Airfares won’t be the same

marketwatch.com

If airlines keep the middle seat empty due to fears of coronavirus transmission, will air travel become more expensive?

“Airlines blocked middle seats to try to get people comfortable to fly again,” Sumers said. “But it’s not sustainable, long-term. Airlines will get back to selling every seat on the airplane soon enough.”

By Jacob Passy

Airlines have struggled as the coronavirus pandemic brought travel to a halt

Faced with empty planes, airlines have slashed ticket prices. How long will those deals last?

Airline tickets are cheap right now. But don’t expect that to last forever.

How cheap are flights? You can book roundtrip airfare in August between New York and Los Angeles for $62, according to a search on travel website Kayak BKNG, +4.05%. For less than $200, you can get round-trip airfare between Miami and dozens of destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Airlines have slashed the price of tickets as demand plummeted in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. They’ve flown practically empty planes, and pilots and flight attendants have faced the risk of furloughs and layoffs as airlines’ business has tanked. Meanwhile, travelers are sitting on millions of dollars in vouchers from carriers such as Delta DAL, +2.00%, American AAL, +2.49%, JetBlue JBLU, +3.34% and United UAL, +2.67%, which they received for trips cancelled due to health concerns.

Some have even predicted that one or more airlines could go bankrupt as a result of the downturn. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +1.07% even sold off its stakes in airlines because of the pandemic.

The downturn will likely keep flight prices down for some time to come.

“Early on, many analysts expected a V-shaped recovery in air travel,” said Scott Keyes, founder and chief flight expert at travel website Scott’s Cheap Flights. “That’s clearly not borne out, and instead we’re looking at a stretched out Nike NKE, +0.83% swoosh recovery.”

Also see:Walt Disney World cancels dining reservations and stops taking new hotel bookings ahead of planned July reopening

“Slashing fares is the simplest and most effective tool airlines have to get people back on planes,” Keyes added.

Another factor keeping prices low, besides airlines attempting to boost demand, are fuel costs, Keyes said. Oil prices fell precipitously as stay-at-home orders went into effect across the globe. That’s helped keep costs down for the industry, which has enabled airlines to pass savings onto consumers.

“ ‘Slashing fares is the simplest and most effective tool airlines have to get people back on planes.’ ” — Scott Keyes, founder and chief flight expert at travel website Scott’s Cheap Flights

But prices won’t stay low forever, and travelers shouldn’t bank on deals sticking around, experts said.

“I would not take too much stock in the prices you see for later this year or 2021,” said Brian Sumers, senior aviation business editor at travel industry news outlet Skift. “This is a fast-moving crisis, and the models airlines use to predict future pricing trends cannot keep up.”

Airlines are hesitant to drop prices too much now for future dates in case travel demand recovers, because doing so would leave them stuck with cheap fares. If demand doesn’t recover, airlines will probably cancel many flights, Sumers said.

Indeed, many airlines have cut less popular routes during the pandemic to reduce their costs. And in some cases, that actually has raised ticket prices. Airfare for trips between Atlanta and Denver is 25% more expensive than in 2019 because JetBlue and Spirit SAVE, +3.86% suspended service on that route until September, said Hayley Berg, an economist at travel company Hopper.

Read more:Half of all Americans are canceling their summer vacations — what to expect in refunds from cruise lines, hotels and airlines

“Spirit and JetBlue offer low base fares compared to other major carriers on the route, and a suspension of service and these fares drives up the average price available on the route,” Berg said.

“As carriers work to restructure their schedules and partner with the [Department of Transportation] to determine which routes can be changed, it’s likely that there will be some routes where average prices will rise compared to previous years given the fewer options available to customers,” she added.

“ ‘Airlines blocked middle seats to try to get people comfortable to fly again. But it’s not sustainable, long-term.’ ” — Brian Sumers senior aviation business editor at travel industry news outlet Skift

If demand does rebound in earnest though, you could see airlines responding by changing coronavirus-related policies. In other words: Don’t expect flights to remain so empty.

“Airlines blocked middle seats to try to get people comfortable to fly again,” Sumers said. “But it’s not sustainable, long-term. Airlines will get back to selling every seat on the airplane soon enough.”

United recently announced a set of disinfecting protocols, including a partnership with Clorox CLX, -0.06%, aimed at making passengers feel more comfortable about the safety of boarding an airplane during a pandemic.

Carriers also have grounded many planes and put them in storage because of the slowdown in air travel. If flight demand picks up enough, those aircraft could be put back in service. That added capacity would help to mitigate rising prices.

Posted in Business and Commerce, Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off on Airfares won’t be the same

Palestinians continue to pay terrorists

palwatch.org

PA and Palestinian banks plan to defy Israel’s Anti-Terror Law

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr announced that the PA will continue to pay the terrorists’ salaries through the banks for four months until the establishment of a new “banking institution” that will be subordinate to the PLO. This plan for a new bank was undertaken by the PA because of the new Israeli law.

Maurice Hirsch, Adv. and Itamar Marcus

The PA announced yesterday that in the coming days it will pay the monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists in cooperation with and through the banks that are active in the PA.

This is a defiant move against Israeli authority and rule of law by the banks that are apparently under pressure from the PA.

Banks that will receive the terrorists’ salaries are violating a new law that came into effect in Judea and Samaria on May 9, 2020. The new law determines that paying rewards for acts of terror constitutes a crime, and anyone who is involved in the process is committing a crime – including the banks and their employees.

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr announced that the PA will continue to pay the terrorists’ salaries through the banks for four months until the establishment of a new “banking institution” that will be subordinate to the PLO. This plan for a new bank was undertaken by the PA because of the new Israeli law. However, even accepting the salaries for one month is a violation of Israeli law. This is how it was explained by official PA news agency:

“Director of [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr said that the payment of the salaries of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families through the banks will continue until the development of a banking institution that will become a bank for them.
Abu Bakr said in a phone conversation with [the official PA news agency] WAFA that a meeting was held yesterday [May 31, 2020] according to the instructions of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and in the presence of [PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, President [Abbas’] Advisor on Legal Affairs Ali Mahana, the [PA] Ministry of Finance, the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, the [PA] Monetary Authority, and representatives of the banks. During [the meeting], it was decided that the payment of the allowances of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families will continue through the banks, until the development of the banking institution for loans that is subordinate to the PLO is completed, so that it will become a bank for them.

He explained that the idea of establishing this bank arose following the decision of ‘the Israeli military governor’ on March 9 (sic., Feb. 9, 2020), who warned the banks not to continue handling the money and savings of the prisoners and the Martyrs’ families.

Abu Bakr emphasized that the establishment of the bank will be completed within four months, which is considered a national achievement, because stopping the payment of their salaries harms the history of the prisoners and Martyrs, their struggle, and their sacrifices.

He noted that today, Monday, a [PA] government meeting will be held that will approve [the establishment of] the bank, and that a recommendation to approve it will be submitted to the president.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, June 1, 2020]

A month and a half ago PMW notified the banks that are active in the PA and warned them that the newly signed law makes the PA’s payments to the imprisoned terrorists a crime even if committed in the PA areas. Any person or institution who aids in implementing these payments is committing a crime and could be arrested, put on trial, and have the relevant property seized. PMW also warned that the banks’ cooperation is liable to expose them to civil suits.

Following the warning, and shortly before the new law took effect on May 9, 2020, the banks contacted the PA minister of finance, noting the risks to which the banks will be exposed if they continue to provide the platform for paying the terrorists’ salaries, and they asked the PA to stop transferring the salaries through the banks:

“Based on the plenary session of the Association of Banks [in Palestine], all of the banks hereby ask Your Honor to stop transferring any sums into these accounts. The banks will transfer the balances in these accounts to the Ministry of Finance’s account.”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, May 8, 2020]

At the same time, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that a committee would be established to examine the issue and formulate recommendations:

“Official [PA] Government Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said that [PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh ordered to assemble a committee led by [PA] Monetary Authority Governor [Azzam Al-Shawa], which includes [PA] Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs (sic., Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr), the banking association, and a representative from the [PA] Ministry of Finance in order to examine the Israeli threats against the banks that are providing their services to the relatives of the prisoners and Martyrs and to submit the needed recommendations to deal with them.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 8, 2020]

Later on, Shtayyeh added that the team’s work is continuing and that they had not yet found a solution to both continue paying the salaries to the terrorists and also protect the banks:

“[Shtayyeh] noted that a working group that includes the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs has been established to examine the Israeli threat and submit the needed recommendations for fighting it. Shtayyeh emphasized that the banks are financial institutions that constitute an impetus for the national economy, and that we must protect them from the occupation’s blackmail. He noted that the government and the banks are dealing with this matter together, and that ‘We are searching for solutions that will protect the prisoners’ allowances on the one hand, and protect the banks from the occupation’s threats on the other.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 12, 2020]

Just a few days ago, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Banks Maher Al-Masri said that a solution has still not been found for the issue of paying the terrorists’ salaries:

“There is no solution of any kind for the matter of the prisoners’ salaries… The PA is still seeking solutions for this matter in cooperation with the banks and the [PA] Ministry of Finance.”

[Sada News, Palestinian news agency, May 28, 2020]

In the same article, Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares was quoted as saying that “The club’s position on the matter of the prisoners’ salaries is clear: A rejection of any solution other than payment through the banks.”

In the struggle between the PA’s insistence on continuing to pay terror rewards to terrorists through the banks that are active in the PA, and the banks’ desire to avoid being involved in committing terror crimes, it appears the PA has the upper hand for now.

But as was stated in PMW’s warning letter to the banks, cooperation with an act that is defined in law as “a prohibited action with terror assets” is liable to cause the launch of the investigation, arrest, and putting on trial of the various bank managers. At the same time, this is liable to expose the banks to additional enforcement actions, including the issuing of orders to seize the money paid to the terrorists and also civil suits. Banks that have branches in the US are liable to be particularly exposed in this context. The PA’s pressure to reward terrorists will not help the banks to escape the situation that has been created.

Posted in Islam, Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off on Palestinians continue to pay terrorists

EU funds Palestinian terror

israelhayom.com

Report by Israeli watchdog triggers EU turmoil over funding of NGOs linked to terrorist groups

The watchdog recently exposed an EU letter to an umbrella organization of 142 leading Palestinian NGOs assuring them that, even if a Palestinian NGO applying for EU grants is an affiliate of EU-designated terrorist groups or employs individuals from these groups, the EU will still provide the organization with funds and legitimacy.


NGO Monitor data prompts Brussels to order its envoys in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to investigate if EU funds are reaching organizations affiliated with Palestinian terrorist groups. EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuel Joffre: If there is evidence of improper use of EU funds we will investigate them.

The EU on Tuesday ordered its representatives in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to investigate whether EU funds are reaching organizations affiliated with Palestinian terrorist groups.

The move follows a report by NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that promotes greater transparency among foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations operating in Israel.

The watchdog recently exposed an EU letter to an umbrella organization of 142 leading Palestinian NGOs assuring them that, even if a Palestinian NGO applying for EU grants is an affiliate of EU-designated terrorist groups or employs individuals from these groups, the EU will still provide the organization with funds and legitimacy.

After the information became public, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stated that the EU “will have to conduct an in-depth review, and if there is any concern we will act immediately. … This [funding terrorism] will not be tolerated. And if it happens it will have to be rectified.”

The Commission for Neighborhood and Enlargement is in charge of overseeing the accession process of prospective member states and relations with states bordering the European Union. The commission’s policy is directed towards candidate states along the EU’s eastern border and on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Following the exposé on how the EU was potentially skirting the ban on financing terrorism, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had summoned EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuel Joffre, asking for clarifications on the matter.

Tuesday saw Joffre reiterate that “if there is evidence of improper use of EU funds we will investigate them.”

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Posted in Middle East Report, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off on EU funds Palestinian terror

The fire keeps burning

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel w/lyrics and pictures

Thousands around the world protest George Floyd’s death in global display of solidarity

Over the weekend, demonstrators gathered in London, Berlin and Auckland, among other cities, to protest against police brutality in solidarity with the US crowds.

Britain: In London, protesters rallied in Trafalgar Square on Sunday morning, in defiance of Britain’s lockdown rules which prohibit large gatherings. Some participants marched to the US embassy.

Germany: Crowds gathered in Berlin in front of the US embassy on Saturday and Sunday. Participants wore face masks and carried signs declaring “Black lives matter” and “Justice can’t wait.”

France: Activists in Paris wearing black clothing and face masks took a knee and held up signs reading “I can’t breathe,” “We are all George Floyd” and “Racism chokes us” in Paris on Monday.

Denmark: Chants of “no justice, no peace” were heard In the streets of Copenhagen on Sunday, as protesters marched over Floyd’s death. Some rallied outside the Danish capital’s US embassy.

Italy: In Milan, crowds held a flashmob near the city’s US consulate on Thursday.

Brazil: People protested outside the Guanabara Palace, the home of the state government, in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, while in Sao Paulo, some brought signs showing solidarity with the US protests to an existing demonstration against President Jair Bolsonaro.

The list goes on: Solidarity protests took place in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Syria, Mexico, Canada, Poland, and more. Read about them here:

Posted in Fun Stuff, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off on The fire keeps burning

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

washingtonpost.com

Gloomy Don McLean reveals meaning of ‘American Pie’ — and sells lyrics for $1.2 million

“Basically in ‘American Pie,’ things are heading in the wrong direction,” he told Christie’s, as the Newcastle Herald reported. “It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.”…As ideals of the 1960s turned into the cynicism of the 1970s, this feeling was widespread enough to send the song to No. 1 in 1972.

By Justin Wm. Moyer

See video at bottom of article, below lyrics, for further explanation and music

The music died because Buddy Holly merely wanted what every touring musician wants: to do laundry.

Shoved into unheated buses on a “Winter Dance Party” tour in 1959, Holly — tired of rattling through the Midwest with dirty clothes — chartered a plane on Feb. 3 to fly from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, N.D., where he hoped he could make an appointment with a washing machine. Joining him on the plane were Ritchie Valens and, after future country star Waylon Jennings gave up his seat, J.P. Richardson, a.k.a. “the Big Bopper.” Taking off in bad weather with a pilot not certified to do so, the plane crashed, killing everyone aboard. The toll was incalculable: The singers of “Peggy Sue” and “Come On Let’s Go” and “Donna” and “La Bamba” were dead. Holly was just 22; incredibly, Valens was just 17. Rock and roll would never be the same.

Thirteen years later, Don McLean wrote a song about this tragedy: “American Pie,” an 8½-minute epic with an iconic lyric about “the day the music died.” Now, the original 16-page working manuscript of the lyrics has been sold at auction for $1.2 million.“I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song American Pie so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game,” McLean said in a Christie’s catalogue ahead of the sale. “It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music.”That photograph was always a little bit blurry. At more than 800 words, the meaning of “American Pie” proved elusive even for a generation used to parsing inscrutable Bob Dylan and Beatles lyrics. McLean has said the song was inspired by the 1959 plane crash, but has been cagey about other details.

“People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity,” McLean said in an early interview, as the Guardian reported. “Of course I did. I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time.”

But what state was that? It seemed like the song’s cast of characters — which include a jester, a king, a queen, good ol’ boys drinking whiskey and rye as well as “Miss American Pie” herself — were meant to represent real people. The song includes references to Karl Marx; Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (or, more likely, John Lennon); the Fab Four; the Byrds; James Dean; Charles Manson; the Rolling Stones; the “widowed bride,” Jackie Kennedy; and the Vietnam War.

What does it all mean? Just what a song about the day the music died seems like it might be about: the end of the American Dream.

“Basically in ‘American Pie,’ things are heading in the wrong direction,” he told Christie’s, as the Newcastle Herald reported. “It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.”

As ideals of the 1960s turned into the cynicism of the 1970s, this feeling was widespread enough to send the song to No. 1 in 1972.

“American Pie is the accessible farewell to the Fifties and Sixties,” Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis wrote in the catalogue. “Bob Dylan talked to the counterculture in dense, cryptic, apocalyptic terms. But Don McLean says similar ominous things in a pop language that a mainstream listener could understand. The chorus is so good that it lets you wallow in the confusion and wistfulness of that moment, and be comforted at the same time. It’s bubblegum Dylan, really.” (Perhaps of note: Dylan’s manuscript of “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for $2 million in June, besting McLean’s measly $1.2 million.)

Forty-four years after “American Pie’s” release, McLean, 69, wasn’t much more positive about the state of the world than he was a generation ago.

“I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015,” McLean said, as People Magazine reported. “There is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie.’ ”

Nor was there romance in McLean’s decision to sell the manuscript. He did it for the dough.

“I’m going to be 70 this year,” he told Rolling Stone. “I have two children and a wife, and none of them seem to have the mercantile instinct. I want to get the best deal that I can for them. It’s time.”

Ahead of the Christie’s auction, McLean did offer some advice to all the budding Don McLeans out here.

“I would say to young songwriters who are starting out to immerse yourself in beautiful music and beautiful lyrics and think about every word you say in a song,” he said.

Here are the words of “American Pie” as transcribed by azlyrics.com, the savior of cover bands everywhere. (Note: AZ creatively transcribes what many hear as “whiskey and rye” as “whiskey in Rye.”)

[Intro]
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

[Chorus]
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died

[Chorus]
I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 2]
Now for 10 years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and me

Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned

And while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died

[Chorus]
We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

[Chorus]
We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Outro]
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died

And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”

[Chorus]
They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”

Posted in Fun Stuff, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off on Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

New York City is crying

ny1.com

Cry, The Beloved City

The city that never sleeps is getting a curfew. Let’s hope someone is left to turn the lights back on in the morning.

PUBLISHED , Jun. 02, 2020, Spectrum News, NY1

“We’re idiots, babe. It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”
– Bob Dylan

At this point, it’s just a matter of time before the murder hornets finish us off.

Over a three-month span, New York City has lost 20,000 residents to a global pandemic and been hit by a wave of looting that hasn’t been seen since the 1977 blackout. Did you ever think the subways would go dark or a curfew would be announced?  We’re at new level of difficulty in SimCity – except this is painfully real.

Protesters outraged over the killing of an innocent man by police in Minnesota are the spark to a keg that’s slowly been filling up since Donald Trump moved into the White House more than three years ago. Add a deadly disease and three months of quarantine to the mix, and it’s no surprise that some people are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Stuck in the middle of this is Mayor de Blasio, whose political origin story is rooted in trying to reform the NYPD but now ostensibly is in charge of the department.

Trying to appeal to everyone, and thereby winning over no one, the mayor initially defended the police who plowed two vehicles into protesters in Brooklyn over the weekend. It was a startling image that echoed a horrific moment in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white supremacist drove his car into protesters in 2017.

“I’m not going to blame officers who were trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation,’’ said the mayor, who at that moment sounded more like Rudy Giuliani than David Dinkins.

The mayor reversed course on Monday, saying the obvious that unfortunately needed to be said: “There is no situation where a police vehicle should drive into a crowd of New Yorkers or anyone.”

Meanwhile, is anyone else worried about what this all means for flattening the COVID curve?

Having thousands of people travel across the city and gathering in groups and then dispersing to go home is the sort of thing that makes people like Dr. Fauci stay awake at night. There was a lot of understandable finger-wagging at conservative anti-quarantine protesters. So should people get a social-distancing pass just because it’s for a cause that’s more palatable to the average New York liberal?

It would be sad if the legacy of George Floyd’s death in New York City is a bunch of burnt-out stores and a bulging COVID curve. But that’s where leadership comes in. And up until now, there’s been a leadership vacuum from the federal to the local level about guiding us through unrest and helping create meaningful change.

The city that never sleeps is getting a curfew. Let’s hope someone is left to turn the lights back on in the morning.

This is the end of the article.  The following is added by CNP Webmaster.

Bob Dylan – Idiot Wind

Someone’s got it in for me
They’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick
But when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray
And took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks
And when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky
People see me all the time
And they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas
Images and distorted facts
Even you, yesterday
You had to ask me where it was at
I couldn’t believe after all these years
You didn’t know me better than that
Sweet lady
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the back roads headin’ south
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe
I ran into the fortune-teller
Who said, “beware of lightning that might strike”
I haven’t known peace and quiet
For so long I can’t remember what it’s like
There’s a lone soldier on the cross
Smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door
You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done
In the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle
I woke up on the roadside
Daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare
Shoot through my head and are makin’ me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best
And cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch
Flies buzzin’ around your eyes
Blood on your saddle
Idiot wind
Blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe
It was gravity which pulled us down
And destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage
But it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down
As a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good
You’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom
I noticed at the ceremony
Your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore
Your mouth has changed
Your eyes don’t look into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day
And sat stone-faced while the building burned
I waited for you on the running boards
Near the cypress trees, while the springtime turned
Slowly into autumn
Idiot wind
Blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe
I can’t feel you anymore
I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door
I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead
Down the highway, down the tracks
Down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars
Hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory
I been double-crossed now
For the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast
On the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered
Nor the pain I rise above
And I’ll never know the same about you
Your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry
Idiot wind
Blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind
Blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Dylan
Idiot Wind lyrics © Audiam, Inc

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Religious Jews reluctant to emigrate to Israel

bringthemhome.org.il

The Secret Behind the Galus Jew – Bring Them Home

“No rational person can see the situation in galus declining day after day and resist the idea of leaving as if his life depended on it, when the very opposite is likely true. No rational person will fight for the honor of his foreign stepmother, who at best is only mildly abusive, while he disgraces the birth mother that is yearning for him.”

By Chananya Weissman

The ability of the Jew to come up with reasons why he will not make aliya is truly incredible. It doesn’t matter if the Jew is religious or secular, conservative or liberal, rich or poor, Sefardic or Ashkenazic. It doesn’t matter what his family situation is, his education, or his background. It doesn’t even matter what’s going on where he currently lives. If there is one issue that cuts across all divides for the millions of Jews outside their homeland, it is “Anywhere but Israel!”

The sheer breadth of reasons Jews give would lead one to believe that Israel is the absolute worst place on earth to live. They make it sound as if the ever-increasing millions of Jews who do live here and don’t wish to leave are crazy (or religious idealists, which to many is the same thing). No one in his right mind would ever want to live in Israel.

At best it’s a lifestyle choice, something a Jew should consider “only if it’s right for him”.

Within the religious world we find intellectual contortions that would be comical if the implications were not tragic. After all, the religious Jew must come to grips with the fact that his daily prayers, his frequent blessings, his religious ceremonies, his holidays, and his holy texts are suffused with love for Israel and the fervent desire to return immediately.

But the religious Jew does not desire this. Not only does he not desire this, he fervently desires the very opposite. His greatest desire is to live anywhere else on earth in a religious cocoon with people who resemble him. His gentile neighbors should think well of Jews, or at least pretend not to mind them, or at the very minimum not persecute them too severely. If things get “too bad” – which is purposely not defined so that the threshold can be repeatedly adjusted as the situation deteriorates – the Jew will dutifully decide that it is time to find another home in the Diaspora.

Nothing inspires a galus Jew more than building a new community somewhere in the Diaspora, while nothing turns him off more than the idea of pioneering a new community in Israel. He wants “Moshiach Now” as much as Peace Now wants peace.

So the religious Jew must use all his hair-splitting abilities to do away with volumes of Torah sources that contradict his attachment to galus, while taking a handful of convenient sources literally and giving them disproportionate weight. He laughs at Christian missionaries who employ the same tricks to rationalize a conclusion that was pre-determined and cannot be altered.

If you call him on this, he will argue that there are many knowledgeable and pious rabbis who take this position, and he is obediently following them. Oh, the self-sacrifice this poor religious Jew makes to follow his rabbi! How it must eat away at him that he cannot move to Israel because his rabbi said so! Such loyal obedience for rabbis one will not find for any commandment other than the commandment to remain in galus.

The religious Jew will not content himself with theological arguments to remain in galus. He will supplement his opposition to living in Israel with every materialistic and practical reason you can imagine, and some that you can’t. If Israel fails the gashmiyus comparison test in any respect, then it would be unreasonable to expect the Jew to move there. Israel must not only be his national homeland and the focal point of his religious practices, but it must pass every gashmiyus comparison test. When Israel passes any such test, the galus Jew responds, “Yes, but…” and finds another.

There are two simple litmus tests to determine whether a Jew who claims he wants to live in Israel “someday” really means it. The first is how he responds when you counter his reason for not coming.

Do his eyes light up with hope that you are right, that living in Israel really IS more feasible than he might have believed? Does he become excited that his dream of living in Israel might be more realistic than he believed? Does he want to know more, explore your suggestion, and see if that kernel of hope can blossom into a new life in Israel? Or does he immediately fire back with another reason why it can’t work?

If he jumps from reason to reason why aliya isn’t for him, inventing new reasons on the spot if necessary, then clearly he has intermarried with galus and does not want to divorce his foreign wife. If he heatedly insists that he just can’t make it in Israel, and is upset when someone evens suggest otherwise, then he is a galus Jew through and through.

The second test is also quite simple. He has given his reason, or litany of reasons, why he cannot make aliya today, even though he supposedly wants nothing more. What is he doing to overcome these obstacles?

He claims he cannot find work in Israel. It’s impossible to make it in Israel! We will all starve in the streets!

Has he even tried? Was it just a casual conversation in passing, or a serious search? Is he actively and continuously trying to find something? Is he connecting with people in his field, exploring different possibilities? If someone offered him a great job in Israel right now, would he pack up and move? If he lost his job in galus and had nothing left to lose, would he try to start over in Israel? If the answer to these questions is no, then he is not giving a reason, but making a convenient excuse.

He claims there are no schools for his children. They will have no future!

Has he even looked? When he visited Israel, did he visit schools? Has he spoken with other parents? If the answer is no, his reason is a farce.

If he is staying in galus to take care of an elderly family member, will he commit to aliya immediately after his help is no longer needed? If not, he is not staying in galus for family reasons, but for something much deeper.

The same is true for every other “reason” that he simply cannot leave galus. Actions speak louder than words, and actions that contradict the words nullify the words completely. If they are taking no actions towards furthering their ideal of making aliya, and in fact are taking concrete actions to cement their lives in galus indefinitely, then they don’t really want to live in Israel at all. The excuses they give are nothing more than cover for this blasphemous truth, which many galus Jews are still ashamed to admit.

The galus Jew will also latch onto the false piety approach. I am waiting for Moshiach! Sure you are. Do you have your suitcase packed like the Chafetz Chaim? Are you saying Tikkun Chatzos every night with tears streaming down your face begging for Moshiach to come so you can leave galus? Are you truly heartbroken and crestfallen that Israel is right there waiting for you, but you are supposedly denied entry until Moshiach holds your hand? If so, show it once in a while. You say you are too humble to do that, but you’ve already blown your cover as one of the 36 hidden tzaddikim with the line about waiting for Moshiach. Let’s see some emotion – a fraction of the emotion you show when people suggest that you should come now and prepare the land for Moshiach.

The clever galus Jew will come up with reasons not to live in Israel that they would be ashamed to apply to any other place. One woman who left Israel, and felt the obligation to defame it as much as possible to justify her decision, claimed that everyone is rude, and she only had negative experiences with the people. Really, millions of Jews of all kinds, but everyone is rude and she only had negative experiences. One can only surmise that if her interactions with literally everyone she encountered were so negative that perhaps she had something to do with it. I did just that, and she called me a sexist. You play whatever cards you can.

I can see people moving apartments because the neighbors are rude. I can see people moving to another community that might be more friendly and welcoming. People don’t leave countries over this – especially not Jews. Jews have a lot more mental fortitude when it comes to remaining in galus, after all, and the goyim will have to do much more than be rude to convince them to leave any country in the Diaspora.

Galus Jews are so brave in the face of anti-Semitism – this is our home and we will fight for it! Yet when it comes to living in Israel they are afraid they will get blown up on every bus, stabbed by every Arab, and have rockets rain from the skies more than rains of blessing. Interesting, no?

They cannot live in Israel because the government is corrupt, inept, wasteful, and otherwise unsatisfactory. Yet they would never leave their galus land for the same reason, nor is satisfaction with the government a serious consideration when they move from place to place within galus. Even Hitler coming to power wasn’t enough to motivate Jews to leave Germany, and today’s Jews are no wiser. So I’m calling bluff on that one.

They are worried about their safety in Israel. Right. Because the first thing galus Jews check when they decide where to live is the crime rate. If safety were their foremost consideration, it’s hard to explain why galus Jews tend to live in cities with high crime rates, and move in groups to rundown inner cities simply because the real estate is cheap. Safety first!

One galus Jew even told me that he believes Jews should stay in galus so that if Iran nukes Israel, the Jews in galus will survive and keep the Jewish people alive. What self-sacrifice! Staying behind in galus just to restart our people when God allows Israel to be nuked! Of course, it makes one wonder why galus Jews live in large clusters in places like New York City and communities near the White House, which would be prime targets for large-scale attacks. If the name of the game is spreading out as much as possible to increase our chances of survival, we can do much better than that.

They also claim that there isn’t enough land in Israel, or food, or water, were all Jews to come home. The galus Jew is staying behind just to make it easier for God, who they seem to believe cannot sustain us all in Israel, even though He did just fine when we were in the desert. Okay, maybe God CAN, but how can we rely on that? We have to do our hishtadlus just to be sure. When God sends the Manna from heaven they will return, so we Jews in Israel won’t have to worry about food shortages. The religious fervor of these people, their unswerving faith and devotion, is remarkable.

There is only one explanation for the galus Jew. He has been overcome by the yetzer hara.

Chazal teach that a person does not sin unless a spirit of insanity overcomes him. Indeed, no rational person can learn the Torah, witness the rebirth of Israel, and conclude that God wants him to stay in galus. No rational person can see the situation in galus declining day after day and resist the idea of leaving as if his life depended on it, when the very opposite is likely true. No rational person will fight for the honor of his foreign stepmother, who at best is only mildly abusive, while he disgraces the birth mother that is yearning for him.

It is the yetzer hara. The yetzer hara will do anything to get us to commit a sin. He will manipulate us and have our minds play tricks on us to justify wrongdoing. Living in Israel is a transcendent mitzva, and the entire Torah is centered around Israel. Do you think for one moment the yetzer hara would not devote every possible effort to convince Jews not to live there? Convincing a Jew to choose galus over Israel is the greatest coup for the yetzer hara. It is the most logical strategy for the yetzer hara to employ, and the only logical explanation for the twisted logic of the galus Jew.

I daresay the evil temptation to choose galus over Israel is the greatest challenge of our generation. It is irrational, it runs counter to the very essence of the Torah, it requires distorting or ignoring clear divine messages, and it is the greatest impediment to the redemption that is so tantalizingly close. The yetzer hara is fighting desperately to keep us with a galus mentality, and thereby to prolong the galus – a galus that has already ended if only we allowed it to be over.

Enough with the excuses. Come home, help us reclaim our land – all of it! – and end the galus once and for all.

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Most COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic

bestlifeonline.com

This Is Who Is Transmitting 80 Percent of Coronavirus Cases, Study Says

“A lot of this is thought to be settled science, but I think that there are still a lot of questions we have about when asymptomatic transmission occurs and the circumstances that it occurs in,” Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Business Insider.

By Chelsea Bengier

A new study shows how a majority of COVID-19 cases are likely spreading in your community.

four friends wearing face masks walking down a city street

Since the coronavirus first came about, scientists and medical experts have been researching how the pandemic is transmitted and who is most at risk. The main focus has been on infected patients who show common symptoms—including fever, cough, and loss of taste and smell—which has resulted in global safety measures, such as self-quarantining, social distancing, and wearing face masks. However, research now indicates that another, much larger group is far more dangerous than those we know are infected: asymptomatic people. In fact, according to a new study, 80 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic.

A May study, which was published in Thorax, looked at a cruise ship that carried 217 passengers and crew members to determine how COVID-19 spreads. The research found that of the 128 people who tested positive, 104 (or about 81 percent) did not exhibit any symptoms.

That number is a huge jump from what has been reported so far. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, estimates that only 35 percent of infections are asymptomatic. This means that asymptomatic transmission may be a greater threat than experts had originally predicted, especially in confined spaces, such as households, offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.

“A lot of this is thought to be settled science, but I think that there are still a lot of questions we have about when asymptomatic transmission occurs and the circumstances that it occurs in,” Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Business Insider.

man in suit holding newspaper and coffee and wearing a face mask in city
iStock

Another May study involved testing 78 infected patients in Wuhan, China, and found that 33 of them (or 42 percent) were asymptomatic. Researchers also discovered that asymptomatic individuals skewed younger—between the ages of 26 and 45—and female (nearly 67 percent were women). The good news? The asymptomatic people were contagious for only three to 12 days, compared to 16 to 24 days among the patients who showed symptoms.

But just because these so-called “silent spreaders” aren’t contagious for as long, doesn’t mean they’re harmless. In a statement published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco said, “asymptomatic transmission of [COVID-19] is the Achilles’ heel” of America’s current public health strategy surrounding symptom-based screenings.

This confirms the importance of population-wide testing—particularly as states start to reopen—in order to find out exactly how many people may be unknowingly spreading coronavirus and where outbreaks may be lurking undetected. It also emphasizes how essential it is to wear face masks and practice social distancing, even if you don’t feel sick. And for more information about asymptomatic individuals, check out This Is Why Some People Have Coronavirus Symptoms and Others Don’t.

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