pindo mayhem

Pandemic surges in the Americas as the global death toll nears 560k
Kate Randall, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

As of Friday evening, there were more than 12.4m confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 559,622 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The trend of new cases is at record highs, averaging over 200k daily over the last week. Pindostan is leading the global toll of new cases and deaths, with nearly 3.2m cases and 133,885 deaths as of Friday evening, about a quarter of the global total of both metrics. Not far behind is Latin America, which has seen a surge in recent weeks, accounting for nearly half of all new COVID-19 cases globally. Pindo boxtops reported a record single-day spike of 60k coronavirus cases earlier this week, setting a single-day record for sixth time in 10 days. This surge has been largely driven by states in the country’s South and West, which are seeing a dramatic rise in cases and deaths after being some of the first states to loosen restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Texas set a record for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, recording more than 10.9k cases. At least six states set single-day records on Thursday, including Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Texas. In California, cases are up 275% since May 25. Since the state began reopening in early May, Florida has seen average cases increase more than tenfold. Cases in Arizona have risen by 858% since May 8 when the state began to reopen. Cases in Texas have jumped by 680% since May 1.

Hospitals across the country are seeing a surge of hospitalizations of COVID-19 cases, overwhelming capacity and staff. In Florida, 40 ICUs have reached capacity; hospitalizations in Miami-Dade Country are up 74%. In Arizona, people are waiting in their cars in miles-long lines for testing, with tests running out and people waiting more than a week for results as labs are overwhelmed. In El Centro, California, on the Mexican border, a surge of COVID-19 patients has forced the Regional Medical Center to set up tents taking up half of the facility’s parking lot. Despite this burgeoning catastrophe, Trump maintains that his administration is “handling it” and that “99%” of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.” The basis for this contemptible attitude toward the suffering of the Pindo sheeple is the drive to force workers back on the job, no matter the cost to life. One of the main focuses is opening public schools, placing the lives of teachers and children in danger so parents can get back on the job. In Florida, which has seen a more than 1200% rise in cases since reopening, the Thug Governor Ron DeSantis is moving forward with a plan to require “brick and mortar schools” to be open five days a week beginning in August. He has vowed not to order reopened businesses to close. On Friday, Trump visited Florida, not to discuss the pandemic’s toll of the state, but for a fundraiser focused on fighting drug-trafficking.

Commenting Wednesday on the surge of cases in Pindostan, infectious disease expert and White House health adviser Dr Anthony Fauci, on a WSJ podcast, said that states should consider “shutting down” or “pausing in their opening process.” Over the past week, Pindostan has reported an average 52,444 cases, up more than 30% over the previous week. Fauci said:

What we are seeing is exponential growth. It went from an average of about 20k to 40k and 50k. That’s doubling. If you continue doubling, two times 50 is 100.

Hoping such sobering statistics will miraculously evaporate, Trump has reportedly not met face-to-face with Fauci in more than two months. South of Pindostan, Latin America is seeing a similar surge in cases. Latin America is home to 8% of the global population, but accounts for nearly half of all recent COVID-19 cases. Brazil has the second highest number of confirmed cases, 1.8m, and 70,398 deaths, second only to Pindostan. Mexico has also seen a recent surge in cases, recording 289,174 total cases and 34,191 deaths. Following the Tuesday announcement of Brazil’s Bolsonaro that he tested positive for COVID-19, two other leading South American politicians have also tested positive for the virus: Diosdado Cabello, leader of Venezuela’s Socialist Party, and Jeanine Áñez, right-wing interim president of Bolivia. The WHO worldwide breakdown as of Friday is as follows:

  • Africa: 428,051 cases, 7,733 deaths
  • Americas: 6,264,626 cases, 276,370 deaths
  • Eastern Mediterranean: 1,238,779 cases, 29,690 deaths
  • Europe: 2,868,080 cases, 202,341 deaths
  • South-East Asia: 1,065,093 cases, 27,382 deaths
  • Western Pacific: 236,958 cases, 7,517 deaths

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, spoke on the rising tide of the pandemic at the WHO Member State Briefing on Thursday in Geneva. He said:

The pandemic has exploited the inequalities in our health systems and the schisms in our societies. It has exposed existing inequities, widening and deepening the cracks between us. We know that when countries take a comprehensive approach based on fundamental public health measures such as find, isolate, test and treat cases, and trace and quarantine contacts, the outbreak can be brought under control, but in most of the world the virus is not under control, it is getting worse. The total numbers of global cases have doubled in the last six weeks. The damaging health effects of the pandemic stretch beyond the virus itself. Hundreds of millions of children are at risk of missing out on routine vaccines for tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles, polio, cholera, diarrhea and other things. Many countries are running low on HIV medicines. Refugees are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic, already facing limited access to adequate shelter, water, nutrition, sanitation and health services. COVID-19 could push them over the brink. And around the world, in countries rich and poor, many more people are now going hungry. We can see poverty visibly now, with estimates from the World Food Program that global hunger could increase to more than 270m people. These are not numbers. These are people. It has been made devastatingly clear that the best defense against health emergencies is a strong health system. A strong health system is a resilient health system. That is why national governments and local governments need to invest in preparedness and essential public health functions.

In a world in which health-care systems are subordinated to the drive for profit and the enrichment of the health-care system, such appeals from the director of the UN body will fall on deaf ears. Left to the likes of Trump, Bolsonaro and the Boris Johnson, nothing will be done to organize a scientifically-based response to combat the pandemic. The working class must take command of the situation, beginning with the establishment of workplace committees to protect the health of workers on the job and their families when they go home. Workers, whether at auto plants, restaurants, retail shops or schools, must be the ones to determine whether their conditions are safe. There are adequate funds in the coffers of the super-rich to ensure that wages, rents, groceries and other necessities are covered in the interim. At a press conference on Wednesday, Pompeo set aside the glaring statistics on coronavirus cases and death in Pindostan, telling reporters:

Of course Pindostan remains the world leader in the pandemic. It almost goes without saying, and there are multiple dimensions and I’ve talked about each of them. Certainly the Vice President’s task force talks about them as well. But whether that is the technical, scientific solutions both to how to stop the spread; whether that’s therapeutics or vaccines, the world turns its eyes to the best scientists and researchers and practitioners of the sciences that will ultimately bring resolution to this problem. It’s Pindostan that the world looks to. When it comes to countries, small countries, whether that’s in Central Asia or in Africa, their eyes turn to Pindostan. It’s not remotely close who has provided the most assistance to these nations to try and solve what are vexing problems in their countries with very little medical infrastructure. And so yes, there is no doubt that Pindostan has been and will remain the world’s leader when it comes to not only pandemic response but global health care infrastructure, systems, and processes that take down the very risks that we described.

Pompeo said the “world turns its eyes” to Pindo scientists and researchers to develop treatments and to Pindo aid to assist other countries in fighting the COVID-19 outbreaks. He neglected to say that the Trump administration turns its eyes away from the same scientific guidance. The reality? Pindostan has providing a paltry $1.3b to more than 120 countries in emergency health, humanitarian and economic assistance during the pandemic, the State Dept said Friday. By contrast, the CARES Act, passed with the unanimous support of the Demagogs & Thugs, authorized the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and the corporate elite, with no restrictions. The House Armed Services Committee also just approved an $840b budget, to fund the Pindo military’s aggressive wars abroad while the pandemic rages at home.

Protests erupt after Detroit police shoot and kill 21-year-old man
Stephen Fuller, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

Twenty-year-old Hakim Littleton was shot and killed by police near Detroit, Michigan’s northwest side at 12:35 pm on Friday. Shortly after the shooting, hundreds of protesters gathered at the spot near San Juan and McNichols where the incident occurred. Videos shot at the scene showed a large presence of police in riot gear, clashing with demonstrators and throwing tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd. Around 300 of the protesters marched to the 12th Precinct police station in Detroit where several organizers were arrested. Protesters chanted “Let them go,” threatening to stay until the organizers were released. Tensions are high in the city after weeks of protests against police brutality in which hundreds have been arrested and police have rammed into protesters with their vehicles. Protests began in Detroit in the days after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by four police officers on May 25 and have continued nearly every day since then. Shortly after the shooting Littleton’s uncle, Asar Amenra, spoke with WWJ News radio, declaring:

Police think they can do whatever the hell they want, and I’m telling you all we can’t allow it no more. It’s time for self-defense! We have a right to defend our lives, and we should do that.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig held a press conference at 7:30 pm, reporting that the victim was armed and fired at police after an altercation with officers. He released video footage of the incident, under obvious pressure from the protesters. According to Craig, police were investigating a shooting that occurred at a block party near San Juan on July 4th when they encountered Hakim. Officers from the 12th Precinct were arresting Darnel Sylvester, a suspect who surrendered immediately. Hakim was standing next to the officers as the arrest occurred. Dash and body camera footage showed Hakim pulling a small caliber pistol from his pocket and firing at the officers at close range. The officers shot Hakim four times as he was turning away and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. No officers were injured.

During the press conference, Craig cited the thirteen months it took for the Chicago police department to release the bodycam footage of the 2014 police murder of Laquan McDonald, saying the release of body cam footage within hours of the incident by the Detroit police was “unprecedented.” Craig also railed against social media for promoting false information and commended the use of tear gas against the protesters. However, it is clear the only reason the footage was released so quickly was due to the immediate protests at the scene and at the police district, demanding answers in the killing and accountability. In most cases, bodycam footage is withheld for weeks or months before being shown to the public, if it is released at all, under the guise of protecting the integrity of an ongoing investigation. The situation remains on a knife’s edge, with protests continuing across Pindostan to demand an end to police brutality and racism. Even in the face of repeated assaults by the police forces and the deployment of the National Guard, multi-racial protests are continuing. Even with the unprecedented wave of protests there has been no let-up in the pace of police killings and assaults. So far this year, according to a database maintained by the WaPo, police have shot and killed 511 people in Pindostan. Since 2015, 5,442 have fallen victim to the police. For each person killed, many hundreds more are victims of non-fatal shootings, tasing and assaults.

Sanders-Biden task forces and the debacle of Sanders’ “political revolution”
Genevieve Leigh, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

With the unveiling of Sanders and Biden’s “joint task force” proposals for the 2020 Demagog Party platform, Sanders has put the final nail in the coffin of his so-called “political revolution.” The joint task force initiative was first announced when Sanders gave his endorsement of Biden in mid-April. The task forces were composed of leading members of the Sanders and Biden campaigns, including two members of the Democratic Socialists of America: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA. The initiative was meant to promote “party unity” ahead of the election. The result of the Biden-Sanders collaboration is nothing short of a total repudiation of all the central pillars of Sanders’ campaign, amid the greatest social and economic catastrophe in Pindo history. Most notably absent in the proposals is Sanders’ hallmark “Medicare-for-all” plan, which has been replaced by calls to “re-open the Affordable Care Act marketplaces” and provide a public option. A reduction in the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 60 is meant to serve as Biden’s “progressive” fig leaf on health-care. Just four years ago, Hillary Clinton’s campaign had called for a lowering of Medicare eligibility to age 50. Other policies central to the Sanders’ campaign that were dropped include a federal jobs guarantee, the Green New Deal, free college tuition and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Instead, the non-binding recommendations for the Demagog Party platform consist of platitudes about ensuring “equity” for all Pindos and minor policy reforms that the Demagog Party has no intention of implementing.

The Demagog Party platform has no practical import in any event. Many young people and workers will recall that when Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, he proclaimed that she and the party had adopted the “most progressive party platform in history.” Sanders, who is proving in real time to be the Demagog Party’s most enthusiastic cheerleader, is once again getting out his pom-poms ahead of the 2020 elections. Following the announcement of the task force proposals, Sanders went as far as predicting that Biden could become the “most progressive president” since FDR. Who does he think he is fooling? Biden has a nearly 50-year history of carrying out the dictates of the ruling class. He supported the Iraq war and the end of the Glass–Steagall restrictions on financial speculation. He helped pass legislation that led to the mass incarceration of the poorest and most oppressed layers of the population. If elected, a Biden administration, with the participation of many of those involved in the “unity” initiative, will preside over an intensification of austerity, further attacks on democratic rights and an expansion of war and militarism. The prostration of Sanders before the Biden campaign was entirely predictable and in line with the nature of his campaign. As reality has demonstrated so clearly the need for socialism, Sanders’ response was to shift ever further to the right.

The events of the last four months in particular are worth reviewing. The last act of the Sanders campaign was the senator’s vote for the $2.2t CARES Act on Mar 25. Prior to voting “yes” on the bill, Sanders hailed it on the Senate floor as a boon to workers. In reality, the bill was a boondoggle for corporate Pindostan that allowed for the funneling of $6t to keep the stock market afloat and cover any losses suffered by major corporations. On Apr 8, as coronavirus cases in Pindostan were reaching their first peak and hospitals were being overwhelmed, Sanders announced that he was dropping out of the race, and he held his groveling discussion with Biden on Apr 13. His capitulation to Biden was followed by an interview with the AP in which he slandered as “irresponsible” any of his supporters who failed to campaign for Biden. Just a day earlier, Biden had signed on to Trump’s “back-to-work” campaign, as the Pindo COVID-19 death toll reached 10k. Soon after, former top advisors to the Sanders campaign harnessed its organizational structure to launch a new super-PAC, “Future to Believe In,” to direct resources to the election of Biden. On May 23, as the Pindo COVID-19 death toll was nearing 100k and the wealth of the super-rich was booming, Sanders’ political team issued a threat to his delegates: they would be removed from their positions if they criticized Biden or other Demagog Party leaders. Two days later, George Floyd was brutally murdered by police, triggering massive multi-racial and multi-ethnic protests against police brutality across Pindostan and around the world. In response to the protests, Trump attempted to carry out a coup, mobilizing active-duty troops to put down the protests and establish a presidential dictatorship. In response to these developments, Sanders was silent. When he did finally address the situation, he called for police officers to receive a pay raise.

Now, as a direct result of the bipartisan policies of the government, the pandemic is spiraling out of control. This week over 375k coronavirus cases were reported in Pindostan, more than the number of cases reported in February, March and the first week of April combined. Workers are waiting in lines for over five hours in states like Florida and Arizona just to receive tests. Many states are nearing ICU bed capacity. And over 1.3m people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, the 15th week in a row that new unemployment claims have been above 1m and more than six times the number who newly filed this week last year. On top of this, there is mounting pressure for schools to pursue a reckless reopening in the fall and massive resistance brewing among key sections of the industrial working class. It is under these conditions that Sanders has chosen to release his so-called “unity” proposals. Sanders’ actions express his political function. To keep social opposition within the framework of the Demagog Party. As the WSWS wrote in Feb 2016:

Sanders aims not to create a ‘revolution,’ as he asserts in his campaign speeches, but to prevent one.

There were countless groups in and around the Demagog Party, most notably the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who have spent the last five years promoting illusions in the Sanders campaign. Since the ending of his campaign, the DSA has held dozens of “call-in” meetings to urge workers and young people not to leave the Demagog Party. “Eventually” they explain, such a break will be needed, “but not now.” In the bankruptcy of the Sanders campaign, they exposed their own bankruptcy as well. Workers and young people have to draw the necessary lessons from the Sanders experience. It is not, at its root, a question of proving the bankruptcy of Sanders as an individual, but more fundamentally, the bankruptcy of the political perspective he represents, one of reformism. Every advanced capitalist country has its own variety of Sanders. In Great Britain there is Corbyn, in Greece there was the experience of Syriza, and in Spain, Podemos. The attitude of the SEP toward the Sanders campaign, and its cousins around the world is based on a scientific, historically-grounded Marxist analysis that proceeds not from what political tendencies or individuals say about themselves, but from their history and program and the class interests they represent. The only way forward for the working class is on the basis of a genuinely revolutionary policy, not a “political revolution” to promote the Demoagog Party, but a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism. The SEP is running its own presidential campaign to elect Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz for president and vice president of Pindostan. We are running our campaign in order to bring our program and international perspective to the widest possible numbers of working people and young people, both in Pindostan and worldwide. We call on all workers and young people to join this campaign and support this fight.

Biden promotes economic nationalism and anti-China militarism
Barry Grey, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

On Thursday, Biden gave what was billed as a major speech on economic policy. Biden’s remarks, delivered at McGregor Industries near Scranton, Pennsylvania, were dominated by economic nationalism, with a focus on attacks against China. Speaking in a battleground state that was narrowly won by Trump in 2016, Biden attempted to present himself as a “blue-collar” partisan of the “hard-working middle class.” The 77-year-old political windbag has been a fixture in Pindo politics for nearly 50 years, having been first elected to the Senate in 1972, where he served for 40 years before spending eight years as vice president under Obama. The man who presents himself as “middle-class Joe from hard-scrabble Scranton, Pennsylvania,” is implicated in virtually every crime and atrocity committed by Pindo imperialism against the people of the world over that period, as well as the social counter-revolution of the past four decades, which has produced unprecedented levels of social inequality and financial parasitism. That includes the Obama-Biden administration’s role in the bail-out of Wall Street in 2008-9, and the biggest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top until that point in Pindo history.

In his speech, Biden offered no opposition to the administration’s brutal “back-to-work” drive, which is being implemented by Demagog & Thug governors and mayors alike, and which has already resulted in an explosion of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, along with a new surge in deaths. Nor did he propose measures to restore the millions of jobs permanently lost during the pandemic. He was silent on the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and big business enacted in March with the near-unanimous votes of the Demagogs in Congress. He did not even address the looming cut-off of the $600/wk federal unemployment benefit, which threatens to plunge tens of millions of workers into homelessness and destitution. Instead, he pledged that a Biden administration would continue the economic nationalist, trade war policies enacted by Trump. Calling for an expanded “Buy Pindo” program, he sought to attack the incumbent president from the right, claiming that Trump was insufficiently aggressive in cracking down on Chinese imports and bringing global supply chains back to Pindostan.

The speech was laced with the standard pseudo-populist pablum of Pindo capitalist politics, such as the promise to build “an economy where every Pindo has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in, an equal chance to get ahead.” At one point, Biden called for an end to “shareholder capitalism,” meaning a return to a mythical capitalist past when corporations recognized that “they have responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country.” He got to the main point when he called for a future that is “made in America, all in Pindostan.” He proposed to double the tax on foreign profits and said he would allocate $400b in his first year to buy Pindo products. This would constitute a $400b taxpayer handout to major Pindo corporations. Biden’s plan also calls for eliminating loopholes and waivers to “Buy Pindo” requirements and affixing “Buy Pindo “labels on products produced by Pindo-owned corporations. The WSJ cited a Biden campaign adviser, who said in advance of the speech:

It will serve notice to Pindo trading partners that, even if Mr Trump loses in November, vassals shouldn’t expect Faschingstein to return to the embrace of economic globalization that had defined the policies of the Obama-Biden administration and two decades of Thug & Demagog presidents who preceded it.

After proclaiming his own “Pindostan First” credentials, Biden launched into attacks on China, as well as denunciations of Trump for being “soft” on Beijing. He declared:

The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future while we sit with our thumb in our ear. This means fighting unfair trade practices, curbing the theft of intellectual property by countries like China. President Trump promised to buy Pindo, then he let federal contractors double the rate of offshoring jobs in his first 18 months. He praised the Chinese government, even as the virus was coming to our shores because he was so afraid that they’d walk away from his trade deal.

At another point he denounced “the way he coddles up to Putin and others.” This was combined with praise for the trade unions, bastions of national chauvinism and protectionism and key instruments for suppressing working class opposition to the homicidal back-to-work drive. “The unions built the middle class,” he proclaimed. Other proposals announced by Biden include a research and investment program of $300b over four years “to sharpen Pindostan’s competitive edge in new industries where global leadership is up for grabs, like battery technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and clean energy,” that is, another subsidy for corporate Pindostan. He pledged to raise the corporate tax rate from the 21% established in the Trump tax overhaul to 28%, which is still a substantial reduction from the 35% that prevailed prior to the Dec 2017 measure. He listed the most minimal of social reforms, including a $15/hr minimum wage, a raise in Title One teacher pay to $60k/yr and financial incentives for “black, brown and Native American entrepreneurs.”

The Demagog Party’s embrace of the extreme economic nationalism promoted by Trump is in large part motivated by fear of the emergence of a united mass movement of the Pindo and international working classes against capitalism. The Pindo corporate oligarchy is well aware of the growth of socialist sentiment among workers and rising struggles by workers internationally against the brutal and incompetent response of capitalist governments to the pandemic. In recent weeks, for example, Mexican workers at auto parts sweat shops along the Pindo border have refused to return to work and appealed for support from Pindo autoworkers, disrupting supply chains and plans to reopen Pindo assembly plants. Economic nationalism and trade war go hand in hand with militarism and shooting wars. Biden and the Demagogs are no less committed to preparing for war against Faschingstein’s “great power” rivals, first and foremost China and Russia, than Trump and the Thugs. Earlier this month, Defense One published an article titled “How Biden Would Wage Great Power Competition” which asserted that regardless which party wins in November, the National Defense Strategy published in the beginning of 2018 will remain the basic national security doctrine. That document declared that Pindo military strategy had shifted from the “war on terror” to great power “competition” against China and Russia, two nuclear-armed powers. The article, which reflects the thinking of significant sections of the military & intelligence establishment, compared Biden’s ability to execute and manage this strategy favorably to that of Trump. The author wrote:

Trump’s commitment to great power competition is a matter of debate. The president’s actions contrast starkly with the president’s words, particularly on Russia and President Vladimir Putin. Pindostan is in the process of updating its Cold War-era arsenal of nuclear bombs and delivery vehicles. Biden has boasted about the money that the Obama administration put toward modernization. Biden might spend less on nuclear weapons than another Trump administration, but not by much. No matter who is president, the money will continue pouring into things like hypersonic missiles and next-generation aircraft like the F-35, which Biden has described favorably. Biden has also signaled a willingness to spend more on key areas of defense he has described as overlooked, including “cyber, space, unmanned systems and artificial intelligence.”

As for Biden’s “blue-collar” credentials, through 2018 Biden and his wife Jill had cashed in on Biden’s years as second-in-command to the president to the tune of $15m after leaving office two years earlier. Between multi-million-dollar book deals, business ventures and $100k-a-pop speaking engagements, the Bidens are estimated to be worth at least $9m. Little wonder that in a speech to large donors in New York in June of last year, Biden said:

What I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money.

Pindostan takes punitive measures against China over HK
Peter Symonds, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

The Trump administration has seized on China’s passage of a national security law covering HK to ramp up its condemnations of Beijing, impose sanctions against Chinese boxtops and begin to dismantle Pindo legislation granting special status to HK after its transfer to China in 1997. Faschingstein’s increasingly shrill campaign is part of a Pindo confrontation across the full range of issues, diplomatic, economic and military, that are leading to war. Amid the worsening global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pindo imperialism regards China as the chief threat to its world dominance. China’s National People’s Congress passed the national security legislation on Jun 30, making major inroads into basic democratic rights in HK. The offences of subversion, terrorism, promoting secession from China and collusion with foreign forces, all defined in sweeping terms, are now punishable by up to life in prison. Chinese authorities established a new national security office in HK on Wednesday, allowing Chinese security agents to openly operate in the city for the first time and investigate anyone suspected breaching the laws. The first most obvious targets will be protest leaders and opposition politicians critical of Beijing’s intrusion into HK and opposed to the new security law. Even before the office was opened, a 23-year-old man, Tong Ying-kit, on Monday became the first person to be charged under the legislation, with terrorism and inciting secession. Flying a banner emblazoned with “Liberate Hong Kong,” he allegedly rode a motorbike into a group of police officers last week, injuring three. The decision to charge him under the law, rather than existing laws, was clearly designed to intimidate other protesters. Tong was remanded without bail.

A purge of literature from libraries and schools appears to be underway. Books written by prominent protest leaders and opposition politicians were removed from public libraries last weekend. HK’s cultural services department said the books had been withdrawn while it determined whether they violate the national security law. The education bureau announced a similar “review” of books used in schools. Britain’s transfer of HK to China in 1997 took place under the “one country, two systems” formula whereby HK would largely retain the legal and political systems established under British colonial rule. This principle was enshrined in the Basic Law governing the territory for 50 years. The national security law makes inroads into HK’s legal system by allowing its chief executive, appointed by a handpicked pro-Beijing committee, to appoint judges to hear national security cases and allows serious cases to be heard in Chinese mainland courts. Beijing’s imposition of these anti-democratic laws reflects deep fears in Chinese ruling circles that waves of mass protest in HK, the latest against the security law itself, have the potential to trigger opposition on the Chinese mainland over the lack of democratic and social rights. Those concerns have grown as the pandemic has hit China’s already slowing economy, raising the spectre of widespread unemployment and social unrest. At the same time, Beijing fears that demands for the independence of HK will fuel separatist movements in other parts of China, including Tibet, and among the Muslim Uyghurs in the western province of Xinjiang. It is concerned that Pindostan & its vassals will exploit such movements to break up China. Protest leaders in HK have played into the hands of the Chinese regime by appealing for Pindostan and Britain to intervene against Beijing. Pompeo declared:

Pindostan will not stand idly by while China swallows HK into its authoritarian maw. Pindostan will respond to Beijing’s attacks on freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly, as well as the rule of law, all of which have, until now, allowed the territory to flourish.

These remarks are utterly cynical. The lack of democratic rights in HK derives from the long period of British rule, during which a colonial governor had extensive, autocratic powers. Once again, Pindostan is selectively exploiting “human rights” to advance its own imperialist interests, as it has done for wars of aggression in the Middle East. Even before China’s national security law was passed, the Trump administration announced that it intended to overturn HK’s special status with Pindostan, covering trade, investment and legal matters such as extradition. The White House has begun by halting defence exports and restricting HK’s access to high-technology products. The Dept of State also announced it will bar Chinese boxtops allegedly responsible for rights abuses in HK from entering Pindostan. Late last week, the Senate passed a bill aimed at blocking Pindo banks from doing business with Chinese boxtops responsible for the HK security legislation. The bill was passed unanimously, demonstrating the bipartisan nature of the Pindo anti-China campaign.

Leading Demagogs such as Biden are criticising Trump for not being tough enough and demanding even more aggressive action. On Thursday, Pompeo also announced sanctions against Chinese boxtops over the widespread detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang in so-called re-education centres. At the top of the list is Chen Quanguo, who is a member of the CCP’s Politburo and party secretary for the Xinjiang region. The sanctions come amid an increasingly hysterical campaign in the Pindo media and political establishment, typified by a WaPo editorial alleging that China is carrying out “genocide” against the Uyghurs. Just a day earlier, on Wednesday, the Trump administration imposed visa restrictions on Chinese boxtops involved in policy on Tibet, supposedly in protest at the Beijing’s refusal to allow Pindo tourists, journalists and diplomats to visit the strategically-sensitive area. Pindostan has for decades established close relations with Tibetan, as well as Uyghur, exile organisations, campaigning for secession from China or greater autonomy. The Trump administration’s ramping up of measures against Beijing over HK, Tibet and Xinjiang is aimed at undermining China by fostering its break-up and also vilifying Beijing as Pindostan prepares to take further steps toward open economic war and military conflict.

COVID-19 disrupts reopening of Pindo professional sports
Alan Gilman, WSWS, Jul 11 2020

Pindo professional soccer, baseball and basketball are beginning to resume play against the backdrop of a pandemic that is surging throughout the country as daily new infections are exceeding 60k and deaths are nearing 135k. By mid-March all professional sports leagues in Pindostan had suspended play in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. At that time two National Basketball Association (NBA) players had tested positive, and nationally approximately 1.5k people had been diagnosed with the virus and 40 had died. The suspension of play had been considered to be a temporary measure until the virus could be brought under control. With tens of billions of dollars at stake, the various leagues began designing plans on when and how to “safely” reopen, eventually all of which centered on resuming in the summer with the expectation that the severity of the pandemic would have been greatly reduced by then. On Jun 27 the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was the first league to open, with a month-long tournament being held in Utah in which all players are being confined to a “player village” with mask coverings mandatory and no visitors allowed. Before the league’s nine teams left for Utah, it was announced that the Orlando Pride, considered the league’s premiere team, had to withdraw because six players and staff had tested positive for COVID-19. As the league scrambled to announce a schedule for what is now be an eight-team tournament, some of the league’s stars announced they were also staying home due to coronavirus concerns including Pindo national team players Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Christen Press. Heath said:

Although I want to be on the field with my teammates, doing what I love, because of the uncertainty and risks created by COVID-19, I have chosen not to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Major League Soccer (MLS) began play on Jul 8 with its “MLS is Back Tournament,” which is to run through Aug 11. The tournament is being held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, in which all players and staff, totaling over 1.2k people, will be confined in two hotels. They will continue to be isolated from outsiders, including their families, in what has been characterized as a protective “bubble.” Florida is currently one of the epicenters of the pandemic, averaging close to 10k new cases a day, and Orlando has nearly a 20% positivity testing rate, indicating that the virus is particularly rampant in that community. FC Dallas, one of the league’s 26 teams, had to withdraw from the tournament after 10 players had tested positive, and Nashville SC had to postpone its initial appearance when five of its players tested positive. Vancouver left three starters home for COVID-related reasons, and LAFC is without Carlos Vela, the league’s best player and biggest draw, because he chose to stay home with his pregnant wife. At least five teams had their travel delayed by testing concerns, forcing the postponement of their opening-round matches. Dr Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital who is working on COVID-19 response in Massachusetts, said that outdoor soccer might be inherently less dangerous than indoor basketball, but it was still a high-risk contact sport, adding that the league’s stance of not considering a Plan B or canceling the tournament was “reckless.” He told ESPN:

If you’re heading into a tournament knowing (about Dallas), you’re in denial if you’re saying that the tournament may somehow magically be safe. You’re actually moving people in and interacting with even more people. You’re basically saying “we know that this is dangerous. We know our players are testing positive. We know we’re putting them in high-risk situations where they’re in close contact with one another. And yet we’re hoping for a different outcome.” There’s no science there. There’s no logic there.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber, in announcing the tournament last month, estimated the league could lose as much as $1b to the COVID-19 shutdown, and emphasized how important it was to their corporate partners to get the teams back in front of fans as soon as possible, even if they can watch only on TV.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is planning to resume its nearly completed season on Jul 31 with an abbreviated schedule before the play-offs begin. The top 22 of the league’s 30 teams reported to Orlando, Florida, on Jul 7 at the same Disney complex and its players and staff will live in a similar “bubble.” Players will not be able to have contact with their families until the play-offs end in late August. The NBA, which was facing a $1b loss if the rest of the season was canceled, decided like the MLS that it would utilize Orlando as its venue. This was because Florida was one of the first states to reopen, it claimed to have had a low infection rate and its Thug governor Ron DeSantis had publicly appealed for professional sports teams that were being restricted in their home states to come to Florida to play. In the initial testing period from Jun 24 to Jun 29, 25 of 351 NBA players have tested positive, approximately 7%, as well as 10 of 884 team staff members. Despite the high number of players and staff who have tested positive, and the high incidence of the virus in Orlando, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Jul 7 that even if there were new positives, it would not likely cause the season to be canceled. When asked what would be the threshold for having to shut down, Silver acknowledged:

It’s the right question, and I’m not sure yet.

Ten NBA players have opted out of playing and will be forfeiting the remainder of their salaries, approximately 10% to 30%, depending upon how many play-off games they would have potentially played. Most cited health concerns for themselves or their families. Major League Baseball, which had halted spring training in mid-March, resumed it on Jul 1 in each team’s home city and will begin a compressed 60-game season on Jul 23–24, with the play-offs and World Series to be completed by early October. Baseball team owners claim about 40% of their total annual revenue, about $10.7b, is derived from ticket sales. Without fans in the stands, they are attempting to salvage the enormous revenues from their broadcast rights. MLB’s safety and health protocols called for all players to be tested beginning last Friday, and then begin a rhythm of being tested every other day until the end of the season. The results of this first batch of tests were not delivered within the prescribed 48 hours, forcing eight teams to cancel Monday’s practice. With such a widespread testing breakdown occurring at the beginning of this effort, many are questioning how MLB will be able to conduct and process roughly 14k tests a week, taken at dozens of sites across the country. Once swabs are taken, they have to be sent to a lab in Utah for analysis and the results returned to each team within the 48-hour window. According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, there were 66 positive tests (58 players and 8 staff) among 3,470 initial tests. St Louis Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller, a member of Major League Baseball Players Association’s executive subcommittee, said Sunday:

I think there’s still some doubt that we’re going to have a season now. By no means is this a slam dunk. We’re trying, we’re going to give it our best effort, but for me to sit here and say 100% would be a lie.

High-risk players can decide to opt out and would receive both their full salary and service time for the season. Players who have high-risk family members may also decide to opt out, but MLB would leave it up to teams to make the decision of whether or not they would receive salary or service time. High-risk would include people who have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure or diabetes. Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals said that to many players, the opt-out provisions are not great. He told the press:

There’s a lot of players right now trying to make decisions that aren’t 100% comfortable where things are at right now. That’s kind of where I am. I think I’m planning on playing, but at any point I can start to feel unsafe. If it starts to take a toll on my mental health with all of these things we have to worry about this cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything, then I’ll opt out.

In the National Football League (NFL), several players and coaching staff have recently tested positive for COVID-19 as training facilities have begun to reopen. There is no plan for an NFL “bubble,” even though Dr Anthony Fauci raised the possibility in a CNN interview two weeks ago. he said:

Unless players are essentially in a bubble, insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day, it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.

Trump quickly attacked that idea in a tweet, saying:

Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football. They are planning a very safe and controlled opening.

As always, when it is a conflict between profits for the super-rich and the health and welfare of those who actually do the work, in this case a conflict between the owners and the athletes, Trump comes down 100% on the side of the bosses.

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