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Coronavirus Pandemic
Inspires Private Generosity
Culture Beat   
Trump signs $2T stimulus bill after House 
approves historic coronavirus response
By Marisa Schultz & Chad Pergram 
{ } ~ President Trump on Friday signed a more than $2 trillion legislative package to combat the coronavirus pandemic and send economic relief to workers and businesses... squeezed by restrictions meant to stop the outbreak’s spread after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the legislation earlier in the day. "I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first," Trump said during an afternoon Oval Office signing ceremony. The legislation, approved by voice vote despite 11th-hour drama arising from a GOP lawmaker’s objections, amounts to the costliest stimulus plan in U.S. history. It includes checks for most Americans, boosted unemployment aid, help for small business as well as a massive loan fund for corporations – at a time when unemployment is surging at a record pace, a consequence of businesses closing in compliance with social distancing guidelines. “This bill is not only a rescue package, it is a commitment...that your government and the people whom you elected to serve will do everything we can to limit the harm and hardship you face, both now and in the foreseeable future,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said prior to the vote. "To the American public: If you do your part, I promise we will do ours."...
House Passes $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus 
Stimulus Package
{ } ~ The House passed a historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Friday, sending it to President Trump’s desk for signature... The massive economic stimulus package is intended to buoy the flagging economy, which has been wracked by the damage from the coronavirus pandemic as it spreads across the country and causes businesses to shut down and lay off workers. An agreement on the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in a 96-to-0 vote Thursday, was reached after five days of intense negotiations between senators and senior members of the Trump administration. Lawmakers rushed back to Washington, D.C. on Thursday after Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, indicated he may delay the bill by demanding a recorded vote requiring at least 216 members to appear on the floor. The bill passed by a voice vote after lawmakers defeated Massie’s attempt to demand a recorded vote. “Members are advised that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday, adding that members should “follow the guidance of their local and state health officials” but if they are “able and willing” to be in Washington by 10 a.m. on Friday they are “encouraged to do so with caution.” The bill, the third coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress, provides $367 billion in loans to help small businesses hit hard by the outbreak to keep making payroll, $100 billion for hospitals, and $150 billion for state and local governments. The plan also provides for Americans who make up to $75,000 to receive a one-time payment of $1,200. A $500 billion fund earmarked for corporations that have been economically damaged by the pandemic will be overseen by an inspector general and a congressional panel, in accordance with Democrats’ demands. U.S. coronavirus cases rose by 15,000 on Thursday, bumping the total number of infected individuals to more than 82,100, above the number the virus has sickened in China, where the virus outbreak began, and Italy, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. More than 1,200 people have died in the U.S. after being infected.   

U.S. Space Force Successfully 
Launches First Rocket Into Orbit
by ~ The U.S. Space Force successfully launched its first rocket Thursday... sending a military communications satellite into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite will join five others of its kind in orbit, giving America's terrestrial troops complete global communications coverage.
Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
By Greg Norman & Chris Irvine
{ } ~ Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has revealed he tested positive for coronavirus... In a video message posted to his Twitter account Friday, he explained he had developed "mild symptoms" over the last 24 hours -- "a temperature and a persistent cough." "On the advice of the chief medical officer I have taken a test. That has come out positive, so, I am working from home," Johnson said. "I’m self-isolating. And that’s entirely the right thing to do." "But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fight back against coronavirus," he added. The White House says President Trump spoke with Johnson today, where he "thanked the Prime Minister for his close friendship and wished him a speedy recovery." Johnson's diagnosis comes just a couple of days after Prince Charles revealed a positive test. U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Friday that he has it as well -- and like Johnson, is now working from home. "I'll be self-isolating here until next Thursday," Hancock said. The United Kingdom, like many other countries around the world fighting the coronavirus, has rolled out a series of orders for non-essential businesses to close and residents to remain indoors unless otherwise necessary. Downing Street told the Sun that several staffers will now have to self-isolate too, although Rishi Sunak, the chancellor effectively the treasury secretary will not because he has shown no symptoms...
As Coronavirus Hits Hospitals, The Ugly 
Specter Of Euthanasia Raises Its Head
By Ashley Bateman
{ } ~ Increased physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in the United States is stripping the vulnerable of their equal rights in the American health care system, even as the country pledges to protect its most at-risk citizens at any cost during the coronavirus pandemic... Health-care rationing already exists, especially for the sick and elderly, and worries about tight hospital supplies have sparked discussions about keeping medical care from elderly coronavirus patients even though U.S. hospitals are not yet as overwhelmed as other nations’ hospitals are. MSN News recently reported that U.S. hospitals are discussing “do not resuscitate” orders for coronavirus patients, “regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members.” The justification is that anywhere from eight to 30 hospital staff are required to attempt to resuscitate such a patient, and the process for doing so would put medical personnel in danger of contracting the virus and use up crucial medical products that are in short supply. If the United States gets to the desperate point other nations such as Italy have, lacking the medical equipment and personnel to treat all critical coronavirus patients, triage will be necessary. Yet it is crucial that triage decisions such as these do not discriminate based solely on age or disability, writes ethics professor Charles Camosy: New York state put together a protocol back in 2008 titled ‘Allocation of Ventilators in a Public Health Disaster’ largely reaffirmed in 2015 designed for a moment like ours. Wisely, our state insists that age and health problems or disabilities unrelated to what is causing the epidemic shouldn’t serve as the basis for rationing. Prognosis for recovery is what matters. A New York hospital could choose to give its last ventilator to the 72-year-old marathon runner rather than to the 57-year-old pack-a-day smoker. Again, based only on prognosis for recovery. The objectivity of the standard removes much of the physician’s subjective ideology from the picture. Yet the cultural and medical climate in the United States has been growing more and more prejudiced against this kind of ethical calculus, putting especially elderly and disabled Americans in greater danger... 
Corona Conservatism
By Matthew Continetti
{ } ~ Not long ago, as the severity of the coronavirus pandemic became clear, journalists were quick to say that the crisis marked the end of an era. "The Trump Presidency is Over," declared a headline in the Atlantic... One article in Politico said, "The Pandemic Is the End of Trumpism." A New York Times op-ed column carried the headline, "The Era of Small Government Is Over." Well, yes. At least so far as that last article is concerned. The era of small government has been over for decades if it ever happened at all. The highpoint of Republican and conservative efforts to limit the size and scope of the federal Leviathan was either Ronald Reagan's 1982 budget or the scumbag/liar-Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform of 1996. Then the GOP abandoned its plans for minimal government. Even the Tea Party insurgency—which began as a rebellion against standpatters in the Republican establishment—protested cuts to Medicare and achieved little more than a sequester that severely damaged military readiness. And, of course, the current Republican president was elected on a pledge not to touch senior health care and retirement benefits. No small-government conservative, he. What the moment requires is some intellectual modesty. It is far too early in the development of this national emergency to make definitive judgments on its political, economic, social, and cultural effects. We might as well explore alternative scenarios. For example: The coronavirus might not signify a conclusion to or beginning of a historical era, so much as an acceleration of previously germinating inclinations.This quickening is most visible in the United States Senate. It was the youthful and heterodox members of the Republican conference who first recognized the severity of the challenges emanating from Wuhan, China. As Congress put together its economic relief bill, these lawmakers did not worry about violating free-market dogma. They recognized the extraordinary nature of the situation. Their primary concern was the fate of the unemployed. In so far as "Trumpism," to the degree that it exists, describes a political tendency that is suspicious of overseas commitments, international trade, and unchecked immigration, and more worried about the rise of China than the revanchism of Russia, this pandemic does not spell the "end." It may even serve as vindication. The Republican senators most widely seen as preparing to run for president in 2024 have used the past few weeks to articulate a conservatism that is more heavily weighted toward security than freedom. Tom Cotton has a bill, cosponsored by Mike Gallagher in the House, to end U.S. dependence on the Chinese manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Josh Hawley introduced an "Emergency Family Relief Act" that was much more ambitious than the for now onetime payments included in the economic triage bill. Marco Rubio designed the small-business lending component that is essential to the CARES Act. They all criticized the Chinese government for lying about the coronavirus as it spread throughout the world...
Coronavirus Is Not Even Close 
to America's Biggest Problem
By Bryce Buchanan
{ } ~ The COVID-19 pandemic can be used to illustrate two problems that are both more destructive than the virus... The problems relate to how Americans view the role of government in their lives and to the belief that government money can always fix problems. Let's look at the money issue first. The immediate reaction of our government to the virus threat was to spend massive amounts of money. The latest news is that politicians plan to "boost" the economy with nearly two trillion dollars in spending and loans. "The package is coming in at about 10% of GDP. It's very large," says Larry Kudlow. For a plan of this size to sound like a good idea, you need to ignore some important economic facts. Our country has unbelievable levels of debt, and our debt is rising rapidly. The numbers are staggering. The debt clock shows U.S. debt at $23 trillion nearly 110% of the GDP and unfunded liabilities of $77 trillion. That's a conservative estimate.  Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on the national debt, says, "The true size of our fiscal problem is $222 trillion...20 times bigger than the official debt." He says, "The government has gone out of its way to run up a Ponzi scheme and keep evidence of that off the books by using language to make it appear that we have a small debt." We are on the Titanic, headed for the debt iceberg. In brief moments of clear vision, we see the iceberg and know we must change course to avoid disaster. But a self-imposed fog allows us to pretend things are fine. Do not look away. Look directly at this problem. It's real. Things that are unsustainable cannot be sustained. Reality always bats last. There is also an important moral dimension to new spending programs. The government has spent all of its income and much more, so we should think of new spending programs as simply more debt being piled onto our children and grandchildren.  The required first sentence of any new spending bill should be, "Our current consumption is more important to us than any burden we will place on future generations, therefore let's place this much more debt on them." It is immoral to ignore the burden of the deficit on future generations. We are digging a hole for them that they will never get out of. Government debt is a government claim on future incomes. It is an unpaid tax bill. You can make the case that big deficit spending is warranted to protect current and future citizens in a time of war.  Some level of spending is warranted in the fight against this virus. But look at the big picture of government expansion over the last several decades as the administrative state grew and the deficit exploded. Does it make you a caring person if you propose "free health care" for everyone, including illegal aliens? No, it makes you a dangerous fool. In the socialist dream world, there will never be a day of reckoning for government debt.  Stephanie Kelton, an economic adviser to commie-Bernie Sanders, said, "If you control your own currency and you have bills that are coming due, it means you can always afford to pay the bills on time. You can never go broke; you can never be forced into bankruptcy." Governments that have tried this approach have ended up with money that looks like this 50-trillion-dollar bill from Zimbabwe. It's real paper money. But this $50 trillion wouldn't buy much. In Venezuela, the inflation rate is around 53 million percent. That means everything costs more every day. And with socialist destruction of the economy, there are far fewer things to buy. This kind of money does help with the toilet paper shortage, though...
Coronavirus Pandemic Inspires Private Generosity
Culture Beat  “While many of us turn to the government for answers to the COVID-19 pandemic, others rightfully seek solutions from the private sector. Last week, the Hoover Institution’s Russ Roberts asked his many twitter followers to help ‘create a list of voluntary (non-coercive) actions taking place right now to reduce COVID-19 spread or impact.’ The answers are too inspiring not to share.”

“First, many of Roberts’ followers shared a list the benefits offered by their employers that help to alleviate workers’ financial hardships or ensure their health is protected. For instance, Walmart, Target, Gap, and many other firms announced that they will provide up to two weeks of paid leave to every worker who is sick or taking care of sick family members.”

“Even companies that rely on self-employed contractors are stepping during this crisis. Uber, for example, emailed its customers to inform them that ‘Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold,’ adding, ‘We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide.’”

Read more at Reason.   ~The Patriot Post  

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