It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has spread to at least 56 countries, and the case numbers continue to rise, fueling fears of a worldwide pandemic. "From eastern Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa, a steady stream of new cases Friday fueled the sense that the new coronavirus epidemic may be turning into a global pandemic, with some health officials saying it may be inevitable," the New York Times reported Friday. "The WHO [World Health Organization] has raised the global threat level to 'very high,' its most extreme assessment, as new outbreaks appear," the Times also reported. This comes the day after the first US coronavirus diagnosis in a person who had no known link to foreign travel. "A Northern California woman has contracted the coronavirus without traveling to regions hit by the outbreak or coming into contact with anyone known to have the infection, the first sign the disease may be spreading within a US community, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday night," the Washington Post reported Thursday. That same day, the Wall Street Journal reported: "US Coronavirus Outbreak Would Pose Risk to Record Expansion."
"The Pentagon recently announced its fiscal year 2021 budget request," MintPress News reported Monday. "At $705 billion, it indicates a shifting focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a greater emphasis on the types of weapons that could be used to confront nuclear giants like Russia and China." What signals does this send going forward?
"Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posted a decisive victory in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, cementing his status as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination by turning out a diverse coalition of voters," The Hill reported February 22. The South Carolina primary takes place on Saturday. All of this while, according to Common Dreams, MSNBC has gone into "full-blown freakout mode" as Sanders has solidified his front-runner position. Meanwhile, "Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign plans to unleash its cash-flush media operation against Bernie Sanders in the wake of the Vermont senator’s resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses," CNBC reported Monday. "Senior aides to Bloomberg’s campaign have been discussing how they are going to use some of their resources against Sanders, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because these decisions were made in private. Already, the campaign has spent over $500 million on media ad buys, according to Advertising Analytics."
"Republican activists in South Carolina are urging party voters to do the seemingly unthinkable: support US Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid for the White House in the state’s Democratic primary on Saturday," Reuters reported Thursday. This comes after a Reuters headline Wednesday said: "Trump campaign plans information centers for black voters in battleground states." What are we to make of these plans?
"The acting White House chief of staff plays down the risks of the virus and criticizes the media for not covering [US President Donald] Trump’s son Barron, something Melania Trump has asked it not to do," the New York Times reported Friday. "Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on Friday blamed the media for exaggerating the seriousness of coronavirus because 'they think this will bring down the president, that’s what this is all about.' ... Mr. Mulvaney also brushed off concerns over the virus; there have been 60 cases identified in the United States."
We'll have all these stories and more!
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."
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