Will We See Election physical violence in November? Heres what the study states

#proudboys? ? ? ?‍♂️ ?

Colorado News

A man carrying a club is seen as the Proud Boys, a right-wing pro-Trump group, gather with their allies in a rally against left-wing Antifa in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 26, 2020.
John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ore Koren, Indiana University

After Kenya’s 2007 election, as incumbent President Mwai Kibaki declared victory, the opposition alleged the election had been rigged.

A wave of protests, riots and ethnic violence followed. As many as 1,500 citizens were killed and another 600,000 forcibly displaced.

As the U.S. presidential election draws near, many have expressed concern that a similar scenario may unfold here. Some envision President Donald Trump’s supporters using misinformation to mobilize vigilante militias to clash with leftist protesters. Others envision that groups on the left will refuse to accept the results and mobilize, leading to violence and deaths across the country.

Having a contested election in times of crisis, however, is by no means a guarantee of violence. The front-runners in the 2017 French presidential election, for example, were as politically polarizing as their U.S. 2020 counterparts, with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron calling right-wing leader Marine Le Pen’s party racist and xenophobic and Le Pen charging that Macron was “the candidate of savage globalisation.”

And the first round of voting in France took place just after a shooting in the heart of Paris sent the country into a state of emergency. Yet, as the votes were counted and Macron was declared the winner, Le Pen conceded defeat, allowing for a peaceful transition.

With the barrage of 24/7 media coverage of the upcoming U.S. election, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not – and that can be frightening. It’s important to step back and ask: What does the research say about the likelihood of election-related violence in November?

Protesters around a bonfire
Deadly violence followed the disputed 2007 presidential election in Kenya, including in this Nairobi slum.
Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

Predicting political instability

When social science researchers like me try to predict political violence, we look at a large number of historical cases across multiple countries, and try to identify which events have resulted in many casualties.

In taking this approach, we can systematically evaluate what explains these extreme events, pinpointing specific issues that were present in most of the situations, and avoiding the inaccuracies that can happen by relying too much on anecdotal stories.

Such studies have highlighted three factors relevant to the upcoming election.

First, strong political institutions are especially effective in reducing the risk of violence. Many have voiced concerns that President Trump has weakened American political institutions. But as one of the world’s longest-enduring democracies, the United States and its democratic institutions have proven their capacity to maintain order through crises and abuse of presidential power before.

In the U.S., for example, despite allegations to the contrary, electoral fraud is extremely rare. Even if uncertainty and chaos were to ensue in the wake of the election, the authority to decide a winner is vested in an independent institution such as the U.S. Supreme Court or by the House of Representatives. Kenya in 2007 had no comparable institutional anchors to help ensure post-election stability.

Second, research, including my own, finds that mass political violence usually happens in countries that have no capacity to prevent it. In Kenya, for example, most violence was perpetrated by unofficial militias affiliated with ethnic or religious groups, such as the Mungiki, which the government was unable – or unwilling – to curb.

In the U.S., if any political leader calls for vigilantes to mobilize, both the federal government and states have the capacity to expeditiously eliminate this threat. Militias may be armed, but they are no match for a well-trained National Guard or Army regiment. This should help deter the risk of violence by vigilantes.

Some, however, fear that the president will send federal agencies to seize ballots. Although military officers continue to express formal commitment to keeping the military nonpoliticized, such actions, if taken, may result in a violent backlash by left-wing vigilantes. But federal agents acting under orders from the White House will have the tactical upper hand in such clashes, which greatly adds to their deterrent capacity.

Finally, an especially strong predictor of election violence is a history of armed political conflict. After the 2016 elections, America experienced massive protests and some rioting, but little in the way of deadly political violence.

Women protesting Trump's 2016 election.
After the 2016 elections, America experienced large protests and some rioting, but little deadly political violence.
David Cliff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

What the numbers say

Is post-election violence impossible in 2020 America? No.

However, data suggests it is unlikely.

Ninety-five percent of the 12,607 political demonstrations in the U.S. between May 24 and Sept. 19, 2020, were peaceful. There were 351 other kinds of incidents, including imposing curfews and perpetrating physical attacks. In 29 of those, there was violence against civilians, where 12 people were killed, nine of them by the police. And in an additional five drive-by shootings, three police officers were killed by the extremist group the Boogaloo Bois.

Considering the number of people involved in the recent Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 protests, and the fact that many were heavily armed, these casualty figures are surprisingly low. According to the data, the majority of deaths were caused by police, not vigilantes or protesters, and all of the perpetrators (with the exception of two drive-by shooters), police and civilians alike, were taken into custody.

Like the U.S., France experienced protests and riots, in addition to multiple terrorist attacks, prior to Election Day. There was even a government plan to handle the potential violence and instability that might ensue if Le Pen were elected. And yet, as the most polarizing elections in decades concluded, there were few riots and no killing.

French riot policemen advance during clashes with protesters
French riot police clash with protesters at a demonstration against the presidential candidate for the far-right Front National party, Feb. 25, 2017 in Nantes.
Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP via Getty Images

So, what will happen in November?

Researchers cannot perfectly predict political violence. Their analyses rely on the past.

Add to the equation a notoriously unpredictable incumbent against a backdrop of unprecedented social and economic conditions, and making accurate predictions about potential post-election bedlam is impossible, as much as scholars and others may try.

While I think some concern is valid, it is important to remember that there is a big difference between using a call to arms to mobilize your voters and instill fear in the other party’s supporters, and staging a post-election insurrection, which could subject its instigators to charges of sedition, if not high treason.

Ultimately, the three factors discussed here suggest that fears of widespread violence by vigilantes and activists during and after Election Day should be treated as fears, not as a probable outcome.The Conversation

Ore Koren, Assistant Professor, Indiana University Bloomington; International Security Fellow, Indiana University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/will-we-see-election-violence-in-november-heres-what-the-research-says/

Opinion: Racism is a public health and wellness dilemma however naming it isn’t sufficient

#publichealthemergency? ? ?

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The intersectionality of race and health has always existed, but it has rarely been acknowledged by society at large.

Then suddenly, after years of passivity, 21 states – including Colorado – have declared racism a public health emergency. Now, as encouraging as this may seem, the longterm potency of this kind of performative politics is yet to be proved. 

For most white Americans, racial justice is a new area of concern – something they really just became aware of. The vast majority of white people have typically believed that racism is either a) long gone, or b) completely disconnected from a person’s health and only occurs in isolated pockets of society. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

State Sen. Rhonda Fields

Systemic racism touches every facet of our culture and therefore, underrides ALL of our institutions. From policing, to housing, to health care, everything is inundated with insidious biases that have been allowed to fester.

Directly or implicitly, everyone has been sold the lie that people of color are less-than, one-dimensional or monochromatic. Whether it’s in the form of a criminal, drug addict, athlete, welfare queen or diva, society has painted us with a grossly limited palate. And in turn, this has created a system that doesn’t see us as whole people. 

So when an epidemic of biblical proportions sweeps across the world, overwhelming our medical system and decimating the economy, existing inequalities are rapidly pushed to the surface.

In fact, according to recent reports, Black and Latino Americans are not only more likely to become severely ill from the coronavirus, but they are also more likely to lose their jobs and homes in the downturn.

This is a far cry from the narrative that government officials and mainstream media pundits had at the beginning of the outbreak – calling the coronavirus “the great equalizer” and touting the disease’s transcendence of race, age, wealth, or prestige. 

I beg to differ. 

Pandemics disproportionately impact socially marginalized groups in the same way that climate change and recessions do – mainly by having people of color live in society’s basement when the tsunami comes crashing in. 

Privilege is a natural insulator. It gives you padding that protects you from the harshest, most destructive consequences of any given situation. 

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

So when something happens, you have financial resources, family connections, job flexibility, good health insurance, stable housing, sanitary living conditions, or at least society’s belief that you are to be trusted. This means that while painful, you are in a position that will lessen the degree of damage done and improve how quickly you can recover. 

Black and brown folks have far less insulation. They are more likely to experience poverty after years of gentrification and redlining, more likely to have pre-existing conditions from inadequate access to health care and more likely to be killed by law enforcement due to rooted prejudices stretching back to this country’s inception.  

Believe me, racism is alive and well, and it has been killing people for a long time.

Far before the pandemic, Black and brown people were dying from treatable diseases at alarmingly uneven rates – experiencing worse health outcomes than Caucasians in nearly every category, regardless of socioeconomic status.

But this issue has often been ignored or blamed on other factors, with some even speculating that certain races must have a weaker, more illness-prone biological makeup (a belief I won’t even begin to get into). 

Yet as a brutal virus wreaks havoc around the globe, there is no denying how these longstanding disparities shape public health.

So yes, it is time to shine an unyielding light on this reality once and for all and declare racism a public health emergency. But simply naming it won’t fix the issue. It will take true commitment and honest, consistent effort for any real change to happen. This is where the heartbreaking doubt comes in….

Right now, racial justice has gone mainstream. Once shunned by the white establishment, the Black Lives Matter Movement has been adopted by liberal America, with hashtags littering social media, signs hanging up in hip coffee houses and murals painted on the streets of gentrified neighborhoods.

In one way, this is encouraging, but what happens when white attention wanes? What happens when national focus is shifted elsewhere? If history has taught us anything, it’s that white sympathy for Black justice is fleeting. 

Real change is unglamorous. Ninety-five percent of it occurs off the streets and in civic settings, without TV cameras or fanfare. Is white America ready for that? Are they ready to actually risk something of their own?

Naming the injustice isn’t enough; we need everyone to roll up their sleeves and make drastic changes to policy and laws. We need action, not just words. Because otherwise, it’s all just lip service. 


Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, represents Colorados 29th Senate District.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.

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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/02/racism-rhonda-fields-politics-opinion/

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#newfriendship? ⬅️ ? ? ?

Colorado News

Myra has missed 30 years of her life, due to a coma, but has found a new friendship with her young neighbor, Ossie. Together, they both are searching for their place in this world.

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Suggestion 118 discussed: Paid-leave measure would give Colorado workers time off however cost big cash

#workers?‍? ? ? ⚠️

Colorado News

Eight months into a pandemic, Colorado voters will decide an issue made even more relevant by current circumstances.

Should Colorado create a state-run family leave program that would allow all workers — from waitresses and mechanics to accountants and engineers — to take paid time off when they have a serious illness, need to care for a loved one, give birth or adopt a child?

Proposition 118, an idea years in the making but one that failed to pass at the state legislature six times, pits a grassroots, Democratic-backed campaign against the power of business and chambers of commerce statewide. 

The ballot measure asks Colorado workers and employers each to contribute 0.45% of weekly paychecks into a statewide pool managed by the Colorado Department of Labor. Beginning in 2024, workers could apply to the fund to receive pay during time off from work — as much as $1,100 per week. 

“We have cancer patients skipping their second round of chemotherapy because they can’t afford to lose their paychecks,” said state Sen. Faith Winter, a Democrat from Westminster who has worked for six years to pass such a program. “I think there is a better way. Every other country in the world, other than Papua New Guinea and us, has figured this out. Eight other states have figured this out.”

Yet, for a swath of the business community, it’s a social program that would create a $1.3 billion, untenable insurance pool for workers through one more payroll tax. 

“This proposal is a massive, new $1.3 billion tax increase that will come out of every employer’s budget, every employee’s paycheck, to create a massive new state agency that’s destined for bankruptcy,” said Rachel Beck, vice president of government affairs for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. 

Who would Proposition 118 help?

One in four working women in Colorado go back to work within two weeks of giving birth. And the majority of Colorado workers, about 80%, do not get paid leave through their jobs, according to the women’s advocacy group 9to5 and the Colorado Fiscal Institute. 

The ballot proposal would cost the average worker about $4.50 per week, based on the average median income for Colorado of about $1,000 per week, or $52,000 per year. That’s an average of $234 per year for participating employees.

Winter, the leading proponent, said she spent about $5,000 to give one of her employees at a nonprofit paid time off after the woman had a baby, calling a statewide paid leave pool a “much better deal.” More than 130 businesses, including many small businesses, are supporting the ballot measure for that reason, she said. 

“It takes the burden off of business by ensuring there is a very affordable way for our smallest mom-and-pop businesses to provide these benefits that larger businesses do,” she said. 

Sen. Faith Winter poses for a photo with her daughter Sienna Snook, 7, on her first day as a state senator. (Kathryn Scott, The Colorado Sun)

Employers with fewer than 10 employees could opt out of the program. But workers at those small shops could still decide to pay into the pool, as could gig workers driving for companies such as Uber or Grubhu, and those who are self-employed.

Here are the key details of Proposition 118:

— Workers would get up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new baby or adopted child, recover from an illness, or take care of a relative who is seriously ill. 

— Employers and employees would together contribute 0.9% of the employee’s wage (that’s 0.45% each from the employer and the employee) into a statewide fund starting in January 2023. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees are exempt. Local governments and school districts could opt out. State employees are included. 

— Workers, beginning in January 2024, could receive a percentage of their salary while they take time off, not exceeding $1,100 per week. Low-income workers, those earning less than half of the state’s average pay, would get the highest percentage of their salaries at 90%. 

— Employees are eligible to apply for benefits after they’ve earned $2,500. If they’ve worked at their job for 180 days, their job is protected when they take paid time off. 

— Employers could choose to purchase paid-leave insurance on the private market instead of through the state program. In that case, their employees would not have to pay into the state pool either.

— The state Department of Labor could up the combined employer-employee contribution to 1.2%, still equally split, should the fund face higher-than-expected demand.

Why are businesses groups against it?

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business are against Proposition 118, in particular because of the current state of the economy. 

Small businesses, including restaurants and retailers, already are struggling to make payroll and even to keep their doors open because of the coronavirus pandemic, said Beck at the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. 

One of the chamber’s members, a husband-and-wife team with two businesses in downtown Colorado Springs, continued to pay employees even when COVID-19 shut their doors to customers, Beck said. By now, despite coronavirus relief loans, the couple has tapped their savings and is struggling to make payroll. 

Nearly 70% of the chamber’s members have 25 or fewer employees. “They are just asking for help,” Beck said. The pandemic has clobbered Colorado with 700,000 people filing for unemployment since March, an economic crisis that has disproportionately affected women, Beck said. Adding a new tax on employers isn’t the best way to jumpstart hiring, she said.

Business leaders also point out that many Colorado businesses already offer paid leave, although the ballot measure’s organizers suggest those are only large companies, the Amazons and Googles of the business world. 

Besides the additional expense for employers, business leaders said Proposition 118 amounts to an unnecessary expansion of government — a new social program that would require an estimated 200 state employees to evaluate applications for paid time off and calculate benefits. 

“This would create the most expensive and most expansive program of its kind in the country,” Beck said. 

Eight other states and Washington, D.C., have family leave programs, and in recent years, some have expanded benefits to make sure the poorest workers were able to take advantage of the program. California, for example, just upped its maximum benefit for low-income workers to 90% of their regular paycheck, the same as Colorado’s proposal. When the benefit was capped at 60-70%, the state’s lowest-income workers couldn’t afford to take the time off. 

“Eight other states have made this program solvent,” Winter said. “They’ve been so solvent that they’ve expanded their programs. We believe it’s going to be a strong program for Colorado.”

As for the timing of the ballot measure, the supporters counter that employers and workers would not have to start contributing for two years, time to allow for economic recovery from the pandemic.

Would the insurance pool have enough money to cover the costs?

The 0.9% employer-employee contribution laid out in Proposition 118 comes from an actuarial study provided to a bipartisan task force that studied paid family leave last year. Like other programs across the country, high demand — or low demand — for paid time off could trigger fluctuations in the required contributions. 

The actuarial report from AMI Risk Consultants recommended contributions that would range from 0.71% to 0.87% of a worker’s salary during the next 10 years in order to make the fund solvent, less than the 0.9% the ballot measure stipulates. 

To come up with that range, actuaries simulated 10,000 years of claims for various insurance coverages. The group rated the fund solvent “with an 87% confidence level,” according to the campaign behind the measure.

Opponents, however, have countered with a study by the Common Sense Institute, a conservative-leaning, business-backed organization, that said the program could run out of money. 

That September report, which criticized the Colorado plan for providing some of the most generous benefits in the country, predicted that more Coloradans may take advantage of paid leave than supporters are expecting. 

If 6.2% of eligible workers took paid leave instead of the expected 3.53%, collections in the first year would not cover the benefits, the institute concluded. The group also said employers could end up paying twice — first to contribute to the state pool and again to replace workers while they took paid time off.

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Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/initial-thinkers-prepares-an-inventive-heist-of-individuals-brains/

Initial Thinkers prepares an inventive heist of individuals brains

#notlong? ? ? ? ?

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Not long ago, a friend observed David Holbrooke, founder of Telluride’s Original Thinkers Festival, at his post — leading  troops and extinguishing assorted fires. Impressed by Holbrooke’s multitasking, the friend praised him as the “ringmaster” of his festival’s circus. 

Holbrooke replied that he prefers a similar, yet not-identical title: “Yeah, OK,” he said. “But think of me less as a ‘ringmaster’ and more of a ‘ringleader.’”

What? Why? 

“Because I’m not running a circus here,” says Holbrooke. “I’m masterminding a caper. I’m less P.T. Barnum, and more George Clooney as Danny Ocean in ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’”

Curious. 

David Holbrooke is a 6-foot-6-inch-tall man who, inexplicably, wears capri pants most days. He exhibits zero of George Clooney’s fashion sense — and is bald and gangly to boot. If anyone besides himself has compared Holbrooke to Clooney, there is no record of such in any extant chronicle of American culture. 

“What I mean,” Holbrooke stubbornly insists, “is that Original Thinkers festival is less broad entertainment, and more an ingenious heist … of people’s brains.”

Of course, burgling gray matter is more difficult in this, Original Thinkers’ third year, than it was last year or the year before. As has happened with other festivals of arts and ideas, OT has migrated online.

“This is an increasingly complicated world we’re living in,” Holbrooke says, “and having the context and insight that our speakers bring is invaluable.” As he says at OriginalThinkers.com, “Remember that the Black Plague was followed by the Renaissance … this is the time to start thinking about what kind of original thinking can come next.”

To wit, one of this year’s programs is titled “How to be a Chaos Pilot.” While acknowledging that most people are reluctant to “take chances and create something new out of uncertainty,” the program introduces Zenia Tata as a guide to “finding purpose and motivation in the midst of chaos.” 

Tata is the chief impact officer at XPrize, a nonprofit foundation that uses “large-scale global incentive competitions” as a carrot to inspire solutions to Earth’s biggest problems — lately ranging from rethinking masks to protect people from the spread of COVID-19 to developing a way to convert carbon dioxide emissions into usable products.

Poet Art Goodtimes welcomes attendees of the Original Thinker’s 2018 opening dinner with the recitation of a poem. (Photo provided by Original Thinkers)

Tata’s co-pilots include journalist Gwen Thompkins and abstract painter Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, a documentary about whom is one of three cinematic profiles of people who navigate chaos in creative, artistic ways. (The others are about an aerial photographer/skater girl from New Zealand and a violinist/concierge at a ritzy Manhattan office building.)

The ringleader of OT urges patrons to also savor the “Our Inner Cinema” program. 

“It brings together three unique speakers looking at our brains,” Holbrooke says. “Two of them are neuroscientists from MIT, one who looks at dreams and how we can affect our own dreams. The other is an amazing woman, who’s invented a new medi-musical instrument that helps with dementia.”

The third guest in that program is Jeff Orlowski, who lives in Boulder and has made a film titled “The Social Dilemma” that explores how social media is rewiring the way 21st-century humans think. 

“‘The Social Dilemma’ is the No. 1 film on Netflix now,” Holbrooke says. “It’s the first time a documentary has reached No. 1 on Netflix, I’m pretty sure. The film looks at the insane effects of social media on our brains, especially our kids’ brains. It’s hard to overstate how much impact Facebook and its cohorts have in our lives right now, and I think our audience will be fascinated by what Jeff has to say. He’s learned some disturbing facts during his research.”

In addition, “Our Inner Cinema” will show a short documentary — “The Missfits” — about teenage female scientists redefining gender expectations during a challenging STEM contest. Says Holbrooke, “The entire 90-minute show will create an indelible experience for our audience.”

The past two autumns saw OT audiences gather over a single weekend to witness not just creative movers and shakers, but also wholly innovative performances such as a cross between Cirque du Soleil and Burning Man at a starlit abandoned mine located a few miles downvalley from Telluride. 

Not this year. While the in-person experience won’t compare, Holbrooke and content curator Laura Shaunette have adapted to the weirdness of 2020 in several ways. For one, they’re spreading the content over 10 days, from Oct. 1-11, so patrons can fit the festival with their personal schedules and fully absorb every program. Prices have also been reduced. A Big Idea Pass, granting access to all programs, are available for the $50. OT will also sell individual show passes for $15. 

Before its 2018 debut, Holbrooke promised Original Thinkers would “convene creators, innovators and doers for a memorable weekend in the mountains. I strongly believe in the power of congregation. When we come together to share a meaningful experience, we are all lifted.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the festival ringleader was forced to furlough staff and to consider shutting down, but Hobrook, like so many others, sacrificed the shared experience. 

“It broke my heart to think of doing Original Thinkers, without convening,” Holbrooke says. “There’s a part of me that was tempted to take a big pause. But this is a remarkable moment in U.S. history. When I saw what’s been happening in this country, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, I knew it’d be lame not to examine these times with the Original Thinkers lens.” 

See originalthinkers.com for more details. 

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Black-owned companies bore down by coronavirus struggle to stay afloat

#stayhere

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Nothing in the previous experience of Jeannette Mayhew and her husband Marty prepared them to open a donut shop. They just saw an opportunity, and jumped on it.

“We didn’t really know how to make donuts,” said Mayhew. “The [previous] owner said, ‘I’ll stay here and make donuts until you figure it out, we’ll pay you this much per hour.’ He did that for about a week, and he said ‘OK, I’m done.’ He left. No notice.”

They figured it out. In the 22 years since, Marty’s 47th Street Donuts became a mainstay of the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, popular with local businesses and students on the way to school.

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Then the pandemic hit. The donut shop was considered an essential service, and stayed open for takeout. But without school in session or people going into work, 75% of their business vanished. Spring was a blur of forms and applications, as Mayhew tried to get federal or local help to stay afloat.

“I don’t know what’s going on or how this will work,” Mayhew told me in May, after several failed attempts to access a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. “We’re real small, just a little shop. I’ve been watching the news—they’re giving it out to all these large companies.”

Marty Mayhew locks the door at business, ÒMartyÕs 47th Street DonutsÓ in east Denver on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Without school in session or people going into work, 75 percent of their business vanished as the Coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March. The spring was a blur of forms and applications, as Mayhew and his wife, Jeannette, tried to get federal or local help to stay afloat. (Joe Mahoney/Special to the Colorado Trust)

For safety reasons, Marty’s 47th Street Donuts is only serving takeout orders.

The Paycheck Protection Program, established by Congress as a way to help small businesses weather the devastation of the pandemic, has provided loans to more than 100,000 Colorado companies, according to an analysis by The Colorado Sun. When at least 60% of the loan is spent to pay employees and the rest on qualified expenses, it is forgivable.

When I spoke with Mayhew in May, she thought she’d know more “in three or four months.” But as the summer ended, nothing had become clearer.

Mayhew never received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, and her bank never gave her a reason. Instead, she applied for and received a separate small-business loan for $37,000, which she’ll have to pay back at 3% interest. That, along with a grant from community group Montbello Power Advocates (which receives funding from The Colorado Trust), has helped the business stay open, albeit with shorter hours.

“It really hasn’t improved that much. We’re still hanging in there,” said Mayhew in late August. “We are going to continue. As long as it don’t go any worse.”

Black-owned businesses, which have long faced barriers in accessing the same capital available to many white-owned businesses, came into the pandemic at a disadvantage. As the ongoing economic crisis pushes many small businesses over the precipice, Denver’s Black-owned businesses are struggling to hold on.

Nationwide, there is evidence that Black-owned businesses have been left out of federal aid efforts. Most lenders and businesses that participated in the Paycheck Protection Program opted not to disclose data on race or ethnicity, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Among those loans for which the information is available, less than 2% went to Black-owned businesses, Public Integrity found.

Discriminatory lending is likely to be a factor. Researchers affiliated with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition sent “mystery shoppers” to banks in the Washington, D.C. area in April and May. They found that white applicants—white men in particular—were significantly more likely to be encouraged to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans than Black applicants with slightly better financial profiles. Black women were treated especially poorly.

Chuck Sagere is co-owner of the Montbello Barber Shop.

“It was the neighborhood country club,” before COVID-19, said Sagere. “People come in here to get their haircut, they come to have a little time to socialize, have a chance to talk and see friends.”

A table at the African Grill & Bar in Lakewood is marked out of service to comply with pandemic-related health orders. (Joe Mahoney, Special to The Colorado Trust)

Like all barber shops, it closed during the height of the lockdown. When it reopened, it was with just three of the six barbers who usually worked there. Rent, though postponed during the lockdown, was still due. A grant from Montbello Power Advocates helped.

Sagere said he was discouraged by his bank from applying for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program because of the employment status of the barbers; some were hired as contractors, rather than employees. He also didn’t want to take on debt that he wouldn’t be able to pay off.

Now, said Sagere, “we’re chugging along, still trying to get used to the new normal. We are getting used to the new regulations.”

Rent continues to be a worry. If things don’t pick up by the end of the year, Sagere estimated the shop could be $12,000 in the hole on rent alone.

It’s been busy lately, though. Sagere was trying to hire new barbers.

“We’re back to being friends and family,” said Sagere. Most of his customers don’t do much more than go to work and come home. “This is the place they come to have a conversation with another adult besides their significant other. That’s kind of like the joy in this right now.”

For the owners of African Grill and Bar, a popular restaurant in Green Valley Ranch, the timing of the pandemic was devastating. Theodora and Sylvester Osei-Fordwuo, immigrants from Ghana, had opened a new branch in Lakewood, investing everything they had to buy a large space next to the Bowlero bowling alley. The business they had built up gradually over the year dropped off precipitously, by 80% or 90%.

Theodora Osei-Fordwuo, left, and her daughter, Maame, 15, prepare a catering order at the African Bar & Grill in Lakewood, one of two restaurants that Theodora and her husband, Sylvester own and operate. (Joe Mahoney, Special to The Colorado Trust)

In late August, there were just a few customers dining in their spacious Lakewood restaurant, and no lines for their takeout specialties: red red (Ghanaian black-eyed pea and plantain stew), fufu (a starchy west African staple), red snapper, chicken drumsticks, samosas and chapati. The food was piping hot and delicious.

The couple did apply for and receive a small loan through the Paycheck Protection Program — they are hoping it will be forgiven — as well as a grant from Montbello Power Advocates. But as with the other businesses, they are staring at another season of uncertainty.

“That money helped, but at the same time, it didn’t help that much,” Theodora Osei-Fordwuo said recently. Their monthly expenses reach nearly $40,000 between the two businesses. “We don’t have a choice. We just have to hold on to it, and keep doing whatever we can.”


Kristin Jones, who previously reported for The Wall Street Journal and Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, is assistant director of communications at The Colorado Trust. This story was first published on Sept. 24, 2020 at coloradotrust.org.

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Donald Trump says he as well as first girl tested favorable for coronavirus

#melaniatrump? ? ? ? ?

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By JILL COLVIN and ZEKE MILLER / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.

Trump, who has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans, said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining. The White House physician said the president is expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering.

Still, Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington and around the world, raising questions about how far the virus had spread through the highest levels of the U.S. government. Hours before Trump announced he had contracted the virus, the White House said a top aide who had traveled with him during the week had tested positive.

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“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” Trump tweeted just before 1 a.m. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus on Friday morning and “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and did not appear visibly ill. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide.

The president’s physician said in a memo that Trump and the first lady, who is 50, “are both well at this time” and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

The diagnosis marks a devastating blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them. In the best of cases, if he develops no symptoms, which can include fever, cough and breathing trouble, it will likely force him off the campaign trail just weeks before the election and puts his participation in the second presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, into doubt.

Trump’s handling of the pandemic has already been a major flashpoint in his race against Democrat Joe Biden, who spent much of the summer off the campaign trail and at his home in Delaware because of the virus. Biden has since resumed a more active campaign schedule, but with small, socially distanced crowds. He also regularly wears a mask in public, something Trump mocked him for at Tuesday night’s debate.

“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

In a tweet Friday morning, Biden said he and his wife “send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

It was not immediately clear whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at the debate with Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols. Trump and Biden did not shake hands during the debate, but stood without masks about 10 feet apart for the 90-minute event.

World leaders offered the president and first family their best wishes after their diagnosis, as governments used their case as a reminder for their citizens to wear masks and practice social distancing measures.

On Friday, Trump had been scheduled to receive an intelligence briefing, attend a fundraiser and hold another campaign rally in Sanford, Florida. But just after 1 a.m., the White House released a revised schedule with only one event: a phone call on “COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”

Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus Thursday. Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane, the person said.

Hicks had been with Trump and other senior staff aboard Marine One and Air Force One en route to that rally and had accompanied the president to Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. The Trump contingent removed their masks during the debate, in violation of the venue rules.

Multiple White House staffers have previously tested positive for the virus, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and one of the president’s personal valets.

But Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable, even after White House staff and allies were exposed and sickened. Since the coronavirus emerged earlier this year, Trump has refused to abide by basic public health guidelines — including those issued by his own administration — such as wearing face coverings in public and practicing social distancing. Instead, he has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of often mask-less supporters.

“I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he told reporters back in May.

The news was sure to rattle an already shaken nation still grappling with how to safely reopen the economy without driving virus transmission. The White House has access to near-unlimited resources, including a constant supply of quick-result tests, and still failed to keep the president safe, raising questions about how the rest of the country will be able to protect its workers, students and the public as businesses and schools reopen. U.S. stock futures fell on the news of Trump’s diagnosis.

Questions remain about why it took so long for Trump to be tested and why he and his aides continued to come to work and travel after Hicks fell ill. Trump traveled to New Jersey on Thursday for a fundraiser, potentially exposing attendees to the virus. Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.

McEnany briefed the press Thursday morning while Hicks was presumed to have the virus, but offered no public word on the case close to the president.

It is unclear where the Trumps and Hicks may have caught the virus, but in his Fox interview, Trump seemed to suggest it may have been spread by someone in the military or law enforcement.

“It’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you,” he said, “because we really have done a good job for them. And you get close. And things happen.”

Several members of Trump’s Cabinet were undergoing testing for COVID-19 Friday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the fourth in line to the presidency, tested negative shortly before he landed in Croatia. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also tested negative, while Attorney General William Barr was to undergo a test Friday morning.

The White House began instituting a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides after earlier positive cases close to the president. Anyone in close proximity to the president or vice president is also tested every day, including reporters.

Yet since the early days of the pandemic, experts have questioned the health and safety protocols at the White House and asked why more wasn’t being done to protect the commander in chief. Trump continued to shake hands with visitors long after public health officials were warning against it, and he initially resisted being tested.

Trump is far from the first world leader to test positive for the virus, which previously infected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent a week in the hospital, including three nights in intensive care. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hospitalized last month while fighting what he called a “hellish” case of COVID-19.

While there is currently no indication that Trump is seriously ill, the positive test raises questions about what would happen if he were to become incapacitated due to illness.

The Constitution’s 25th Amendment spells out the procedures under which the president can declare himself “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the presidency. If he were to make that call, Trump would transmit a written note to the Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pence would serve as acting president until Trump transmitted “a written declaration to the contrary.”

The vice president and a majority of either the Cabinet or another body established by law can also declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, in which case Pence would “immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President” until Trump could provide a written declaration to the contrary.


Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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Trump down with COVID but Dems in House still functioning passing relief expense

#thenation⏭ ? ?

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Donald Trump has tested positive for the COVID19 virus, rattling markets and allies worldwide. With no national response plan, the vacuum has left it to the Democrats in the House to attempt to move the nation forward.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus-relief bill today that’s designed to help tens of millions of families and small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat amid the ongoing pandemic.

The legislation – known as Heroes Act 2.0 – would, among other things, restore the $600-per-week in enhanced unemployment benefits through January 2021 and provide nearly all Americans with a second round of direct economic impact payments of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.

The measure would also put in place a 12-month nationwide moratorium on any evictions or foreclosures for all renters and homeowners and would continue to suspend the collection of payments and interests on any outstanding federal student loans for, at least, another year.

In addition to helping families struggling amid the crisis, the legislation provides $436 billion to help state and local governments that are growing increasingly desperate for funding, and an additional $75 billion to increase coronavirus testing and contact-tracing efforts across the country.

It also extends the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses and the Payroll Support Program to help keep tens of thousands of airline industry workers employed.

“There are millions of hardworking families across this country that are desperate for help right now, and getting them the assistance they need should absolutely be our top priority,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who supported the measure. “In times of crisis, such as these, it’s incumbent upon all members of Congress to put aside their political differences and do what’s right for the good of the people. The Senate’s failure to pass any meaningful form of relief for the millions of families who are struggling amid this crisis will be looked back upon as a shameful chapter in our nation’s history. We are, once again, urging our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol to do the right thing by helping us pass this bill immediately.”

This House voted in May to approve the original Heroes Act, a $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief bill that the Republican-led Senate has refused to take up.

Lawmakers hope that changes made to the bill that was approved today will be enough to spark a compromise between the two chambers.

The revised version now heads to the Senate for consideration.

via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/trump-down-with-covid-but-dems-in-house-still-working-passing-relief-bill/