Bits ‘n’ Pieces: June 18, 2020

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

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 June 15 event began with a peaceful protest, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The statue commemorated a Spaniard who killed more than 800 native people after a 1598 clash; the conquistador’s retaliation included chopping off one foot of all native men over age 25 and consigning them to 20 years of servitude. Calling the 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 in the first pandemic relief package, Americans for Tax Fairness reported. Operating offshore allows corporations to pay half of the U.S. tax rate.

Unprecedented: President Donald Trump threatened to sue and demanded CNN retract polling that showed him losing to Joe Biden, despite other polls with similar findings. CNN’s response: “[W]e 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 café was saved when an anonymous donor supplied $40,000 for staying open and making 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 impact of 532 million tweets on 100 U.S. cities: areas with more targeted and discriminatory speech had a higher number of hate crimes, according to a New York University study.

Trump last week accused the 75-year-old Buffalo man who was injured by police during a police brutality protest of faking his injury, which put him in the hospital after police shoved him to the ground and his head struck 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. Some OAN employees have disagreed with the story that the injury was faked, telling Forbes that OAN’s coverage of conspiracy theories “is damaging to our careers.”

While not condoning looting, Atlanta-based author and film director Kimberly Latrice Jones, in a recent video that went viral, offered her opinion on looters at protests: they think they’ll never have a legitimate opportunity to get what’s behind the glass they break. The bigger question, she says, is why people are that poor? She likened their situation to playing Monopoly, without money or the ability to own property.

The U.S. death count from COVID-19 was 116,701 on June 16, according to The New York Times, up from 113,491 on June 9, according to 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. And that can cause a state of denial by those thinking the U.S. economy is already recovering from recent COVID-19-related job losses. A significant part of the recovery has been due to federal support, but the economy still faces after-shocks triggered by lack of demand, still-large unemployment numbers, shrunken tax revenue, declines in sales and everyday influences, like inability to pay rent. Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, has 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 local governments would fix the dilemma while claiming the federal government could do nothing to intervene. He later shifted and created 700,000 federal jobs, but it was too little too late with 7 million unemployed. 

Blast from the past: With the U.S. economy in shambles four years into the Great Depression, in 1933, President 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 New Deal achievements included starting up Social Security, unemployment benefits, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the 40-hour work week and labor protections that ended child labor.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.