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Report: Facebook Censoring Hydroxychloroquine as Cure, Despite Drug’s Use in Other Nations

Facebook is censoring speculation over hydroxychloroquine being used as a cure for COVID-19, even when other nations are reportedly using it as a treatment.

Reclaim The Net addressed what could be called “a case of digital imperialism” July 30, pointing out that “Facebook went with imposing the rules of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its users,” despite hydroxychloroquine’s reported use as a treatment for COVID-19 in other nations. Reclaim The Net referenced a study from Sermo, which touts itself as “the largest healthcare data collection company and global social platform for physicians.” Sermo conducted a 3-day poll with over 6,200 physicians from 30 countries. The Sermo poll indicated that hydroxychloroquine, far from medical quackery, is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for the virus:

“The three most commonly prescribed treatments amongst COVID-19 treaters are 56% analgesics, 41% Azithromycin, and 33% Hydroxychloroquine[.]

“Hydroxychloroquine usage amongst COVID-19 treaters is 72% in Spain, 49% in Italy, 41% in Brazil, 39% in Mexico, 28% in France, 23% in the U.S., 17% in Germany, 16% in Canada, 13% in the UK and 7% in Japan.”

Reclaim The Net mused that these revelations may seem shocking to those who live in the United States, considering that many liberal authorities have behaved as if using hydroxychloroquine is irresponsible, mad science:

“It might seem strange to Americans, where the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine has been relegated to a hoax and even a conspiracy theory by mainstream media and Big Tech that there are countries in the world like Spain and Italy – among the hardest hit initially, but that, according to the study, seem to be doing well in this second coronavirus wave – where hydroxychloroquine is by far the most used anti-Covid drug (72% and 49% respectively).”

Earlier this week, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all worked in concert to mass censor material from President Donald Trump, his son, Donald Trump Jr. and a Facebook event featuring doctors discussing treatment for COVID-19.

Business Insider summarized that, in the censored video, “doctors from a group called America’s Frontline Doctors insist that hydroxychloroquine is a ‘cure’ for coronavirus, and called studies questioning the effectiveness of the drug ‘fake science.’”

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone commented on the controversy: “Yes, we removed it for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.” He also mentioned that anyone who had engaged with that video would receive messages that the video was “misinformation” and be directed to the World Health Organization (WHO). Conservative pundit Robby Starbuck pointed out that Stone used to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Conservatives have grown increasingly wary of how Big Tech selects what authorities act as the arbiters of truth regarding the COVID-19 virus. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) trashed Big Tech across the board at the July 29 antitrust hearing for censoring users who question the World Health Organization, “the organization that lied to us, the organization that shilled for China,” he qualified. Jordan juxtaposed how WHO “can say whatever they want. They can lie for China, they can shill for China,” but “if you say something against them, you get censored.” WHO, as late as mid-January, told millions of Twitter users that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of COVID-19.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 or 1-650-543-4800 and demand that the platform mirror the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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Nicolle Wallace Gushes ‘I Love It’ as Obama Aide Bashes US in Profane Rant

How would you expect a decent, patriotic, TV host to respond to a guest who claims other countries see our country as a “god—— s— show?” Outrage? Challenge him?

Sorry: forgot to mention that this was MSNBC. On Nicolle Wallace’s show this afternoon, former Time editor turned Obama aide Rick Stengel told Nicolle Wallace  that the leaders of other countries view the US as a “god—— s— show.” Wallace, far from reprimanding Stengel, gushed “I love it!” and proceeded to repeat the vulgarity. 

Even when Stengel sought to apologize for his outburst, saying “I’m sorry,” Wallace rushed to reassure him: “It’s perfect: you’re perfect.” 

Wallace also claimed: “now you know why Rick Stengel was coveted at the highest levels of government.” Right! Because who wouldn’t want an aide who will go on national TV and spew sacrilegious obscenities about the United States?!Nicolle Wallace Rick Stengel Deadline White House 7-31-20

Here’s the transcript.

MSNBC
Deadline White House
7/31/20
4:38 pm EDT

NICOLLE WALLACE: And my question for you is, what do we look like to the leaders of foreign governments? 

. . . 

RICK STENGEL: If you look at esteem for the US around the world, I mean, we’re at low points that we haven’t been at probably since the end of World War II. 

And I think the people are looking at the way Trump has handled the coronavirus and thinking, you know what? Maybe I don’t always like the Americans kind of interfering in our elections, or talking about democracy. But we’ve always thought they were competent. Well, now we’ve exploded the image of our own competency where people around the world look at the United States and think, this is a god—— s— show, that these people don’t even know how to run a two-car funeral. 
. . . 

WALLACE: And now you know why Rick Stengel was coveted at the highest levels of government, because he spoke in brutal truths: a god—— s— show. I love it, Rick Stengel. Thank you for spending some time with us. 

STENGEL: Sorry about that.

WALLACE: It’s perfect. You’re perfect.

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Bill Clinton’s Spox Releases Statement in Response to Witness Alleging Clinton Was on Jeffrey Epstein’s Island with “2 Young Girls”

Bill Clinton’s spokesperson on Friday released a statement after Ghislaine Maxwell documents unsealed Thursday night contained statements from a witness who told a lawyer that she saw Clinton on Epstein’s pedophile island in the Caribbean.

Clinton’s spokesman told Newsweek that the former US President “never” went to Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile island.

In a statement on Friday, Angel Ureña, a spokesperson for Clinton, told Newsweek that the former president has “never been to Little St. James Island.”

“He’d not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade,” he said. “Well before his terrible crimes came to light.”

TRENDING: Ghislaine Maxwell Documents Unsealed: Allegations Against Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Others — FBI Knew Had Evidence of the Crimes for Years

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers tried to keep x-rated evidence related to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein from going public, but a judge denied the appeal and released damning docs on Thursday evening.

Epstein’s pimp, Ghislaine Maxwell is currently in federal custody awaiting trial.

A witness interview revealed Bill Clinton was at Epstein’s pedophile island with Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and “2 young girls.”

Portion of the interview with witness, Virginia Giuffre:

“When you say you asked him why is Bill Clinton here, where was here?”

Virginia Giuffre: On the island

JS: When you were present with Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Clinton on the island, who else was there?”

Virginia Giuffre: Ghislaine, Emmy, and there were 2 young girls that I could identify. I never really knew them well anyways. It was just 2 girls from New York.”

JS: And were all of you staying at Jeffrey’s house on the island including Bill Clinton?”

Virginia Giuffre: That’s correct. He had about 4 or 5 different villas on his island separate from the main house, and we all stayed in the villas.”

JS: “Were sexual orgies a regular occurrence on the island at Jeffrey’s house?”

We reported in 2016 before the election that Bill Clinton took numerous trips on Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ to Epstein’s private “Orgy Island” where underage girls as young as 14 were prostituted for Epstein’s rich and famous clients like Clinton and Prince Andrew.

In May 2016 FOX News reported that Bill Clinton traveled with Jeffrey Epstein on his famous “Lolita Express” at least 26 times and frequently ditched his secret service detail.

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Throwback: Herman Cain Endorses Trump, “This Presidential Campaign Has Been Blurred By The Liberals”

Former 2012 Republican candidate Herman Cain has passed away and this clip of Cain supporting then-candidate Donald Trump has resurfaced.

Herman Cain opened with, “Thank you for being here. I don’t need to tell you that America is at a crossroads. Again. And at this particular point in our history, it is up to us to help get this nation. To make the right decisions as to which fork in the road we are going to take.”

Mr. Cain gets right to the point, “This presidential campaign has been blurred by the liberals. Blurred by the Democrats. Blurred by the progressives, whatever they are. In order to try and label Donald Trump something that is not. Just in case. Just in case the nightly news hadn’t heard or put this comment up there, I want to set the record straight. Because that’s what I do, as you know, on my radio show nearly every day.”

Mr. Cain answers, “Why? Because there are a lot of lies out there. Allow me to set the record straight about one of the biggest lies out there about Donald Trump and I hope the liberals and the liberal media is listening. Donald Trump is not a racist!”

TRENDING: Ghislaine Maxwell Documents Unsealed: Allegations Against Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Others — FBI Knew Had Evidence of the Crimes for Years

Mitt Romney is brought up by Mr. Cain stating, “I was very disappointed when I read an article about Mitt Romney and his-” audience boos Romney, “Oh, I see. He’s a favorite of yours. When I read this article about that Mitt Romney published. He came up with a cutesy soundbite that totally was empty.”

Click below to watch the full video!

 

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Leftie James Murdoch Resigns from News Corporation, the Parent Company of FOX News Over “Differences in Editorial Content”

James Murdoch tendered his resignation from the Board of Directors of News Corporation, the parent company of FOX News.

Rubert Murdoch stepped down as the CEO of FOX in June 2011 and handed the reins over to his son James.

James Murdoch’s wife Kathryn Murdoch is an outspoken leftist who works for the Clinton Climate Initiative.

The resignation went into effect today.

TRENDING: Ghislaine Maxwell Documents Unsealed: Allegations Against Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Others — FBI Knew Had Evidence of the Crimes for Years

Yahoo.com has more on the resignation.

In a filing to US regulators, he said he also disagreed with some “strategic decisions” made by the company,

The exact nature of the disagreements was not detailed.

But Mr Murdoch has previously criticised News Corp outlets, which include the Wall Street Journal, for climate change coverage.

Representatives of Mr Murdoch and his wife Kathryn have acknowledged the couple’s “frustration” with coverage of the subject by some of the company’s most influential news brands, including Fox News.

They have also spoken of particular disappointment about climate change denial in Murdoch-owned Australian outlets.

August Takala from Mediaite says he wants to invest in left-leaning media outlets.

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Politics

COVID-19 Mortality Reporting is Masterfully Misrepresented – Method of Reporting Makes Current Mortality Appear Much Worse Than It Is

The individuals behind the reporting of the China coronavirus in the US are doing all they can to keep the virus alive.   The media is all-in with constant negative over-the-top reporting.  But the real culprits behind the effort to keep COVID-19 alive are the individuals reporting on the virus.  Their methods are misleading if not fraudulent.

We’ve reported on the fraudulent reporting related to the China coronavirus in the past, for example:

1. Deaths unrelated to the coronavirus like motorcycle accidents and gun shot wounds are reported as COVID-19 related deaths.

2. Deaths where the China coronavirus is assumed to be related are counted as COVID-19 deaths, even though no formal evidence is obtained.

TRENDING: Ghislaine Maxwell Documents Unsealed: Allegations Against Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Others — FBI Knew Had Evidence of the Crimes for Years

3. Related to the above, only around 1% of all Coronavirus deaths have no additional co-morbidity.  This means that nearly all of the COVID deaths had other symptoms along with the coronavirus.  But when reporting on mortality of COVID-19, this is for the most part ignored.

4. We also have noted that COVID-19 overall mirrors the mortality rates of a bad flu season.  Based on current data the current mortality rates from the China coronavirus are within expectations for an above-average flu season with the exception of New York and New Jersey.

So based on all this information, why is it that the public is still so scared of the China coronavirus?

The answer is two fold.  Of course, the main reason COVID-19 is still a major concern of Americans is because the MSM reports on it day in and day out with frightening stories of people catching it and dying from it.

The other reason relates to the manner in which data related to the China coronavirus is obtained and reported.

On March 17, 2020, we were the first to identify that the WHO and the WHO’s Director General Tedros were pushing fraudulent numbers regarding the expected mortality of the coronavirus. The WHO grossly over-stated the mortality rate of the virus by implying it would be 3.4% or at least 30 times more than the flu and COVID-19’s current mortality rate.

Knowing that the reporting on the China coronavirus was fraudulent before, we decided to look into the current reporting on mortality that appears to show the coronavirus mortality increasing dramatically over the past few weeks.

What we uncovered is that the reporting on deaths related to the coronavirus is misrepresented due to the method deaths are reported.  Instead of reporting deaths by the date of death, the reporting used by the MSM is by date death is reported.  Most deaths related to the coronavirus occurred weeks ago.  The recent deaths reported include a large percent of deaths from weeks and even months ago.  By reporting deaths on date reported, deaths that occurred weeks ago are reported this week, overstating this week’s deaths and understating prior period deaths.

Dr. Andrew Bostom provides an example of what is currently going on in Florida that shows the number of deaths currently higher than they really are:

What Dr. Bostom shows is that when charting deaths by the date of death related to COVID-19 the peak for deaths is as reported in the top chart clearly showing that the peak was reached in early July.  But the MSM uses the date the death is reported which shows a picture that looks like the peak number of individuals who died with the COVID-19 is this past week and growing.  The method used by the MSM is inaccurate and continues to report in this manner is fraudulent.

Americans want the truth.  We give it to them.

The government needs to audit the fraudulent practices used by the CDC in their reporting on the coronavirus.

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Supreme Court Gives Trump 5-4 Win on Construction of the Border Wall with Mexico

The radical left continues to this day to fight the Trump administration’s plan to secure the country with a border wall with Mexico.

Open border Democrats pushed the court to halt construction of the Trump border wall but the justices voted 5-4 to allow construction to continue.

The Democrat appointees voted for open borders once again.
This makes the November election even more important for the country.

US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018.

The Statesman reported:

TRENDING: Ghislaine Maxwell Documents Unsealed: Allegations Against Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Others — FBI Knew Had Evidence of the Crimes for Years

The Supreme Court declined by a 5-4 vote Friday to halt the Trump administration’s construction of portions of the border wall with Mexico following a recent lower court ruling that the administration improperly diverted money to the project.

The court’s four liberal justices dissented, saying they would have prohibited construction while a court challenge continues, after a federal appeals court ruled in June that the administration had illegally sidestepped Congress in transferring the Defense Department funds.

“The Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a brief dissent for the four liberals.

Friday’s order means the court is not likely even to consider the substance of the issue until after the November election, while work on the wall continues.

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Evening Brief: CERB recipients will migrate to EI in September


Tonight’s Evening Brief is brought to you by iPolitics. Subscribers get the Lunchbox Brief delivered to their inbox at noon Monday to Friday. Be the first to get our feature column on staff changes on the Hill every Thursday. Sign up here.

Good evening, readers.

The Lead

Canadians receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will soon be transferred to an updated employment insurance system, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning.

Details will come by the end of August, but Trudeau said Ottawa intends to cover “every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st century EI system.”

“No one will be left behind,” he said.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said the transfer of CERB recipients will occur in September, explaining that federal officials have worked to streamline intake procedures for accepting claims with the help of existing employment records over the past five months.

Jolson Lim has this story.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s new “exposure notification” app will operate using bluetooth, steering away from a location-based contact tracing following privacy concerns.

The app – called COVID Alert – is now available for download on iPhones and Android devices. But beginning today, codes that are key to the app’s functionality are only being handed out to people who test positive for the virus in Ontario. Charlie Pinkerton has the details.

In Canada

A federal contract signed with Amazon Canada to distribute COVID-19 medical supplies to health care providers nationwide has been suspended as provinces and territories request that distribution be delivered to centralized locations. Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson Charles Drouin also pointed to increased demand, saying the federal government has significantly increased the volume of supplies being purchased since the contract was signed.

The contract allowed provincial and territorial health providers to order personal protective equipment and other supplies directly from the Public Health Agency of Canada using Amazon. Jolson Lim has more.

Trudeau said this morning that Finance Minister Bill Morneau should “not have accepted” the gifted portions of his family’s trips with WE Charity, referring the two trips that members of Morneau’s family took in 2017 — one of which Morneau himself took part in, paid for in part by WE.

Trudeau said at a press conference that “obviously” there are “questions” for Morneau, though the prime minister quickly followed that statement up by asserting the finance minister had “already addressed” them.

“As Mr. Morneau himself highlighted, he apologized and he should not have accepted the elements of that, that were gifts,” Trudeau said, according to CTV News.

While Canada is figuring out how to secure its own supply of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s at the same time championing the need for poorer countries to have access.  The Trudeau government is considering its options as wealthy countries begin to make big bets by preordering hundreds of millions of doses of potential vaccines, but in an interview with Politico, Karina Gould, Canada’s international development minister, also stressed the importance of pursuing a broad global strategy to make the eventual vaccine equally accessible for poorer countries.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that cabinet documents about increases to provincial court judges’ pay can’t be released in a B.C. court challenge, but can be partially disclosed in a similar Nova Scotia case.

The two cases before the top court were not about the merits of the level of increases in salaries and benefits that provincial judges should receive. Instead, the main issue concerned whether reports from provincial cabinets, normally out of bounds due to cabinet confidentiality, should be released to provincial judges associations in their bid for a judicial review over whether their salary proposals should have been denied by government.

Leslie MacKinnon has this story.

The Sprout: Salmonella infections in five provinces linked to red onions imported from the U.S.

The Drilldown: Trump administration approves permit for Keystone pipeline to increase capacity to 760,000 bpd

In Other Headlines

Trudeau’s WE Testimony Spurs New Questions About His Office, Morneau’s Future (Analysis)

Deadline to submit bids to build Canada’s next fighter jets lands today (CBC News)

Trudeau praises ‘excellent work’ of WE Charity, despite recent challenge (The Globe and Mail)

The Trudeau WE testimony: What, you wanted a micromanager? (Macleans)

Trudeau expected perception issues with WE deal, but no conflict of interest (The Canadian Press)

Internationally

A Florida teenager was arrested early this morning in connection with the recent high-profile hack of 130 Twitter accounts, including accounts of celebrities like Elon Musk. Federal authorities were already tracking the suspect before the Twitter hack, and the Secret Service seized over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin from him in April. The Tampa youth faces 30 felony charges, including fraud, and is being charged as an adult. (New York Times)

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, as President Donald Trump plans to announce a decision ordering China’s ByteDance Ltd. to divest its ownership of the music-video app TikTok, which is popular with U.S. teens. The U.S. has been investigating potential national security risks due to the company’s control of the app. (Bloomberg, The New York Times)

Hong Kong’s embattled leader set off another political storm today by invoking emergency powers to postpone the Legislative Council elections scheduled for September by one year, citing the risk of further escalating a resurgent COVID-19 crisis. This comes after election officials banned 12 opposition activists from running in the polls. (South China Morning Post)

President Donald Trump’s reelection effort allegedly hid nearly $170 million in spending from mandatory public disclosure by routing payments through companies tied to his former campaign manager, a government oversight group said this week — an allegation Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh disputes. (The Associated Press)

Sometimes the capital doesn’t look so bad.

Have a great long weekend!

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Here’s Why Your $600 Unemployment Benefits Expired

WASHINGTON — As the extra $600 in unemployment benefits expire on Saturday, talks between the White House and congressional leaders on extending all or a portion of it have devolved into an orgy of finger-pointing.

The Senate left town on Thursday after a lot of drama and no meaningful progress toward reaching consensus on an extension. With his Republican conference sharply divided on the issue, all Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky could do was set up a legislative vehicle in case a deal comes together next week. 

House Democrats passed a bill in May that, among many other responses to the coronavirus pandemic, would extend the additional $600 a week from the federal government until the end of the year. But Senate Republicans dismissed that $3 trillion bill, calling it a “socialist Democrat dream.” Instead, they hit the brakes on passing further aid until a week before the ending of the extra jobless aid.  

Negotiations between top congressional Democrats and White House officials haven’t gone anywhere, despite four rounds of talks on Capitol Hill. And instead of trying to find some consensus to avoid a lapse in the unemployment benefits, leaders from both parties are now selectively leaking information about negotiations to make the other side look worse. 

The Senate left town Thursday with no progress on a deal to extend federal unemployment benefits. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Gett



The Senate left town Thursday with no progress on a deal to extend federal unemployment benefits. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The most recent controversy involves an offer that was never really made. In a meeting with congressional leaders and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday, the Trump administration floated the idea of a one-week extension of the $600 benefits so that both sides could continue negotiating. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected the temporary offer out of hand.

That led Meadows to ask a rhetorical question: Would Democrats turn down a four-month extension at $600?

According to senior aides from both parties, that question wasn’t meant as a serious offer. But it was noteworthy to Republicans that Pelosi still said no to the four-month extension because Democrats want a broader relief package — just as it’s perhaps noteworthy that Meadows asked a “rhetorical question” like that during negotiations.

The idea of continuing benefits for a single week, meanwhile, assumes state workforce agencies can implement a federal policy change without multiple weeks of delay, which they have proven they can’t. 

With the extra benefits suddenly disappearing for more than 25 million people, both parties are aiming to blame the other for the failure to extend at least some of the money. 

“I think the Democrats are willing to allow the enhanced unemployment to expire, they’ve made that very clear,” Meadows told reporters after Thursday’s session. “So I’m not very optimistic on anybody who’s counting on enhanced unemployment to have any relief anytime soon.”

Meadows separately told HuffPost on Friday that he thought Democrats believed this would end with the President agreeing to their bill — an assertion he said he thought was entirely wrong.

But Democrats seem to think the unemployment benefits are the key to a larger deal that includes money for state and local governments, another round of stimulus checks, and more money to address the health crisis — and they don’t see a major need to reduce the $600 a week benefit, like many Republicans do.

Indeed, several GOP lawmakers told HuffPost this week that, ideally, Congress wouldn’t approve a single dollar more — let alone $600 a week. 

A Senate Republican bill would have provided $200 a week until states could calculate benefits equal to 70% of an unemployed person’s former income, up to $500 a week. McConnell’s top priority in that bill, however, has been blocking coronavirus-related lawsuits with a provision that, among other things, would empower the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute anyone who so much as sends a letter demanding compensation for reckless exposure to the virus..

But with so many Republicans opposed to extra jobless pay — concerned that they would be disincentivizing work and inflating the unemployment rate — and with Democrats opposed to skimpier benefits, that proposal was dead on arrival.

“The Republicans said they wanted to take a pause. Well, the virus didn’t,” Pelosi said Friday, pressing her case that Congress needed to pass more aid. “Their delay, their denials, their distortions have caused death.”

The extra aid for the jobless is unprecedented, as Congress has never piled hundreds of dollars on top of weekly unemployment compensation, which is funded by state governments. And the number of people receiving the benefits is also unprecedented, as the U.S. has never deliberately shut down wide swaths of its economy to stop the spread of a deadly virus. 

Without the extra $600, benefit cuts will range from 50% to 85%, according to The Century Foundation, a liberal think tank. Because so many people are losing so much income at once, the broader economy could suffer. 

From March through June, work incomes fell by 4.1%, but thanks to unemployment benefits overall incomes rose 5.4%, according to an analysis of recent data by former Treasury economist Ernie Tedeschi. 

Shari Barnes, 61,  of Wichita, Kansas, said her state benefit is $293. The extra $600 has helped her take care of her son and daughter, who are also unemployed but not receiving benefits.

“It will get tougher,” she said. “I’m going to be able to do it, most likely, but it will be tougher.” 

Barnes is a substitute teacher. She can’t stand hearing from Republicans that the extra benefits supposedly make workers lazy while a deadly plague stalks the nation. 

“It’s okay to give us extra money right now,” Barnes said. “We’re surviving. We’re not thriving. We’re not going out and buying new cars or getting new houses. We’re staying safe.”


A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

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How Rep. Karen Bass Became A Leading VP Contender

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s leaders were deadlocked and on the verge of financial catastrophe in 2008. Five negotiators, including Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, couldn’t agree on a budget that would guide the nation’s most populous state through the Great Recession.

Enter Karen Bass, who became Assembly speaker that May, the first Black woman to hold the role. She shifted the tone of the talks, helping the group find common ground.

“When Karen came into the Big 5, everything changed,” said Mike Villines, then the Republican Assembly leader. “We started to make little progress on little things, and it led to bigger progress.”

A dozen years later, the bridge-building, unassuming style that colleagues say made Bass an effective leader in Sacramento is among the reasons the current California congresswoman has emerged as a leading contender to become Joe Biden’s running mate. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee appeared with Bass for the first time at a fundraiser on Thursday. He plans to make a pick next week. 

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., questions Intelligence Committee Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majori



Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., questions Intelligence Committee Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman during the House impeachment inquiry hearings, Monday Dec. 9, 2019, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

A former physician assistant and community organizer, Bass said she brings experience to tackle the nation’s economic, racial and health care crises.

“I have historically, for the last four or five decades, focused on building coalitions and building bridges between ethnic groups, between political ideologies,” she told The Associated Press this week. “I’m a very goal-driven person; I am focused on getting stuff done. And I am willing to work with whoever, whenever, however.”

Her low-key approach was evident as early as 1990, when she launched a nonprofit in Los Angeles. One of the organization’s tenets was “no celebrity-style leadership.” Unlike some of her competitors for vice president, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Bass hasn’t sought national office and has no stated presidential aspirations.

But that means she is lesser known to voters, lacks a major donor base and hasn’t faced the scrutiny of a national campaign. A past comment about former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro could be troublesome to Hispanic voters in the key swing state of Florida.

Still, she brings plenty of political cachet. She left Sacramento for Congress in 2010 and now chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. After George Floyd’s killing by police, she led Democratic efforts on legislation to overhaul law enforcement, a push that prompted Biden’s team to take her more seriously as a potential running mate.

“She got high marks for managing that deal, but she’s managed similar bills in the past,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, a former CBC chair and Biden ally. “She has a resume that I think is good to be considered.”

Bass, 66, wouldn’t discuss her vetting. But Fabian Nunez, a former state Assembly speaker and close friend of Bass’, said she’s been “properly vetted.” He supported Bass as his successor in the Legislature because the difficult budget talks required a “less ideological” leader who could bring people together, qualities the country needs today.

“The country needs healers,” he said.

Both Biden and Bass learned to heal through personal tragedy. Biden lost his wife and young daughter in a car accident in 1972. In 2006, Bass’ 23-year-old daughter and son-in-law died in a car accident.

Before entering politics, Bass worked in a Los Angeles emergency room, where she saw the havoc brought by the crack cocaine epidemic and police crackdown that fueled the arrests of young men of color. She created the Community Coalition, a nonprofit aimed at treating gang violence and the drug trade as public health issues.

After surveying 30,000 residents, the organizers learned that liquor stores were a surprising source of the problem, providing a haven for drug deals and other illicit behavior. They helped shut down 150 stores.

When Los Angeles City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson started working at the coalition in 1995 at age 25, he didn’t know Bass. But he knew the liquor stores he’d been told to avoid his whole life were closed.

“It was very meaningful for me because you hear a lot of political talk, particularly post-1992,” he said, referring to the year of the Los Angeles riots that followed the beating of Rodney King by white police officers. “Those things never get done. Here was Karen, quietly setting up goals (and) knocking them down.”

Meanwhile, Biden was passing the 1994 bill that furthered the era’s tough-on-crime policies. He’d also supported stricter sentences for crack cocaine compared to powder, which disproportionately hurt minorities. Bass said she was opposed to the 1994 bill but did not criticize Biden.

“People in the community were demanding legislation like that. They wanted to see three strikes, they wanted to see the crime bill,” she said. “People like me were fighting to get the community to see things differently.”

In the state Legislature, she prioritized child welfare and foster care legislation before winning the speakership. As the only woman in leadership, she changed the male-dominated culture.

Schwarzenegger often invited lawmakers to negotiate in a cigar tent, but Bass told the men there would be no smoking with her inside. Among the Republicans she was close with in Sacramento: Kevin McCarthy, who is now the top Republican in the U.S. House.

Dolores Huerta, the California civil rights leader and farm worker activist, said Bass is someone who can repair the nation’s damaged institutions. She’d be a vice president who can adeptly handle the work at home as Biden works on repairing international relationships, Huerta said.

“He’s going to need somebody at his side that can really help him with things here at the domestic level,” said Huerta, who endorsed Harris in the Democratic presidential primary.

Bass’ allies say she has no baggage, but she will face fresh scrutiny if Biden chooses her.

Fernand Amandi, a Democratic consultant and Florida pollster who specializes in the Hispanic vote, said Bass could alienate Cuban voters because of a 2016 statement she made when Castro died. She said, “The passing of Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba.”

Critics say the remarks were too deferential to a brutal dictator, and Amandi said it will allow Republicans to paint Bass as a radical socialist.

She traveled to Cuba on three expense-paid trips in Congress, including trips to learn about the Cuban health care system and cultural exchanges, all approved by the House Ethics Committee. She first traveled to Cuba in the 1970s as a young activist.

“Let’s say you have a wavering Cuban American Trump supporter now who may be on the fence, who’s just looking for a reason to stick with Trump,” Amandi said. “With Karen Bass’ comments about Fidel Castro, it will be served up on a silver platter.”

Bass has since said she better understands the sensitivity of her comment after speaking with Florida colleagues, and she believes she can still reach out to Cuban voters in the state, where the coronavirus is a top issue.

“I absolutely feel that there is a pathway that I would not be a liability in whatever role I play on the campaign,” she said. “And, you know, Florida is also a very big state.”

Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard contributed to this report from Columbia, S.C.