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18 minutes ago


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By Illuminati


Trump is a liar.

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20 minutes ago

Apr 2 - Target, Walmart, Costco ordered to stop sales of nonessential items in Vermont

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By Sin

(Meredith) - State officials in Vermont have ordered big-box retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Costco, to stop the in-person sale of nonessential products.

Instead, these stores must stick to selling critical items like food and prescription drugs amid the coronavirus pandemic, the a*sociated Press reported.

Items that cannot be sold in person include clothing, consumer electronics, books, furniture and sporting equipment. The stores can still sell nonessential items online, via telephone, delivery and curbside pick-up.

“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said on Tuesday. “This volume of shopping traffic significantly increases the risk of further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system."

As of Tuesday, Vermont had reported nearly 300 positive cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths.

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22 minutes ago

 Apr 2 - 1,400 NYPD officers have been infected with coronavirus

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By phantomnation

More than 1,400 New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers have been infected with the coronavirus as the city deals with record high emergency calls amid a lockdown of the city.

The department's commissioner, Dermont Shea, confirmed during an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto more than 1,400 officers have tested positive for the virus, while about 17 percent of the officers are out sick.

"The message is to all New Yorkers, 'We're all in this together'" Shea said.

In the past week, five members of the department have died of COVID-19-related causes: a detective in Harlem, a Queens school safety agent, two administrative aides and a custodian.

The department said Tuesday it will be getting an influx of personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and sanitizer to help keep its workforce safer during the outbreak.

CNBC reports more than 280 members of the Fire Department of New York, including firef*ghters, EMTs and civilians have been infected. The Fire Department also said the 911 call volume is hitting record highs daily.

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10 hours ago

Apr 1 - Americans purchasing record-breaking numbers of guns amid coronavirus

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By Putin~Work

Americans have responded to the coronavirus epidemic with a record-breaking number of gun purchases, according to new government data on the number of background checks conducted in March.

More than 3.7m total firearm background checks were conducted through the FBI’s background check system in March, the highest number on record in more than 20 years. An estimated 2.4m of those background checks were conducted for gun sales, according to adjusted statistics from a leading firearms industry trade group. That’s an 80% increase compared with the same month last year, the trade group said.

New York governor says US won’t ‘get back to normal’ after coronavirus
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Nearly 1.2m total gun background checks were conducted in a single week, starting 16 March, breaking all previous records going back to 1998, according to FBI data.

While the number of background checks doesn’t correlate one-to-one in terms of guns sold, the number of firearm background checks conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the best available proxy for gun sales in the United States. The figures highlight how the pandemic has created a surge in demand for gun ownership, with some gun stores finding themselves inundated with panic-buyers, including, at least anecdotally, many Americans purchasing a gun for the first time.

The record-breaking week of 16 March was when California residents were photographed lining up by the dozens outside local gun stores, as the Bay Area and then California as a whole announced the first emergency stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

Friday 20 March broke records for the highest number of firearms background checks conducted nationwide in a single day: 210,308.

Americans can buy multiple guns from a licensed gun dealer with a single background check, meaning that the number of checks conducted does not reflect the total number of guns sold.

In most states, private citizens can also sell guns to each other without a background check, and these private sales are not included in the FBI’s numbers. There is no way to track how many guns were bought and sold in private sales over the past month. Some states also allow residents who have a license to carry a concealed firearm in public to buy guns without a background check, another category of gun sales not included in the FBI’s statistics.

Federal firearms background checks are also conducted for reasons other than gun sales, including for validating permits to allow people to carry a concealed firearm in public, and, in California, for ammunition sales.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the American firearms industry, produces regular “adjusted” estimates for gun background checks that subtract out background checks that the FBI tags as related to concealed carry permit applications, or to period checks by officials to make sure permits are still valid. This produces a lower number that is a closer proxy for gun sales.

The trade group’s adjusted numbers for March are still “simply eye-popping”, Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the industry group, wrote in an email.

While these background check estimates are not a perfect measure, they are reliable and widely-used proxies for understanding broader firearms market trends.

The second-highest week of total firearms background checks on record was 17 December 2012, the week after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, left 20 children dead, and sparked fears that the United States would pass sweeping national gun control measures.

More than 950,000 firearms background checks were conducted that week, though US lawmakers would ultimately fail to pass any additional gun control legislation after resistance from gun rights activists and many Republican politicians.

While the FBI statistics do not include any information on what kind of purchasers are driving the spike in gun sales, some gun sellers have said they are seeing increased numbers of new gun owners.

“Retailers have been telling us that the overwhelming majority of those buying firearms over the last month have been first-time gun owners,” Oliva, the spokesman for the firearms industry trade group, wrote in an email.

American gun control advocates said they found the statistics on record-breaking numbers of firearms background checks concerning, and urged Americans to think twice before panic-buying a gun, particularly if they had never owned one before.

Concerns have also been raised about children sheltering at home in houses where they might have access to guns, as well as the risk of gun suicide, which amount to approximately two-thirds of US gun deaths each year.

“We need to prepare for the increased risk of more firearms in untrained hands,” David Chipman, a senior policy adviser at Giffords, a leading gun violence prevention expert, said in a statement. “If you didn’t think you needed a gun prior to March of this year, you certainly don’t need to rush out and get one now.”

Activists said that the number of guns sold in the past month could have been even higher, if some cities and states had not told gun retailers to close during stay-at-home orders, deeming them non-essential businesses. However, some of these orders have been changed under pressure from gun rights activists, particularly after the Trump administration included firearms manufacturers, retailers and shooting ranges as part of the national’s “essential critical infrastructure workforce”.

visit this link https://www.theguardian.c .. navirus-record

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11 hours ago

 Apr 1 - Lost 278 in NYC today to COVID-19.

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By Andrefrbk

Damn RIP to the victims.

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13 hours ago

Apr 1 - Denmark Passes Emergency Law to Allow Police to Enforce Mandatory Vaccinations

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By 925

Denmark's parliament on Thursday night unanimously passed an emergency coronavirus law which gives health authorities powers to force testing, treatment and quarantine with the backing of the police.The far-reaching new law will remain in force until March 2021, when it will expire under a sunset clause.

"I was touched when I saw the whole Parliament standing up and voting for this," Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told Danish state broadcaster DR after the law passed.

"It is time to put aside party politics and be together to do what it takes to bring Denmark safely through this situation." Jens Elo Rytter, law professor at Copenhagen University, said the measures were unlike anything passed in the last 75 years "It is certainly the most extreme since the Second World War," he told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. "There have been some powerful encroachments in various terror packages. But this goes further."

Trine Maria Ilsøe, DR's court correspondent, said that Danish citizens could face prosecution under the new law if they refused to comply with health authorities' demands. "It means that you could be sentenced to a punishment if you, for example, refuse to allow yourself to be tested for coronavirus," she said.

The Ministry of Health will now work with the Ministry of Justice on the details of how the police will work with health officials to enforce their demands.

As well as enforcing quarantine measures, the law also allows the authorities to force people to be vaccinated, even though there is currently no vaccination for the virus.

It also empowers them to prohibit access to public institutions, supermarkets and shops, public and private nursing homes and hospitals, and also to impose restrictions on access to public transport.

Initially, the government wanted to the law to give the police the right to enter private homes without a court order if there is a suspicion of coronavirus infection. But this was dropped after opposition from parties in the parliament.

visit this link .. oronavirus-law

You cowards ready to bend ever and let the police inject you with vaccines by force?

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13 hours ago

Apr 1 - trump news and sean hannity for a oan media reporter thot

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By messy marv stan

visit this link .. 160414949.html

President Trump has made contentious exchanges with reporters a feature of his daily coronavirus briefings, often using personal invective to bulldoze past questions about shortfalls with masks, ventilators and testing and his own past statements.

But he has shown an altogether different response to one lesser-known media outlet that he has turned to repeatedly as a safety net, frequently citing them by name:

"OAN, please."

At one recent briefing, Trump called on the outlet twice and elicited two versions of the same question — or statement.

"Mr. President, your approval ratings have been the highest they've ever been, as well as the ratings on your handling of the virus," Jenn Pellegrino, the OAN correspondent seated among the press, said Sunday. "Yet there are some networks that are saying they're debating whether or not to carry these briefings live. Do you think there's a link between the two?"

"Well, I don't know. I know that — boy, that’s a nice question," Trump said. "Thank you very much."

Minutes later, after he harshly criticized two other reporters who asked about his past comments by reading them aloud — he blasted Yamiche Alcindor of PBS for a "nasty question" and urged her to "be nice," and then reprimanded Jeremy Diamond of CNN as producing "fake news" — he called on Pellegrino a second time.

She largely rephrased the same question she had moments before.

"What do you say to these detractors?" she asked.

Trump responded with a 463-word soliloquy in which he singled out three news organizations (CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times) for criticism and insisted he wasn't interested in his television ratings, before noting that the New York Times had reported his ratings rivaled those of football games, and then portraying himself as a victim of media censorship

"I think it's terrible. When they don't want the president of the United States to have a voice, you're not talking about democracy any longer," Trump said. "Thank you very much."

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14 hours ago

 Watch: Russian aircraft departs for US with medical supplies

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By Putin~Work

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14 hours ago

Apr 1 - Trump: US to deploy anti-drug Navy ships near Venezuela

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By Putin~Work

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Navy ships are being moved toward Venezuela as his administration beefs up counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean following a U.S. drug indictment against Nicolás Maduro.

The announcement came at the start of the daily White House press briefing to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, which has left much of the country in lock-down and which the government warns could cause 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

“The Venezuelan people continue to suffer tremendously due to Maduro and his criminal control over the country, and drug traffickers are seizing on this lawlessness,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said after the president’s announcement.

The deployment is one of the largest U.S. military operations in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama to remove Gen. Manuel Noriega from power and bring him to the U.S. to face drug charges. It involves a*sets like Navy warships, AWACS surveillance aircraft and on-ground special forces seldom seen before in the region.

The goal is to nearly double the U.S. counter-narcotics capacity in the Western Hemisphere, with forces operating both in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific. Esper said the mission would be supported by 22 partner nations.

“As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus there is a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain,” said Trump. “We must not let that happen.”

The enhanced mission has been months in the making but has taken on greater urgency following last week’s indictment of Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled socialist leader, and members of his inner circle and military. They are accused of leading a narcoterrorist conspiracy responsible for smuggling up to 250 metric tons of cocaine a year into the U.S., about half of it by sea.

“If I was just indicted for drug trafficking by the United States, with a $15 million reward for my capture, having the U.S. Navy conducting anti-drug operations off my coast would be something I would worry about,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has been among those calling for a tougher stance against Maduro.

Maduro’s communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, called the deployment a “desperate attempt to distract attention from the tragic humanitarian crisis” in the U.S. caused by the coronavirus. In an ironic jab, he said that for “the first time” in decades the U.S. is trying to choke off the supply of cocaine, which he noted mostly comes from Colombia, a staunch U.S. ally.

Maduro has blasted the Trump administration’s offer of a $15 million reward for his arrest, calling it the work of a “racist cowboy” aimed at getting U.S. hands on Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, the world’s largest.

Others have faulted a U.S. plan, unveiled Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to create a five-member council without Maduro or Guaidó to govern the country until elections can be held within a year. While its the first attempt in months by the U.S. to seek a negotiated solution to Venezuela’s stalemate, coming on the heels of the indictments many say it has little hope of succeeding and likely to drive Maduro farther away from the path of dialogue.

The Trump administration has long insisted that all options are on the table for removing Maduro, including military ones. Still, there’s no indication then, or now, that any sort of U.S. invasion is being planned.

Rather, the sending of ships fits into a longstanding call by the U.S. Southern Command for additional a*sets to combat growing antinarcotics and other security threats in the hemisphere.

It could also be an attempt to send a message of protection for Maduro’s U.S.-backed rival, Juan Guaidó.

Maduro’s chief prosecutor ordered Guaidó to provide testimony Thursday as part of an investigation into an alleged coup attempt. Guaidó, the head of Venezuela’s congress who is recognized as his country’s legitimate leader by the U.S. and almost 60 other nations, is unlikely to show up, raising the possibility he could be arrested. The U.S. has long insisted it will not tolerate any harm against Guaido.

In January, another Navy vessel, the USS Detroit, conducted a freedom of navigation operation off the coast of Venezuela in a show of pressure against Maduro.

“That presence sends a big statement about U.S. commitment, it sends a big statement to our friends, it reassures them, and then to our adversaries that those are capable performers,” Adm. Craig Faller, the head of the U.S. military’s Southern Command, said in congressional testimony last month.

The report of the planned deployment comes two days after one of Venezuela’s naval patrol boats sank after colliding with a Portuguese-flagged cruise ship near the Venezuelan-controlled island of La Tortuga. Maduro accused the ship of acting aggressively and said it was possibly carrying “mercenaries” seeking his ouster.

“You have to be very naive to see this as an isolated incident,” Maduro said Tuesday night on state TV.

But Columbia Cruise Services, the operator of the cruise ship, said the patrol boat fired gunshots and than purposely rammed into the liner at speed. There were no passengers on board and none of its 32 crew members were injured, the company said.

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15 hours ago

Apr 1 - elizabeth warren....declares war on the corporate bailouts

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By messy marv stan

visit this link https://www.businessinsid .. -letter-2020-3

Sen. Elizabeth Warren put Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on notice on Tuesday as efforts ramp up to administer a colossal $2 trillion stimulus law.

In a letter sent to both leaders, Warren pressed them to use their sway to ensure money lent to corporations under the recent stimulus package is responsibly used.

"The legislation gives you the authority to fill this gap: it gives you extraordinary powers to make discretionary decisions about the recipients of this huge bailout for big corporations, and the terms and conditions under which they receive aid," Warren said in the letter.

She urged Mnuchin to reject aid for companies that have "long records of financial mismanagement or lawbreaking."

Then the senator from Massachusetts issued a warning: "I will be watching carefully as you hand out these funds."

Warren doubled down on her call to enact stricter conditions on companies that accept emergency federal funding to ensure it benefits workers instead of executives. They include using the money to keep workers on payrolls, barring stock buybacks, and curbing increases in executive pay.

The recent $2 trillion stimulus legislation Trump signed on Friday carves out $500 billion in taxpayer money for loans to large corporations. Mnuchin will oversee the fund.

The pot of money does carry restrictions for corporations and limits stock buybacks. Progressives, though, have panned it as inadequate.

A clash is already brewing between Democrats and the Trump administration around oversight of the program

Senate Democrats also sent a letter to Mnuchin on Tuesday calling on the Treasury Secretary to appoint an independent inspector general "without delay," The Washington Post reported. Under the stimulus law, the White House would appoint a person to fill the role and the Senate would confirm.

President Trump tried curbing oversight of the program shortly after signing the stimulus into law, releasing a memo saying the administration wouldn't allow the inspector general to inform Congress without "presidential supervision."

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15 hours ago

Apr 1 - 9 US senators warn Saudi Arabia over oil price war with Russia

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By Putin~Work

US Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, said nine senators including himself have recently called the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Princess Rima Al-Saud, and “ripped into her” over the kingdom’s oil price war with Russia which threatens to put thousands of American oil producers out of business.

Senator Cruz said in an interview with CNBC that the senators warned the Saudi ambassador during the conference call that if Saudi Arabia continues “engaging in economic warfare against the United States, trying to drive down the price of oil in order to exploit this coronavirus crisis to drive a bunch of American producers out of business” there would be a “series of steps we can take to escalate foreign policy pressure.”

He explained that the Saudi price warfare would “destroy thousands and thousands of small businesses all across Texas and the country,” noting that the lawmakers have “historically been the strongest allies in the senate of Saudi Arabia.”

However, he warned that if Riyadh does not change its course, “their relationship with the United States is going to change very fundamentally.”

visit this link https://www.middleeastmon .. r-with-russia/

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15 hours ago

Apr 1 - OnlyFans reporting 3.5 million new signups in March, 60,000 of them new creators

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By Tastemaker331

visit this link .. witch-onlyfans

Jem Wolfie is an Australian influencer with more than 2.7 million Instagram followers. She also has an account on OnlyFans — a website where people sell subscriptions to pictures or video content — where she posts more "risqué" images to people who pay USD$10 a month.

Her OnlyFans subscriptions are booming right now, Wolfie told BuzzFeed News. They've grown by 25% to more than 25,000 in a short amount of time, despite Wolfie posting the same amount of content as usual.

The big thing that's changed during this period of growth? The global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

"I guess more people are bored being quarantined at home all day," she said.

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15 hours ago

 Apr 1 - Dr. Fauci is receiving death threats

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By stanis3k


Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert and the face of the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is facing growing threats to his personal safety, prompting the government to step up his security, according to people familiar with the matter.

The concerns include threats as well as unwelcome communications from fervent admirers, according to people with knowledge of deliberations inside the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

Fauci, 79, is the most outspoken member of the administration in favor of sweeping public health guidelines and is among the few officials willing to correct President Trump’s misstatements. Along with Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House’s task force, Fauci has encouraged the president to extend the timeline for social-distancing guidelines, presenting him with grim models about the possible toll of the pandemic.

“Now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator,” he said Tuesday as the White House’s task force made some of those models public, warning of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United States.

Alex Azar, the HHS secretary, recently grew concerned about Fauci’s safety as his profile rose and he endured more vitriolic criticism online, according to people familiar with the situation. In recent weeks, admirers have also approached Fauci, asking to him sign baseballs, along with other acts of adulation. It was determined that Fauci should have a security detail. Azar also has a security detail because he is in the presidential line of succession.

Asked Wednesday whether he was receiving security protection, Fauci told reporters, “I would have to refer you to HHS [inspector general] on that. I wouldn’t comment.”

The president interjected, saying, “He doesn’t need security. Everybody loves him.”

HHS asked the U.S. Marshals Service to deputize a group of agents in the office of the HHS inspector general to provide protective services for the doctor, according to an official with knowledge of the request.

The U.S. Marshals Service conveyed the request to the deputy attorney general, who has authority over deputations for the purpose of providing protective services, with the recommendation that it be approved, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal sensitive plans that the person was not authorized to discuss.

A Justice Department official signed paperwork Tuesday authorizing HHS to provide its own security detail to Fauci, according to an administration official.

His role has turned him into a hero for some. When he was absent from a briefing last month, followers who had grown accustomed to his frank a*sessments of the outbreak were alarmed that he might have been sidelined for his forthrightness. Many took to Twitter to ask, “Where is Dr. Fauci?” causing the question to trend on the platform.

He gained viral attention two days later when he placed his hand in front of his face in a gesture of apparent disbelief as Trump referred to the State Department as the “deep state department” from the White House briefing room.

The immunologist, who graduated first in his class from Cornell’s medical school, has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Between 1983 and 2002, he was the 13th-most-cited scientist among the 2.5 million to 3 million authors worldwide and across all disciplines publishing in scientific journals, according to the Institute for Scientific Information
visit this link https://www.washingtonpos .. 63d_story.html

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16 hours ago

Fox Viewers Still Believe the Risk of Coronavirus Is Exaggerated

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By Putin~Work

In a new survey from the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of Fox viewers say the media is exaggerating the risks of the coronavirus pandemic. And there’s more: 39 percent believe the virus was developed in a lab—presumably a Chinese bioweapons lab.

Fox viewers aren’t the only ones who are misinformed or prone to conspiracy theories, but they sure are the most likely. This is hardly a surprise from the network that brought you Benghazi and her emails, but it’s been astonishing to see just how far they’ll go to turn nearly anything into a partisan issue.

visit this link https://www.motherjones.c .. s-exaggerated/

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16 hours ago

 Apr 1 - CBS admits to using footage from Italy in NYC coronavirus report

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By dymablink

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16 hours ago

Apr 1 - Engineer tried to crash train into USNS Mercy in Los Angeles: Feds

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By Ymmot

Investigators arrested a California train engineer Tuesday after he allegedly derailed a train in a bid to crash into the USNS Mercy, the hospital ship treating non-COVID-19 patients at the Port of Los Angeles to lessen the burden on area hospitals, prosecutors said.

Eduardo Moreno, 44, was expected to appear in court Wednesday for arraignment on train wrecking charges.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Moreno allegedly ran the train at full speed off the end of the tracks near the Navy medical boat, smashing through several concrete and chain barriers, before sliding through a parking lot nearly 250 yards from the Mercy, according to the criminal complaint.

No one was injured and the boat wasn't damaged, however, the train leaked a substantial amount of fuel, the complaint said.

A California Highway Patrol officer caught Moreno as he allegedly tried to escape from the scene, according to the complaint. Moreno allegedly told officers and FBI investigators that he deliberately derailed the boat because he was suspicious of the Mercy's intentions and thought it was actually part of a government takeover, the complaint said.

"Moreno stated that he acted alone and had not pre-planned the attempted attack," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California. "While admitting to intentionally derailing and crashing the train, he said he knew it would bring media attention and 'people could see for themselves,' referring to the Mercy."

In an interview with FBI agents, Moreno stated that "he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’" according to the complaint.

Investigators are still reviewing surveillance footage from the scene, including inside the locomotive.

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This is why you conspiracy retards need to stop spreading your fake a*s stories. There are people who actually believe these dumbass Martial Law stories are real.

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16 hours ago

Apr 1 - The US is losing its world superpower status - failure -Covid-19

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By kstyle49

The US is losing its world superpower status due to its failure to lead on the Covid-19 crisis – and this time, it might not recover

visit this link https://www.independent.c .. ml?jwsource=cl

The US may be reaching its “Chernobyl moment” as it fails to lead in combating the coronavirus epidemic. As with the nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986, a cataclysm is exposing systemic failings that have already weakened US hegemony in the world. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, nobody is today looking to Washington for a solution to the crisis.

The fall in US influence was visible this week at virtual meetings of world leaders where the main US diplomatic effort was devoted to an abortive attempt to persuade the others to sign a statement referring to the “Wuhan virus”, as part of a campaign to blame China for the coronavirus epidemic. Demonising others as a diversion from one’s own shortcomings is a central feature of President Trump’s political tactics. Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton took up the same theme, saying that “China unleashed this plague on the world, and China has to be held accountable”.

US failure goes far beyond Trump’s toxic political style: American supremacy in the world since the Second World War has been rooted in its unique capacity to get things done internationally by persuasion or by the threat or use of force. But the inability of Washington to respond adequately to Covid-19 shows that this is no longer the case and crystallises a perception that American competence is vanishing. The change in attitude is important because superpowers, such as the British Empire, the Soviet Union in the recent past or the US today, depend on a degree of bluff. They cannot afford to put their all-powerful image to the test too often because they cannot be seen to fail: an exaggerated picture of British strength was shattered by the Suez Crisis in 1956, as was that of the Soviet Union by the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The coronavirus crisis is the equivalent of Suez and Afghanistan for Trump’s America. Indeed, these crises seem minor compared to the Covid-19 pandemic, which will have far greater impact because everybody on the planet is a potential victim and feels threatened. Faced with such a mega-crisis, the failure of the Trump administration to lead responsibly is proving extraordinarily destructive to the US position in the world.

The decline of the US is usually seen as the counterpart to the rise of China – and China has, at least for the moment, successfully got a grip on its own epidemic. It is the Chinese who are sending ventilators and medical teams to Italy and face masks to Africa. Italians note that the other EU states all ignored Italy’s desperate appeal for medical equipment and only China responded. A Chinese charity sent 300,000 face masks to Belgium in a container on which was written the slogan “Unity Makes Strength” in French, Flemish and Chinese.

Such exercises in “soft power” may have limited influence once the crisis is over, though this is likely to be a long time coming. But, while it does so, the message is going out that China can provide essential equipment and expertise at a critical moment and the US cannot. These changes in perception are not going to disappear overnight.

Prophecies that the US is in a state of decline have been two a penny almost as long as the US emerged from the Second World War as the greatest superpower. Yet the much-heralded downfall of the American empire has kept being postponed or has seen others decline even faster, notably the Soviet Union. Critics of “US decline-ism” explain that, while the US may no longer dominate the world economy to the degree it once did, it still has 800 bases around the world and a military budget of $748bn.

Yet the inability of the US military to use its technical prowess to win wars in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq has shown how little it has got in return for its vast expenditure.

Trump has not started any wars despite his bellicose rhetoric, but he has used the power of the US Treasury rather than the Pentagon. By imposing tight economic sanctions on Iran and threatening other countries with economic warfare, he has demonstrated the degree to which the US controls the world financial system.

But these arguments about the rise or decline of the US as an economic and military power miss a more important point that should be obvious. The very real decline of the US as a global power, as exemplified by the coronavirus pandemic crisis, has less to do with guns and money than many suppose, and much more to do with Trump himself as both the symptom and cause of American decline.

Put simply, the US is no longer a country that the rest of the world wants to emulate or, if they do, the emulators tend to be authoritarian nativist demagogues or despots. Their admiration is warmly welcomed: witness Trump’s embrace of the Hindu nationalist Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his cultivation of the younger generation of tyrants such as Kim Jung-un in North Korea and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

Democratic and despotic rulers will, at least at first, be strengthened by the pandemic, since in times of acute crisis people want to see their governments as saviours who know what they are doing.

But demagogues like Trump and his equivalents around the world are seldom much good at handling real crises, because they have risen to power by exploiting ethnic and sectarian hatreds, scapegoating their opponents and boosting their own mythical achievements.

An example of this is Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who accuses his opponents and the media of “tricking” Brazilians about the dangers of coronavirus. Such is the government’s laxity in enforcing any type of lockdown in Rio de Janeiro that in at least three slums, only the local drugs cartels have stepped in to declare and enforce an 8pm curfew.

Trump has always excelled in exploiting and exacerbating divisions in American society and producing simple-minded solutions to mythical crises, such as building the famous wall to stop the entry of Central American migrants into the US. But now he is faced with a real crisis, he is gambling that it will be of short duration and less severe than most experts predict. Polls show that his popularity has risen, probably because frightened people prefer to hear good news rather than bad. So far, the worst outbreaks of the illness have been in New York, Boston and other cities where Trump never had much support. If it spreads with the same intensity to Texas and Florida, then the loyalty of even Trump’s core supporters may evaporate.

The reason why the US is weaker as a country is because it is divided and these divisions will get deeper as long as Trump is in power. Hitherto he has avoided provoking serious crises, and his mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic shows that he was wise to do so. He is polarising an already divided country and this is the real reason for the decline of the US.

Patrick c*ckburn is an award-winning Independent columnist who specialises in analysis of Iraq, Syria and wars in the Middle East. He has been with The Independent since 1990. In 2014 he forecast the rise of Isis. He also did graduate work at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queens University Belfast and has written about the effects of the Troubles on Irish and British policy in light of his experience. "Source"

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16 hours ago

Apr 1 - Florida Finally Locks Down

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By yolaboy

visit this link After weeks of refusing, DeSantis orders statewide lockdown

visit this link Florida Governor Orders Statewide Lockdown

visit this link Florida governor Ron DeSantis finally issues a statewide lockdown after revealing coronavirus first started circulating in Miami in early February during the Super Bowl and state cases surge to 6,955


Cases of coronavirus in Florida have surged to nearly 7,000, with 857 people hospitalized and 87 dead

DeSantis had so far refused to initiate a statewide lockdown despite cases of coronavirus there spiking

The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and will last 30 days, the Republican said Wednesday

Testing in the state at the time of Superbowl was only for those who had been to certain parts of China

The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Florida was a month later on March 1 , the first death March 5

The Super Bowl took place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens with 62,000 people in attendance

Florida is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the US as the number of cases spike there

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16 hours ago

Apr 1 - Boxden Doctors Said They Beat Coronavirus Though: China Closes All Theaters Again!

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By Jago

Surely BX doctors will be along shortly to explain to us why everything in China is okay.


EXCLUSIVE: China is re-shuttering all of its cinemas nationwide as it continues to battle coronavirus, according to Deadline sources.

The country’s national film bureau has contacted all exhibitors today saying that venues must be closed again, with no immediate timeframe for re-opening.
The news has begun to spread across popular social media service Weibo.

This weekend, a ray of light seemed to be shining from the Middle Kingdom when more than 500 cinemas re-opened their doors to the public after being closed since late January (though largely no one turned up). That represented only 4.5% of the country’s cinema real estate, and didn’t include its major chains, but there was optimism that this was just the first wave and that others would follow suit in the coming weeks into April.

As we reported earlier today, the city of Shanghai was set to re-open a further 205 cinemas on Saturday, indicating that this latest update appears to be a sudden u-turn in policy from a national level.

The spread of COVID-19 has slowed considerably in China recently, with only one locally-transmitted case recorded in the last three days. However, there has been a spike in imported cases, with some 53 being reported yesterday as having come from overseas. In response, the Chinese government has said it will stop foreign citizens entering the country as it looks to avert a second wave of the virus.

China was the original epicenter of the virus when it first emerged in the city of Wuhan. The government put in place strict (and some have said controversial) containment measures to stem the spread, which appears to have worked to a large degree. Yesterday, Wuhan ended its quarantine and re-opened transport to and from the city. In total, the country has seen 81,340 confirmed cases, a figure now overtaken by the U.S., which is still in a much earlier stage of the virus spread.
visit this link China Orders Re-Closing Of All Cinemas Nationwide – Deadline

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17 hours ago

Apr 1 - Over $100 Billion of Treasuries Dumped by Foreign Central Banks

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By Putin~Work

The Federal Reserve is trying to call time on a fire sale of Treasuries by foreign governments and central banks.

Foreign official holders of Treasuries dumped more than $100 billion in the three weeks to March 25, on course for the biggest monthly drop on record, according to weekly Fed custody data that captures much of the pandemic-fueled turmoil. They joined others seeking to unload government debt globally to raise cash amid the volatility, according to traders and market makers familiar with the transactions. Countries reliant on oil exports and smaller Asian economies have been selling U.S. debt, and central banks have been primarily offloading older, less-liquid Treasuries, these people said.

The Fed on Tuesday rolled out its latest effort to restore proper functioning in markets, on top of moves to ramp up debt purchases and backstop several market sectors. It introduced a temporary repurchase agreement facility that will let other central banks swap Treasuries for dollars. The Fed stopped short of saying it wanted to prevent a snowball effect from the selling. But it said the program will provide “an alternative temporary source of U.S. dollars other than sales of securities in the open market.”

“The fall in custody holdings is a clear signal that foreign central banks -- which have a lot of Treasury holdings -- have been selling them to source dollars,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale. “They need access to dollars as a lot of their payments are in dollars and that has driven them to sell Treasuries.”

As fear swept through markets last month and fueled unprecedented volatility, liquidity -- the ability to trade without causing significant price moves -- deteriorated in Treasuries to its worst since the 2008 financial crisis. At the same time, the greenback surged as investors sought refuge in the world’s primary reserve currency. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 3.1% in March, the most since 2016.

The Fed has acted to calm debt markets to avert knock-on economic effects, by announcing trillions of dollars of purchases of a*sets including Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. It also unveiled measures that would let other central banks tap expanded dollar swap lines.

Tuesday’s Fed statement regarding the new repo facility didn’t specify if all central banks would be involved.

The new repo program “is a sensible second-best solution for major countries that are outside the enlarged Fed FX swaps network but have substantial corporate dollar funding needs,” Krishna Guha, head of central-bank strategy at Evercore ISI and a former New York Fed official, said in a report. “This group includes China, which ought to be eligible for the new program, though the Fed release is not clear on this point.”

After the Fed, which has $2.8 trillion of Treasuries, Japan is the second-largest holder, with $1.21 trillion, followed by China with $1.08 trillion, according to U.S. Treasury data. The most likely beneficiaries of the new facility are Taiwan, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, given that they use Treasuries as collateral and aren’t included in current swap lines, Standard Chartered Plc’s Geoff Kendrick and Steve Englander wrote in a note Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Treasuries have been in the line of fire as the dollar gained. In 2016, a surge in the greenback saw central banks across Asia intervening to stabilize currency markets.

Another indicator of central banks’ positioning in Treasuries is primary dealer holdings, which tend to rise when official accounts are selling. Fed data on these holdings are available with a lag, but their stock of Treasuries had surged to $272 billion as of March 18, from $193 billion at the start of February.

The new repo facility “effectively backstops foreign central banks from forced liquidation of their Treasury holdings into dysfunctional markets,” Jonathan Cohn, a rates strategist at Credit Suisse, said in a note.

Emerging-market “reserve managers sometimes need to sell U.S. Treasuries to defend their currency when the dollar is appreciating,” he said. “These types of forced flows can contribute to dislocations along the curve and weigh on dealer balance sheets.”

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