What’s Happening In The CHOP—And How’s America Doing?

What’s Happening In The CHOP—And How’s America Doing?
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By Jack Kelly

Jenny Durkan, the mayor of Seattle—excluding the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP—formerly known as Capitol Hill and CHAZ) no-go zone—announced that she will reclaim the police-free autonomous zone

Seattle, similar to other cities, held protests against police brutality in response to the killing of  George Floyd by a police officer. At some point, the Seattle police were told to leave the Capitol Hill area and they abandoned the local neighborhood precinct station. After the police left, a bunch of protestors decided to settle down and claim this section of Seattle. Some say that it was peaceful, others say not so much. 

At first, Mayor Durkan said the squatters were peaceful and living “the summer of love.” She tweeted, “Seattle is fine. Don’t be so afraid of democracy,” in response to President Donald Trump’s measured tweet delicately questioning Durkan’s strategy, “Seattle Mayor says, about the anarchists takeover of her city, ‘It is a Summer of Love.’ These Liberal Dems don’t have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it is just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover now!”             

Now, as time has gone on, her tone has changed somewhat. In the wake of two shootings last weekend— one of them fatal—Seattle officials announced Monday they plan to dismantle a six-block “police-free zone” held by demonstrators in the heart of the city for more than two weeks. 

Sorry, you can’t stay here anymore! 

Mayor Durkan said, “It’s time for people to go home.” She conveniently neglected to offer any deadlines or how exactly they’re going to remove the entrenched protestor-settlers, but don’t worry! She claims the eviction will be “peaceful and in the near future.”

Here’s a little of what’s been going on recently at the CHOP: handing out AR-15’s, people brandishing guns, shots fired, residents working on their fighting skills, good-natured horsing around, someone having a bad day and some security professionals. After one of the shootings, medics refused to enter the CHOP to help the victim.

It’s not just the CHOP. Things are getting grim all over. Americans missed payments on more than 100 million loans and job losses continue to grow. It seems that a majority of people are strapped for cash. While the stock market is on a tear, making up for deep losses incurred during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and closing in on new highs, most people are having a hard time.

Economists and Wall Street professionals have called for a “V-shaped recovery.” This term refers to a severe crash in the economy followed by a sharp vertical incline. A graph of this would take the shape of the letter “V.” Unfortunately—with a big “U”—most people are hurting and have had their hopes hammered. Over 46 million people in the United States have filed for unemployment benefits since March. Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week. 

There’s no sign of this stopping anytime soon. Indeed and other job sites reflect that there are 40% less jobs now compared to last year at this time. So, we have more people unemployed and less jobs available. You don’t need to be an economist to know that this isn’t a good thing.

To add insult to injury, the enhanced $600 per week unemployment benefits will run out in July. Part of the trillion-dollar stimulus program passed by Congress was forgivable loans to companies. The caveat was that the companies must retain employees for a specified period of time. This incentive lasts only until Sept. 30, which isn’t too far away. If the economic situation does not improve when the restriction on retaining employees is lifted, millions more people could find themselves out of work. Oh, we also now have to worry about an increase in new coronavirus cases too.

Speaking of the stimulus program, the Trump administration has relented to public pressure and pledged to provide more details about which businesses received loans from a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program. Government watchdogs say even more transparency is needed to get an accurate picture of who took all of the money. 

Some say that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuhcin is reluctant to release this information because a large number of BIG companies took the lion’s share of the funds that were supposed to go to small businesses. Hedge funds, restaurant chains, Ivy League universities and all sorts of other companies and entities fed like pigs at the trough of the government. It was socialism for large corporations, the uber-rich and the politically well-connected. 

The regular American small business owners were the last in line to pick up the crumbs. My bet is that we’ll never see the real full report of who walked away with the billions of dollars. During an important meeting focused on the plight of small businesses, President Trump blithely scrolled through his phone, not paying any attention to the peons sharing their hardships.

 

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