Friday, March 27, 2020

DSA - This is Barbarism

Choosing Democracy: DSA - This is Barbarism: This Is Barbarism Over 100 years ago, in the midst of the death and destruction of the First World War, German socialist leader Rosa...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Which Side Are You On?" New Bernie Sanders video

The Bill Is a Step: But, Not Good Enough

Last week we asked you to call congressional leaders and members of Congress to demand they fulfill their moral and constitutional responsibilities to the American people and expand the emergency provisions to care for us all and enact our Moral Agenda immediately.

You let your voices ring out throughout the Capitol, and our leaders responded.

Because of you, the Senate was forced to reconsider and make some amendments to a stimulus package that favored corporate bailouts over the cries of 140 million poor and low-wealth Americans who need immediate assistance and access to quality health care, paid leave and living wages

But our work far from done there is so much work to do. This bill is still not the kind a response necessary to help poor and low wealth communities We ask that you continue to demand that our leaders present long-term solutions to the ever-present crisis of systemic poverty and its interlocking injustices of systemic racism, ecological devastation, war economy amidst this pandemic.

We won’t be silent anymore. And together, we will make a difference.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of Repairers of the Breach

Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center

Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout: We needed to rescue the financial system in 2008, and we need to support sectors like airlines and aerospace now—but TARP is the wrong model.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Removed the Scientist Whose Job It was to Warn the U.S. About Possible Virus from China

President Donald Trump loves to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic, but new information surfaced over the weekend that the administration eliminated a position last July that potentially could have helped the US get an earlier jump on a response to the crisis, suggesting the president may need to place blame a little closer to home.
The Trump administration told the United States’ embed at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the position would be defunded, causing her to leave her post in July 2019, according to a report from Reuters’s Marisa Taylor. The embed helped train Chinese pubic health experts and served in part as a liaison between Chinese officials and their counterparts in the US. 
With the administration planning to discontinue the role, the embed return to the US about five months before China began to see its first Covid-19 cases. Under normal circumstances, the embed likely would have passed information about the novel virus to US officials. Instead, Chinese officials were able for weeks to conceal the virus and the threat it posed, leading to a delay in the world’s response to what was then a matter of great concern and is now a pandemic.

Vox news

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Robert Reich and the Covid - 19 crisis

I am so furious that I need to shout from the rooftops. But we're in lockdown, so I'm emailing you: No industry—not airlines, not hotel chains, not cruise ships—should be bailed out.
Congress is feverishly negotiating a sweeping economic stabilization bill that is expected to pass as early as tomorrow. The details of it are changing rapidly, but Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts for the airline industry and other industries that recklessly mismanaged their budgets by fattening the pockets of their CEOs. And now, these wealthy executives are begging Republicans for a taxpayer handout.
But guess how much the lowest-earning Americans would have gotten from McConnell's initial proposal? As little as $600.1 It's disgraceful.
Duane, breaking news indicates that House is drafting its own bill, that Democrats aren't ready to rubber-stamp the Republican corporate bailout proposal, and this legislation is not yet a done deal.2 But we have only a couple of days to pressure lawmakers to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented moment and make sure that our government bails out the American people, not corporations. That's why I'm writing to you now.
Think about all of the people across America who are constantly checking their local newspapers' websites to learn the latest about how the pandemic is affecting their communities; that's what I'm doing, and you might be, too. But what if, in addition to showing the much-needed news updates, the newspapers' websites showed ads pressuring Congress to give a lifeline to people, not corporations, in the economic stimulus bill? These ads will make lawmakers, who I can assure you care about what's said in their local papers, take serious notice.

As former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, I can tell you that there is no justification whatsoever to bailing out corporations right now. The airline industry certainly doesn't deserve a bailout: The biggest U.S. airlines spent 96% of their cash flow over the past decade to buy back shares of their own stock in order to boost executive bonuses and please wealthy investors. American Airlines alone repurchased more than $12.5 billion of its shares over the past 10 years.
But McConnell expects us to bail them out to the tune of $50 billion?
The airlines can stay in business by borrowing at rock-bottom rates, using their assets as collateral. Regular Americans living paycheck to paycheck don't have that same option.
 we need to come together right now to demand Congress put people first and pass an economic stimulus bill to support Americans in need, not provide bailouts for big businesses.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Pandumbic 2 (The Sequel) | The Daily Show

Not enough ventilators

When Even Medicare for All Isn’t Enough. Let’s talk ventilators—the medical machines that help patients breathe or breathe for them. Obviously, they’re a necessity to saving the lives of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

And guess what? Hospitals can’t afford them. The cost of a single ventilator ranges from $25,000 to $50,000, according to an article in today’s Washington Post, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of training medical personnel to use them.

Currently, American hospitals have 62,000 state-of-the-art ventilators and roughly 100,000 not-quite-that-advanced-but-still-serviceable ventilators on hand. Problem is, by at least one estimate, they may need 900,000 as COVID-19 rages on. Also currently, manufacturers turn out 50,000 ventilators a year.

And the reason they don’t turn out more is that hospitals don’t have the money to pay for more. Even allowing for hospitals’ notorious desire to pass on expenses to someone else (surprise billing, anyone?), it’s clear that they haven’t budgeted for the kind of mass purchase of ventilators they now need. “Hospitals can’t eat the cost,” health care attorney Julie Letwat told the Post, adding that the one institution that could pay for both increased production by the manufacturers and increased consumption by the hospitals is the federal government.

As my colleague David Dayen has noted in his daily reports, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other progressive members of Congress have urged the administration to invoke laws that would enable it to make just such interventions. And be it noted that this goes beyond making health care a right by creating Medicare for All; it is what would happen if we socialized medical supply as well as treatment. Which, it turns out, is exactly what we need to do. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It

Trump, Republicans, Cut Paid Sick Leave from Bailout Bill

Trump said he’d expand paid sick leave during the crisis. That’s not happening.
By Emily Peck and Igor Bobic, Huff Post.

Under pressure from the White House and business groups, House Democrats agreed to further water down paid sick and family leave provisions in the coronavirus emergency bill currently awaiting a Senate vote.

Democrats had already vastly scaled back their proposals for paid sick leave and paid family leave. Instead of covering all workers, millions were left out of the version of the bill passed over the weekend. Still, the original compromise bill included 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, symptoms of COVID-19 or those caring for others who are sick.

Now, after the legislative text was updated, those family leave provisions in the bill are much weaker. Paid family leave would only be available to parents who are home with kids due to school closure. The extended leave wouldn’t be available for people who are sick with COVID-19. Those workers would only be able to take 10 days of paid sick leave ― and only if they work at a company with less than 500 employees. What’s more: Companies with fewer than 50 workers can apply for hardship relief and get out of providing both sick and family leave.

“The carve-outs that came in last night through pressure from Republicans and the White House have dramatically weakened what started out as a strong paid leave proposal that would’ve made a difference to tens of millions of families during this crisis,” said Jessica Mason, senior policy analyst at the National Partnership for Women and Families. “The so-called corrections actually gut those policies and weaken our nation’s response to this pandemic.”

Employers are also allowed to secure exemptions for individual employees who are first responders and health care professionals who may have to deal with emergency issues.

“Politicians like to talk a good game about providing paid sick days to everyone, including Trump,” said Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow and paid leave expert at New America.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Painful Decisions That We Face because of Trump Incompetence

Because we have a private, for profit health care system, we have far too few hospital beds, hospitals, medical staff, and respirators. See the post below about the lies about available testing.
Because the Trump administration is incompetent, and because he lies,  we did not begin to build up and to create the needed supplies and hospital rooms.
This austerity approach has also dominated Italy for the last several decades.
Here is what they now face.

The Coronavirus and the Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors
Italy now has too many coronavirus patients for each to receive adequate care. So those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, may be left to die.

We must anticipate similar conditions. 
We wish you and your family good health.


Trump's Bogus Google Claim on Convid 19

According to the Washington Post, Trump has lied 1,400 times since becoming President.
So, what should we expect ?  On Friday.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US government’s coronavirus testing apparatus, which has lagged badly behind other developed nations, would soon get an assist from Google. The search and advertising giant will create a website, Trump said, that would help Americans figure out if they need a test for the virus, and if so where they can find one.
The only problem: There is no nationwide site like the one Trump described. And Google had no idea the president was going to mention one.
A source at Google tells WIRED that company leadership was surprised that Trump announced anything about the initiative at the press conference. What he did say was also almost entirely wrong. There will be a coronavirus testing site, not from Google but from Alphabet sister company Verily. “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing,” Google tweeted in a statement. “Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”
Even that, though, was not the original plan. The Verge reported Friday afternoon that Verily had intended the site for health care workers only. After Trump unexpectedly publicized the effort, Verily decided it will let anyone visit it, but can still only provide people with testing site information in the San Francisco area.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. A Verily spokesperson characterized the intention of the site differently from the Verge report. "We were initially planning to focus on highest risk populations, which includes healthcare workers—but this was not solely intended for them," the company said. "We are collaborating with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp as part of this initiative, and local organizations to determine what will work best. At Verily, we are focused on developing a tool to help triage individuals for testing."
It's unclear whether senior Google or Alphabet leadership was aware of Trump's plans, but CEO Sundar Pichai apparently made no reference to the impending White House announcement in a company-wide memo about its coronavirus efforts Thursday, which was first reported by CNBC. In the memo, Pichai told employees that "a planning effort is underway" for Verily to "aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the US."
The White House declined to comment on the record, but did not dispute that Google was unaware that Trump would announce the site Friday.