Socialism at Its Finest after Fed’s Bazooka Fails

Posted on March 21, 2020 by Ellen Brown (ellenbrown.com)

In what is being called the worst financial crisis since 1929, the US stock market has lost a third of its value in the space of a month, wiping out all of its gains of the last three years. When the Federal Reserve tried to ride to the rescue, it only succeeded in making matters worse. The government then pulled out all the stops. To our staunchly capitalist leaders, socialism is suddenly looking good.  

The financial crisis began in late February, when the World Health Organization announced that it was time to prepare for a global pandemic. The Russia-Saudi oil price war added fuel to the flames, causing all three Wall Street indices to fall more than 7 percent on March 9. It was called Black Monday, the worst drop since the Great Recession in 2008; but it would get worse. 

On March 12, the Fed announced new capital injections totaling an unprecedented $1.5 trillion in the repo market, where banks now borrow to stay afloat. The market responded by driving stocks 8% lower.

On Sunday, March 15, the Fed emptied its bazooka by lowering the fed funds rate nearly to zero and announcing that it would be purchasing $700 billion in assets, including federal securities of all maturities, restarting its quantitative easing program. It also eliminated bank reserve requirements and slashed Interest on Excess Reserves (the interest it pays to banks for parking their cash at the Fed) to 0.10%. The result was to cause the stock market to open on Monday nearly 10% lower. Rather than projecting confidence, the Fed’s measures were generating panic.

As financial analyst George Gammon observes, the Fed’s massive $1.5 trillion in expanded repo operations had few takers. Why? He says the shortage in the repo market was not in “liquidity” (money available to lend) but in “pristine collateral” (the securities that must be put up for the loans). Pristine collateral consists mainly of short-term Treasury bills. The Fed can inject as much liquidity as it likes, but it cannot create T-bills, something only the Treasury can do. That means the government (which is already $23 trillion in debt) must add yet more debt to its balance sheet in order to rescue the repo market that now funds the banks.

The Fed’s tools alone are obviously incapable of stemming the bloodletting from the forced shutdown of businesses across the country. Fed chair Jerome Powell admitted as much at his March 15 press conference, stating, “[W]e don’t have the tools to reach individuals and particularly small businesses and other businesses and people who may be out of work …. We do think fiscal response is critical.” “Fiscal policy” means the administration and Congress must step up to the plate.

What about using the Fed’s “nuclear option” – a “helicopter drop” of money to support people directly? A March 16 article in Axios quoted former Fed senior economist Claudia Sahm:

The political ramifications of the Fed essentially printing money and giving it to people – there are ways to do it, but the problem is if the Fed does this and Congress still has not passed anything … that would mean the Fed has stepped in and done something that Congress didn’t want to do. If they did helicopter money without congressional approval, Congress could, and rightly so, end the Fed.

The government must act first, before the Fed can use its money-printing machine to benefit the people and the economy directly.

The Fed, Congress and the Administration Need to Work as a Team 

On March 13, President Trump did act, declaring a national emergency that opened access to as much as $50 billion “for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average responded by ending the day up nearly 2,000 points, or 9.4 percent.

The same day, Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard proposed a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every American for the duration of the crisis. She said, “Too much attention has been focused here in Washington on bailing out Wall Street banks and corporate industries as people are making the same old tired argument of how trickle-down economics will eventually help the American people.” Meanwhile the American taxpayer “gets left holding the bag, struggling and getting no help during a time of crisis.” H.R. 897, her bill for an emergency UBI, she said was the most simple, direct form of assistance to help weather the storm.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who made a universal basic income the basis of his platform, would go further and continue the monthly payments after the coronavirus threat was over.

CNBC financial analyst Jim Cramer also had expansive ideas. He said on March 12:

How about a $500 billion Treasury issue … [at] almost no interest cost, to make sure that when people are sick they don’t have to go to work, and companies that are in trouble because of that can still make their payroll. How about a credit line backstopped by … the Federal Reserve. I know the Federal Reserve is going to say they can’t do that, Congress is going to say they can’t do that, everyone is going to say what they said in 2007, they can’t do that, they can’t do that — until they did it. … [W]e heard all that in 2007 and they ended up doing everything.

And that looks like what will happen this time around. On March 18, as the stock market continued to plummet, the administration released an outline for $1 trillion stimulus bill, including $500 billion in direct payments to Americans, along with bailouts and loans for the airline industry, small businesses, and other “critical” sectors of the U.S. economy.

But the details needed to be hammered out, and even that whopping package buoyed the markets only briefly. In the bond market, yields shot up and values went down, on fears that the flood of government bonds needed to finance this giant stimulus would cause bond values to plummet and the government’s funding costs to shoot up.

Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Times

There is a way around that problem. To avoid driving the federal debt into the stratosphere, the Treasury could borrow directly from the central bank interest-free, with an agreement that the debt would remain on the Fed’s books indefinitely. That approach has been tested in Japan, where it has not generated price inflation as austerity hawks have insisted it would. The Bank of Japan has purchased nearly 50 percent of the government’s debt, yet consumer price inflation remains below the BOJ’s 2 percent target.

Virtually all money today is simply “monetized” debt – debt turned by banks into something that can be spent in the marketplace – and the ultimate backstop for this sleight of hand is the central bank and the government, which means the taxpayers. To equalize our very unequal system, the central bank and the government need to work together. The Fed needs to be “de-privatized” – turned into a public utility that serves the taxpayers and the economy. As Eric Striker observed in The Unz Review on March 13:

The US government’s lack of direct control over the nation’s central bank and the plutocratic nature of our weak state means that common sense solutions are off the table. Why doesn’t the state buy up majority shares in large corporations (or outright nationalize them, as happened with the short successful experiment with General Motors in 2009) and use the $1.5 trillion at low interest to develop American industrial independence?

Interestingly, that too could be on the table in these extraordinary times. Bloomberg reported on March 19 that Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, says the administration may ask for an equity stake (an ownership interest) in corporations that want coronavirus aid from taxpayers. Kudlow noted that when this was done with General Motors in 2008, it turned out to be a good deal for the federal government.

While traditionally considered “anti-capitalist,” the government taking an ownership interest in bailed out companies may be the only way the proposed bailouts will get approval. There is little sentiment today for the sort of no-strings-attached “socialism for the rich” that the taxpayers shouldered in 2008 without reaping the benefits. Bloomberg quotes Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive officer at DoubleLine Capital:

I don’t think government bailouts of over-leveraged companies that got over-leveraged by share buybacks at all-time highs, enriching executives and hedge fund investors, will sit well with the American people.

The Bloomberg article concludes with a quote from another chief investment officer, Chris Zaccarelli of Independent Advisor Alliance:

I like how [the administration is] thinking a little bit outside of the box. Something big and bold like that could potentially be what turns the market around ….

Long-term Solutions

Rather than just a stake in the profits, the government could think a bit further outside the box and turn insolvent airlines, oil companies, and banks into public utilities. It could require them to serve the people and the economy rather than just maximizing the short-term profits of their shareholders.

Concerning the banks, the Fed could do as the People’s Bank of China is doing in this crisis. The state-run PBoC is giving regional banks $79 billion in stimulus money, but it is on condition that they lend it to small and medium enterprises and forgive late payments, so that economic damage is reversed and production can recover quickly.

Another model worth studying is that of Germany, which also has a strong public banking system. As part of a package for coronavirus aid that the German finance minister calls its “big bazooka,” the government is offering immediate access to loans up to €500,000 for small businesses through its public bank, the KfW (Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau), administered through the publicly-owned Sparkassen and other local banks. The loans are being made available at an interest rate as low as 1%, with interest only for the first two years.

Contrast that to the aid package President Trump announced last week, which will authorize the Small Business Administration to offer business loans. After a lengthy process of approval by state authorities, the loans can be obtained at an interest rate of 3.75% – nearly 4 times the KfW rate. German and Chinese public banks are able to offer rock-bottom interest rates because they have cut out private middlemen and are not driven by the insatiable demand for shareholder profits. They can lend countercyclically to avoid booms and busts while supporting the economy as a whole.

The U.S., too, could create a network of publicly-owned banks backed by the central bank, which could lend into their communities at below-market rates. And this is the time to do it. Times of crisis are when change happens. When the Covid-19 scare has passed, we will have a different government, a different economy and a different financial system. We need to make sure that what we get is an upgrade that works for everyone.

_______________________

Ellen Brown chairs the Public Banking Institute and has written thirteen books, including her latest, Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called “It’s Our Money.” Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com.

Dr. Jill Stein on U.S. Election, Bernie Sanders’ setbacks, Coronavirus, Assange & Manning

acTVism MunichacTVism Munich ✔ Donate & build independent media: https://bit.ly/2Q4FUW9 ✔ Subscribe to our channel: https://goo.gl/aMkRjb In this interview with physician, activist and former U.S. presidential candidate for the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein, we talk about the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. In particular we examine the external and internal reasons why the Sanders campaign faced recent setbacks. Furthermore we talk about the Coronavirus and how the U.S. government is dealing with it domestically as well externally with countries such as Iran. Lastly we discuss persecution of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and what individuals could do to protect press freedom. Link to the Julian Assange & Press Freedom Protest in London: https://youtu.be/rSzVjzy7bDs Note: Correction at 31:30: Jill Stein meant to say “Chelsea Manning”. FOLLOW US ONLINE: ► Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acTVism/ ► Instagram: actv_munich ► Website: http://www.actvism.org/ ► Twitter: https://twitter.com/acTVismMunich ► YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/acTVismMunich/

Bernie Sanders is PROVING that Not Me, Us is more than a Slogan

Christo Aivalis America and the world is going through a historic crisis, and only Bernie Sanders is showing leadership being put ahead of ambition. Bernie is showing that Not Me, Us is more than a slogan; it defines his life and worldview. Meanwhile Donald Trump has lied about this crisis, and Joe Biden is addled with cognitive decline and dementia and is hiding away from the public. Once again we ask: Where is Joe Biden? Only Bernie is leading, and doing so without selfish motivations #NotMeUs#WhereIsJoe#WhereIsJoeBiden Support me on Patreon: https://patreon.com/ChristoAivalis Support me on PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/chri…

Federal Reserve to lend additional $1 trillion a day to large banks

LFILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to reporters after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency move designed to shield the world’s largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

By —Christopher Rugaber, Associated Press

Economy Mar 20, 2020 (pbs.org)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve moved with unprecedented force and speed Friday to pump huge amounts of cash into the financial system to ease disruptions that have escalated since the viral outbreak.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it will offer $1 trillion of overnight loans a day through the end of this month to large banks. That is in addition to $1 trillion in 14-day loans it is offering every week. Banks, so far, have not borrowed nearly as much as the New York Fed is offering, and the loans are quickly repaid. None of the funding is from taxpayer dollars. Wall Street analysts say the huge number is intended to calm markets by demonstrating that the Fed’s ability to lend short-term is nearly unlimited.

The Fed is also buying Treasury bonds at a furious pace, and will soon run through the $500 billion in purchases it announced on Sunday. It is also accelerating its purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Most analysts expect they will buy more.

“The Fed has just worked with unprecedented speed,” said Steven Friedman, a former economist at the New York Fed and senior macroeconomist at MacKay Shields, an asset manager. “I think there will be no hesitation on their part about buying as many Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as necessary.”

All the Fed’s emergency steps are intended to pump cash into a financial system that has seen a spike in demand for dollars as investors unload Treasuries, municipal bonds, and other securities. With the economy likely in recession, banks, money market funds and other institutional investors are increasingly wary about holding securities that may lose value.

Companies will see revenue and earnings plunge, while local and state governments are likely to see lower tax revenue. That makes it harder for them to borrow.

“There is a growing certainty that we’re facing an economic contraction, so it’s natural for investors to become more concerned about risk,” Friedman said. “The Fed is trying to play the role of shock absorber.”

WATCH: The economic fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak

The flood of selling has pushed up short-term borrowing costs for companies, states and cities, and banks, even as the Fed has tried to lower interest rates more broadly by cutting its benchmark rate on Sunday to nearly zero. The Fed’s efforts are intended to offset those increases in borrowing costs, which could exacerbate the economic downturn by forcing companies and local governments to lay off even more workers.

“They’ve effectively thrown the kitchen sink at the markets and the economy,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior U.S. rates strategist for TD Securities.

Goldberg said the Fed’s efforts are starting to bear fruit, with some short-term rates stabilizing.

The Fed is also trying to clear markets by ramping up its purchases. On Friday, it bought $75 billion of Treasurys and $47 billion of mortgage-backed securities. By comparison, when the Fed engaged in long-term asset purchases in its third round of quantitative easing in 2012, it bought $45 billion a month.

All told, the New York Fed has bought about $280 billion of Treasuries, more than half of its planned $500 billion. On Friday it said will buy $100 billion of mortgage-backed bonds next week, including $40 billion on Monday.

Those purchases provide more cash to banks, which are also seeing many corporate clients draw down billions of dollars on their credit lines.

Goldberg noted that the value of outstanding Treasurys has more than doubled since 2010, after the financial crisis, but banks are less willing to hold them, which makes the Treasury market less liquid.

That is a problem, because the $17 billion Treasury market, the largest in the world, influences a wide range of borrowing costs, including rates for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.

The Fed also announced Friday that it would expand an emergency lending program, which it just launched Wednesday, to loan money to banks, which would use the funds to purchase highly rated municipal bonds from money market mutual funds or from muni bond funds. The goal is to stabilize the $3.8 trillion muni bond market and ensure states and cities and other public entities, including hospitals, can borrow at low cost.

The emergency lending program, known as the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, was first used during the 2008 financial crisis, but its expansion to include muni bonds is a new step that wasn’t taken back then.

States and cities are facing a looming cash crunch as revenue from sales taxes and other levies are likely to fall sharply in the coming weeks and months. At the same time, many public institutions are facing higher costs, particularly hospitals and other health programs.

The Fed has in the past come under criticism from Democrats in Congress for not using its emergency lending powers to assist struggling local governments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday to consider doing so. The Fed said its action Friday was in response to turmoil in financial markets.

Also Friday, the Fed said it would expand its currency exchanges with five central banks, including by providing week-long exchanges, or currency swaps, every day rather than once a week.

The Fed provides dollars to overseas central banks because some business is conducted overseas in dollars and foreign banks also provide dollar-denominated loans to their customers.

The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order

China Is Maneuvering for International Leadership as the United States Falters

By Kurt M. Campbell and Rush Doshi March 18, 2020 (foreignaffairs.com)

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a hospital in Wuhan, China, March 2020Xie Huanchi Xinhua / eyevine / Redux

With hundreds of millions of people now isolating themselves around the world, the novel coronavirus pandemic has become a truly global event. And while its geopolitical implications should be considered secondary to matters of health and safety, those implications may, in the long term, prove just as consequential—especially when it comes to the United States’ global position. Global orders have a tendency to change gradually at first and then all at once. In 1956, a botched intervention in the Suez laid bare the decay in British power and marked the end of the United Kingdom’s reign as a global power. Today, U.S. policymakers should recognize that if the United States does not rise to meet the moment, the coronavirus pandemic could mark another “Suez moment.”

It is now clear to all but the most blinkered partisans that Washington has botched its initial response. Missteps by key institutions, from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have undermined confidence in the capacity and competence of U.S. governance. Public statements by President Donald Trump, whether Oval Office addresses or early-morning tweets, have largely served to sow confusion and spread uncertainty. Both public and private sectors have proved ill-prepared to produce and distribute the tools necessary for testing and response. And internationally, the pandemic has amplified Trump’s instincts to go it alone and exposed just how unprepared Washington is to lead a global response.

The status of the United States as a global leader over the past seven decades has been built not just on wealth and power but also, and just as important, on the legitimacy that flows from the United States’ domestic governance, provision of global public goods, and ability and willingness to muster and coordinate a global response to crises. The coronavirus pandemic is testing all three elements of U.S. leadership. So far, Washington is failing the test.

As Washington falters, Beijing is moving quickly and adeptly to take advantage of the opening created by U.S. mistakes, filling the vacuum to position itself as the global leader in pandemic response. It is working to tout its own system, provide material assistance to other countries, and even organize other governments. The sheer chutzpah of China’s move is hard to overstate. After all, it was Beijing’s own missteps—especially its efforts at first to cover up the severity and spread of the outbreak—that helped create the very crisis now afflicting much of the world. Yet Beijing understands that if it is seen as leading, and Washington is seen as unable or unwilling to do so, this perception could fundamentally alter the United States’ position in global politics and the contest for leadership in the twenty-first century.

MISTAKES WERE MADE

In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease now referred to as COVID-19, the missteps of Chinese leaders cast a pall on their country’s global standing. The virus was first detected in November 2019 in the city of Wuhan, but officials didn’t disclose it for months and even punished the doctors who first reported it, squandering precious time and delaying by at least five weeks measures that would educate the public, halt travel, and enable widespread testing. Even as the full scale of the crisis emerged, Beijing tightly controlled information, shunned assistance from the CDC, limited World Health Organization travel to Wuhan, likely undercounted infections and deaths, and repeatedly altered the criteria for registering new COVID-19 cases—perhaps in a deliberate effort to manipulate the official number of cases.

As the crisis worsened through January and February, some observers speculated that the coronavirus might even undermine the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. It was called China’s “Chernobyl”; Dr. Li Wenliang—the young whistleblower silenced by the government who later succumbed to complications from the COVID-19—was likened to the Tiananmen Square “tank man.”

Yet by early March, China was claiming victory.Mass quarantines, a halt to travel, and a complete shutdown of most daily life nationwide were credited with having stemmed the tide; official statistics, such as they are, reported that daily new cases had fallen into the single digits in mid-March from the hundreds in early February. In a surprise to most observers, Chinese leader Xi Jinping—who had been uncharacteristically quiet in the first weeks—began to put himself squarely at the center of the response. This month, he personally visited Wuhan.

Even though life in China has yet to return to normal (and despite continuing questions over the accuracy of China’s statistics), Beijing is working to turn these early signs of success into a larger narrative to broadcast to the rest of the world—one that makes China the essential player in a coming global recovery while airbrushing away its earlier mismanagement of the crisis. 

Beijing is working to turn early signs of success into a larger narrative to broadcast to the rest of the world.

A critical part of this narrative is Beijing’s supposed success in battling the virus. A steady stream of propaganda articles, tweets, and public messaging, in a wide variety of languages, touts China’s achievements and highlights the effectiveness of its model of domestic governance. “China’s signature strength, efficiency and speed in this fight has been widely acclaimed,” declared Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. China, he added, set “a new standard for the global efforts against the epidemic.” Central authorities have instituted tight informational control and discipline at state organs to snuff out contradictory narratives.

These messages are helped by the implicit contrast with efforts to battle the virus in the West, particularly in the United States—Washington’s failure to produce adequate numbers of testing kits, which means the United States has tested relatively few people per capita, or the Trump administration’s ongoing disassembly of the U.S. government’s pandemic-response infrastructure. Beijing has seized the narrative opportunity provided by American disarray, its state media and diplomats regularly reminding a global audience of the superiority of Chinese efforts and criticizing the “irresponsibility and incompetence” of the “so-called political elite in Washington,” as the state-run Xinhua news agency put it in an editorial.

Chinese officials and state media have even insisted that the coronavirus did not in fact emerge from China—despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—in order to reduce China’s blame for the global pandemic. This effort has elements of a full-blown Russian-style disinformation campaign, with China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman and over a dozen diplomats sharing poorly sourced articles accusing the U.S. military of spreading the coronavirus in Wuhan. These actions, combined with China’s unprecedented mass expulsion of journalists from three leading American papers, damage China’s pretensions to leadership.

CHINA MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES

Xi understands that providing global goods can burnish a rising power’s leadership credentials. He has spent the last several years pushing China’s foreign policy apparatus to think harder about leading reforms to “global governance,” and the coronavirus offers an opportunity to put that theory into action. Consider China’s increasingly well-publicized displays of material assistance—including masks, respirators, ventilators, and medicine. At the outset of the crisis, China purchased and produced (and received as aid) vast quantities of these goods. Now it is in a position to hand them out to others.

When no European state answered Italy’s urgent appeal for medical equipment and protective gear, China publicly committed to sending 1,000 ventilators, two million masks, 100,000 respirators, 20,000 protective suits, and 50,000 test kits. China has also dispatched medical teams and 250,000 masks to Iran and sent supplies to Serbia, whose president dismissed European solidarity as “a fairy tale” and proclaimed that “the only country that can help us is China.” Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has promised to send large quantities of testing kits and masks to the United States, as well as 20,000 test kits and 100,000 masks to each of Africa’s 54 countries.

Beijing’s edge in material assistance is enhanced by the simple fact that much of what the world depends on to fight the coronavirus is made in China. It was already the major producer of surgical masks; now, through wartime-like industrial mobilization, it has boosted production of masks more than tenfold, giving it the capacity to provide them to the world. China also produces roughly half of the N95 respirators critical for protecting health workers (it has forced foreign factories in China to make them and then sell them directly to the government), giving it another foreign policy tool in the form of medical equipment. Meanwhile, antibiotics are critical for addressing emerging secondary infections from COVID-19, and China produces the vast majority of active pharmaceutical ingredients necessary to make them.

Beijing’s edge in material assistance is enhanced by the fact that much of what the world depends on to fight the coronavirus is made in China.

The United States, by contrast, lacks the supply and capacity to meet many of its own demands, let alone to provide aid in crisis zones elsewhere. The picture is grim. The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s reserve of critical medical supplies, is believed to have only one percent of the masks and respirators and perhaps ten percent of the ventilators needed to deal with the pandemic. The rest will have to be made up with imports from China or rapidly increased domestic manufacturing. Similarly, China’s share of the U.S. antibiotics market is more than 95 percent, and most of the ingredients cannot be manufactured domestically. Although Washington offered assistance to China and others at the outset of the crisis, it is less able to do so now, as its own needs grow; Beijing, in contrast, is offering aid precisely when the global need is greatest.

Crisis response, however, is not only about material goods. During the 2014–15 Ebola crisis, the United States assembled and led a coalition of dozens of countries to counter the spread of the disease. The Trump administration has so far shunned a similar leadership effort to respond to the coronavirus. Even coordination with allies has been lacking. Washington appears, for example, not to have given its European allies any prior notice before instituting a ban on travel from Europe.

China, by contrast, has undertaken a robust diplomatic campaign to convene dozens of countries and hundreds of officials, generally by videoconference, to share information about the pandemic and lessons from China’s own experience battling the disease. Like much of China’s diplomacy, these convening efforts are largely conducted at the regional level or through regional bodies. They include calls with central and eastern European states through the “17 + 1” mechanism, with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s secretariat, with ten Pacific Island states, and with other groupings across Africa, Europe, and Asia. And China is working hard to publicize such initiatives. Virtually every story on the front page of its foreign-facing propaganda organs advertises China’s efforts to help different countries with goods and information while underscoring the superiority of Beijing’s approach.

HOW TO LEAD

China’s chief asset in its pursuit of global leadership—in the face of the coronavirus and more broadly—is the perceived inadequacy and inward focus of U.S. policy. The ultimate success of China’s pursuit, therefore, will depend as much on what happens in Washington as on what happens in Beijing. In the current crisis, Washington can still turn the tide if it proves capable of doing what is expected of a leader: managing the problem at home, supplying global public goods, and coordinating a global response. 

The first of those tasks—stopping the spread of the disease and protecting vulnerable populations in the United States—is most urgent and largely a question of domestic governance rather than geopolitics. But how Washington goes about it will have geopolitical implications, and not just insofar as it does or does not reestablish confidence in the U.S. response. For example, if the federal government immediately supports and subsidizes expansion of domestic production of masks, respirators, and ventilators—a response befitting the wartime urgency of this pandemic—it would both save American lives and help others around the world by reducing the scarcity of global supplies.

While the United States isn’t currently able to meet the urgent material demands of the pandemic, its continuing global edge in the life sciences and biotechnology can be instrumental in finding a real solution to the crisis: a vaccine. The U.S. government can help by providing incentives to U.S. labs and companies to undertake a medical “Manhattan Project” to devise, rapidly test in clinical trials, and mass-produce a vaccine. Because these efforts are costly and require dauntingly high upfront investments, generous government financing and bonuses for successful vaccine production could make a difference. And it is worth noting that despite Washington’s mismanagement, state and local governments, nonprofit and religious organizations, universities, and companies are not waiting for the federal government to get its act together before taking action. U.S.-funded companies and researchers are already making progress toward a vaccine—though even in the best-case scenario, it will be some time before one is ready for widespread use.

Yet even as it focuses on efforts at home, Washington cannot simply ignore the need for a coordinated global response. Only strong leadership can solve global coordination problems related to travel restrictions, information sharing, and the flow of critical goods. The United States has successfully provided such leadership for decades, and it must do so again.

That leadership will also require effectively cooperating with China, rather than getting consumed by a war of narratives about who responded better. Little is gained by repeatedly emphasizing the origins of the coronavirus—which are already widely known despite China’s propaganda—or engaging in petty tit-for-tat rhetorical exchanges with Beijing. As Chinese officials accuse the U.S. military of spreading the virus and lambaste U.S. efforts, Washington should respond when necessary but generally resist the temptation to put China at the center of its coronavirus messaging. Most countries coping with the challenge would rather see a public message that stresses the seriousness of a shared global challenge and possible paths forward (including successful examples of coronavirus response in democratic societies such as Taiwan and South Korea). And there is much Washington and Beijing could do together for the world’s benefit: coordinating vaccine research and clinical trials as well as fiscal stimulus; sharing information; cooperating on industrial mobilization (on machines for producing critical respirator components or ventilator parts, for instance); and offering joint assistance to others.

Ultimately, the coronavirus might even serve as a wake-up call, spurring progress on other global challenges requiring U.S.-Chinese cooperation, such as climate change. Such a step should not be seen—and would not be seen by the rest of the world—as a concession to Chinese power. Rather, it would go some way toward restoring faith in the future of U.S. leadership. In the current crisis, as in geopolitics today more generally, the United States can do well by doing good.

“Coronavirus Capitalism”: Naomi Klein’s Case for Transformative Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

March 20, 2020 (democracynow.org) Author, activist and journalist Naomi Klein says the coronavirus crisis, like earlier ones, could be a catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to most workers and small businesses. In 2007, Klein wrote “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Now she argues President Trump’s plan is a pandemic shock doctrine. In a new video for The Intercept, where she is a senior correspondent, Klein argues it’s vital for people to fight for the kind of transformative change that can not only curb the worst effects of the current crisis but also set society on a more just path.

HAIRY LEGS – Songify Joe Biden getting fired up about legs and the hairiness thereof

schmoyoho The track for all your dance parties: https://open.spotify.com/album/6hqAIC… (and everywhere else, too) Vice President Biden knows that to catch up he must talk about his strengths. So he aims to fight Sanders, Warren, and the rest of the Democratic contenders with cold, hard, facts about his sun-bleached, hairy legs, setting the tone for the tough battle ahead on the road to Election 2020. Original hairy legs / Corn Pop video! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oihV9… *Disclaimer––”Hairy legs” was not discussed at the debate, please explain when showing to anyone above the age of 65*

Articles & Article on Coronavirus ~ Resources ~ Actions ~ Events (from Adrienne Fong)

Please hold  Clark Sullivan ♥ in your thoughts. No visitors are allowed at the facility at this time Info below if you would like to send him a note

 Clark remains hospitalized at:

 Kindred Hospital San Francisco Bay Area
 2800 Benedict Dr., Room 415-2
San Leandro

NOT back posting on a regular basis

– Please post events on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events

At this time I’m not posting events that are being held indoors, unless the event is made available on the internet.

Some events are being held via the internet – I know this puts a divide with those that “have” and the “have nots”

Am posting some articles and there is a section that has Coronavirus related articles onlyand a resource section

ARTICLES:

A. Citing coronavirus, homeless families seize 12 vacant homes in L.A.: ‘We have to do this’ – March 18, 2020

https://news.yahoo.com/citing-coronavirus-homeless-families-seize-020851585.html

B. Why is the U.S. bombing Iraq During a Pandemic?  March 18, 2020

C. Israeli MP presents bills to annex Jordan Valley, impose death penalty on Palestinians – March 18, 2020

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-bills-annex-jordan-valley-and-impose-death-penalty-palestinian?fbclid=IwAR2DcbngXHzlvYLLgzQWSgrKXal1TxYai1-6tjG1crSdbS6Oc8LxJibHEM0

D. Chelsea Manning is Free and Quarter Million in Fines  Paid! – March 14, 2020

https://couragetoresist.org/chelsea-manning-is-free-and-quarter-million-in-fines-nearly-paid/?fbclid=IwAR31u8azRJHmeUR3BFzmijN5h_JDqrgV5Co7gjxvKIlViGgpqrgg0PVoGiY

E. Unhoused Mothers in L.A. Take Over Vacant House, Demand Local Gov’t Use Vacant Properties to House People Immediately

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/3/16/headlines/unhoused_mothers_in_la_take_over_vacant_house_demand_local_govt_use_vacant_properties_to_house_people_immediately?fbclid=IwAR1fRyLM4BGoJuRzoR7WfA3Lj-oLr1FVfduB2CbGcIChn114ieFOEqwlwJ4

F. US keeping two carriers in Mideast, moving Patriot missile batteries into Iraq as Iran tensions mount – March 13, 2020

https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2020/03/13/us-keeping-two-carriers-in-mideast-moving-patriot-missile-batteries-into-iraq-as-iran-tensions-mount/

G. Space Force: The tragic weaponization of space  – March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Related Articles

A. Coronavirus: California prepared to enact martial law if its a ‘necessity’, governor says  – March 18, 2020

https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-california-prepared-enact-martial-215237009.html

B. Italy reports 475 coronavirus deaths in one day, cases top 35,000 – March 18, 2020

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/488267-italy-reports-475-deaths-in-one-day?fbclid=IwAR2ZPvR3nuuGw0YTtjpKd8E1Vv594VuveeKCUM_fGliI6a4yW-4vhOTsLQg

C. Coronavirus: San Francisco, Contra Costa prosecutors join national call for jail releases – March 17, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Coronavirus-San-Francisco-Contra-Costa-15137291.php

D. Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Bolsonaro’s Brazil Begs for Cuban Doctors – After Expelling Them – March 17, 2020

E. Pentagon Preparing Navy Hospital Ships Mercy, Comfort for Coronavirus Response  – March 17, 2020

F. Cuba gives permission for cruise ship carrying COVID-19 patients to dock citing solidarity and health as a human right – March 16, 2020

https://cuba-solidarity.org.uk/news/article/3956/cuba-gives-permission-for-cruise-ship-carrying-covid-19-patients-to-dock-citing-solidarity-and-health-as-a-human-right

G. Equating coronavirus with terror, Netanyahu turns surveillance powers on Israelis – March 15, 2020

https://www.972mag.com/netanyahu-surveillance-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR0nXltL-8jIiNXneRaLysJP3s23xrjG4_tCK7s1pmmqZg1U8Tdp5BKspgg

H. Coronavirus Updates: Cuba Sends Doctors to Italy – March 13, 2020

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Trump-Declares-State-of-Emergency-Over-Coronavirus–20200313-0014.html?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR0D2xUsCX9jd6AkaIC82LXDdEiC54higCKJTwgFwP9eYoHMIbHv9fJRgEQ

I. Federal judge cites coronavirus in decision blocking Trump admin cut to food stamps – March 13, 2020

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/487551-federal-judge-cites-coronavirus-in-decision-blocking-trump-admin-cut

J. Coronavirus fears prompt call for SF police to halt arrests in non-violent cases – March 12, 2020

K. Under US sanctions, Google removes Iran’s coronavirus app – March 11, 2020

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/11/620625/Google-Iran-coronavirus-US-sanctions-Trump-medicine

L. Meet the FREE, Public Hand-Washing Stations Popping Up Around SF – March 10, 2020

M. How testing failures allowed coronavirus to sweep the U.S

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/06/coronavirus-testing-failure-123166?fbclid=IwAR1rdmuTZySUMk27FVwiWA-WNoNTpNs6Dwf8JkYUt3Uzz4_o2qbHQBKgStg

RESOURCES during this crisis:

LIST: Financial resources to help if you are impacted by coronavirus

https://abc7news.com/finance/list-financial-resources-to-help-if-you-are-impacted-by-coronavirus-/6004153/?fbclid=IwAR3SGKi9IJMp0r0o0Ui53TieOyo8ysJCAJ3DKi3j5d2FCxOaQhTO5PY5bTM

Info on Free Student Meals  in SF & OAKLAND during Covid19 school closures:

SAN FRANCISCO: Where Families Can Get Free Breakfast and Lunch in San Francisco During School Closures

OAKLAND: Free Student Meals During COVID-19 Closure

https://www.ousd.org/covid-19studentmeals?fbclid=IwAR1OjPotpuUaTcOFCzdVMQ-I5HDWPXWwStw9H7ANLU4zuJbTQeOMmNG2zs8

Local volunteers offer delivery service to elderly, at-risk-population in San Francisco – March 18, 2020

From APTP -some resources that could be of use to you during this crisis:

Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines to help keep you and your family safe. According to the CDC:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in public or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  2. Cover your mouth with your elbow when coughing and sneezing.
  3. Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
  4. Adhere to your state and local guidelines for movement about your community.
  5. Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces using EPA-registered household disinfectants like Clorox or Lysol.

Most importantly, please consult your health care provider if you feel sick.

ACTIONS

Urgent action needed: Armed police attack Indigenous people and lands:

1. Protect Indigenous Sovereignty: Demand fossil fuel profiteers JPMorgan Chase and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. defund the Coastal GasLink pipeline

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-to-protect-indigenous-sovereignty-demand-fossil-fuel-profiteers-jpmorgan-chase-and-kohlberg-kravis-roberts-co-divest-from-coastal-gaslink-pipeline?source=20200303_WetsuwetenSolidarity_FOE&referrer=group-friends-of-the-earth-action

2. Demand the House pass the Ban Fracking Act!

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-demand-the-house-pass-the-ban-fracking-act?source=20200218_SW_BanFracking_GP&referrer=group-greenpeace-usa&redirect=https%3a%2f%2fengage.us.greenpeace.org%2fonlineactions%2f2HsFgkVa2Umgx37897yUSA2%3futm_source%3ddailykos%26utm_medium%3demail%26utm_campaign%3dclimateleadership%26utm_content%3ddkos%26sourceid%3d1007420&emci=16ec6fc8-2062-ea11-a94c-00155d03b5dd&emdi=bc78eb8c-c963-ea11-a94c-00155d03b5dd&ceid=357301

3. Stop Wall Street from using the coronavirus to weaken regulations

  SIGN: https://act.demandprogress.org/sign/coronavirus-wall-street-mo/

4. Add your name now to ensure all people, regardless of immigration status, have access to care and support to face the COVID-19 pandemic!

  SIGN: https://unitedwedreamaction.org/covid/?link_id=0&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-firstname-default-friend-we-made-a-video-for-you-2&email_referrer=email_741512___subject_1003680&email_subject=corona-being-undocumeted-what-you-can-do

5. Tell Congress: We demand nurses are protected during COVID-19.

  SIGN: https://act.medicare4all.org/signup/covid-19-protect?akid=s16976..h8_cmj&fbclid=IwAR1rYLwMenJdebgVr86vVI-PHf0dNsfkvMJRwJsbd0NHNDBXuAUyF8soqs0

6. Put Workers First in any Airline & Airport Bailout

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/workers-first-in-any-airline-and-airport-bailout/?link_id=1&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-urgent-demand-workers-first-in-any-airline-airport-bailout&email_referrer=email_754411___subject_1009211&email_subject=_urgent-demand-workers-first-in-any-airline-airport-bailout

7. Pay laid off arena and stadium workers

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/pay-laid-off-arena-and-stadium-workers?link_id=3&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-urgent-petition-pay-laid-off-arena-stadium-workers&email_referrer=email_751259&email_subject=_urgent-petition-pay-laid-off-arena-stadium-workers

8. President Trump: Halt Humanitarian Sanctions on Iran to Combat Coronavirus

  SIGN: https://www.niacaction.org/halt-humanitarian-sanctions-to-combat-coronavirus/?emci=044b4746-6d65-ea11-a94c-00155d03b5dd&emdi=0ef76484-b667-ea11-a94c-00155d03b5dd&ceid=270073

9. Pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

SIGN: https://secure2.convio.net/npwf/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=00000000.app20111a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1323&NONCE_TOKEN=3984872A84889A32249B480C5F3BC71D

10. Tell the FCC: Stop the Spread of Misinformation About Coronavirus

  SIGN: https://act.freepress.net/sign/journ_misinfo_fcc/?akid=14283.9502321.e-WRGG&rd=1&t=4

EVENTS

Thursday, March 19

1. Thursday, 5:00pm – 6:30pm, SFMTA Budget Online Open House

You are invited to an online SFMTA Budget Open House on Thursday, March 19 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. to gather your input and answer your questions about the key transportation decisions to be made for Fiscal Years 2021-2022. Details on how to participate will be posted on this site.

https://www.sfmta.com/projects/meeting-transportation-needs-growing-city-sfmta-budget-fiscal-years-2021-2022?fbclid=IwAR1bfOTYpepoZ9WgVBq3yyhxI23zf0jf3qNAvSbCdBAkgwEnUq2CKO_KhX0

To provide your input or ask a question ahead of time, please e-mail sfmtabudget@sfmta.com, leave a voice mail at 415.646.2222, or tweet @sfmta_muni #SFMTAbudget 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) invites you to share your ideas and let us know your priorities for the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget.

This Open House is one of several opportunities to hear and discuss the budget outlook, including proposals related to Muni fares and service, bike projects, pedestrian infrastructure, taxis, parking, street improvements and more.

Friday, March 20

2. Friday, 11:00am – 12:30pm (EDT);  8:00am – 9:30am (PDT) Webinar: Caregiving, the Unwaged Work Protecting People & Planet

*** RSVP here to receive Zoom link within 24 hours. ****
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-valuing-caregiving-the-unwaged-work-that-protects-people-and-the-environment-tickets-100185379166

The workshop we planned for the 64th UN Commission on the Status of Women has even more urgency now as the global pandemic has exposed how central caregiving is to life and survival, and how much caregivers are relied on for services governments are not providing. But where is the relief package for caregivers? We hope you can join in the webinar and follow us at: #CAREINCOMENOW

Unpaid work contributes $16 trillion to the world economy.

With
SELMA JAMES – founder of the Intl Wages for Housework Campaign and coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike from London;

LIZ HILTON, Empower (Thailand);

LEDDY MOZOMBITE, Domestic Workers Federation and Global Women’s Strike (Peru);

PEGGY O’MARA, former editor of Mothering Magazine;

MARGARET PRESCOD, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike and Intl Black Women for Wages for Housework; host of “Sojourner Truth” on Pacifica Radio;

REV. LIZ THEOHARIS, Poor People’s Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival;

Chaired by PHOEBE JONES, Women in Dialogue. Q&A to follow the presentations.

The Webinar aims to discuss and gather support for ● global implementation of measuring & valuing unwaged caregiving work ● the impact of COVID-19 on caregivers’ work ● accessing resources for survival and beyond – free healthcare, paid maternity leave, benefits, piped water & more for this work which is central to combating poverty & climate change ● campaigning for a Care Income for all caring for people, communities & the environment (Green New Deal for Europe, 2019).

Hosts: Global Women’s Strike Philadelphia, Women of Colour Global Womens Strike, Global Women’s Strike

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/566505370874824/

 Saturday, March 21

3. Saturday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Alex Nieto’s Sixth Angelversary (Light a candle in remembrance of Alex)

Six years ago today,

On March 21, 2014, Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, 28 years old, was killed when he was struck by 14 to 15 bullets (of a total of 59 shots) fired by four San Francisco Police Department officers, on Bernal Hill Park, without justification. The officers who killed Alex Nieto are: Sgt. Jason Sawyer (then lieutenant. He is also the killer of John Smart in 1998!), Officer Roger Morse, Officer Richard Schiff, and Officer Nathan Chew.

Please hold Refugio and Elvira Nieto and their family and friends in  your thoughts today. If you feel moved, light a candle in remembrance of Alex.

4. Saturday, 10:00pm, ’48 Hours’ Visits death row inmate Kevin Cooper in San Quentin

10pm time is for SF.

Check your local CBS station for time where you reside.

A CBS News producer shares her eye-opening experience meeting a death row inmate for the first time.

Sneak Peek of program

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kevin-cooper-san-quentin-state-prison-48-hours/

COVID-19 UPDATE – Where do we go? Berkeley

From: Andrea Henson <ajohnlaw19@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 16:41:39 -0700
Subject: COVID-19 UPDATE – Where do we go? Berkeley

Thank you to all of our donors! We made our goal of $15,000! We want to let everyone know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are protecting our residents. We could not do this without your generous contributions and support.

Tomorrow we will install 4 more porta potties for a total of 6 at the 4 encampments. Seabreeze encampment will have 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. We will put a porta potty at Gilman and at Ashby/Shellmound. Each porta potty will have a dispenser for hand sanitizer so that residents will have their own supply.

We will not wait for the city because the health of our residents is far too important. However, we are working with the city on how to best serve the residents of the encampment. Our goal is to collaborate to protect the health of all.

We are working on trash removal at all of the encampments. We will provide some with tents. The camps are overrun with rats. The rats are eating through the tents. Many have had to move in together because rats have moved into their tents. That makes it hard to self-isolate or practice social distancing. We are working with various agencies to come up with a solution to our trash problem.

We have approached a city council member in Emeryville to help us provide resources to our residents at Ashby/Shellmound. This encampment is partially in Berkeley and partially in Emeryville. It is time to work together on services at this location.

We are working on lots of solutions and ways to mitigate risk posed to residents in the encampments. We are so very grateful for all of the donations. We are working very hard to protect all Berkeley residents. More updates to come. Thank you again for all of your help, donations, assistance and support.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/where-do-we-go-berk-ca