small group of unaccompanied teens or ORR for placement at a facility in NYC.

Watch Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call out of ICE and defense of refugee and migrant children, who might’ve been separated from their families at the border.

African pangolins, documentary film

This 2019 video says about itself:

Eye of the Pangolin is the story of two men on a mission to share the wonder of all four species of African pangolin on camera for the first time ever.

Follow their extraordinary journey to remote locations on the African continent, from arid savannah to exotic jungles. Become captivated by these extraordinary creatures as the filmmakers meet the people who are caring for and studying pangolins in a desperate attempt to save them from being poached and traded into extinction.

Filmed in Ultra High Definition, this ambitious documentary is freely available online for commercial-free viewing.

Our goal at Pangolin.Africa is to make Eye Of The Pangolin one of the most widely watched wildlife documentaries ever. If enough people learn to care for this animal, there is a chance that it can be saved. So please share this film with everyone you believe will be touched by this magical creature. If we don’t do something now, the illegal wildlife trade to the east will ensure that pangolins will disappear from the planet within the next 10-20 years.

The film is directed and narrated by Bruce Young, co-director of the award-winning Blood Lions documentary.

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the content on the film, we would recommend an age limit of 13 years or younger.

Copyright ©2019 Pangolin Africa NPC. All rights reserved

Coronavirus and Big Business news

This 25 March 2020 video says about itself:

In US news and current events today, President Trump keeps promising things that aren’t real in his speeches on the coronavirus. There is no official system in place to screen returning passengers; some have had their temperature taken in an ‘advanced screening’ but none have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Weeks later, hospitals are still reporting a shortage of tests and many people require a doctor’s approval to get one. …

And according to The New York Times, the ‘1,700 engineers’ were just Google employees offering to volunteer ‘if needed’. The FDA quickly denied the drug had been approved to treat COVID-19. The Navy confirmed both ships were undergoing maintenance, and neither ship reportedly had a medical crew available.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

As big business parties near deal on $2 trillion corporate bailout

Trump calls for lifting COVID-19 restrictions by Easter

25 March 2020

With COVID-19 infections and deaths soaring and the Democrats and Republicans nearing agreement on a massive corporate bailout, President Donald Trump on Tuesday doubled down on his talk of lifting restrictions imposed to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and forcing workers back onto the job.

At a virtual town hall on Fox News, Trump declared that he wanted the country “opened up and just raring to go by Easter (April 12).” Trump said he thought Easter would be a good day to end quarantining and reopen the plants and workplaces because, “You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it will be a beautiful time.”

On the same day, the US death toll from COVID-19 neared 700 and infections surged to more than 53,000 confirmed cases. The World Health Organization has warned that within the next several weeks—around the time of the Easter holiday—the US will have become the global epicenter of the pandemic.

Trump’s promise to reopen closed businesses, combined with the prospect of a bipartisan $2 trillion bailout of corporations and the Federal Reserve’s announcement of unlimited support for the banks and financial markets, sent stock prices soaring. The Dow jumped by 2,112 points, a modern record one-day increase of 11.3 percent, as billionaire investors celebrated their good fortune in the midst of an unfolding social and economic catastrophe for working people.

The staggering scale of the government plunder of social resources to bail out the financial aristocracy was indicated on Tuesday by Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic adviser. He told a press conference that the total economic stimulus to be enacted by the government would reach $6 trillion. Four trillion dollars would come from the Fed’s money-printing “quantitative easing” program and the rest from the expected enactment of the corporate bailout bill.

Trump’s demand for a quick end to lockdowns that are in place in more than half of the country and the reopening of plants and businesses is bitterly opposed by scientists and medical experts who warn that the result will be an exponential rise in infections and deaths, possibly into the millions.

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, warned that curbing social distancing could cost millions of lives. “Anyone advising the end of social distancing now needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that,” he tweeted. “COVID would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country.”

Trump and those backing his plan to quickly end social distancing measures, including the Democratic-aligned New York Times and Washington Post, know that the result will be a sharp increase in infections and deaths. Trump speaks for a fascistic constituency within the financial oligarchy that considers the culling from the population of older workers who no longer pump out profit for the corporations a positive good.

The position of the American ruling class is that the resumption of profit-making must proceed, and if it means the killing of millions of workers, so be it.

The bipartisan corporate bailout being hammered out is presented, in a colossal act of political fraud, as a boon to workers. The stage-managed political wrangling over the bill is designed to promote the lie that the theft of taxpayer money by the ruling class is aimed at shielding workers from the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The number one priority of Republicans and Democrats alike is to stanch the free-fall on the stock market and exploit the health emergency to carry out a transfer of wealth to the financial aristocracy far in excess of the bailout of the banks and the auto industry that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008.

The bill will raid the federal Treasury to hand over hundreds of billions of dollars to the corporations and the wealthy—creating a new pretext for brutal cuts in social services—while doing virtually nothing to fight the spread of the pandemic or protect working people from the health and economic impact of the crisis.

It will do nothing to provide free and universal testing, the first requirement for containing the virus, or overcome the lack of ventilators, ICU beds, protective gear and medical staff at hospitals around the country that are already being swamped by the surge in infections. Nor will it “stimulate the economy”, which is plunging into a depression as production grinds to a halt around the world.

The one-time disbursement of $1,200 to individuals making less than $75,000 and temporary extension of unemployment benefits it reportedly includes are completely inadequate to compensate for the loss of employment and income facing hundreds of millions of workers.

The reality behind the Democrats’ cynical posturing as partisans of the workers was summed up in the remarks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Report” Tuesday afternoon. “We root for the stock market to go up. We are all on common ground on that,” said Pelosi, whose net worth is in the tens of millions.

The bill as agreed by the two parties will be essentially the same as the one drafted by the White House and the Republicans and introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend. Its main provisions include:

  • $500 billion for large corporations
  • $350 billion for “small businesses”
  • $300 billion in direct payments to households
  • $250 billion for state unemployment benefit funds
  • $136 billion in additional funds for federal agencies, including the military and the Department of Homeland Security
  • $106 billion in payments to hospitals, the Veterans Administration and other public health agencies.

The main concession touted by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi is the agreement of Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will have the power to decide which corporations get taxpayer cash and how much, to allow the fig leaf of independent oversight. This is in the form of an inspector general and a congressional oversight panel. These are completely toothless measures, copied from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout of Wall Street in 2008.

A provision barring companies receiving funds from laying off workers or cutting their pay is meaningless, since the bill includes the caveat “to the extent practicable”.

There will be no effective restraints on how the corporate recipients use the government’s largesse. A formal ban on stock buybacks and dividend payouts is mere window dressing, since it can be lifted by Mnuchin. There are no restrictions on executive pay.

That means the money will go, as it did in 2008-2009, for stock repurchases, dividends and bonuses to increase the wealth of the top executives and major investors. The corporations that get the bailout money will be the same ones that squandered billions in stock buybacks following the 2008 crisis, enriching executives whose compensation is tied to stock prices and rewarding big investors, while starving the economy of productive investment and decent-paying jobs and diverting money from social and health care infrastructure.

Only $75 billion of the $500 billion for large corporations is stipulated in the bill, with $50 billion going to passenger airlines, $8 billion to cargo airlines, and $17 billion to firms supplying the Pentagon or the intelligence agencies. The bulk is to be distributed by Mnuchin as he decides.

Where his priorities lie can be seen from his history as a Goldman Sachs investment banker, a board member at Sears (where he was sued for asset stripping), and head of OneWest Bank, where he was sued for illegal home foreclosures. His net worth is estimated at $300 million.

The money for “small businesses” will not go to family-owned restaurants, dry cleaners or gas stations. With “small business” categorized as an enterprise with fewer than 500 direct employees, the vast bulk of the $350 billion in loans will go to powerful hedge funds and other firms with billions in assets.

The expectation of the bailout bill has already set off a feeding frenzy of lobbyists and lawyers representing various corporate interests who are converging on the Capitol to secure favors from the bribed politicians.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the bankruptcy—economically, socially and politically—of the capitalist system and all of its political representatives. It has laid bare the explosive class divisions in a society based on private profit and corporate greed.

The latest bipartisan bailout of big business and the moves to force workers back to work with no protection from the virus will generate massive opposition in the working class. Already strikes and protests have broken out in the US and around the world by workers who refuse to sacrifice their lives and those of their loved ones to continue producing profit for the owners.

Workers will increasingly realize that the implementation of effective measures to combat the virus and save lives is inseparable from a fight against capitalism.

The Socialist Equality Party rejects the bailout of the corporations. We demand that the big banks and corporations be transformed into publicly owned and democratically controlled organizations. The executives who plundered these corporations for the sake of personal enrichment should be legally compelled to pay restitution.

We call for universal testing and free and equal access to health care; the closure of all nonessential production, with full income to those affected; safe working conditions in industries essential to the functioning of society; and an emergency program to build health care infrastructure and ensure that all medical workers have access to necessary equipment.

As the Socialist Equality Party National Committee insisted in its statement of March 17, “The essential principle that must guide the response to the crisis is that the needs of working people must take absolute and unconditional priority over all considerations of corporate profit and private wealth.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” was Charles Dickens’ famous opening passage in his fictional treatment of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities. These words found stark and fresh expression in New York City Tuesday as billionaires gorged themselves on Wall Street, while the rest of the population confronted a mounting toll in death, sickness and human suffering from the coronavirus pandemic: here.

COVID-19 begins to rip through homeless population as 30 test positive in New York City shelters: here.

Coronavirus spreading at faster rate in Louisiana than anywhere in the world: here.

Over 12,000 people die in Europe as coronavirus infections escalate: here.

Britain: Boris Johnson’s coronavirus measures: Political criminality that will cost tens of thousands of lives: here.

NHS staff contract COVID-19 as UK government refuses to provide testing and protective equipment: here.

German government’s coronavirus bailout: Billions for the rich, rations for the poor: here.

The number of victims affected by the COVID-19 virus is rising rapidly in the countries of Southeast Europe. The rapid spread of the disease throws light in turn on the catastrophic social, economic and political conditions prevailing in the region: here.

Amid warnings of potential catastrophic loss of life from COVID-19. Modi places India’s 1.3 billion people under lockdown. By Keith Jones, 25 March 2020. Modi’s speech provided no details about basic questions, such as how the population would be able to procure food, and, in India’s villages, even water.

Japanese Mitsubishi corporation not compensating forced labourers

This 20 July 2015 video says about itself:

Mitsubishi apologises for WWII forced labour

The handshake that ends 70 years of suffering.

Mitsubishi has become the first Japanese corporation to offer an apology for the use of American prisoners of war for forced labour during the Second World War.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Mitsubishi refuses to speak to Dutch forced laborers

Mitsubishi will not talk to Dutch people who did forced labour in the Second World War. The new owner of energy company Eneco says that the company was founded in 1954 and is therefore not responsible for what happened during the war under the name Mitsubishi.

That is total bullshit, Messrs Mitsubishi billionaires. After 1945, the Mitsubishi Group had been broken up by United States occupation authorities because of war crimes. However, because of the Korean war, the Mitsubishi Group came together again.

7300 Dutch

The board of the Japanese Honorary Debts Foundation wanted to talk to the multinational corporation, because in the Second World War many Dutch people were employed as prisoners of war in Mitsubishi factories and shipyards in Japan. The foundation asked for help from several municipalities that are shareholders of Eneco.

An estimated 7,300 Dutch people performed forced labor during the Second World War. At least 661 of them did that for mines and shipyards of the Mitsubishi group. Eleven of them are believed to be still alive. The foundation does not only want to talk to the company, but also apologies and financial compensation.

Others did get apologies and compensation

The foundation is disappointed with the news, but not surprised. “I expected this,” chairman Jan van Wagtendonk told Rijnmond local TV. The foundation was informed by letter by alderman Arjan van Gils of the municipality of Rotterdam, who is also chairman of the shareholders of Eneco.

“As a board, we are now looking into the sequel,” says Van Wagtendonk. “I am left with the question: why don’t they want to talk?”

In other cases, the Japanese group has previously apologized and compensated after government pressure or a lawsuit. That has happened to American, Korean and Chinese ex-forced laborers.

Keukenhof flower show closed, on the Internet

This 21 March 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Keukenhof virtually open – We will bring Keukenhof to you!

Because you cannot visit Keukenhof right now,

because of the coronavirus

we decided to bring Keukenhof to you! In the upcoming weeks, we will show you the most beautiful places of the park.

In this video Managing Director Bart will take you along to his favorite place, the flower hill🌷

Coronavirus update of today

This 25 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

How to Support Domestic Violence Survivors During COVID-19 | NowThis

The coronavirus has created a perfect storm of domestic violence conditions — here’s how you can help those who might be in danger.

About 1 in 5 Americans have gotten into arguments about the coronavirus.

GLENN BECK URGES OLDER AMERICANS TO WORK Conservative TV and radio personality Glenn Beck is urging older Americans to return to work to keep the economy going despite the coronavirus infection risks. Younger people, he said, could stay home to protect themselves from the virus, while older people ― who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says are more prone to the most serious cases ― should keep working. “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country,” he said. [HuffPost]

EVERY EMPLOYER CONSIDERS ITSELF ‘ESSENTIAL’ California Closets is a national company that builds and installs high-end, custom closet systems. Its product might not seem essential to the public right now, but you can still have a system designed and put in during the coronavirus pandemic ― even in states that have ordered residents not to leave their homes. That’s because the company views itself as part of the critical infrastructure exempted from shelter-in-place rules. [HuffPost]

ADMINISTRATION PUSHES AHEAD WITH WELFARE CUTS Congress is working on an unprecedented plan to send more than $1,000 to practically everyone in America to blunt the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. But the prospect of massive economic disruption won’t stop the Trump administration’s long-planned cuts to social programs such as nutrition assistance ― cuts that have been a core part of the president’s domestic policy agenda and that would make life harder for the poorest Americans. [HuffPost]

DETAINED FAMILIES ARE TERRIFIED OF CORONAVIRUS Cramped U.S. family detention centers featuring subpar medical care and lack of hygiene make the facilities a “powder keg” for the coronavirus’s spread, a group of immigration lawyers say in a new lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security demanding that immigrants be released. Detention centers are not testing people for the virus or taking preventive measures, according to the lawsuit. [HuffPost]

Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally dies from coronavirus complications.

Poll: Americans’ concerns about the pandemic continue to grow.

They thought they’d escaped homelessness. Then came coronavirus.

All of the important coronavirus terms, explained.

THUNBERG SAYS IT’S ‘EXTREMELY LIKELY’ SHE HAD COVID-19 As she recovers from an illness that she believes was COVID-19, Greta Thunberg is imploring others with mild symptoms to stay home. The teen climate activist shared on Instagram that she had been indoors for two weeks. The fact that many young, healthy people may be asymptomatic or experience only very mild symptoms, and may go on to pass it to others makes the situation so much more dangerous, Thunberg wrote. [HuffPost]

INDIA DECREES ‘TOTAL LOCKDOWN’ OF 1.3 BILLION Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a “total lockdown” in the country of over 1.3 billion people, the most extensive stay-at-home order yet in the world’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The 21-day lockdown was set to begin at midnight. “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Modi said, adding that if the county failed to manage the next 21 days, it would be set back by 21 years. [AP]

14-DAY LOCKDOWN IN PALESTINIAN WEST BANK –as Palestine confirms 59 coronavirus cases: here.

Bosses, police force workers into coronavirus danger

This 4 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

A Seattle Amazon worker has tested positive for coronavirus. The company says the worker has been quarantined.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

As more workers test positive for COVID-19, Amazon ignores demands to close warehouses

25 March 2020

At least three workers at Amazon’s SDF-9 warehouse in Shepherdsville, Kentucky tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, leading to the two-day closure of the warehouse. The workers tested positive “at the site”, according to a voicemail message to employees, and workers who were in “close contact” with those who fell victim to the illness have been instructed to “self-quarantine.”

At the same time, management has stated its intention to re-open the warehouse in 48 hours. Since any number of workers could be asymptomatic and contagious after having come into contact with the virus, the refusal to quarantine the entire workforce for two weeks amounts to gambling with workers’ lives. This action is all the more egregious given that the Shepherdsville facility is mostly dedicated to processing returns, not the distribution of goods.

The company’s statement presented the two-day closure as motivated by concern for the health of workers. “Out of an abundance of caution,” Amazon’s statement read, “and in addition to our enhanced daily deep cleaning, we are temporarily closing the Shepherdsville, Ky., site for additional sanitization.”

Amazon worker Jennifer Bohannon told Louisville television station WDRB that she was “appalled and disappointed” at plans to reopen the warehouse in only two days. “The concern is, how many are walking around (the building) now, asymptomatic?”

Yesterday, a worker at an Amazon warehouse in Florida tested positive for coronavirus. The worker had been working until March 18 before falling ill, and just received the results of the test. The warehouse appears as of this writing to remain open, with only those workers believed to have been in “close contact” with the victim remanded to two weeks of self-quarantine.

Also yesterday, an Amazon worker at a Brownstown sort center in Michigan tested positive. The victim had been working at the facility until March 16. Five other workers have been quarantined.

On Wednesday of last week, a worker tested positive at an Amazon facility in Queens, New York City, leading to an angry confrontation with workers that was recorded on video.

“We can see that there’s an absolute disregard for our lives,” declared one worker to a management representative.

Outrage among workers to management’s barebones or non-existent safety measures is mounting at Amazon and across broad sections of industry. One index of popular anger is the hashtag #NotDying4WallStreet, which had been tweeted more than a hundred thousand times as of yesterday morning and was the third most popular hashtag in the United States.

Amazon’s safety measures include “requiring employees to stay home and seek medical attention if they are feeling unwell” and “moving chairs and spreading out tables in breakrooms.” In addition, workers are being chastised to “sanitize and clean their work stations and vehicles at the start and end of every shift with disinfectant/cleaning wipes,” to wash their hands “for at least 20 seconds,” and to defer “non-essential travel.”

These patronizing, low-cost measures are consistent with Amazon’s history of conduct towards injured workers. Prior to the pandemic, workers who suffered significant injuries in the warehouse were told to go to AmCare, Amazon’s in-house medical provider, where they were given painkillers or instructed to sit on a heating pad.

Catastrophic back injury? “Sit on this heating pad for 15 minutes.” Coronavirus? “Here are some cleaning wipes, wash your hands.” That is the corporate message.

With significant sections of Amazon workers compelled to stay at home as a result of the closure of schools, or otherwise refusing to risk their lives in the context of the pandemic, Amazon has announced a $2 per hour raise and the hiring of 100,000 additional workers. This amounts to a de facto furloughing of a wide swath of the existing workforce without pay.

One factor dramatically aggravating the risk to workers is the absence of systematic and universal testing. Without the ability to test for the presence of the virus among workers who may have contracted the virus but are not displaying symptoms, each work shift in an Amazon warehouse is a lethal game of chance.

While the coronavirus is invisible to the naked eye, the risks are very real. There were 750,000 Amazon employees in 2019, and now an additional 100,000 are in the process of being hired. If half of those workers were ultimately infected with the virus, tens of thousands of Amazon workers could die.

Everywhere around the world, the corporations continue to demand that workers labor in infected factories, warehouses and other workplaces despite the dire threat to their health. This was only stopped when workers took matters into their own hands and launched a wave of wildcat strikes in US and European auto factories and other industries, forcing the closure of unsafe workplaces. Amazon workers should form rank-and-file committees to prepare similar collective action.

Amazon workers should demand the closure of all warehouses until teams of sanitary workers, overseen by health professionals, thoroughly clean the operations, workers are fitted with the most up-to-date personal protection equipment and a regime of free testing for all workers is put in place. In the meantime, workers should be paid in full for any lost time.

Amazon workers have made it clear they do not object to delivering masks, medical equipment, and other critical goods during the pandemic. Workers bravely venturing out of their homes to support the efforts to combat the pandemic deserve to be honored and guarded with the highest level of protection that modern science and medicine can provide.

But Amazon’s billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos insists that workers must “wait their turn” for masks and other protective gear. But there is plenty of money available for vastly greater levels of protection for Amazon workers. The Motley Fool, a financial and investing services company, described Amazon yesterday as “a top stock to buy during the coronavirus sell-off.” The article continued: “Add in the company’s rock-solid balance sheet – with more than $55 billion in cash and marketable securities, and just $23 billion in long-term debt – and you have a host of reasons to buy Amazon before the market comes to its senses.”

In other words, management of the trillion-dollar conglomerate sits on a cash hoard valued in the tens of billions, and the company is viewed an excellent profit-making vehicle for the billionaire speculators and hedge funds looking for a way to get richer during the global disaster.

Bezos himself, whose current wealth totals around $131 billion, purchased a new Beverly Hills mansion last month at a price of $165 million. Known as the Warner Estate, this purchase in the midst of the pandemic set a new record in the state of California for the most amount of money ever paid for a home.

Amazon’s conduct throughout the pandemic underscores the necessity of transforming this key division of the global logistics infrastructure into a publicly controlled enterprise. The critical needs of the vast majority of the human population must take priority over the whims and prerogatives of the billionaires. Under democratic control, Amazon’s vast logistical network and resources can be turned into a powerful weapon in the fight against the pandemic.

Two Fiat Chrysler workers die from COVID-19 in US. By Marcus Day and Shannon Jones, 25 March 2020. The deaths, at FCA Sterling Heights Assembly in the Detroit area and at Kokomo Transmission in Indiana, are the predictable outcome of the combined effort by the auto companies to keep the plants running up until last week.

This 24 March 2020 United States TV video says about itself:

‘This Is Not A Game’: Perdue Farms Workers Walk Out Over Coronavirus Concerns

Approximately 50 workers at the Perdue Farms plant in Kathleen, Georgia, walked off the job Monday morning, saying they don’t feel safe working there during the coronavirus pandemic. Katie Johnston reports.

Police called to disperse Georgia meat processing workers who walked off the job Monday over concerns about the spread of COVID-19. By Jacob Crosse, 25 March 2020. The walkout of Perdue workers follows a Monday report that a slaughterhouse worker in Mississippi was sent home after testing positive for COVID-19. … Perdue Farms has been run by the Perdue family for four generations. According to Forbes, as of 2015 the Perdue family was worth an estimated $3.2 billion.

Birds at Panama fruit feeder, video

This video says about itself:

Male Summer Tanager and Black-chested Jay Take Turns At The Panama Fruit Feeder – March 24, 2020

A great display of vibrant plumage could be seen at the feeder today as two stunning birds took turns looking for a suitable snack. The Black-chested Jay will remain in Panama in the coming months while the Summer Tanager will depart, by mid-May, for his breeding territory in Mexico or the United States.