Here’s How Congress Can Stop Trump and His Gang from Plundering the Coronavirus Bailout

Democrats in Congress are right to demand real transparency and oversight before signing on to the inevitable bailout. The bailout would be rife with potential for abuse in the most honest and open administration, which does not describe the Trump administration.

Even before we reached this urgent moment, Trump and his attorney general, William Barr, have argued that the president’s constitutional power is “plenary” and “illimitable,” and that the president can ignore legislation that “encroaches” on that power. Congress’s foundational checks on the president are the power of oversight of the executive branch, what Woodrow Wilson called the “informing function” of Congress, and the power of the purse. 

They must use those checks now.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Trump’s ‘Chinese Flu’ Takeback Is Worthless

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After days and days of referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese flu,” President Trump’s statement Monday about how Asian-Americans aren’t to blame for it was too little and too late. 

It’s too little because he didn’t acknowledge, let alone apologize, for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese flu.” 

And it’s too late because he’d already sounded a dog whistle for harassment of and violence against Asian-Americans. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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After Putin’s Big Fail, Russia Braces for COVID-19 Onslaught

REUTERS

Only days after the Kremlin assured the Russians that the coronavirus pandemic was under control, Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “the momentum is high and a serious situation is unfolding.” Contrary to the previously reported low rate of infection, “the real number of those who are sick is significantly higher,” Sobyanin said. He added that the number of tests conducted to date has been extremely low “and no one on earth knows the real picture.”

On Wednesday, officially released statistics listed 658 coronavirus infections and no deaths. To date, there have been at least 3 known deaths of coronavirus patients in Russia, but they are being attributed to other causes and thereby deceptively omitted from government reports. The official bulletin about the coronavirus, released by Russia’s federal agency Rospotrebnadzor on March 24, states that more than 112,074 people remain under medical supervision.

Concerned Russian doctors sounded the alarm that potential coronavirus cases are being ascribed to pneumonia and seasonal flu without testing. For example, the city of St. Petersburg experienced a sharp jump of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus cases. During just one week in March, 63,000 SARS cases and 406 cases of pneumonia have been recorded, according to Interfax. The city’s administration emphasized that the incidence of SARS is at the epidemiological threshold. The Interfax news report did not point out that the official name of the novel coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Darkweb Seizes on Trump’s Nod to Unproven Malaria Drug

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos Getty

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving sellers on encrypted darknet markets—usually used for selling hard drugs in anonymity—to offer chloroquine and scarce N95 protective masks for sale.

The Daily Beast searched Empire Market, an encrypted site that uses cryptocurrency and the Tor network to anonymize sellers and buyers, and found multiple advertisements for the drug and protective masks available in bulk by the thousands.

For now, the advertisements remain few, but the presence of what was once an obscure anti-malaria drug on a prominent encrypted platform for sales of cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics highlights how the unproven hope for chloroquine, stoked by President Trump, has rocketed the drug to global prominence and made supplies scarce for those who truly need it. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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How Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Escaped the Shackles of ‘Project Runway’ to Launch ‘Making the Cut’

It’s a rainy day in New York City. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are walking towards each other toting chic umbrellas shielding chicer outfits, practically cooing as they approach. 

Klum does a twirl, like a gawky-fabulous Gene Kelly. “It’s a beautiful morning…” she starts singing as she bounces towards Gunn, showing off that goofiness and grace that’s made her one of the most mainstream-famous supermodels in fashion history. Her former Project Runway pal, tailored to the nines, greets her with open arms. 

They grasp hands and walk together, so buoyant they could float, to meet the fashion designers who will compete on their ambitious new venture, the Amazon reality series Making the Cut. The reunion is the first scene of the new fashion competition, which launches Friday on the streaming service, two years after Klum and Gunn walked away from Project Runway after 16 seasons. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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‘Blow the Man Down’ Is a Feminist Spin on the Coen Brothers With Sex Workers

Jeong Park/Amazon

Writers and directors Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole spent eight years on the script for their first feature, Blow the Man Down, a dry comedy-thriller set in a Maine fishing village. Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla “Pris” (Sophie Lowe) Connolly are two sisters at a crossroads—their mother has died, and not long after, Mary Beth, the misbehaved one angling to escape from small-town life, kills a predatory stranger (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Pris, the goody two-shoes who keeps the family fish shop up and running, breaks bad when she helps Mary Beth get rid of the body.

But behind the main narrative’s sleepy intrigue lurks a sex-work network, headed up by none other than Margo Martindale, playing Enid, a sneaky, deep-voiced madam with a soft spot for the Connolly sisters’ departed mother. A trio of sweet grandmas are worried that Enid’s brothel, called Oceanview, has gotten out of hand, and decide to make it their business, unleashing a sordid story about class, respectability, and survival amongst two generations of women. Add your rookie good cop who has a crush on Pris and his unscrupulous veteran partner and you’ve got your classic off-beat dark comedy set in “ordinary” America, interpreted through a feminist lens.

But what twists Blow the Man Down away from the cleverness trap it sets up for itself is the fact that, at least in the version I watched on Amazon Prime, the color grading is off. The movie is intentionally filmed in natural light—the densely black nights and hazy gray mornings of Maine make characters hard to make out—but the extreme rendering of those choices actually make the movie hard to follow, since you must strain your eyes to see who’s who. I wouldn’t have known Moss-Bachrach was in the film if I hadn’t paused at one point to see the listed cast.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Take Your At-Home Happy Hour to the Next Level

Alamy

Like most of you, I’m currently locked up in my house alone. I’ve always wondered what this would be like, and, quite honestly, I always thought it sounded kind of great in a way. No responsibilities, no job, just forced to hang around the house all day. And when faced with the reality of the situation, it’s really hard. It’s lonely, it’s boring and, for the love of all that is holy, I’m tired of eating and drinking the same thing every day.

So, I’ve tasked myself with adopting a simple routine. I take a walk in the morning, do some work on the computer all afternoon, and then around 5 PM I reward myself with a little cocktail. And rather than making the same thing every day, I’ve been trying to flex my creative muscles as much as possible. 

For those of you struggling with what drink to fix yourself at home, I’ve got a few, hopefully, helpful recommendations. Because, remember, in these very trying time, we’ve only got two things: each other and booze.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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New York City Paramedics Are the Coronavirus Pandemic’s 9/11 Firefighters

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As New York became the pandemic epicenter, FDNY ambulances responded to ever more suspect COVID-19 calls, as unhesitatingly as when the firefighters strode into the burning towers on 9/11.

“A lot of people are running away from this and we’re running towards it,” FDNY EMS paramedic Sherry Singleton told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

In a single shift last week, 33-year-old Singleton responded to four such cases in Brooklyn. She arrives at each scene not so much fearful as intensely alert. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Trump’s GOP: The Old Should Die and the Women Should Breed

Top Texas Republicans have made their coronavirus priorities clear: Grandparents should die so that wealth can persist, and a pandemic’s as good a time as any for a craven threat to abortion access.

The attorney general of Texas is threatening abortion providers with 180-day jail sentences in a cowardly attempt to use Gov. Greg Abbott’s “executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures,” which is meant to free up hospital beds amid the pandemic. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick took President Trump’s demand to return to business as usual (with the emphasis on business) and ran with it to a truly bizarre place, where any patriotic American grandparent should be willing—nay, eager!—to die of COVID-19 “in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren.”

What is this America? One where people are forced to carry to term unwanted pregnancies as their parents and grandparents die in the name of allowing the perversion of capitalism that we live under to continue unfettered?

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Trevor Noah Rips Trump for Not Helping NY With Coronavirus Due to Cuomo Feud: ‘Do Your Motherf*cking Job!’

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On the latest episode of “The Daily Social Distancing Show,” host Trevor Noah used a recent Daily Beast story as a jumping-off point to attack President Trump for refusing to help struggling states like New York during the coronavirus crisis.

“What’s most mind-blowing about Trump’s sudden impulse to get back to normal is that right now the situation is far from under control, especially right here in New York,” Noah said from his Manhattan couch, “which right now has over half the country’s coronavirus cases.”

After examining how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been openly criticizing the Trump administration’s response, Noah said, “I can see why Cuomo is pissed at Trump. If you need 30,000 ventilators, it’s insulting for someone to give you 400.” He compared it to throwing a rubber duck at a drowning victim.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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