PANDEMIC PHILANTHROPY

As advocates call for immediate relief, conservative critics argue for less urgent philanthropic reform

The Covid-19 pandemic threw millions into poverty while the world’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals enjoyed soaring profits.

Philanthropic giving has increased as the coronavirus crisis has ravaged the world, but inequality watchdogs, including The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Patriotic Millionaires, are lobbying congress to enact an Emergency Charity Stimulus to free up some private foundation funding and release it into the communities they serve.

New reporting from Axios indicates contributions to and from donor-advised funds (DAFs) have increased 4% since 2019. DAFs offer donors an immediate tax break but allow for delayed distribution of the funds…


POLITICS & PUBLIC HEALTH

One former aide said she saw “senior White House political staff actively undermine the doctors by attempting to manipulate scientific data on the virus and force changes to CDC guidances.”

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In yet another revelation regarding the Trump Administration’s concerted effort to downplay the threat of Covid-19 to the American people, new reporting shows top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage in-person schooling, despite scientific evidence that the virus is airborne and can be more easily spread indoors.

“The White House spent weeks trying to press public health professionals to fall in line with President [Donald] Trump’s election-year agenda of pushing to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible,” the New York Times reported Monday. …


CORPORATE MEDIA & FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

“He truly represents a core value of why we are free — because we have freedom of the press,” Weiwei said.

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Artist and Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei staged a silent protest Monday outside the Old Bailey Court in London as critics pan the media for largely ignoring the extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose trial enters its fourth week of witness testimony.

“He truly represents a core value of why we are free-because we have freedom of the press,” Weiwei, a longtime supporter of Assange, said outside the courtroom.

“[Assange] is prepared to fight, but this is not fair to him,” he continued. “Free him, let him be a free man.”

Weiwei urged more civil action to bring…


CORPORATE MEDIA & AUTHORITARIANISM

“Our democracy is at stake. Trump is trying to steal an election, and the press should say so, every day until Election Day.”

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President Donald Trump talks to journalists while departing the White House for a ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Kentucky in November, 2019. (Photo:Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Major news outlets failed the American people, critics say, when they chose to bury coverage of President Donald Trump’s Wednesday comment that he would not commit to a peaceful transition of power—a statement watchdogs say demanded above-the-fold, front-page headlines that simply did not materialize.

“Newsroom leaders made a considered, intentional decision not to panic after Trump was elected,” Dan Froomkin, editor of PressWatchers.org, wrote in a scathing rebuke of corporate media’s apparent nonchalant attitude towards the president’s rhetoric. “This was an epic, obvious mistake, and everything that has happened since was in some sense entirely predictable.”

Froomkin continued, “They should…


CORONAVIRUS & PUBLIC HEALTH

“The real question is: Are we prepared, collectively, to do what it takes to avoid that number?”

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Maryland Cremation Services transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan gently moves the remains of a coronavirus victim onto a stretcher in the morgue at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in May, 2020 in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If world leaders don’t act to slow the spread of Covid-19, the global death toll from the virus could top two million before a successful vaccine is circulated, the World Health Organization warned Friday.

“It’s certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said at a press briefing.

Worldwide, Johns Hopkins University reported 32,381,243 coronavirus cases and 985,104 deaths, as of Friday. In the United States number of Covid-19 infections has reached the seven million mark, and the U.S. body count exceeds 200,000.

According to reporting from Axios Thursday, Covid-19 cases…


POLITICS & RURAL HEALTHCARE

“Not being reimbursed by Medicare would be crippling — akin to a household losing nearly half its income.”

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Brandy Turcotte, CNA, left, and Lacy Lawrence, both medical workers at Weisbrod Memorial Hospital in Kiowa County, wear Personal Protective Equipment that they have on hand at the small rural hospital, if needed, during the coronavirus pandemic on May 14, 2020 in Eads, Colorado. (Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Rural healthcare advocates are urging lawmakers to extend payment deadlines or consider loan forgiveness as part of Covid-19 relief efforts.

“We’re trying to stress to members of Congress that the Covid-19 pandemic has not left rural America,” Mason Zeagler, government affairs senior associate at the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), said Wednesday during a virtual conference. “They need relief.”

Despite warnings from advocates and calls for more robust direct aid, Medicare expanded its Accelerated and Advance Payment Program in April, distributing $34 billion to providers. Nationwide, 65% of small, rural hospitals accepted a loan, which is essentially an upfront payment…


PRESIDENT TRUMP & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

“It is a gross abuse of public trust, and with each conflict, he becomes more complicit in the destruction of the ethical norms that form the cornerstone of a working democracy.”

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President Donald Trump speaks to the press during a meeting with President of Finland Sauli Niinisto at the White House October 2, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

In its continuing research into President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest, a government watchdog group released a new report Thursday that shows the commander-in-chief has engaged in 3,403 conflicts of interest since taking office-an average of more than two conflicts per day since being sworn in in January of 2017.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released the findings Thursday and wrote that Trump “continues to be the most corrupt president in history.”

“As the president continues to harness the office of the presidency for his own personal gain, Americans can no longer trust that he makes…


FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

“An American president does not praise violence against a reporter for doing his job. That is what an ugly, insecure two-bit dictator does.”

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NBC News journalist Ed Ou bleeds after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets near the 5th police precinct following a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a Black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

Free speech advocates warned against President Donald Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric demonizing journalists following a speech at a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday in which the commander-in-chief celebrated violence against members of the press.

“Trump has been inciting hatred of reporters for years,” Mark Follman, national affairs editor for Mother Jones, tweeted. “As a result, American journalists have faced many violent threats… Trump veils it with mockery-but this behavior is no joke. It’s fascist, and it’s dangerous.”

Referring to journalists covering ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and worldwide, Trump said: “They’d grab one guy… They threw him…


PRESIDENT TRUMP & RACISM

“I fled civil war when I was eight,” said the Minnesota Democrat. “An eight-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.”

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Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) gives an acceptance speech after winning her U.S. House seat in 2016. Omar, a refugee from Somalia, is the first Somali-American Muslim woman to hold public office. (Photo: Stephen Maturen/AFP via Getty Images)

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar fired back at President Donald Trump Tuesday night following a speech the United States president gave at a rally in Pennsylvania, where he once again aimed his racist rhetoric at the Minnesota Democrat lawmaker to cheers from a mostly maskless crowd.

“Firstly, this is my country and I am a member of the House that impeached you,” Omar, who arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia when she was a child, tweeted. “Secondly, I fled civil war when I was eight. An eight-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.”


POLITICS & INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

“This legislation passing means I won’t have to have those whispered conversations with my daughters about how the government turns its back on our Native women,” one advocate said.

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Micaela Iron Shell has painted red hands over their mouth to show solidarity for missing and murdered indigenous, black and migrant women and children during a rally with Climate activist Greta Thunberg in Denver, Colorado in 2019. (Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

As lawmakers Tuesday celebrated the U.S. House’s long-overdue passage of two bills aimed at helping local and national law enforcement agencies track and prosecute crimes against Native American women and girls, tribal advocates-while pleased the measures are moving forward-cautioned that there is more work ahead.

“It’s been a long road to have policy to protect Natives,” Emily Washines, a historian and member of the Yakama Nation told the Spokesman-Review Tuesday. “I think back to when I was in elementary school, not understanding why we had so many missing and murdered women on the Yakama Reservation.”

“The statistics are grim,”…

Lisa Newcomb

Journalist. Finding my way. Sort of.

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