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Times Paul Mooney Kept It Too Real - CH News:


« on: Today at 07:12:56 am »
Tuesday, 7th April 2o2o
Wicked Stepmother

by David Matthews

Letecia Stauch, the stepmom of Gannon Stauch, allegedly killed him in his bedroom the same day she reported him missing, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by People.

11-year-old Gannon Stauch was reported missing from his Colorado home on January 27th by Letecia Stauch, 36.

She was arrested in early March and charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and tampering.

Gannon Stauch’s body was found on March 20th in Florida.

According to court documents, investigators believe Letecia Stauch killed her stepson before reporting him missing.

“Evidence recovered from the residence and inside Gannon’s bedroom supports that a violent event occurred in the bedroom,” reads the affidavit,

“which caused bloodshed, including blood spatter on the walls, and enough blood loss to stain his mattress, soak through the carpet, the carpet pad, and stain the concrete below his bed.”

The affidavit also included internet searches from Letecia Stauch’s phone which seemed to indicate feelings of resentment toward Gannon, including

“police steps for our runaway,”

“police steps for our missing child,”

“find me a new husband book,”

“I feel like I’m just a nanny not a step mom,”

“husband uses me to babysit his kids,”

“I’m just a glorified babysitter” and “find a guy without kids.”

The woman also looked for jobs and apartments in California and Florida.

Before reporting Gannon missing, Letecia Stauch allegedly texted with her 17-year-old daughter and asked her to buy supplies with Letecia Stauch allegedly used to clean up the blood in Gannon’s bedroom.

Investigators found blood in Gannon’s bedroom, including inside electrical outlets, and in Letecia Stauch’s car where she stored his body before disposing of it.

The affidavit does not detail how Letecia Stauch dumped Gannon’s body in Florida.

She was arrested in South Carolina and extradited back to Colorado.

According to investigators, Letecia Stauch changed her story and several details multiple times during the investigation.

Eugene Albert Stauch, her husband, worked with authorities to record a phone conversation with Letecia where she again changed her story.

Eugene Stauch has reportedly started divorce proceedings against his wife.

Finance / Re: Racial Wealth Gap
« on: Today at 04:41:19 am »
Tuesday, 7th April 2o2o
Spain is moving to permanently establish universal basic income in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
by Joseph Zeballos-Roig

Spain is moving to implement a universal basic income as a measure to help workers battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nadia Calviño, the country's minister for economic affairs, told Spanish broadcaster La Sexta on Sunday evening that the government is planning to introduce it as part of a barrage of policies to help people get back on their feet.

She said enacting basic income was "mostly aimed at families, but differentiating between their circumstances.

Calviño didn't offer a specific date as to when basic income could be rolled out in the country.

But she said the government hoped it would become "a permanent instrument."

"We're going to do it as soon as possible," she said.

"So it can be useful, not just for this extraordinary situation, and that it remains forever."

If the plan moves from proposal to reality, Spain would become the first nation in Europe to pass universal basic income, according to the Independent.

Finland had previously tried a two-year basic income experiment of its own that ended in 2019 with 2,000 unemployed residents, Business Insider's Aria Bendix reported.

Recipients reported they were happier and healthier, but many of them were still jobless.

It's not immediately clear what universal basic income could look like in Spain, given the proposal appears to be in its early stages.

But under the idea, the government would provide a monthly payment to citizens, free of any conditions.

Spain enacted a nationwide lockdown on March 14th to curb the spread of the virus, and effectively shut down the economy as restaurants, bars, and hotels were ordered to closed their doors.

The country reported over 135,000 cases so far and 13,000 deaths.

To date, Spain has rolled out scores of measures to provide relief to both corporations and average people.

The push for basic income in the US has its champions.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang thrust the idea of basic income into the mainstream with his plan for a "Freedom Dividend" during his presidential run, which ended earlier this year.

The plan would have guaranteed payments of $1,000 a month — or $12,000 a year — to every US citizen over the age of 18 without any strings attached.

To help Americans deal with the fallout of Covid-19, the trunk administration signed a law to provide millions of Americans with one-time $1,200 stimulus checks.

Individuals earning below $75,000 and couples making under $150,000 qualify for the full amount.

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: Yesterday at 08:52:30 pm »
Monday, 6th April 2o2o

Candorville by Darren Bell

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: Yesterday at 12:16:42 pm »
Monday, 6th April 2o2o
Pastor who decried 'hysteria' dies after attending Mardi Gras
by Aleem Maqbool

"He loved to laugh. He loved to play guitar. He played guitar even when he wasn't supposed to," says Jesse Spradlin of her father, Landon.

"He was just the best man in the world."

One day when this is all over, the wife and five children of Pastor Landon Spradlin hope to hold a large celebratory memorial for him.

For now they have had to make do with a funeral at which there were just a handful in attendance, including the blues guitarist who played at the graveside.

A little over a month ago, Pastor Spradlin, who was 66, drove with his wife Jean the 900 miles (1500 km) from their home in Virginia to Louisiana for Mardi Gras.

He viewed the festivities as an opportunity, through music, to save the souls of some of the hundreds of thousands of people that would attend.

He was joined by two of his daughters who came over from Texas.

"His mission was to go into pubs, clubs and bars, play the blues and connect with musicians and just tell them that Jesus loved them," says Jesse Spradlin, 28.

"Mardi Gras is like Times Square in New York during New Year's Eve. It's a sea of people just drinking and partying," she says.

"He was loud and laughing and in his element."

Over recent years Pastor Spradlin had realised a dream of using the preaching he had honed in churches across three states and taking it to the streets through the medium he loved.

He had been playing instruments since the age of four and in 2016 was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, but it was religion that he felt had saved him from alcoholism and drug addiction in his twenties.

Those dark years are why he now had a particular affinity for those who felt down and out, something he could relate to.

At Mardi Gras, the family band played in New Orleans' busy Jackson Square, unaware of the threat they faced.

"I don't even remember us talking about the virus," says Naomi Spradlin, 26.

"With what's happened we keep looking back, and we didn't talk about it once."

They were not the only ones.

Even though it had been more than a month since the first virus case in the US, Mardi Gras went on as planned.

Officials in the city now blame government inaction for what appears to have been a large spike in cases that followed.

Pastor Spradlin was one of those who became ill, but tested negative for Covid-19.

Even as he was sick, he posted on social media about "hysteria" surrounding the virus.

On the 13th of March Pastor Spradlin shared on Fakebook a misleading post comparing swine flu and virus deaths.

It suggested that Barack Obama and trunk respectively had been treated very differently by the media and that it was a politically motivated ploy to harm trunk.

Earlier the very same day, the acting-president himself had insinuated something very similar at a news conference.

Pastor Spradlin's son, Landon Isaac, 32, told me that he and his father had talked and agreed about what they felt was an irrational frenzy and fear mongering about the virus, perhaps because it was an election year.

"I want to say outright though, dad didn't think it was a hoax, he knew it was a real virus," says Landon Isaac.

"But he did put up that post because he was frustrated that the media was propagating fear as the main mode of communication," he told me.

By mid-March though, Pastor Spradlin's health suddenly took a turn for the worse.

He and his wife decided to make the long drive back from New Orleans to their home in Virginia.

"I spoke to him five minutes before he collapsed in North Carolina," says Landon Isaac.

"I could tell his breathing was getting bad. And I just said that you've got to get home. But he didn't make it."

Pastor Spradlin was taken to hospital in North Carolina where they discovered he had developed pneumonia in both lungs and he now also tested positive for the virus.

After eight days in intensive care, Pastor Spradlin died.

"It's a lot like Dad was our support column and somebody kicked out that support column. It feels like the roof is falling down on all of our heads right now," says Landon Isaac.

For days, he and his four siblings had to communicate with their mother through the glass door of her home.

The funeral that has just taken place happened the day after Jean Spradlin's quarantine finally ended.

"We just never thought our father would pass away because of this. But he wasn't the type of person to just live in fear and let it rob him of the joy of the life that he had," says Jesse Spradlin.

Would You Like To Know More?

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: Yesterday at 05:20:45 am »
Monday, 6th April 2o2o
Nine states still refuse to issue stay-at-home orders
by Jorge L. Ortiz and Grace Hauck

The governors of the nine states without some form of a stay-at-home order have offered different reasons for their refusal to issue the kind of directives implemented across most of the nation, covering more than 300 million Americans, to combat the virus pandemic.

Some say the specific circumstances of their state doesn’t merit such a mandate, others have advocated social responsibility instead, and yet others have expressed a preference for following the advice of their state officials.

The governors do have one significant trait in common: They’re all republican.

Of course, so is trunk, who has resisted calls for a national mandate that might send the strongest, most unambiguous message about the importance of social distancing to curb spread of the virus.

It’s doubtful the acting-president can actually supersede the governors’ authority in this area, but he could strengthen federal guidelines that stop short of directing citizens to remain at home except for essential activities.

In the absence of such a command, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming continue to allow their residents relatively free movement.

Why hasn't there been a national lockdown?

Legal experts have said trunk doesn’t have the authority to impose a national lockdown as the heads of countries such as Italy, Spain, France and Britain have done.

But he does have some tools at his disposal, including the bully pulpit and the ability to restrict air travel between COVID-19 hot spots.

trunk has pointed out some states haven’t had a large number of cases.

Those tend to be sparsely populated states in the middle of the country, such as Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.

As of Sunday, none of them had more than 215 cases, although their numbers were rising.

What do stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders mean?

While some states call for shelter-in-place orders, others are calling their directives stay-at-home orders.

The directives differ by location but generally require people to avoid all nonessential outings and stay inside as much as possible.

They allow residents to continue performing tasks essential to the health and safety of family and pets.

It's still fine to buy groceries, go for a run, walk the dog, pick up medicine, visit a doctor or get supplies to work from home.

Federal guidelines give state and local authorities leeway in what they consider "essential" businesses during an emergency.

But in general, those industries include grocery stores and food production, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, banking, other governmental services, law enforcement, emergency services and news outlets.

Would You Like To Know More?–-and-why-nine-still-refuse-to-issue-stay-at-home-orders/ar-BB11VZm0?ocid=spartanntp

Sunday, 5th April 2o2o
Statement of Michael K. Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, on His Removal from Office

While I understand that the person pretending to be an American President can remove Inspectors General for cause, I am disappointed and saddened that trunk has decided to remove me as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community because I did not have his "fullest confidence."

It is hard not to get think that the acting-president's loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so.

As Inspector General, I was legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters involving classified information to the congressional intelligence committees, and that when they did blow the whistle in an authorized manner, their identities would be protected as a guard against reprisals.

Inspectors Generals are able to fulfill their critical watchdog functions because, by law, they are supposed to be independent of both the Executive agencies they oversee and of Congress.

Inspectors General are not involved in policymaking; they are not partisan.

Presidentially-appointed Inspectors General historically have not changed with each administration.

Although, I have proudly served as a political appointee since May 2018, I have never been a political or partisan person.

To the contrary, I have spent my entire seventeen-year career as a public servant acting without regard to partisan favor or political fear.

Those responsible for writing laws on whistleblower rights and protection made it clear that this was not a partisan issue, but a nonpartisan priority.

During my confirmation hearing to head the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), I was asked repeatedly by numerous senators on both sides of the aisle about my commitment to the ICIG's Whistleblower Program.

I testified under oath that I would "encourage, operate, and enforce a program for authorized disclosures within the Intelligence Community that validates moral courage without compromising national security and without retaliation."

I did what I said I would do.

With regard to the Ukranian whistleblower matter, I am grateful to the many individuals who spoke publicly in support of the ICIG's actions in administering the Whistleblower's disclosure.

Sixty-seven inspectors General throughout the federal government warned of the potential harm that can result from second guessing determinations made by independent Inspectors General responding to whistleblower disclosures, particularly if whistleblowers "think their effort to disclose information will be for naught or, worse, that they risk adverse consequences for coming forward when they see something they think is wrong. That would be a grave loss for IG oversight and, as a result, for the American taxpayer."

Letter form the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to the Honorable Steven A. Engel, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (22nd October 2019).

It has been an honor to serve the American people during my tenure as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, as to work alongside the dedicated, selfless, and courageous public servants throughout the Intelligence Community, especially my colleagues as the ICIG.

Those of us who vowed to protect a whistleblower's right to safety be heard must, to the end, do what we promised to do, no matter how difficult and no matter the personal consequences. 

I will be forever grateful to the many public officials and others who fight tirelessly and consistently, in words and deeds, in ordinary and extraordinary matters, to protect the rights of all whistleblowers and, in turn, the best interests of the United States.

Finally, a message for any government employee or contractor who believes they have learned of or observed unethical, wasteful, or illegal behavior in the federal government.

They are counting on you to use authorized channels to bravely speak up - there is no disgrace in doing so.

It is important to remember, as others have said, that the need for secrecy in the United States Intelligence Community is not a grant of power, but a grant of trust.

Our government benefits when individuals are encouraged to report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse.

I have faith that my colleagues in Inspectors General offices throughout the federal government will continue to operate effective and independent whistleblower programs, and that they will continue to do everything in their power to protect the rights of whistleblowers.

Please do not allow recent events to silence your voices.

« on: April 05, 2020, 07:24:17 pm »
Sunday, 5th April 2o2o
Texas radio host gets 25 years behind bars for scamming Christian listeners out of millions of dollars

by Jessica Schladebeck

A Texas radio host who confessed to scamming his elderly and Christian listeners out of millions of dollars in a ponzi scheme has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars.

William Neil “Doc” Gallagher pleaded guilty Friday to one count each of theft of more than $300,000, money laundering of more than $300,000 and securities fraud of more than $100,000, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The 79-year-old must also pay $10.4 million in restitution to his victims, per his plea agreement with prosecutors.

Gallagher, the former host of “The Money Doctor,” used his radio show to target older Christian listeners.

Prosecutors said he would meet with them to discuss their finances, guaranteeing annual returns of 5% to nearly 9% if they invested in securities with him.

He described it as a “retirement income you’ll never outlive,” according to the criminal complaint.

Gallagher, who wasn’t licensed to advise clients on securities, netted up to $29.2 million from about 60 investors between December 2014 and January 2019, authorities said.

By January 31st, 2019, those accounts contained just $821,951.

Authorities said Gallagher operated a Ponzi scheme, paying out about $5.9 million to early investors with cash from newer investors.

He also used millions for payroll, radio expenses as well as personal expenses and legal costs.

Gallagher was indicted and arrested in March 2019.

His assets were immediately frozen and he has been in custody ever since.

“He took advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” lead prosecutor Alexis Goldate said in a written statement.

“He targeted elderly investors and individuals attracted to his Christian ideals and then stole from them.”

Gallagher is facing additional charges in Tarrant County.

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: April 05, 2020, 06:47:25 pm »
Sunday, 5th April 2o2o
UK Prime Minister boris johnson hospitalized with virus
by Jill Lawless

(LONDON, Eng) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday for tests, his office said, because he is still suffering symptoms, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

News of Johnson’s admission to hospital came an hour after Queen Elizabeth II made a rare televised address to the nation, in which she urged Britons to remain “united and resolute” in the fight against the virus.

Would You Like To Know More?

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: April 05, 2020, 02:44:52 pm »

Sunday, 5th April 2o2o
After that Duke & Duchess of Sussex debacle, it seems as if the Queen of England is starting to feel a checkmate coming or else she would not have submitted this speech through YouTube:

"...and those who come after us, will say the Britons of this generation were just as strong as any."

« on: April 05, 2020, 05:17:31 am »
Sunday, 5th April 2o2o
Police arrest hospital aide in thefts of equipment & supplies
by Associated Press

(PRESCOTT, Arizona) — A housekeeping employee at a Prescott hospital has been fired after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks as the virus outbreak unfolded, police said Saturday.

Keith Brown, 49, of Prescott was arrested Friday at Yavapai Regional Medical Center on suspicion of one count each of theft and fraud after police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown's vehicle and residence, police Lt. Jon Brambila said.

The items recovered included gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, wash clothes, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper and an automatic hand sanitizer, Brambila said.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Brown who could comment on the allegations.
The police investigation began after hospital officials called abut a possible theft, Brambila said.

Police were trying to arrange to have the items returned to the hospital as soon as possible if they're deemed safe to use, Brambila said.

Brambila did not immediately respond to a question on what Brown allegedly intended to do with the items.

Prescott is the seat of largely rural Yavapai County in north—central Arizona.

The county as of Saturday had 43 Covid-19 cases, according to the state Department of Health Services.

Black Panther / Re: BP710: THE PROTOCOLS 2020 - AVENGE THE FALLEN
« on: April 05, 2020, 02:05:09 am »
Beautiful!  :)

Books / Re: Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II
« on: April 04, 2020, 07:42:40 pm »
Saturday, 4th April 2o2o
What the Virus Pandemic Can Teach Us About the Climate Emergency
by Charles Komanoff and Christopher Ketcham

Greta Thunberg couldn’t do it.

Bill McKibben and couldn’t do it, and neither could the Paris climate accord.

But Covid-19 is cutting human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as travel and other economic activity in much of the world slow or halt altogether.

While the contraction in CO2 emissions set off by the virus may not be as pronounced as the related though distinct fall in “conventional” pollutants like soot and smog, it is far more consequential.

Soot and smog poison and kill only in the present, while greenhouse gases stick around to maim the climate for the next century.

Burning a fossil fuel today is tantamount to signing a death warrant for future generations.

Conversely, forgoing an action that would have caused a fossil fuel to be burned creates a permanent benefit.

Until now, the only downturn of note in total worldwide CO2 emissions during the era of climate awareness — defined as the period beginning in 1995 with the first U.N. Climate Change Conference — was in 2009, the onset of the Great Recession.

That downturn was brief and mild.

In contrast, the current contraction could be severe enough to cut in half this year’s addition to the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration — the metric that dictates climate change — according to calculations by co-author Charles Komanoff for the Carbon Tax Center.

Is it cruel to point approvingly to the steep reduction in carbon emissions now unfolding, given the skyrocketing deaths, lost livelihoods, and widespread privation?

And won’t the reductions be negated as the virus is tamed and emissions come roaring back?

No and no.

Like so much else, whether or not the current reduction in CO2 is sustained will depend on who gets to reconstruct society after the virus.

But the reduction will not be negated.

Just as carbon emissions persist long enough in Earth’s upper atmosphere to act as permanent climate change agents in terms of one individual’s lifetime, avoided emissions are a permanent balm.

The airplane trips you won’t take this year won’t be made up in 2021, for the simple reason that most people who use airplanes do so regularly.

A missed trip isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be put back next year; it’s a missed trip, period.

Ditto for work commutes and leisure activities.

So yes, the precipitous drop in burning petrol for vehicles and aircraft has a lasting imprint.

The contraction of the U.S. economy this year could purge 30 to 40 percent of carbon emissions we would otherwise spew.

Similar but milder jettisoning of carbon-burning in the rest of the world could collectively trim up to one part per million from the atmosphere’s present 415 ppm concentration of CO2 — a modest climate-protective achievement, to be sure, but one without precedent in the modern era.

The suffering is a different story.

Were a happiness/misery calculator able to quantify the pluses and minuses to well-being from events befalling human society, the virus’s flattening of the rising CO2-in-the-atmosphere curve would obviously be swamped by the lost life and the disordering of business as usual.

And yet business as usual must come to an end if we are to hand down a livable planet to our children.

The rub is how to slash carbon emissions with minimum suffering and maximum social and economic justice, and without nature forcing the reductions on us via pandemics or other chaotic black swan events that are surely in store.

The fact that human behavior and activity are undergoing climate-beneficial changes in the crucible of Covid-19 suggests that “business as usual” can be altered, and quickly.

Though we can’t yet point to new models of planned and equitable carbon reduction, there are four identifiable pandemic-driven upheavals of social consciousness that should give us hope of instituting the transformations necessary for civilization not to commit collective climate suicide.

One is that science’s prestige and value are being restored.

Americans watching drumphf’s circus-like virus daily briefings see National Institutes of Health immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci stepping in to correct the president’s dangerously ignorant commentary.

Similarly, we know it is the community of front-line doctors, nurses, and health care workers who will care for the sick; the epidemiologists and science journalists who will inform the public’s response; and trained chemists, biologists, and statisticians who will synthesize and prove the vaccines that will bring the pandemic to an end.

As environmental legal scholar Michael Gerrard wrote this week, the climate change lessons of Covid-19 are to heed the warnings of scientists, do everything possible to minimize the hazards they predict, and prepare to cope with the impacts that remain.

Second, the crisis is helping us see just how much our well-being depends on muscular, proactive governance.

Government of the people and for the people is literally the thing that’s now needed more than ever.

The people must be sovereign over corporations and not vice versa — a point driven home by the tepid response of big business to drumphf’s exhortations to step up manufacture of equipment to protect health care workers.

Third, we may be shaking loose the defeatism that nothing can be done quickly.

Take the example of those of us sheltering in place:

We are learning, overnight, that simplicity isn’t necessarily austerity, frugality need not be privation, and that we can forgo quite a lot of our leisure and consumer entitlements if it serves some higher purpose — at present, to stop the sickening and death of our fellow human beings; in the longer run, to bend the rising curve of carbon emissions and put a hard stop on climate chaos.

Moreover, if our society can act, finally, to manufacture a million ventilators and a billion protective masks, surely we can within a few years act on a far grander scale to erect, say, a million wind turbines, insulate and solarize a hundred million buildings, carve ribbons of bicycle paths throughout our cities and suburbs, and so on.

With the pandemic enforcing a brutal but necessary reset, the NIMBYism that has impeded this kind of progress practically everywhere might be swept into the dustbin for good.

Most hearteningly, the crisis is instilling a renewed appreciation of social solidarity.

The more we are forced to quarantine and isolate, paradoxically, the more we become cognizant of the need for mutuality and social relations and social conscience.

My well-being depends on your not being sick.

My ability to be fed depends on your ability to grow and transport and distribute food.

My life is now literally in your hands, as you make decisions whether to restrain your activity in the public sphere, keep your distance, self-quarantine.

If we so fully need each other, how can I abide your not having affordable health care?

In this moment when the precarity of half or more of American households is laid bare, how can I abide a government that places the well-being of billionaires — whose wealth each week generates more money than many of us earn in a lifetime — above that of the 90 percent of Americans who make less than $100,000 a year?

What does solidarity have to do with climate?


People whose health is tenuous and whose pocketbook is empty can’t easily stand up for climate action, but they may do so if government has put them on a solid footing and, in the Green New Deal, provided a framework for paying them good wages to actually implement it.

Synergies abound.

With the U.S. government providing direct payments to American households, it’s only a step or two to paying coal miners and cattle ranchers to become solar installers and wind farm maintainers.

Enacting some form of guaranteed income, even just temporarily, could pave the way for the “carbon fee and dividend” approach to taxing carbon fuels without further burdening the less well-off.

In a different vein, trading frenetic foreign travel for staycations could downsize socially destructive companies like Airbnb, making rental apartments more affordable and in turn diminishing long-distance commuting and slashing carbon footprints.

As for the extremely-rich, never have their fortunes been so fully revealed as hollow and corrosive.

Worldwide, the wealthiest 5 percent of households collectively burn more carbon than the entire bottom half, according to a comprehensive new report from the University of Leeds.

Could the past decade’s research and agitation on economic inequality now culminate, in the pandemic’s wake, in an insistence on transmuting extreme private wealth into a new collectively shared wealth of renewable energy and sustainable communities?

This, more than fossil fuel divestment or class-action litigation, is the kind of program that will actually cast off the yoke of the fossil fuel empire upon which the portfolios of the extremely-rich depend.

In the process, the toxic aspiration to join the super-rich could be swept aside.

Bye-bye, lusting after commuter helicopters.

Bye-bye, hungering for one’s own island.

Bye-bye, legislatures purchased by dark money.

As for those in the rarified upper classes who, in Margaret Thatcher’s iconic phrasing, embrace the libertarian right-wing precept that “there is no such thing as society,” let’s hope they will be answered by the millions of commoners who see clearly, as the pandemic rages, that we are all in this leaky boat together.

Health / Re: How Many Caught A Case Of Covid-19?
« on: April 04, 2020, 06:28:35 pm »
Saturday, 4th April 2o2o

Other Comics / Re: Diamond Distributors Shuts Down
« on: April 04, 2020, 09:15:09 am »
Saturday, 4th April 2o2o
The Virus Outbreak Has Plunged the Comics World into Existential Chaos
by Asher Elbein

World War II couldn’t do it.

An industry crash in the 1990s couldn’t do it.

Now, for the first time in the history of the medium, monthly comics are grinding to a halt due to the novel Covid-19 pandemic.

Comics are largely sold through the direct market, moving from publisher to distributor to specialty comics retailers, as opposed to digital distribution or the newstands of yesteryear.

But last month, Diamond Comics Distributors—the monopoly that supplies monthly comics to retailers in the United States and Britain—announced that it was refusing to accept new product from comics’ largest publishers, including Marvel, DC, Image, and Boom Studios.

“Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice,” Diamond chairman and CEO Steve Geppi said in a statement.

“Our freight networks are feeling the strain and are already experiencing delays, while our distribution centers in New York, California, and Pennsylvania were all closed late last week,” Geppi’s statement continued.

“Our own home office in Maryland instituted a work from home policy, and experts say that we can expect further closures. Therefore, my only logical conclusion is to cease the distribution of new weekly product until there is greater clarity on the progress made toward stemming the spread of this disease.”

Now local comic book shops and independent publishers face an unprecedented existential threat.

Diamond’s announcement—which came partially as a result of the shutdown of Canada’s Transcontinental Printers, which handles orders from Marvel and DC—is the latest bout of confusion to hit the industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many comics shops have been forced to temporarily close their doors to comply with shelter-in-place decrees, shifting where possible to online orders and curbside pickup.

Free Comic Book Day, an annual May event designed to drive foot-traffic to realtors, was postponed on March 18th.

Publishers like Image Comics announced that they were making new comics returnable, rather than forcing retailers to eat any overstock; Marvel offered a discount.

Now, as a direct result of the suspension, IDW Publishing, which publishes licensed comics like Transformers, is suspending all of its May releases, and will reduce its overall publishing line through July.

“Trimming our line through the summer in support of the Direct Market retailers will undoubtedly impact creative workflow for the short term,” IDW’s president, Chris Ryall, said in a statement.

“We fully appreciate the difficulty that this presents to freelancers. It’s our expectation that—in the long term—the Direct Market will bounce back as a result of these steps, and we can all continue the good work of making quality comics on the other side.”

Companies like DC Comics, meanwhile, apparently plan to power through.

While Diamond has exclusive distribution rights to physical issues of DC and Marvel comics, DC has announced plans to pursue a “multi-distributor model to provide us with the flexibility needed during this crisis.”

Since DC’s printer is shut down due to the epidemic, that would seemingly necessitate new printers and new distributors for single issues.

(DC did not return requests for comment by The Daily Beast.)

Initially, DC indicated that they were moving forward with digital publishing plans, despite retailer fears that digital releases through platforms like Comixology could potentially cut them out of the market.

Later, the company back-tracked and removed shipping dates from new issues of comics like Batman on Comixology.

(The company will still be releasing digital editions of trade paperbacks, reprints, and previously-announced digital-first exclusives.)

Marvel Comics also announced on Tuesday that it would not be releasing digital comics, but alluded to finding alternate distribution or resuming digital distribution in the future.

DC’s abortive move toward digital distribution had infuriated comics retailers like Brian Hibbs, owner of San Francisco-based store Comix Experience, and writer of Tilting at Windmills, an industry column.
Writing in a public Fakebook post, he blasted the company for “encouraging retailers to violate stay-at-home orders and risk their health for corporate profits,” and called the company’s move toward digital “a dire mistake...I have never been more been more emphatically disheartened and disappointed by a so-called ‘partner.’”

The feelings of betrayal are notable partly because corporate comics is an exceedingly small world, built around the relationships between direct market retailers and a handful of publishing companies.

Somewhat ironically, the industry’s reliance on the Diamond Distribution monopoly is itself—as comics reporter Graeme McMillen writes over at The Hollywood Reporter—largely corporate superhero comics’ fault.

In 1994, amid a massive industry boom driven largely by collector speculation, Marvel purchased Heroes World, then the third-largest comics distributor in the country, with the aim of making it their exclusive distribution channel.

The move caused nearly every other comics company to sign exclusive contracts with Diamond, effectively undercutting other distributors.

The finishing blow came during the 1990s industry collapse, when most distributors stopped being able to pay publishers as the comics shops they supplied went under.

Heroes World, unable to effectively handle shipping logistics, went out of business when Marvel declared bankruptcy in 1997, leaving Diamond the sole distributor remaining in the wreckage of a drastically shrunken industry.

The direct market, which was in many ways buoyed by the 1990s, has also never really recovered from them.

Local comics shops are in a particularly fraught position because—as with a lot of specialty retailers—the margins are razor thin, and serialized comics are, despite the success of their film adaptations, a niche interest.

While stores are able to stock graphic novels and trade paperbacks through booksellers, the weekly influx of customers every Wednesday, when new comics are released remains a cornerstone of the direct market.

“The fear is that the majority of comic shops are under-capitalized,” Hibbs told The Daily Beast.

“Probably the overwhelming majority of comic shops are owned by guys like me, who are 50 or older. If someone doesn’t step up—whether that’s distributors and publishers or creators and fans—I think your average typical comic shop is not sure how they’re gonna survive.”

The best move for comics fans, Hibbs said, is to contact and support their local stores.

“Tell them the comics you want in the future. Preorder comics from your local store. And check with your local store to see if they’re running a mail order so you can buy graphic novels from home.” 

“Ultimately, this pandemic has revealed a lot of the weak infrastructure holding up this country, and the comic business is no exception,” said Tim Seeley, writer of comics Hack/Slash, DC’s Nightwing, and artist on multiple G.I Joe comics.

“Having just one distributor for all stores, stores having to exist on thin margins, and over-reliance on just a few publishers and high-priced variant covers are all factors now coming back to bite everyone in the butt.”

The hits keep coming:

Diamond announced that they are putting a hold on previously-scheduled payments to comics companies and toy merchandisers, due to “no longer receiving consistent payment from our customers,” i.e comics retailers, mail-order services, bookstores, and other outlets.

(As in the 1990s, the move is likely to be a major blow to independent comics publishers.)

And as this article went to press, comic store software management company ComicHub is trying to roll out a tool that will allow customers to pay and pre-order comic books from their local store, read them digitally on the ComicHub app, and then receive them later in print.

Opinions are split as to whether this constitutes a reasonable way forward for stores and creators, a corporate fig leaf for the feared transition to digital, or whether the plan is even going to logistically work.

For now, the arguments roil on, the flow of new monthly comics has ground to a halt, and there’s no clear end in sight.

Chaos reigns.

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