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Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Trump Resists Pressure to Force Companies to Make Coronavirus Supplies

Source: NY Times

President Trump and his advisers are resisting calls from congressional Democrats and a growing number of governors to use a federal law to mobilize industry to provide badly needed resources to help halt the spread of the coronavirus, days after the president said he would consider using that authority.

The Defense Protection Act grants presidents extraordinary powers to force American industries to produce medical supplies, materials and equipment that health care workers say are in dire shortage in hospitals across the country.

“We’re talking about a president who is basically doing what Herbert Hoover did at the beginning of the Depression and minimizing the danger and refusing to use available federal action, and people are going to die, and they shouldn’t, they don’t have to, if we could get the support that we’re asking for,” he said in an interview with WNYC on Friday.

The president’s advisers say they see the role of the federal government as facilitator, as opposed to chief producer and a national governor. They have tried to encourage states to get by with what they can, suggesting there will be support from the federal government but that this shouldn’t be the first option. And they have hoped that private companies will be spurred to increase production by the president’s statements.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-supplies.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Without masks, our medical providers will get sick, and we'll have nobody to run the ventilators, which we don't have enough of. The body count will be horrific. And it's all because of "conservative principles."

Hilarious PSA about our shitstorm!

NYC's Cry For Help Sees 1k Retirees Step Up To Fight Coronavirus

The cavalry is coming. A plea for help made on behalf of a city desperate for medical aid has been answered by 1,000 retired health care professionals.As New York City's hospitals face being overwhelmed by patients suffering from the new coronavirus, the retirees didn't hesitate to rush back into service.

"In the last 24 hours, 1,000 New Yorkers who are retired medical personnel have volunteered to join the effort to fight coronvirus," the mayor said on WCBS Wednesday night.

As well as retirees, Cuomo has contacted the state's medical schools, asking for qualified faculty members and students to join the fight.

Altogether, volunteers numbered 1,746 on Thursday, de Blasio said.


WSJ: America Needed Coronavirus Tests. The Government Failed.

Decisions that limited testing for the pathogen blinded the U.S. to the outbreak’s scale. Here’s how it happened.
CDC officials botched an initial test kit developed in an agency lab, retracting many tests. They resisted calls from state officials and medical providers to broaden testing, and health officials failed to coordinate with outside companies to ensure needed test-kit supplies, such as nasal swabs and chemical reagents, would be available, according to suppliers and health officials.

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also involved in the response, finally opened testing to more outside labs, a run on limited stocks of some supplies needed for the CDC-developed test quickly depleted stores, lab operators and suppliers said. Hospital and commercial lab operators said the government didn’t reach out to enlist their help until it was too late.

This was kind of a perfect storm of three separate failures,” said Tom Frieden, who directed the CDC from 2009 to 2017, citing the botched test, overstrict FDA rules and sidelined private labs. He cautioned he didn’t have direct knowledge of details.

Now, the U.S. is testing far fewer patients than public-health and infectious-disease experts say is necessary and just a fraction as many as other countries that rolled out wide-reaching diagnostic programs. South Korea as of Tuesday was testing up to 20,000 patients a day, more than half the total of U.S. patients who have been tested since the outbreak began.


This is the biggest blunder in presidential history

President Trump, as he often does when he has made a mistake or revealed his ignorance, changed course to claim that he knew all along that we were facing a pandemic.

As a preliminary matter, this is a lie, as this video shows:


The president has consistently downplayed, denied and misled the public about the seriousness of the threat. Moreover, since the first cases appeared in China in late December, he took few steps to prepare the country for the pandemic before it inevitably reached our shores. We are to believe that he knew there was a pandemic but willfully allowed the crisis to get worse.
Trump shares the blame for failing to develop an infrastructure to fight pandemics (and removing structures put in place by the Obama administration). But, to borrow a phrase, “he alone” made the crisis infinitely worse by doing nothing for so long when leaders around the world were responding forcefully.

Officials: Trump mulls using pandemic powers to send all who cross border illegally to Mexico

Source: Associated Press

The Trump administration is considering a plan to turn back all people who cross the border illegally from Mexico, two administration officials said Tuesday, using powers they say the president has during pandemics like the coronavirus outbreak to mount what would be one of the most aggressive attempts to curtail illegal immigration.

The plan is under consideration and no final decisions have been made, according to the officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t been announced.

The officials said the president has authority to take such action in a pandemic and that Mexico’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, along with Venezuela’s, have been the weakest in North and South America.

The administration had declared in November 2018 that anyone who crossed the border illegally from Mexico would be denied asylum, a measure has been blocked in court. Last month, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld a lower court decision to keep that asylum ban on hold while a lawsuit proceeds.

Read more: https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/officials-trump-mulls-using-pandemic-powers-to-send-all-who-cross-border-illegally-to-mexico/

As if the economy is not screwed enough, there goes agriculture and food service! Crops are already rotting in the fields due to labor shortages. Good luck finding produce at your local store!

Trump can't figure out how to use his emergency powers to help Americans deal with Covid-19, but he sure knows how to use them to torture immigrants.

Bernie Sanders is wrong on democratic socialism in Sweden, and everywhere else

By Daniel Schatz, visiting scholar at New York University’s Center for European and Mediterranean Studies

Bernie Sanders has placed ”democratic socialism” at the center of his presidential campaign and his vision for a better America. For proof, he points to Scandinavian countries like Sweden.

But as a Scandinavian political scientist who has studied Nordic politics, economy and history in depth, I do not feel the Bern. The Vermont senator has embraced an urban legend; his love affair with Scandinavian socialism gets it all wrong.

Contrary to the prevailing narrative, the success of Nordic countries like Sweden — as measured by relatively high living standards accompanied by low poverty, with government-funded education through university, universal health coverage, generous parental-leave policies and long life spans — precedes the contemporary welfare state.

The Nordic country needed healthy companies and skilled workers, so top tax rates were rolled backwhile government welfare programs were redesigned. These reforms laid the ground for today’s competitive market-oriented economy based on international openness and the promotion of global free trade.


Woman says children who came into contact with Rudy Gobert being denied coronavirus testing

A woman says she and a group of children who met NBA player Rudy Gobert at Monday night's game in Salt Lake City are being denied the coronavirus test despite his positive result for the virus.

The woman, Samantha Eldridge, said in a lengthy Facebook post on Friday that she and members of a Native American girls group from the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake attended the Utah Jazz game Monday night as guests of Gobert and his nonprofit, Rudy's Kids Foundation.

"After the game, we were invited to meet Rudy on the court where he spoke with the girls and took photos," Eldridge wrote in the post that was shared more than 1,000 times by Saturday morning. "Some of the girls gave high fives."

Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive, leading the league to suspend the season. Eldridge alleges that two of the girls took a photo and included that image in her post.


WaPo: On the 2008 bailout, Biden is right and Sanders is wrong

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) has decided to keep running for the Democratic presidential nomination, at least through Sunday’s one-on-one debate with former vice president Joe Biden. That means we can probably expect to hear more from Mr. Sanders about how wrong it was of Mr. Biden to vote, as a senator, for the 2008 bill establishing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) — a.k.a., the Wall Street bailout. “Joe bailed out the crooks on Wall Street that nearly destroyed our economy 12 years ago,” Sanders said in a recent Fox News town hall. “These guys, after destroying the economy, they came to Congress . . . and said ‘bail us out.’ ” The democratic socialist launched similar attacks on his 2016 rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton.

As they say in Brooklyn — enough, already. The truth is that support for TARP should be considered a basic demonstration of political maturity and pragmatism, not some sort of betrayal of the working class. The TARP vote reflects well on Mr. Biden, and poorly on Mr. Sanders, who joined with 24 other senators from the left wing of the Democratic Party and the far right of the Republican Party in opposition.

Some relevant historical context: The outgoing Bush administration and the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress had few good options for dealing with a once-in-a-century global financial collapse. As experts from the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department told the politicians, however, one sure way to turn the worst recession since the Great Depression into, well, another Great Depression, would have been to let the banking sector collapse and take millions of American households down with it. No doubt Wall Street irresponsibility played a big part in creating the crisis, as Mr. Sanders says, but the appropriate way to deal with that was to fix regulations — not to make a punitive point at the expense of Main Street.

The Obama administration inherited TARP and wisely administered it so that both banking and the auto industry were able to come back. Both of these economic pillars are much better positioned financially to withstand a major shock than they were in 2008, which is why, amid much discussion about the possible need to rescue various industries from the impact of the coronavirus, no one has yet mentioned Wall Street or Detroit. TARPended up using $426.4 billion of its available $700 billion to take equity in banks, a major insurer and two of the Big Three automakers, as well as to extend various loans. By the end of 2014, it had recovered $441.7 billion — a small profit which, even if not adjusted for inflation or uncompensated credit risks, still looks like a pretty good deal for taxpayers, compared to the costs of doing nothing.

How Trump Blew The Coronavirus Response

Seated at his desk in the Oval Office for a prime-time address on Wednesday, President Donald Trump faced a pivotal moment. The global coronavirus pandemic had claimed thousands of lives and reached U.S. shores as global markets took historic plunges. In a normal world, Trump would look presidential, stick to the teleprompter, and assure Americans that his administration understood the threat facing the country and would take dramatic action to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

That didn’t happen. Trump bungled key facts about the administration’s response — three assertions had to be immediately walked back by White House staff — congratulated himself on his supposedly excellent work so far, and blamed other countries for letting the disease spread.

As Trump spoke, global stocks and U.S. futures tumbled further. At almost the same moment, police were shutting down a basketball arena in Oklahoma City after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus — which immediately sparked a suspension of the entire NBA season. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they had contracted the virus. By Thursday morning, major sports leagues had suspended operations, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Broadway theaters shut down, and the Democratic presidential debate was relocated from Arizona to a studio in Washington, D.C.

By the morning after Trump’s speech, administration officials were grumbling anonymously to reporters about having to clean up the president’s mess. It was emblematic of his administration’s entire bumbling, self-serving approach to the pandemic. Trump has shown that his ultimate priority is to evade blame. The president has shown he has no qualms about peddling false information to make himself look good, even when downplaying the threat discourages Americans from taking steps to contain the virus. And when the threat could no longer be ignored, Trump fell back on a familiar strategy: exploit the country’s legitimate fears to justify a racist, nativist response. Meanwhile, his administration’s failures to effectively test for the coronavirus and contain its spread was costing lives.

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