The Second Stimulus Package is Filled with Irrelevant BS

COVID-19 is ravaging American society. While over 300,000 people have died from the virus, with an additional 9/11 death toll added almost everyday now, millions more have lost their healthcare and are at-risk of homelessness. It’s a human rights nightmare of epic proportions.

You would think with this as the backdrop, our politicians would be eager to use our tax dollars to do everything they can to ease the suffering of those most impacted, right?

In a reasonable democratic society, sure. Sadly, America can hardly claim either title these days.

The second major stimulus bill of the pandemic easily passed both chambers of Congress on Monday, nearly nine months after the first. Some of the provisions in the bill make sense, like extending advanced unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium, giving schools billions of dollars in additional funding, and providing Americans with more stimulus checks (even if insultingly small and insufficient).

That being said, the bill was also filled with so much unrelated nonsense, many Americans are scratching their heads trying to figure out why on earth some of it was included in the first place. The reason given is that the stimulus package was paired alongside a bill to keep the government funded through September 2021, but that still begs the question: why not pass COVID stimulus as a stand-alone bill?

Without further ado, here are some surprising inclusions alongside the latest COVID stimulus package.

Internet Piracy is Now a Felony

Somehow, some way, a bill intended to help those struggling through the COVID-crisis managed to double as a crackdown on internet piracy.

The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act raises the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for operating a website that’s core purpose is offering illegal streams of copyrighted work.

A big L for anybody hoping to find an online stream for the upcoming Floyd Mayweather v. Jake Paul pay-per-view fight.

Guidelines for Recognizing the Next Dalai Lama

How many of you had this one on your COVID-stimulus bingo card?

A small provision in the bill backs the right of Tibetans to choose the next Dalai Lama, not the Chinese government (who has sought to meddle in the process for years). If China gets involved, the US will sanction them.

Even if a worthy cause to be concerned about, was it really necessary to include this alongside COVID relief?

Israeli Military Support

Every American got a stimulus check of $600. Israel got $500 million.

That money will go towards military weapons, defunding the UN Human Rights Council, and aid for Palestinians. Well, as long as they agree not to pursue International Criminal Court charges against Israel for war crimes.

Oh y’know, just the typical stuff you’d expect from a COVID relief bill.

Border Wall Funding

Poor and working class families didn’t get what they needed from the latest COVID stimulus package, but Donald Trump got exactly what he wanted.

The omnibus spending bill included $1.375 billion for building more sections of a border wall between the US and Mexico. At a time when Americans are focused on surviving a pandemic and recession, is this really a priority right now? And let’s be real: with the US the most COVID-plagued country in the world right now, are there that many people trying to sneak over the border anyway?

“Democracy-Building Efforts” in Venezuela

It is no secret that the US government wants the Maduro government out of power in Venezuela. They are already implicated in a military coup attempt against him earlier this year, making the wording of this portion of the omnibus spending bill particularly ironic. Though the credibility of the elections are disputed, Maduro and his party regularly win by overwhelming margins, while the Guaidó-led opposition often chooses to boycott them.

Regardless of your stance on US regime-change efforts in Venezuela though, hopefully we can agree that this provision has no place alongside a bill for crucial COVID relief.

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