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McConnell faces backlash from small business owners: Stop using our plight to push for COVID-19 corporate immunity

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A coalition of more than 30,000 small business owners across the U.S. is urging Congress not to grant corporations sweeping immunity from coronavirus-related workplace safety lawsuits, warning that the move would harm Main Street and “undo decades of worker and consumer protections.”

“Corporate immunity is unnecessary to protect small business owners, as state law already protects responsible business owners who act reasonably,” advocacy group Main Street Alliance wrote in a letter (pdf) to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders last week. “Creating this type of blanket immunity from lawsuits by injured workers or consumers would give bad actors a competitive edge at the cost of people’s lives.”

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“Arguments for corporate immunity during this pandemic are premised on a false choice that illogically pits public health and safety against the economy and the viability of businesses,” the letter continues. “In reality, we need to pursue a pragmatic, science-based approach to creating a pandemic-resilient economy that considers both the needs of small business owners and the public need for health and safety.”

The letter came as big companies continued to ramp up their lobbying campaign in support of liability protections, which would shield corporations from legal responsibility for workers who contract Covid-19 on the job.

In a meeting at the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday, the CEOs of Panera Bread and Restaurant Brands International both pushed President Donald Trump to support liability protections in the next coronavirus stimulus package. Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said liability protections are his top priority for future Covid-19 legislation.

“The Democrats don’t want to give you the liability provisions,” Trump said. “They just don’t want to have that. And it’s crazy that they don’t… But we’ll get it anyway.”

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, assured the CEOs that the White House is “working very hard on the COVID-19 liability restrictions” as it pushes states to reopen their economies.

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“That’s going to be a key part of our next package,” said Kudlow.

Main Street Alliance said that while its member businesses are “eager to resume operations as soon as possible,” they are also “very concerned about safety.”

“This is partially because they seek to be responsible community members and prevent the spread of this deadly virus,” the group wrote. “But it is also because none of our members wants their business or brand associated with the spread of illness or death to employees or customers.”

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Instead of “promoting a race-to-the-bottom with life or death consequences” by approving liability protections for corporations, the coalition said Congress should provide:

  • Direct support for small businesses for the duration of the pandemic and that allows reopening at the pace and level businesses need to safeguard the health of owners, staff, and customers;
  • Adequate testing, tracing, supported isolation, and clear, industry-specific workplace safety standards and support;
  • Healthcare and economic protection for all workers and families—without immigration-based discrimination—to support both a healthy workforce and local spending;
  • Establish sufficient care infrastructure (child care, schools, paid leave) so parents and caregivers can return to work knowing their families are safe and protected;
  • Mechanisms to tackle systemic racial and economic inequities that are devastating businesses in communities of color and pushing people of color onto the frontlines of the disease.

“Main Street small businesses should not be forced into unfair competition with irresponsible businesses seeking immunity for their decisions to ignore health and safety standards for workers and consumers,” the alliance wrote. “By rewarding noncompliance, corporate immunity would shift the costs of responsible behavior onto responsible Main Street businesses while putting people at grave risk.”

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“With this perverse cost-shift,” the group warned, “corporate immunity could result in only the most irresponsible corporations surviving the pandemic.”


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Protests around the world: This time it’s different

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A profound, historical difference separates the protests across America the past six days from past eruptions of anger over police violence against black men and women. It’s a difference that isn’t showing up news reports, televised or print even though it’s quite apparent.

The differences are where these demonstrations are taking place and who is protesting,

In Los Angeles, the demonstrators were not in the poor and historically black neighborhood known as Watts, but in Beverly Hills and the city’s prosperous West Side. Many of those demonstrating were white. In some places a majority were white.

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COVID-19 cases skyrocket among younger Americans as states reopen

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The coronavirus is tearing into a new demographic as states relax social distancing guidelines.

Younger Americans have gone back to work in the service industry and congregating in public, and their activity seems to be bearing out ominous predictions from public health experts, reported The Daily Beast.

“Watch what’s happening before and after the peak,” said epidemiologist Dr. Judith Malmgren, of the University of Washington’s school of public health. “The disease didn’t change, but the people who were infected changed.”

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2020 Election

Trump’s Confederacy-loving fans accused of treason in brutal new Lincoln Project ad

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In another no-holds-barred ad from the Lincoln Project -- headed up by Republicans Rick Wilson, George Conway and Steve Schmidt -- Donald Trump is linked to the Confederacy and, by extension, treason against the United States.

The ad notes the prevalence of the Confederate flag at Trump rallies -- some even bearing his name -- and notes, "The men who followed this flag 150 years ago knew what it meant: Treason against their country. Death of the United States,” in the voiceover.

With clips showing the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, the ad goes on to ask, "What does it say that they’re all in for Trump?"

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