Bits ‘n pieces from east, west and beyond

| June 19, 2020 7:59 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

When protesters tried to topple a conquistador statue in Albuquerque, N.M., a member of an observing militia group opened fire. The event began with a peaceful protest, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The statue commemorated a Spaniard who killed over 800 native people after a 1598 clash. The conquistador’s retaliation included chopping off one foot of all native men over age 25 and requiring two decades of forced servitude. Calling Monday’s shooting “outrageous,” the town’s mayor said the statue would be removed for public safety. Six militia members were arrested; the shooting victim was hospitalized.

Corporations that moved offshore to avoid U.S. taxes are nonetheless eligible for federally backed loans under the first pandemic relief package, Americans for Tax Fairness said. Operating offshore allows corporations to pay just half of the U.S. tax rate.

Unprecedented: President Donald Trump threatened to sue and demanded CNN retract polling that showed him losing to former Vice President Joe Biden, despite other polls with similar findings. CNN’s response: “…we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past; they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media … your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety.”

Close to shutting down, a Florida cafe was saved when an anonymous donor supplied it with $40,000 to stay open and make sandwiches for the hospital across the street, Mother Jones reported.

There is a correlation between racist tweets and U.S. hate crimes. Researchers looked at the effect of 532 million tweets on 100 cities. Areas with more targeted and discriminatory speech saw a higher number of hate crimes, concluded a New York University study.

The number of people likely to lose their health care due to job loss from COVID-19 in this country: 160 million, reported Public Citizen. In 20 other countries, including Hungary, Canada and Turkey, the figure is zero.

Last week the president accused the 75-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., man who was injured by law enforcement officers during a police brutality protest of faking the injury, which put him in the hospital after his head smacked on concrete. Several prominent media outlets pointed out that the “fake injury” idea came from a former Russian propaganda network reporter who shares conspiracy theories with One America News. A few OAN employees disagreed with the allegation that the injury was faked, telling Forbes that OAN’s coverage of conspiracy theories “is damaging to our careers.”

People are grasping reasons for protests against police brutality, but can’t fathom looting. While not condoning looting, Atlanta-based author and film director Kimberly Latrice Jones, in a recent viral video, offered her explanation for looting: They think they’ll never have an opportunity to get the goods on the other side of the glass. The bigger question, she said, is why do people end up that poor? She likened their situation to playing the board game Monopoly without money or ability to own property.

The President continues to pursue a payroll tax cut. Social Security Works said that’s “code” for cutting FICA, where funds are collected for Social Security. If those funds shrink, the government would have to cut into trust funds prematurely, destabilizing Social Security.

The U.S. death count from COVID-19 hit 118,264 on June 15. That’s up from 113,491 on June 9, according to worldometer.com. On June 1, it was 106,562.

A Chicago University study of current economics points out that recent positive news on the economy puts us at risk for distraction and complacency. That can cause a state of denial by those thinking the U.S. economy is already recovering from recent job losses. A significant part of the recovery stems from federal support, but the economy still faces aftershocks triggered by lack of demand, still-large unemployment numbers, shrunken tax revenue, declines in sales and everyday financial struggles, like the inability to pay rent. Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, pointed out that the early years of the Great Depression were also marked by denial, with President Herbert Hoover faulting other countries for the economy, deciding businesses and state and local governments would fix the dilemma. They also claimed the federal government could do nothing to intervene.

He later shifted and created 700,000 federal jobs, but it was too little too late. About 7 million were unemployed.

Blast from the past: With the U.S. economy in shambles four years into the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s message of Three R’s: Relief (immediate help for the unemployed and destitute), Recovery (plans to rebuild the economy through federal initiatives) and Reforms (to make sure another Great Depression never again occurred), won him three terms in office. His administrative New Deal achievements included starting up Social Security, enacting unemployment benefits, creating the Civilian Conservation Corps, setting the 40-hour work week and passing labor protections that ended child labor (too often children were cheaper to hire than adults, and worked when their parents were not hired). At the time, and ever since, certain big business interests have sought to erode FDR’s people-first accomplishments.