Friday, May 8, 2020

Last Call For Open For Bloody Bluegrass Business

Giving in to political reality, I guess, Kentucky Gov, Andy Beshear is reopening the state's restaurants for dine-in on May 22, with gyms and theaters on June 1 as phase two of the state's reopening gets underway later this month.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky restaurants can reopen their dining rooms at a limited capacity on May 22 as the state saw 208 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, bringing the total number of cases in the state above 6,000.

Restaurants will lead phase two of the reopening and will only be allowed to open at 33 percent capacity, plus unlimited outdoor seating that is six feet apart. Beshear said movie theaters and fitness centers will be able to reopen by June 1, campgrounds will be able to reopen by June 11 and some childcare services and outdoor youth sports will be able to reopen on June 15.

“This is a goal, a goal we are pushing for,” Beshear said of childcare services. “We want to have a safe plan for childcare, knowing that it is such a challenge for folks. I will tell you that it will be significantly reduced capacity and it will be very monitored to make sure that it’s safe.”

He said youth sports would be “low-touch” and that all of the youth sports will be outside.

Bars and groups of 50 or more people, which are part of phase three, may be able to open in July.

“While this is the schedule I want to make happen, one thing and one thing only sets the schedule in the end and that’s the coronavirus.” Beshear said. “Any peak that we see, any cause of major concern, we are all going to have to be willing to pause.”

People who are older than 65 and those who have heart or lung conditions are still being encouraged to stay home, even with the reopenings.

Beshear said he came to the decision to open restaurants on May 22 — before groups of 10 people or barbers and salons will be able to open on May 25 as part of phase one — after talking with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Restaurants in Ohio will open to outdoor seating before Kentucky.

“We hope to be able to gradually raise that capacity,” Beshear said. “But this is the best compromise.”

The reality is that this is the plan to eliminate COVID-19 unemployment checks for thousands of Kentuckians. Beshear is 100% going along with it. I'd like to think it's because he has no choice, if he doesn't, the state GOP will simply make him do it anyway.

But he's going along with it.

Welcome To The Trump Depression

The impact of the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown tore through the U.S. labor market in April at historic levels, slashing 20.5 million workers from nonfarm payrolls and sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Both numbers easily smashed post-World War II era records and help reflect the profound damage done through efforts used to combat the virus.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payrolls to shed 21.5 million and the unemployment rate to go to 16%. April’s unemployment rate topped the post-war record 10.8% but was short of the Great Depression high estimated at 24.9%. The financial crisis peak was 10% in October 2009.

The bleak numbers paint a “pretty dismal picture, but April may be it for job losses going forward with the country starting to reopen,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “If there is a silver-lining in today’s dismal jobs report, it is in the realization that the economy cannot possibly get any worse than it is right now.” 

Spoilers: the job losses are going to continue as Americans aren't going to run out to restaurants and theaters and gyms, and those who do are going to get sick.

A sizable majority of Americans (68%) continue to say their greater concern is that state governments will lift coronavirus-related restrictions on public activity too quickly. Fewer than half as many (31%) say their greater concern is that states will not lift restrictions quickly enough, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that comes as some states begin to ease the restrictions they put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Overall, the public’s views on this question are little changed since early April, though they are somewhat more divided along partisan and ideological lines. Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, have become more concerned that the state restrictions will not be lifted quickly enough, while a growing share of Democrats worry more that they will be lifted too quickly.

Meanwhile, when Americans are asked about the restrictions on public activity in their area, about half (48%) say that the current number of restrictions is about right. The remainder are split between those who believe there should be more restrictions than there are right now (27%) and those who believe there should be fewer (24%), according to the survey, conducted April 29 to May 5 among 10,957 U.S. adults on the Center’s American Trends Panel.

The economy is absolutely going to get worse. Much worse.  And even if we had a vaccine today, nearly a fifth of Americans would refuse to get it and another quarter would be unsure.

As a number of states begin to reopen their economies, a clear majority of Americans believe they are moving too fast, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov coronavirus poll. Even residents of the reopened states agree.

Yet while the survey shows broad, continuing support for lockdown orders and skepticism about whether the time has come to lift them, a surprisingly large number of Americans seem reluctant to take the one step scientists say could actually bring the devastating coronavirus pandemic to an end.

Asked whether they plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if and when a vaccine arrives, a majority of Americans (55 percent) say yes.

The rest — a significant minority — say they won’t get vaccinated (19 percent) or they’re not sure (26 percent).

If those results were to hold, tens or even hundreds of millions of unimmunized Americans could ultimately undermine any vaccine’s ability to stop the spread of the virus.

As I keep saying, it's going to take a catastrophic death toll to get these goddamn idiots to play nice.

New tag: Trump Depression.

Still Russian To Judgment

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, still convicted national security risk Michael Flynn is now an asset to his 2020 campaign and he wants Flynn back on his team ASAP.

With the Justice Department announcing Thursday that it would drop the case against Michael Flynn, officials close to President Donald Trump are already gaming out ways to bring the former national security adviser back onto the national political stage.

Of the nine senior Trump administration officials, campaign staff, outside advisers, and longtime associates of the president reached on Thursday, all said that they wanted Flynn to assume some public-facing role in service of the president, including potentially as an official Trump surrogate Election Day inches closer. One even compared the ex-general, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, to one of history’s greatest human rights icons.

“Years ago when Nelson Mandela came to America after years of political persecution he was treated like a rock star by Americans,” John McLaughlin, one of President Trump’s chief pollsters, told The Daily Beast on Thursday evening. “Now after over three years of political persecution General Flynn is our rock star. A big difference is that he was persecuted in America.”

Flynn’s career has been defined by remarkable highs and humiliating lows, having gone from a well-respected intelligence official to an outcast in the Obama administration, to a top surrogate for an insurgent Trump campaign to a disgraced but cooperative witness in the Mueller probe. A forthcoming chapter as a redeemed MAGA hero would seem, in some regards, almost appropriate.

And Trump himself seems determined to see it happen. According to a source who has spoken to the president about Flynn in the past month, Trump had made clear that if legal circumstances permitted, he would want Flynn to get “something good” in his political orbit following years of bad press and legal turmoil. The source said it was unclear if Trump meant a job in the administration, a role for the 2020 campaign, or another position. But the remark was in keeping with other comments that the president uttered throughout the duration of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

As The Daily Beast reported in May 2017, Trump privately expressed hopes that a conclusion of the FBI investigation might permit Flynn to rejoin the administration from which he had recently gotten the boot. Several sources close to Trump said at the time that the president didn’t even believe Flynn should’ve been under any investigation at all.

“Trump feels really, really, really bad about firing him, and he genuinely thinks if the investigation is over Flynn can come back,” one White House official said in May 2017.

And last week, the president told the press that he would “certainly consider” reinstalling Flynn in his administration, adding that the retired general was already an “exonerated” man, even before the Justice Department ditched the case.

This is frankly a mobster capo being rewarded publicly for taking one for the Trump crime family.

Again, Judge Sullivan doesn't have to accept the DOJ dropping the charges.  Bmaz weighs in at Marcy Wheeler's place on what happens next:

Yeah, I don’t know the answer to that. We shall have to await Judge Sullivan entering in with his thoughts. I have no idea where Judge Sullivan will go. For the sake of the rule of law, and, frankly, legal sanity, I hope Judge Sullivan takes this as the full on broadside to law and intelligence that it really is. As I importune relentlessly, courts and law are a function of men and women. They are us. They speak and act for us. Judge Emmet Sullivan is not a man that will take this affront to justice lightly. Nor should he. It is absurd, the court should treat it that way, and, if anything, sanctions ought be imposed on Powell and Flynn.

Okay, where does that leave things? Now that is not a very easy question to answer. Here are a few thoughts though. The first one is “prejudice”. It is absolutely critical whether a dismissal request by the DOJ (or any prosecutor for that matter) is “with prejudice” or “without prejudice”. Here, Tim Shea, and it is crystal clear that means Bill Barr, demands that any dismissal be “with prejudice”. That means that no case based on these facts could ever be brought again. It is a pardon by a corrupt DOJ, without Trump ever having to even issue a pardon. Anybody, including the national press, that describes it differently is straight up lying.

The statute of limitations on a 18 USC §1001 charge for false statements is (as pretty much any charge possible against Flynn save for an ongoing conspiracy allegation) is five years, which is the general statute in federal criminal law. But, you see, that exceeds the time of Trump and Barr if Trump is not reelected. And therein lies the problem and why Mr. Barr and his lackeys Shea and Jensen, are apoplectic to make any dismissal “with prejudice”. Does this ever occur in real criminal justice life? No. Hell no. Of course not, in fact it is always “without prejudice”. Always, unless the government is caught by incontrovertible facts beyond dispute, and even then they usually demur to “without prejudice” dismissal.

But, wait, there’s more, I have other questions! Let’s talk about “materiality” for a moment. It is replete in the position taken by Bill Barr through his boy Tim Shea. To be kind to Mr. Shea, he is an eggplant installed by Trump and Barr. And, here, the eggplant has signed this pleading on his own. Normally any such pleading would be signed by underlings, including career prosecutors. But not here. Why? not clear, but no career track lawyer in DOJ would undersign this garbage. So there is that.

Back to “materiality”: Peruse pages 12-20 of the DOJ motion. Good grief, law review articles will spend hundreds of pages in the future laughing at the arguments Tim Shea has signed off on. Because, presumably nobody but a Trump/Barr appointed toady would even touch that. Yes, it is truly that absurd.

Okay, a parting shot: Normally, when a client puts an attorney’s work in dispute through claims of malpractice, all attorney/client privilege is waived. That is generally how it works. And if Flynn and his Fox News addled lawyer Sid Powell have not accused Rob Kelner and Covington & Burling of malpractice, then there has never been such an accusation. Privilege is waived.

While I thought Judge Sullivan should have disregarded the nonsense, denied all the the Powell crazy (arguably unethical conduct) and just sentenced Flynn. Marcy was right, and I underestimated just how sick the DOJ could be under Barr.
Well, here we are. Flynn and Powell have waived privilege. The DOJ under Barr and, here, Shea, is corrupt beyond comprehension.

But the irreducible minimum is that Judge Emmet Sullivan is the one with jurisdiction and control of this case. Not Trump. Not Barr. An honest and good judge, and one that has proven that over decades. Sidney Powell was right about one, and only one, thing: The Stevens case is a template for the court to find the truth.

Emmet Sullivan is a judge that can appoint an honest and independent special prosecutor to make sure real justice is done. Trump and Barr cannot fire the truth if Judge Sullivan seeks the truth and justice. And he should, for all of us. Judge Sullivan is a lion of justice that has done this before, and he should again

We'll see what Judge Sullivan does.  I would think he's not going to lie down.


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