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January 1, Round 2 of COVID-19 May be Worse



This Day in History | 1970 

Earth day is celebrated in the United States for the first time on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches and educational programs across the country.

Good morning Middle Americans, 

California continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, there are also lingering problems with testing, and states across the country are starting to open back as soon as Friday.  Meanwhile, the CDC is warning us that a second wave of the disease may be worse, if and when it returns this winter. 

Attorney General William Barr says he might sue states that trample on the public’s Constitutional rights. 

Outrage continues to simmer on Main Street America while Congress dithers and BIG business collect millions from the Paycheck Protection Plan. That money was intended for small companies. The Senate has passed a nealy $500 billion package to extend the lifeline. Does anyone think this is going to go any better. 

Meanwhile, GOP Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, whose credibility is in question while his stock trades are investigated, joined with Senate Democrats to back a report confirming what the intelligence community already told us: Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election.

Finally, while you can probably tell we’re not huge fans of big government – we do believe that there’s a place for limited government services that help a democratic society run smoothly. The U.S. Post Office being one of them. But the USPS is on life support, and hanging by a thread. 

Read all about it.

-Fraser Dixon

CDC: Second COVID-19 Wave May Be Worse

(Reuters) – A second wave of the coronavirus is expected to hit the United States next winter and could strike much harder than the first because it would likely arrive at the start of influenza season, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Tuesday.

Read more here

Barr Threatens to Sue States that Don’t Open When Trump Says

(New York Magazine) – President Trump has intermittently gone to war with public-health experts, including those in his own administration, in an attempt to restart the economy fast enough to help him win reelection. His biggest obstacle — next to his administration’s inability to produce enough testing to allow local officials to safely reopen — is that he lacks the legal authority to force states and cities to open up. After first claiming total authority over the governors, Trump is looking for ways to gain leverage to bring them to heel. He can whip up protests, and he can withhold aid from the states and cities.

And now he is pulling out a new weapon: Attorney General William Barr.

In a new interview with right-wing talk-show host Hugh Hewitt, Barr threatens to throw the DOJ’s weight behind businesses to sue states and cities that fail to open up quickly enough. 

Learn more here

Big Firms Get $300M in Small-Business Loans

(AP) – Companies with thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and risks of financial failure even before the coronavirus walloped the economy were among those receiving millions of dollars from a relief fund that Congress created to help small businesses through the crisis, an Associated Press investigation found.

The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to infuse small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit, with $349 billion in emergency loans that could help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time.

Learn more here

Related: Here are the Largest Public Companies Taking Payroll Loans for Small Businesses

Senate Intel Report Confirms Russia Aimed to Help Trump in 2016

(Politico) – The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Tuesday’s bipartisan report, from a panel chaired by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, undercuts Trump’s years of efforts to portray allegations of Kremlin assistance to his campaign as a “hoax,” driven by Democrats and a “deep state” embedded within the government bureaucracy.

“The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions,” Burr said in a statement, adding that the intelligence community’s conclusions reflect “strong tradecraft” and “sound analytical reasoning.”

Learn more here

The Postal Service is Hanging on by a Thread

(The Hill) – Amidst the coronavirus storm, it can be hard to identify which aspects of American life should be tossed into the lifeboat of priorities. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is one of them. It is the largest postal service in the world. Yet like thousands of individual Americans battling COVID-19, its health is in danger. It may not survive through the end of the year. 

The U.S. mail service predates the U.S. Constitution itself, which expressly empowers Congress “[t]o establish Post Offices and Post Roads.” The first post office sprung up in the colonies in 1639, when Massachusetts enacted legislation ordering that overseas letters pass through Fairbanks Tavern in Boston. Decades later, the King of England approved the office of postmaster general for America, a position held by Benjamin Franklin, who in 1753 initiated efforts to establish an intra-colony postal system. In 1775, the first Continental Congress appointed a committee to establish a postal system, resolving that “the present critical situation of the colonies renders it highly desirable that ways and means should be devised for the speedy and secure conveyance of Intelligence from one end of the Continent to the other.” 
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