Flying Migrant Workers, Bernie Bro-No, & Bitter-Swede News
May 19, 2020
“If your contribution has been vital there will always be somebody to pick up where you left off, and that will be your claim to immortality.”
“Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”
“The mind is like an umbrella. Its most useful when open.”
Brent Stirton via Getty Images
Migrant Workers Risking It All For Work: You Reap What They Sow
Migrant workers are essential to farmers everywhere who need them to harvest crops. When European countries closed their borders back in March to halt the spread of coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of seasonal farm workers, who harvest crops from Spain to Sweden, couldn’t get in.
In a normal season up to 300,000 migrant workers from Eastern Europe travel to Germany to harvest asparagus, pick strawberries and plant late season crops. This year, just as the first harvest was about to begin, German farmers found themselves pleading with the government to find a solution to the labor shortage, or put the nation’s food supply at risk.
Berlin agreed to allow farmers to organize and pay for charter flights for up to 40,000 migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria in April and May. But the agreement came with a long set of safety rules and additional costs, meaning only about 28,000 workers have been flown in so far.
Florian Bogensberger’s farming operation in Bavaria’s Hallertau region was crippled by the travel lockdown. Bogensberger said he had to spend $11,000 to fly 23 Romanian workers into nearby Nuremberg. Even so, it was worth it. “They need the money and we need their help.”
With additional help from volunteers and part-time workers, most German farmers have been able to keep fairly close to spring’s schedule. But their next worry comes in June, when the rules could shift again; the current airlift program hasn’t been extended.
Many Germans fear the arrival of migrant workers risks another infection spread. Last month reports that a Romanian worker had contracted the virus and died on a farm in southwest Germany elevated public concern. Still others say the airlifts exploit desperate workers.
- Daily Pnut’s Tim was stationed near Nuremberg, and remembers the town not just for the Nuremberg Nazi rally grounds or trials but also because of its most famous son: Albrecht Durer. Here are some of his works of art.
- Knight, Death and the Devil
- Samson Rending the Lion
- Dürer’s Rhinoceros
- Bauhaus, a German school of art and one of our favorite art-style genre
- When we think of fruit and vegetables and paintings, we inevitably think of Arcimboldo’s Vertumnus and Summer
If You Cut Off One Head, Three More Will Buy Into Their Place
- There was lots of optimism last year when Volodymyr Zelensky was elected Ukraine’s president on an anti-corruption platform. Even though his tenure began on a back foot, after President Trump tried to get the new Ukrainian president’s help in harming a political rival, the 42-year-old Zelensky has achieved some successes.
- Lawmakers no longer enjoy immunity from prosecution; parliament introduced new impeachment procedures that give it the power to remove a president; and on May 13, a law was passed that prohibits the return of nationalized banks to their former owners, among them an oligarch who supported Zelensky’s campaign.
- But other anti-corruption measures have failed, and the dismissal of prominent reformers — including the independent-minded prosecutor-general and the heads of the tax and customs agencies — has drawn criticism from European officials and grass roots campaigners. The president’s team acknowledges that fighting corruption in Ukraine is difficult. But in fairness, Zelensky inherited a long legacy of corruption.
- After the former Soviet republic declared its independence in 1991, much of its wealth was seized by powerful oligarchs who gained control of state assets and enterprises. Since then, graft has permeated Ukrainian society. Zelensky took on a system where judges and prosecutors are easily bribed, and contractors must promise kickbacks to win bids. (WSJ)
- Skadden Said to Have Paid $11 Million to Settle Ukraine Dispute (NYT, $)
Some Bitter-Swede News
- Although most of the world’s major economies locked down to combat Covid-19, the Swedish government kept its country open, claiming it was better for the economy and for public health. As a result, Sweden has suffered a higher death rate during the coronavirus pandemic than its Scandinavian neighbors — around 3,700 deaths since the first reported fatality in March.
- On Monday, figures from Sweden’s Statistics Office showed more Swedes died in April than in any one month since 1993. In terms of fatalities in relation to size of the population, Covid-19 caused the deaths of 101.1 people per 100,000 in April.
- However, that number is lower than the 110.8 people per 100,000 who died in January 2000 of seasonal influenza. (Reuters)
- I Live in Sweden. I’m Not Panicking.: Time will tell if my country’s coronavirus plan was wise. (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus: What’s going wrong in Sweden’s care homes? (BBC)
- Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World’s: Herd Immunity Is the Only Realistic Option—the Question Is How to Get There Safely (Foreign Affairs)
- Additional songs: All this debate about COVID-19 and Sweden brings to mind: “Who can say where the road goes. Where the day flows, only time.” Enya – Only Time. Or “Time takes its crazy toll. And how does your mirror grow” Sonic Youth – The Diamond Sea. And The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony.
Additional World News
- The Serbian President’s ‘Very Dystopian And Creepy’ Political Rally (NPR)
- The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next? (The Correspondent)
- Now More Than Ever, Facebook Is a ‘Mark Zuckerberg Production’ (NYT, $)
- Officials: Israel linked to a disruptive cyberattack on Iranian port facility (WaPo, $)
- Chinese Ambassador Is Found Dead at Home in Israel (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus: Trump gives WHO ultimatum over Covid-19 handling (BBC)
- New Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise In Early, Limited Trial (NPR)
- Businesses Are Reopening, But Customers May Not Be Ready To Go Back (NPR)
- Lucky U.S. chickens fly the coop as pandemic hits egg demand (Reuters)
- ‘Instead of doctors, they send police to kill us’: locked-down Rio faces deadly raids (Guardian)
- ‘Cleaner and greener’: Covid-19 prompts world’s cities to free public space of cars (Guardian)
- China’s Xi backs international investigation into covid origins, woos Africa (WaPo, $)
- ‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers (NYT, $)
- Coronavirus: How ‘overreaction’ made Vietnam a virus success (BBC)
- What plague art tells us about today (BBC)
- Just because you’re in quarantine, doesn’t mean you need to have a quarantine beard. It’s actually safer and easier to wear a mask if you have a clean shave (or at least trimmed). If you’re running low on shave supplies, save yourself a trip to the store and check out Harry’s. They sell quality blades at a fair price – just $2 per blade!
- Harry’s is super convenient in a world where convenience is hard to come by.
- Blade refills are delivered directly to your door on your schedule – with or without a subscription!
- Harry’s also includes a 100% money-back guarantee – so if you don’t love your shave, let them know and they’ll give you a full refund
- In this particularly challenging time, feel a little better about your purchase:
- 1% of all Harry’s sales are set aside for non-profit organizations devoted to helping provide access to better health care for men and veterans
- And to help support those who need it most right now, including front line health care workers, Harry’s donated $1 million worth of shaving supplies.
- Get a 5-blade razor, weighted handle of your choice, foaming shave gel, and travel blade cover… a $13 value just by shopping with our Daily Pnut link!
Scott Eisen via Getty Images
- In the five weeks since former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race, the impressive progressive coalition he had built is descending into disarray. Thousands of his former volunteers publicly warned him that their organizing networks are on the verge of falling apart.
- Ex-aides fear the precious data they collected on his supporters, which could be used to elect progressive candidates and oust President Trump, is going to waste. And discord has arisen over new organizations that have sprouted, such as the super PAC that a longtime Sanders adviser created to help elect presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. It’s being seen as a betrayal of the Vermont senator’s opposition to big-money groups.
- Others worry that another PAC started by different top aides to amass more Sanders delegates at the National Democratic Convention, is a waste of time since the primary is all but over. “For the top aide to come out of the gate of the campaign and say, I’m starting a super PAC to persuade Bernie’s grass-roots base to vote for Biden, and Biden has not made any policy promises that would even meet the minimum requirement to earn your adversary’s voters, that’s just a slap in the face,” said a former senior campaign adviser. “A lot of Bernie’s very active base are really enraged and pretty horrified.” As for Sanders, he’s still deciding what his next steps will be. (Politico)
- Biden’s Virtual Campaign Is a Disaster (Atlantic, $)
Additional USA News
- US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests (Guardian)
- Across U.S., COVID-19 takes a hidden toll behind bars (Reuters)
- Coronavirus: Trump says he is taking unproven drug hydroxychloroquine (BBC)
- ‘They don’t give him enough credit’: the voters who back Trump, even through the pandemic (Guardian)
- How Donald Trump wins again, in 3 sentences (CNN)
- American bureaucracy and coronavirus: Crisis exposes weaknesses (WaPo, $)
- Democrats feel tide turning their way in battle to flip US Senate (Guardian)
- Police tried to tase Ahmaud Arbery in 2017 incident, video shows (Guardian)
- Passed By for Decades, Clarence Thomas Is a New Symbol of the Trump Era (NYT, $)
- Republicans devote $20m and 50,000 people into efforts to restrict voting (Guardian)
- Ronan Farrow: master #MeToo reporter hit by surprise New York Times takedown (Guardian)
All By Myself In Quarantine, Don’t Wanna Be All By Myself In Quarantine
- Introverts have ruled social-media in the era of pandemic isolation, posting knowing jokes about how good it feels to cancel plans, ignore phone calls and be saved from small talk. But extroverts would like to know where the memes are for people who actually like people?
- For those who love nothing more than being in a large group — ideally a mix of friends and strangers engaged in spirited conversation — being isolated in their homes for weeks on end is not OK. And now that millions of people are facing a third month of sheltering at home, it’s becoming clear that confinement is no paradise, even for those who love solitude.
- This is a deeply anxious and mournful period marred by upended social realities, including those hours and hours of obligatory video chatting — an introvert’s nightmare. It’s also a moment in time when people need to ask for social support, and as research shows, introverts aren’t as good at reaching out to others for help.
- Bottom line: We’re all losing it without each other, in different ways and to varying degrees. Isolation is not quiet solitude. A group video chat is not a raucous dinner party, or singles night at a bar, or an afternoon with buddies at the ballpark. So check on your friends, both the introverts who claim they’re fine and the extroverts who are clearly not. None of us are OK. (NYT)
- To Build Resilience in Isolation, Master the Art of Time Travel (NYT, $)
- How singing can make you feel better in tough times (BBC)
- Additional songs Green Day – All By Myself (Hidden Track) & Weezer – In The Garage
- Daily Pnut Laughs: ‘People still need to laugh’: how lipsyncing spoofs saved lockdown (Guardian)
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