Friday, May 22, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
- Stay in Place! Stay Alive! Organize! Before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 700 people were dying every day in the U.S. because of the crisis of poverty. And because of this nation’s high tolerance for death, as long as those who are dying are poor and people of color, the national response to this pandemic has only further exposed the country’s distorted morality.
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is launching the “Stay in Place! Stay Alive! Organize!” campaign to raise a moral cry for non-cooperation with the dangerous and reckless policies to ease social distancing restrictions and reopen the economy instead of providing real relief. #StayAlive CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION BY CALLING PELOSI & MCCONNELL OR SENDING A LETTER TO YOUR GOVERNOR: bit.ly/ppcstayalive
CALL ☎️ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & Senator Mitch McConnell and demand they provide real solutions for this public health & economic crisis to meet the needs of poor & impacted communities in the next stimulus package by implementing our #PoorPeoplesCampaign Moral Agenda! #StayAlive Call link here: bit.ly/ppcstayalive
Saturday, May 16, 2020
The Poor People's Campaign, a grassroots group with branches in more than 40 states, is urging resistance to or noncooperation with state plans calling for the reopening of the economy just weeks after the coronavirus put most of the country on lockdown.
In its new slogan, the campaign, co-chaired by two Christian ministers, is asking its followers to "Stay in Place, Stay Alive, Organize, and Don't Believe the Lies."
The campaign urges Congress, the president and state governors to follow the recommendations of public health experts and not risk a resurgence of the virus, which is disproportionately affecting poor, uninsured, low-wage laborers, many of them "essential workers" who have no alternative but to go to risky jobs that make them vulnerable to the virus.
"These plans to reopen show no regard for human life," said the Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, during an online news conference on May 13. "They're prioritizing the profit of the few over the needs of the majority."
The Poor People's Campaign has long demanded that the government provide health care and paid sick leave for all. Theoharis also called for a universal guaranteed adequate income for all.
The campaign is planning a day of action on May 21 that will include a call-in to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging them to provide more relief for the poor in any future stimulus bills.
The campaign also announced that a previously scheduled June 20 March on Washington will be an online event.
Multiple studies have shown that the pandemic has been devastating economically, especially in nonwhite communities where people live in more crowded conditions and are more likely to be employed in public-facing occupations (such as food service, transportation and home health care) where they are more susceptible to becoming infected.
The latest available COVID-19 mortality rate for African Americans is 2.6 times higher than the rate for whites, according to the APM Research Lab, which tracks coronavirus deaths by race and ethnicity.
Return with Safety: We should not concede the language of 'reopening' to right-wing liars who are sending poor people to their death.BY Sarah Lazare
In These Times
May 14, 2020 - When President Trump, Republican leaders, right-wing think tanks and billionaire CEOs aggressively push to send people back to work before the coronavirus is contained, this is not a "reopening." It's the opposite: an unraveling of the conditions that we need to safely and sustainably reopen our society. While the red herring of a "reopening" has dominated news cycles and Trump administration press conferences, the United States has moved ever further away from what we all desperately seek: a point at which this all ends, and it's safe to go to the library, stroll maskless through a park, eat dinner with a loved one, and go to work without fear. The Right doesn't own the "reopening" terrain-it has forfeited it by barreling down a road that leads to mass death, suffering, and more and more closures down the road.
Forty-two states have either started "reopening" their economies or imminently plan to do so, despite the fact that most of them have failed to meet even the non-binding criteria put forward by the White House: that they have a 14-day "downward trajectory" of known coronavirus cases or rates of positive tests (this standard was criticized by public health experts for being ill-defined and insufficient). Alarmingly, as of May 7, more than half of the states that had either reopened or planned to do so (30 at the time) have seen an increase in case counts or positive tests over the past two weeks, according to a tracker from the New York Times. In Georgia, for example, testing levels are well below the minimum recommended by experts, and positive test rates remain above a threshold of 10%. Yet Georgia's governor, Republican Brian Kemp, has instructed nail salons and bowling alleys to open. Kemp presented himself as the champion of workers he is sending into perilous condition, declaring April 17, "I know people are chomping [at the bit] to get back to work." Trump has embraced the state-level push to reopen, and even encouraged protests against governors who maintain shelter-in-place instructions, declaring in late April, "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" and "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"
It is no mystery what is going to happen as a result of this push. There is a consensus among experts that the United States doesn't have the measures in place to reopen without causing mass death. As the New York Times noted on May 11, "Deaths are already far higher than the 60,000 once predicted by August. Even President Trump has begun to talk of a toll that may reach 100,000, perhaps more." An Associated Press analysis from May 12 found that even as Trump pushes the country towards a swift reopening, "thousands of people are getting sick from COVID-19 on the job." There are signs of new coronavirus hot spots around the country, including in states that are reopening. Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden has been vocal about the dire consequences. "We're not reopening based on science," he told the Times. "We're reopening based on politics, ideology and public pressure. And I think it's going to end badly." We already know Black, Latino and poor people are disproportionately dying from Covid-19-this horrific trend is almost certain to continue in subsequent spikes.
"We are way premature for opening when the cases nationwide have not gone down but continue to go up," Deborah Burger, the co-president of National Nurses United (NNU), told In These Times. "We are still experiencing a rationing of personal protective equipment, N95 masks, and other protective gear. We just did a vigil for over 100 nurses who have died."
Dire warnings have even been issued by Trump's own health officials. On May 12, two of the top health officials in the federal government warned a Senate committee that the coronavirus is not contained and that reopening too swiftly is profoundly dangerous. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, leading U.S. infectious disease expert, warned that "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control." Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the current director of the CDC-who was hired by Trump and has a disturbing history of handling the AIDS epidemic-pleaded, "We are not out of the woods yet."
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming are among the least-populated states in the U.S., and not surprisingly have the lowest numbers of residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus. But despite their small size, they scored big this spring when Congress pumped out direct federal aid to the states.
An Associated Press analysis shows those four, along with other small states, took in an out-sized proportion of the $150 billion in federal money that was designed to address coronavirus-related expenses, when measured by the number of positive tests for the COVID-19 disease.
Their haul ranged from $2 million per positive test in Hawaii to nearly $3.4 million per test in Alaska. In Wyoming, the smallest state with less than 600 positive cases, the $1.25 billion it received from the congressional package equates to 80 percent of its annual general state budget.
By comparison, New York and New Jersey, by far the hardest-hit states, respectively received about $24,000 and $27,000 per positive coronavirus test. Other states with high numbers of coronavirus cases, including Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois, received less than $100,000 per positive case.
The money for state governments is a slice of a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus passed in late March. Governments are supposed to use it for new, coronavirus expenses incurred from March 1 through Dec. 30.
It’s Workers Who Should Determine When Their Workplace Is Safe: States must create health and safety councils—one way that ‘essential’ workers can begin to gain one essential they lack: power.
Meyerson on TAP
Grim Reaper Mitch (R-KY). Mitch McConnell is back in town, which, as ever, is bad news for the future of the human race. His current crusade is to enact legislation that relieves employers from legal liability should their workers sicken and die from coronavirus contracted at their workplace. Under McConnell’s doctrine of laissez-mourir, bosses could call their employees back to work and station them six inches apart, while pumping virus-laden air through the vents.
McConnell’s strategy appears to be to withhold financial support for states and cities—currently a leading demand of Democrats and labor—unless they agree to his Get Out of Jail Free card for even the deadliest of bosses. Democrats and labor are fiercely opposing McConnell’s proposal, with unions noting, correctly, that it would allow employers to recall their workers despite manifestly unsafe conditions. But if McConnell hangs tough, as he invariably does, some version of his proposal might actually be enacted if he refuses to pass any further pandemic assistance until his bill becomes law.
Blue states might be able to end-run this de facto back-to-work mandate by adopting a proposal that labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein advanced in our recent “Future of Labor” symposium: requiring all companies with more than 25 employees to have worker safety councils that would have the power to decide whether workplaces are safe enough to open or unsafe enough to close, and to monitor safety conditions on an ongoing basis. Let’s hope our nation’s workers don’t have to work under McConnell’s diktat, but if they do, let’s hope states like California can counter some of its consequences by boosting workers’ control over their own health and lives.
Despite Trump’s efforts to hide this news, The New York Times just reported that the Trump Administration has made private projections showing that COVID-19 deaths are expected to spike to 3,000 per day in June — DOUBLE the previous projections.
Their new projections also match a new forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that new daily infection rates will increase from 25,000 to a staggering 200,000 by June.
Donald Trump is defying health experts by pushing to prematurely reopen our economy. After months of failing to develop a national testing program, Trump is advocating that states to reopen without any transparent or overarching test and trace program. This haphazard decision puts American lives at risk because we don’t have a way to detect or limit future COVID-19 outbreaks or spread.
The longer we wait to implement a national testing program, the higher the death toll will be.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
A Progressive Victory over the Coronavirus
South Korea, having beaten back the coronavirus, is now poised to show the world how to move forward to save lives, democracy, and the planet.
By John Feffer, April 22, 2020.
It can be done.