Coronavirus, Mike Pence and slaughterhouses

This 27 June 2020 cartoon video from the USA says about itself:

Claytoonz, Episode 940, Here Comes The Worm

Watch me draw Mike Pence as a big worm.

Read the cartoon and blog here.

Mike Pence cartoon

The cartoon is about United States Vice President Mike Pence.

There is, however, a big difference between Pence and worms. Worms do very good work for soil environments.

Dutch NOS radio reports today (translated):

U.S. Vice President Pence has canceled a number of campaign meetings in Florida and Alabama over the next week. The reason is the new wave of coronavirus infections in these and other states. …

Eg, Florida and Alabama, but also, eg, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus infections. In a number of states, it has been decided to tighten the measures again, after earlier easing.

Reuters news agency reported yesterday that the number of identified infections across the US has risen to more than 2.5 million. The increase in the last 24 hours was 45,000 infections, the highest number to date.

So, as Pence cancels election rallies, apparently, he does not believe the propaganda by his boss Donald Trump, his Brazilian crony Bolsonaro, Elon Musk and other billionaires, and the far-right pro-Trump ‘Flu Klux Klan’ that COVID-19 is supposedly ‘just a little flu’.

Well … err … it looks like Pence does not believe that propaganda as far as his own health is concerned.

He does believe it about the health of slaughterhouse staff and other workers.

Mike Pence told slaughterhouse workers:

Show up and do your job.

As for slaughterhouses, they are COVID-19 epicentres; in the USA and in other countries.

This tweet by Gütersloh local authorities in Germany says that the scandal at Tönnies corporation meatpacking plant is not limited to that plant (where at least 1413 workers became infected); that 75 people living around that slaughterhouse, but not working there, have become infected.

Billionaire US senator Loeffler’s coronavirus profiteering

This 5 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Senator Kelly Loeffler’s Insider Trading EXPOSED

[Republican party] Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s is under federal investigation for insider trading. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.

“Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, purchased and sold about $1.4 million in stock during the market panic set off by the coronavirus pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Though the couple still lost money, they were able to limit the financial blow from the stock market’s worst month since October 2008.

Details: Loeffler reported that she and her husband bought $590,000 worth of stock and sold about $845,000 from Feb. 18 through March 13, according to WSJ‘s review of the senator’s financial disclosure.

– If they held the shares they sold until March 31, they would have been valued at $86,000 less than what they sold them for.
– The stocks they bought declined after they purchased them and resulted in losses of $102,000 through March 31.

Loeffler and her husband sold stocks in retail stores, such as Lululemon and T.J. Maxx, and invested in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments for medical workers, according to a review by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Of note: Sprecher is the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange.”

Read more here.

At least two Republican senators, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), sold hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in stock shortly after Congress began receiving regular briefings about the outbreak of coronavirus spreading around the globe. [HuffPost]

Trump’s Republicans sacrificing seniors to ‘the economy’

This 25 March 2020 video from the USA is called Republicans Collectively Agree to Sacrifice Your Grandma to the Gods of Capitalism.

‘RICH MITCH’ BASHED IN NEW GOP LINCOLN PROJECT AD The never-Trump Republican group Lincoln Project has set its sights in a scathing new ad on Senate Majority Leader “Rich Mitch” McConnell of Kentucky, contrasting the plush life he’s forged for himself while in office with his state’s poor in various social metrics. The 60-second spot features several shots of the Republican’s signature cat-who-swallowed-the-canary smile while noting that he’s made tens of millions of dollars since first winning his Senate seat in 1984. McConnell, seeking his seventh term in November, has “spent most of his time making deals for himself — not so much for Kentucky,” the spot says. [HuffPost]

United States Republican Senator Burr, coronavirus profiteer

This 20 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

SECRET Recording Exposes Coronavirus Lie by Senator

This right-wing senator was caught in a HUGE coronavirus lie! Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned a small group of well-connected constituents three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR.

The remarks from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr were starker than any he had delivered in more public forums.

On Feb. 27, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was tamping down fears and suggesting that the virus could be seasonal.

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear,” the president said then …

Read more here.

Trump’s new strategy on coronavirus is already being undermined by his own actions: here.

CNN: Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and his wife sold as much as $1.7 million in stock last month ahead of the sharp market decline that’s resulted from the novel coronavirus global pandemic, according to Senate documents: here.

This 20 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

What A Coincidence: GOP Senator Dumped Up To $1.5m In Stock While Downplaying Pandemic

Senate Intelligence Committee chair and Senator Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina) sold off a load of stock recently. …

Burr’s move came just a few weeks before telling wealthy constituents in private that the global spread of the coronavirus would be “akin to the 1918 pandemic.’

It was also while he was in a position to receive briefings from intelligence agencies on the matter.

On Feb. 7, 2020, Burr co-authored an op-ed for Fox News saying the U.S. was “better prepared than ever before” for emerging public health threats like the coronavirus.

“We are not only ready to face the coronavirus today but new public health threats in the future.” Sen. Richard Burr Op-Ed, Fox News

Burr’s stocks included $150,000 in shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and $100,000 in shares of hospitality chain Extended Stay America.

Both companies have suffered even more catastrophic losses.

This 20 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Richard Burr For Using Coronavirus To Make Millions: ‘He Needs To Resign!’

So, this senator of Donalds Trump’s Republican party is a coronavirus profiteer.

Unfortunately, there are some more coronavirus profiteers.

Like bosses of car factories profiteering from workers working in factory halls where they may get contaminated with coronavirus. Like bosses in the so-called defence war industry profiteering from workers working in factory halls where they may get contaminated with coronavirus. Getting contaminated while making weapons for wars, eg, the genocidal war of the Saudi regime on the people of Yemen.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Doctors are suing French Prime Minister and Health Minister

Three doctors have filed a complaint against French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and former Health Minister Agnès Buzyn. They believe that they were aware of the severity of the corona pandemic, but did not warn about it and did not take measures in time.

Philippe and Buzyn are charged with “voluntarily refraining from adopting or imposing measures, which could help combat a disaster likely to pose a safety hazard”. This may get a prison sentence of up to 2 years in France and a fine of 30,000 euros.

The complaint will be handled by the Court of Justice of the Republic. It is not known when the verdict will be.

Kill socialists, United States Republican politician says

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

A Republican lawmaker in Montana claims the Constitution calls for socialists to be shot and jailed

A Montana state legislator is facing backlash after claiming that the Constitution calls for socialists to be shot and jailed. State Rep. Rodney Garcia, who represents the Billings area, asked an unprompted question after a speech by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a state Republican Party gathering Saturday, according to the Billings Gazette. Advertisement: In his question, Garcia raised his concerns about socialists “entering our government” and claimed that they were “everywhere” in Billings. According to the lawmaker, the Constitution says socialists should be either shot or jailed. (It does not).

By Bryan Dyne in the USA:

Montana state representative calls for socialists to be shot

6 February 2020

Montana State Representative Rodney Garcia has called for socialists to be shot. His statement was made in Helena January 31 during the kickoff meeting for the state Republican election campaigns.

When asked Saturday by a reporter from the Billings Gazette to clarify his remarks, Garcia doubled down, claiming, “So actually in the Constitution of the United States (if) they are found guilty of being a socialist member you either go to prison or are shot.” He continued “They’re enemies of the free state. What do we do with our enemies in war? In Vietnam, (Afghanistan), all those. What did we do?”

While Garcia did not name anyone in particular, his diatribe was no doubt in part directed against Amelia Marquez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and his opponent in the 2018 state election in District 52, in the city of Billings. Marquez has made no mention of Garcia’s comments on her official candidate Facebook page, and neither she, the DSA nor the Montana Democratic Party responded when contacted by the WSWS about whether or not they feared violence incited by Garcia against their former candidate.

Garcia’s threats of violence come in the context of mounting attacks on socialists by Republican politicians. New York Representative Elise Stefanik recently attacked her state’s Democrats as “far-left” for their “horrible and dangerous agenda.” Iowa Senator Joni Ernst trumpeted during her first reelection campaign meeting that America is “under attack” by the “radical left” spreading “socialism … from coast to coast.” For their part, the Montana Republicans warn on their website of a “take-over” by liberals that will “turn America into a socialist nation.”

These sentiments have been most loudly espoused by President Donald Trump, who regularly denounces socialism in his campaign rallies, and included such a diatribe in his State of the Union address last year and again on Tuesday night. Trump appeared at a Republican campaign rally in Billings in September 2018, where he made his usual appeals to the ultra-right over immigration, gun rights and abortion, among other issues, while supporting both state-wide candidates like Matt Rosendale, who was defeated by incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester, and local candidates like Garcia.

Trump has also tweeted support for numerous right-wing gatherings, including the gun-rights rally held in Richmond, Virginia in January and the fascistic march in Charlottesville in 2017. After anti-fascist counter-demonstrator Heather Heyer was murdered by a neo-Nazi at the Charlottesville event, Trump declared that the far-right marchers were “very fine people.”

The leadership of the Montana Republican Party responded to Garcia’s remarks by calling for his resignation. In a letter signed by Speaker of the House Greg Hertz, Speaker Pro Tempore E. Wylie Galt and House Majority Leader Brad Tschida, the state party leadership wrote, “Your actions have irreparably undermined the body in which you serve and irrevocably broken the trust of those you were elected to represent.”

That is to say that they are not concerned as much with what was said, but how it will be perceived by working-class voters in the coming elections. Their indifference is underscored by the fact that there will be no formal action against Garcia for inciting violence against political opponents. Hertz claimed that it would cost $50,000 to call a special session of the Montana legislature in order to sanction the fascistic representative. Nor did the Montana Republicans respond to a question from the WSWS as to why they condemned Garcia’s remarks and not similar calls for violence made by Trump.

Garcia, 64, was previously a state representative in 1985-87 before going on to work in Montana’s oil fields. Garcia has cited the reduction of jobs in the Bakken Formation as one of the main reasons tax revenue has decreased in the state. He ran in 2014 and 2016 for state senator in different Billings seats and is again currently running for state senator, using his election campaign to legitimize his threats of violence. Garcia stated to the Associated Press, “I’m going to run for the Senate and I’m going to win. People are going to have to eat their words.”

In previous election cycles, he was forced to return a $3,000 illegal campaign contribution and was widely criticized for accusing the state’s Child Protective Services of kidnapping children. He also attempted to have the state of Montana raise $500 million to buy the aging four-unit coal-burning Colstrip power plant. It was likely that it would then be sold to NorthWestern Energy, which wanted the cost of the plant reduced by $300 million. He has also been arrested and convicted for a domestic dispute involving his ex-wife.

United States Republican in far-right terrorism scandal

This 20 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

A report commissioned by the Washington state legislature found that Rep. Matt Shea is a threat due to his past participation in domestic terrorism.

By Kayla Costa in the USA:

Washington state legislator investigated for ties with violent far-right groups

30 December 2019

Republican Representative Matthew Shea of the Washington state legislature is now the subject of an investigation due to public allegations of past involvement in far-right political violence. Shea is just one of many state and federal personnel whose ties to fascistic and racist groups have been exposed, though he is the first sitting legislator to face investigation for far-right violent activities.

The Washington State House of Representatives commissioned a full report by the private investigation firm Rampart Group to discover whether Shea “engaged in, planned, or promoted political violence.”

Matt Shea has served in the lower house of the state legislature since 2009, representing Washington’s 4th legislative district, that encompasses a large part of the central rural region. While the investigation takes place, the House Republican leadership suspended Shea from his committee positions in the House, including the Environment and Energy Committee, though his expulsion as a representative cannot take place until the legislature is in session.

The Rampart report notes: “Investigators have obtained evidence that Representative Shea, as a leader of the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in, and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the State of Washington over a three-year period to include 2014, 2015, and 2016.”

The Patriot Movement includes a collection of ultra-right militia groups, which generally advocate extreme anti-government views, fantasize conspiracies of “globalists” to take away the rights of small property owners, open the United States to invasion by non-white immigrants, and replace the American Constitution with Muslim Sharia Law. The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 623 active patriot groups in 2016, 165 of which were armed militia groups.

In 2014, Shea mobilized Patriot Movement members to take part in an armed occupation of a federal government facility in Bunkerville, Nevada that lasted 41 days. The standoff between federal and militia troops centered on the longstanding attempts of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy to utilize land owned by the federal government. Shea’s calls for support on the Liberty For All III% (3 Percenters) website reportedly helped to generate a turnout of 1,500 armed militia members from different groups within the Patriot Movement, such as the Oath Keepers.

The report of investigation also indicates that in 2015, Matt Shea again called upon Patriot Movement followers to join him in an armed conflict with the Veteran’s Administration in Priest River, Idaho, to defend a veteran’s right to own firearms after he was determined unfit to purchase them by medical professionals. Shea allegedly participated in the armed conflict.

In 2016, Shea had participated in an “act of domestic terrorism” during the infamous armed standoff of federal troops against the Bundy clan and militia group supporters, after the latter occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Representative Shea also admitted to writing a Christian neo-fascist document that was publicly released in 2018, titled “Biblical Basis for War”, which is referenced in the investigation report. The document lists 14 categories with bullet points that outline religious justifications and rules for militia-based war. According to Shea, war can be carried out to end tyranny, abortions, same-sex marriage, occultism and communism. The methods of assassination, armed resistance, and guerrilla war are justified so long as they serve the interests of God and the end of government tyranny.

In response to the investigation, Shea wrote on his Facebook page, “Like we are seeing with our President this is a sham investigation meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign. Stand strong fellow Patriots.”

He ended his appeal to patriot group supporters by saying, “I will continue to defend the constitution against tyranny and fight to protect our God-given unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the ability to defend the same.”

The revelations about Shea’s actions come after numerous police officers and military personnel have been similarly exposed in the past year, indicating the growth of fascist elements within the state.

Two men, Dalton Woodward and Trent East, who actively served in the Army National Guard, were recently kicked out after an Army investigation confirmed their membership in a neo-pagan fascistic hate group called Asatru Folk Assembly.

Less than two weeks ago, the US Army’s XVIII Airborne Corp posted a sympathetic tribute on Facebook to a Nazi war criminal named Joachim Peiper, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

In October, US Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson pleaded guilty to charges of unlawfully possessing firearms after an investigation into his stockpiling of 15 weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition for use in planned acts of terrorism against Democratic Party politicians, journalists, and other “cultural Marxists”. Hasson was an active “white nationalist” who frequently browsed far-right websites on his computer at work.

In May, the World Socialist Web Site publicized a report by Unicorn Riot and Huffington Post that exposed members of the US military involved with the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa, providing insight into how these far-right elements are recruited and cultivated within the armed forces. This report was quickly followed by another which identified hundreds of police officers who were engaged with fascistic and racist groups on social media.

Until recently, ultra-right, white supremacist and neo-fascist groups were kept on the fringes of the Republican Party, for the most part denied direct participation in the affairs of state. Under Trump, they have been promoted and encouraged and, as the case of Representative Shea demonstrates, given direct access to political office.

With his threats of civil war against political opponents and his constant praise of police and military violence, Trump is deliberately whipping up fascistic elements and creating the conditions for their mobilization, both against his political enemies within the ruling elite and, more broadly, against the working class.

GOV. EMPLOYEES FIRED OVER NAZI SALUTE More than 30 cadets and staff members at a corrections academy in West Virginia have been fired after a class photo surfaced on Dec. 5 showing them making a Nazi salute. The cadets made their gesture ― known as the “Hail Hitler” salute ― beneath a sign reading “Hail Byrd.” [HuffPost]

Trump’s Republicans threaten violence against Democrats

This 14 September 2019 video from the USA used to says about itself:

A Texas Republican tweeted a threat towards Beto O’Rourke. Ana Kasparian, Maytha Alhassen, and Ashlee Marie Preston, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Twitter took down a tweet from a Republican state lawmaker in Texas who wrote that his “AR is ready” for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), the Democratic presidential candidate who at Thursday night’s debate said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s.”

Twitter told The Hill the tweet from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain violated its rules against making violent threats and that it had removed the tweet on Friday morning.”

Read more here.

By Matthew Taylor in the USA:

Fascistic elements in Republican Party threaten Democrats O’Rourke and Ocasio-Cortez

14 September 2019

Two developments on Thursday reflect the growth of fascistic elements within the Republican Party, encouraged by President Donald Trump’s racist war on immigrants, his attacks on socialism and his attempts to brand the Democratic Party as “radical socialist”.

During Thursday night’s Democratic Party debate, a commercial sponsored by the political action committee New Faces GOP showed a picture of Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face going up in flames, while the narration linked her to the mass killings carried out by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s. The Maoist Khmer Rouge, covertly backed by the US, was a rabidly anti-working-class, nationalist movement.

‘Khmer Rouge’ is a nickname, by Prince Norodom Sihanouk, originally their opponent, later their ally, then opponent again. They denied being communist. They were ‘Maoist’ only in the sense that not only the Reagan administration in the USA and the Thatcher administration in Britain, but also the then Chinese government supported them (not just ‘covertly’, also publicly, eg, in the United Nations).

The ad opens with a picture of Cortez bursting into flames while the narrator declares, “This is the face of socialism and ignorance. Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horrors of socialism?” The photo then burns completely away to reveal piles of human skulls, fleeing refugees and other scenes from the Cambodian killing fields.

The narrator, Elizabeth Heng, is the daughter of Cambodian immigrants and a candidate for a California congressional seat in 2018, a contest she lost by 15 points to her Democratic opponent. She is the executive director of New Faces GOP, which seeks to recruit youth and minorities into the Republican Party.

The commercial aired on multiple ABC TV affiliates, including in Washington DC, New York City and Houston.

The website for New Faces GOP identifies four central issues: the struggle against socialism, which the group pledges to stop “from plaguing America once and for all”; the promotion of “federalism”—coded language for the gutting of social welfare programs and labor protections; immigration, i.e., support for Trump’s mass incarceration and deportation of immigrants; and opposition to the alleged censorship of “conservative” views on the internet.

In July, Trump attacked Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, itself a reformist faction of the Democratic Party, and three other supposedly “progressive” Democratic congresswomen known collectively as the “squad”, telling them to “go back where you came from”. This was in line with his strategy of whipping up far-right and fascistic forces on the basis of extreme nationalism and racism in advance of the 2020 elections and beyond.

Also on Thursday, a Texas Republican state representative, Briscoe Cain, responded to statements made during the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate by former Texas Congressman Beto (Robert Francis) O’Rourke calling for outlawing the possession of military-grade automatic weapons by tweeting, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”

Interviewed later on CNN, Cain essentially defended his tweet and accused O’Rourke of creating a provocation in order to deprive gun owners of their weapons.

In the Democratic debate, none of the candidates identified the fascistic character of Trump’s demagogy, which is directed above all against the working class. Nor did Ocasio-Cortez or O’Rourke warn of the growing threat of far-right political violence.

US politician advocates killing LGBTQ people, socialists

This 4 June 2019 video from the USA is called [Alabama] Mayor [Mark Chambers] criticized for anti-gay Facebook post.

ALABAMA [Republican] MAYOR ADVOCATES FOR ‘KILLING’ OF LGBTQ COMMUNITY In a now-deleted Facebook post, Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers railed against “a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics.” He then replied to a response by saying: “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out.” [HuffPost]

Warmongering US Republican presidential candidates Trump, Weld

This 19 April 2019 video from the USA is called Trump Has A Delusional Primary Opponent.

It is about Republican 2020 presidential election candidate Bill Weld.

One commenter on this video says:

To be fair, he [Weld] was a libertarian, he COULD nab him [Trump] on at least foreign policy, because libertarians are SUPPOSED to be anti intervention. It just may be wishful thinking.

Other commenters say that indeed it is just wishful thinking.

Mr Weld used to be a lobbyist for the Raytheon merchants of death.