Today’s News: May 08, 2020

 

World News

 

Irish People Are Repaying Debt of Gratitude to Suffering Native Americans 170 Years After Potato Famine

Good News Network – A repayment of gratitude 170 years in the making has rekindled an affectionate bond linking the Great Irish Potato Famine of almost two centuries ago with a Native American tribe in Oklahoma suffering today from the coronavirus pandemic.

In 1847, when Ireland was experiencing years of starvation due to a potato blight, the North American Choctaw tribe joined a compassionate campaign in the U.S. to help these strangers an ocean away.

Despite their own suffering, having been forced to relocate hundreds of miles from their native land, the tribe pooled their pennies and raised $170 (almost $5,000 in today’s currency) to send to the Emerald Isle through a relief fund.

Today, the Navajo and Hopi tribes have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their high rate of infection is thought to be due to a lack of running water in one-third of all homes and shortage of groceries, forcing families to leave the reservation for supplies.

To finance a plan to provide bottled water and other supplies directly to the reservation, a GoFundMe campaign was set up by Navajo and Hopi families. Now, almost $2.7 million has been raised so far, with many donations flowing in from Irish citizens expressing gratitude for the help they received so many decades ago.

 

Venezuela enacts strict price controls amid coronavirus pandemic, basic goods now priced higher than minimum wages

Dr. Leonard Coldwell – Amid a continuing rise in coronavirus cases, as well as burgeoning hyperinflation, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the return of strict price controls on basic goods in the South American country. Maduro made the announcement, which will affect over two dozen basic commodities, during a special broadcast aired by the country’s state-run television station.

“I have given precise instructions to tackle speculation by those sectors of the economy that do not want to cooperate with the country,” Maduro said Thursday. He noted that all government mechanisms related to the regulation and monitoring of the production, costs and prices of basic goods are now activated.

“Private economic actors need to get serious because they are dealing with revolutionaries,” Maduro stated in his address, adding that the Venezuelan government is “ready” to make decisions and find solutions.

The decision to enact price controls stem from the country’s worsening inflation rate. According to the central bank, Venezuela’s inflation rate was pegged at 124 percent in the first three months of 2020. This has since been worsened by the pandemic.

To add to this, the acute fuel shortage plaguing the South American nation has complicated the transport of goods. This, in turn has fed the unprecedented rise in consumer prices.

Maduro’s move marked the return of strict state economic controls. This follows more than a year of their relaxation in the face of sanctions enforced by the U.S. government. (Related: First Venezuela, now Argentina on the verge of financial catastrophe)

As per the government’s directive, prices for beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fresh milk, powdered milk, dry pasta, corn flour, wheat flour, sugar, table salt, canned tuna and sardines, as well as butter and cooking oil, among others, will be under strict government observation.

Eneida Laya Lugo, Venezuela’s Minister of Commerce, first posted the full list on Twitter, listing the prices in both bolivares and Petros — a cryptocurrency managed by the Venezuelan government.

The prices, however, have since come under scrutiny, as these were allegedly higher than the minimum wage currently mandated by the government.

Eggs, for example, were priced at 596,197 bolivares or roughly two U.S. dollars upon conversion. The current minimum wage in Venezuela is 400,000 bolivares.

 

U.S. News, Politics & Government

 

Ventura County Ca, “We Will Be Removing People From Their Homes” Contact Tracing Gone Wrong

Before It’s News – Ventura County Ca just announce that they will be removing people from their homes if they test positive for Covid 19.

If individuals are not able to isolate from the rest of their family, they will be removed. 

If there is only one bathroom in a home and one person tests positive, they will be removed from the home.

 

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther speaks out after release from jail: ‘I couldn’t bring myself to apologize’

Fox – Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther, who was ordered jailed for seven days Tuesday after she violated a local coronavirus-related business closure order, joined “Hannity” for an interview Thursday, hours after her release.

Luther said she is feeling much better after being allowed to go back home, and told host Sean Hannity she stands by her decision not to apologize as instructed by state District Judge Eric Moye.

“That was the last thing I was going to do, honestly,” she said. ” … I just couldn’t, I couldn’t bring myself to apologize.”

Moye gave Luther the option of avoiding prison if she apologized for what he described as her “selfish” behavior, paid a fine and kept her doors closed until Friday, when hair salons across Texas can open with restrictions.

 

California sheriff refuses to enforce state’s coronavirus stay-at-home orders: ‘Doesn’t make sense anymore’

Fox – Riverside County, Calif. Sheriff Chad Bianco said Friday that he refuses to make criminals out of law-abiding business owners exercising their constitutional rights and providing for their families.

“It’s time to get back opening up our businesses and letting our people do what our normal business activities are,” he said. “And, you know, you just can’t arrest somebody for going out and exercising in public or not wearing a mask. You know, at the same time they are trying to force me to release real criminals from jail. They want me to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens that are, you know, trying to support a family. It doesn’t make sense anymore.”

“The government should not be picking and choosing who gets to open. It doesn’t make sense that a small business can’t open but we can all go shoulder-to-shoulder in Costcos and Home Depots and that’s OK. But, we can’t responsibly go into smaller businesses and, you know, do what we’re supposed to be doing by keeping apart,” Bianco continued.

Bianco said residents can act responsibly and “don’t need the government being our parents.” He said the number of coronavirus cases in the area “are not coming out like they told us in the beginning” so people need to be able to go back to work and provide for their families.

The board of supervisors is continuing deliberation over whether to remove the county health officer’s order later Friday.

 

DOJ drops case against Michael Flynn, in wake of internal memo release  

Fox – The Justice Department on Thursday moved to drop its case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, in a stunning development that comes after internal memos were released raising serious questions about the nature of the investigation that led to Flynn’s late 2017 guilty plea of lying to the FBI.

 

Trump calls for ‘dirty cops’ to pay ‘big price’ for Russia probe after release of transcripts, in ‘Fox & Friends’ interview

Fox – President Trump, in an extensive interview Friday on “Fox & Friends,” tore into what he termed “dirty politicians” behind the Russia probe a day after transcripts were released showing that top Obama officials said they knew of no “direct” evidence of collusion involving the Trump campaign.

“It was a very dangerous situation what they did,” he said. “These are dirty politicians and dirty cops and some horrible people and hopefully they’re going to pay a big price in the not too distant future.”

It was a vague but ominous warning from the commander-in-chief, considering the history of the Russia probe is being reviewed to this day by U.S. Attorney John Durham.

Trump was specifically reacting to newly released transcripts of interviews from the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation revealed top Obama officials acknowledged they knew of no “empirical evidence” of a conspiracy despite their concerns and suspicions.

Trump on Friday didn’t hold back in his opinion of the California Democrat.

“So Schiff is a crooked politician, crooked as can be, one of the worst I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some beauties,” he said. “He’s a liar, he’s a terrible person, he’s terrible for our country.”

“Guys like that end up going down,” he said. “They’re crooked and bad.”

 

Trump hails ‘Bridgegate’ ruling, blames ‘corrupt’ prosecutors on case

Fox – President Trump on Friday hailed the Supreme Court’s “Bridgegate” ruling a day earlier, when the court threw out the federal convictions of former New Jersey officials who had been charged with fraud for their role in the controversy.

The president slammed the Obama administration’s Justice Department for “going after” former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while calling the prosecution “corrupt.”

“I think it’s the same group, basically,” Trump said during an exclusive interview with “Fox & Friends” Friday morning. “It’s the Comey group — whether he’s there or not, the whole thing whether he was involved, I don’t even know, but it’s the Obama Justice Department.”

“They went after Chris Christie and they went after that group of people,” Trump said of the Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court unanimously voted to throw out the convictions of ex-Christie aides Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, who had been charged with fraud for closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge under false pretenses for political purposes.

The president said that after the ruling, he called Christie and “congratulated him.”

“It destroyed his, probably, political career in a certain way, but I think now he can come back,” Trump said. “That’s better than a pardon, in a certain way. That’s better than a pardon. It’s better than anything you could get.”

The president added that “some very liberal judges,” referring to justices on the Supreme Court, “were voting in favor.”

 

Judge Rules It Is a Crime Not to Wear a Mask

Mercola – A judge in Harris County, Texas, ordered residents to wear face masks in public for 30 days or be faced with a fine; initially the order was also punishable by jail time.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was among those who pushed back against Hidalgo’s order, calling it an overreach driven by “hypocrisy and hysteria”.

Hidalgo’s mask order faced several legal challenges, including a court petition by Dr. Steven Hotze, which stated the order is unconstitutional. Gov. Greg Abbott ended up overruling the order, saying the county could not collect the fine.

Many other states, cities and counties in the U.S., and other countries, including Germany, have imposed fines for not wearing masks in public

 

Oklahoma House of Representatives Votes to Nullify Oklahoma Supreme Court

New American – The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted on Wednesday, in a party-line vote, to reverse the decision reached Monday by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that absentee ballots do not have to be notarized, as required by Oklahoma law. The House voted 74-26 to amend Senate Bill 210 (a bill dealing with election procedures) to restore the notarized signature requirement. The Senate, like the House, is overwhelmingly Republican, and is expected to follow suit within the next few days.

Governor Kevin Stitt is also a Republican, and he is expected to sign the legislation, a repudiation of the effort by the state’s Supreme Court to substitute its opinion for what the law should be over that of the elected Legislature.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax reportedly made recommendations as to how best to deal with the attempted usurpation of legislative power by the Supreme Court. Although the requirement that a ballot be notarized was restored, the bill did make some exceptions for the upcoming June 30 primary election. According to the modifications, if an emergency declaration is in effect within 45 days of the affected election, absentee voters could sign the ballot and mail it back in with a photocopy of their driver’s license, in lieu of a notarization by a Notary Public. Under Oklahoma law, notaries are required to notarize absentee ballots, without charge.

 

US northern border illegal crossings rise; many are Mexicans

AP – The number of people apprehended for illegally crossing from Canada into the United States along its northern border has nearly tripled over the past three years, and a growing portion are Mexican citizens, according to federal data.

One Mexican man who crossed illegally to work on a Vermont dairy farm said it was easier than trying the southern border.

 

Sen. Hawley Leading Calls For US to Leave World Trade Organization

Sputnik – Senator Josh Hawley has claimed that leaving the WTO will be an appropriate start for the US to turn a new leaf in trade ties with its historic allies and usher in a rebound in the COVID-19 lockdown-hit economy.

Washington’s long-standing criticism of the WTO has resumed, this time from a Midwestern lawmaker who sees the coronavirus pandemic as an  appropriate time to do something with the watchdog’s role and the US part in the global economy.

Writing in The New York Times op-ed page, Senator Josh Hawley has called for the abolition of the WTO, the oversight of which has caused American workers’ woes, he believes. He stressed in black and white that the US needs to draw a line under Chinese “imperialism” and renegotiate trade deals with allies, arguing that abandoning the WTO would be a starting point.

Hawley further proceeded by introducing a resolution in the Senate to pull the US out of the WTO.

 

Knock, Knock. We’re From The Government, And We Want Your Family’s Blood

Dr. Leonard Coldwell – Talk about creepy. The Georgia Department of Public Health has announced that it, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and county health boards are together sending teams of government agents to randomly selected homes in two Georgia counties. These teams of government agents are charged with asking questions, including about household members’ health, and extracting blood from all the people living in the homes. The reason given for the home visits is — you may have guessed it — coronavirus.

Scott Trubey writes at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the government agencies are seeking the blood to test for “antibodies to the novel coronavirus to pinpoint who might have had COVID-19 and estimate how widely the virus has traveled.”

People who live at the 420 randomly selected homes are free, Trubey writes, to refuse the questioning and blood drawing by the government inquisition and phlebotomy teams that show up at their front doors. But, in reality, people often find it hard to muster the courage to say “no” to government agents who accost them in person “asking” them to comply. People are intimidated. They think that even if they say “no” the requested action will still be taken anyway plus they will suffer additional consequences for resisting. That aids police efforts both to get people to say incriminating things and to obtain “permission” to search people and property, even from people who know evidence of a crime is likely to be found.

A CNN report by Dakin Andone shows that the government teams knocking on doors are employing some of the look of cops in their effort to obtain maximum voluntary compliance. Uniforms, government badges, official letters are all part of the process, just like when cops show up for a home search holding a warrant. Andone writes: “Health workers conducting the survey have CDC vests and badges, the news release said, and are carrying a letter from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health.” Plus, the goal of the people running the program is that the maximum number of people comply. Andone quotes Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey putting it this way: “We encourage everyone who is visited by the teams to participate in this very important survey that can help public health officials assess how widespread Covid-19 is in certain areas.”

In a Tuesday Washington Times editorial, Cheryl Chumley discusses in detail the disturbing nature of the knock-and-draw-blood program. And she points out that a government that really was seeking volunteers, instead of seeking to pressure people to comply, would act differently.

 

Economy & Business

 

Cord-Cutting Explodes in Q1 as Pay-TV Sector Delivers Worst-Ever Losses

Variety – Traditional cable and satellite TV providers posted their most massive quarterly subscriber losses in the first three months of 2020, as the COVID-19 tornado started to hit the U.S. economy in March. What’s more, internet-delivered “virtual” TV providers registered a net loss in the period, too.

And the cord-cutting bloss losses are only going to get worse in Q2, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus takes a deeper bite, analysts predict.

The combination of high prices — amid the backdrop of record unemployment — as well as loss of live sports fueled an overall drop of 1.8 million pay-TV subscribers in Q1, per estimates by Wall Street analyst firm MoffettNathanson. That translates into an annual rate of decline of 7.6%, the fastest shrinkage of the sector on record.

“At 63% of occupied households, traditional pay TV penetration has reached a level not previously seen since roughly 1995,” analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research note Friday. “There are now as many non-subscribing households (46M) as there were pay TV subscribers in 1988.”

 

Record 103,415,000 Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Sinks to 47-Year Low

CNSNews – The nation’s labor force participation rate reached a 47-year low of 60.2 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the number of people not in the labor force jumped by 6,570,000 to a record 103,415,000.

The participation rate has now dropped 2.5 percentage points since March, and it is the lowest it has been since the 60.0 percent recorded in January 1973.

 

US Postal Service warns pandemic threatens its survival

CNN – The US Postal Service is warning that the coronavirus pandemic began to harm business in late March which has continued to decline, a trend that threatens its survival.

 

Science & Technology

 

Elon Musk: Neuralink Will Do Human Brain Implant in “Less Than a Year”

Futurism – For the second time in two years, entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk sat down with podcaster Joe Rogan to chat about the future of AI and its role in the symbiosis of man and machine.

In their conversation, Musk revealed that the secretive brain stimulation link startup Neuralink, which he co-founded, is close to starting testing in actual humans.

“We’re not testing people yet, but I think it won’t be too long,” Musk told Rogan. “We may be able to implant a neural link in less than a year in a person I think.”

The news comes after Musk teased in February that the brain-computer interface startup was working on an “awesome” new version.

 

Health

 

Vitamin D levels may impact COVID-19 mortality rates, study claims

Fox – Researchers have discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates from the novel coronavirus, a new study reveals.

A research team led by Northwestern University analyzed data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected, according to the study.

The researchers also found a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm, which is a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system.

“Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients,” Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, said in a statement. “This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

However, the scientists also cautioned against hoarding vitamin D supplements.

 

Coronavirus May Reproduce in Eyes for Weeks

Mercola – A 65-year-old woman, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Italy, presented with an eye infection from which doctors cultured the virus 12 days after the infection improved.

Viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is highly contagious and usually self-limiting; it develops after exposure to the virus or if the virus spreads through the body.

Experts don’t believe members of the general public need face shields, but eye doctors may need to protect themselves from catching and transmitting the virus.

This discovery reinforces the need for frequent and careful hand-washing, avoiding touching your face and supporting your immune system to prevent infection