Liberal News

  • Anti-Choice Leaders Use COVID-19 to Push for Nationwide Shut Down of Abortion Access
    by Peter Montgomery on March 31, 2020 at 18:16

    Anti-choice activist Janet Porter has mobilized a large group of religious-right leaders who are seeking to use the COVID-19 pandemic to attack Planned Parenthood and eliminate access to abortion across the U.S. It’s a prime example of a right-wing tactic Right Wing Watch identified Monday: groups using the crisis to advance long-term agendas. Porter, known

  • ‘Massachusetts Is Not Happy’: Warren Condemns Trump for Outbidding States, Seizing Key Medical Supplies
    on March 31, 2020 at 17:51

    Julia Conley, staff writerSen. Elizabeth Warren demanded to know Monday why the Trump administration seized at least two shipments of badly-needed medical supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic after her state of Massachusetts ordered the equipment.

  • ‘A Shameful New Low’: Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Alberta Govt. Ponies Up $1 Billion for Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
    on March 31, 2020 at 16:59

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”We need billions of public dollars invested directly in vulnerable communities dying from COVID-19, not spent propping up massive oil companies and unneeded projects that would trample Indigenous rights and exacerbate the climate crisis.”

  • Plans for 2020 Tent and Stadium Events Are On for Now, Says Awaken the Dawn
    by Peter Montgomery on March 31, 2020 at 16:02

    Awaken the Dawn, a ministry that organizes large-scale worship events in outdoor tents, told supporters Monday that its ambitious 2020 plans for the summer and fall are still scheduled to take place, but said they would make adjustments to comply with public health mandates if necessary. Awaken the Dawn is led by David Bradshaw, who

  • Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 9/11
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 15:23

    The coronavirus death toll has now surpassed that of the September 11 attacks, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. Jonathan Last: “Understand that the publicly reported death toll

  • Trump Campaign Now Worried About Red State Deaths
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 15:21

    A former White House official told the Los Angeles Times that President Trump’s reelection campaign advisors “are terrified that the coronavirus outbreak, which so far has hit largely Democratic coastal

  • Fed Economists Warn US Unemployment Rate Could Soon Reach 32%—During Great Depression It Peaked at 25%
    on March 31, 2020 at 15:18

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

  • Of Course Diamond And Silk Are Peddling Covid Disinformation
    by Frances Langum on March 31, 2020 at 15:18

    Diamond and Silk are more interested in grifting from gullible white people than in telling truth that might save lives. Here they are promoting the lie told often on Fox in the past two months, that the pandemic is being inflated by mainstream media to hurt Donald Trump. They don’t believe the numbers because numbers don’t grow that way. (Diamond and Silk don’t understand the term, “exponentially.”) Transcript via Media Matters: SILK: In a matter of two weeks, over 1,000 people supposedly died from the coronavirus. In a two weeks time period, over 1,000 people after being tested positive have died from the coronavirus. But it took 39 days, from January all the way up to February the 29th I believe — DIAMOND: For the first person. SILK: For the first person to die. Here’s another thing — DIAMOND: Come on. SILK: Here’s another thing. My president said on March the 24th, Tuesday this past week, my president said that he would love for America to be back up and running. DIAMOND: I knew this was going to happen. I knew after he said this this was going to happen. Go ahead. SILK: At the time he said it there was 25,489 cases with 307 deaths. Instantaneously, you had the media calling President Trump out, he wanted open by Easter, he want this open by Easter – me and you was talking, I said now watch the number of deaths go up –read more

  • On the Need for Dissent and Debate in These Urgent Times
    by John Nichols on March 31, 2020 at 15:15

    John Nichols Congress has to figure out how to debate and vote remotely. We can’t accept government by “unanimous consent.” The post On the Need for Dissent and Debate in These Urgent Times appeared first on The Nation.

  • Trump Backs $2 Trillion Infrastructure Push
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 15:06

    President Trump signaled agreement with Speaker Nancy Pelosi that rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure should be part of a Phase 4 economic relief bill: “With interest rates for the United States

  • The Radio Right
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 15:00

    Coming soon: The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement by Paul Matzko. “The story of the 1960s far

  • Mitch McConnell Claims Impeachment ‘Diverted the Attention of the Government’ from Coronavirus
    by Darragh Roche on March 31, 2020 at 14:59

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has claimed impeachment distracted the federal government from the Coronavirus. The Kentucky Republican suggested the impeachment trial made dealing with the global pandemic more difficult. McConnell spoke to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday and took the opportunity to link impeachment to the pandemic. Hewitt praised Republican Senator Tom … Continue reading “Mitch McConnell Claims Impeachment ‘Diverted the Attention of the Government’ from Coronavirus”

  • ‘Critical Victory’ for Reproductive Rights as Federal Judges Block Three States From Exploiting Coronavirus to Ban Abortion Care
    on March 31, 2020 at 14:58

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”This is an important recognition of what we know to be true—abortion care is essential healthcare.”

  • Can Andrew Cuomo Become FDR?
    by Katrina vanden Heuvel on March 31, 2020 at 14:54

    Katrina vanden Heuvel The answer lies in whether he continues to embrace society’s fundamental inequalities. The post Can Andrew Cuomo Become FDR? appeared first on The Nation.

  • Illinois asked Trump for 1.2 million N95 masks weeks ago. Feds just sent thousands of the wrong type
    by Igor Derysh on March 31, 2020 at 14:52

    “In our first request to the federal government, we asked for 1.2 million N95 masks. That was weeks and weeks ago”

  • E.W. Jackson Vows to Hold Church Services in Defiance of Virginia’s Stay-at-Home Order
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 31, 2020 at 14:45

    Right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson posted a video on Facebook last night in which he vowed to hold services this Sunday at his The Called Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, in defiance of the stay-at-home order issued Monday by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Jackson, who has

  • Family’s Lockdown Adaptation Of Les Misérables Song Goes Viral
    by Ed Scarce on March 31, 2020 at 14:45

    This is really a really clever way of expressing the daily frustration we’re all living in right now. Amazingly, according to one report, the Marsh’s and their children have no experience in musical theatre. Dr Marsh and his family live in Faversham, England in Kent County. Source: The Guardian A family from Kent who shared a video of their living room performance of a lockdown-themed adaptation of a Les Misérables song have become a sensation online. Ben and Danielle Marsh and their four children changed the lyrics of One Day More to reflect common complaints during the Covid-19 lockdown. They say the video, which has gone viral, was intended to give friends and family a laugh during this stressful time

  • Lyric
    by Zohar Atkins on March 31, 2020 at 14:41

    Zohar Atkins The post Lyric appeared first on The Nation.

  • MSNBC Contributor Catches Heat for Claiming George W. Bush Didn’t Politicize 9/11 ‘In Any Way’
    on March 31, 2020 at 14:31

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”There is 9/11 whitewashing and memory-holing happening right now, and it’s dangerous.”

  • Hoyer Tells Lawmakers to Keep Schedules Flexible
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 14:28

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urged lawmakers in a “Dear Colleague letter” to keep their schedules “very flexible” in the weeks and months to come.

  • Take Action Now: Fight for Justice During the Pandemic
    by NationAction on March 31, 2020 at 14:23

    NationAction Defend workers, fight for immigrant families, and support your neighbors. The post Take Action Now: Fight for Justice During the Pandemic appeared first on The Nation.

  • Nancy Pelosi Says She Hasn’t Talked to Trump Since Ripping Up His State of the Union Speech
    by Darragh Roche on March 31, 2020 at 14:15

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she hasn’t spoken to President Donald Trump since the State of the Union. The California Democrat made the claim on MSNBC on Tuesday. “I’ve always spoken to presidents on an as needed basis,” she said. “It’s an historic occasion when the Speaker and the President speak. It’s history.” … Continue reading “Nancy Pelosi Says She Hasn’t Talked to Trump Since Ripping Up His State of the Union Speech”

  • McConnell Blames Impeachment for Slow Pandemic Action
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 14:12

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Hugh Hewitt that because the Senate was “tied down on the impeachment trial” during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, “it diverted

  • As Thousands of Las Vegas Hotel Rooms Sit Empty, City Paints ‘Social Distancing Boxes’ in Parking Lot for Homeless People
    on March 31, 2020 at 14:08

    Julia Conley, staff writerOfficials in Las Vegas were met with condemnation Monday when they expressed pride in their plan to “shelter” some of the city’s homeless population in a parking lot.

  • Trump Falsely Insists Lack of Testing Is Not a Problem
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 14:04

    “President Trump told governors on a conference call on Monday that he had not ‘heard about testing in weeks,’ suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to screen people for

  • After Securing Corporate Bailout, Trump and GOP Largely Oppose New Stimulus
    by Jake Johnson on March 31, 2020 at 13:56

    Progressives say a fourth stimulus bill is necessary to address the deep flaws in the measure Trump signed last week.

  • Illinois Governor Says White House Sent Wrong Kind of Medical Masks In Latest PPE Shipment
    by Alan Ryland on March 31, 2020 at 13:52

    Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) says the White House sent the wrong kind of medical masks in its latest PPE shipment after personally telling him President Donald Trump’s administration would send 300,000 masks to his state. “While we do not have a final count on this yet, I can say with certainty that what they … Continue reading “Illinois Governor Says White House Sent Wrong Kind of Medical Masks In Latest PPE Shipment”

  • Trump Is Using the COVID-19 Pandemic to Wage a Partisan Civil War
    by Sophia Tesfaye on March 31, 2020 at 13:51

    Trump is ignoring blue-state Democrats who need supplies while making promises to GOP governors in swing states.

  • Coronavirus Sweeps Thru Detroit Police Department
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:44

    Detroit Free Press: “The virus’ spread through the department and through the region as a whole has officers patrolling on edge. Multiple exposures — including the pancake breakfast, those that are

  • Aircraft Carrier Has Coronavirus Outbreak
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:42

    “The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire

  • Trump Watches Pelosi
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:39

    President Trump hasn’t spoken to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in more than five months but he tweeted he did watch her on MSNBC this morning. Said Trump: “I watched a portion

  • What the GOP Is Doing While You Struggle to Breathe
    by Jen Sorensen on March 31, 2020 at 13:39

    Jen Sorensen The post What the GOP Is Doing While You Struggle to Breathe appeared first on The Nation.

  • WFAN’s Mike Francesca Unloads On Trump Over His Inept Coronavirus Response
    by Ed Scarce on March 31, 2020 at 13:37

    You know you’ve screwed up royally when some of your most ardent supporters start turning on you after your inept, insulting, and ultimately dangerous response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mike Francesca is what they call a living legend in the broadcasting community, and is regularly ranked the #1 most listened to sports talk radio personality in America. Source: Raw Story Mike Francesa, a New York sports radio host and a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump, obliterated the president’s coronavirus pandemic response this week. In an angry rant, Francesa hammered Trump for not being truthful with the American public about the dire situation facing New York hospitals. In particular, Francesa was infuriated that Trump would accuse hospitals of intentionally hoarding supplies without offering any evidence to back up his claim. Francesca didn’t hold anything back, with sneering derision for Trump’s mask conspiracy theories, to his patting himself on the back for “only” a couple of hundred thousand deaths being the benchmark for a great response. Francesca was right. We should all be ashamed of Trump right more

  • Stephanie Ruhle Steamed Over How Hard It Is To Access Stimulus Help
    by Susie Madrak on March 31, 2020 at 13:36

    Stephanie Ruhle was on Morning Joe to talk with Willie Geist about the crisis ordinary people and small businesses are going through. “We were just talking about tomorrow being April 1st. The day, of course, the rent is due. This is the first, the 1st of the month since this crisis escalated. What are the implications of that for small businesses, homeowners and all the people worried now about making those payments?” Willie Geist said. “They’re massive across the board. While people at home, individuals and small businesses might watch our programs and see headlines with members of Congress and the president touting how great the CARES Act is, $2 trillion, and it is, but of those $2 trillion, no checks have been cut,” Ruhle said. “Talk to any, anyone in New York State, right? People trying to file for unemployment right now, it’s a two-step process. First, you’ve got to go online. These websites are crashing over and over. Then you’ve got to make a phone call and the lines are busy. Whether talking about New York, California, Connecticut, take your pick, these governors are saying, we are frantically trying to hire retired employees we used to have. Staffing up to solve for this but it’s not solved yet and the small business loans people are so excited about? Those paycheck protection loans, which are essentially these short-term emergency loans for businesses to get them through this period, potentially having them completely forgiven, they’re not even set up yet and you can only get one through your own bank. read more

  • Mike’s Blog Round Up
    by Jon Perr on March 31, 2020 at 13:31

    Mock, Paper, Scissors: His hair is real, and it’s spectacular. Bad Reporter: Jared Kushner sets up a back channel to COVID-19. Blue Mass Group: Bay State Democrats plan for the cancellation of their convention. Gizmodo: GE Aviation workers demand company manufacture ventilators at inactive plants. Calculated Risk: TSA numbers confirm that pandemics—or at least this one—tend to depress air travel. Speaking of which, your quote of the day:”Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.” (George W. Bush, September 27, 2001.) Guest blogging Mike’s Blog Round Up this week is Jon Perr from Perrspectives. Send your tips, recommendations, comments and angst to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.

  • Will the Conventions Be Virtual This Summer?
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:30

    Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball investigates how both parties might navigate having to hold their nominating conventions virtually, which may be more of a possibility for Democrats only because their convention

  • Mixed Message
    by Calvin Trillin on March 31, 2020 at 13:24

    Calvin Trillin The post Mixed Message appeared first on The Nation.

  • Al Gore Slams Trump’s Coronavirus Response: “You Can’t Gaslight a Virus”
    by Alan Ryland on March 31, 2020 at 13:18

    Former Vice President Al Gore (D) criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying his earlier comments on the comments misled the public and exacerbated an already harsh situation. “I’m afraid many [Americans] have been misled into thinking that some of his earlier statements about using the word hoax — and he used … Continue reading “Al Gore Slams Trump’s Coronavirus Response: “You Can’t Gaslight a Virus””

  • love poem (you’re a little too good at speaking on my behalf)
    by Stephanie Young on March 31, 2020 at 13:16

    Stephanie Young The post love poem (you’re a little too good at speaking on my behalf) appeared first on The Nation.

  • New York AG Denounces ‘Immoral and Inhumane’ Firing of Amazon Worker Who Led Protest Over Lack of Coronavirus Protections
    on March 31, 2020 at 13:14

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”Taking action cost me my job,” said Chris Smalls. “Because I tried to stand up for something that’s right, the company decided to retaliate against me.”

  • As Fashion Lines Are Praised for Making Face Masks, Don’t Ignore Garment Workers
    by Minh-Ha T. Pham on March 31, 2020 at 13:14

    Workers making the masks likely won’t be social distancing at work and may lack access to bathrooms with soap and water.

  • No, No, No
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:09

    Chris Cuomo asking his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whether he was thinking about running for president was quite amusing.

  • The US Decries Political Persecution of Nicaraguans But Won’t Grant Them Asylum
    by Isabela Dias on March 31, 2020 at 13:08

    As the U.S. denies asylum seekers from Nicaragua, the COVID-19 pandemic only complicates the process.

  • Most Think Federal Government Was Too Slow to Act
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:05

    A new DailyKos/Civiqs poll finds 57% of Americans say the U.S. government acted too slowly to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including 18% of Republicans. Just 35% think the government

  • Letters From the April 13, 2020, Issue
    by Our Readers on March 31, 2020 at 13:05

    Our Readers Making the case… The post Letters From the April 13, 2020, Issue appeared first on The Nation.

  • The US’s Wave of Hospital Closures Left Us Ill-Equipped for COVID-19
    by Margaret Flowers on March 31, 2020 at 13:01

    Since 1975, as the population grew by 115 million, the number of hospital beds shrank from 1.5 million to 925,000.

  • Bonus Quote of the Day
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 13:00

    “I’m afraid many have been misled into thinking that some of his earlier statements about using the word hoax — and he used it in a specialized way — but

  • No Masks and Uncertain Sick Leave: New York Whole Foods Delivery Workers Say Amazon Is Failing to Protect Them
    by Alleen Brown on March 31, 2020 at 13:00

    Delivery workers say they lack clear guidance as to what to do if they are exposed to the coronavirus or how they will be compensated if they get sick. The post No Masks and Uncertain Sick Leave: New York Whole Foods Delivery Workers Say Amazon Is Failing to Protect Them appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Trump Changed His Mind on Reopening the Economy After Polls Showed It Could Hurt His Reelection Chances
    by Alan Ryland on March 31, 2020 at 12:59

    The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump only changed his mind on reopening the economy in time for Easter after seeing polls that indicated doing so would damage his chances at reelection. Indeed, a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 59 percent of Americans think that Easter, which falls on April 12, would … Continue reading “Trump Changed His Mind on Reopening the Economy After Polls Showed It Could Hurt His Reelection Chances”

  • Sanders Insists He Still Has a ‘Narrow Path’
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 12:48

    Sen. Bernie Sanders acknowledged that he has an “admittedly narrow path” to overtake Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential race, but he insisted he could still become the party’s nominee,

  • Goldman Sachs Sees 34% Contraction In Economy
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 12:44

    “Goldman Sachs has significantly downgraded its outlook for the US economy between April and June. The investment bank now expects an annualized rate of contraction of 34% compared to the

  • Don Lemon Wishes His Employer Would Stop Live Coverage Of Trump Briefings
    by Susie Madrak on March 31, 2020 at 12:40

    CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo argued last night about whether news organizations should continue their live coverage of Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings. “It’s not political when it comes out of your mouth. When i say the exact same words you said, for some reason, it’s political,” Lemon said. “I have said I don’t think you should really listen to what he says, you should listen to what the experts say. I’m not actually sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets. I think we should do it afterwards and get the pertinent points to the American people. He’s never, ever going to tell you the truth. Guess what he’s going to do? If you ask a question that is a legitimate question, and if he doesn’t like the question he’s going to say whether it’s — whether you’re being mean or not or whatever he wants to call it, he is going to say that is a mean, nasty question. “Why? because he wants his base to think the media’s being mean to him and they’re attacking him. It is all a plot. It is all orchestrated, and if you can’t see it, I don’t know — I don’t know what you’re looking at. So, you know, I — it’s obvious, it’s transparent to me. This has become — those press briefings have become his new “Apprentice.” They’ve become his new rallies, and he treats the press and the media as if he’s talking to the people in his rallies. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. It’s just that the audience is not there.” Cuomo said he understood Lemon’s more

  • Donald Trump’s murder math: Any death toll under 2 million is a “very good job”
    by Bob Cesca on March 31, 2020 at 12:30

    Trump’s gruesome new pandemic pivot would be ludicrous — if his followers weren’t so ready to swallow the poison

  • Sportscaster Mike Francesa Turns On Trump
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 12:23

    Sports radio personality Mike Francesa, a longtime defender of President Trump, tore into him over the coronavirus pandemic for saying he’ll have done “a very good job” if between 100,000

  • Quote of the Day
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 12:19

    “Some in our media can’t contain their glee and delight in reporting that the U.S. has more Coronavirus cases than China.” — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), on Twitter.

  • You’d Think A Pandemic Would Halt GOP Attempt To Overturn Obamacare
    by Susie Madrak on March 31, 2020 at 11:43

    Republicans never have to go to the trouble of reassessing their political stands in light of changing circumstances — mostly because they’re always serving corporate donors, not the voters. That’s why Republican AGs are pushing ahead with a lawsuit meant to kill Obamacare, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Via the Daily Beast: Representatives for five of those attorneys general—from the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee—confirmed to The Daily Beast that the coronavirus outbreak has not changed their plans to try and kill the health care law as parties to the case of Texas v. California. Their steadfastness comes even as their states are beginning to feel the acute impact of the coronavirus’ spread. Georgia currently has over 1,700 coronavirus cases, while Tennessee has nearly 1,000 and the others have anywhere from 350 to 600. The other 13 state attorney general offices, including that of lead state Texas—where the state’s most populous counties have issued shelter-in-place orders to counter the spread of the coronavirus—either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. None of them have announced any plans to reconsider their participation in the more

  • How to Pause the Economy and Avoid Ruin
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 11:41

    “The coronavirus has produced something new in economic history. Never before have governments tried to put swaths of national economies in an induced coma, artificially maintain their vital organs, and

  • Trump now has total control of vast virus-aid fund
    by Frank Vogl on March 31, 2020 at 11:30

    It used to be said that beggars can’t be choosers. That obviously no longer applies in the U.S. of today

  • Biden’s Virtual Town Hall Put Empathy Front And Center
    by Susie Madrak on March 31, 2020 at 11:23

    It wasn’t really a town hall the way we’re used to. The questions are pre-recorded and Biden is answering from his home studio. I didn’t see it when it aired, but I saw so many positive responses on social media, I thought some of you might like to see it. Incredibly powerful moment on tonight’s @CNN town hall with @JoeBiden. I miss hearing empathy from public officials, and the simple message of “seek help” will save people’s lives. — Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) March 28, 2020

  • Ainsley Earhardt Slobbers To Trump: ‘How Can We Pray For You?’
    by NewsHound Ellen on March 31, 2020 at 11:22

    You would think that a Best Friend To Jesus like Ainsley Earhardt wouldn’t need to ask Donald Trump how to pray for him – unless she was looking to polish her brand just like the Dear Leader she spent an hour sucking up to on Fox & Friends Monday morning. I’ll have more to say about Trump’s self-serving chat with with his Fox Friends Monday. But let’s just say that if you were hoping he was thinking of anyone but himself as the U.S. tops the world in coronavirus cases, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Not that Earhardt seemed to mind. As Trump ended the interview to get off the phone, she worked in this question, “Could I ask you one last question? How can we pray for you? … the Bible is clear, we need to pray for our leaders and we are praying for you.” Now, why would someone who portrays herself as Jesus’ sweetheart need to ask how to pray for someone? This is a woman who hosts a Fox Nation show called Ainsley’s Bible Study and wrote a whole book about her Christian faith and “developing that relationship with God.” read more

  • Fox ‘News’ Panel Doubts Shortage Of Beds In Hospitals, Because Twitter Says So
    by Aliza Worthington on March 31, 2020 at 11:22

    For a TV station whose mission seems to be to keep their viewers as uneducated and uninformed as possible, Fox “News” is doing a stellar job. For a media outlet whose stance on valuing “life” seems to end once the “life” exits the birth canal, Fox is as consistent as the rising and setting of the sun. Steve Hilton, host of Fox “News” show, “The Next Revolution” spent this segment with his panel not only complaining about the fact that his version of “reality” wasn’t being accommodated by the serious press, but that there were all kinds of reasons to question the legitimacy of claims that hospitals are and will be overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s Lisa Boothe claiming we’re not hearing from enough professors who challenge the mainstream thought. BOOTHE: There was also two other professors from Stanford who recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, saying that millions of people probably already have been infected in the United States, and we don’t really hear from those people as much, and I think that’s a challenge. Forgive me, but how does that contradict the notion that hospitals and medical personnel are and will be overrun with COVID-19 patients across the nation? Hilton then suggested that maybe people in Italy are dying from infections they caught IN THE HOSPITAL rather than from COVID-19. read more

  • Don’t fall for Trump’s effort to cast himself as the benevolent leader of a united country
    by Dan Froomkin on March 31, 2020 at 11:00

    He’s suddenly trying to seem more human, and more “presidential.” Journalists must not surrender to this tripe

  • Trump Is Not Rising to the Moment
    by Taegan Goddard on March 31, 2020 at 10:55

    CNN: “It’s no exaggeration to say Trump faces the most critical month of his presidency yet — and how he conducts himself will be crucial for the country and his

  • “I Haven’t Heard About Testing in Weeks”: In Leaked Audio, Trump Dismisses Governors’ Concerns About Lack of Coronavirus Equipment
    on March 31, 2020 at 10:49

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”It would be shocking to me that… anyone who has had access to any newspaper, radio, social networks, or any other communication would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits.”

  • Trump admits “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” if voting access expanded
    by Jon Queally on March 31, 2020 at 10:30

    Trump says the quiet part out loud on the GOP not wanting higher turnout

  • Who Shot Courtney Copeland?
    by Alison Flowers on March 31, 2020 at 10:00

    Somebody, Episode 1: Shapearl Wells wants to know who killed her son Courtney. But her grief turns into suspicion when police start asking her questions. The post Who Shot Courtney Copeland? appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Trump is using the pandemic to wage partisan civil war — but red states will suffer too
    by Sophia Tesfaye on March 31, 2020 at 10:00

    Trump has changed his tone, for the moment — but the damage he’s done to American unity will be lasting

  • Let the Killing Stop
    by Kurt Vonnegut on March 31, 2020 at 09:59

    Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut’s earliest recorded speech implored a bungling administration to stop committing brutalities. Little has changed. The post Let the Killing Stop appeared first on The Nation.

  • How a Human Rights Lawyer Went From Hero to House Arrest
    by James North on March 31, 2020 at 09:59

    James North Lawyer Steven Donziger helped win a $9.5 billion judgment for rain forest cleanup. Then Chevron hit back. The post How a Human Rights Lawyer Went From Hero to House Arrest appeared first on The Nation.

  • Union-Busting in the Name of God
    by Amy Littlefield on March 31, 2020 at 09:59

    Amy Littlefield Catholic universities are relying on a religious exemption to avoid recognizing workers’ rights—and workers are appealing to Catholic values to fight back. The post Union-Busting in the Name of God appeared first on The Nation.

  • How Trump Is Going to Get Away With a Pandemic
    by Sonia Shah on March 31, 2020 at 09:59

    Sonia Shah There are lots of ways for the Trump administration to cook the data to hide the extent of the coronavirus outbreak—in fact, it already is doing so. The post How Trump Is Going to Get Away With a Pandemic appeared first on The Nation.

  • Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Imagination
    by Katherine Hill on March 31, 2020 at 09:59

    Katherine Hill What can we learn from the novelist’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale? The post Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Imagination appeared first on The Nation.

  • As the Covid-19 Crisis Deepens, Grassroots Organizers Take Action
    by Sasha Abramsky on March 31, 2020 at 09:45

    Sasha Abramsky Progressive ideas on housing, health care access, wage subsidies, and more are entering the mainstream at a startling pace. The post As the Covid-19 Crisis Deepens, Grassroots Organizers Take Action appeared first on The Nation.

  • Now Is Not the Time to Start an Arms Race
    by Michael T. Klare on March 31, 2020 at 09:30

    Michael T. Klare As the coronavirus spreads, Congress still has to review the Pentagon’s defense budget request. The post Now Is Not the Time to Start an Arms Race appeared first on The Nation.

  • ‘No More Spending’: After Securing $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout, Trump White House and GOP Cast Doubt on New Stimulus
    on March 31, 2020 at 09:16

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”Trillions for big business. Bare minimum for you.”

  • Our Public Servants Maintain Normalcy by Being Regular Incompetent
    by Tom Tomorrow on March 31, 2020 at 09:00

    Tom Tomorrow Coronavirus’s impact on American lives deepens. The post Our Public Servants Maintain Normalcy by Being Regular Incompetent appeared first on The Nation.

  • It’s Time to Stop Our Wasteful Military Spending
    by William Astore on March 31, 2020 at 09:00

    William Astore If ever there was a time to reduce our massive and unnecessary military spending, this is it. The post It’s Time to Stop Our Wasteful Military Spending appeared first on The Nation.

  • Kevin McCarthy’s opponent says blatant racism is “definitely” a reason to take him down
    by Matthew Rozsa on March 31, 2020 at 09:00

    The House minority leader has become a total Trump sycophant. In California, Kim Mangone thinks she can beat him

  • Internal emails reveal Trump administration officials warned about lack of protective gear early on
    by Rachana Pradhan on March 31, 2020 at 08:59

    “I do not know if we have enough resources to protect all frontline providers”

  • Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing
    by Micah Lee on March 31, 2020 at 08:00

    The video conferencing service can access conversations on its platform. The post Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Democracy on hold: States are canceling public meetings amid coronavirus crisis
    by Emily Pontecorvo on March 31, 2020 at 08:00

    What’s lost when the public can’t show up in person to fight for their communities?

  • Trump promised a coronavirus site built by Google — but then Jared Kushner’s former firm got the job
    by Bob Brigham on March 31, 2020 at 07:00

    Jared Kushner firm built coronavirus website Trump promised Google was building

  • Coronavírus: Bolsonaro só acredita na ‘ciência’ quando o resultado lhe interessa
    by Rosana Pinheiro-Machado on March 31, 2020 at 04:03

    Os fanáticos bolsonaristas recorrem a um recorte conveniente e oportunista da ciência. É uma espécie de populismo científico que hoje se mostra letal. The post Coronavírus: Bolsonaro só acredita na ‘ciência’ quando o resultado lhe interessa appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Maddow Says Trump’s Incompetence Will Result In ‘Thousands And Thousands’ Of Needless U.S. Deaths
    by Sean Colarossi on March 31, 2020 at 02:00

    Donald Trump’s failed management of this health crisis will almost certainly result in thousands of Americans needlessly dying.

  • Critical Care Doc Says Trump Should Stop Trying To Kill Obamacare In The Middle Of A Pandemic
    by Sean Colarossi on March 31, 2020 at 01:00

    If Donald Trump was truly listening to doctors, he would stop trying to dismantle Obamacare in the middle of a global pandemic. 

  • An Employee at an Illinois School We Reported On Has Been Charged With Battering a 7-Year-Old Boy
    by by Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, and Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica on March 31, 2020 at 00:50

    by Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, and Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get weekly updates about our work. This story is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. A Gages Lake School worker has been arrested and charged with battering a 7-year-old student in the school’s seclusion room space, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. The aide was assigned to work in an area called “office intervention,” where workers take students who have been removed from class for disruptive behavior. Records show that Justin Cole, 35, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, had been working as a paraprofessional for about three weeks when, on Feb. 27, school administrators notified police about an incident earlier in the day. A Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation in December revealed numerous child welfare, police and other investigations at the school, which regularly put children in a seclusion area and physically restrained them. The news organizations’ “The Quiet Rooms” investigation found that schools throughout the state misused and overused the practices, which state law said only were allowed when there was a physical safety concern. Dive Deeper Into Our Reporting Our newsletter is written by a ProPublica Illinois reporter every week Discover what makes Illinois tick from our team of investigative journalists covering the state. Delivered every Friday. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. It’s the second time in the last year that an employee at Gages Lake, which serves about 115 students with behavioral disabilities, has been charged with a crime related to mistreatment of a child inside the school’s seclusion rooms. The school is part of the Special Education District of Lake County. Another former aide who worked in the Gages Lake behavior management office was arrested and charged in October with six counts of reckless conduct for allegedly using “excessive force” on children. He pleaded not guilty and the case is pending. In the most recent case, sheriff’s deputies allege Cole used “excessive force” in responding to a child who pushed him. Cole picked up a pillow “and struck the seven-year-old in the head” with his hand, using the pillow as a barrier between his hand and the boy’s head, according to the sheriff’s investigation. “This caused the boy to fall to the ground and begin crying,” the sheriff’s office said. Cole was put on unpaid leave in February and then fired this month, records show. “Essentially, he lost his temper while assisting a highly dysregulated student and did not exercise our protocols for de-escalation or calling in other staff for help,” Meagan Dwyer, who oversees behavior help for students at the school, wrote in a letter to parents in late February. She told parents that another staff member had notified administrators of the incident. Valerie Donnan, the SEDOL superintendent, did not answer questions about Cole or the incident, instead providing the letter sent by Dwyer and another she sent to parents Friday after the Lake County state’s attorney issued a warrant for Cole’s arrest. Donnan wrote that Cole had received “extensive” training in how to work with students who have behavioral challenges. Attempts to reach Cole and his attorney for comment were unsuccessful Monday. He was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery. From May until December 2019, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services opened more than 20 child welfare investigations into mistreatment of children at Gages Lake. Surveillance video from the school gathered by DCFS and referenced in the agency’s reports describe workers grabbing children by the wrists, shoving them into walls and throwing them to the ground in “the office,” which was a cluster of four seclusion spaces — some with lockable doors, others open. All of the doors were removed by late November as the school dealt with scrutiny from investigators and from the Illinois State Board of Education.

  • Trump Is Shipping $100 Million In Medical Equipment Out Of The Country
    by Sean Colarossi on March 31, 2020 at 00:00

    Trump’s announcement comes at a time when governors across the U.S. have been struggling to secure life-saving medical equipment for their states.

  • Why Instacart’s grocery delivery workers are striking today
    by Nicole Karlis on March 30, 2020 at 23:49

    Instacart’s CEO calls his gig workers “heroes” — but the company offers little support to contractors

  • Fox News, Not Doctors, Convinced Trump To Extend Social Distancing Restrictions
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 23:40

    It was watching Fox News, not the meetings with doctors and healthcare experts, that convinced Trump to extend the social distancing restrictions.

  • Taxpayers Paid Millions to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator for a Pandemic. Instead, the Company Is Selling Versions of It Overseas.
    by by Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella and Tim Golden on March 30, 2020 at 23:40

    by Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella and Tim Golden ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tried to plug a crucial hole in its preparations for a global pandemic, signing a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator that could be stockpiled for emergencies. This past September, with the design of the new Trilogy Evo Universal finally cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, HHS ordered 10,000 of the ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $3,280 each. But as the pandemic continues to spread across the globe, there is still not a single Trilogy Evo Universal in the stockpile. Instead last summer, soon after the FDA’s approval, the Pennsylvania company that designed the device — a subsidiary of the Dutch appliance and technology giant Royal Philips N.V. — began selling two higher-priced commercial versions of the same ventilator around the world. “We sell to whoever calls,” said a saleswoman at a small medical-supply company on Staten Island that bought 50 Trilogy Evo ventilators from Philips in early March and last week hiked its online price from $12,495 to $17,154. “We have hundreds of orders to fill. I think America didn’t take this seriously at first, and now everyone’s frantic.” A screenshot obtained by ProPublica of a Trilogy Evo portable ventilator, sold by a medical supply company on Staten Island. Last Friday, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to begin mass-producing another company’s ventilator under a federal contract. But neither Trump nor other senior officials made any mention of the Trilogy Evo Universal. Nor did HHS officials explain why they did not force Philips to accelerate delivery of these ventilators earlier this year, when it became clear that the virus was overwhelming medical facilities around the world. An HHS spokeswoman told ProPublica that Philips had agreed to make the Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator “as soon as possible.” However, a Philips spokesman said the company has no plan to even begin production anytime this year. Instead, Philips is negotiating with a White House team led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to build 43,000 more complex and expensive hospital ventilators for Americans stricken by the virus. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. Some experts said the nature of the current crisis — in which the federal government is scrambling to set up field hospitals in New York’s Central Park and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center — underscores the urgent need for simpler, lower-cost ventilators. The story of the Trilogy Evo Universal, described here for the first time, also raises questions about the government’s reliance on public-private partnerships that public health officials have used to piece together important parts of their disaster safety net. “That’s the problem of leaving any kind of disaster preparedness up to the market and market forces — it will never work,” said Dr. John Hick, an emergency medicine specialist in Minnesota who has advised HHS on pandemic preparedness since 2002. “The market is not going to give priority to a relatively no-frills but dependable ventilator that’s not expensive.” The lack of ventilators has quickly become the most critical challenge to keeping alive many of the people most seriously sickened by the virus. Ventilators not only help people breathe but also can provide pressure that holds the lungs open so the air sacs don’t collapse. Neither HHS nor Philips would provide a copy of their contract, citing proprietary technical information that would have to be redacted under a Freedom of Information Act request. But from public documents and interviews with current and former government officials, it appears that HHS has at times been remarkably deferential to Philips — and never more so than in the current pandemic. From the start of its long effort to produce a low-cost, portable ventilator, the small HHS office in charge of the project, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, knew that it might need to move quickly to increase production in an emergency and insisted that potential partners be able to ramp up quickly in the event of a pandemic. But the contract HHS signed in September 2019 gave Philips almost a year before it had to produce a single Trilogy Evo Universal, and two more years to fulfill the order of 10,000 ventilators. On the same day in July that the FDA cleared the stockpile version of the ventilator, it granted the application of Philips’ U.S. subsidiary, Respironics, to sell commercial versions of the Trilogy Evo. Philips quickly began shipping the commercial models overseas from its Murrysville, Pennsylvania, factory. Steve Klink, the company’s Amsterdam-based spokesman, said Philips was within its rights under the HHS contract to prioritize the commercial versions of the Trilogy Evo. An HHS spokeswoman — who insisted she could not be identified by name, despite speaking for the agency — did not disagree. “Keep in mind that companies are always free to develop other products based on technology developed in collaboration with the government,” she said in a statement to ProPublica. “This approach often reduces development costs and ensures the product the government needs is available for many years.” Just last month, HHS gave a very different impression to Congress, hailing the Trilogy Evo it funded as a breakthrough in its campaign for pandemic preparedness. “This game-changing device, considered a pipedream just a few years ago, is now available at affordable prices to improve stockpiling and deployment” in an emergency, the agency told Congress in a budget document delivered on Feb 10. But less than two weeks later, officials overseeing the Strategic National Stockpile approached Philips with an urgent appeal: Start making our ventilators. On March 10, Philips agreed to a modification of the HHS contract — one that called for the company to produce the Trilogy Evo Universal “as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said. However, in a subsequent statement, the HHS spokeswoman said Philips is only required to deliver the ventilators “as they are completed.” Klink, the company spokesman, said Philips was only committed to meeting the original contract deadline of 10,000 ventilators by September 2022. Had government officials insisted that Philips first produce the ventilators that taxpayers paid to design, the government could conceivably be distributing all 10,000 to hospitals now. Last year, Philips plants in Pennsylvania and California produced 500 ventilators of various models per week; they sped up to 1,000 per week earlier this year, Klink said. At that pace, the stockpile ventilators could have been completed even if Philips devoted only part of its lines to their production. Klink said the reason the company is not producing the stockpile ventilator is because it has not yet been mass-produced and would require time-consuming trial runs. In the current crisis, it’s faster and more efficient to continue producing the versions it is already making, he said. Asked if Philips could hand over its Trilogy Evo Universal design to another manufacturer, he argued that the fundamental constraint on production is not the company’s assembly lines but its dependence on more than 100 smaller companies around the world that make the 650 parts needed for a hospital ventilator. “We cannot sell a ventilator with only 649 parts,” he said. “It needs to be the whole 650.” It is difficult to assess how much profit motives might be driving Philips’ decisions about which ventilators to produce because the company does not disclose how much it charges different clients for commercial models. Jeff Marshall, a senior marketing manager at Philips Respironics, demonstrates the commercial version of the Trilogy Evo in a HomeCare Magazine video filmed last year. (Obtained by ProPublica via YouTube) The commercial version of the Trilogy Evo has had its own problems. Not long after it began selling the ventilators last summer, Philips sent out recall notices to customers in Europe and the U.S., alerting them to a software glitch that prompted the devices to shut down without sounding their alarm. The software has since been updated and the problem solved, the company said. Klink said Philips hopes to be making 4,000 ventilators of all types each week in the U.S. by October, and that it would prioritize “those communities and countries that need it the most.” But as the pandemic spreads, desperate global demand for the commercial models of the Trilogy Evo is driving up prices sharply, and evidence from the chaotic open market for the devices raises questions about Philips’ stated commitment to prioritize the neediest. On Staten Island, a saleswoman at No Insurance Medical Supplies, who would give her name only as Jeanette, said the company was selling to “anyone who calls,” including doctors and individuals. The company’s first shipment of 50 devices sold out quickly, but an additional five ventilators arrived on Friday. The company requested 148 more, but Philips Respironics said it could only provide 11 ventilators by April 6, she said. The company’s prices are determined by what the manufacturer charges, she said. The competition abroad is also intense. On March 12, the regional government of Madrid, one of the cities hardest hit by the virus, bought 10 Trilogy Evo ventilators from a Spanish medical supply company for about $11,000 each. In Budapest, Hungary, the Uzsoki Street Hospital announced that a local property development company had donated two “ultra-modern” Philips Trilogy Evo ventilators on March 18. The struggle has grown so fierce that last week, a trade group representing ventilator manufacturers asked the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to decide for the manufacturers whom they should sell to first. “We would appreciate the Administration’s leadership and the advice of clinical and other experts within the Administration in deciding how to allocate these products in the most effective way,” the Advanced Medical Technology Association wrote in a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor. Medical experts and public health officials have believed for nearly two decades that they needed a less-expensive and simpler-to-operate portable ventilator that could be made and distributed quickly in an emergency. “This is not a new problem,” said W. Craig Vanderwagen, a former senior HHS official who oversaw studies that led to the government’s early efforts to design and build a low-cost portable ventilator for such eventualities. “We knew back in the 2000s that ventilators were going to be critical in pandemic preparedness. That was a clear gap that we identified.” In the early 2000s, American public health experts and government officials were gripped by a sense of urgency they had not felt before. The 9/11 attacks and the anthrax scare that followed underscored the need for sweeping new actions to keep the country safe. Outbreaks of Avian influenza — first reported in Hong Kong in 1997 — exposed the public health system’s vulnerability to new, highly fatal pathogens from overseas. The George W. Bush administration’s disastrously slow and inept response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 prompted widespread calls for the government to strengthen its ability to deal with a growing array of emergencies, from new, highly contagious diseases to previously unthinkable terrorist attacks. One obvious vulnerability was to a viral pandemic or a chemical or biological attack that would ravage the lungs of its victims, setting off a cascade of cases of what doctors call Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS. “None of us expected an event on the scale of what we’re going through now,” said Dr. Lewis Rubinson, a pulmonologist who participated in several of the early government-sponsored medical studies. “We had to guess: What would the patients look like? What we predicted correctly was that we could face massive cases of ARDS.” By the early 2000s, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already begun working to stockpile a few thousand ventilators for such an eventuality, former officials said. But studies by medical experts and government scientists — including sophisticated models of what might occur in the event of various disasters, outbreaks or attacks — suggested a bigger problem. Hospitals could be crippled not only by shortages of complex and costly ventilators, but also by a lack of the trained respiratory technicians who are generally required to operate the machines. The experts envisioned one important solution: a portable ventilator that was less complex than hospital machines and could be more quickly produced, safely stockpiled and widely distributed in emergencies. They envisioned a device that could be deployed in field hospitals like the ones that authorities are now rushing to create in Central Park and elsewhere. Volunteers set up a field hospital in New York’s Central Park on Monday. Portable ventilators, like the Trilogy Evo Universal, would have been especially useful for field hospitals, medical experts said. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images) The job of bringing such a device to life fell to BARDA, an innovative office of HHS that was established in 2006 to help the country prepare for pandemic influenza, new types of infectious diseases or an attack or accident involving chemical, biological or radiological weapons. Much of BARDA’s work has been focused on developing potentially critical vaccines and other medicines that are not necessarily profitable for big pharmaceutical companies. The agency often works with medical researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere, identifying promising therapies and other innovations, and then forms partnerships with private biotechnology or other companies to create the drugs and move them through various stages of regulation. In 2008, BARDA began trying to find a company that could make a ventilator that would be inexpensive — ideally, less than $2,000 each — and could be simple enough to use that “inexperienced health care providers with limited or no respiratory support training” could operate the devices during a pandemic, according to the agency’s solicitation for bids. BARDA also anticipated the shortage of parts and competing priorities that the ventilator industry now faces. Companies bidding for the contract had to show they could secure the parts needed to “ramp up production to supply at least” 1,700 ventilators per month and 10,000 in six months’ time. The companies also had to pledge that government “contracts will be honored during a pandemic,” the initial solicitation said. With only a couple of bids, BARDA settled on a small, privately held ventilator company in Costa Mesa, California, Newport Medical Instruments Inc. BARDA and Newport signed a $6.4 million contract in September 2010, specifying that the money would be doled out incrementally as the company met various milestones. But in May 2012, Newport was purchased by a larger Irish medical device company, Covidien, for $108 million. Covidien quickly downsized and asked Rick Crawford, Newport’s former head of research and development and the lead designer of the BARDA ventilator, to finish up the project without any staff assigned to him. Crawford said he took a job with another company. “I don’t know how you finish a project when nobody reports to you,” he recalled thinking. A former BARDA official who worked on the project said that Covidien began raising issue after issue and demanded more money. BARDA agreed, eventually tacking on almost $2 million more to the price tag, records show. Even so, Covidien abandoned the project. A spokesman for the still-larger firm that acquired Covidien in 2015, Medtronic, said that the prototype ventilator created by Newport Medical “would not have been able to meet the specifications required by the government, nor at the price required.” In a statement responding to a story in The New York Times, Medtronic said it left the federal government with all the designs and equipment created in the project. Several former BARDA officials said such outcomes come with their territory. Like big pharmaceutical companies, they had to take chances, especially in the development of vaccines. “There are going to be risks like that when you partner with businesses,” said one former senior BARDA official, who, like others, asked for anonymity because she was not authorized to speak for the agency. “It’s a problem that we at BARDA had encountered before, where a company changed hands and changed priorities.” In March 2016, less than two years after signing its ventilator contract with BARDA, Philips Respironics agreed to pay $34.8 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit under the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute. Justice lawyers accused the manufacturer of effectively paying kickbacks to medical suppliers to buy its masks for sleep apnea. The company also agreed to abide by a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with HHS inspector general that imposed a series of oversight measures on the company’s operations. With BARDA’s continuing support, Philips finally won FDA approval for the Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator in July 2019. Klink, the Philips spokesman, said the $13.8 million from HHS covered only a portion of the design and development costs for the ventilator and that the company invested more. Rubinson, now the chief medical officer of Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey, praised the BARDA effort as essential, adding that if 10,000 ventilators seems like a small number in the COVID-19 crisis, it had to be understood in the context of government officials’ typical unwillingness to buy equipment it might only need in an emergency. “They could have bought a million ventilators,” he said. “And then you would be writing about the boondoggle of all these devices that never got used.” Today, the government’s failure to obtain the Trilogy Evo Universal is seen by some experts as the real game changer. “Even if a few months ago we had taken dramatic action to develop these kinds of ventilators, it would have been better,” said Hick, the emergency medicine specialist in Minnesota. “If I had a ventilator that cost $4,000 rather than $16,000, I’d be in better shape. We can buy a lot more of them.” Claire Perlman contributed reporting. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Liberty University student tests positive for COVID-19 after campus reopened by Jerry Falwell Jr.
    by Matthew Rozsa on March 30, 2020 at 23:36

    The “first known positive coronavirus test” of a student was confirmed Monday by The New York Times

  • “Always have doubts on what authority says is true,” says “One Child Nation documentary filmmaker
    by Mary Elizabeth Williams on March 30, 2020 at 22:58

    Nanfu Wang spoke to Salon about her younger brother and digging into the intricacies of China’s family planning

  • “Dispatches From Elsewhere” stars on connecting to the show’s mystery without a murder
    by Melanie McFarland on March 30, 2020 at 22:35

    Salon talks to Andre Benjamin and Eve Lindley about their series’ heartfelt emphasis: “We need community”

  • My Pillow CEO Says God Put Trump In The White House At Coronavirus Briefing
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 22:30

    My Pillow’s Mike Lindell gave Trump a $100,000 donation, so he was allowed to speak at the coronavirus briefing where he claimed that God put Trump in office.

  • He Was Ordered to Self-Isolate. He Didn’t. Now He’s Facing Criminal Charges.
    by by Jodi S. Cohen on March 30, 2020 at 22:05

    by Jodi S. Cohen ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get weekly updates about our work. In what may be the first case of its kind in Illinois, a man who walked into a busy gas station store after posting on Facebook that he had been ordered to self-isolate because of coronavirus symptoms now faces criminal charges of reckless conduct. The 36-year-old man, who had stopped in the store so his 4-year-old son could use the bathroom, was recognized by an employee who had gone to high school with him and saw his social media post. After the man left, the employee alerted her supervisor, who then called authorities. The incident at The Gas Station, a convenience store in Sainte Marie, a town of 250 people in southeastern Illinois, reflects the heightened anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic and attempts to halt its spread. Store employees and county officials said the man acted carelessly by ignoring medical advice and putting others at risk. “That individual entered into a Jasper County business and was clearly not self-isolating,” Chad Miller, the state’s attorney in the county, said in a press release. Miller alleged that the man’s actions “showed a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.” But the man said he feels fine, stayed away from people at the store and is being unfairly singled out. If he can be charged with a crime, he warned, everyone else should be on alert that they could be next. He was not tested for the virus, he said. “I feel like I am being railroaded over something and being made an example,” said Jason Liddle, of Olney. The state’s attorney did not identify him, but Liddle agreed to talk with ProPublica Illinois. Liddle said he learned of the misdemeanor charge against him on a community Facebook page Friday. He received official notice of the charge and a summons in the mail Monday. The state’s attorney and county Health Department officials declined to comment through their offices. As of Monday, Illinois had reported 5,057 known cases of COVID-19, including 73 deaths, spread over more than half of the state’s 102 counties. Nationwide, there have been about 159,000 known cases and more than 2,800 deaths. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. The criminal charges come as Illinois remains under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order that has closed all schools, dine-in restaurants and nonessential businesses in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Governors in at least 26 states have issued stay-at-home orders, affecting 229 million people, but enforcement of those orders has been sporadic. A New Jersey man who hosted a party at his home Friday night was issued two disorderly persons tickets, and in North Carolina, four men were arrested while protesting outside an abortion clinic. An Indiana man charged with drunken driving last week also was charged with disobeying the state’s stay-at-home order, and a California man was fined $1,000 for surfing in defiance of beach closures there. The Jasper County case is different in that the man was not charged with violating the statewide shutdown order, which applies to everyone. Pritzker has previously acknowledged enforcement of the order is difficult and not “an option that anyone prefers.” Nadav Shoked, a professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, likened the Jasper County case to those of people charged criminally with exposing others to HIV. “This case is unique because it is a person not just violating the order and thereby endangering himself and us in general, but somebody arguably specifically endangering someone else,” Shoked said. Constitutional law professor Steven Schwinn said state and local authorities have the power to enforce stay-at-home and self-isolation orders, though there are “practical impediments” to doing so. “I don’t think anybody is really wildly excited about imposing a fine or some other criminal punishment for violating an isolation or quarantine order,” said Schwinn, who teaches at UIC John Marshall Law School. “In a different situation, if we weren’t dealing with COVID-19 and someone walked into a convenience store with a cold and started coughing, could they be arrested? Maybe, but probably they wouldn’t be,” he said. “In this environment, yes, they probably can be.” The Jasper County case began when Liddle, who lives in neighboring Richland County, posted on his Facebook page a note from a medical professional stating he couldn’t go to work and had to stay home for 14 days, until April 5, because of “possible COVID 19 illness.” Liddle’s March 22 note. (Courtesy of Jason Liddle) Liddle said he was having chest pains and was told to go to a respiratory clinic. The nurse practitioner who saw him said he couldn’t get tested for the novel coronavirus because the tests were being reserved for health officials and the elderly, he said. There are no reported COVID-19 cases in Jasper or Richland counties, according to state health officials. Three days after getting the isolation orders, on March 25, Liddle and his family were driving to his in-laws’ home, about 30 minutes away, when they stopped at The Gas Station so his son could use the bathroom. He said it was the only time he has left the house during his self-isolation. “I took him to the restroom and took him out. I didn’t think anything of it,” Liddle said. “I didn’t get close to anyone, just my son.” Ashton Osborne was working at the store when Liddle walked in, she said in an interview. She had recently seen his Facebook post with the note from the medical provider. “He knew coming out in public was not a good idea to do,” Osborne said. “So the moment I saw him,” she said, “I got hold of my boss and told her.” Osborne said the gas station was the “busiest it had been in days.” “We have elderly people who come in here. It is a small, homegrown town, and it is an old, old town with old people,” she said. “I have been checking my temperature every few hours just to make sure and if I see any signs myself I will stay home.” That evening, The Gas Station posted on its Facebook page that it was “bleaching every surface” in the store and, without naming Liddle, called his behavior “absolutely unacceptable.” Liddle, a satellite TV installer, said he obeyed the order by staying home from work during the isolation period. “I didn’t even realize there was a crime I was committing,” said Liddle, who says he has never previously been charged with a crime. “I am not out there robbing anyone or committing a crime. I get up every day and go to work — or I used to.” He said his symptoms never worsened, and he feels confident he doesn’t have the virus. He said he doesn’t understand why he’s being charged. He said he never was interviewed by the state’s attorney or other law enforcement. “I am not trying to downplay the fact that this is something major. It is very concerning for a lot of people,” Liddle said. “I get that people are afraid, but I am not going to go out and willingly get people sick.” Liddle, who was charged Friday, has been ordered to appear in court in May, court records show. Excerpts from court documents. (Courtesy of Jason Liddle) If convicted, he could face a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to a year’s imprisonment. The Jasper County state’s attorney’s office investigated the incident along with the county Health Department and contacted the man’s health care provider, Miller said in the release. He also added that he is working with the county Health Department and local law enforcement “to monitor compliance with COVID-19 safety precautions.” “I am not releasing this information in order to cause panic which is why names and locations have been excluded, however, I want Jasper County residents to know that public health is something I take very seriously and blatant acts of disregard for others safety will not be tolerated,” Miller wrote. “Stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and [let’s] all continue to pray and care for each other.” ProPublica researcher Doris Burke contributed to this report. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor. Correction, March 30, 2020: This story originally misstated the job of the person who saw Jason Liddle at a respiratory clinic. It was a nurse practitioner, not a doctor.

  • “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” offers control and structure in a time of perilous uncertainty
    by Nicole Clark on March 30, 2020 at 22:00

    There is no better escapist game to be playing right now

  • Laura Ingraham calls out Trump for dodging question about struggling businesses on “Fox & Friends”
    by Igor Derysh on March 30, 2020 at 21:45

    Trump did make time to criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling her a “sick puppy” with “a lot of problems”

  • Facing Layoffs, General Electric Workers Demand Company Put Them to Work Producing Ventilators Instead
    on March 30, 2020 at 21:33

    Julia Conley, staff writerWorkers at a jet engine factory in Lynn, Massachusetts stood six feet apart at a protest outside the facility, following social distancing guidelines while calling on General Electric (GE) to put the employees to work building badly-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients.

  • Right Wing Round-Up: It Is Finished
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 30, 2020 at 21:32

    Fernanda Echavarri @ Mother Jones: More Than 2,000 Americans Have Died of the Coronavirus. Trump Is Tweeting About His TV Ratings. Joe DePaolo @ Mediaite: Trump Calls Nancy Pelosi a ‘Sick Puppy’ in Bonkers Rant on Fox & Friends, Threatens to ‘Take Over’ Pelosi’s District. Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: Scamvangelist Declares COVID-19 “Finished” After

  • Right Wing Bonus Tracks: A Totally Contrived Situation
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 30, 2020 at 21:30

    Rodney Howard-Browne is being represented by Liberty Counsel after he was arrested for holding church services in defiance of state and local stay-at-home orders intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Rob Pue says that the “end goal” of the coronavirus quarantine “is to utterly destroy the world economy and lock us all

  • Trump to Kneecap Obama-Era Fuel Efficiency Standards, Hurtling Nation ‘Toward a More Dangerous Climate’
    on March 30, 2020 at 21:25

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”Of all the bad things President Trump has done to the environment, this is the worst.”

  • As Coronavirus Exposes Deep Flaws of For-Profit System, Biden Doubles Down on Opposition to Medicare for All
    on March 30, 2020 at 21:00

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”This is a losing politics.”

  • America’s underpaid, oft-forgotten EMTs are bearing the brunt of the pandemic
    by Bob Hennelly on March 30, 2020 at 21:00

    Sadly, front-line EMS teams are used to being forgotten by our broken for-profit healthcare system

  • Governor says Illinois will take over coronavirus testing after White House’s “profound failing”
    by Igor Derysh on March 30, 2020 at 20:57

    “The White House has promised millions of tests for weeks now, and they’re just not here,” J.B. Pritzker says

  • Netflix’s “Uncorked” spills the real truth about rejection and privilege in pursuit of passion
    by D. Watkins on March 30, 2020 at 20:35

    In Prentice Penny’s film, a father and son’s opinion of a vocation hinges on what they perceive as survival

  • Saying Quiet Part Very Loud, Trump Admits “You’d Never Have a Republican Elected in This Country Again” If Voting Access Expanded
    on March 30, 2020 at 20:27

    Jon Queally, staff writer”This morning on live television, the president of the United States admitted he is opposed to laws that would make it easier for Americans to vote because that would hurt Republicans.”

  • Epistles to today’s 9-year-old kids!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 30, 2020 at 20:21

    MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020Don’t read until the future: Did the Irish really save civilization? We have no idea.We can tell you this. Based on what we’ve been told by credentialed future anthropologists, today’s 9-year-old kids will have to restart our failed civilization at some point in the future.They will be called to this task in the wake of the global conflagration these despondent future scholars refer to as Mister Trump’s War. They’ll have to address the decades of intellectual squalor which led our failing society to this current place.As we’ve noted in the past, our logicians have abandoned their posts over the course of a great many years. That’s been true in the western world as a whole, not just here in this country.It will fall to today’s 9-year-old kids to restore our daily logic. Give us this day our daily bread? It may be our species’ most basic prayer. But our species can’t live by bread alone. We also need daily logic.We plan to leave these daily epistles for today’s kids to find. They’ll focus on a particular type of meditation which emerges from the later Wittgenstein’s seminal book, Philosophical Investigations.The book itself is an unholy mess, a point Wittgenstein himself acknowledged in his mournful Preface. We won’t advise today’s kids to (attempt to) read the book, unless they want a Finnegan’s Wake-level interpretive challenge.In our next epistle, we’ll look at what Wittgenstein said about his own jumbled book. On the whole, we won’t be attempting to tell the kids what Wittgenstein “thought” or “said.”We will be doing this, however—eventually, we’ll be outlining Wittgenstein’s theory concerning a basic way human reason tends to go astray. Writing for the New York Times, Professor Horwich put it like this:HORWICH (3/3/13): Wittgenstein claims that there are no realms of phenomena whose study is the special business of a philosopher, and about which he or she should devise profound a priori theories and sophisticated supporting arguments. There are no startling discoveries to be made of facts, not open to the methods of science, yet accessible “from the armchair” through some blend of intuition, pure reason and conceptual analysis. Indeed the whole idea of a subject that could yield such results is based on confusion and wishful thinking.This attitude is in stark opposition to the traditional view, which continues to prevail. Philosophy is respected, even exalted, for its promise to provide fundamental insights into the human condition and the ultimate character of the universe, leading to vital conclusions about how we are to arrange our lives. It’s taken for granted that there is deep understanding to be obtained of the nature of consciousness, of how knowledge of the external world is possible, of whether our decisions can be truly free, of the structure of any just society, and so on—and that philosophy’s job is to provide such understanding. Isn’t that why we are so fascinated by it?If so, then we are duped and bound to be disappointed, says Wittgenstein. For these are mere pseudo-problems, the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking…In his later work, Wittgenstein threw much of traditional “philosophy” under the bus. In Horwich’s formulation, Wittgenstein said that traditional philosophy’s alleged findings were, on the whole, “the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking.”Could such a counterintuitive claim possibly be true? In fact, college freshmen have suspected such things for centuries. In an otherwise muddled book, Wittgenstein conjures a meditation which lets us start to see that this counterintuitive view actually may be true.His meditation leads to clarity in a wide range of undertakings. Our society has been dying on the vine from the lack of daily logic. In the future, will today’s 9-year-olds peruse the epistles we leave for them and create a more competent world?

  • The FBI Is Investigating Sen. Richard Burr For Insider Trading
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 19:43

    The DOJ has launched an investigation into Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who dumped millions of dollars in stock just before the coronavirus crisis hit.

  • We Must Cancel Rent Nationwide and Demand Safe Housing for All
    by Madeleine Freeman on March 30, 2020 at 19:39

    Demanding housing during this crisis involves taking on the capitalist state.

  • DOJ Investigating Lawmakers’ Stock Dumps Ahead of Coronavirus Market Crash
    on March 30, 2020 at 19:35

    Andrea Germanos, staff writerAt least one lawmaker affected by the probe is Republican Sen. Richard Bur, who unloaded up to $1.7 million in stocks.

  • Joe Biden Shows More Coronavirus Leadership In 1 Minute Than Trump Ever Has
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 19:10

    Former Vice President Joe Biden showed more knowledge and leadership on the coronavirus in on minute than Trump ever has.

  • ‘Seize It’: Progressives Urge Philadelphia City Govt. to Take Hahnemann Hospital After Owner Demands $1 Million a Month in Rent
    on March 30, 2020 at 18:52

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”The city should reopen Hahnemann hospital immediately,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

  • ‘We Are Beyond Staggering,’ Warns Gov. Cuomo as Coronavirus Overwhelms New York
    on March 30, 2020 at 18:51

    Jon Queally, staff writer”Situation is painfully clear,” said the New York governor, who warns that what his state is experiencing now should be a warning to the entire nation.

  • Department of Justice opens inquiry into stock trades by Republican Sen. Richard Burr: report
    by Matthew Rozsa on March 30, 2020 at 18:31

    “They have the whiff of insider trading and of betrayal of the public trust — not to mention the public’s health”

  • Arrest Warrant Issued for Rodney Howard-Browne for Hosting Church Services Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 30, 2020 at 18:27

    Amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, right-wing pastor and radical conspiracy theorist Rodney Howard-Browne has steadfastly refused to cancel services at his The River church in Tampa, Florida, even after Hillsborough County issued a safer-at-home order instructing residents to remain at home as much as possible and to avoid large gatherings. For weeks, Howard-Browne has insisted

  • Cuomo Helped Get New York Into This Mess
    by Ross Barkan on March 30, 2020 at 18:00

    Ross Barkan The governor’s position on health care spending looked starkly different a couple of months ago. The post Cuomo Helped Get New York Into This Mess appeared first on The Nation.

  • ‘The Strike Wave Is in Full Swing’: Amazon, Whole Foods Workers Walk Off Job to Protest Unjust and Unsafe Labor Practices
    on March 30, 2020 at 17:54

    Julia Conley, staff writerLabor rights advocates on Monday urged support and solidarity with Amazon employees who walked off the job in the company’s warehouse on Staten Island following what the workers said was an unacceptable response by Amazon to at least one case of coronavirus at the facility.

  • ‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
    on March 30, 2020 at 17:47

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

  • Trump Admits That Republicans Would Never Win Another Election Under Coronavirus Voting Reform
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 17:37

    Trump admitted that if the voting pushed by Democrats in the coronavirus bill were enacted, Republicans wouldn’t win another election.

  • Women in ICE Detention, Fearing Coronavirus, Make Video to Protest Unsafe Conditions
    by Debbie Nathan on March 30, 2020 at 17:23

    Women at a Louisiana ICE detention center are using video visitation software to communicate their fears of contracting the coronavirus. The post Women in ICE Detention, Fearing Coronavirus, Make Video to Protest Unsafe Conditions appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Why Are Right-Wing Activists Filming Their Local Hospitals? Look to Todd Starnes
    by Jared Holt on March 30, 2020 at 17:21

    Right-wing conspiracy theorists are filming outside their local hospitals and claiming the quiet scenes resulting from visitor restrictions are proof that media have​ exaggerated the severity of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in America. The hashtag #FilmYourHospital trended on Twitter Sunday, encouraging people to travel to ​nearby hospitals and record video of the exterior to supposedly show that

  • Beware of Trump Using the Coronavirus as a Cover for War With Iran
    by Mehdi Hasan on March 30, 2020 at 17:13

    Strangling Iran’s economy, already devastated by Covid-19, isn’t enough for Trump, even though a new war would be a strategic disaster. The post Beware of Trump Using the Coronavirus as a Cover for War With Iran appeared first on The Intercept.

  • E.W. Jackson: God Is Protecting Trump and Pence From Coronavirus
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 30, 2020 at 17:05

    Right-wing pastor and radio host E.W. Jackson held Sunday services at his The Called Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he proclaimed that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have not contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus because they are being protected by God. Jackson, who used the service to declare that neither he nor any

  • ProPublica Wins Three SABEW Awards for Business Journalism
    by by ProPublica on March 30, 2020 at 17:03

    by ProPublica The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) announced Monday that ProPublica won three awards in its Best in Business competition recognizing excellence in business journalism. Our reporting on President Donald Trump’s taxes won in the banking/finance category. Over two articles, reporter Heather Vogell and contributor Doris Burke revealed that Trump’s company has told different stories to tax authorities and loan officials, making his operations look less profitable for tax purposes and more profitable to lenders. The mission required delving deep into financial and tax documents, carefully analyzing and comparing the data to identify the discrepancies. “This was a tour de force of investigative journalism that broke new ground in a series of well-structured stories about President Donald Trump and his family business,” contest judges said. “The articles gave some of the clearest and most detailed accounts of the finances of the Trump Organization and the Trump family.” “The Extortion Economy,” by Renee Dudley and Jeff Kao, won in the technology category. Millions of ransomware attacks have struck corporations, governments, hospitals and individuals — a common cybercrime typically viewed as a foreign and unsolvable problem. ProPublica’s investigation revealed how American firms that purport to help victims of ransomware, using proprietary technology, usually just pay the ransom to recover victims’ files and charge a substantial fee on top. In essence, the ransomware targets are victimized twice, first by the hackers and then by the data recovery firms. “Compellingly written, these stories not only trace ransomware attacks to their international sources; they also shed important light on the failure of officials at publicly traded companies to adequately disclose their companies’ victimization by these internet pirates,” contest judges said. “These stories have already led to executive and legislative action to address lack of corporate transparency and weak regulations.” A collaboration with BuzzFeed News on the grueling, sometimes deadly conditions endured by drivers who work in Amazon’s delivery network won in the retail category. The joint investigation by ProPublica’s Patricia Callahan, James Bandler and Doris Burke and BuzzFeed News’ Ken Bensinger and Caroline O’Donovan exposed how the company ignored or dismissed driver safety concerns to prioritize speed, low costs and explosive growth. Drawing on confidential corporate documents as well as interviews with more than 40 Amazon managers, the reporters showed that executives repeatedly quashed or delayed safety initiatives because they might have slowed deliveries. “ProPublica and BuzzFeed deliver deep, meaningful, fearless reporting on the biggest name in retail,” contest judges said. “Their work uncovers the human costs of a secretive culture hellbent on delivery speed and efficiency.” Three other ProPublica projects received honorable mentions. A collaboration with American Banker, by Jesse Eisinger, Nick Varchaver, Kevin Wack and Alan Kline, on how Trump’s political appointees intervened to reduce sanctions against two large banking organizations involved in trading risky securities leading to the 2008 financial crisis, received honorable mention in the banking/finance category. “The TurboTax Trap” by Justin Elliott, Paul Kiel and Lucas Waldron, which showed how the tax preparation industry, particularly Intuit’s TurboTax, misled the public with bogus offers of free online tax preparation, received honorable mention in the government category. Reporting by Caroline Chen on how the transplant team at Newark Beth Israel Hospital failed to consult families about treatment decisions, even as it kept a vegetative patient on life support to boost its survival rate, received honorable mention in the health/science category. See a list of all the SABEW Award winners here.

  • Sen. Burr Faces DOJ Investigation for Selling a Fortune in Stocks Right Before the Market Crashed
    by by Robert Faturechi on March 30, 2020 at 17:00

    by Robert Faturechi ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Federal authorities are scrutinizing Sen. Richard Burr’s stock sell-off before the market crash triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported on Sunday. The news comes less than two weeks after ProPublica and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, unloaded between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions, a significant portion of his total portfolio. The sales came soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. According to CNN, the FBI has reached out to Burr seeking information about the trades. The inquiry is in its early stages and is being done in coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alice Fisher, an attorney advising Burr, declined to confirm the investigation, but she said in a statement to ProPublica that “Senator Burr welcomes a thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.” “The law is clear that any American — including a Senator — may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did,” she said. “When this issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review, and he will cooperate with that review as well as any other appropriate inquiry.” The FBI and SEC declined comment. The CNN report suggested that the Justice Department was scrutinizing stock trades made by multiple lawmakers. After the ProPublica story on Burr, various media outlets reported on other senators who also sold stock before the downturn, including a Daily Beast story on GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and her husband selling between $1.27 million and $3.1 million of stock. They also purchased shares of Citrix, a work-from-home software company. Loeffler has said the trades were made without her knowledge by a third-party financial adviser. A Loeffler spokesperson told CNN that Loeffler has not been contacted by the FBI. Burr has defended his sell-off, saying he relied solely on public information to inform his trades, including CNBC reports, and did not rely on information he obtained as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His stock sales drew widespread outrage, resulting in calls for his resignation from prominent Republicans and Democrats. Three House Democrats have introduced legislation to bar lawmakers from trading individual stocks. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Amid Pandemic, Homeless New Yorkers Demand Refuge in Vacant Apartments, Hotels
    by Amy Goodman on March 30, 2020 at 16:57

    Tens of thousands of homeless people in New York City have been left with no way to shelter in place.

  • Coronavírus: motivado por Trump, americano toma produto com cloroquina e morre
    by Robert Mackey on March 30, 2020 at 16:47

    Casal ouviu Trump dizer que remédio usado para tratar a malária poderia curar a covid-19 e bebeu uma versão da cloroquina não destinada ao uso humano. The post Coronavírus: motivado por Trump, americano toma produto com cloroquina e morre appeared first on The Intercept.

  • ICE Transferred Cameroonian Women After they Protested Their Detention. Now, Despite Coronavirus, It Won’t Grant Them Parole.
    by Felipe De La Hoz on March 30, 2020 at 16:46

    “You don’t want to give us parole, let us go home. Give us court dates so that we can attend our court proceedings,” one of the women said of ICE. The post ICE Transferred Cameroonian Women After they Protested Their Detention. Now, Despite Coronavirus, It Won’t Grant Them Parole. appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Fox News concerned about “potential legal action” over its misleading coronavirus coverage: report
    by Igor Derysh on March 30, 2020 at 16:44

    “This could be a legal bloodbath,” Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, says

  • Neoliberal Austerity and Private Health Care Has Worsened US Pandemic
    by Amy Goodman on March 30, 2020 at 16:38

    Gasping for air, gasping for care. What does global health justice look like?

  • Life on a Block With an Emergency Morgue Truck: “We Hear the Hum of the Refrigerator Going All Night Long”
    by by Annie Waldman on March 30, 2020 at 16:17

    by Annie Waldman ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Warning: The article contains images that some readers may find disturbing. Across New York City, there are unthinkable scenes everywhere. Empty public spaces. Teeming emergency rooms. Shuttered churches. For Marc Kozlow, the unthinkable played out on Stanhope Street in Brooklyn this weekend. He lives on the block with his fiancee and dog, a rescue named Hank. Near his apartment is Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, a 350-bed nonprofit hospital in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Most of the hospital’s patients are people of color; about a fifth are 70 or older. This month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an 82-year-old Brooklyn woman at Wyckoff was the city’s first official COVID-19 death. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. As of Sunday, the city’s death toll had risen to 776, accounting for more than quarter of the deaths nationwide. The city has brought in at least 45 refrigerated trucks and tents, in case hospitals and morgues reach capacity for the number of deceased that they can hold. “They are distributed as needed to support hospitals,” said Aja Worthy-Davis, a spokeswoman for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Wyckoff has a refrigerated truck, said hospital CEO Ramon J. Rodriguez. It is on the side of the hospital, close to the loading dock. The morgue is in the basement. The deceased were moved in plain view on Sunday. (Courtesy of Marc Kozlow) Kozlow shared with ProPublica several pictures he’d taken because he wants the country to take sensible precautions. “I understand the time that we’re in, and I understand how this virus is taking over everything,” he said. “I shared the photos with the intention that the rest of the U.S. knows to take it seriously. This is what the country should be aware of, and hospitals around the country should prepare for this to come.” His account has been edited for clarity and brevity. “It’s not a huge hospital. We have a dog. I have to take him out three or four times a day. All around the hospital is littered with surgical masks and used gloves that are not finding their ways into trash. I started thinking, ‘What the hell is happening?’ “And then two days ago, the trailer arrived. I didn’t think twice of it. I thought it was possibly one of the many additional medical supply trucks that the hospital needed. When I was taking the dog out for the evening walk, I walked past the truck. I watched a man in full protective gear work the trash compactor in a hazmat suit. A doctor and a nurse were walking and the doctor said, ‘They got mad bodies in there.’ A body is placed in a coffin outside Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. (Courtesy of Marc Kozlow) “And then on Saturday morning, they started building a platform. They’re drilling and setting up this platform system on the street. They finished the platform, and then they basically carted out what looked like a body in a gurney, but I was very unsure of what it was and they opened it up and it was a coffin. The guys on the platform pulled out a body from the trailer, and put it into the coffin. About three to four hours later, it was like a conveyor line of bodies. “This was about 6 to 7 p.m. There were at least 10 bodies going into the trailer. The first ones had bags, and then they were one by one on gurneys, and then they started coming two per gurney, they were just covered in sheets. “We leave our windows open and we hear the hum of the refrigerator going all night long. It’s disturbing to know what’s in there.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Limiting US COVID-19 Deaths to 100,000 Is Trump’s Idea of Doing a “Good Job”
    by Jake Johnson on March 30, 2020 at 16:12

    Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat of a pandemic over the last month.

  • It’s Time to Rethink US Militarism in the Midst of COVID-19
    by William J. Astore on March 30, 2020 at 16:11

    This should be a time for a genuinely new approach, one fit for a world of rising disruption and disaster.

  • All the President’s Crackpots
    by Jeet Heer on March 30, 2020 at 16:02

    Jeet Heer Richard A. Epstein’s crank theories about the coronavirus are influential thanks to a powerful network of right-wing legal activists. The post All the President’s Crackpots appeared first on The Nation.

  • BREAKING: Quick observations, plus pet peeves!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 30, 2020 at 15:52

    MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020Rational animals flounder: Later today, we expect to start a series of afternoon posts, “Epistles to the 9-year-olds.” As the Irish saved civilization, it will fall to the 9-year-olds, in future decades, to rebuild our crumbling culture. Hopefully, these epistles will still be floating around, providing one way they can start.For now, we’ll list a few quick observations and peeves. We’ll start with yesterday’s daily briefing, which accidentally bled over into prime time.Here at THE HOWLER, we appreciate the kinds of people who voice appreciation. So it went late yesterday as corporate leaders kowtowed to President Carsale right there in the Rose Garden:MR. KAUFMANN (3/29/20): Thank you, Mr. President, and thanks for your leadership on this. Because of that leadership, we have really seen the government agencies working with industry like no time before…MR. PESICKA: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me first start by thanking the administration for all the support you have provided to the industry…MS. LANE: Thank you, Mr President, for the incredible leadership. I will share with you that UPS is really proud to be part of this effort…MR. TYLER: Well, thank you, Mr. President. I would certainly like to echo my colleagues’ comments that the collaboration amongst many of the government agencies and the private market and the distributors represented here today has been incredible. It has been increasing and ramping up over the past weeks.MR. MILLS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And thanks to FEMA and HHS. I think great leadership, and it’s really working well…MR. CONNETT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. We appreciate the opportunity to work with your administration on a lot of collaborative fronts…The president’s incredible leadership is really working well. It’s working like no time before. Everybody seemed to agree on these basic points!You can’t necessarily blame these people for kowtowing to President Sell-A-Wreck. People have to treat him this way, due to his condition.His condition might be a “mental illness.” It might be a “personality disorder.”As far as we know, sociopathy isn’t a formal technical term, but a certain percentage of people qualify for the nearest diagnosis. Presumably, they didn’t choose to be sociopathic, but many people are. We can’t tell you that President Junker isn’t so afflicted. With that, a few observations and peeves:Shocked, shocked: Kevin Drum has done fantastic work down through the years, That’s especially true concerning his work on lead exposure. In that area, he tried to open an important discussion. His work was, of course, ignored and disappeared.That said, it seemed to us that Drum entered the realm of newly discovered casino gambling in yesterday’s post. Like so many others, he continues to be “shocked, shocked” by the latest manifestations of Trump’s fairly obvious mental illness.Now we know why Trump holds those briefings? On what planet was that comment hatched? Donald Trump seems to be mentally ill. We’re amazed by the lengths to which people will go to avoid making this obvious statement and advancing the discussion from there.Seeing no evil: Yesterday, at 11 AM Eastern, we watched a 20-minute panel discussion hosted by MSNBC’s Joy Reid. One chyron said this:HOW NEWS OUTLETS ARE COVERING TRUMP’S RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKReid and her pals talked about Fox, but no one mentioned the elephant in the room. The major news outlet which sends them their checks is airing a maniac’s daily briefings live.They’re airing his “briefings” live in prime time! None of the overpaid cable stars mentioned this unfortunate fact. These people are paid for their silence.Hearing the very loud voices: Way back in 1988, Candidate George H. W. Bush defined himself thusly: “I may be a quiet man, but I hear the quiet voices others do not.” Maybe so, possibly not! This morning, it seemed to us that Charles Blow had been hearing a very loud voice which is basically no longer there:BLOW (3/30/20): Donald Trump has tried in every way to make fighting the pandemic feel like fighting a war. As he tried to frame it: “We’re at war, in a true sense we’re at war, and we are fighting an invisible enemy.” But an invisible enemy doesn’t work as well as a visible one, so Trump now regularly refers to the virus as the “Chinese virus.”[…]Calling the virus “the Chinese virus” is the closest Trump can get to a target, to racist, cultural scapegoating. Regardless of where the first case of this virus was identified, the United States now has more confirmed cases than any country in the world.Does Trump “now regularly refer to the virus as the ‘Chinese virus?'” We’d have to say he pretty much doesn’t.We searched all his daily briefings from last Monday on. We also searched his virtual town hall performance on Fox.He used the term “Chinese virus” at one point in his Thursday, March 26 briefing. But that was the only usage we found.Make no mistake! This blatantly disordered man is running a wide assortment of distractions, misdirections and scams. It would be helpful to see high-profile journalists like Blow trying to list them out.That said, our tribe loves the “racist” narrative, so Blow has been hearing something regularly said. It’s a preconceived tribal narrative, and our journalism is based on little else.This is the way our press has worked all the way back to the Whitewater pseudo-scandals, followed by all the claims about all the crazy things Candidate Gore was imagined to have said. The novelized sliming of Hillary Clinton continued through November 2016.That’s the way rational animals actually work! This is one of the obvious ways Trump ended up where he is.A certain lack of focus: In his daily televised briefings, Trump has been luxuriating in the gong-show of large numbers. In this way, he is convincing many people that his incredible leadership has resulted in the shipping of incredible amounts of supplies to our beleaguered hospitals. Yesterday, he actually began suggesting that medical workers have been stealing and selling the mountains of material they’ve been sent thanks to his own incredible leadership. Because of his obvious but undiscussed condition, this sort of thing is never going to end.No one has ever seen anything like it! In the last week, this has been the commander’s play, much more than any racist attack on the Chinese. (Also, the endless claim that things were a mess when he got there.)To what extent is testing now available? To what extent are necessary materials—masks, gowns, ventilators—being supplied to hospitals? This is the basic blocking and tackling of our nation’s attempt to respond to the worldwide virus. We’re surprised by the lack of dedicated pages to these basic topics in our most famous newspapers. Also on cable, where human interest and interviews tend to prevail.Masks, gowns, ventilators, tests? These are the basic building blocks of our nation’s response. We need to know 1) how many have been provided, but also 2) how many will be needed.Those items also constitute the basic building blocks of a certain maniac’s relentless attempts at widespread public deception. Each topic should have a dedicated page in our daily papers.The basic facts about these topics should be updated daily in a highly visible way. Would that require a type of focus our “journalists” tend to lack?

  • ‘Insulting’ Frontline Health Workers, Trump—Without Evidence—Accuses Hospital Staff in New York of Stealing Protective Gear
    on March 30, 2020 at 15:44

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”This man is a serious danger to the health and safety of every health care worker in the nation.”

  • Joe Biden Says “The President Needs to Be Honest” and “Follow the Science” in New Podcast
    by Darragh Roche on March 30, 2020 at 15:38

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has urged President Donald Trump to be honest and listen to science. The Democrat made the remarks in his new podcast. Biden debuted the ‘Here’s the Deal’ podcast on Monday. He hopes it will help him keep in touch with voters during Coronavirus restrictions. “It’s critical for the President not … Continue reading “Joe Biden Says “The President Needs to Be Honest” and “Follow the Science” in New Podcast”

  • Tactics From the Right-Wing Playbook on COVID-19
    by Peter Montgomery on March 30, 2020 at 15:13

    During this extremely challenging time, when the spread of the coronavirus threatens people’s lives and the nation’s well-being, Americans should be able to count on their leaders for honest and accurate information. But Americans who trust right-wing media, political, and religious leaders have too often gotten the opposite. President Donald Trump himself has been a

  • ‘Poor Omen’: Just 24% of Biden’s Supporters ‘Very Enthusiastic’—Less Than Half of Trump’s 53%
    on March 30, 2020 at 15:12

    Julia Conley, staff writerA new survey from ABC News/The Washington Post points to a trend in Joe Biden’s support which caused concern among progressives on Sunday regarding his chances of beating President Donald Trump in November.

  • Trump says he will do “a very good job” if only 200,000 people die in US from COVID-19
    by Igor Derysh on March 30, 2020 at 15:10

    The president bragged about his TV ratings before extending restrictions through April 30 and predicting mass death

  • Trump Supporters Want Congress To Subpoena Dr. Fauci’s Phone to See If He’s Been Talking to Hillary Clinton
    by Darragh Roche on March 30, 2020 at 14:57

    Trump supporter Bill Mitchell wants Congress to issue a subpoena for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s phone and accused him of contact with Hillary Clinton. “Congress should subpoena Dr. Doom Fauci’s phone records and see how many times he has called Hillary in the past 60 days,” Mitchell said on Twitter. Mitchell has downplayed the severity of … Continue reading “Trump Supporters Want Congress To Subpoena Dr. Fauci’s Phone to See If He’s Been Talking to Hillary Clinton”

  • Kenneth Copeland: The Holy Spirit Is Guiding ‘King’ Trump Through the Coronavirus Crisis
    by Kyle Mantyla on March 30, 2020 at 14:45

    Prosperity gospel preacher and Trump evangelical adviser Kenneth Copeland held Sunday services at his Eagle Mountain International Church in Texas, where he declared that President Donald Trump is being guided by the Holy Spirit to lead the United States through the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Preaching to an empty church, Copeland recounted for George Pearsons,

  • Poverty in the Date Palms
    by David Bacon on March 30, 2020 at 14:24

    Though there are fewer than 200 palmeros, they harvest 95 percent of the dates grown in the United States.

  • Trump Blames New York for Ventilator Shortage: “They Should Have More Than Enough”
    by Darragh Roche on March 30, 2020 at 14:16

    President Donald Trump has blamed the state of New York for its ventilator shortage. The President gave a live interview on Fox News on Monday claiming the state was misusing the lifesaving machines. “I think New York should be fine, based on the numbers that we see,” Trump told the network’s morning show. “They should … Continue reading “Trump Blames New York for Ventilator Shortage: “They Should Have More Than Enough””

  • Fox News Fears Its Early Downplaying of Coronavirus Could Lead to Lawsuits
    by Alan Ryland on March 30, 2020 at 13:48

    Vanity Fair special correspondent Gabriel Sherman, the author of The Loudest Voice in the Room, about Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’s rises and fall at the network, says Fox News’s decision to oust prime time host Trish Regan was done to limit legal liability. The decision came after Fox News downplayed the threat of the coronavirus … Continue reading “Fox News Fears Its Early Downplaying of Coronavirus Could Lead to Lawsuits”

  • Illinois Will Take Charge of Coronavirus Testing After Trump Admin’s “Profound Failing”
    by Alan Ryland on March 30, 2020 at 12:57

    Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) announced his state will take charge of coronavirus testing, citing President Donald Trump’s administration’s “profound failing” to roll tests out successfully. “The White House has promised millions of tests for weeks now, and they’re just not here,” Pritzker said at yesterday’s daily press briefing. “I’m not going to wait on … Continue reading “Illinois Will Take Charge of Coronavirus Testing After Trump Admin’s “Profound Failing””

  • As Sanders Demands End to Iran Sanctions to Save Lives Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Biden Says He Needs ‘More Information’
    on March 30, 2020 at 12:40

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Sanders. “U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster.”

  • While Trump Seeks Elimination of ACA, Pelosi Re-focuses Americans, Media Heading into 2020
    by Tim Libretti on March 30, 2020 at 12:32

    As coverage of the coronavirus streams 24-7 on the airways, updating cases and casualties as well as policy shifts and other breaking developments, it is understandable Americans might find their attention riveted to day to day events linked to the pandemic, making it hard to even think about larger political contexts or issues raised by … Continue reading “While Trump Seeks Elimination of ACA, Pelosi Re-focuses Americans, Media Heading into 2020”

  • Our Endless War on the Poor
    by Frances Fox Piven on March 30, 2020 at 12:06

    American society persistently refuses to address the root cause of poverty.

  • As the Coronavirus Pandemic Spreads, Gun Sales Soar
    by Colleen Quinn on March 30, 2020 at 12:00

    Colleen Quinn “Coming storm”: In the United States, gun violence is already a public health epidemic. The post As the Coronavirus Pandemic Spreads, Gun Sales Soar appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Real Epidemic is Poverty
    by Rev. Dr. William Barber II on March 30, 2020 at 11:14

    The moral crisis of poverty amid vast wealth is inseparable from the injustice of systemic racism, ecological devastation, and our militarized war economy.

  • The Pandemic and Poor Countries
    by Joshua K. Leon on March 30, 2020 at 10:51

    COVID-19 is a global crisis. We are all in this together.

  • ‘Abolish For-Profit Health Insurance’: Analysis Warns Companies Could Hike Premiums by 40% Amid Pandemic
    on March 30, 2020 at 10:41

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”Corporate-run health insurance isn’t about saving lives. It’s about making as much money as possible. With Medicare for All we can finally put an end to this international disgrace,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

  • “Now I Can Afford My Meds.” After Months of Appeals, Retiree’s Medicaid Benefits Are Restored.
    by by Akilah Johnson on March 30, 2020 at 10:00

    by Akilah Johnson ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Almost two years after Judith Persutti first applied for Medicaid in South Carolina, the 64-year-old retiree who gets by on Social Security and food stamps had her health insurance restored Friday. Her benefits were reinstated after ProPublica examined a little-used appeals and hearing process that allows people receiving public assistance to challenge adverse decisions made by government agencies. The Trump administration has called the right to appeal a “guardrail” that protects citizens as states try to apply more stringent requirements for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Few people file appeals, but Persutti did. Appearing without a lawyer, she showed up in February in Columbia for a one-hour hearing that dissected in detail her medical and work histories to determine if she is disabled, unable to return to work, and qualifies for Medicaid. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services “made previous errors when starting and stopping [Persutti’s] coverage,” the presiding hearing officer, Colleen Clark, wrote in the final administrative decision. Even though the state determined that Persutti was last employed as a “sedentary telephone customer complaint clerk, she cannot perform it due to the presence of occasional climbing, stooping, reaching, or bending present in the occupation. She has a severe impairment.” “Now, I can afford my meds. I can afford the things I need,” Persutti said after receiving the final administrative order. “Hopefully, this’ll open people’s eyes. Maybe the road that you have to travel to get to this point, maybe make it less difficult.” South Carolina is one of 14 states that declined to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. It embraced the Trump administration’s work-requirement initiative to make it harder to qualify for Medicaid, which cost the state about $7.7 billion in 2019 — or about 17% of its budget. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new federal laws say states can’t kick someone off Medicaid or make enrollment more difficult (such as by imposing work requirements) until the public health emergency ends. Anyone enrolled in South Carolina’s Medicaid as of March 18 gets to keep it for now, according to the state. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Tuesday that it closed local eligibility offices to walk-ins but is maintaining normal business hours and opened its call center on Saturdays so people can “complete any action” they would normally do in person. On Wednesday, the state said it continues processing applications and appeals that were pending prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Persutti’s letter arrived as she and her oldest granddaughter continued to shelter in place in her little house near the Savannah River. Medicaid abruptly terminated Persutti’s health insurance in November, saying only that she did “not meet policy rules the rules for age or disability.” She appeared at her hearing just before the global pandemic erupted in the U.S., spreading fear as far as Persutti’s one-stoplight town. As Persutti waited for a decision, a timeline she was told would be about 30 days, the novel coronavirus outbreak grew. She became one of the country’s 28 million uninsured adults, many with chronic illnesses that make them particularly vulnerable to the dangers of COVID-19. Persutti has osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, hypertension and asthma. She’s supposed to take a mix of prescription medications for pain, inflammation, blood pressure and anxiety, but she can’t afford them all. Just over 1 million people are on Medicaid in South Carolina, which processes applications and eligibility reviews by the tens of thousands annually. Last year, according to the state, 3,711 appeals were requested but only 101 hearings were held. The final order said Persutti has qualified for Medicaid since 2018 when she first applied. “If I could, I’d be doing my little happy feet dance,” she said. “This has been such a long, rough, hard road.” Kirsten Berg contributed reporting. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Out From Under ‘the Economy’
    by Sheetal Chhabria, Aparna Gopalan on March 30, 2020 at 09:59

    Sheetal Chhabria, Aparna Gopalan Covid-19 proves we can’t conflate the market’s health with workers’ well-being. The post Out From Under ‘the Economy’ appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Strange and Often Radical Pursuit of Immortality in Russia
    by Sophie Pinkham on March 30, 2020 at 09:59

    Sophie Pinkham A new book looks at the history of a century-long movement to create life after death. The post The Strange and Often Radical Pursuit of Immortality in Russia appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Coronavirus Will Test Whether We’ve Learned Anything From 9/11
    by Elie Mystal on March 30, 2020 at 09:59

    Elie Mystal Many of us would be happy to exchange some basic rights for safety right now, but we have to be vigilant about protecting our liberties. The post The Coronavirus Will Test Whether We’ve Learned Anything From 9/11 appeared first on The Nation.

  • After Repeatedly Downplaying Threat, Trump Now Says Keeping US Coronavirus Deaths to 100,000 Would Be a ‘Good Job’
    on March 30, 2020 at 09:44

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”There really are no words for this level of insensitivity and inhumanity. A serial killer would be jealous.”

  • How to Win in Wisconsin
    by John Nichols on March 30, 2020 at 09:30

    John Nichols Democrats have a shot to win the state in the November presidential election, but the 2020 strategy has to speak directly to Wisconsinites’ needs. The post How to Win in Wisconsin appeared first on The Nation.

  • Working Behind the Scenes in the Pandemic
    by Peter van Agtmael, The Nation, The Magnum Foundation on March 30, 2020 at 09:00

    Peter van Agtmael, The Nation, The Magnum Foundation A visual diary of the invisible workforce keeping our economy moving during this crisis. The post Working Behind the Scenes in the Pandemic appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Chicago Housing Authority Was Slow to Protect Residents During the Coronavirus Outbreak
    by by Mick Dumke on March 30, 2020 at 09:00

    by Mick Dumke ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get weekly updates about our work. As is her way, Brenda Perry got right to the point when I reached her on the phone. “They’re not doing anything right at the CHA,” she said. Perry is 73 years old and lives in a Chicago Housing Authority high-rise for seniors, the Lincoln Perry apartments, in the South Side’s Douglas community. She’s long been outspoken about conditions in her building and other CHA policies; during public testimony at a meeting last fall, she reminded the CHA board that she had been telling them for three years that the building’s private management company hadn’t been keeping it clean. In recent months, she said, she’s also pressed officials for information about the CHA’s plans for emergencies, including the coronavirus pandemic. Perry suffers from health problems, including the autoimmune disease lupus, that could increase her risk of infection. “No one has gotten back to me,” she said. The view from Brenda Perry’s home at the Lincoln Perry apartments in Chicago on Friday. (Courtesy of Brenda Perry) Recently, when Perry was on her way to visit her building’s resident service coordinator, a CHA liaison, she was alarmed to see more than a dozen people shooting pool and sitting around a card table in the first floor rec room. She wondered why the building’s common areas were even open. It was nearly a week after state officials had first urged Illinois residents to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Does that make any sense at all?” Perry said to me on the phone. “If you’ve got four people sitting at a card table, you know doggone well they’re not sitting 6 feet apart — they’re on top of each other.” The common areas have since been closed. But Perry is one of several residents and CHA employees who’ve expressed deep concerns to me that the agency’s leaders have been slow to take crucial steps to protect public health and safety. Internal communications I’ve obtained back them up. They show that CHA officials waited weeks before hastily drawing up employee work-from-home plans that could reduce the risk of exposure for staff and residents. Some residents say they still haven’t heard what the CHA is doing to protect tenants and what will happen if the outbreak continues for weeks or months. These accounts offer an example of how public agencies around the country are scrambling to adjust amid the growing pandemic. For those that provide social services such as housing to people in need, the challenges are even greater. When I reached out to the CHA, a spokeswoman sent me a written statement stressing that the agency has worked to comply with health guidelines and stepped up its communications with residents. “The health and safety of our residents and staff remains the highest priority of CHA and along with city departments and sister agencies, CHA is following the lead of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) when it comes to providing information about the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said. “While CHA offices are closed to the public, we continue to operate and provide all essential services to CHA families and seniors.” Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. At least one CHA employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a message from acting CEO James L. Bebley emailed to staff Friday, and others who were in contact with that person were asked to self quarantine. The agency has also received word about “a few” residents who tested positive, the statement from the spokeswoman said. “Individual cases are being handled according to CDPH directives and protocols as with any other resident in the City of Chicago.” Some context here: With a complex history that includes periods of disastrous mismanagement, the CHA has spent the last two decades trying to deliver on a vow to “transform” public housing. Its central promise: It would build or fix up 25,000 housing units across the city within 10 years. A decade past that deadline, agency officials say they are on the verge of delivering the last of the promised apartments. Officials at City Hall rarely mention the CHA as a solution to the region’s vast shortage of affordable housing, let alone to the immediate threats presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled a plan for the city to rent hotel rooms and partner with the YMCA to house homeless and quarantined people without other options. She didn’t even bring up the CHA, which has more than 1,800 empty apartments, according to a report from the third quarter of 2019, the most recent available. While the agency’s public housing footprint has diminished, more than 4,600 senior households and 9,000 families still live in CHA-owned apartments. All of those apartments are now managed by private companies. The agency also oversees more than 45,000 rental subsidy vouchers, commonly known as Section 8, that help families live in privately owned housing. The CHA has been without a permanent leader since September, when its former CEO left to oversee the housing authority in Atlanta. Bebley, formerly the CHA’s general counsel, has been serving as acting CEO with the understanding that he would stay on as chief operating officer once Lightfoot picked a permanent leader for the agency. The mayor finally did so in early March, naming Tracey Scott, leader of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, as the new CEO. The CHA board was set to approve Scott’s appointment on March 17, but the meeting was canceled the day before, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order banning gatherings of 50 or more people as well as on-site bar and restaurant service. By then, behind the scenes, CHA officials were already struggling to adapt to the rapidly accelerating advance of the coronavirus. Like other units of government, public housing authorities, known in housing circles as PHAs, are supposed to have detailed plans in place to deal with a range of potential emergencies. In a 2016 document, “PHA Disaster Readiness and Preparation Guide,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommended that local agencies hold training sessions with both staff and residents so they have “a clear understanding of pre- and post-disaster roles and responsibilities.” In the event of an emergency, agency employees should have a system to make contact with residents, particularly the most vulnerable. A HUD memo posted online on March 13 offered additional guidance amid the coronavirus outbreak. It advised housing authorities to prepare remote work plans for employees and to communicate closely with tenants, by phone if necessary to limit in-person contact. The CHA has distributed information on COVID-19 directly to residents while also posting notices throughout its properties and on its website, according to the statement from its spokeswoman. Communication with senior residents has been a top priority, it said. Private building managers and social service providers have also been in touch with residents. But residents tell me the CHA has engaged in only sporadic communication since state and city officials began imposing rules to reduce social interaction. During the first two weeks of March — when the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global pandemic and Pritzker named Illinois a disaster area — some CHA residents received informational flyers about COVID-19 under their doors. The flyers advised residents to wash their hands and keep surfaces clean in their apartments, and it promised that property managers would make sure that common areas were wiped down regularly. But other information from the CHA was contradictory and confusing. On March 10, a resident service coordinator distributed memos to tenants at the Lincoln Perry apartments announcing that, as a coronavirus precaution, the building’s lunch service would only provide take-out boxed meals. To minimize person-to-person contact, residents were asked to exit the dining room once they picked up their food. However, the memo added, “The dining room will reopen @1:30 pm daily for socialization, ie, all scheduled events, parties, activities, health seminars, etc.” Etta Davis says she hasn’t received even those notices. “I haven’t heard or seen any flyers or anything,” said Davis, who has lived for 26 years in the Dearborn Homes, a complex for families in the Douglas community. “I’m just assuming they’re assuming that everybody is watching the news, but not everyone does.” Etta Davis has been a resident of Dearborn Homes for 26 years. (Leslie Adkins/Chicago Sun-Times) Davis, 65, serves as the vice president of the Dearborn Homes local advisory council, the official residents’ group. She told me that a resident services coordinator had gone apartment to apartment to check on seniors “within the last two weeks.” But then the coordinator’s office closed, and she isn’t aware of any outreach efforts since then. “As far as well-being checks on seniors, they could be doing more of that,” Davis said. Internally, the CHA created an operations plan to protect its employees and maintain “critical services,” the agency’s statement said. But according to interviews with employees and emails I’ve obtained, top officials were halting, at best, in developing policies to protect its employees. In Illinois, the government response to the pandemic hit a turning point on March 13, when Pritzker ordered the closure of schools statewide. Two days later, he banned on-site dining and drinking at bars and restaurants. Whenever possible, he said, state workers would also be told to work from home. But that evening, Bebley, the CHA’s interim chief, sent out an email informing staff that the agency would remain open. “You are expected to continue your daily responsibilities in your respective departments until further notice,” he wrote. “It remains safe to come to work.” Bebley added that, during the coming week, top CHA officials would work on implementing the agency’s “Continuity of Operations Plan,” which would help to determine whether employees could work from home. The email didn’t include any details of what was in the plan. Employees I spoke with, one of them a supervisor, said they had never seen the plan and weren’t aware of what their roles in it might be. On March 17, Lightfoot said many city employees would begin working at home “in order to protect the health of its workforce and the community at large.” That afternoon, the CHA’s human resources office notified staff that, in response to COVID-19, “we will begin the process of rolling out a teleworking policy and plan. Thank you for your patience.” James Bebley, acting CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority. (Via Chicago Housing Authority website) Two more days passed before CHA officials circulated a video of Bebley announcing that the agency had finished the work-from-home plan. “Those of you who do not want to telework may continue to report to central office and perform your duties,” he said, noting that the CHA’s downtown headquarters would remain open to staff. He promised to keep employees and their families in his prayers. As late as March 20, Bebley and other officials were still holding in-person meetings about the new plans. Fourteen staff members were invited to one meeting in a CHA conference room that afternoon despite advice from public health officials that gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people. Later that afternoon, Pritzker ordered state residents to stay at home except for essential work and trips, such as going to the grocery store or seeking medical care. “CHA was very slow to respond & inadequate throughout,” the supervisor wrote me. “Who knows what the consequences could be.” Last week, officials rescheduled the postponed CHA board meeting to Monday, according to a notice posted online, which stated that some board members plan to join by video conference. Approval of the new CEO is on the agenda. Brenda Perry was happy to learn last week that gathering areas at CHA properties are now all closed and building managers have promised to clean lobbies and other common areas twice daily. But she remains concerned that she and dozens of her neighbors could have been exposed to the coronavirus. Perry said she had only left her apartment once in the previous 24 hours. “And that was to walk 20 feet to the garbage chute,” she said. “I cannot afford to get sick.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • New York Prisons Called ‘Death Camps’ in the Making
    by Frances Madeson on March 30, 2020 at 07:00

    Advocates call for immediate release of elderly inmates.

  • A Brief History of Saving Lives against U.S. Capitalism: From the Great Depression to Coronavirus
    by Tim Libretti on March 30, 2020 at 01:43

    Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed an impatience to send Americans back to work and re-open all the businesses currently closed. “We can’t let the cure be worse than the problem,” he has said repeatedly. With this new favorite mantra of his, he is pitting saving people’s lives against saving the economy, coming down in favor … Continue reading “A Brief History of Saving Lives against U.S. Capitalism: From the Great Depression to Coronavirus”

  • Trump Calls Yamiche Alcindor “You People” and Cuts Off Her Mic During Coronavirus Briefing
    by Jason Easley on March 30, 2020 at 00:06

    Trump cut off the microphone of PBS Newshour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and referred to her as “you people” while calling her threatening.

  • Expert Rips Trump’s Claim That 100,000-200,000 Deaths Means He Did A Good Job
    by Jason Easley on March 29, 2020 at 23:41

    Dr. Ashish Jha, the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute said that the coronavirus death toll 100,000-200,000 that Trump is celebrating is horrible.

  • How to make a coronavirus vaccine
    by Matthew Rozsa on March 29, 2020 at 23:30

    Dr. William Haseltine, a biologist, explains how one goes about the task of vaccinating for the coronavirus

  • Trump Wants Doctors To Reuse Their Contaminated Coronavirus Masks
    by Jason Easley on March 29, 2020 at 22:53

    Trump wants to know why doctors need more masks to treat coronavirus patients and thinks that doctors should reuse the masks that they have.

  • Trump Melts Down And Claims Hospitals Are Lying About Needing Masks
    by Jason Easley on March 29, 2020 at 22:12

    Trump launched into a conspiracy theory and appeared to accuse hospitals of lying about the number of masks that they need during the coronavirus briefing.

  • Baking our way through survival
    by Ashlie D. Stevens on March 29, 2020 at 21:30

    Beyond providing catharsis and sustenance, breadmaking is also an optimistic endeavor

  • Pelosi Blames Trump For US Deaths And Hints At Investigation
    by Jason Easley on March 29, 2020 at 20:53

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blamed Trump’s denial and delay for the deaths of Americans and hinted that the House would be investigating in the future.

  • Live from their homes: Late night hosts are back to show we’re all in this together
    by Melanie McFarland on March 29, 2020 at 19:30

    With the rest of TV production on hold, late night hosts step up to help us adjust to a new normal

  • “Cruel:” Trump Admin. Moves to Take Land of Mashpee Tribe—Whose Casino Plans Irked President’s “Special Interest Friends”—Out of Trust
    on March 29, 2020 at 18:45

    Andrea Germanos, staff writerThe tribal chairman said the announcment came “on the very day that the United States has reached a record 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.”

  • As April 1 Nears and Coronavirus Crisis Continues, Demand to #CancelRent Swells
    on March 29, 2020 at 16:08

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”It’s unreasonable to expect thousands and thousands of people who lost their incomes to pay rent and mortgages on April 1st.”

  • Charles Lindbergh’s unapologetic bigotry: How he became the face of the America First Committee
    by Candace Fleming on March 29, 2020 at 13:00

    Lindbergh’s celebrity status gave him a national platform on which to share his racist views

  • What We Know — and Don’t Know — About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted by Trump
    by by Charles Ornstein on March 29, 2020 at 09:00

    by Charles Ornstein ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. President Donald Trump’s excitement about decades-old anti-malarial drugs to treat the coronavirus has touched off widespread interest in the medications, hoarding by some doctors, new clinical trials on the fly and desperation among patients who take them for other conditions. Many experts say there isn’t enough evidence that the drugs work for the coronavirus, but at least a few say there’s little to lose in giving hydroxychloroquine to patients who are severely ill with coronavirus. “It’s unlikely to worsen COVID-19, and given that it might help … we have literally nothing else to offer these patients other than supportive care,” said Dr. David Juurlink, an internist and head of the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Toronto in Canada. Here’s what we know and don’t know about the drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, also known by the brand name Plaquenil. What We Know The drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but not for the treatment of the coronavirus. The drugs have been around for decades and are approved by the FDA. Hydroxychloroquine has been approved for the prevention and treatment of acute attacks of malaria, as well as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Chloroquine is approved to prevent and treat malaria. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. At a briefing on March 19, Trump suggested that the FDA had approved hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the coronavirus, which is not accurate. At the same briefing, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner said: “That’s a drug that the president has directed us to take a closer look at, as to whether an expanded-use approach to that could be done to actually see if that benefits patients. And again, we want to do that in the setting of a clinical trial — a large, pragmatic clinical trial — to actually gather that information and answer the question that needs to be answered and — asked and answered.” That said, doctors are generally allowed to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. A number of hospitals are using the drug to treat patients with the coronavirus. The University of Washington, the University of Michigan and other academic medical centers have added hydroxychloroquine to their treatment protocols. “Hydroxychloroquine is an inexpensive and generally safe drug for short term use, with few drug-drug interactions,” the University of Washington protocol says. “While it is unknown if it is effective to treat COVID-19, there is a favorable risk:benefit and cost ratio. Multiple trials are ongoing, and this recommendation will be updated when further data is available.” While Trump has talked about the combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, also known as Zithromax, the University of Michigan recommends against the use of azithromycin for use in treatment of COVID-19, calling the evidence “weak.” Patients who rely on hydroxychloroquine for other conditions can’t get it. As we reported last week, patients with lupus have not been able to refill their prescriptions. Anna Valdez, a nurse in California, told us that without the drug, she will likely have a disease flare or have to switch to stronger immune suppressing medicines that could, paradoxically, put her at more risk of serious consequences should she contract the coronavirus. “When I think about the other people out there with lupus and other autoimmune disorders, we’re all really scared right now,” Valdez said a week ago. “If I get coronavirus, unlike someone else my age, almost 50 years old, who is likely to recover and will be fine, I will likely end up in the ICU.” According to a report by BuzzFeed News, health insurer Kaiser Permanente seems to be prioritizing getting the drug to COVID-19 patients above patients with lupus. The insurer told a California patient that it would not refill her prescription for hydroxychloroquine. “Thank you for the sacrifice you will be making for the sake of those that are critically ill; your sacrifice may actually save lives,” her doctor’s office said in a message. A Kaiser regional medical director told BuzzFeed that Kaiser, like other health care organizations, “has had to take steps to control the outflow of the medication to ensure access to severely sick patients, including both COVID-19 and those with acute lupus.” She said the decision wouldn’t adversely affect lupus patients. “Extensive experience and research show that hydroxychloroquine builds up in the body and continues to work for an average of 40 days even after the last dose is taken. By then, we expect the drug manufacturers to have ramped up production to meet the increased demand.” Some doctors and their families are hoarding the drug. We reported that pharmacies and state pharmacy boards are concerned about hoarding by doctors and their families. “It’s disgraceful, is what it is,” said Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association. “And completely selfish.” “We even had a couple of examples of prescribers trying to say that the individual they were calling in for had rheumatoid arthritis,” he said, explaining that pharmacists suspected that wasn’t true. “I mean, that’s fraud.” Some state pharmacy boards have put in place restrictions on prescribing of the drug. And the American Medical Association called on doctors to stop hoarding the drug. “The AMA is calling for a stop to any inappropriate prescribing and ordering of medications, including chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, and appealing to physicians and all health care professionals to follow the highest standards of professionalism and ethics,” said Patrice A. Harris, president of the American Medical Association. In a memo to his staff on Thursday, Dr. Craig R. Smith, the chair of surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, responded to the reports of hoarding. “Doesn’t that make you proud?” he wrote sarcastically. Instead, he encouraged randomized double-blind clinical trials to assess whether the drugs work. There are efforts to increase the supply of the drug, but other moves could tighten it. Several drugmakers have said they plan to step in. Novartis said it would donate up to 130 million doses of generic hydroxychloroquine globally to support the response to COVID-19. Other companies have also pledged millions of doses. At the same time, the Indian government last week imposed a moratorium on the export of hydroxychloroquine, except under certain conditions including “humanitarian grounds on case to case basis.” India is a major supplier of generic drugs used in the United States. Conservative groups and television hosts are talking up the benefits of the drug. As we reported last week, a conservative business group is pushing the Trump administration to use hydroxychloroquine, saying in an online petition that “red tape, regulation, and a dysfunctional healthcare supply chain” are impeding the ability of plants in the United States to produce the drug. The Job Creators Network, founded by Republican political donor and Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, has taken out Facebook ads and texted supporters to sign a petition urging the president to “CUT RED TAPE” and make the drug available. Fox News likewise has been touting the drug. Tucker Carlson said: “Several days ago, the president expressed confidence in hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the epidemic. That was it for the media. If Trump is for it, they’re against it, even if it might save American lives.” He added: “What reactive children they are. And they immediately began a sustained push to discredit the drug long before the clinical results were in.” Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Friday tweeted a quote from a conservative activist who falsely called hydroxychloroquine 100% effective at treating COVID-19 and said Michigan’s governor was threatening doctors who prescribe it, Mediaite reported. (The drug has not been shown to be 100% effective and Michigan, like many states, has warned doctors against hoarding the drugs for themselves.) Twitter removed Giuliani’s tweet because it violated the site’s rules. And cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz enthusiastically spoke of the drug on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program: “So we don’t want people using this stuff willy nilly. You must talk to your physician. But a lot of doctors here in New York and around the country are getting comfortable with the idea of using this earlier in the course of the treatment of their patients.” Clinical trials are underway. New York state, which has been the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, has acquired 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of azithromycin and 750,000 doses of chloroquine to be used in clinical trials. “The president is optimistic about these drugs, and we are all optimistic that it could work,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on March 22. “I’ve spoken with a number of health officials, and there is a good basis to believe that they could work. Some health officials point to Africa, which has a very low infection rate, and there’s a theory that because they’re taking these anti-malaria drugs in Africa, it may actually be one of the reasons why the infection rate is low in Africa. We don’t know, but let’s find out and let’s find out quickly. And I agree with the president on that.” The University of Minnesota is also enrolling patients in a clinical trial. But it isn’t getting enough volunteers, according to ABC News. In a story Wednesday, ABC reported that the lead investigator is seeking 1,500 volunteers for one clinical trial, “but in the week since he obtained FDA approval, he has managed to recruit only 411.” Only 25 of 1,500 volunteers needed for a second trial had signed up. Some people are self-medicating with harmful results. Banner Health in Arizona reported last week that a man died and his wife was hospitalized after the couple, both in their 60s, took chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks. “Within 30 minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital,” the system said. The man’s wife told NBC News that she saw the president’s briefings in which he promoted the value of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. “I saw it [chloroquine phosphate] sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?’” she told the network. “We were afraid of getting sick.” On Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that “chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death. Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums).” What We Don’t Know Whether the drugs are effective at treating the coronavirus. One small study in France seemed to suggest that hydroxychloroquine, combined with azithromycin, could work as a treatment for COVID-19. A different small study out of China suggests that hydroxychloroquine was not effective in patients compared with those who did not get the medication. “I think this is an example where the speed of the virus is moving faster than the speed of the evidence,” Joel F. Farley, a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, wrote in an email to ProPublica. Juurlink of the University of Toronto said he supports the use of the drugs in patients with serious illness but not those with mild symptoms or to try to keep people from getting infected. “I might have a completely different answer a month or two from now once we have better data,” he said. “I have no idea whether the advice I’m giving you is good or not, but it’s the best I can come up with as of March 27.” Update, March 30, 2020: Late Sunday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that drugmakers had donated tens of millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine to the Strategic National Stockpile and that the Food and Drug Administration had issued an emergency authorization that allows hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to be distributed from the stockpile and prescribed for patients with COVID-19 “when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.” A release by HHS said that “although there are no currently approved treatments for COVID-19, both drugs have shown activity in laboratory studies against coronaviruses. … Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Clinical trials are needed to provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Coronavírus: existe uma lógica genocida por trás do falso dilema entre a economia e vidas
    by João Filho on March 29, 2020 at 04:03

    Na ânsia de proteger os negócios, o empresariado brasileiro ignora a experiência internacional, a ciência e coloca a vida humana em uma célula de Excel. The post Coronavírus: existe uma lógica genocida por trás do falso dilema entre a economia e vidas appeared first on The Intercept.

  • I tried to call my mother to say goodbye
    by Mary Elizabeth Williams on March 28, 2020 at 23:30

    She and I have been estranged for years. With the world coming apart, would we get one last chance to connect?

  • Top chefs cook at home on a budget, too. Here are their secrets for getting it done.
    by Alexandra Clinton on March 28, 2020 at 22:30

    Learn how to make delicious and efficient meals, plus shop smarter at your local grocery store or online

  • Few things taste as good as roast chicken. This is the secret to cooking a perfect bird at home
    by Joseph Neese on March 28, 2020 at 21:30

    “A roast chicken dinner is a complete explanation of why we cook,” New York Times food editor Sam Sifton says

  • These quick-cooked collard greens offer a flavorful new way to enjoy a classic of southern cuisine
    by Sam Sifton on March 28, 2020 at 20:30

    New York Times food editor Sam Sifton reveals new ways to elevate your greens when you’re cooking supper at home

  • Expired Respirators. Reused Masks. Nurses in the Nation’s Original Covid-19 Epicenter Offer Sobering Accounts of What Could Come.
    by by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila on March 28, 2020 at 20:17

    by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus. At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely. At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. The accounts these nurses provided are drawn from nine complaints filed by the Washington State Nurses Association with the state Department of Labor & Industries since March 11. They paint a picture of how the first state hit by COVID-19 continues to struggle to provide adequate safety measures for medical workers. Their struggle may well preview what medical providers in other states could face amid a national shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE. The complaints from Washington also show the increasing sense of fear, frustration and powerlessness many nurses and other medical workers feel as COVID-19 pummels the health care system. As of this weekend, the Washington Department of Health has reported 3,700 known COVID-19 cases in the state and 175 deaths. ProPublica contacted all nine hospitals that were the subject of a nursing association complaint. Four responded. They said they were taking measures to protect their employees, but emphasized the unprecedented crisis in which their hospital staffs are now working. In a press briefing Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the federal government had supplied the state with “significant shipments of personal protective equipment” but added that he had “profound long-term concerns about being able to procure these necessities.” Inslee, a vocal critic of the Trump administration, reportedly clashed with the president in a conference call with governors Thursday, according to The Washington Post, pleading with him to take more action. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Some nurses in Washington state told ProPublica that they feel caught between their responsibility to care for patients and their own safety. They believe they have no choice but to keep working, at great personal risk and with limited means to raise concerns within their chains of command. They could be disciplined for talking to the media, and some said they had been explicitly warned about that in emails sent by hospital administrators. To refuse an assignment on safety grounds, they said, could find them ostracized by colleagues or, worse, fired for insubordination. “It’s a health care war zone,” said a critical care nurse who works at one of the nine hospitals named in the complaints and, like all nurses interviewed for this story, asked to remain anonymous. She told ProPublica that she has had to reuse masks and other PPE, if she can obtain it at all. She uses a simple surgical mask — a paper cover with ear loops, no eye cover — even when working with patients waiting for COVID-19 tests, because that’s all that’s available. Community members have been asked to donate handmade masks. She wears one over her surgical mask; it doesn’t protect from viruses but at least is one more layer. Every night when she comes home, she strips down in the garage and throws her dirty hospital scrubs in the washer before rushing in to take a shower. “Never in a million years did we think when we were in nursing school that our employer would not provide us with the PPE they are legally obligated to provide us with, to care for those patients,” she said. Her supervisors acknowledge the shortage, she said, but have told staff members that unless they make do, they could run out of all protective gear, making their situation even more precarious. “We take an oath of ‘do no harm,’” the nurse said. “Would we be willing to take care of these patients with nothing?” She has a family, some of whom would be especially susceptible to the disease. “I don’t know what I would do,” she said. “We are continuing to reuse this equipment so hopefully we don’t have to make that choice.” “This Is What You Signed Up For” Nurses in Washington, where the virus first surfaced in the U.S., believe their early experience can help prepare health care workers elsewhere. The Washington State Nurses Association has even produced a list of recommendations for other states, called “Lessons learned from the front lines.” Those lessons include, “Know your employer’s plan for PPE (personal protective equipment),” and “Know the testing and treatment protocols now.” When the novel coronavirus spread across Washington in February and March, the lack of supplies in hospitals, coupled with uncertainty over what protective measures were needed, presented many nurses with a difficult choice. Nurses given a dangerous job could accept the assignment and its attendant risks, or refuse and face possible discipline. The WSNA, a union that represents more than 17,000 nurses, advised members who refused an assignment to stay and do other jobs. For those nurses who accepted an “abnormally dangerous” assignment, the union advised filling out what is called an ADO form. ADO stands for Assignment Despite Objection. When ProPublica mentioned ADO forms to some nurses in Washington, they did not react with enthusiasm. “It’s the stuff of fairytales,” said one nurse in the Seattle area who specializes in mental health. “Nurses, administratively, are strongly discouraged to use the forms or outright shamed for documenting what they are uncomfortable with in a caregiving situation.” Under collective bargaining agreements, nurses disciplined for refusing an assignment can push back, arguing that the discipline lacked “just cause.” But the WSNA has warned its members that given the current national and state emergency declarations, the resolution of any such objection “would likely be delayed and the outcome may be uncertain.” Ruth Schubert, the association’s communications director, said the WSNA has received about 70 Assignment Despite Objection forms related to the coronavirus. She declined to provide copies, citing confidentiality, but did share excerpts, including one that said: “Continue to be asked to reuse single use masks for COVID-19 modified droplet patients and wear ill-fitting gowns that fall off shoulders. Goggles not available.” Some nurses are unlikely to fill out an ADO for fear “that management will see them as complainers,” Schubert wrote in an email. The WSNA said nurses fear being disciplined for talking with the media. A doctor from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, close to the Canadian border, told The Seattle Times on Friday that he was fired after he raised multiple concerns about the hospital’s lack of protective measures against COVID-19. A spokesperson for PeaceHealth St. Joseph confirmed the doctor was fired but had no comment because the physician was employed by another company, called TeamHealth. PeaceHealth St. Joseph is one of the nine hospitals the state nursing association has filed a complaint against, for allegedly asking nurses to reuse and share their protective equipment without proper cleaning. As of Saturday morning, PeaceHealth had not responded to ProPublica’s inquiries about this incident or the complaints. TeamHealth, the doctor’s primary employer, told ProPublica that the physician has “not been terminated,” and that TeamHealth is “committed to engaging with him to try to find a path forward. Now more than ever, we need every available doctor, and we will work with [him] to find the right location for him.” A Seattle nurse who specializes in oncology said her hospital’s administration initially downplayed the risks: “I had a manager come in and tell me, ‘This is just like the common cold.’” The nurse added, “We’re being told, business as usual, this is what you signed up for.” Some nurses in Washington have turned to Facebook to express their frustrations. (ProPublica isn’t identifying the nurses in these threads, but did confirm their nursing credentials through state licensing records.) Commenting on a Facebook post that warned against using cloth masks, one registered nurse wrote, “We need to be able to wear something!!!” A different post linked to a Bloomberg story about hospital workers making masks from supplies bought at craft stores and Home Depot, including industrial tape and foam. “No offense but I’m not wearing someone’s arts and crafts project with this thing,” wrote one registered nurse. Facebook posts linking to a Tacoma News Tribune story about nurses reusing disposable masks generated multiple me-too threads. “We are doing this,” wrote a nurse in Everett. “Our hospital … also,” wrote a nursing assistant southeast of Seattle. “It’s everywhere,” one RN wrote, followed by a second RN, “This is everywhere,” followed by a third RN, “Yep.” One nurse told ProPublica that she wrote on Facebook that she had decided to take a break from her job because she could no longer deal with what she considered an unsafe environment. She was met with criticism by another nurse, who commented that they didn’t get into this field to “cut and run.” That devastated the nurse who spoke to ProPublica, who responded she didn’t “sign up to die.” The nurse, who works in an eastern Washington hospital, started to get concerned when, on March 10, her hospital loosened some of its PPE guidelines. She is now using up all her vacation and sick leave because she’s nervous to return to work. If she isn’t approved for an extended leave of absence, she said, she is “100 percent prepared to resign.” “These Are Not Normal Times” The most recent complaint filed by the state nurses association was on March 23 against Overlake Medical Center. Based in Bellevue, just east of Seattle, Overlake has had dozens of patients with COVID-19 on any given day. On Friday, the number was 40, said Morgan Brice, a hospital spokeswoman. At least 11 patients have died at Overlake from COVID-19, according to Brice. A number of them arrived at the hospital under “comfort care,” meaning their death was imminent and the hospital made efforts to keep them comfortable in their final days. The complaint filed with the Department of Labor & Industries said nurses were being required to reuse face shields “indefinitely.” “They must clean them themselves and … store in their own locker for reuse day after day, until the chinstrap is loose,” the complaint says, adding: “RNs report the chinstrap is loose after one 12-hr shift.” The complaint also said the hospital was failing to make sure that notification of exposure was reaching nurses on their days off, “thus prompting additional community and family exposure.” Brice, in an email, told ProPublica that Overlake had yet to receive a copy of the complaint and would not respond to the specific allegations until it has. But the hospital, she wrote, is “committed to investigating the facts related to any complaint and acting appropriately.” She outlined some steps Overlake has taken during the outbreak, including having a team of nurses “committed to the health of our employees.” “We have dedicated extensive resources to training staff on how to use and maintain their PPE,” Brice wrote. “We have posted videos, daily FAQs for staff, formed a PPE float team to help guide employees, along with our managers rounding the floors on a consistent basis. We know we have taken extraordinary and proper measures to protect the health and safety of our staff, while we respond to the medical challenges being presented on a daily basis.” The complaints filed with Labor & Industries use a fill-in-the-blank form, with a narrative section to describe alleged hazards. On March 11, the nurses association filed a complaint against St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, saying nurses were being directed to reuse and share protective equipment. The complaint also alleged that nurses weren‘t being fit-tested for N95 masks, a protective respiratory device worn over the face. Masks that aren‘t properly fitted to a person‘s face can admit contaminated air. CHI Franciscan, the medical system that includes Tacoma‘s St. Joseph, said it is cooperating with the investigation but was told by the Department of Labor & Industries that no action is required at this time. The system denied that nurses “have been or will be asked to use PPE in a manner not in compliance with CDC, FDA and DOH guidelines,” according to an emailed statement from Cary Evans, the company‘s vice president for communications and government affairs. The hospital is operating with “7-12 days of PPE” and said it has not had a situation where demand for PPE exceeded supply. Administrators have expanded fit testing for N95 masks. They are also accepting donations of PPE gear from the community. Normally, a 30-day PPE supply is preferred, according to the Washington State Hospital Association. “These are not normal times,” Evans‘ statement said, “and we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and patients safe, while also conserving masks under the latest local CDC guidelines.” The same day it filed the St. Joseph complaint, the nurses association submitted seven others, two against hospitals within the same medical system: Multicare Tacoma General Hospital and Multicare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, a community southeast of Tacoma. A spokesperson for the system wrote that all employees “have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) they need today to do their jobs safely” and noted that hospital staff are allowed “to preserve PPE resources needed to care for our most critical patients.” “Due to supply chain disruptions, health systems worldwide are dealing with shortages of PPE,” the statement read. Another complaint, filed against PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, a hospital in Vancouver, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, said nurses were reporting lack of access to masks and respirators. When the nurses reported that respirators were outdated, the hospital “directed staff to remove outdated 2017 and 2019 ‘service by‘ stickers on equipment,” the complaint said. The hospital did not respond to requests for comment from ProPublica as of Saturday morning. Beth Zborowski, senior vice president of membership engagement and communications for the Washington State Hospital Association, said a lack of PPE is probably the medical community‘s top problem in the state, in terms of its efforts to fight COVID-19. The association advises hospitals to follow Department of Health and CDC recommendations, though many nurses say the latter keeps changing. “Prior to the pandemic, masks were available on carts outside of rooms,” Zborowski said. “What started happening is those things started disappearing pretty quick. People had to put conservation measures in.” It‘s one reason the state canceled elective procedures in recent weeks. It‘s unclear how many health care workers in the state may have become ill as a result of COVID-19, though a doctor at EvergreenHealth near Seattle has been infected and Schubert, of the state nursing association, said she knows of nurses who have become sick. Zborowski said the state hospital association does not have a formal record but added she has not heard about many front-line medical workers becoming ill, as they have in New York and Italy. She hopes that means the conservation and safety measures hospitals are taking are working. The goal is to preserve the PPE; otherwise, “I think we will start to see health care workers getting sick.” Eileen Ravella, a physician assistant at an urgent care facility in Olympia, said her employer is doing well under the circumstances, trying to keep COVID-19 cases cordoned off from other patients and using a drive-through testing area they set up to meet the need. This is helping them preserve PPE, but she knows the system is breaking under the weight of the pandemic. “I think we all have to step up and do our best despite the obstacles,” Ravella said. “Those patients need us.” A nurse who works in a western Washington emergency room said that a few weeks into the pandemic, the crisis conditions had begun to feel normal, “which is kind of horrible, too.” Now she‘s advising nurses in other states about what she‘s experienced. Initially, many of them refused to take her seriously. She admits that she downplayed COVID-19 at first. Then, in mid-March, she found out about the EvergreenHealth doctor who had contracted the virus. “It became really real then that some of us may not make it out of here alive,” she said. A few days later, she and her colleagues received a message from their hospital administrator, advising them to complete their advanced directives — basically a living will. “[N]ow with COVID-19 making who gets sick an unpredictable event,” the message read, “it‘s an important time to get this done.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • ‘Truly a Civil Rights Hero’: Rev. Joseph Lowery Dead at 98
    on March 28, 2020 at 18:42

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”We’ve come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too profusely and died too young, to let anybody turn back the clock on our journey to justice,” Lowery said in 2013.

  • What Happens If Workers Cutting Up the Nation’s Meat Get Sick?
    by by Michael Grabell on March 28, 2020 at 17:25

    by Michael Grabell ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Here’s what has happened in the meatpacking industry in the last week alone: A federal food safety inspector in New York City, who oversaw meat processing plants, died from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. A poultry worker in Mississippi, employed by America’s third largest chicken company, tested positive for the virus, causing a half-dozen workers to self-quarantine. Another worker in South Dakota, employed by the world’s largest pork producer, also tested positive. In Georgia, dozens of workers walked out of a Perdue Farms chicken plant, demanding that the company do more to protect them. And Tyson Foods told ProPublica on Friday that “a limited number of team members” had tested positive for the disease. As COVID-19 makes its way across the country, leading to panic grocery buying in state after state, the stresses on the nation’s food supply chain have ratcheted ever higher. But in industries like meatpacking, which rely on often grueling shoulder-to-shoulder work, so have the risks to workers’ health. In interviews this week, meat and poultry workers, some in the country without authorization, noted with irony that they have recently been labeled “essential” by an administration now facing down a pandemic. Yet the rules of their workplaces — and the need to keep food moving — pressure them to work in close quarters, even when sick. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. And it’s unclear how federal regulations that traditionally protect workers from harm in their workplaces will address a potentially deadly coronavirus. “They are listening about social distancing on the TV and some of them try to practice it in their home, but when they go to work, they can’t do it,” said Father Roberto Mena, who ministers to many poultry workers at St. Michael Catholic Church in Forest, Mississippi. Many of the nation’s meatpackers declined to respond to specific questions about how they’ve dealt with infected workers or what they’ve done to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their plants. Or they offered vague assurances that workers are being protected. So far, only two meatpacking companies — Tyson Foods and Cargill — have announced companywide temperature checks to screen employees for signs of the virus. Two more say they have begun rolling them out. But except for unionized plants, meat and poultry workers rarely get paid when they’re sick. At many companies, including Tyson, workers receive disciplinary points for calling in sick. Because points lead to termination, workers told ProPublica, they and some of their colleagues have continued to work even when sick, despite the coronavirus. “We are all afraid,” said Maria, who works on the evisceration line at a Tyson plant in Arkansas and asked to be identified by her first name. “The problem is if people feel sick, they’re not going to say anything because they need the money. They don’t want the points.” An employee returning to his vehicle in the Koch Foods parking lot. (Rory Doyle for ProPublica) In an email, Tyson said it had recently altered its policies to allow workers who contract the coronavirus or exhibit symptoms to apply for short-term disability without a waiting period. “This is an evolving situation and we’re continuing to consider additional measures to support our team,” spokesman Worth Sparkman said. “We don’t want team members who feel sick to come to work.” Tyson announced this month it was “eliminating any punitive effect for missing work due to illness.” But Maria said that at her plant, nothing had changed. Despite the “essential” role meat and poultry workers play in the food chain, the sick-time bill signed by President Donald Trump last week doesn’t cover most meat and poultry workers because it exempts companies with more than 500 employees. The uncertain economy, with millions of people filing jobless claims last week, is adding to the tension. At Koch Foods in Mississippi, Ramirez, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who asked to go by his last name, said a woman who worked near him showed up for her shift last week with a heavy cough. But after she told her supervisor, he said, she was told she couldn’t come back. The message was clear, he said. So, when he started feeling sick a few days later, he simply kept quiet and continued working. “People are worried,” Ramirez said, that if they say they are sick, “they’ll fire us.” Going to the doctor is not an option, he said, because he doesn’t have health insurance and fears it could expose his immigration status. Koch Foods didn’t respond to calls and emails asking about its policies for sick workers. Even before the coronavirus, the meat industry had complained of a labor shortage as low pay and harsh conditions collided with a tight labor market, tighter borders and dramatic reductions by the Trump administration in the number of refugees, who make up the backbone of many plants’ workforce. While there’s no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food, workers say they fear it could spread among them, even though they wear butcher coats and latex gloves, and the plants are sanitized every night. If it does, it could take out a critical cog in the nation’s food supply chain just as it struggles to keep up with increased demand, workers and their advocates said. Grocery meat sales, excluding deli meat, surged a staggering 77% for the week ending March 15, according to one industry analysis. To meet the demand, companies have been scrambling, adding additional weekend shifts and changing lines to produce whole birds and bigger cuts of beef. Under pressure from unions and wage increases at supermarkets and warehouses, some companies like Cargill and National Beef have announced temporary $2 per hour bonuses for the next several weeks to retain their workers and reward them for sticking through difficult times. Company executives have said that the empty shelves aren’t a sign of a food shortage and that they’re capable of meeting the surge, aided in part by lower demand from restaurants that have been ordered to close. “Our primary focus is to keep our plants running so that we can feed America,” Tyson’s president, Dean Banks, said on CNN. “We’re running the plants as hard as we can.” And some analysts note that even if an outbreak of the virus forced a plant to close, the industry — with more than 500,000 employees at 4,000 slaughterhouses and processing plants across the country — is big enough to absorb the loss. Tim Ramey, a retired food industry analyst, said “there could be significant disruptions” in a company’s output if an outbreak occurred. But supermarkets and restaurants buy meat from many suppliers, he said, and another plant could pick up the slack. “There are plenty of ways you could have risk to the worker supply,” Ramey said. “I doubt that would be enough to disrupt the food supply.” But no one knows what would happen if multiple plants suffered outbreaks. The closest precedent may be immigration raids, which have temporarily shuttered meat and poultry plants periodically over the last 25 years. For months after, those plants struggled to find new workers and ramp up to speed. But the supply lines continued to feed America. Read More Can Low-Wage Industries Survive Without Immigrants and Refugees Case Farms’ history shows how many sectors like meatpacking depend on immigrants and refugees. Now business leaders fear President Trump’s policies will create a labor shortage. Some immigrant workers caught up in those raids now marvel that the country is leaning on them. Last summer, after finishing his shift pulling the guts out of thousands of chickens, Ramirez flipped on his TV and watched in shock as immigration agents descended on central Mississippi, rounding up hundreds of his coworkers in the Trump administration’s biggest immigration sting. In the weeks that followed, Ramirez watched the three children of a friend who’d been detained and hunkered down at home, fearing he could be next. It was easy to feel disposable, he said, especially when Trump praised the raids as “a very good deterrent.” Now, when Ramirez watches the news, Trump is calling workers like him “critical,” telling them, “you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” “I don’t understand, if they have a big need for all of the workers,” Ramirez asked, “why aren’t they worried about us?” The slaughtering of chickens, hogs and cattle has become increasingly automated in the last few decades. But several tasks on the disassembly line still have to be done by hand. In poultry plants, in an area known as “live hang,” workers in a small, black-lit room crowd around a trough grabbing live chickens by their feet and hanging them on shackles. In another area known as “debone,” workers stand side by side cutting raw chicken into breasts and tenders, so close that they occasionally cut coworkers with their knives. In pork plants, workers are so packed together that a little over a decade ago, two dozen workers at a Minnesota factory developed a neurological illness from inhaling aerosolized pig brains that drifted from a nearby station that was making an ingredient used in stir-fry thickeners. So even as everyone from the president to Snoop Dogg are urging people to stay home and avoid groups of more than 10 people, meat and poultry workers are required to do the opposite. ProPublica asked the nation’s largest meat companies what they were doing to try to achieve social distancing. Cargill, which produces billions of pounds of beef and turkey for supermarkets and restaurants each year, was the only company that said it was doing anything other than staggering start and break times. Daniel Sullivan, a spokesman for the Minnesota-based meatpacker, said it had increased spacing in its factory work areas and put up partitions in its cafeteria. The evisceration line where Maria, the Tyson employee, works doesn’t have as many people as other parts of the factory because it is heavily automated. But she said that because workers can’t leave the line unless it’s an emergency, she regularly encounters large crowds as everyone rushes to the bathroom during breaks. The company has placed hand sanitizers at the entrance, she said, but inside the plant, the bathrooms don’t always have paper towels. As COVID-19 cases at the plants become public, workers fear it’s only the beginning. On Monday, Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third largest chicken company, said an employee at its McComb, Mississippi, plant had tested positive for the virus. Sanderson said the employee’s work area was contained to one small processing table. In response, the company notified its workers and sent six other employees in the work area home to self-quarantine with pay. The company did not respond to calls or emails seeking additional information. On Thursday, a worker at pork producer Smithfield Foods’ plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, tested positive. The company told the Argus Leader that the employee’s work area and all common areas were “thoroughly sanitized.” But it did not say anything about workers who might have come in contact with the employee. There have been even fewer details about the federal food safety inspector who died. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that he was “terribly saddened to hear” that one of the department’s employees had passed away due to the coronavirus and thanked “those working on the front lines of our food supply chain.” But the department did not specify which plants the inspector had worked in or what had been done to alert or quarantine others the inspector may have been in contact with. Paula Schelling, a union representative for the nation’s food inspectors at the American Federation of Government Employees, said the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service needs to do more to protect its front-line workers. “FSIS is doing nothing to provide any protection for any employee who is out in the field,” she said. “They are just saying, ‘We are following the CDC guidelines.’ What does that mean to us?” “People are worried,” a Koch Foods worker said. (Rory Doyle for ProPublica) Concerns that meat companies aren’t being forthcoming have already led to increased anxiety at several plants. Workers who walked out of the Perdue plant in Georgia said the unrest started because supervisors dismissed concerns that some employees were continuing to work despite being in contact with people who had the coronavirus. “We’re not getting nothing,” Kendilyn Granville told a TV news reporter outside the plant Monday night. “No type of compensation, no nothing, not even no cleanliness, no extra pay — no nothing. We’re up here risking our life for chicken.” Perdue spokeswoman Diana Souder said that after speaking with managers, the majority of those who walked out returned to work. “We know that many are feeling anxious during these uncertain times and we’re doing everything we can to take good care of our associates while continuing to produce safe and reliable food,” she said. Typically, when workers feel unsafe, they can complain to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But it’s unclear how OSHA will respond to complaints related to the coronavirus. The agency, which has seen its ranks depleted under the Trump administration, has issued guidance for employers. But there is no specific standard related to the virus, and the agency has not said how it might interpret its general duty clause, which requires employers to keep their worksites free from recognized hazards that might cause death or “serious physical harm.” Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Employers are only required to notify OSHA when an employee is hospitalized, suffers an amputation or is killed at work. But under a patchwork of rules, some employers might have to notify their state and local health departments. As cases started to pop up this week, some employers began offering additional pay. Perdue said it would provide all hourly workers a $1-per-hour raise for the next several weeks. Hormel, the maker of Spam, said it would offer a $300 bonus for full-time workers and $150 for part-time associates. On Thursday, the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents 250,000 food processing workers, said it had negotiated additional pay and benefits increases, including a $600 bonus in May for its members at the nation’s second-largest meatpacker, JBS, which includes Pilgrim’s chicken. JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett did not answer whether the company would match that for nonunion employees. Several large meat and poultry companies, including Tyson, Smithfield, Sanderson and Koch, have not announced raises or bonuses. On Friday, Perdue told ProPublica it was starting to roll out temperature checks at its plants. And Bruett said JBS had set up “triage stations” outside plants to screen employees for temperature and symptoms. But it’s unclear if all employees will be tested or only those exhibiting symptoms. Meanwhile, Venceremos, a group advocating for poultry workers in northwest Arkansas, has started a petition asking that Tyson and other processors provide paid sick leave for workers as the coronavirus begins to spread to rural America. “Everyone is realizing that they are essential and have been essential to the country,” said Magaly Licolli, one of the group’s leaders. “And now it’s time that everybody should demand fair rights for them. That’s what we’ve been arguing all this time. They are the ones that provide for the country.” Update, March 30, 2020: The chart with this story was updated to include additional information about Cargill. Do you have access to information about how businesses are protecting — or not protecting — workers from the coronavirus that should be public? Email Here’s how to send tips and documents to ProPublica securely. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Todos viveremos a batalha de Milão
    by Leandro Demori on March 28, 2020 at 17:06

    Bolsonaro jogou suas cartas na mesa. Agora todos sofreremos por suas decisões. The post Todos viveremos a batalha de Milão appeared first on The Intercept.

  • BREAKING: CNN starts teasing at 4 PM!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 28, 2020 at 16:56

    SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2020With slender fact-check at 11: Yesterday afternoon, CNN initiated its repetitive tease right at 4 PM Eastern.In this case, they were teasing the ceremony in which President Donald J. Trump would sign the $2.2 trillion disaster bill.It wasn’t exactly Jake Tapper’s fault. But this is what he was directed to say, right at 4 PM Eastern:ANNOUNCER (3/27/20): This is CNN breaking newsTAPPER: Welcome to The Lead. I’m Jake Tapper.At any moment, we’re expecting President Trump to sign the $2 trillion stimulus bill into law. We are going to bring that to you when it happens.They were going to bring us the ceremony live. How the disinformation would flow!After the signing ceremony was done, CNN began to tease the daily “press briefing.” By now, it’s North Korean TV all day, with the commander spewing nonsense and misinformation and CNN urging us not to miss it.These sessions are State Propaganda all the way down. And make no mistake, people at CNN know this. Consider a case in point:During the 5 PM hour, Wolf Blitzer aired a punishing report by Drew Griffin. For unknown reasons, this is the one hour from yesterday’s broadcasts which CNN hasn’t transcribed, so we can’t show you all of what Griffin said.We can tell you this. The portion of Griffin’s report for which there is tape carries these unfortunate headlines:Doctors and nurses alarmed about lack of suppliesAs healthcare workers across the country become sick with Covid-19, doctors and nurses tell CNN they are worried about the lack of proper protective equipment.CNN was waiting for the commander to start spewing misinformation in his daily prime time “briefing.” As the network waited, Griffin offered a cheerless report about the way front-line health workers are being forced to put their own lives on the line.You can watch the last three minutes of his report through this tweet by Griffin. Along the way, Griffin reported some familiar facts:”Many medical workers are fighting this battle without the thinnest level of protection,” he said. “[Without] the face masks, the plastic face shields, the flimsiest if plastic gowns that could mean the diff between treating the infected and becoming one of them.”Griffin spoke with medical workers who felt their own lives were at risk due to the lack of basic equipment. “The biggest question we’re hearing: Where is it?” Griffin unpleasantly said. “Where are the strategic stockpiles the president and his administration keep talking about?”As he closed, Griffin resorted to samizdat. On our own North Korean TV, basic information must now be masked in such ways as this:GRIFFIN (3/27/20): Wolf, because of the shortages in this proper protective equipment, they’re being asked to do what they say would have gotten them fired a short time ago.They want us to tell you the stories because of the briefing you’re about to hear. They say there is a shortage all across the country, no matter what you’re being told.Say what? These heroic medical workers want people to hear their stories because of the commander’s briefings? They want us to hear the truth no matter what we’re being told?So it went in the samizdat wing of our new state-run TV. And dear God! If you watch the tape of Griffin’s report, you can observe the ultimate insult:Even as Griffin was signaling that these briefings are disinformation, there was CNN’s visual tease for the upcoming session. These sessions are bullshit, CNN said. Please be sure to watch! Yesterday at CNN, there was a change in procedure. Through Thursday, CNN had been cutting away from the commander’s “briefings” as soon as the commander himself left the stage. Yesterday, that procedure changed. CNN stuck it out to the bitter end, even after the commander turned things over to Vice President Heep. Yesterday, CNN aired the entire briefing live. And when CNN aired the “briefing” live, the disinformation rolled down like waters and the feel-good distractions like a mighty stream. For the first time since Monday, Dear Leader didn’t make us listen to his claim about the way we’ve been testing more people, in eight days, than the ballyhooed South Koreans managed to do in eight weeks. At last, that script was gone. That said, all manner of new absurdities were offered as the commander kept telling us about the giant amounts or material he had caused to flow. Wholly irrelevant information was marbled through the improbable claims. Consider these stupenagel excerpts:TRUMP (3/27/20): Under the normal condition that you would be—regular times—29,000 ventilators are distributed in the United States each year. In the next 100 days—well, first of all, we’ve already delivered thousands of them—but within the next 100 days, we will either make or get, in some form, over 100,000 additional units. And I guess, to put it in other words, in the next 100 days, we’ll receive over three times the number of ventilators made during a regular year in the United States, and that doesn’t include all of the thousands and thousands that we’ve—we’ve given to the various states, a lot of them.We delivered thousands, as you know, to New York and they didn’t know they got them. And then we also had thousands put in a warehouse, and that was also for New York. And they just found out that they were there, so we have to make sure that when we deliver things, they get distributed.[…]Boeing is also offering us the use of their—what they call the Dreamlifter cargo plane. It’s the largest plane in the world. And this is sort of a picture of it. They called up just a little while ago. And that can sort of take anything. That’s the biggest in the world. And they’re letting us use that for the distribution of product all over the country, especially the heavy product or large quantities of product.And Boeing will dedicate up to three planes to the mission of flying medical supplies anywhere we need it. Each plane can carry 63,000 pounds of cargo per flight. That’s a lot of cargo.[…]And we’re going to be in very good shape, in terms of certain equipment that’s very hard to get, very hard to manufacture. And at the right time, we’ll be distributing that equipment throughout the world to other countries. Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today. As you know, Boris is—he has tested—unfortunately, he has tested positive and that’s a terrible thing. But he’s going to be great. I’m sure he’s going to be totally great. But they want ventilators. Italy wants ventilators. Spain wants ventilators. Germany wants ventilators. They’re all calling for ventilators. Well, we’re going to make a lot of ventilators. And we’ll take care of our needs, but we’re also going to help other countries.[…]Don’t forget, we sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn’t know they got them. Then we sent thousands of ventilators to New York—they have a warehouse, a New York warehouse in Edison, New Jersey, which is an interesting thing. And we sent them to Edison, New Jersey. They were in the warehouse, ready to go, and New York never took them. So they knew they were there. So we have to get people lined up, but we’ve given them—And I’m not blaming New York. Look, this is something that’s of a magnitude that nobody has ever seen before. But I’ll tell you what: The federal government has done a hell of a job.So we sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn’t know about it at the time. They were complaining. Thousands. We had 2,000, and then 2,000, and then 4,000, and they were going there in large numbers. And then before that, we sent many thousands.We want to have so many that we do have more than we need because we can send them to other great countries and other countries that have been our friends. And they’ll never be able to do it themselves.It’s hard to scale the mountains of bullshit this disordered man can produce. Part of those excerpts can be filed under “promises, promises.” We’re going to have so many extra ventilators that we’ll be sending them to others all over the world!Part of that was gong-show misdirection. That Boeing plane is amazingly big! It’s the largest plane in the world!Part of that involved a new, highly suspect claim concerning the bungling fools in the state of New York. We sent them thousands and thousands of ventilators! They put them in a Jersey warehouse! They didn’t even know they were there!This is the lunacy which transpires when this highly disordered man is broadcast into American homes. At CNN, the best they can do is signal you, through samizdat, that what you’re going to hear won’t be true—even as they tease the upcoming performance, which they’ll broadcast live.The commander continued to repeat various pieces of misinformation and various distractions. Included was that new claim about the dummies in New York.(Key point: Though the benevolence of Dear Leader, he isn’t blaming New York.)CNN’s reaction? They finally got around to fact-checking this peculiar new claim in the 11 PM hour. They’d promoted the briefing, knowing it would be disinformation. Five hours later, Daniel Dale said he knew of no factual basis for this latest apparent tall tale.As we noted yesterday, we live in North Korea now. CNN knows that these briefings are disinformation, but they tease them all afternoon and then they broadcast them live. And with that said, one additional point must be made:During the briefings, no one asks this disordered man why his latest claims should be believed, given his past tall tales. His previous claims have been crazily wrong, but no one dares confront him in such an impolite manner. CNN teases, then airs, these ridiculous sessions. And because we live in North Korea, the children arrayed before Dear Leader know they must defer.So it goes with the rational animal in this plague year of the lord.UPDATE: CNN has now posted the transcript from yesterday’s 5 PM hour. You can read the full text of Drew Griffin’s report. To do so, just click here.The medical workers with whom Griffin spoke wanted you to hear their stories “because of the briefing you’re about to hear!” As Griffin delivered his report, CNN was urging you to watch that briefing, even though Griffin and Blitzer knew it would be wholly bogus. So it goes with the rational animal in this plague year of the faux.

  • ‘Unacceptable’: Dems Fume After Trump Announces Plan to Refuse Congressional Oversight of Corporate Bailout Funds
    on March 28, 2020 at 15:52

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt administration with zero accountability.”

  • 800,000 Doctors to Trump: Heed Expert Warnings and End Dangerous Campaign Against Social Distancing
    on March 28, 2020 at 13:11

    Julia Conley, staff writer “We need your leadership in supporting science-based recommendations on social distancing that can slow the virus.”

  • ‘Far More to Do,’ Say Progressives After House Approves and Trump Signs Corporate-Friendly Coronavirus Relief Act
    on March 28, 2020 at 13:02

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”The clock has already started on a fourth bill and we expect and demand that House Democrats fight to ensure that the needs of all communities are met.”

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic Makes the Case for Criminal Justice Reform
    by Akela Lacy on March 28, 2020 at 11:00

    The rapid spread of coronavirus is expediting long-awaited reforms like the release of nonviolent offenders from prison, where disease easily spreads. The post The Coronavirus Pandemic Makes the Case for Criminal Justice Reform appeared first on The Intercept.

  • In Exchange for Aid, Trump Wants Praise From Governors He Can Use in Campaign Ads
    by Robert Mackey on March 28, 2020 at 06:13

    Trump extorts praise from Democratic governors, then uses it in a campaign commercial that casts him as the hero of the coronavirus crisis. The post In Exchange for Aid, Trump Wants Praise From Governors He Can Use in Campaign Ads appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Entrevista: quando a vacina do coronavírus chegar, as farmacêuticas vão priorizar a sua vida?
    by Andrew Fishman on March 28, 2020 at 04:02

    Ativista que trabalha pela ampliação de acesso à medicina diz que coronavírus abre oportunidade para diminuir poder de gigantes farmacêuticas. The post Entrevista: quando a vacina do coronavírus chegar, as farmacêuticas vão priorizar a sua vida? appeared first on The Intercept.

  • After Florida Held Its Primary Amid Pandemic, Two Poll Workers Tested Positive for Coronavirus
    by Aída Chávez on March 27, 2020 at 22:57

    Florida is one of three states that pushed forward with March 17 primaries, even though in-person voting carries risks amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The post After Florida Held Its Primary Amid Pandemic, Two Poll Workers Tested Positive for Coronavirus appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Athlete Activists Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic
    by Dave Zirin on March 27, 2020 at 21:30

    Dave Zirin Using their fame to enlighten, raise awareness, and shame their bosses, some athletes have made a difference. The post Athlete Activists Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic appeared first on The Nation.

  • This VA Hospital Cited “Misleading” Data to Restrict Mask Use for Health Care Workers
    by by Bryant Furlow, New Mexico In Depth, and Maya Miller, ProPublica on March 27, 2020 at 21:09

    by Bryant Furlow, New Mexico In Depth, and Maya Miller, ProPublica This article was produced in partnership with New Mexico In Depth, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves. Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19. The restriction on wearing masks comes amid widespread shortages of personal protective equipment for health workers and confusion over shifting guidelines from federal officials. Such restrictions are in place at other hospitals, but there’s no indication yet that the practice is widespread. “There is little data that wearing surgical masks in general protect[s] the wearer from becoming infected with COVID-19, while giving the wearer a false sense of protection,” Andrew M. Welch, medical center director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System, noted in a Wednesday email obtained by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. On Friday morning, Welch sent staff another email responding to workers’ concerns about the mask ban. He reiterated that wearing a mask can provide a false sense of security, but added that health care workers directly caring for patients may need to wear a surgical mask at work. Welch did not specify whether wearing masks was still prohibited in certain instances. The mixed message alarmed experts and health care workers. “It’s abysmal and not very well thought through,” said Karen Hilyard, who was part of a team at the University of Georgia that worked with the CDC on pandemic responses between 2006 and 2009. Her group studied communication and found that consistent messaging is critical in mitigating panic. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Albuquerque VA medical center and Veterans Health Administration officials did not respond to questions about Welch’s emails. Many facilities are already rationing surgical masks and the more protective N95 masks, which filter out finer particles. Doctors and nurses have been forced to wear each mask for a day or more, instead of changing into new masks for each new patient as is typical. Other medical professionals have been forced to rely on masks sewn from ordinary cloth or even bandannas to protect themselves. Welch’s criticism of the masks is “misleading,” said Saskia Popescu, a hospital infection prevention epidemiologist in Phoenix. While surgical masks are not as effective at warding off infections as sealed masks like N95s, they still offer rudimentary protection from droplets that form when people sneeze, she explained. Popescu also said the guidelines fail to account for other hospital staff, such as security guards and cleaning crews. Popescu said many hospital workers are scared of getting sick. In New York City, a nurse died this week after contracting the virus-borne disease. So far, the U.S. has more than 97,000 confirmed cases, and more than 1,200 people have died. “I think there’s a fine line, and we struggle in general with wanting staff to wear the masks appropriately and discouraging them from wearing them just out of fear — but also being cognizant of the situation they’re in,” Popescu said. “There is a lot of fear going around, and they just want to protect themselves.” The CDC has modified its guidelines on protective equipment a number of times in the past month. On Feb. 21, the federal agency was recommending all health care personnel use respiratory protection that is “at least as protective” as a fit-tested N95 mask before entering a room or care area with patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. AST Sportswear employees in Brea, California, making face masks to meet the coronavirus demand on Tuesday. Hospitals across the nation have seen a shortage of masks. (Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register/SCNG via Getty Images) On March 10, the CDC loosened its guidelines because of looming supply shortages, saying that surgical masks should be used when interacting with symptomatic patients who have not yet tested positive. A week later, the CDC amended its recommendations again, asserting that health care workers could use homemade masks such as a bandanna or scarf as a last resort. Following the CDC’s lead, many hospitals have changed policies around protective gear. Some hospital administrators are telling workers that preserving supplies now will protect them later as the virus continues to spread. But the series of changes have left many health care workers worried and confused, according to interviews with 10 doctors and nurses across the country over the past week. “There is no clear information,” said a New York City-based doctor who wished to remain anonymous because his hospital has asked him not to speak out. “It’s also led to a lot of fear and panic. We’re the ones being exposed — but there are no clear-cut guidelines.” At a New Jersey-area hospital seeing a swell in COVID-19 patients, staff were told not to wear surgical masks in hallways, according to a health care worker. “The person under my white coat is scared they are going to be exposed and die,” the worker said. “It’s very hard.” In Tarrant County, Texas, the health system there sent staff an email Thursday saying they would be given one mask per week to wear at all times while at work. The mask comes with a paper bag for storage along with instructions for reuse. “Team members who do not wear a mask and use it properly will face discipline up to and including end of employment,” the email reads. “We take the protection of our team members very seriously.” In Albuquerque, the mask restrictions are an unwelcome surprise for VA workers, who fear spreading the disease to patients, colleagues or loved ones. Some VA employees had purchased their own face masks to reduce their risk of infection, according to a worker who asked not to be identified. But Welch’s email Wednesday said they will not be permitted to wear homemade or store-bought masks. “Employees are outraged and feel like this is a violation of our personal rights,” the worker said. “I’d be interested to see if they are going to enforce that policy with the doctors who are walking around with face masks all the time,” a second Albuquerque VA worker said Thursday of the new restrictions. “I mean, these guys went to medical school and they appear to believe the masks are helpful.” Correction, March 27, 2020: This story originally cited a CDC recommendation as contradicting a memo issued by Andrew M. Welch, medical center director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System. That particular recommendation did not contradict Welch’s memo and has been removed from the story. Maya Miller is an engagement reporter with the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. Bryant Furlow is a reporter for New Mexico In Depth, a member of the ProPublica Reporting Network. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor. Correction, March 27, 2020: This story originally cited a CDC recommendation as contradicting a memo issued by Andrew M. Welch, medical center director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System. That particular recommendation did not contradict Welch’s memo and has been removed from the story.

  • The Trump Administration Is Leaving the Nation’s Emergency Backup Hospital System on the Sidelines
    by by Isaac Arnsdorf on March 27, 2020 at 19:38

    by Isaac Arnsdorf ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. The Trump administration is leaving untapped reinforcements and supplies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even as many hospitals are struggling with a crush of coronavirus patients. The VA serves 9 million veterans through 170 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics, but it’s also legally designated as the country’s backup health system in an emergency. As part of the National Disaster Medical System, the VA has deployed doctors and equipment to disasters and emergencies in recent instances such as Hurricane Maria and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The VA system has 13,000 acute care beds, including 1,800 intensive care unit beds. But for the coronavirus pandemic, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told lawmakers this week that the agency won’t spring into action on its own. Instead of responding to pleas for help from states and cities, Wilkie said he’s waiting for direction from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. And those calls, for the most part, haven’t come. HHS hasn’t asked the VA for significant help with the coronavirus pandemic. FEMA did not take a leading role in the government’s response until last Friday, and it has yet to involve the VA either. “VA stands ready to support civilian health care systems in the event those systems encounter capacity issues,” press secretary Christina Mandreucci said. “At this time, VA has not received specific requests from FEMA for assistance.” The White House referred questions to the VA. The VA referred a question about taking directions from HHS and FEMA to those agencies. HHS referred questions to FEMA, and FEMA referred questions to the VA. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. The VA has fielded a handful of limited tasks. It asked 12 health technicians and nursing assistants to volunteer to help HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with coronavirus screenings for two weeks in February. The agency sent 14 medical technicians to help HHS with screenings at an Air Force base in California where evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were being quarantined. And a spokeswoman for CalVet, the state’s veterans agency, told ProPublica that the VA emergency manager in the region has helped provide supplies such as N95 masks. Lawmakers are frustrated to see the VA largely sitting on its hands as the crisis escalates. “It is unconscionable that HHS has not utilized every tool it has to address the real suffering of individuals in this nation and called upon VA,” Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, said in a March 25 letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “States, communities and patients are already suffering as a result of HHS’s inaction. Get them help now.” According to the VA’s pandemic plan released on Friday, the agency’s role in the governmentwide response may include helping emergency responders with protective gear, screening and training; helping to staff FEMA’s operations teams; dispatching advisers to state and local public health authorities; supplying medicines and equipment; and helping with burials. The stimulus deal that the Senate passed late Wednesday includes $27 billion for HHS to reimburse the VA for providing care to the general public. That’s on top of $20 billion to help the VA care for veterans. Just a month ago, at a House budget hearing, Wilkie declined additional funding. “Right now I don’t see a need for us,” he said. “We are set.” The VA held its first planning meeting on the coronavirus on Jan. 22, the day after the first case was confirmed in the U.S., according to the agency’s response to an inspector general report released Thursday. But the department did not implement measures until two days after the World Health Organization formally declared a pandemic, on March 11. The VA did not issue guidance on screening patients until March 16. Wilkie abruptly fired his deputy last month and is under investigation by the VA’s inspector general for allegedly seeking damaging information about a congressional staffer who said she was sexually assaulted at a VA hospital. (He denies doing so.) Wilkie took time off in recent weeks and has taken a back seat at White House task force meetings. Since joining the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force on March 2, Wilkie has spoken publicly only once, on March 18. (Mandreucci said Wilkie has attended 20 task force meetings.) At that time, Wilkie said the VA was preparing to join the disaster response but had not yet engaged. “We are the buttress force in case that FEMA or HHS calls upon us to deploy medical professionals across the country to meet crises,” Wilkie said. “We plan for that every day. We are gaming out emergency preparedness scenarios. And we stand ready, when the president needs us, to expand our mission.” Wilkie told Politico the VA was preparing to deploy 3,000 doctors, nurses and other emergency workers but had no timeline. The VA’s role as the country’s emergency medical backup was first established by Congress in 1982 and is known as the agency’s “Fourth Mission.” (The first three missions are sometimes identified as care, training and research, and other times as health, benefits and memorials.) This month, a description of this Fourth Mission was suddenly scrubbed from the website of the VA’s Office of Emergency Management. Mandreucci noted it appeared on a different page. The VA’s ability to support FEMA could be limited by demands from its own patients, who are largely older and part of the demographic that’s most vulnerable to the coronavirus. As of Friday, the VA had 571 patients who tested positive and nine who have died. The VA’s inspector general said in a report on Thursday that health center leaders reported concerns about running out of medicines and protective gear. Leaders at the VA hospitals in Durham, North Carolina, and Detroit said they needed more ventilators. The inspector general’s report said 43% of the facility leaders surveyed planned to share ICU beds or protective gear with local providers. “That assistance is dependent upon the availability of resources and funding, and consistency with VA’s mission to provide priority services to veterans,” Wilkie said in a March 23 letter to lawmakers. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Coronavírus: ‘não é uma simples gripe’, conta jovem infectada no estágio
    by Pedro Nakamura on March 27, 2020 at 19:00

    Estudante contraiu o novo coronavírus depois de reunião com empresários estrangeiros em seu estágio. Doença piorou, e ela está internada. ‘Sou a paciente isolada’, diz. The post Coronavírus: ‘não é uma simples gripe’, conta jovem infectada no estágio appeared first on The Intercept.

  • 12 Coronavirus Funds That Will Help the Most Vulnerable
    by Shirley Ngozi Nwangwa on March 27, 2020 at 18:53

    Shirley Ngozi Nwangwa The stimulus package won’t reach everyone who needs help right now. The post 12 Coronavirus Funds That Will Help the Most Vulnerable appeared first on The Nation.

  • Debt Collection Industry Deems Itself Essential to “Financial Health” of Consumers, Fights Covid-19 Shutdown
    by Lee Fang on March 27, 2020 at 18:40

    Lobbyists argue that debt collection must not be suspended during the pandemic, citing an “ethnically diverse” and women-majority workforce. The post Debt Collection Industry Deems Itself Essential to “Financial Health” of Consumers, Fights Covid-19 Shutdown appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Millions of People Will Struggle to Pay Rent in April, but Few in Congress Care
    by Aída Chávez on March 27, 2020 at 18:36

    Amid record high unemployment, most congressional Democrats have shown no interest in addressing many people’s inability to make major bill payments. The post Millions of People Will Struggle to Pay Rent in April, but Few in Congress Care appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Cell Phone Tracking Analysis Shows Where Florida Springbreakers and New Yorkers Fleeing Coronavirus Went to Next
    on March 27, 2020 at 18:34

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”First thing you should note is the importance of social distancing. The second is how much data your phone gives off.”

  • ‘Without Us, Instacart Will Grind to a Halt’: Delivery Workers Threaten Strike Over Hazard Pay, Safety Measures Amid Outbreak
    on March 27, 2020 at 18:28

    Julia Conley, staff writerGrocery delivery workers who are serving millions of Americans currently stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic are planning to walk off the job Monday, demanding that Instacart provide them with protections from the virus.

  • ‘Amazon Putting Lives of Workers at Risk’: Omar and Sanders Press Bezos on Alarming Lack of Coronavirus Protections
    on March 27, 2020 at 18:24

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”No employee, especially those who work for one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, should be forced to work in unsafe conditions.”

  • How ICE Operations in New York Set the Stage for a Coronavirus Nightmare in Local Jails
    by Ryan Devereaux on March 27, 2020 at 18:20

    As the coronavirus was spreading in New York City, ICE was arresting as many immigrants as possible in a politicized crackdown. The post How ICE Operations in New York Set the Stage for a Coronavirus Nightmare in Local Jails appeared first on The Intercept.

  • They Didn’t Have Coronavirus Symptoms Until After They Gave Birth. Then They Tested Positive.
    by by Nina Martin on March 27, 2020 at 18:10

    by Nina Martin ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. The 38-year-old mother had experienced a complicated pregnancy, made riskier by Type 2 diabetes and a liver condition that causes bile to build up in the blood. On March 19, in her 37th week, she went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City to be induced. Neither she nor her husband reported any of the worrisome symptoms that health care providers are watching for to screen for COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. In fact, the woman’s temperature was slightly below normal, at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, while the woman was in labor, her temperature climbed to 101.3. Suspecting that she had developed a potentially dangerous bacterial infection called chorioamnionitis, her care team gave her antibiotics and acetaminophen, which seemed to stabilize her. But labor was progressing slowly, and doctors decided to perform a cesarean section. As they were stitching up their patient, she began to hemorrhage uncontrollably. The team raced to intubate her, but her breathing rapidly worsened. When doctors finally had her condition under control, they decided to evaluate her for COVID-19. She tested positive. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. The woman, whose case was described in a short report published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of seven pregnant patients at CUMC in recent days who turned out to have the coronavirus. Two of those women had no apparent symptoms when they arrived at the hospital, only to deteriorate soon after giving birth; both required admission to the intensive care unit. CUMC is part of the NewYork-Presbyterian medical system, which announced on March 22 that it would no longer allow women who come to the system to give birth to bring in outside support to help them through labor and recovery — no husbands, no sisters, no doulas. Some 25,000 women give birth in the system’s eight maternity hospitals every year. That decision, which has since been joined by the Mt. Sinai health care system, has sent shock waves through the birthing community around New York City, where about 117,000 babies were born in 2017. The report provides new insight into why the two hospitals decided to take such a controversial step — and why other medical systems are grappling with some of the same wrenching issues. “While this [no-visitor] policy might seem Draconian,” the report said, “it should increase the protection of the mothers we care for, their infants, and the obstetric care team, by recognizing what series like this teach us: there is currently no easy way to clinically predict COVID-19 infection in asymptomatic people.” Mary D’Alton, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at CUMC, said: “The decision to not permit visitors, including birthing partners and support persons, to be with our obstetric patients was extremely difficult, but it is critical for the health and safety of our mothers, babies, all the families we take care of and our care teams. I never thought we’d be faced with having to make a decision like this in my lifetime, but as with all of the measures we have taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our ability to try to prevent potential exposure is essential.” The risks for women and babies exposed to COVID-19 are only beginning to be widely studied. At the moment, based on a very small sample of reported cases from China, public health officials believe that pregnant women are not at higher risk for contracting the virus, but many experts worry that expectant mothers may be more vulnerable to severe respiratory illness because of pregnancy-related changes to the lungs and immune system. It is currently believed that pregnant women do not transmit the virus to the fetus, but new studies from China looking at the illness in newborns and children have made many providers uneasy. So far, there have been no reported maternal deaths attributed to COVID-19. A total of four of CUMC’s pregnant patients required hospitalization, according to the report, whose lead author is maternal-fetal specialist Noelle Breslin. But it’s the asymptomatic women who may hold the most urgent lessons for a maternal care system that is scrambling to reinvent itself as the pandemic unfolds. In the case of the 38-year-old mother, “an estimated 15 healthcare providers were exposed to this patient prior to diagnosis, including during intubation, all with inadequate personal protective equipment,” the report said. The second asymptomatic mother-to-be, a 33-year-old who had a C-section, also was having an extremely complex pregnancy; she was admitted for an induction on March 18 at 37 weeks because she had been suffering from chronic hypertension, asthma and diabetes. The surgery went off without a hitch and her baby was fine. She did not begin exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms until 25 hours after she delivered, or more than 60 hours after showing up at the hospital with her husband. Over that period, the study’s authors said, “An estimated 15-20 healthcare providers were exposed to this patient, again without adequate [personal protective equipment] prior to diagnosis.” Both newborns were placed in an isolation nursery after their mothers tested positive, and both babies tested negative for the virus. The 38-year-old was released after four days, but the other woman remained hospitalized as of the report’s release. The report’s authors sounded a call to action. “This limited initial US experience suggests a need for immediate changes in obstetric clinical practice,” the study’s authors wrote. They noted that of the seven pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19, five didn’t have a fever when they arrived at the hospital and four didn’t report the other symptom widely used to screen potential cases, a cough. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Nearly 4 million women give birth to nearly 4 million babies in the U.S. every year, a potentially challenging influx of mostly healthy patients into the medical system at a time when it’s coming under unprecedented stress. Unlike some other types of providers, OB-GYN providers can’t be easily replaced by doctors and nurses from other parts of the system, particularly those who work with high-risk pregnant women. Yet obstetrical care providers “are at particularly increased risk for occupational exposure,” the report said, “because of long periods of interaction with patients during labor, multiple team members involved in patient care, and the unpredictable occurrence of sudden obstetrical emergencies with their potential for unanticipated intubations in women undergoing labor and delivery. Given this risk, and without universal rapid viral testing, we must acknowledge that every admission and delivery present[s] real risk for infection to our front-line healthcare workers.” “Until adequate PPE supplies exist,” the report said, “we can reasonably expect our obstetrical and anesthesiology providers to become ill and exit the workforce at an accelerated rate.” Update, March 27, 2020: This story was updated to include new comment from CUMC. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Coronavírus: líderes evangélicos espalham charlatanismo e teorias conspiração em cultos e vídeos
    by Uelter Ribeiro on March 27, 2020 at 17:36

    Charlatanismo, teorias da conspiração, irresponsabilidade e gritaria: é assim que alguns líderes evangélicos estão falando sobre a pandemia no Brasil. The post Coronavírus: líderes evangélicos espalham charlatanismo e teorias conspiração em cultos e vídeos appeared first on The Intercept.

  • As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash
    by Stephanie Kelton on March 27, 2020 at 16:41

    When all of this is behind us, to the extent that it ever can be, let’s not forget what we’ve learned: Congress knows how to spend money when it wants to. The post As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash appeared first on The Intercept.

  • Workers Are Warriors in the Fight Against the Coronavirus
    by Jeet Heer on March 27, 2020 at 16:34

    Jeet Heer The pandemic is putting the lives of countless workers at risk. They deserve a new deal. The post Workers Are Warriors in the Fight Against the Coronavirus appeared first on The Nation.

  • With US Now Epicenter of Global Pandemic, Hospitals Forced to Consider ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders for Patients
    on March 27, 2020 at 16:25

    Julia Conley, staff writerWith the United States now the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers in the U.S. are facing difficult decisions about whether life-saving measures can be taken for some of the sickest coronavirus patients.

  • BREAKING: We live in North Korea now!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 27, 2020 at 16:08

    FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020At this site, you were warned: How would our world be different if we actually were, as long advertised, really “the rational animal?”Consider the way Commander Trump, and the media suits, have brought us our own North Korea.If we were the rational animal, everyone would have realized, long ago, that something seems to be badly wrong with Commander Trump. Everyone would have taken the unfortunate measure of such statements as this:“You have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days, is going to be close to zero.” The commander said that on February 26. Yesterday, one month later, the actual number was at least 82,000. It was likely much greater than that.In a rational world, it would have clear, a long time ago, that something was and is wrong with our bold commander. There may be an issue of mental health. There may be an issue of cognitive impairment. There may be illness and impairment. But this would have been clear long ago.In a rational world, rational people would have discussed these obvious possibilities. In our world, press corps elites declared that we mustn’t conduct such discussions.We can finally taste the fruits of such conduct. We’ve ended up, all this week, watching North Korean TV.What happens in North Korean TV? In our version of the system, useless elites find the craziest person in the society and put him on prime-time TV. They do it day after day after day. Yesterday, he was quickly saying this:TRUMP (3/26/20): After the meeting with the world leaders, I spoke with the governors of our 50 states and territories. Our team has been in constant communication with the governors, and we had a terrific meeting.Somebody in the Fake News said that one of the governors said, “Oh, we need Tom Brady.” I said, “Yeah.” He meant that in a positive way. He said, “We need Tom Brady. We’re going to do great.” And he meant it very positively, but they took it differently. “They think Tom Brady should be leading the effort.” That’s only fake news. And I like Tom Brady. Spoke to him the other day. He’s a great guy. But I wish the news could be—could be real. I wish it could be honest. I wish it weren’t corrupt, but so much of it is. It’s so sad to see. Just so sad to see.We had a great meeting. I tell you what: I’m sure you have tapes of the meeting. I’m sure that you were able to get tapes very easily. So you had 50 governors-plus. And if you had tapes, you’d see it was really—I mean, there was no contention. I would say virtually none. I would say maybe one person that was a little tiny bit of a raising of a voice, a little wise guy, a little bit. But he’s usually a big wise guy. Not so much anymore. We saw to it that he wouldn’t be so much anymore.Everyone knows that the comment about Tom Brady was not “meant in a positive way.” Everyone knows that the comment was meant as a criticism of the commander’s perceived or actual failure to act in the face of this global pandemic.Everyone knows that this presentation by the commander was utterly bogus. Everyone knows that he’ll make an array of such ludicrous statements on a daily basis. Everyone knows that this will happen, and everyone knows that something is wrong. But yesterday, the commander was speaking in the Baltimore market on the following outlets:CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox Business Network.There may have been one or two more. But make no mistake—this is North Korean TV. The craziest person in the society is broadcast into our homes every night, just as prime time is starting.When this craziest person gets started, it’s propaganda all the way down. Each presentation is propaganda. Surely, everyone knows that.Yesterday, everything was great, incredible, amazing and beautiful in this state propaganda realm. Once the commander got going, he of course made such remarks as these:TRUMP: As of today, FEMA has shipped over 9 million N95 masks, 20 million face masks, 3.1 million face shields, nearly 6,000 ventilators, 2.6 million gowns, 14.6 million gloves. And we’re sending more every day, and we’ve got tremendous amounts of equipment coming in.A lot of great companies are making equipment right now. The ventilators, obviously they take a little longer to make, but we have a lot of companies making them. And we’re going to be in great shape.We took over an empty shelf. We took over a very depleted place, in a lot of ways. As you know, the testing is going very, very well. And that was obsolete and broken, and we fixed it and it’s been going really good.And I think, very importantly, the stockpile—we’re really filling it up, and we fill it up rapidly, but we get it out.Again, we North Koreans were offered the feel-good “gong show of large numbers.” Again, there was no attempt to compare these reported numbers to the apparent size of the nation’s actual need. Meanwhile, we were told that “the testing is going very, very well.” On March 6, the commander said this:”Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”Yesterday, twenty days later, the testing was “going very, very well!” Until you turned on cable news and saw people standing in line, for hours, all day long, in close quarters, trying to get tested at a hospital in Queens. This being a province of North Korea, no journalist raised these embarrassing points when yesterday’s “questioning” started. In this, the most rational of all possible worlds, our journalists—rational animals all—simply don’t do such things.Simply put, such things aren’t done. No matter how much attendance is limited in these daily “briefings,” the questioning remains scattershot. No follow-ups to the commander’s weird statements allowed!Over the past few days, we’ve followed a bit of propaganda which emerged at Tuesday’s briefing. Yesterday, before taking any questions, the commander of course recited that script again:TRUMP: As we continue to gather more information and accelerate the testing—where we’re doing record numbers of tests now, far more than any other country has done. I told you yesterday: Eight days here—because you heard so much about South Korea. The media kept talking, “South Korea, South Korea.” We have a great relationship with President Moon in South Korea. But when I hear so much about South Korea—So, in eight days—in eight days, we do more testing than they did in eight weeks. And it’s a very highly sophisticated test, too.”In eight days, we do more testing than [South Korea] did in eight weeks.” That talking-point emerged from a jumbled, confusing presentation by Field Marshal Birx on Tuesday.In basic ways, this presentation seems to be wrong. In other ways, it’s clownishly misleading. But no matter how many times the commander recites this fuzzy point, no one will challenge him on what he says. And, this being North Korea, the executives put him all over TV at 6 PM Eastern so he can repeat this claim.This is now a regular part of our nation’s daily experience. Make no mistake about what this is:This is North Korean TV.The craziest person in the society is given the airwaves to spout every night. The children before him quiver and shake. Their “questions” may take this form:TRUMP: I can now announce something that I think is incredible, what they’ve done in the Navy, because the incredible naval hospital ship the USNS Comfort—which is incredible, actually, when you see it inside—will be underway to New York City on Saturday.So it’s going to be leaving on Saturday, rather than three weeks from now. They did the maintenance quickly, and it was going to be there for quite a while longer—another three or four weeks. And it should be arriving—I told the governor 20 minutes ago, Governor Cuomo, that the ship will be arriving in New York Harbor on Monday.I think I’m going to go out and I’ll kiss it goodbye. I’ll go—I’ll go to—it’s in Virginia, as you know. And I will go and we’ll be waving together because I suspect the media will be following. John, are you going to be following? Maybe. You never know.QUESTION: I always follow the Comfort, sir. It’s a very important vessel.TRUMP: It’s a great ship. It’s a great vessel, is right. So, if you want to go, I’ll see you there. And if you don’t, that’s okay.If we might borrow from Wittgenstein, out of context:”It is in this and in similar ways that [the North Korean press corps] operates with words.”In closing, let’s return to Field Marshal Birx. On Tuesday, she made a peculiar, jumbled presentation which went straight to state propaganda. We’ve seen no one ask her to explain or clarify her statement. Yesterday, though, the Washington Post did analyze the field marshal’s ongoing performance.In a rational world, the Washington Post might have critiqued what the field marshal said. In our world, the Post threw to fashion analyst Robin Givhan. Hard-copy headline included, she proceeded as shown:GIVHAN (3/26/20): The reassuring style of Deborah BirxHer tone is gentle but firm. From her background as a diplomat, she is skilled in soft force— the art of getting people to do what you want them to do but having them think it was their brilliant idea all along. She stands out on what was a distressingly crowded stage until it recently thinned out: Women are in the minority during these public expositions. But she’s also distinctive because of her attire.Birx doesn’t dress like a lady politician in jewel-tone suits and statement jewelry. She doesn’t wear power dresses, those sleek sheaths that are a critical part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s professional wardrobe. She doesn’t turn up in a white coat as if she’s there to take the nation’s collective temperature. Birx’s style can be called classically feminine when she wears her shirtwaist dresses and knots silk scarves around her shoulders. She exudes academic wonkiness with her earth tones and tunics and mufflers double-wrapped around her neck. She never looks bland or nondescript. She doesn’t look like an automaton or someone who has lost herself in the data and computer models. And in doing so, she offers a subtle but important reminder to people that while this crisis is serious and meeting it is hard, we are still human. Do not lose yourself. Be kind to yourself.Finally! A public figure has been praised for wearing earth tones! Meanwhile, “we’re still human.”From there, the piece went on and on; then it went on and on some more. In hard copy, it appeared on the first page of Style. The Post has been publishing work of this type dating at least to the 2000 Florida recount.Givhan didn’t examine what Birx said this week. She examined the reassuring clothing she wore as she said it. An important fact can be learned from this. It’s an anthropological fact. The rumination goes like this:For the past several years, we’ve been urging you to adopt a new paradigm, a new framework of understanding. We’ve suggested that you stop seeing our self-impressed species as “the rational animal.” We’ve suggested that you see us as what we’ve always been—as the highly tribal, reflexively script-reading, wildly distractible animal. Nothing will change if you adopt this paradigm shift, but you’ll be seeing the world more clearly.We live in North Korea now. At this site, you were warned!

  • Not All Schools Can #KeepLearning
    by by Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, and Jodi S. Cohen and Haru Coryne, ProPublica Illinois on March 27, 2020 at 15:30

    by Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, and Jodi S. Cohen and Haru Coryne, ProPublica Illinois This investigation is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get weekly updates about our work. To encourage learning while schools are shut down, Illinois education officials have gathered online tools for educators and promoted the hashtag #keeplearning. Some students in Illinois, however, won’t be able to watch their teacher conduct live science experiments or download a story time video. They don’t have a computer or high-speed internet at home, or a cellphone data plan that would support it. A Chicago Tribune-ProPublica Illinois analysis found digital inequities across the state, the effects of which will be exacerbated as families are isolated inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. In more than 500 of the state’s roughly 3,100 census tracts, there were fewer than 600 quality connections per 1,000 residents, accounting for a significant portion of Illinois geography. At least 54 census tracts had even lower rates of connectivity as of the end of 2017, the analysis showed. The Federal Communications Commission surveys the nation’s fixed internet service availability by collecting data through internet service providers twice a year. It defines fixed high-speed internet connections as those with adequate bandwidth to upload or download. So if a provider offers service at least that fast for at least one household on a census-defined block, the entire area is considered served. The most recent data about individual connections is from the end of 2017 and was released last year; providers may have improved speeds and access since then. The Tribune-ProPublica Illinois analysis of FCC data, combined with estimates of households per census tract, showed that in a high-poverty tract of St. Clair County, about 250 miles southwest of Chicago, there were fewer than 200 quality internet connections per 1,000 households. It was among the most underserved downstate areas, according to the analysis. So, too, was Edgar County, in the central part of the state along the Indiana border. In three of the five census tracts there, there were fewer than 600 broadband connections per 1,000 households. In contrast, the census tracts served by the Maercker School District 60 in DuPage County all show close to one decent connection for every household. [ Map: TK ] Trico District 176, which straddles pieces of Jackson, Randolph and Perry counties in southwestern Illinois, draws students from seven census tracts. Only two of the tracts have what the FCC considers wide broadband internet coverage. In the rest of the area, fewer than 600 connections per 1,000 households are available in each tract, suggesting that hundreds of households lack basic service, the analysis shows. Trico Superintendent Larry Lovel called the technology gap “a poverty issue, pure and simple.” He said he filled out a recent Illinois State Board of Education survey that asked for districts’ technology needs, but said he’s previously responded to many surveys like it. He said providing technology to close the gaps should be part of a consistent funding source, not one-time grants. “I don’t want to sound crass,” he said, “but I don’t see it coming to light that a truck will end up driving up with 500 devices and 500 hot spots for the Trico district.” Illinois has 852 public school districts, plus special education cooperatives and hundreds of private schools. All were ordered by Gov. J.B. Pritzker closed from March 17 to April 7 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Chicago Public Schools have already extended the closure until April 20, and others may as well. Schools aren’t required to educate students during the closure, but they are encouraged to provide “educational opportunities.” Recent state guidance said districts that can provide virtual learning should do so. That creates concern for rural districts in areas throughout the state without strong fixed broadband. In southeastern Illinois, the Carmi-White County district enrolls about 1,400 students who live within 240 square miles, much of it rural. Carmi-White County school officials are surveying families this week to find out who has reliable internet service and who doesn’t. Analysis of the FCC and census data shows that the majority of households in the areas served by the district do not have adequate fixed internet connections. “It is a concern of ours. That’s why we’re hoping that we’re not mandated to do e-learning necessarily. … But hopefully we can provide some hybrid opportunities,” Superintendent Brad Lee said. “There’s some areas that just don’t have very good service. So hopefully in those, we can provide hard copies of curriculum and learning opportunities for our kids.” When it became clear that schools would likely be affected by virus-related closures, ISBE posted a survey asking superintendents to weigh in on their technology needs — both physical devices and the internet capabilities of students at home. The agency said it would work with the governor’s office and philanthropic community to “ensure that every public school has the technology needed to provide e-learning to all students in the immediate future.” That survey showed that 433 districts — or 71% of all those that responded — said there were obstacles to teaching students remotely, ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said. ISBE followed up with another survey that collected about 600 districts’ responses through March 25 to ask: Are you providing video lessons? Mobile applications? Requiring book reports? An initial analysis of districts’ answers show that fewer than 10% of districts — 56 of them — are providing education solely online. Another 52 districts, or about 9%, were using paper-and-pencil methods only. And about 82% were trying to teach students using both online and analog methods. Of the more than 600 respondents, a third said they’re delivering materials to students through bus routes or the mail. And a little more than half said educators had actually led video lessons. Matthews said the state assembled an advisory group that “will explore what is possible and what is reasonable under these unprecedented circumstances, always recognizing the incredible diversity and varying capacity of Illinois’ 852 school districts.” Six school districts responded to the survey that they had no plan in place to offer remote learning. Some districts are finding creative ways to get digital access to students who don’t have it. Near St. Louis, the Belleville Township High School District has repurposed four school buses as Wi-Fi hot spots. The district already owned the buses, which are Wi-Fi-equipped and used for field trips and academic, athletic and band activities. “We thought, well, rather than have them sit … we’ve identified four parks each day within our boundaries and they sit in the park,” Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer said. “People pull up — they can be within about 300 feet of the bus — log in, download the information they need and then they have the opportunity to get their work if they don’t have connectivity at home.” Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. About two weeks ago, Mentzer said, the district surveyed families about their digital capabilities. Although the area for the most part has strong broadband internet access, not everyone had Wi-Fi or enough devices to go around. The school bus Wi-Fi is strong enough to let several cars at once download schoolwork, he said. “It worked out great. Someone had a great idea and we made it work,” Mentzer said. The digital divide, also referred to as the “homework gap,” is wider for teens who live in low-income households — those that earn less than $30,000 a year — with one in five lacking access to a computer or reliable internet, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center that relies on 2015 census data. It’s wider still for black and Hispanic teens from low-income homes, Pew found. State Superintendent Carmen Ayala, in a letter to superintendents last week, said, “ISBE strongly encourages all school districts to provide learning opportunities to all students during these Act of God Days through whatever means possible.” The state school code says those types of emergency days don’t have to be made up. Elgin District 46, one of the largest in the state, recently began giving Chromebooks to students from fifth through 12th grade, aided by a surge of new state funding intended to narrow the gap in resources between schools. By August of last school year, all of the district’s 14,000 high school students had a device they could take home. The district has about 26,000 Chromebooks, and more are being shipped this week; it has cost about $9 million so far. With the need now more immediate, district officials are distributing Chromebooks from the schools to remaining students who don’t have one at home. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade are getting them this week. “If this virus had struck three years ago, we would not be able to provide any sort of distance learning,” U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders said. “We should be able to provide a device for every family to make sure their students can learn.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • When the State Shifted to E-learning, This Rural School Superintendent Shifted to the Copy Machine
    by by Jodi S. Cohen on March 27, 2020 at 15:30

    by Jodi S. Cohen This story is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to get weekly updates about our work. The Sunday afternoon before he sent the 850 students in his sprawling rural school district home because of the coronavirus outbreak, Superintendent Larry Lovel shared a picture on Twitter of a decade-old copy machine printing out enough worksheets to help keep them occupied for the expected two-week shutdown. In the absence of an Asst or CIO, or Dir. of Comm. this rural Sup is using an old tool to inexpensively distribute FAQ docs to families in the wake of school closures. Limited parent tech access hinders other forms. You do what you do because you care#ILSCHOOLSSTEPUP— Larry Lovel (@LDLOVEL) March 16, 2020 But now the state’s school closures are expected to extend much longer, perhaps to the end of the school year, and that creates an ongoing dilemma for Trico District 176 and its families, one that reflects a much larger issue of equity that has been magnified by the coronavirus crisis. The Trico district covers 250 square miles in southwestern Illinois, where the principal industries are coal mining and agri-business. There are no supermarkets within its boundaries and only one major retail store, a Dollar General. Many families don’t have computers or internet connections; they have limited data through their cellphone plans. As federal and state officials encourage schools to move to online learning during the weeks away from school, that is simply not an option for the three schools that make up Trico. Most students can’t join a Zoom video call with their class or meet up in a Google Hangout or complete assignments electronically. Their teachers aren’t hosting real-time classroom discussions because students aren’t able to watch them. The Trico district in southwestern Illinois. (Chicago Tribune) With technology-free learning the only option for many students, teachers distributed about 5,900 pages of paper lessons to the district’s K-12 students just before they left school March 16. They listed activities students could pick from in each subject, as well as accompanying instructions and reading material. Third graders could choose to “Write a word problem for .438 + 295 =” as one of their math activities, for example. Sixth graders could pick between doing an experiment or mapping a fire evacuation plan for science. District officials also printed information about the novel coronavirus from the regional health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and distributed it to families. After Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the statewide shutdown Friday, I reached out to Lovel to ask what the extended school closure would mean for a district that can’t educate students online or virtually. I spoke with him one night after he took a break from building a dog kennel with his children, as a lasagna cooked in the oven. We spoke again as he worked at his school office, planning for the next few weeks. His wife is a third-generation first grade teacher in the district and his children, ages 17, 13 and 9, are students there. He said he’s watched with mixed emotions as other schools across the state have moved instruction online and figured out innovative ways to continue teaching from afar. “I don’t want to say I’m jealous, but that moves us even further down the road with closing the gap in achievement and technology and accessibility that others are taking for granted,” Lovel said. “We will continue to provide opportunities with paper and pencil.” An empty classroom at Trico Junior High School, which remains closed amid Illinois’ statewide stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy of Larry Lovel) Our conversation has been condensed and edited. Here’s what he told me: “We provide educational opportunities for six small communities, mostly rural. We have a growing population from Guatemala in our area. We have a long-term presence with the Amish community. We have quite a unique collection of cultures, not just the typical you would find in rural America. Connectivity is always a question. We still live in an area where you can have a dropped phone call. I recognize we are rural, and we don’t have a great number of people. Companies for profit are not necessarily going to seek connections here because there are so few people to have a return on that investment.” “Getting technology in the hands of students even while they are in school is an issue.” “When I first came to [the] Trico school district as a superintendent [four years ago], there were Chromebooks and laptops and some are 7-12 years old. We have received 75 laptops through State Farm and their charity program over the last three years. They wipe their laptops clean and provide them for donations. Right now, we are retooling old PC laptops to run Chrome in an effort to put more devices in classrooms. Getting technology in the hands of students even while they are in school is an issue. We also do not have the resources to blanketly send home the devices we do have with students, as we have no way to rapidly replace our limited inventories if lost or broken.” “We had no intention of providing them with what they perceived to be homework for the next week.” Larry Lovel, superintendent of Trico District 176, works from his dining table at home, as Illinois schools remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic. (Family photo) “When we realized school would be closed, our teachers sprung into action. The eight copy machines and three Risograph machines ran nonstop. We attempted to provide students with a staggered amount of work, between five to seven days’ worth. We wanted to provide them with enrichment activities. We had no intention of providing them with what they perceived to be homework for the next week. The key was to keep the students’ interest up and the stress level of our parents down.” “For our school district to convert [to online learning], we would be unduly burdening children and families.” “Even as we expand our limited student access to technology, our region’s connectivity to the internet also hinders our ability to capitalize on e-learning opportunities. Many of the providers do not have strong signals. Not every community has a library in our area, and now they are closed anyway. Some Wi-Fi there is strong enough that you can sit in the library parking lot and get access. In addition to problems with signal strength, we also have plans that are expensive and limit data. At the Dollar General store, they have huge [displays] with pay as you go cellphones. For many of our families, that is where they gain their technology access. For our school district to convert [to online learning], we would be unduly burdening children and families.” “Comcast and others saying, ‘Free Wi-Fi and Internet for two months.’ Those providers don’t have a presence in our area.” “For our district to be out of school for weeks on end, it is not possible for families even with data plans and devices to complete e-learning lessons without using substantial data. Those pay-as-you-go plans are not sufficient to keep pace with the demands of Google apps and Zoom. With the limited data, after 12 or eight days, it goes on slow or safety mode and you can’t do much in safety mode. Comcast and others saying, ‘Free Wi-Fi and Internet for two months.’ Those providers don’t have a presence in our area. It is wonderful that corporations are doing that, but they don’t have the manpower to connect 300 families in the Trico area.” An empty hallway at Trico Junior High School on March 17, the first day schools closed as part of a statewide shutdown. (Courtesy of Larry Lovel) “There are subtleties individually that weigh on our hearts.” “For us, the impact [of a long-term school closure] will be substantial. One of the concerns we always struggle with is regression during June, July and August, and now they will be separated from us during an extended period of time. We miss our kids, obviously. We had kids in fifth grade who made it their personal goal to become million-word readers. There are subtleties individually that weigh on our hearts. There are teams, baseball and softball, that will never have the first pitch. We have prom, and for some it is not important and for others it is a milestone. We have scholarship applications, and many students who don’t have access to the internet will not be able to go online and complete those unless we have somewhere for them to go.” “We are moving forward.” “Principals and myself, we are going to say, ‘What are the next steps?’ We are moving forward. We will continue to do some of what we did before. We will send the information by email, make automated calls and post on the district website and Facebook pages. Many of the children who don’t have access to technology, they will be accessing the six breakfast and lunch spots we have set up from 11 to 12, and we will have the learning packets available there. We are set up outside City Hall and the volunteer firehouse because those are essential services that are open. The banks, which we often utilize for information and community events, the lobbies are shut down.” “My concern about the lack of technology and broadband in our region started long before this.” “Considering the circumstances, all of us are resourceful and we will have the resolve to get through this. There is a huge inequity currently, but we do our best with what we have. My concern about the lack of technology and broadband in our region started long before this. I hope that when the dust settles, this will be addressed in the future.” Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • ‘There Should Be Shame’: Watch Ocasio-Cortez Excoriate GOP Over Massive Corporate Bailouts in Coronavirus Bill
    on March 27, 2020 at 15:10

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”What did the Senate majority fight for? One of the largest corporate bailouts, with as few strings as possible, in American history.”

  • In a 10-Day Span, ICE Flew This Detainee Across the Country — Nine Times
    by by Yeganeh Torbati, Dara Lind and Jack Gillum on March 27, 2020 at 14:33

    by Yeganeh Torbati, Dara Lind and Jack Gillum ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Less than two weeks ago, the Trump administration urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Major airlines slashed their routes. All the while, Sirous Asgari took nine different flights around the country. None of them was by choice. Asgari bounced around on chartered jets from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey — a circuitous journey arranged by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has custody of the 59-year-old Iranian man. The federal agency continues to shuffle detainees around the nation, exposing them and others to possible infection. As panic grows inside ICE facilities over the potential spread of the virus, some immigration attorneys said they were promised by local ICE officials last week that detainee transfers would halt temporarily. But the government has continued the practice anyway, data and interviews show. In fact, two air charter companies known to be used by ICE continue to fly between airports known for detainee transfers, a ProPublica analysis of flight records shows. The charter companies, Swift Air and World Atlantic Airlines, have operated at least 16 flights between those locations since March 16 — the date when U.S. officials implored travelers to avoid discretionary travel and not gather in groups larger than 10 people. Asgari boarded at least one commonly used Swift Air passenger jet, a Boeing 737. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. ProPublica’s findings raise new concerns as health experts urge minimizing travel. Once a coronavirus infection takes hold in a detention center — often a cramped facility with limited health care — experts and detainees alike worry that its spread becomes inevitable. (ICE has announced two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among those in its custody, both in facilities in New Jersey, and three cases among ICE detention staff, in New Jersey, Colorado and Texas. Late on Thursday, a federal judge ordered the release of 10 ICE detainees held in New Jersey jails where COVID-19 cases had been confirmed.) The risk goes beyond the 38,000-plus ICE detainees. It extends to detention center guards, people at local jails used for ICE detention and pretrial detainees who haven’t been convicted of a crime. “It’s quite dangerous” to fly detainees around while much of the country is locked down, said Dr. Robert Greifinger, a New York physician who used to inspect ICE facilities as a Department of Homeland Security contractor. “In many states, particularly the states along the coasts, there are stay-at-home rules, and for ICE to be moving people to those areas or from those areas is dangerous not just for the detainees but for the staff and the communities into which the detainees are brought.” ICE did not respond to questions from ProPublica for this story. On its website, ICE said it follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on screening and testing for the coronavirus. Federal immigration officials have long transported detainees across America by air and bus depending on the demand for beds and to respond to medical needs and security concerns. “For the most part, ICE’s tempo has been to move detainees in a way that thinks of them more as widgets, or as supply chain issues, than human beings,” said a former senior ICE official, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly. In Asgari’s case, the recent disruption in international air travel appears to have contributed to his numerous flights and delayed his deportation. Asgari — who has a history of lung infections and pneumonia — has been held at four detention facilities in three states (Ohio, Louisiana and Texas). He’s also been placed on at least nine ICE flights across the country just since March 17. ProPublica used flight records to confirm Asgari’s account of his cross-country travels via Swift Air. Sirous Asgari, an Iranian Detainee, Was Taken on Four Flights in One Day These were some of the nine flights he was forced to make over a two-week period. Note: Flight times are in Central time. (Source: FlightAware. Credit: Lucas Waldron/ProPublica.) ProPublica discovered additional detainee trips, like Asgari’s, by analyzing flight patterns from aircraft-tracking services like FlightAware and ADS-B Exchange. Mapping software showed no significant slowdown in recent journeys between the Alexandria Staging Facility in Louisiana and similar detention facilities near Miami and Newark, New Jersey, as well as Laredo and Brownsville in Texas. Some ICE transfers came before the epidemic erupted, but their timing offered opportunities for infection. (In one case on March 1, a detainee was sent from El Paso, Texas, to Tacoma, Washington, via the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as the state saw its first coronavirus deaths.) The flights have continued even as many of the areas where detainees are held have gone into lockdown. “This back-and-forth, massive movement of detainees under this coronavirus is absolutely dangerous,” Asgari said in a phone interview this week from Louisiana, where he is held pending deportation. “They are endangering the lives of all these people, including myself, and nobody cares. Why?” Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor, was arrested by ICE agents in November after his acquittal on federal charges of divulging trade secrets. He, his family and his lawyers have pleaded with ICE to release him as the virus spreads because of his age and health history. Sirous Asgari with his wife and children at Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1997. (Courtesy of Mohammad Hosein Asgari) ICE officials have said they will scale back arrests in response to the coronavirus, but they told ProPublica on Monday that they have not yet reevaluated policies regarding those currently in detention. Transfer decisions are often made by regional ICE field offices, the former senior ICE official said, sometimes without the knowledge of headquarters. According to lawyers, ICE officials in at least two field offices said last week that they would pause detainee transfers but didn’t follow through. “A week ago, [the El Paso ICE field office] told us they wouldn’t be transferring anybody else,” said Heidi Cerneka of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “And then the very next day, we had a client enter in contact with us in a panic because they told her she was going to be transferred.” Last Friday, Las Americas attorneys say, a different Las Americas client was transferred without notice from El Paso to a nearby detention center in Otero, New Mexico. On Monday, a 60-year-old client told Las Americas she was placed on a full plane of detainees to be transferred to Louisiana, then removed by ICE officers and returned to El Paso without explanation. In northern Florida on March 18, an ICE official told Mary Yanik, a lawyer with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, that a detainee’s scheduled March 19 transfer had been postponed because they were canceling “all movement of anybody for at least another week,” according to lawyer’s notes shared with ProPublica. On March 25, the detainee was transferred and Yanik was not notified. Neither the El Paso nor Miami ICE field offices replied to a request for comment. Detainees are supposed to be medically evaluated at each new facility, but the detention centers often do not have interpreters or medical records are not passed along. At the Krome Processing Center, a Miami-area facility where detainees are often sent shortly before deportation, lawyer Bud Conlin said recently transferred detainees reported only temperature checks. Accounts suggest that when detainees are quarantined for coronavirus symptoms, it’s often after they’ve been in transit with others. Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. In a sworn statement filed this week as part of a federal lawsuit, attorney Keren Zwick of the National Immigrant Justice Center recounted one California detainee’s report. After sleeping eight to a cell in an Otay Mesa detention center, the detainee was bused nearly three hours to Adelanto with 30 other men, two of whom were “coughing and visibly sick.” The sick detainees were separated only after arriving at Adelanto. (On Monday, the detainee was brought back to the Otay Mesa facility. He told his lawyer he received no medical checks after either transfer.) For three months, Asgari was held at a facility in Youngstown, Ohio, and transferred in mid-February to the crowded Seneca County Jail, also in Ohio. Dozens of people shared one shower and four bathroom stalls, he said. The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a voicemail requesting comment. While at Seneca, Asgari fell ill but recovered after treatment with antibiotics, he said. Around March 10, Asgari was transferred from Seneca County to the Alexandria facility, a 400-bed ICE site in central Louisiana used as a deportation hub. Asgari believed that his deportation was imminent. Dozens of people move in and out each day in the bare-bones facility with no outdoor space, Asgari said. “This facility, if the virus gets in, it would be a disaster,” he said. On Thursday, a sign saying the area was under medical observation was put on the door of Asgari’s pod, and a nurse took the temperatures of everyone in that pod. Detainees grew scared and frustrated, and the nurse did not explain. A spokesman for GEO Group, which runs Alexandria, did not answer specific questions, but the company has said in a statement that its facilities have access to hand-washing facilities and soap, and include coronavirus screening during intake. ICE facilities have a long history of mishandling infectious diseases that can rapidly spread outside their walls, endangering both detainees and the communities in which they are located. In audio obtained by ProPublica, an immigrant detained by ICE in New Jersey complained that he and other detainees are on a hunger strike to try to obtain soap and toilet paper in the midst of the pandemic. Asgari with his daughter in Taleghan, Iran, in 2016. (Courtesy of Mohammad Hosein Asgari) Asgari said he was flown on March 17 from Louisiana to the Boston area, where some immigrants disembarked and others came onboard. They then flew to New Jersey, where Asgari said he was supposed to disembark for an eventual flight from New York to Iran. Instead, the plane was held for hours in New Jersey, and he could not exit. Asgari said he was told by an ICE officer that his flight to Iran had been canceled. From New Jersey, Asgari and the other immigrants flew to Texas, and from Texas to Louisiana. iAero Airways, which acquired Swift Air in 2018, did not respond to requests for comment. World Atlantic Airlines, another ICE flight operator, also did not respond. Neither company has contracts that show up in federal spending databases, which would disclose how much the operations cost taxpayers. Several days later, Asgari traveled from Louisiana to Pennsylvania, where he said dozens of immigrants boarded the plane, and on to Brownsville. While most other passengers were deported to Mexico, he and a handful of others were transferred to ICE’s Port Isabel Detention Center, where they slept on a concrete floor. The next morning, March 24, he flew from Brownsville to Toledo, Ohio, where he was supposed to disembark. At the last minute, he said ICE officials kept him on the plane, which then went on to Richmond, Virginia, and finally back to Louisiana. At each stop, he said the plane picked up more immigrants and was full when it finally landed late on Tuesday in Louisiana. The ICE deportation officer assigned to Asgari’s case did not respond to a voicemail requesting comment. The officer, Scott Wichrowski, told Asgari’s attorney, Edward Bryan, on Thursday that his deportation is scheduled to occur “no later than early April,” according to an email seen by ProPublica. But Bryan said Asgari’s experience demonstrates that ICE can’t guarantee his deportation date and that he should be released on bond in the meantime. Asgari said he would be happy to arrange his own travel back to Iran if ICE would release him. David McSwane and Perla Trevizo contributed reporting. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • The Food Workers Facing the Pandemic
    by Lauren Justice on March 27, 2020 at 13:24

    With America in lockdown, the people running our food system are a lifeline for the rest of us.

  • Weeks After Saying ‘I Shook Hands With Everybody’ at Hospital, Boris Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus
    on March 27, 2020 at 13:20

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”I am now self-isolating.”

  • Protect Our First Responders
    by Mustafa Santiago Ali on March 27, 2020 at 12:17

    As health care workers are being exposed to COVID-19, let’s make sure they are equipped with the personal protective equipment they need to meet the threat.

  • This Was Never Just About Woody Allen. It Still Isn’t.
    by JoAnn Wypijewski on March 27, 2020 at 12:00

    JoAnn Wypijewski Against the vice cop of the mind. The post This Was Never Just About Woody Allen. It Still Isn’t. appeared first on The Nation.

  • Polar Depressed
    by Benjamin Slyngstad on March 27, 2020 at 12:00

    Benjamin Slyngstad On the rocks. The post Polar Depressed appeared first on The Nation.

  • This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like
    by John Nichols on March 27, 2020 at 11:30

    John Nichols Bernie Sanders’s moral outrage and devastating sarcasm struck back against a GOP assault on poor and low-income workers.  The post This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like appeared first on The Nation.

  • Don’t Let Trump Make Immigrants Victims of COVID-19
    by James Goodman on March 27, 2020 at 11:25

    Public pressure mounts to release those trapped in detention centers.

  • Following Gender-Based Violence Strike, Mexican Women Support Victims During Coronavirus
    by Isabella Cota on March 27, 2020 at 10:31

    Mexican feminist group ‘Brujas del Mar’ provides resources for women living in abusive homes during COVID-19 quarantine.

  • ‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules
    on March 27, 2020 at 10:24

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”The EPA uses this global pandemic to create loopholes for destroying the environment. This is a schoolbook example for what we need to start looking out for.”

  • My Anxious Wife Is Stockpiling Pop-Tarts! What Should I Do?
    by Liza Featherstone on March 27, 2020 at 09:59

    Liza Featherstone Another readers asks how to show solidarity amid lockdown. The post My Anxious Wife Is Stockpiling Pop-Tarts! What Should I Do? appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Postal Service Is Breaking Down
    by Jake Bittle on March 27, 2020 at 09:59

    Jake Bittle Covid-19 has already begun to take its toll on the overextended USPS workforce. The post The Postal Service Is Breaking Down appeared first on The Nation.

  • If Sanitation Workers Don’t Work, Nothing Works
    by Ross Barkan on March 27, 2020 at 09:59

    Ross Barkan Meet the men and women risking illness to keep New York’s streets clean. The post If Sanitation Workers Don’t Work, Nothing Works appeared first on The Nation.

  • Congratulations, Your Kids Are Now Your Coworkers
    by Elie Mystal on March 27, 2020 at 09:59

    Elie Mystal Tips on how to survive the lockdown with your children and sanity intact—by a veteran of working from home. The post Congratulations, Your Kids Are Now Your Coworkers appeared first on The Nation.

  • To Stop Anti-Trans Legislation, Abolish the Settler State
    by Taliah Mancini on March 27, 2020 at 09:59

    Taliah Mancini Candi Brings Plenty, a two-spirit activist, is redefining indigenous justice. The post To Stop Anti-Trans Legislation, Abolish the Settler State appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly With Covid-19
    by Sasha Abramsky on March 27, 2020 at 09:45

    Sasha Abramsky Heroism and selflessness, the terror of loneliness amid quarantine… and Donald Trump’s grotesque and life-threatening narcissism. The post The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly With Covid-19 appeared first on The Nation.

  • Set to Approve $4.5 Trillion to Bail Out Corporations, Trump White House Objects to $1 Billion Price Tag for 80,000 Ventilators
    on March 27, 2020 at 09:04

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”This is monstrous and people will die.”

  • This Pandemic Is Exposing the Futility of the National Security State
    by Andrew J. Bacevich on March 27, 2020 at 09:00

    Andrew J. Bacevich Don’t tell the CIA, but the principal threats to our collective well-being are right here where we live. The post This Pandemic Is Exposing the Futility of the National Security State appeared first on The Nation.

  • People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads
    by by Amy Silverman, Arizona Daily Star on March 27, 2020 at 09:00

    by Amy Silverman, Arizona Daily Star This article was produced in partnership with the Arizona Daily Star, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country. Several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama. The advocates say the plans discriminate against people with intellectual disabilities by deprioritizing this group in the event of rationing of medical care — specifically, access to ventilators, which are in high demand in treating COVID-19 cases. More than 7 million people in the U.S. have some form of cognitive disability. Some state plans make clear that people with cognitive issues are a lower priority for lifesaving treatment. For instance, Alabama’s plan says that “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.” Another part says that “persons with severe or profound mental retardation, moderate to severe dementia, or catastrophic neurological complications such as persistent vegetative state are unlikely candidates for ventilator support.” Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. Other plans include vague provisions, which advocates fear will be interpreted to the detriment of the intellectually disabled community. For instance, Arizona’s emergency preparedness plan advises medical officials to “allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources.” Between a person with cognitive difficulties and a person without them, who decides whose needs come first? Medical triage always forces hard decisions about who lives and dies. For instance, older people with shorter life expectancy or those with severe dementia are often deemed less deserving of scarce medical resources than younger, healthier individuals. The state plans make clear that the fate of those with intellectual disabilities is part of the wrenching debate. HHS officials said they were opposed to rationing care for people with any kind of disability. “Persons with disabilities should not be put at the end of the line for health services based on stereotypes or discrimination, especially during emergencies. Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human being from ruthless utilitarianism,” said Roger Severino, the director of the agency’s civil rights office. Get Our Top Investigations Subscribe to the Big Story newsletter. Don’t miss out on ProPublica’s next investigation. Sign up and get the Big Story email whenever we break news. Email address This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. “What we’re seeing here is a clash between disability rights law and ruthless utilitarian logic,” said Ari Ne’eman, a visiting scholar at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. “What this is really about at the end of the day is whether our civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic. I think that’s a pretty core question as to who we are as a country.” Advocates and families of those with intellectual disabilities say their community is especially vulnerable to the disease because many of those with significant impairments live in group homes or other congregate settings. It can sometimes be difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to understand the pandemic and its demands, such as the need to wear masks and heightened protocols for social distancing and hand-washing. The death of Emily Wallace, a 67-year-old with Down syndrome in a group home in Georgia, was an early warning sign of the dangers facing the community, advocates say. Wallace was a woman of firsts. She and her husband, Richard, were the first couple with intellectual disabilities to marry in the state. They were the first to live independently in their own home in Albany, a small town in the southwestern part of the state. In mid-March, Emily was the first person with an intellectual disability in her community — and possibly one of the first in the nation — to be diagnosed with COVID-19. She was taken to a local hospital where she died alone. “Mrs. Wallace is once again the first, but this isn’t what we wanted to celebrate,” said Stacey Ramirez, state director for The Arc of Georgia, a nonprofit advocacy group that serves people with intellectual disabilities. Richard and Emily Wallace, shown in this photo from 2015, are believed to have been the first couple with intellectual disabilities to marry in Georgia. Both had Down syndrome. Emily died this month after contracting COVID-19. Richard died in 2018. (Courtesy of Albany Arc) Emily and Richard Wallace were married for 18 years. A 1992 story in the Albany Herald depicted their life as happily domestic, mentioning that Richard hated to vacuum, while Emily didn’t like to dust, and that she did most of the cooking while he raked the leaves. They made payments on their home and both held down jobs. After Richard, who also had Down syndrome, died in 2018 at 65, Emily moved to a group home operated by The Albany Arc. After a caregiver apparently brought the coronavirus into the home, Wallace fell ill. So did another resident, who was hospitalized. Emily Wallace had a do not resuscitate order, so a ventilator would not have been an issue even if care were being rationed, said DeAnna Julian, executive director of The Albany Arc. But as more people are getting sick, Julian said she worries that not enough testing for the virus is being done in Albany. She’s seeing individuals — both with and without intellectual disabilities — who appear to have mild symptoms of COVID-19. “They’re just turning them around and sending them home, they’re putting them on” antibiotics, she said. “We live here in southwest Georgia where right now, all the cars are covered in yellow pollen and everyone has some kind of seasonal allergies. … Is it just your springtime cold or is it COVID-19?” Julian doesn’t have masks, gloves or other safety equipment. She doesn’t have enough staff. “It’s a difficult and critical situation here,” she said. But no, Julian said, she didn’t see Wallace or the other group home resident receive treatment any different than anyone else. She said she wouldn’t stand for it. “I’d take it all the way to the top, to the governor! They have every right to be treated like human beings,” Julian said. With the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrating its 30th birthday this year, activists are questioning whether policymaking has come far enough in what some consider to be the final battle in the fight for civil rights. In a March 18 letter to Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, the Survival Coalition, a group of advocacy organizations, wrote, “‘Quality of life’ has long been a pretext for denying treatment, including life-sustaining treatment, to vulnerable populations, particularly people with intellectual disabilities.” Michael Bérubé and his wife, Janet, live in State College, Pennsylvania, with their son Jamie, who is 28 and has Down syndrome. Bérubé, a professor of literature at Pennsylvania State University and the author, most recently, of the book “Life as Jamie Knows It,” studies disability. He was not surprised to learn about state rationing plans that single out people with intellectual disabilities and other cognitive conditions. “It would be a very rare person who sees a person with Down syndrome as innately as valuable and as able to contribute to society as anybody else,” Bérubé said. Pennsylvania is among those states now scrambling to write up guidelines to determine who will have access to ventilators in case of medical rationing, according to media reports. “In two weeks, when the resources get truly stressed out, we’ll see how much of this draconian stuff goes into practice,” he said. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor. Amy Silverman is a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.

  • How the Rich and Powerful Profit From Crises Like Coronavirus
    by by Matt Collette, WNYC on March 27, 2020 at 08:00

    by Matt Collette, WNYC Stay up to date with email updates about WNYC and ProPublica’s investigations into the president’s business practices. Listen to the Episode The “Trump, Inc.” podcast has long explored how people have tried to benefit through their proximity to the Oval Office. Our podcast with WNYC is going to continue digging into that as the Trump administration is tasked with rolling out more than $2 trillion in bailout money. We spoke to two people this week to help us understand the stakes. “Some policymakers sitting in the Treasury Department or some other government agency have this awesome power to say, ‘You get the money, you go out of business,’” said Neil Barofsky, who served as the government’s watchdog for the 2008 bank bailout. “One of the most important things we can do is make sure that power is exercised fairly, consistently and, most importantly, consistent with the policy goals that underlie this extraordinary outpouring of taxpayer money.” Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. We also spoke with journalist Sarah Chayes, a former NPR correspondent who has reported on corruption and cronyism in countries experiencing economic shock. She said powerful players often “take advantage of adversity and uncertainty to enrich themselves.” But Chayes also described something else. She coined it “disaster solidarity.” That’s when there’s so much suffering, so much adversity, “that people’s tolerance for selfish, hogging, me-first behavior is really low.” And that’s where you come in. We want your help to dig into the coming bailout. If you know something, please tell us. Fill out our questionnaire.

  • What’s It Like on One of the Only University Campuses Still Open in the U.S.?
    by by Alec MacGillis on March 26, 2020 at 21:30

    by Alec MacGillis ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Three Liberty University students, a young man and two women, sat eating lunch on Wednesday afternoon at a small table in the common dining area of the student union on the sprawling campus perched high above Lynchburg, Virginia. They compared notes on the suntans and burns they’d gotten on beaches during spring break last week. They joked about what it would be like to take the college’s gun-range classes remotely. A fourth student with a backpack strolled up to the table to chat with them for a few minutes. The young man seated at the table mentioned that he was thinking of going to a Starbucks off campus but wasn’t sure it was safe to do so given the coronavirus raging across the country, which has sickened at least 65,000 people nationwide, more than 400 of them in Virginia and a few of them in Lynchburg. His mention of the risk was striking given the context: There he and more than a dozen other students were, sitting in clusters around the dining area despite stickers scattered haphazardly across tables: “Closed for Social Distancing.” Help Us Report on Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick. This is the odd tension on display now in Lynchburg, where Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. has caused a stir by keeping the campus of the large evangelical Christian university open to students despite the calls of state officials and public health experts for social distancing to slow the virus’s spread and despite the university’s having recently shifted all instruction online to conform with state orders. Falwell has minimized the threat of the coronavirus for months — two weeks ago, he compared it to the H1N1 “swine flu,” which experts say is not a comparable case — and he initially vowed not to follow the lead of other colleges in shutting down on-campus instruction, until Gov. Ralph Northam’s March 17 ban on gatherings of more than 10 people gave him no choice. Falwell’s decision to keep the campus open to students this week after spring break was in keeping with his provocatively contrarian approach, and it buttressed the vows of President Donald Trump, whom Falwell has supported since early in the 2016 campaign, to lift social-distancing strictures as soon as possible. “I think we have a responsibility to our students — who paid to be here, who want to be here, who love it here — to give them the ability to be with their friends, to continue their studies, enjoy the room and board they’ve already paid for and to not interrupt their college life,” Falwell told the Richmond Times-Dispatch this week. At the same time, Liberty’s decision to keep the campus open has met with such criticism — from a faculty member worried about her colleagues’ safety since they are still required to hold office hours, and from city leaders and the governor’s office— that the university is clearly feeling pressure to show that it is trying to minimize any public health risks. This has produced an odd dissonance between earnestly worded safety signs and notices on campus and Falwell’s ongoing ridiculing of coronavirus worries as alarmist, which make it hard for students to take the safety exhortations seriously. Calum Best, a senior business and finance major from Alexandria, Virginia, and a member of the student government, has seen the effect of that dissonance since returning from break. He sees Falwell and other university officials calling the safety worries overblown in the national media, and then he sees classmates hugging and taking pictures of each other on the student center steps, or a group of at least a half dozen huddled together for a study session, or a professor of his standing in close conversation with another student and a campus security officer, or classmates heading off to game nights or group dinners at off-campus apartments. In an unusual turn, a university known for its strict “Liberty Way” — no premarital sex, alcohol, smoking or cussing — is now in a sense the most permissive. There aren’t even any more curfews in the dorms, since many residential advisers are gone. “The real problem is just providing students a capacity and a venue to come back and do stupid things,” Best said in an interview. “Consistently, consistently, leadership is overemphasizing the effectiveness of the measures they’ve actually taken and downplaying the significance of this virus.” Calum Best, a member of the student government, has been scolded for criticizing university officials. (Alec MacGillis/ProPublica) Best added that there is a case to be made for keeping campus open — for foreign students, or students who really rely on the campus meal plan, or students like him whose parents are worried about having him at home and possibly infecting them — but it would need to be executed much better than what he has observed. “It is a genuinely tough decision to close a university,” he said. “We can imagine a world in which they actually did everything they could to encourage sanitary measures and social isolation on campus. It wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible thing to keep campus open if you could be ensured of the reliability of safety measures. But they’re not.” Students have received scant information from administrators about how to keep themselves safe from the virus, Best said. As damaging, he said, is the general message from the top, which has included Falwell spinning conspiracy theories about COVID-19 being a North Korean or “elite liberal” plot. “They could also just not be misleading and deceptive in their communications about the virus, and they’re deliberately choosing to do that,” Best said. He has been scolded for his outspokenness already: this week, Liberty’s senior vice president of university communications, Scott Lamb, called him at night to take him to task for a nonpublic Facebook post criticizing Falwell for hypocrisy for not yet issuing refunds to students who now have to settle for online classes. (Lamb did not respond to a question about the call.) University officials estimate that about 1,900 students have returned to campus so far — a fraction of the 15,500 who normally attend classes there, about half of whom live in campus housing — but they say they expect that number could grow as high as 5,000. The feel on campus is of a college during summer break, when a small minority of students hang around for jobs or summer-term classes. As sparsely populated as the campus is, though, it’s startling to see students congregating in ways that are not happening at the countless colleges that have shut down. At the student center, students dutifully stand 6 feet apart in line for their pita wraps and salads. But then they sit together to eat in the communal dining area, in ways that are no longer allowed at any restaurant in Virginia. In the Jerry Falwell Library, named for the college’s famous founder, the father of the current president, social-distancing signs abound and some of the couches are piled on each other and strung in police tape. But some of the small glassed-in study rooms have at least four students grouped around the table, putting them much closer than six feet from each other. On Wednesday, a “Closed for Social Distancing” sign on a table didn’t stop one student from spreading her books and notes out across it for a study session. A librarian came through the periodical room, where The New York Times is conspicuously unavailable, and chided two students for sitting too close to each other. “You need to be 6 feet apart,” she said. “If one of you can’t lie down in between you, you’re too close.” As she walked away, they traded eyerolls. One of the university’s safety measures. (Alec MacGillis/ProPublica) In Green Hall, a large building on the north end of campus that includes a food court, students disregarded the distancing marks in the lines for the Dunkin Donuts and Chick-fil-A until food service workers reminded them. Near Green Hall, a graduate student from Pennsylvania was leaving his job serving as an assistant to professors, which he said was what had required him and many other graduate assistants to return to campus after break. He questioned the decision to reopen the campus, even with the purported distancing measures. “They could have avoided all that if they just didn’t have anyone here,” he said. Nearby, Ingrid Lindevaldsen, an undergraduate fashion major, was getting in her car to head back to her off-campus housing. She said that the university could have done a better job of limiting the students on campus to foreign students and those who truly had no other option. She herself had to come to campus to use the sewing machines for one of her classes, but she said she tried to leave as soon as possible once that was done. “I try to stay away, because there are so many kids here,” she said. Adding irony to Falwell’s insistence on keeping the campus open is that Liberty is better positioned than most other universities to weather enforced distance learning. It has developed a hugely profitable separate operation called Liberty University Online, with as many as 95,000 people around the country taking courses in a given year. Many traditional undergraduates at the college already take some of their courses online. (The online classes have a reputation for being much less demanding.) If the coronavirus scare carries into the fall, colleges with a heavy online presence like Liberty would seem well poised to capitalize. So far, though, the crisis has caused only turbulence for the online operation, due to the university’s insistence that the several hundred people who work for LUO — manning call centers, processing course registrations — continue reporting to work at the former insurance building where LUO is housed, according to several Liberty employees. A few employees with health conditions have been allowed to work from home, but on Wednesday, the LUO parking lot was still full of dozens of vehicles. “I’m just a worker,” shrugged one employee who was taking a break in his car when asked about the requirement to report to the office. “I come to work here.” A crowded parking lot at the Liberty University Online offices. (Alec MacGillis/ProPublica) A similar scenario has played out at the Guillerman Financial Center, where about 250 people handle all of the university’s tuition and financial aid in an open office divided into two large spaces. One employee told me that workers have been growing increasingly anxious about infection and wondering how the office can be allowed to continue operating, given that it contains far more than the 10-person maximum and is hardly “essential.” “There are a lot of people coughing in that building,” the employee said. “I know it’s scaring a lot of people. Every time people cough, someone would say, ‘my God.’” But on Wednesday morning, the staff was suddenly instructed to spread out more through the building, into training rooms, into supervisors’ offices, according to the employee. And in the early afternoon, they were told to disperse even further: go work from home for the next couple days. Their understanding, the employee said, was that a state inspector was headed to the building that afternoon. Asked about the continued use of the two office buildings for hundreds of employees, Lamb, the university spokesman, pointed to an official statement from Falwell on Monday arguing that that the governor’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 did not apply to Liberty’s offices, because they were exempted the way any business workplace would be. “To the extent possible, in our workplace, we are adhering to social distancing recommendations, enhancing sanitation practices on common surfaces, and acting on appropriate workplace guidance from government officials,” Falwell said in the statement. All this commotion, both in the office buildings and in pockets of the campus, stands in contrast to the handsome, historic downtown of Lynchburg, where there was barely a soul in sight on Wednesday afternoon. In one of the few businesses that were still open, a small gift store, owner Ron Schoultz was making protective face masks out of patterned cotton fabric to sell for $15 each. He flared immediately when asked about the decision by the big college on the hill to welcome hundreds of carefree students back to campus. “It’s terrible,” he said. “It’s awful. It’s putting everyone else at risk.” Will Young contributed reporting. Tell Us More About Coronavirus Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues. This form requires JavaScript to complete. Powered by Screendoor.

  • Top CDC Official: Staggering Spike in New York ‘Just a Preview’ of What’s Coming Elsewhere
    on March 26, 2020 at 21:00

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”I think what we’re seeing in New York City and New York state right now is a real warning to other areas about what may happen or what may already be starting to happen.”

  • ‘Era of Blank Checks for Corporations Needs to End’: House Dems Urged to Remove $500 Billion Mnuchin-Controlled Slush Fund
    on March 26, 2020 at 20:58

    Jon Queally, staff writer”Instead of forcing American taxpayers to spend $500 billion subsidizing a fund for Secretary Mnuchin, that money would be far better spent going directly back to the people.”

  • ‘We Need Medicare for All’: Massive Coronavirus Job Losses Expose Obvious Failure of Employer-Based Insurance
    on March 26, 2020 at 19:49

    Julia Conley, staff writerAs economists warned that millions of Americans abruptly lost their jobs this month due to the coronavirus Medicare for All advocates pointed to the crisis as the latest evidence that the U.S. must abandon the for-profit healthcare system.

  • ‘World Leaders Seem in Denial’: Demands for Radical Global Action on Coronavirus as Virtual G20 Summit Ends With Vague Promises
    on March 26, 2020 at 18:59

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”Only the most radical reset, akin to a post-world war overhaul of the international economy, will allow us to rebuild the international economy in a way which means we can tackle future pandemics.”

  • ‘Another Attempted Coup’: US Rebuked for ‘Absurd’ Drug Trafficking Charges Against Venezuela’s Maduro
    on March 26, 2020 at 18:40

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”An absurd demonstration of Washington’s gangsterism.”

  • The Coronavirus Is Trump’s Latest Excuse to Militarize the Border
    by Ken Klippenstein on March 26, 2020 at 18:36

    Ken Klippenstein Leaked documents show Customs and Border Protection requested more than 1,500 extra troops to guard the Canadian and Mexican borders. The post The Coronavirus Is Trump’s Latest Excuse to Militarize the Border appeared first on The Nation.

  • The Crisis in Wuhan ‘Forced Me to Become Political’
    by Jessie Lau on March 26, 2020 at 17:59

    Jessie Lau As the city prepares to reopen after two months of lockdown, a resident shares why she’ll never see Chinese society the same way again. The post The Crisis in Wuhan ‘Forced Me to Become Political’ appeared first on The Nation.

  • As Trump Snubs Restrictions to Contain Coronavirus, New Poll Shows 3 in 4 Americans Back a National Lockdown
    on March 26, 2020 at 16:54

    Andrea Germanos, staff writerThe Morning Consult/Politico poll comes as a top Trump administration health official says of the outbreak, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

  • ‘For Common Benefit of All,’ Ireland Nationalizes Hospitals for Duration of Coronavirus Crisis, Sparking Demand for US to Follow Suit
    on March 26, 2020 at 16:53

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”How wonderful is this. A beautiful silver lining.”

  • ‘Foreclosure King’ Steve Mnuchin Says Never-Before-Seen Surge in Unemployment ‘Not Relevant’
    on March 26, 2020 at 16:51

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”They’re going to give nearly unchecked power to dole out trillions of dollars to a guy who just called over 3 million new unemployment claims ‘not relevant.'”

  • How Progressive Is the Stimulus?
    by Joelle Gamble on March 26, 2020 at 16:36

    Joelle Gamble A massive cash bailout is necessary in the short term—but we need a longer-term vision to fix the flaws in our economy.  The post How Progressive Is the Stimulus? appeared first on The Nation.

  • Because Working People ‘Deserve a Rent Holiday as Much as the Cheesecake Factory,’ Demand for Relief Grows
    on March 26, 2020 at 16:23

    Julia Conley, staff writer”Raise your hand if you think humans deserve a rent holiday as much as the Cheesecake Factory does.”

  • BREAKING: Commander keeps spreading a virus around!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 26, 2020 at 16:07

    THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020The suits keep letting him do it: Donald J. Trump, the commander in chief, strode before the nation’s cameras at roughly 6 PM Eastern.The news channels had been teasing the briefing for over an hour. The commander took control of prime time, then quickly began to spread his virus around:TRUMP (3/25/20): The governor is doing a very good job. I spoke to the governor—Governor Cuomo—last night and this morning, and he mentioned that, in his remarks, that he’s using the—that we are using—and I think he feels, because he understands negotiation—he thinks we’re using very appropriately the Defense Production Act. And we are. We’re using it where needed. It’s a great point of leverage; it’s a great negotiating tool.[..]We’re also doing some very large testings throughout the country. I told you yesterday that, in South Korea—and this is not a knock in any way because I just spoke with President Moon; we had a very good conversation about numerous other things—but they’ve done a very good job on testing, but we now are doing more testing than anybody, by far. We do more in eight days than they do in eight weeks. And we go up, on a daily basis, exponentially. So, it’s really good. According to the commander, Governor Cuomo seems to understand the art of the deal! According to the commander, the governor approves of the his refusal to order companies to produce more life-saving protective gear and more life-saving respirators.For people able to swallow that, the commander had anothee! In viral fashion, he repeated a slightly altered version of the self-affirming, feel-good misstatement he’d cooked up the day before:”We do more testing in eight days than South Korea does in eight weeks.”In this way, the commander keeps spreading the virus of misinformation around. Based on recent surveys, people who don’t know that it’s misinformation seem to be agreeing with his daily self-serving assessment:”So, it’s really good.”This daily gong-show raises the same old obvious questions about the commander’s mental health. More strikingly, the airing of this daily gong-show raises questions about the network suits who keep putting this gong-show on.Yesterday, just after 6 PM Eastern, we flipped around the dial. The commander’s stream of misinformation was being broadcast live by CNN, by MSNBC and by the Fox News Channel.That said, the spreading of the virus didn’t end there. Here in the Baltimore market, the gong-show was also being broadcast live by the local ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates.It was prime time, and a wide array of highly-paid suits were spreading the virus around.Concerning the commander himself, it’s long been obvious that he seems to be either mentally ill in some way or cognitively impaired, or quite possibly both. Earlier yesterday, he broadcast his troubled state once again through his latest mocking tweet about the possibility that Mitt Romney might be infected.The commander seems to be Dylan’s (metaphorical) “poor immigrant.” This has long been clear. He may well be a sociopath; a certain percentage of people are. Though it isn’t necessarily such people’s “fault,” it’s a very dangerous state of affairs in an American president.Something seems to be badly wrong with our fearless commander in chief, who never stops selling the car. But early in 2018, the New York Times declared that we mustn’t discuss the possibility that the commander is mentally ill in some way, and so an incipient discussion was brought to a very quick end.That decision by the Times will be discussed in future anthropology texts, assuming such texts exist. We can already announce one fairly obvious conclusion:The decision flies in the face of the ballyhooed claim that we humans are “the rational animal.”Something seems to be wrong with Commander Donald J. Trump—but our journalistic elites have agreed that this obvious possibility must never be discussed. Yesterday, the network suits revealed their own lack of mental hygiene:Once again, they agreed to put a crazy person all over TV, at the start of prime time, to spread a virus around.They did this all through 2016 when Trump was running for president. Ratings and profits were good!Four years later, the commander’s disorder is much more obvious, but the overpaid climbers who run the nets still refuse to respond to this fact.The commander is spreading a virus around on a daily basis. The suits keep letting him do it. Yesterday, they teased his appearance for over an hour. Then, they threw him on the air, and the virus was spread all around.These are anthropology lessons. These lessons involve the mental traits of our floundering species’ elites as we confront, or fail to confront, our ongoing plague year.Cuomo thinks Trump is doing it right! They put the commander all over TV. He then revealed this key fact.Tomorrow: Back to Birx Anatomy of a fact-check: The commander left yesterday’s briefing at roughly 6:30 PM. When he left, the briefing continued, with Vice President Heep in charge. At this point, CNN dropped its live coverage. MSNBC and Fox continued to broadcast the briefing live.At CNN, Wolf Blitzer quickly threw to Daniel Dale, asking for a fact-check. Below, you see what Dale said. On balance, we’d grade his fact-check as wrong:BLITZER (3/25/20): I got Daniel Dale with us as well, our fact-checker. Daniel, what jumped out at you from what we heard from the president?DALE: Well, Trump continue to boast about how the pace of testing for the coronavirus in the United States compares to testing in South Korea. He is correct that the U.S. is now conducting more tests than they are there, but what he’s leaving out is the population difference.So the U.S. has more than six times South Korea’s population. And so per capita, South Korea is still far outpacing the United States. We have approximate figures, but it’s something—it’s fewer than 1 in 200 South Koreans who have been tested and it’s more than 1 in 700 Americans who have been tested.He’s also left out the fact that South Korea has started testing much more quickly and implemented much more stringent post-test measures to try to contain this. And so, yes, Trump is correct in terms of the absolute numbers but he’s not touting the full story here, Wolf.The liberal world has accepted Dale as fact-checker in chief. Much of what he said was correct but we’d grade his final assessment as equivocating and wrong.”Trump is correct in terms of the absolute numbers?” As far as we know, he isn’t. We base this assessment on what was said at Tuesday’s briefing, where Trump’s new talking-point was born. See yesterday’s report.As far as we know, we are not “doing as much testing in eight days” as South Korea did, or is now doing, in eight weeks. The feel-good claim began on Tuesday with Field Marshal Birx. But that doesn’t seem to be what she actually said when she made the jumbled, confusing, upbeat statement the commander quickly embellished. A full fact-check of what trump said should have provided more background. To our taste, Dale was much too equivocal in his assessment—was much too eager to say that Donald J. Trump wasn’t completely wrong.A full fact-check would have noted the confusing origin of this latest viral claim. It would also include an obvious statement—when networks air these gong-shows live, they let these embellished claims spread.Our press corps’ skills are very limited. This fact has been abundantly clear for at least three decades.Dale’s check is the best this elite can perform. As recent history had made all too clear, it isn’t nearly enough.

  • The Grand Ol’ Death Cult
    by Mark Fiore on March 26, 2020 at 16:00

    Just in time for the Easter egg hunt!

  • Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Beats War Drums in Middle East
    by Reese Erlich on March 26, 2020 at 15:51

    Leaders in Washington and Tehran say they don’t want a full-scale war, but they are playing a dangerous game.

  • Climate Crisis the ‘Single Greatest Challenge’ to Great Barrier Reef as Marine Treasure Suffers New Mass Bleaching Event
    on March 26, 2020 at 14:51

    Andrea Germanos, staff writer”I feel like an art lover wandering through the Louvre… as it burns to the ground,” says one observer of the coral damage.

  • The Direct Care Worker Crisis
    by Mike Ervin on March 26, 2020 at 14:47

    The canonization of direct care workers is supposed to be high praise, but it’s really a reflection of how profoundly their work is misunderstood and devalued.

  • ‘Big Win’: Caving to Pressure Campaign, Gilead Sciences Relinquishes Monopoly Claim for Promising Coronavirus Treatment
    on March 26, 2020 at 13:59

    Julia Conley, staff writerThe government watchdog Public Citizen celebrated a victory Wednesday after the pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences backed off its monopoly claim for a promising drug that may treat the coronavirus which has sickened more than 487,000 people worldwide.

  • ‘Tip of the Iceberg’: Economists Warn Record 3.28 Million Jobless Claims Could Signal Coming Depression
    on March 26, 2020 at 13:51

    Eoin Higgins, staff writer”We are about to experience something we cannot really imagine.”

  • House Democrats Urged to Remove ‘Insidious Attack’ on Social Security Hidden Within Senate Coronavirus Bill
    on March 26, 2020 at 13:02

    Jake Johnson, staff writer”The only way to escape this trap is to avoid stepping into it in the first place. That’s why the House must remove the cut to Social Security’s dedicated funding before this bill passes.”

  • Puzzle No. 3529
    by Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto on March 26, 2020 at 13:00

    Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto The post Puzzle No. 3529 appeared first on The Nation.

  • Hostage to the Health Care Industry
    by Igor Kopelnitsky on March 26, 2020 at 12:00

    Igor Kopelnitsky Medicare for All! The post Hostage to the Health Care Industry appeared first on The Nation.

  • Nurses Knew How to Fix Health Care. We Should’ve Listened
    by Alice Herman on March 26, 2020 at 11:42

    From the front lines of the pandemic, nurses are fighting to save us from a broken system.

  • The Lessons We Shouldn’t Learn
    by Negin Farsad on March 26, 2020 at 11:27

    We’re already creating two classes of people: those who consume and those who deliver.

  • The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier to Get Away With Discrimination
    by Elie Mystal on March 26, 2020 at 09:59

    Elie Mystal What makes the decision all the more terrible is that the court ruled unanimously to weaken the civil rights protection at the center of the case. The post The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier to Get Away With Discrimination appeared first on The Nation.

  • ‘Horror Story After Horror Story’: A Frontline Nurse Discusses the Crisis
    by Sarah Jaffe on March 26, 2020 at 09:59

    Sarah Jaffe Zenei Cortez, a nurse and union leader, says not giving medical workers protective gear is like giving a firefighter a squirt gun. The post ‘Horror Story After Horror Story’: A Frontline Nurse Discusses the Crisis appeared first on The Nation.

  • Bailouts Are Coming. Here’s How to Make Them Fair.
    by Bryce Covert, The Nation on March 26, 2020 at 09:59

    Bryce Covert, The Nation If we are going to make taxpayers bail out big business, we need to insist that they keep workers on payroll—and pay them fairly. The post Bailouts Are Coming. Here’s How to Make Them Fair. appeared first on The Nation.

  • Thomas Piketty: Confronting Our Long History of Massive Inequality
    by Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins on March 26, 2020 at 09:59

    Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins We talked to the French economist about his new book Capital and Ideology, his thoughts on COVID-19, and more. The post Thomas Piketty: Confronting Our Long History of Massive Inequality appeared first on The Nation.

  • ‘Just Keep Up the Faith’: Workers Are Stepping Up to Beat the Coronavirus
    by John Nichols on March 26, 2020 at 09:30

    John Nichols From hospital wards to bus routes to a ventilator plant in Wisconsin, working-class Americans are giving their all.  The post ‘Just Keep Up the Faith’: Workers Are Stepping Up to Beat the Coronavirus appeared first on The Nation.

  • An Untapped Resource for Fighting COVID-19
    by Bill Lueders on March 26, 2020 at 07:00

    Two state-owned care facilities in Madison could provide relief if hospitals become overwhelmed.

  • BREAKING: U.S. puts South Korea to shame!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 25, 2020 at 17:03

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020The gong-show of flexible numbers: Donald J. Trump, the commander in chief, began his day on the Fox News Channel.Later, he staged his regular daily briefing concerning the year of the plague. He began in the same old way, in the manner of a wartime president:TRUMP (3/24/20): Let me provide you an update on critical preparations and supplies in our war on the virus. Through FEMA, the federal government is distributing more than 8 million N95 respirators, 14 million surgical masks and many, many millions more under order and there’ll be arriving soon. 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns, 13.5 million gloves and more than 4,000 ventilators to the areas of greatest need have already been sent and we have 4,000 being delivered to New York. The federal government is using every resource at its disposal to acquire and distribute critical medical supplies.Many, many millions more will be arriving soon. It doesn’t get much more specific than that!Meanwhile, is that 13.5 million gloves, or is it 13.5 million pairs of gloves? Ironically quoting Wittgenstein, to whom we expect to return next week: No such thing was in question here, only how the [words “13.5 million pairs of gloves” were] used.Here again, the nation was subjected to the gong-show of large numbers. The commander’s very large numbers put the nation’s hearts as ease. No attempt would ever be made to compare the very large numbers he recited to the substantially larger numbers which define the nation’s apparent needs.So it goes as we, the rational animal, negotiate our year of the plague. But then, it wasn’t just the commander who offered large numbers yesterday! Later in yesterday’s session, Field Marshal Birx offered this:BIRX: Thank you, Mr. President. I think those of you who heard at the town hall, we are continuing to accelerate testing at a record rate. We now have 370,000 tests that have been done. The majority of those—over 220,000 in the last eight days—which, those of you who have been tracking the South Korea numbers, put us equivalent to what they did in eight weeks that we did in eight days.Say what? Birx was now producing large numbers too. But what exactly had the trusted field marshal said?She clearly seemed to make these statements:1) We’ve now conducted 370,000 tests.2) We conducted 220,000 tests in the last eight days alone.She’d clearly made those statements. But she also seemed to have made these claims:1) We’ve done more tests, overall, than South Korea has.2) The number of tests we did in the last eight days equals the numbers of tests the South Koreans have done in eight weeks.That’s what the field marshal seemed to have said. But uh-oh! Later in the important briefing, the commander took her overall statement and may perhaps and possibly have embellished it just a tad:TRUMP: One of the things that’s happened, that we’ve done, I think, a really good job on it. I think that it’s something special what’s happened, is, I learned from Dr. Birx a little while ago when she said—I learned it actually this afternoon. In eight days—because we kept hearing about South Korea. They had a very tough time at the beginning if you remember. In eight days, we’re doing more testing than they’ve done in eight weeks. That’s a tremendous turn and with our testing it’s going exponentially it’s going up, up, up every day. So we’re going to be able to do things with this very highly sophisticated testing and it’s also, the test itself is considered the best test.Something special had occurred. The commander had learned it that afternoon, plus, we have the best test.”We kept hearing about South Korea,” the embattled commander said. But in the past eight days, we’ve done more testing than South Korea had done in eight weeks! Just like that, we’d gone from matching the ballyhooed South Koreans to outperforming them! We’d now done more testing in eight days than they did in eight weeks. The numbers were no longer “equivalent,” which seemed to be what Field Marshal Birx had said.Such is the never-ending gong-show of flexible numbers. Trump embellished the apparent statement by Birx. But even as this gong-show unfolded, another problem was lurking:Unstated at any point was the relative size of the two nations in question. Just consider this:According to the latest fake news from NPR, South Korea’s population is 51 million. Our own population is said to be larger—327 million.No one believes those numbers, of course. But if those ridiculous numbers were accurate, that would mean that South Korea has still bigly out-tested us on a per capita basis:MONTANARO (3/24/20): South Korea has a population of just 51 million people; the United States has 327 million.At about 300,000 tests in each country, that means South Korea has tested 1-in-170 people; the United States: 1-in-1,090.That’s more than six times less, per capita, than South Korea.No one believes those crazy numbers. But that’s what NPR said.In closing, let’s return to what Field Marshal Birx seemed to have said. She seemed to say that our 220,000 tests in the past eight days were equivalent to the number of tests the Koreans had performed over the past eight weeks.According to NPR, even that apparent statement was false. Because it wasn’t quite false enough, the commander came along and, eternally selling the car, embellished it a bit.(According to the Statista site, South Korea had conducted 348,000 tests as of yesterday afternoon. That would be substantially more than 220,000 tests.)The commander and his top field marshal handed yesterday’s flexible numbers to a grateful nation. NPR performed a fact check, but very few others did. Jealousy about basic facts is still a hit-or-miss proposition within our upper-end press corps and its gong-show culture.Even this late in our species’ career, this is the way information flows at the top of our floundering culture. We humans! We’ve long believed that we’re “the rational animal.” In his later work, Wittgenstein sketched a remarkably basic way our reasoning tends to go astray, especially at the highest intellectual levels.According to Professor Horwich, the academy threw that work away. In this and in other ways, the academy, over the past many decades, helped pave the way to our own Donald J. Trump.

  • The Media’s Covid-19 Coverage Proves It Could Also Spotlight the Climate Crisis
    by Mark Hertsgaard on March 25, 2020 at 16:31

    Mark Hertsgaard Flattening the curve is key to survival in both cases The post The Media’s Covid-19 Coverage Proves It Could Also Spotlight the Climate Crisis appeared first on The Nation.

  • Invest in Farmers for the Future
    by Anthony Pahnke on March 25, 2020 at 15:24

    Let’s support the people who feed us.

  • ‘Maybe if I Had Papers, It Would Have Been Different’: Undocumented During a Pandemic
    by Heather Gies, John Washington on March 25, 2020 at 14:48

    Heather Gies, John Washington The crisis is putting undocumented and migrant communities in the crosshairs.  The post ‘Maybe if I Had Papers, It Would Have Been Different’: Undocumented During a Pandemic appeared first on The Nation.

  • Making the Pandemic Worse
    by Kathy Kelly on March 25, 2020 at 12:09

    By punishing vulnerable people, Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” is undermining efforts to fight COVID-19.

  • Middle America: What Happened to the Revolution?
    by Ruth Conniff on March 25, 2020 at 11:18

    The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that we don’t need a return to normalcy—we need a Sanders revolution more than ever.

  • Midwest Dispatch: No More Basketball During COVID-19
    by Sarah Lahm on March 25, 2020 at 09:46

    As more states announce shelter-in-place restrictions, the seriousness of coronavirus becomes more apparent.

  • BREAKING: Donald Trump points to millions of masks!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 24, 2020 at 15:57

    TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2020The gong-show of large numbers: Donald J. Trump, the commander in chief, was larger than life and completely in charge.Late yesterday afternoon, he spoke for almost two hours to a room of socially distanced reporters. Early in his prepared remarks, he provided a critical update:TRUMP (3/23/20): Let me provide you with an update on critical supplies. FEMA is distributing 8 million N95 respirator masks and 13.3 million surgical masks across the country right now, focusing on the areas with the greatest need. We have shipped 73 pallets of personal protective equipment to New York City and 36 pallets to the state of Washington. In the past 96 hours, FEMA has also received donations of approximately 6.5 million masks. We’re having millions and millions of masks made as we speak, and other personal protective equipment which we will be distributing to medical hot spots.We’re focused on some of the hot spots across the nation. We’re seeing an outpouring of creativity and innovative ideas widely shared between the federal health leaders, governors and mayors, the scientific community and members of the private sector really working together. Everybody’s working together. Across the nation, grateful citizens emitted sighs of relief, though always into their arms. Based upon quick mental arithmetic, the commander reported the imminent receipt of something on the order of 28 million masks—some “respirator,” some “surgical.”(He was also shipping 109 pallets of personal protective equipment. He announced this fact to a grateful nation, none of whom had any idea how much equipment a “pallet” contains or how much such equipment is needed.)Back to those 28 million masks! Under the commander’s leadership, it seemed that the question of critical supplies was being wrestled to the ground. Unless you read today’s New York Times, where a report in the Business section cites a larger number:BRADSHER AND SWANSON (3/24/20): The Trump administration is signaling it isn’t too proud to buy Chinese masks, gowns, goggles and other equipment. At the same time, said Peter Navarro, a senior Trump administration trade official, it will object to any Chinese effort to turn deliveries into fodder for propaganda that would bolster China’s image at home and abroad.“My job at the White House right now is to help find whatever the American people need and buy it from wherever we can, and if we need to send a plane to go get it, we’ll get that done using the full force of government and private enterprise,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview.[…]American officials have estimated that the country would need 3.5 billion masks to cope with a yearlong pandemic. Local health officials in the United States say nurses, doctors and other responders face hazards to their own health as infections mount.Say what? The commander had alleged the impending receipt of 28 million masks, of two different (unexplained) kinds. But according to the Times report, the country will need 3.5 billion masks over the course of a year!So it goes when we succumb to the gong-show of large numbers. Should they materialize, the commander’s 28 million masks would apparently be a drop in the bucket as compared to long-term needs.That said, 28 million sounds like a very large number of masks! And in the course of a press event which lasted almost two hours, no one asked the commander, or anyone else, to speak to the (very large) difference between millions and billions of masks.As the commander continued, he shared more good news. He spoke about the apparent large quantities of chloroquine the federal government, under his direction, was “working to help obtain:” TRUMP (continuing directly): I’m pleased to report that clinical trials in New York will begin existing for existing drugs that may prove effective against the virus. At my direction, the federal government is working to help obtain large quantities of chlororoquine, and you can look from any standpoint tomorrow in New York, we think tomorrow pretty early. The hydroxychloroquine and the Z-Pak, I think as a combination, probably is looking very, very good and it’s going to be distributed. We have 10,000 units going, and it’ll be distributed tomorrow. It’ll be available, and it is now. They already have it. They’re going to distribute it tomorrow morning to a lot of people in New York City and New York. We’re studying it very closely, watching it very closely.They were going to distribute 10,000 units of a certain combination of drugs “to a lot of people.” The commander thought the combination “probably is looking very, very good” and “may [even] prove effective.”Very few people watching him speak had any idea what this meant. Is 10,000 units a lot of units, or is it just a little? Beyond that, did the commander have any idea what he was talking about?As the Q-and-A proceeded, the commander wasn’t asked about the 28 million masks. He wasn’t asked about the 10,000 units. His presentation sounded good, and that’s precisely where the information flow stopped. Are there rolling fact-checks in today’s papers? We aren’t sure where they are. This is all part of the anthropology of our species at this point in time. This is part of what looks like “information flow” within our floundering culture.At this particular point in time, information flow within our culture works under these constraints:Donald J. Trump has an other-worldly capacity to continue “selling the car” in any and all circumstances. And at our current state of evolution, the rest of us haven’t developed ways to deal with behavior of this type.Where he went from there: As he continued, Commander Trump went anecdotal:TRUMP (continuing directly): You probably saw a couple of articles today came out where a gentleman, they thought he was not going to make it, he said goodbye to his family, they had given him the drug just a little while before, but he thought it was over. His family thought he was going to die, and a number of hours later he woke up, felt good. Then he woke up again and he felt really good, and he’s in good shape, and he’s very happy for this particular drug that we got approved in record-setting time.There’s never been anything even close to it, and I want to thank the FDA, which has been incredible, and Dr. Hahn, Stephen Hahn, a highly respected man, but they’re doing everything possible to increase production and available supply of these drugs, not only this drug but also others that are coming.The commander, in record-setting time, had brought Lazarus back from the grave. There has never been anything like it. Lazarus is very happy with the way the whole thing turned out.This is an anthropological snapshot. At present, this is part of the way our (allegedly rational) species works.

  • Maeve in America: About Those ‘Illegal Aliens’
    by Maeve Higgins on March 24, 2020 at 15:34

    The words we choose to use about other people tell a bigger story than their meaning, and that story is ultimately about us.

  • Comment: A Time For Heroes
    by Bill Lueders on March 24, 2020 at 15:25

    This is a time for heroes, for people who will put serving and saving others above their own self- interest.

  • We Can Build a Better World After COVID-19
    by Sarah Jaffe on March 24, 2020 at 11:02

    When the crisis is over, the question should not be,“How do we get everyone back to work?” but “Why weren’t we valuing our workers to begin with?”

  • How The Ed-Tech Industry is Trying to Profit From COVID-19
    by Sarah Lahm on March 23, 2020 at 17:15

    This crisis could be an opportunity for disaster capitalists to sell online learning as a permanent feature of public education.

  • The Life of a Teacher During COVID-19
    by Lexi McMenamin on March 23, 2020 at 16:48

    As school districts close or switch to remote teaching, it’s important to remember how we treated teachers before the pandemic.

  • THE WEEK ONE FILE: Give us this day our daily bread!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 23, 2020 at 16:11

    MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020But also our daily logic: Are we humans really “the rational animal,” in the manner we’ve long declared and supposed?It all depends on how low your standard for grading is. Consider an op-ed column in this morning’s New York Times.The column was written by a professor of medicine at Cal’s medical school. By any normal societal standard, this person is very smart.Then again, so is Mario Livio, the astrophysicist with whom we began our search, one week ago, for an improved daily logic.By any normal societal measure, Livio is enormously smart—but good God! When he wandered a bit afield, he produced some astoundingly jumbled logic.The column in today’s New York Times was written by a very smart person. Then again, that very smart person started her column like this:ARONSON (3/23/20): “Not just old people: Younger adults are also getting the coronavirus,” a news network declared on its website last week. The words seemed to suggest that Covid-19 didn’t matter much if it was a scourge only among the old. The news network in question is NBC News. To see the headline the writer is quoting, you can just click here.That said, do the quoted words actually “seem to suggest” that Covid-19 “doesn’t matter much” if it only affects the old?Our answer: it all depends on how low your standards for implication are.In truth, any statement can “seem to suggest” anything else if you want it to. There’s no formula which tells us when Statement A implies Statement B. In the end, it’s always a matter of judgment.Any statement can imply anything else if we want it to! And in such ways, our badly disordered public discourse had floundered and flailed over a period of decades. In the end, this blowsy, undisciplined public discourse finally gave us our Trump.Does the quoted statement really imply, or seem to suggest, that a scourge among older people “doesn’t matter much?” In our view, the quoted statement “seems to suggest” no such thing unless you just want it to.We’ll also say that this morning’s logic doesn’t improve as the writer continues. Like last week’s astrophysicist, this week’s professor of medicine is a very smart person. But as she continues, she offers this:ARONSON (continuing directly): Even if the headline writer had no such nefarious intent, many people seemed surprised that two-thirds of the Americans known to be infected were under 65, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, and that younger adults around the country also have become critically ill. After all, we kept hearing that 80 percent of the infected Chinese who died were age 60 and older and that the average age of death from the disease in Italy is 81.No one wants young people to die. So why are we OK with old people dying? In paragraph 2, the writer acknowledges that the headline writer may not have meant to suggest or imply that the deaths of older people don’t matter much. That may not be what the headline writer meant! But given the ways of our blowsy daily logic, so what?By paragraph 3, the professor of medicine has returned to her starting point. She directly implies that “we” (whoever that’s supposed to be) are “OK with old people dying.” She has made no attempt to clarify what she means, or to offer any real evidence in support of her eye-catching claim. She has simply advanced the eye-catching claim. Quoting Wittgenstein out of context:”It is in this and similar ways that [we] operate with words.”Very smart people actually do reason in such undisciplined ways. In fact, as anyone should be able to see, they do so all the time. Ranking people reason is these disordered ways all the time. And when they do, our highest ranking news organizations simply aren’t able to notice.NPR rushes an incoherent excerpt from a new book into print. The New York Times rushes an unsupported claim to the top of its op-ed page.It is in this, and in similar ways, that we rational animals reason! In a more rational world, our logicians would descend from their aeries to comment on these follies. But in the alternate world which we do inhabit, the logicians threw the later Wittgenstein under the bus. According to Professor Horwich, they did this so they could continue with the “linguistic illusions” which define the bubble within which they uselessly live. In this way, our ranking logicians—surely, none dare call them “guardians”—have wandered away from their posts.We closed Week One in our new report with a revised public prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we said. “But also our daily logic.”Give us this day our daily logic! Our discourse will continue to flounder and fail in the absence of that boon until our cosseted logicians get off their high horses, emerge from their aeries and return to significant work.In the past several decades, we’ve badly needed help with the logic of sensible paraphrase. Increasingly, we also need help with the logic of generalization and selective otherization. This column in yesterday’s Washington Post Outlook section is about as bad as daily illogic gets. It was written by two ranking professors at Columbia, neither of whom is a kid. The professors are 53 and 42 years of age. They’re dealing with an important topic. Their work is amazingly bad.That essay was written by Ivy League professors, then published by the Washington Post. Even in our sudden age of cholera, it is in this and in similar ways that we “rational animals” work.Last week, we started a lengthy attempt to describe the way the logicians of the world have walked away from their posts. We’ll continue in the weeks to come, eventually showing you what the professors threw away when they decided to throw Wittgenstein under the bus.We’re hoping that a 9-year-old kid will read these reports at some future point and take the mission from there. For decades, our daily logic has been a sad joke. In the end, it gave us our Trump. Last week, we began our new exploration with a prayer for daily logic. Our reports went exactly like this:Week One: Give us this day our daily bread!Monday, March 16: What Professor Horwich said! The start of a meta-discussion.Tuesday, March 17: Amazing! Fifty-six years after Wittgenstein’s book, a very smart person wrote this.Wednesday, March 18: The number 1 lives in a fairyland, and other high-end mumbo-jumbo.Friday, March 20: Give us this day our daily bread—but also our daily logic.We expect to start Week Two tomorrow. That said, we have a lot of rubble-strewn ground to explore, and we’d like to cover it well.

  • Imagining A New World on the Other Side of the Pandemic
    by By Truthdig Staff on March 20, 2020 at 21:08

    At The Nation, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian has a provocative piece that imagines how future historians may come to write the story of the Covid-19 pandemic. The speculative history takes the form of a “best-case” scenario that serves as both a challenge and a salve, an inspirational fantasy to help balance out the more easily imagined

  • Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness
    by By Robert Faturechi and Derek Willis / ProPublica on March 20, 2020 at 20:43

    Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions. As the head of the intelligence

  • HUMAN REASON AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Give us this day our daily bread…
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 20, 2020 at 16:29

    FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020…but also our daily logic: As noted earlier, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations was published in 1953.Wittgenstein had died of cancer in 1951, at age 62. But within the world of English language academic philosophy, he’d been a type of cult figure for roughly thirty years.Upon publication, Philosophical Investigations became the definitive text of Wittgenstein’s “later” period. But alas:Sixty years after the book’s publication, Professor Horwich said that “professional philosophers” had thrown the later Wittgenstein under the bus. (See the first report in this week’s series.)According to Horwich, professional philosophers had rejected the fellow who claimed that the bulk of their “life’s work” was “confused and pointless”—was based on “linguistic illusion and muddled thinking” (we’re quoting Horwich here). In part for that reason, muddled thinking and confused, pointless work may perhaps still be widespread in the world of academic philosophy, right to the present day. Elsewhere, extremely smart astrophysicists are praised for texts in which they discuss the “fairyland” in which “you will find the number 1.” That text appeared in 2006, 53 years after Philosophical Investigations was published. One year earlier, a professional philosopher—not an astrophysicist—had also offered this, within her own well-received general interest book:GOLDSTEIN (pages 44-45): [Kurt Godel’s] commitment to the objective existence of mathematical reality is the view known as conceptual, or mathematical, realism. It is also known as mathematical Platonism, in honor of the ancient Greek philosopher…Platonism is the view that the truths of mathematics are independent of any human activities…The truths of mathematics are determined, according to Platonism, by the reality of mathematics, by the nature of the real, though abstract, entities (numbers, sets, etc.) which make up that reality. The truths of mathematics are determined by the reality of mathematics? According to this high-end philosophy professor, that’s what a Platonist holds!Meanwhile, could anyone ever make sense of the claim that Godel (or anyone else) was committed to “the objective existence of mathematical reality?” Or is that just another example of high-end mumbo-jumbo, part of the web of “linguistic illusion” Wittgenstein aimed to reveal as a “house of cards?”We’ll discuss Professor Goldstein’s book in more detail later in our ongoing series of meta-reports. As a general matter, we’d say that, for better or worse, her well-received book seems to display the type of disregard for Wittgenstein’s work which Horwich said was widespread within the academy.According to Horwich, philosophy professors who wanted to muddle along in traditional ways threw Wittgenstein under the bus. As we noted in an earlier post, we marvel, when we read texts like the ones we’ve cited, at the thought that such writing was still being offered, and was even being hailed, more than fifty years after Philosophical Investigations appeared.In fairness, Philosophical Investigations was, and remains, a highly obscure text. Just consider:Its title could hardly have been less specific. On the whole, the title only tells us that we aren’t reading a biology text.Things get even less clear inside. Philosophical Investigations has no chapters. For that reason, there are no chapter titles to offer hints about what topics are being discussed. Routinely, it’s hard to know what Wittgenstein’s topic is, yet alone what’s being asserted.The book is very obscure. In a preface he wrote all the way back in 1945, Wittgenstein seemed to acknowledge as much. “I should have liked to produce a good book,” he wrote at the end of his gloomy overview. “That has not come about, but the time is part in which I could improve it.” (To peruse the whole Preface, click here.)So said Wittgenstein, as he offered the world the seminal text which would be discarded. Fifty-three years after that text appeared, major figures were writing abut the mystical fairyland in which you could find the number 1, along with Newton’s laws of motion. Academic philosophers had perhaps returned to fairylands of their own.When the public badly needed help with its floundering daily logic, our logicians never spoke. Wittgenstein had been thrown away. Our logicians muddled ahead in worlds very much all their own.For today, we thought it might be worth returning to a somewhat earlier time—to the early Winter of 68, when the later Wittgenstein’s seminal text was still just fifteen years old.We were an undergraduate at the time, a junior in the Harvard philosophy department, the lair of the rational animal. At that time, and in that place, the later Wittgenstein was very, very hot.We were about to take the undergraduate Wittgenstein course. The course would be taught by the late Rogers Albritton, the chairman of the department.We didn’t know Professor Albritton, though we did have a mutual friend, even at that time. We only spoke with him once, in a highly flattering, slightly puzzling conversation which occurred at his request at the end of that course.Rogers Albritton was never anything but exceptionally nice to us. That said, we’re going to report a humorous remark made by our mutual friend before that course got started. First, though, let’s establish a brief overview of Albritton’s long and distinguished career.As far as we know, Rogers Albritton was a superlative person. Beyond that, he had a long and distinguished, and very unusual, academic career.He was chairman of the Harvard philosophy department from 1963 until 1970. He spent the rest of his career at UCLA, where he served as department chair from 1972 until 1981.According to the leading authority on such matters, Albritton was “considered by his peers to be one of the finest philosophical minds of the 20th century.” We know of no reason to dispute that assessment, though we also think that the philosophy establishment of that century badly failed to serve the public, and continues to function in broadly “illusory” ways.Professor Albritton died in 2002 at the age of 78. His obituary in the Los Angeles Times spoke to the high regard in which he was held by his peers. We offer one word of warning. In our view, the article may have presented the world of philosophy as it can be imagined, or novelized, by other ranking elites. It may offer a somewhat “Pleasantville” rendering of a less simple world.That said, the obituary was highly flattering. Headline included, we offer some relevant excerpts:WOO (6/3/02): Rogers Albritton, 78; Philosopher Known for His BrillianceRogers Albritton, a charismatic philosopher who rarely published his work yet dazzled colleagues of diverse persuasions with his lucid analyses of fundamental human dilemmas, has died. He was 78.[…]Called a philosopher’s philosopher, he was considered one of the most formidable intellects in his field. His legendary stature, however, stemmed not from his writings, but from what philosopher and film critic Stanley Cavell called “the charisma of … conversation alone.”[..]Famously nondoctrinaire, even though he was an expert on the Greeks and Ludwig Wittgenstein, he was averse to ever declaring that a problem was solved. He could argue that a person had no way of knowing whether he was asleep or awake, then conclude the opposite after more hours of laughter-filled discussion.[…]“He was a kind of philosophical conscience,” said philosopher Thomas Nagel, an Albritton student who now teaches at New York University. “Almost all of the rest of us … fall back on the stuff we think we’ve established…. Rogers was a reminder that you can never dispense with the obligation to actively think whatever you’re thinking and be prepared to think it through from the beginning.”“Back about 25 years ago … Peter Strawson [an eminent British philosopher] said Rogers was one of the 10 best philosophers in the world,” said Hilary Putnam, a past president of the American Philosophical Assn. and emeritus professor at Harvard. “Many would agree, including myself. He was quite unique.“He gave me the feeling for what Socrates must have been like. Socrates didn’t publish much either. Like Socrates, he had a lot of impact on lots of philosophers.”Albritton almost never published. According to a later New York Times obituary, “he published only four papers over his 36-year career.”That seems like an astonishing fact. It also seems that Albritton was very highly regarded. Was he really “one of the ten best philosophers in the world?” We don’t know how to answer that question, except to say that, whoever the top ten may be judged to be, you’ve never heard of any of them. We would say that this is the case for deeply unfortunate reasons.At any rate, we were poised, having just turned twenty, to take the Wittgenstein course from Albritton, our department’s chair. At that point, our friend, Jack WITHHELD, told us what would happen as the course proceeded.Who was Jack WITHHELD, you ask. You’re asking a sensible question. He’d graduated from Harvard in 1960, then had gone to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. He’d returned to Harvard as a graduate student. For reasons he couldn’t seem to explain, he couldn’t seem to get his doctoral dissertation done. During our freshman year (1965-66), he’d been our teaching assistant in a massive cattle-call course in which Professors Albritton and Cavell surveyed the sweep of western philosophy.At the end of that year, WITHHELD became a good friend. Two years later, he told us how the Wittgenstein course would go.What he said wasn’t meant as derision. Nor was it meant as snark, a literary form which hadn’t yet been invented.WITHHELD had been in the philosophy department for roughly ten years by this time. He regarded Professor Albritton as a personal friend. What he said wasn’t meant as derision.That said, WITHHELD had a superb sense of the humor and the irony found throughout the world. Chuckling, as he typically did, he told us what would happen:It’s the same with Rogers every year, he told us (or words to that effect). He always starts out with the idea that this is going to be the year when he’ll figure Wittgenstein out.(In retrospect, this aligns with the description of Albritton as someone who always thought on his feet, even as a lecture or a course was proceeding.)He always starts out with the idea that this is the year when he’s going to figure it out, WITHHELD said, chuckling as he did. He’ll be full of energy for the first few lectures, then the whole thing will slowly come undone as the semester proceeds.We can’t recall WITHHELD’s exact words, but we very clearly recall the gist of what he said. He didn’t mean what he said as derision. He meant it as a statement that the world is an amusing place, and that no one understood Wittgenstein yet, at that point in time.At any rate, the semester proceeded along much as WITHHELD had predicted. We had a long conversation with Albritton at the end of the course. The next year, we took the graduate seminar in Wittgenstein under Professor Cavell. We mainly recall being surprised by the fact that the graduate students didn’t seem all that sharp.At that time, we didn’t realize that fifteen years isn’t a very long time. We didn’t understand what we understand now; we didn’t understand that Philosophical Investigations is a deeply obscure text—that Wittgenstein wasn’t being falsely modest when he said that he hadn’t been able to “produce a good book.”That said, Wittgenstein’s difficult text is built around a fascinating analysis of the way human reasoning frequently goes astray.It does suggest that much of the work of traditional philosophy concerns itself, in Horwich’s words, with “mere pseudo-problems, the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking.” Setting that awkwardness aside, the book offers a fairly simple-minded way to untangle the endless webs of confusion which characterize our wider pubic discussions.According to Horwich, our modern logicians have thrown this work away. They’ve also stood silent as an array of jugglers and clowns have made a joke of our broader public discourse over the past many years.As the jugglers and clowns have gamboled and played, our professors have sat on the sidelines. In fairness, if their own work is built on “houses of cards,” why would anyone expect them to notice, or comment on, the houses of cards and the muddled thinking which prevails all over cable and all through our major newspapers as our floundering nation slides toward the sea?”Give us this day our daily bread.” It may be the world’s most basic prayer. But in a complex global world, we need daily logic too.As matters currently stand, our professors aren’t able to help us. Fifteen years after publication, our professors hadn’t yet puzzled out Wittgenstein’s text. Fifty years after the text appeared, they’d allegedly thrown the book away, Meanwhile, within the wider national discourse, mugging and clowning had replaced daily logic.Eventually, this unchallenged mugging and clowning gave us our Donald J. Trump. We’re guessing that some 9-year-old kid may read the weeks of work which follow and will know, in future years, how to restore our daily logic along with our daily bread.Next week: 7 + 5 = 12

  • Together We Will See This Through
    on March 20, 2020 at 16:00

    Dear Fellow Progressives,

  • Keep Your Distance
    by Mark Fiore on March 20, 2020 at 16:00

    Let’s all join together and save the world by staying home and keeping our distance from each other.

  • On The Progressive, And My Mom
    by Bill Lueders on March 20, 2020 at 15:46

    Dear Fellow Progressives:

  • Smart Ass Cripple: My Need for Human Contact
    by Mike Ervin on March 20, 2020 at 12:14

    Some of us can’t isolate. And that’s what’s so scary.

  • Best Movies to Watch During COVID-19 Quarantine
    by Asher Luberto on March 20, 2020 at 12:03

    Here’s a list of ten movies to stream while stuck at home.

  • Half of U.S. Counties Were Losing Jobs Long Before COVID-19
    by Jud Lounsbury on March 20, 2020 at 11:16

    With a recession seeming inevitable, a new report highlights how half of pre-virus America was already struggling.

  • If Trump Declares Martial Law Due to Coronavirus, Can He Suspend the Election?
    by By Martina Moneke / Truthdig on March 20, 2020 at 05:52

    Following the criticism that he has mismanaged the nation’s response to the coronavirus epidemic, Trump has declared himself a “wartime president.”  If martial law is next, what will happen to the November election?

  • Not Giving Up on Happiness: Care of the Self and Well-Being in a Plague Year
    by By Juan Cole / Informed Comment on March 19, 2020 at 23:32

    The specter of plague haunts our world, and it brings with it not only the ghouls of disease and death but vast economic and social uncertainty of a sort only the most elderly among us remembers (the Great Depression and World War II). My father is 90 and when I called him a child of

  • The Dem Primary is Over, and We Need Bernie Sanders to Lead on Health Care From the Senate
    by By David Faris / Informed Comment on March 19, 2020 at 22:56

    On Tuesday, I cast a joyless vote for the very much politically doomed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Illinois primary, in an elementary school where hushed whispers and fearful glances had replaced the normal din of an election day. There was no one standing just outside the perimeter hustling me to vote for this

  • These Are the 51 GOP Senators Who Just Voted Against Expanding Paid Sick Leave to Protect Americans
    by By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams on March 19, 2020 at 20:17

    Republican senators on Wednesday teamed up to kill an amendment introduced by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray that would have expanded paid sick leave to millions of U.S. workers left out of a bipartisan coronavirus relief package. Every Republican present for the vote, 51 in total, voted against the amendment while every Senate Democrat voted in favor.

  • BREAKING: Times are hard in the upper-end press!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 19, 2020 at 17:39

    THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020Our series resumes tomorrow: We’ll be finishing this week’s series tomorrow. This is the first of many weeks in which we plan to conduct a meta-discussion about how our failing society ever got in the mess it’s now in.We’re hoping that some kid who’s 9 years old today will read these reports at some point in time. We’re hoping that he or she will be able to apply this work in a way which will rescue future generations from the spectacular dumbness which, in the fullness of time, has finally given us our Trump and our spreading plague.For today, we’ll only note that times are hard around the world of the upper-end press. In this morning’s Washington Post, Robin Givhan helps us ponder what we’ve suddenly lost:GIVHAN (3/19/20): Hanging up our clothes and our public personasIn offices, they call it power dressing and business casual and dressing for success. The invitations tell us to gussy up in cocktail party finery or unleash our imagination with creative black tie. We buy something new because we have tickets to the theater or a concert. We hunker down in front of a television with a bowl of popcorn and become armchair critics as we watch a parade of fashionable — or not — celebrities on an awards show red carpet.These are our personal fashion moments, both real and vicarious. For the time being, they no longer exist. They have evaporated in the midst of mandates to work from home, bans on large gatherings and other precautions against the unknowns of the coronavirus.The public square has shut down. Employees are banned from their workplaces. Schools are closed. The Smithsonian Museums are shuttered. Broadway is dark. Disneyland is locked. And we’ve lost a little bit of ourselves. An essential part of our identity is rooted in how we relate to the people around us, how we situate ourselves within the social hierarchy. We are defined, in part, by our tribe. We dress to tell a story about ourselves and if there is no one there to hear our narrative, we’ve been put on mute—turned into mere ectoplasm in pajamas.We’re sure that Givhan’s a very nice person. But is anyone actually reading this guff? Were we the people actually reading this guff down through all those many long years?These journalists today! Their immediate predecessors spent months on Candidate Gore’s disturbing earth tones and on his three-button suits. In the end, decades of this simpering lunacy finally gave us our Trump.Tomorrow, we’ll finish our first week’s uber-report. This simpering lunacy has all been enabled from the top. Ridiculous foolishness trickles down! In the weeks ahead, we’ll be taking you all the way back to “the set of all sets not members of themselves” and thus to Lord Russell’s Paradox!If you have a 9-year-old, might your home-schooling start here?

  • Elections May Have to Change During the Coronavirus Outbreak. Here’s How.
    by By Rachel Glickhouse / ProPublica on March 19, 2020 at 17:12

    As the novel coronavirus spreads through the U.S. during presidential primaries, election and government officials are scrambling to figure out how to allow voters to cast their ballots safely ― or postpone primaries altogether. Managing in-person voting during an unprecedented pandemic has forced authorities to overcome new virus-related hurdles: providing sufficient cleaning supplies to polling

  • 17 Years Later: The Consequences of Invading Iraq
    by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies on March 19, 2020 at 15:10

    While the world is consumed with the terrifying coronavirus pandemic, on March 19 the Trump administration will be marking the 17th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq by ramping up the conflict there. After an Iran-aligned militia allegedly struck a U.S. base near Baghdad on March 11, the U.S. military carried out retaliatory strikes against five

  • Trump Uses Coronavirus to Spread Racism
    by By Sonali Kolhatkar / Truthdig on March 19, 2020 at 12:00

    There is nothing like a global pandemic to unleash the forces of racism in society. Trump is now routinely calling the novel coronavirus strain “the Chinese virus.”

  • What Does ‘Small Government’ Buy Us?
    by Jim Hightower on March 19, 2020 at 11:58

    There’s nothing like a rapidly spreading pandemic to bring home the fact that all of us need a generously funded, fully functioning government.

  • Ron Johnson Looks on the Bright Side of COVID-19
    by Ruth Conniff on March 19, 2020 at 10:07

    The Wisconsin Senator suggests that shutting down schools and businesses due to the virus is an unnecessary measure.

  • Why We Aren’t Prepared for Remote Learning
    by Rann Miller on March 19, 2020 at 07:30

    In response to COVID-19, schools across the country have moved online. But what happens to the students who don’t have Internet access?

  • Here’s Why Americans Need a Basic Income During the Coronavirus Outbreak
    by By Anne Kim / The Washington Monthly on March 18, 2020 at 19:53

    Dramatic action is needed now to blunt the immediate pain of vulnerable workers.

  • HUMAN REASON AND ITS DISCONTENTS: The number 1 lives in a fairyland!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 18, 2020 at 16:19

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2020And other high-end mumbo-jumbo: We asked the question yesterday. What goes through the mind of a very smart person who writes something like this?LIVIO (page 2): Millennia of impressive mathematical research and erudite philosophical speculation have done relatively little to shed light on the enigma of the power of mathematics. If anything, the mystery has in some sense even deepened. Renowned Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, for instance, now perceives not just a single, but a triple mystery. Penrose identifies three different “worlds”: the world of our conscious perceptions, the physical world, and the Platonic world of mathematical forms…. Roger Penrose “identifies” three different “worlds,” including “the Platonic world of mathematical forms?” So this author said.That passage was written by Mario Livio, who is, by any normal metric, an extremely smart person. By any normal metric, Penrose is extremely smart too.That said, what goes through the mind of a person who writes something like that? Also, what goes through the mind of a major publisher who puts such work into print?What went through the mind of NPR when it decided to highlight Livio’s 2009 book, Is God A Mathematician? What went through that upper-end news org’s mind when it decided to post the very excerpt from Livio’s book in which this passage occurs?What goes through the minds of these high-end players? We ask because of what happened when Livio tried to explain what Penrose was said to believe.Few people will be puzzled by the claim that a “physical world” exists. Is there also a “world of our conscious perceptions?” That’s a slightly awkward construction, but most people would understand what such a claim probably means.But how about that third alleged belief by Penrose—the belief that a third “world” exists, “the Platonic world of mathematical forms?” Will anyone reading Livio’s book know what claim could possibly mean? We ask because of the mess which occurs when Livio tried to explain what Penrose means:LIVIO (continuing directly): The first world is the home of all of our mental images—how we perceive the faces of our children, how we enjoy a breathtaking sunset, or how we react to the horrifying images of war. This is also the world that contains love, jealousy, and prejudices, as well as our perception of music, of the smells of food, and of fear. The second world is the one we normally refer to as physical reality. Real flowers, aspirin tablets, white clouds, and jet airplanes reside in this world, as do galaxies, planets, atoms, baboon hearts, and human brains. The Platonic world of mathematical forms, which to Penrose has an actual reality comparable to that of the physical and the mental worlds, is the motherland of mathematics. This is where you will find the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4,…, all the shapes and theorems of Euclidean geometry, Newton’s laws of motion, string theory, catastrophe theory, and mathematical models of stock market behavior. And now, Penrose observes, come the three mysteries. First, the world of physical reality seems to obey laws that actually reside in the world of mathematical forms.According to Livio, “the physical world” is “the one we normally refer to as physical reality!”With that, we’re off to a possibly unimpressive start. But then, we see the remarkable way Livio explains what Penrose means when he says that there is a “Platonic world of mathematical forms.”What does Penrose mean by that? According to Livio, Penrose means this:According to Livio, Penrose thinks this Platonic world “has an actual reality!” What kind of reality wouldn’t be actual? We’re left to guess about that.Let’s set that aside as nitpicking. As he continues, Livio says that Penrose believes that the Platonic world of mathematical forms is “the motherland of mathematics.” He then says that Penrose believes that this motherland is “where you will find the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4,…” It’s also where you will find “all the shapes and theorems of Euclidean geometry [and] Newton’s laws of motion,” among other assorted entities.Question: Will any reader have any idea what this mumbo-jumbo means?According to Livio, Penrose believes that the world of Platonic forms is a motherland which has an actual reality. It’s where you’ll find the number 1! Can this be distinguished from madness?Will any reader have any idea what this presentation means? The reader is told that she will find the number 1 in the world of Platonic forms. What can that possibly mean?Will the number 1 introduce itself when she finds it there? It’s been claimed that one is the loneliest number. Will it ask her to stop for a chat?Meanwhile. what does it means when we’re told that we’ll also find Newton’s laws there? In what form will those laws exist when we find them in this motherland, which has an actual reality?So far, no one reading this mumbo-jumbo could possibly have any hope of explaining what it might mean. At this point, we’re on page 3 of an extremely smart person’s book. But if we’re sensible and experienced, we’re probably already looking around, hoping to locate the exits.If we’re perhaps a bit more trusting, we may have a different reaction. We may assume that Livio—by any normal metric, he’s one of the smartest people around—will start to untangle those problems.Experienced people will be less sanguine. Indeed, by the time we hit page 9 of this well-regarded book, Livio will be saying this:LIVIO (page 9): As I noted briefly at the beginning of this chapter, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics creates many intriguing puzzles: Does mathematics have an existence that is entirely independent of the human mind? In other words, are we merely discovering mathematical verities, just as astronomers discover previously unknown galaxies? Or, is mathematics nothing but a human invention? If mathematics indeed exists in some abstract fairyland, what is the relation between this mystical world and physical reality? How does the human brain, with its known limitations, gain access to such an immutable world, outside of space and time?Ignore the useless semantic debate about discovery versus invention. This debate has long been loved by high-end mathematicians, people who aren’t logicians—by very smart people who are, in effect, playing out of position.Instead, look at where we find ourselves after nine pages of this discussion. It seems that we’re now being told that the world of Platonic forms can be thought of as “some abstract fairyland”—as a “mystical world.” Apparently, that’s the actual reality of the “world” where we “will find the number 1” (along with Newton’s laws). We’ll find it in a mystical world, whatever that will be like. True believers may assume that we’re being unfair to Livio. Such true belief will be wrong.We will extend the basic fairness to which we’ve just alluded. Livio, an extremely smart person, is a high-ranking astrophysicist. More specifically, he’s a high-ranking astrophysicist who is playing out of position when he heads down the road which takes us to the actual reality of this mystical fairyland.Livio isn’t a professor of philosophy. More specifically, he isn’t a logician. Presumably, he’s never been trained to avoid the shoals on which his discussion quickly foundered.Livio is extremely smart, but he’s playing out if position. That said, here’s the saddest point of all:When our logicians threw the later Wittgenstein under the bus, they sanctioned high-end mumbo-jumbo of this familiar type. This mumbo-jumbo exists today because our logicians have walked off their posts—because our logicians permit it.The later Wittgenstein’s seminal text, Philosophical Investigations, was published in 1953. Almost seventy years later, the kinds of conceptual confusion it clumsily diagnosed are still taken seriously by major publishing houses and by major news orgs like NPR. And alas:These kinds of confusion are still OK within the high professoriate. When people like Livio offer mumbo like this, no one says a world.The most troubling point is this:When logicians go on holiday, their intellectual squalor trickles down through the national discourse. When our smartest people write nonsense like this, what can anyone expect from the grasping clawing lesser beings who crawl all over cable news and high-end op-ed pages, building their gonzo careers?The number 1 lives in a fairyland! Also, Al Gore said he invented the Internet, and Donald Trump sits in the Oval. Tomorrow: “Rogers does this every year.” In the winter of 68, the book was just 15 years old!

  • Support The Progressive During COVID-19
    on March 18, 2020 at 13:09

    Dear Progressive Readers, 

  • We need Health care for All — Even the Undocumented
    by Josue De Luna Navarro on March 18, 2020 at 12:45

    If we can learn one thing from the pandemic, it’s that the United States must provide high-quality health care for all — including undocumented immigrants.

  • Coronavirus and the Public Good
    by Ann Kinzig on March 18, 2020 at 10:15

    Do we want an up-by-your-bootstraps society where people mostly look after their own, or do we want a strong safety net for those who fall on hard times?

  • Unequal Justice: Where Are Impeachment and the 25th Amendment When We Need Them?
    by Bill Blum on March 18, 2020 at 10:01

    The coronavirus pandemic cries out for remedies to remove the President.

  • HUMAN REASON AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Fifty-six years after Wittgenstein’s book…
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 17, 2020 at 15:52

    TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020…a very smart person wrote this: Who is Mario Livio? We’re asking for a reason.Any sensible answer would start with this—by the norms of our culture and of our world, Mario Livio is very smart.Who is Mario Livio? In 2009, he published Is God a Mathematician?, his latest general interest book on mathematics. The book was published by Simon and Schuster, a major publisher; an excerpt was posted by NPR, a very high-end news org. Livio turned 64 that year. On his book’s dust jacket, the capsule bio said this:Mario Livio is a senior astrophysicist and head of the Office of Pubic Outreach at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.Livio isn’t quite the apocryphal “rocket scientist,” but he comes pretty darn close. At present, the leading authority on his remarkable life offers this overview:Mario Livio (born 1945) is an Israeli-American astrophysicist and an author of works that popularize science and mathematics. For 24 years (1991-2015) he was an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope. He has published more than 400 scientific articles on topics including cosmology, supernova explosions, black holes, extrasolar planets, and the emergence of life in the universe.His book on the irrational number phi, The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number (2002), won the Peano Prize and the International Pythagoras Prize for popular books on mathematics. Livio is an astrophysicist, but he isn’t just any astrophysicist. He’s an astrophysicst who helped run the Hubble for several decades, while writing scholarly pieces on supernova explosions and extrasolar planets, plus award-winning popular texts.Let’s state what’s blindingly obvious. By any normal cultural metric, Livio is very smart. Indeed, that’s the whole point of what will follow this week. If Livio wasn’t very smart; if his 2009 book wasn’t published by a major house and excerpted by one of our allegedly smartest news orgs; then what follows this week would be of little real interest.The person in question is very smart. His book was singled out for special attention by one of our most highly-regarded upper-end news orgs. That said, conceptual problems already appear on page one of the book, where the NPR excerpt starts. Starting on page one of his book, Livio alternately claims that mathematics doesn’t just “describe” the universe. Mathematics also “explains” and even “guides” the universe. Already, it seems to us that we might have wandered out over our skis a bit! But by page two, Livio is writing a passage we marveled at, once again, just this past Sunday morning, our last such morning at a local Starbucks as the plague advanced.The passage in question is sitting right there as part of the NPR except. On page 2 of his book, Livio—an extremely smart person—writes the following passage, and NPR thought we should read it. The italics are Livio’s own:LIVIO (page 2): Millennia of impressive mathematical research and erudite philosophical speculation have done relatively little to shed light on the enigma of the power of mathematics. If anything, the mystery has in some sense even deepened. Renowned Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, for instance, now perceives not just a single, but a triple mystery. Penrose identifies three different “worlds”: the world of our conscious perceptions, the physical world, and the Platonic world of mathematical forms….By any normal cultural metric, Roger Penrose is also an extremely smart person. That said, let’s briefly consider the view Livio ascribes to this second extremely smart man.According to Livio, Penrose “identifies” three different “worlds.” (The second set of scare quotes are Livio’s own.) He then names these three different “worlds.” We’re only on page 2 of the book, but the fog is growing quite thick.Most of us would have little trouble explaining what a person typically means when he refers to “the physical world.” Indeed, as he continues, Livio provides an easy definition of same:”The second world [in that list of three] is the one we normally refer to as physical reality. Real flowers, aspirin tablets, white clouds, and jet airplanes reside in this world, as do galaxies, planets, atoms, baboon hearts, and human brains.” That seems, and is, rather easy. According to Livio, “the physical world” is the one we normally refer to as “physical reality.” (!)According to Livio, the physical world includes all sorts of physical objects—sticks and stones and water and soil and even aspirin tablets. This is the easy part of the muddle which already exists on page two.We’ll guess that confusion rarely arises when people, as part of normal parlance, refer to “the physical world.” But according to Livio, Penrose also “identifies” two other “worlds.” As you can see if you look at the NPR excerpt, confusion rises around us quickly as Livio attempts to describe and discuss these two other “worlds.”As we continues this week, we’ll look at some of the things Livio says as he describes, or attempts to describe, Penrose’s belief. In our view, Livio’s presentation disappears into the world of conceptual confusion as this point, never to re-emerge.Livio is very smart; so, of course, is Penrose. But whenever we encounter a presentation like the one Livio offers, a single thought pops into our heads:Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations was finally published in 1953, six years after Wittgenstein’s death. It’s amazing to think that, some 56 years later, a very smart person could produce the conceptual chaos Livio does, with an upper-end news org like NPR singling it out for special attention and admiration.Philosophical Investigations appeared in 1953. In 2009, work like this was still being produced and hailed at the upper end of our frequently primitive discourse.Four years later, Professor Horwich would say that the academy had thrown Wittgenstein away because he’d said that their work tended to be “the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking.” (See yesterday’s report.)Horwich said the academy had discarded Wittgenstein and his work. As our series continues along, we expect to suggest the possibility that they probably shouldn’t have done that.Tomorrow: As told to us by NAME WITHHELD in the winter of 67-68

  • A Life Without Sports
    by Dave Zirin on March 17, 2020 at 14:42

    Sports have always helped keep up morale and some modicum of normalcy during times of crisis, but now COVID-19 is canceling them all.

  • Grassroots Activists Are Winning the Fight Against ‘School Choice’ in Tennessee
    by Andy Spears on March 16, 2020 at 19:15

    When the governor signed a voucher bill last year, a network of parents and teachers organized against it—and they haven’t stopped since.

    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 16, 2020 at 16:23

    MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020The start of a meta-discussion: And so it begins—our award-winning examination of the problems infesting human reason, such as it is.Over the past twenty years, we’ve sometimes thought that we’d like to attempt a page-by-page reading of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. In the fall of 1965, when we entered the lair of the rational animal—the Harvard philosophy department—it was the hottest text of them all.We were 17 at the time, and a college freshman. We started with a young professor’s introductory course—Phil 3, Problems in Philosophy—a course which convinced most of us freshmen to major in something else.After a year in the History and Literature department, we realized that we didn’t care about history or about literature. On the basis of this insight, we decided to double back and major in philosophy after all. As a junior, we took the undergraduate Wittgenstein course. It was taught by department chair, the later Rogers Albritton. As a senior, we took the graduate seminar in Wittgenstein, taught by the late Stanley Cavell.After graduating, we moved to Baltimore, where we taught fifth grade in the Baltimore City Schools. More than forty years after graduation, we encountered this short essay by Paul Horwich, a professor of philosophy at NYU. The short essay had appeared in a New York Times web site in 2013. We stumbled upon it several years later, when it was reprinted in a book.In his essay, Professor Horwich advanced a claim we’d wondered about for decades. Headline included, he started his essay like this:HORWICH (3/3/13): Was Wittgenstein Right?The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy—what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by grappling with them. The uniquely insightful answers provided to these meta-questions are what give his treatments of specific issues within the subject—concerning language, experience, knowledge, mathematics, art and religion among them—a power of illumination that cannot be found in the work of others.Admittedly, few would agree with this rosy assessment—certainly not many professional philosophers. Apart from a small and ignored clique of hard-core supporters the usual view these days is that his writing is self-indulgently obscure and that behind the catchy slogans there is little of intellectual value. But this dismissal disguises what is pretty clearly the real cause of Wittgenstein’s unpopularity within departments of philosophy: namely, his thoroughgoing rejection of the subject as traditionally and currently practiced; his insistence that it can’t give us the kind of knowledge generally regarded as its raison d’être.For decades, it had been our impression that Wittgenstein had been severely downgraded within the academy. A peculiar thought had popped into our heads—the possibility that Wittgenstein had been cast aside because, if you follow his argument to its logical conclusion, he was saying that most of the traditional philosophy canon was in fact a species of nonsense, a product of “grammatical confusion.”Had Wittgenstein been cast aside for this reason? Had he been cast side because, if you believe the conclusions which lurk inside his (admittedly obscure) later work, you’re forced to see that professors should be rejecting the bulk of the material they had traditionally taught?In late 1999, we spent a few evenings with a friend from undergraduate days who was now a professor of literature at a major university. We asked her if Wittgenstein had been cast aside for this reason—because his work implies that the bulk of the traditional canon was a form of nonsense.She said she didn’t know. Fourteen years later, along came Horwich, saying our somewhat whimsical suspicion had actually been correct:HORWICH (continuing directly): Wittgenstein claims that there are no realms of phenomena whose study is the special business of a philosopher, and about which he or she should devise profound a priori theories and sophisticated supporting arguments. There are no startling discoveries to be made of facts, not open to the methods of science, yet accessible “from the armchair” through some blend of intuition, pure reason and conceptual analysis. Indeed the whole idea of a subject that could yield such results is based on confusion and wishful thinking.This attitude is in stark opposition to the traditional view, which continues to prevail. Philosophy is respected, even exalted, for its promise to provide fundamental insights into the human condition and the ultimate character of the universe, leading to vital conclusions about how we are to arrange our lives. It’s taken for granted that there is deep understanding to be obtained of the nature of consciousness, of how knowledge of the external world is possible, of whether our decisions can be truly free, of the structure of any just society, and so on—and that philosophy’s job is to provide such understanding. Isn’t that why we are so fascinated by it?If so, then we are duped and bound to be disappointed, says Wittgenstein. For these are mere pseudo-problems, the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking….Therefore traditional philosophical theorizing must give way to a painstaking identification of its tempting but misguided presuppositions and an understanding of how we ever came to regard them as legitimate. But in that case, he asks, “[w]here does [our] investigation get its importance from, since it seems only to destroy everything interesting, that is, all that is great and important? (As it were all the buildings, leaving behind only bits of stone and rubble)”—and answers that “(w)hat we are destroying is nothing but houses of cards and we are clearing up the ground of language on which they stand.”Given this extreme pessimism about the potential of philosophy—perhaps tantamount to a denial that there is such a subject—it is hardly surprising that “Wittgenstein” is uttered with a curl of the lip in most philosophical circles. For who likes to be told that his or her life’s work is confused and pointless? “Who likes to be told that his or her life’s work is confused and pointless?” Presumably, no one does!According to Horwich, this is why the later Wittgenstein’s work had been discarded, thrown under the bus. He told the academy that their work was the product of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking. The academy told him where to place it.Thus spake Horwich, answering our somewhat whimsical question quite a few years later. Wittgenstein had been discarded, Horwich said, because he’d said that the ordinary stuff of western philosophy was, at its heart, a sprawling neighborhood featuring only “houses of cards.”Needless to say, Professor Horwich saying it doesn’t make it so! But our new exploration will start here, with the assumption that there is a powerful clarity in the work of the later Wittgenstein which has largely been discarded.Does this have anything to do with our previous topic, the haplessness and the poverty of modern journalistic performance? Well actually, yes it does.Our society has reached its current state after decades of high-end journalistic clowning. Our journalists have gamboled and played. As they have, our professors, especially our logicians, have stared off into the air.The disinterest of the professoriate has enabled the haplessness of the press corps. Eventually, that haplessness gave us Donald J. Trump, and now it gives us our plague.When the plague struck London in 1665, the young Newton fled to “a small cabin” in the countryside, “of clay and wattles made.” Or that may have been Yeats! We’re not entirely sure. At any rate, Newton retreated to Woolsthorpe Manor, described as the family estate. During his two-year sojourn in the countryside, he began inventing calculus as part of his so-called “miracle year.”. Later, he spent a fair amount of time trying to turn lead into gold. Now, as our own society faces its plague, we plan to follow Newton down these time-honored paths. In our main post each day, we’ll be exploring the topics we first encountered when we entered the lair of the rational animal in 1965. Eventually, this will let us describe the analytical tools we should have drawn from the admittedly jumbled work of the later Wittgenstein. Or at least, so it says here.That’s what we’ll do in the mornings. Ideally, some kid who’s nine years old today will put this material to good use in the future, assuming a future exists.In the mornings, we’ll be examining the big meta issues. In the afternoons, we’ll look at examples of human reasoning as seen in our press corps today.What can be taken from Philosophical Investigations, the later Wittgenstein’s seminal text? That’s our ultimate topic.Some 9-year-old kid, at some future date, will apply the material we develop. If our society is still functioning, the applications that kid provides may rescue us from a world in which we encounter the relentless inanity which now dominates our national discourse through the work of our under-skilled, massively scripted press.According to Horwich, the professional philosophers kicked Wittgenstein to the curb. It seems to us they shouldn’t have done that. Over the course of the next many weeks, we hope to show you why.Tomorrow: Who is Mario Livio? (Key point—he’s very smart.)

  • Don’t Let COVID-19 Unleash Bias
    by Judith W. Leavitt on March 16, 2020 at 10:55

    The history of epidemics and pandemics shows how racism, sexism, and xenophobia detract from efforts to control disease—coronavirus is no exception.

  • The Democrats’ Coronavirus Divide
    by Ruth Conniff on March 16, 2020 at 08:06

    Sanders is right about the need for radical change; Biden offers a woman VP and a return to ‘normalcy.’

  • Why Seniors Aren’t Staying Home to Avoid COVID-19
    by Lexi McMenamin on March 16, 2020 at 07:00

    As people choose self-quarantine, social distancing, and remote work, those who are less privileged are the most vulnerable.

  • Hesse loves the smell of C-bombs in the morning!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 14, 2020 at 17:51

    SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2020Smarsh sees candidate burned at the stake: Did sexism and misogyny defeat Candidate Warren?Sexism and misogyny on the part of the mainstream press? On the part of (Democratic Party) voters?Sexism and misogyny on the part of black women in South Carolina? Also, to what extent did the sexism / misogyny of these various players bring Warren’s effort down?In theory, these are important questions. In practice, they’ve often been treated like toys. Consider some of the things which were said, in our most revered newspapers, as the keening and wailing began in the wake of Warren’s departure from the race.Start with Monica Hesse, the Washington Post’s “first gender columnist.” On Friday, March 6, she offered this assessment:HESSE (3/6/20): From almost the beginning, [Warren’s] candidacy was haunted by the gauzy, shapeless specter of sexism, which it turns out is the worst kind of sexism, because some people can feel it in their bones and some people don’t believe it exists at all.Voters, especially Democrats, knew it wasn’t going to fly to call female candidates “she-devils” and “witchy,” as plenty of folks called Hillary Clinton back in 2016. Instead, this time around, they just had endless debates about being “electable” and what it meant to be “presidential,” and we decided that none of the female candidates—not Kamala Harris, not Kirsten Gillibrand, not Amy Klobuchar, not Tulsi Gabbard—were either of those things. Coincidentally. Full disclosure—we’ll discuss “electable” and likable” at some point next week.As you can see, for Monica Hesse, it was sexism right from the start. Like an army of similar readers of script, Hesse didn’t seem to have any doubts about this point.As a general matter, Hesse can be relied upon to say whatever feels good. But how about that claim about Candidate Clinton in 2016? Did “plenty of folks” call her “witchy” and “a she-devil” during that race, as Hesse now pleasingly said?How odd! Hesse offered no example of same; online, she provided no links to any such statements. For ourselves, we haven’t found any such statements in somewhat cursory online searches, although we feel sure that if, you search long and hard enough, you can eventually find someone saying whatever you wish for. Citizens, can we talk? We don’t think a whole lot of people called Clinton “witchy” or a “she-devil” during that campaign. She was called plenty of names along the way, with the progressive, liberal, Democratic and feminist worlds generally staring off into space until the year 2008, and fairly often thereafter.Clinton was called every name in the book from 1992 on. But was she called those particular names by “plenty of folks” during that last campaign? We’re going to guess that she was not, while noting again that Hesse provides no examples at all.Hesse went on to offer the passage shown below. Sadly but unmistakably, this is how human minds work:HESSE: Sometimes I wished that some Warren-doubting pundit would just let loose and call her the C-word on live television. At least then we could stop wondering if the sexism might all be in our heads. If only they’d make it hurt so good! Hesse, who pretty much shouldn’t be in print, felt quite sure that she secretly knew what those (still unnamed) pundits secretly had in their heads. If only they’d dropped a live C-bomb! Then we all would have know what they secretly meant!People like that are playing with toys when they write newspaper columns; they’re unhelpfully overwrought. Inevitably, along came the New York Times to go beyond Hesse’s effort.It fell to Sarah Smarsh to perform the task. Online, the headlines above her column say this:I Am Burning With Fury and Grief Over Elizabeth Warren. And I Am Not Alone.She might not be bound for the presidency, but she has lodged herself in another powerful place: the female psyche.Poor Hesse had been left in the dust! As she burned with fury and grief, Smarsh started her column as shown below, after a Wichita dateline:SMARSH (3/6/20): Consider every moment, since the dawn of woman, when a female aspired but to no avail. She asked to attend school but was denied. She raised her hand but wasn’t called on. She applied but wasn’t hired. She enlisted but wasn’t deployed. She created but wasn’t credited. She ran but wasn’t elected.Imagine the sadness and frustration of every such instance as a spark, their combined energy the size of many suns. That is the measure of grief and fury I felt rise inside me as I watched Elizabeth Warren’s bid for the Democratic nomination wane.When Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, it hurt in similar ways but didn’t surprise me. Out here in the red hinterlands, it was plain to some of us that centrist ideas did not excite in times of historic inequality. This election, though, I thought Senator Elizabeth Warren—a class revolutionary to match the moment—might go to the White House.It turns out that she won’t even go to the general election. Now the same pundits who in 2016 proved they know very little will list the reasons, without realizing they’re among the reasons. For Smarsh, it wasn’t enough to imagine The Others dropping C-bombs on live TV. She asked readers to “consider every moment, since the dawn of woman, when a female aspired but to no avail.” Only if readers took that step could they imagine the size of this privileged person’s “grief and fury.” Before long, she was picturing this, as she lounged on the Florida sands:SMARSH: After the fund-raiser and after watching Ms. Warren’s dismal returns on a hotel television, I spent the next day on the beach with a Geraldine Brooks novel I’d randomly purchased at a bookstore on Sanibel Island. The book, it turned out, was about a bright girl in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who is indentured as a servant in Cambridge to pay for her brother’s academic studies. Along the way, she tends the miscarriage of a girl whose rapist goes unpunished.I looked out at the sea and considered that, for all our advancing on gender matters, the novel’s story is alive today: A woman must step aside as a man ascends to the presidency… In fairness, that is correct! “A woman must step aside as a man”–a man who received way more votes–“ascends to [his party’s nomination].” In fairness, that’s the ways it’s done. As we’ve noted,, long lists of fully qualified male candidates have “stepped aside” in this manner before. (Ronald Reagan “stepped aside” in 1976. Four years later, so did Ted Kennedy. Sad!)How sad! Like reams of presidential candidates before her, Smarsh’s candidate wasn’t going to win! In response, Smarsh wanted us to consider every time a female asked to attend school but was denied.Today, in the modern actual world, women substantially outnumber men in college. But people like Smarsh have no time for what’s real and actual now. Outperforming even Hesse, Smarsh decided to make it hurt so good by imagining every woman who was ever mistreated during the Middle Ages.As she finished her opening passage, Smarsh pointed the finger at “the pundits” who were “among the reasons” why the best greatest candidate lost. But sure enough:As she continued, she didn’t cite any such pundit. Instead, in the self-involved manner of the modern memoirist, she recalled a conversation between her father and her grandmother in March 2019, a remembered conversation which sheds light on exactly nothing at all.As you can see, Smarsh had already told us, in her opening passage, why Hillary Clinton lost. Her explanation had all the value of the latest rant from the red-faced drunk way down at the end of the bar. But so it goes as the New York Times pretends to offer analysis.Monica Hesse wanted to hear C-bombs on TV. Smarsh wanted us to imagine how it felt when (female) witches were burned at the stake. When our young analysts read garbage like this, anthropologists appear to them, late at night, and explain such strangeness thusly:This is the way the human race always “reasoned,” these despondent future authorities say, speaking, as always, in the past tense as they discuss our kind.It’s been like this since the dawn of time, they glumly tell the youngsters. It was all our species was wired for, all we should really expect.We intercede the following day with a bit of cool clear reason. “Imagine all the (white male?) editors who put keep putting this crap into print,” we skillfully tell the youngsters.Are those editors really helping women’s interests? Are they advancing the human project? So we thoughtfully ask.

  • The CDC’s Redfield, the New York Times’ Egan!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 13, 2020 at 18:57

    FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020Two sides of a pitiful giant: Yesterday, we asked you if our nation has finally announced itself as Richard Nixon’s “pitiful, helpless giant.”Over at New York magazine, David Wallace-Wells was asking a similar question. Wallace-Wells is one of our journalistic real deals—an analogue to the earlier Katherine Boo. His headline read, “America Is Broken.” At one point, he offered this:WALLACE-WELLS (3/12/20): A few days ago, I wrote on Twitter that the coronavirus, and our distressingly inept response, kept bringing to mind an essay by Umair Haque, first published in 2018 and prompted primarily by the opioid crisis, about the U.S. as the world’s first rich failed state. Every day it seems more prescient…We recommend the whole essay.For the record, we’ve been a “failed state” on an intellectual basis for several decades now. Consider two new examples.People tend to think of the CDC as a high-quality scientific enterprise. Yesterday, though, we suggested to you that its director, Robert Redfield, played an embarrassing game of Who’s On First when Donald Trump came calling last week.On last evening’s Last Word, Lawrence played tape of Rep. Katie Porter battering Redfield in a congressional hearing. Porter was prepared and dogged. Redfield’s performance was sad, until he relented at the end. To watch their full exchange, click here.That said, who in the world is Robert Redfield? Yesterday, speaking to Terry Gross, Politico’s Dan Diamond said this:GROSS (3/12/20): Well, let’s take a look at Robert Redfield, who’s the head of the Centers for Disease Control. And he was a well-known AIDS researcher, and you say he was a favorite of Christian conservatives when Trump appointed him in 2018. He helped fight HIV-AIDS in Africa, but his approach was to emphasize abstinence and to recommend condoms only as a last resort. Can you tell us more about that?DIAMOND: Dr. Redfield emerged in the 1980s and 1990s during the AIDS epidemic, and he was seen in some corners as a very important figure in fighting the AIDS epidemic for his willingness to attack this problem as a scientist at a moment when some conservatives were turning away. But he did highlight abstinence as the best preventive measure, saying that the best way to avoid AIDS was holding off on sex until marriage. He wrote the introduction to a book about 30 years ago called “Christians In The Age Of Aids,” where he conflated the public health problem of spreading AIDS and HIV with living in a biblical way and the need to, I quote, “reject false prophets” who were suggesting that Americans should use condoms and free needles.Those views, Redfield has said more recently, are things that he has broadened from. He has walked away from some of those earlier, stricter positions. But Redfield is still seen in some corners as a suboptimal leader of our public health agency, and it’s not just because of these views; it’s because of his lack of high-end management experience. If you’re looking at some of the breakdowns in fighting the coronavirus outbreak, they may not be because Dr. Redfield had these views 30 years ago; they may be more likely that he is not in position to make big, sweeping and aggressive decisions in the middle of an outbreak, which is tough for anyone but certainly a career scientist who may not have been in a management role like this one.[…]I do think, Terry, we’ve seen a pattern of behavior from CDC that’s been troubling. The failure to roll out lab tests as promised—that’s a CDC problem. The failure to plan ahead for shortfalls in the materials needed to work on tests in the future—that’s something that CDC director Redfield admitted this week. And at some level, that goes to the leader. These are management decisions, whether the organization is being proactive and running smoothly or whether it’s in chaos at a moment when we really need to count on the CDC to protect us.There’s nothing automatically wrong with being “a favorite of Christian conservatives,” or with having been appointed by Trump. In our view, there was something wrong with the way Redfield played Who’s On First, and possibly with the way he testified with Porter.At any rate, Redfield’s CDC seems to be announcing us as a pitiful, helpless giant. Then too, we give you this pitiful piece by the New York Times’ Elisabeth Egan in last Sunday’s Book Review.Redfield is dealing with life-and-death situations. Egan was offering a brief review of Alexis Coe’s ludicrous book, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington.In the main, Egan was announcing the fact that Coe’s ridiculous book is now a Times best-seller. But below, you see the soul-crushing way she opened her short review:EGAN (3/8/20): Alexis Coe examined a small library of books about our first president and noticed something interesting. She writes, “No woman has written an adult biography of George Washington in more than 40 years, and no woman historian has written one in far longer.” What was more, she says it seemed as if the men “had taken a vow that they would proceed in the exact same way, which starts off by declaring Washington too marvelous to be real. They were mirroring each other with slight differences, but not in content, approach or perspective.”When Coe, a historian and former research librarian at the New York Public Library, announced that she was working on her own book about Washington, many people asked if she was writing about his marriage, his wife or his social life. “No,” she said. “It’s a biography. Like a man would write.” That biography is YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST, which lands at No. 11 on this week’s hardcover nonfiction list.During the course of her research, Coe scoured digitized archives and made several trips to Mount Vernon, Washington’s historic home. Her book topples several tall tales related to Washington, including one about his wooden teeth. She writes, “At best, we can say Washington had a poacher’s smile. His dentists took chunks of ivory from hippopotamuses, walruses and elephants, sculpted them down and affixed them to dentures using brass screws.” (He also paid his slaves for their teeth.)Egan starts by purchasing Coe’s claim about the way she came to write her book, and about the way she was condescended to when people learned about it. While refusing to report the nature of Coe’s “Thigh Men” insults, she accepts Coe’s general characterization of those prior historians.Most amazingly, though, Egan directly claims that Coe has “toppled” the tall tale about Washington’s wooden teeth. Even Coe doesn’t make that claim in her ridiculous book, although, as we have noted before, she does seem to be trying to convey that absurdly false impression.Two Sundays ago in the Washington Post, Professor Kars seemed to suggest that Coe deserves credit for shooting down the myth of the wooden teeth. One week later, in the New York Times, Egan makes that flat assertion.Even Coe never makes that claim, although she tries to convey that impression. Here’s the slippery passage in question:COE (pages xxvii-xxviii): My preoccupation with Washington began years later, with an attempt to read between the lines of his major biographies—particularly Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life. At first, I found the male historians’ fixation on his manliness entertaining, but the sheer repetition of their narratives needled me. They always presented Washington’s half brother as his god, for example, and his mother as his scourge. I began to dig into the primary sources they cited and was, almost immediately, vexed by some of their interpretations and the opportunities they missed. They seemed bound to follow rote protocols, distancing us from a man we really ought to know better. And then we, in turn, end up inadvertently perpetrating many stereotypes and exaggerations.Consider, for instance, the old story about Washington’s wooden teeth. If you actually think about it, it doesn’t really make sense…From that passage, a gullible reader may get the impression that Chernow, and the other male historians, have been pushing the bogus story about Washington having wooden teeth. A gullible reader might even get the impression that the daring female historian, Coe, has finally “toppled” that tale, thanks to her dogged research.Alas! As a careful reader can see, Coe doesn’t explicitly make those claims, but a gullible reader might think she did. And if that gullible reader works for the Times, she’ll likely be too dumb, too lazy and too uncomprehending to perform a simple fact check of the matter at hand.So it went with Egan. As a result, Times readers were told, in last Sunday’s Book Review, that the daring Coe has toppled that old tale. In fact, the notion that Washington had wooden teeth was dispensed with in 1973 by Reidar Sognnaes, a Norwegian academic and the founder of the UCLA School of Dentistry. We know that because we fact-checked this matter, after reading the relevant passages in Coe’s implausible, Avenatti-like text.For the record, none of the male historians Coe slimes by name has ever perpetuated the false belief that Washington had wooden teeth. Nor did Coe debunk this tall tale at all, unless you’re reading the Times.Needless to say, Egan wasn’t done at at that point. As she continued, she offered a second groaner:EGAN (continuing directly): Coe says the most persistent myth she helps debunk is the one whereby Washington’s mother, Mary, was “thwarting him from the day he was born until the day she died.” Examples other historians have used to support this claim “aren’t true—either because they haven’t had much interest in motherhood or they haven’t cared enough to look into these terrible things Mary allegedly did.” For instance: Coe learned that Mary Washington never sent a letter to the Virginia Assembly asking for financial help during the war. In fact, Washington himself later admitted that the person he had trusted with his mother’s care had fallen down on the job. Coe says, “I thought the exclusion of that part of the story was vexing. I’m not here to venerate or degrade Washington. I’m here to look at him as objectively as I can and present a balanced view. Sometimes that means looking at his life and realizing he could be a negligent son, he could be a doting stepfather, and it’s possible for readers to hold both ideas at once.””Coe learned that Mary Washington never sent a letter to the Virginia Assembly seeking financial help?” Coe makes no such claim in her ridiculous book, in which she devotes three paragraphs, tops, to this entire topic.Somehow, Egan seems to have come away from an interview with Coe with the false impression that Coe shoots down some false claim about some letter which never got sent. Apparently, she didn’t bother consulting the book to see what Coe actually says, which is pretty much nothing.Is your nation a pitiful, helpless giant? Is it “the first rich failed state?” Consider:Redfield is working on matters of life and death; Egan and Coe are simply clowning around with some hot modern dogma. But what does it mean when it doesn’t occur to a person like Egan to perform even the simplest fact-checks before publishing a piece in her nation’s most famous newspaper?It means that our journalistic elite imploded a long time ago. Nations with journalistic elites of this type are almost surely on their way to becoming failed states. There’s plainly something “off” about Coe; journalists like Egan can neither see nor suspect this. That said, our press corps has functioned this way for decades. Nations whose elites function this way are pitiful, helpless giants.We started this site based on that very concern. We couldn’t take it any more—in 1998!

  • The Healthiest Man on the Planet!
    by Mark Fiore on March 13, 2020 at 16:00

    Science? Nah. Facts? No, thank you. Blaming China and/or Europe for the global coronavirus outbreak? That’ll cure it!

  • DOGMA SPREADS: Was Warren the greatest candidate ever?
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 13, 2020 at 15:48

    FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020Plainly, she was not: Was Elizabeth Warren really The Greatest Candidate Ever?We ask for an obvious reason. Readers might have gotten that impression from the keening and wailing which occurred when Warren dropped out of the White House race last week.A million conventionally qualified male candidates (including Kennedy, Reagan, Bush the elder, Bradley, McCain) had been forced to exit previous White House campaigns. An array of conventionally qualified men (including Booker, Inslee, Bennet, Bullock) had already dropped out of this year’s Democratic campaign.No matter! When Candidate Warren dropped out, it was said to be different. Consider a pair of peculiar assessments we’ve already discussed:MADDOW (3/5/20): I think that a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out. Whether or not they were supporting you specifically for president, you leaving the race feels different.If Hillary Clinton can’t win when she gets the nomination, and then you can’t get the nomination, and neither can Kamala Harris and neither can Amy Klobuchar and neither can Kirsten Gillibrand, I mean, I think part of what’s going on today is that women around the country are like, “OK, honestly, you know? If it’s not, if it’s not going to be any of them, let’s get real.”Is it just, is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? LINSKEY (3/6/20): Elizabeth Warren attracted big crowds. She won nearly every debate. Her organization was second to none. She developed plans, a strategy and a message. Yet when voting started, she not only lost, she lost by a lot. Now as Warren, who ended her presidential campaign Thursday, decides whether to endorse either of the two male candidates remaining, her supporters are left to contemplate a factor that many believe contributed significantly to her loss: She’s female.(Note: We’ve restored Linskey’s original text, the text which appeared above the fold on the front page of our hard-copy Washington Post. In Linskey’s original text, Warren was said to have “won nearly every debate.” Subsequently, someone toned that absurd statement down; on line, Linskey’s text now says that Warren “won rave reviews in nearly every debate.” That’s a less ridiculous claim, but as an act of journalism, it remains a major stretch, more advocacy than fact.)Let’s read between the lines. According to Maddow’s weird assessment, Warren was such an amazing candidate that if she can’t win her party’s nomination, no woman ever will.According to Linskey’s vastly overstated lament, Warren “won nearly every debate;” had an organization second to none; and had policy plans up the yin-yang.Why would such a phenomenal candidate lose to two white men? The mandated explanation followed. In this way, dogma spread.Did Warren win nearly every debate? Did she have plans up the yazoo? More to the point, was she The Greatest Candidate Ever?Almost surely, no—no, she plainly was not. Let’s run through some of the ways such systems work.First, Warren entered the race with a giant problem. Over the course of more than a decade, she had made the apparently crazy claim that her race was “American Indian.”Although she’d made this very strange claim, she’d never been able to explain why she did. One possible explanation seemed obvious. She never really came up with another.This was already a giant millstone around this potential candidate’s neck. But in 2017, she did the dumbest thing any candidate has ever done—she took a DNA test, and she released its results.The DNA test conclusively showed that her race, as that term is universally understood within the American context, actually wasn’t “American Indian.” But instead of simply acknowledging this obvious fact, she began to pretend that this had been an issue of tribal membership—which it never had been.How can a person retain a reputation as Smartest Human Candidate Ever after engaging in such ludicrous conduct? Simple! In a highly tribal time, her supporters directed attention to Donald J. Trump, who had been mocking her by calling her “Pocahontas.”Trump’s statement was of course derisive, but the derision wasn’t aimed at the woman born as Matoaka, who was subsequently known as Amonute and Pocahontas as well. She was the daughter of Powhatan, whose proper name was Wahunsenacawh. He was the leader of the Powhatan, an alliance of Algonquian-speaking people living in Tsenacommacah, in the Tidewater region of Virginia.We’re sorry, but Trump’s derision wasn’t aimed at Matoaka. Nor was his derision aimed at Native American people. Stating the obvious, Trump’s derision was aimed at Warren herself. We liberals disappeared this fact by accusing Trump of a “racist slur,” the only type of political claim we knew how to make by this time.An obvious question arises. How could someone maintain a reputation for brilliance after engaging in such ludicrous serial conduct? After all those years of bogus claims about her own race? After an episode as dumb as the taking of the DNA test and the subsequent faux explanations?Warren was able to maintain that reputation because we humans battle to defend the tribe at times of tribal warfare. For this reason, Warren was also able to retain her reputation of “having a plan for that” (her slogan) even after it became clear that she’d never even had a plan for universal health care, the soul of her campaign. She hadn’t even had a real plan for health care! Here’s the way Linskey smoothed that:LINSKEY: It’s not that Warren ran an error-free campaign. She had to apologize for previous claims of a Native American identity and struggled to explain her health-care plan and how it would be paid for, and her efforts to bridge the party’s liberal and centrist camps fell flat.But her male counterparts made big mistakes as well. And Warren was among six accomplished women who got little traction in a party that recaptured the House in 2018 with a record number of female candidates, elevated a woman as House speaker who regularly goes toe-to-toe with President Trump, and ostensibly has a new sensitivity to gender issues. She “struggled to explain her plan!” In fact, she ended up saying that she would wait until her third year in office to pass Medicare for All.Given what typically happens in the third year of a new president’s term, that statement was every bit as dumb as her utterly stupid adventure with the DNA test. In effect, this was a flip. At the point, she began to sink in the polls.Warren said she had a plan for everything, indeed, that was her slogan. Behaving like Trumpist true believers, a certain segment of her party agreed to pretend that she did. In part, they did so because Warren was a fully qualified female candidate. They dared to dream that she was, by some gender-based magic, The Greatest, Most Brilliant and Best Candidate of Them All.That said, she wasn’t The Greatest, Most Brilliant and Best Candidate of Them All; very few candidates ever are. Her male counterparts did make mistakes, though we’re not sure that anyone ever carried a larger millstone into a race than the one Warren fashioned from her endless weird claims about her putative race.We’d hoped to get farther with this today, but we’ll stop here for now. We lost a day to dental woes this week, and there’s a lot more to say on this topic.Personally, we’ve always been appalled by the way Warren proceeded ahead in spite of the Native American matter, which she could never explain. She was exposing her gullible party to terrible risk as we looked ahead to a general election.That said, her candidacy, and the leaving of it, have been saturated in low-IQ tribal dogma. In such ways, Warren plainly gained advantages from her gender, even as she may have lost support in other ways from gender-based reactions.The dogma flowed at the end of last week as Warren left the race. Dogma is bad for the heart and the mind, but has it always been the fuel on which our floundering species runs?Tomorrow: Likability, taking the leap and (something resembling) hysteriaStill coming: The various things Clyburn said

  • ‘Playing Outside in Poison’
    by Frances Madeson on March 13, 2020 at 10:39

    How a New Orleans interfaith coalition is infusing morality into its fight for climate justice.

  • COVID-19 Changes the Political Landscape
    by Ruth Conniff on March 13, 2020 at 09:58

    In his coronavirus address to the nation on Wednesday night, Trump appeared off-balance. If ever we needed steady leadership, now is the time.

  • CDC officials were asked an obvious question…
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 12, 2020 at 18:44

    THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020…and “Who’s On First” broke out: Has the United States, at long last, finally become the “pitiful, helpless giant” to which Richard Nixon once referred?Also this:Is the newly-designated global pandemic actually the global conflagration we’ve heard described, by despondent future experts, though only as “Mister Trump’s War?”We’re trying to get you answers to these inevitable questions. For today, we thought it was worth recording what happened when two CDC officials were asked an obvious question last Friday afternoon.We return to Donald J. Trump’s visit to the CDC. During the visit, he held a long press conference, accompanied by two CDC officials—Director Robert Redfield and Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety Steve Monroe.At one point, a journalist prefaced a rambling question in the manner shown:QUESTION (3/6/20): I have a question for Dr. Monroe, please. Would you admit that the CDC did have problems with the tests? For the full transcript, click here.Did the CDC have problems with the tests? It seems like a fairly obvious question.The full question which followed was somewhat unclear. That said, Monroe answered like this:MONROE: So we did learn shortly after we distributed the first batch of our tests to some of the state health labs that there was an issue with one component of the test. And so we quickly put together a team to try to figure out what that issue was and we suggested that people not test until we could sort that out. But what we—what we have are three different signatures that we test for. And we—in working with FDA colleagues, we identified that two of those were sufficient to have a positive conclusive test.And so we’ve moved forward now with testing with just the two signatures. And this is something that could easily happen where we’re, we’re just, again, starting from scratch with sequence information, building a test rather rapidly. We did small-scale testing here before rolling it out because our—our goal was to get it out to the public health labs as quickly as possible. According to Monroe, the CDC discovered a problem with their test. As a result, they were just again starting from scratch.A journalist then offered an obvious follow-up question. We thought it might be worth recording what happened next.The follow-up question went like this:QUESTION (continuing directly): But you didn’t have to start from scratch. You could’ve just used the WHO’s test. Why did you choose to start from scratch when it would be a longer process? Why didn’t you use the WHO test? Again, it seems like the obvious question.To our eye and ear, sheer chaos followed. Is this exchange, or is it not, a version of “Who’s On First?”MONROE (continuing directly): But we started with our test probably the same time the Germans and the other—Italians and the other groups that have worked with WHO were developing their own test.Nobody could start with test development until the sequence information was made available by the Chinese.QUESTION: Right. But theirs didn’t have any faults—the WHO’s. So why didn’t we use that?REDFIELD: I would like—I’d like to make one thing clear.QUESTION: Please.REDFIELD: When this test was developed in, in really very rapid time, it was first offered here at CDC. So all the public health labs in this nation could use CDC as we do when any new disease comes, and we can help them understand if this new pathogen is in that individual. That was available as soon as our test was approved by the FDA—not a faulty test, a very accurate test.But the challenge was you had to send the sample here to CDC. That’s the same test we use today. So no, state labs never had no access. They always had the ability to send it here.QUESTION: But they had to send it here because there were false reads?REDFIELD: No, they had to send it here because that’s how we started it. Then we developed the test to expand, and in the manufacturing, there wasn’t—then, after that, we sent it out to the states to see if they could verify that it worked.We found that, in some of the states, it didn’t work. We figured out why. I don’t consider that a fault. I consider that doing quality control. I consider that success, making sure this test was going to perform out there with the same proficiency that it performed here.TRUMP: And now it’s all performing perfectly, right?REDFIELD: Yes, sir.We started with an obvious question—why didn’t the CDC use the WHO test?We ended up with that. We can’t see where the obvious question got answered. Instead, the exchange strikes us as a masterpiece of confusion, as a first cousin to Who’s On First..Eventually, Trump jumped in to say everything’s perfect. Director Redfield agreed.Have we become that “pitiful, helpless giant?” We report, then we let you decide.

  • DOGMA SPREADS: Linskey executes a flip!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 12, 2020 at 16:51

    THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020Dogma feels so good: When Elizabeth Warren left the race, the dogma aggressively spread.Peaches and Herb were once “reunited”—and it had “felt so good.” So it was as mainstream reporters and liberal pundits rushed to spread the preferred tribal tale all around.According to that tribal tale, the defeat of a giant like Candidate Warren simply had to stem from some nefarious cause. How else could a campaign which started with six female candidates possibly have ended up as a battle between “two old white men?”The children stampeded into print and onto cable, reciting that mandated question. As they spread the debilitating dogma around, they sometimes even began to play games with their own prior reporting!Consider what Annie Linskey wrote on the front page of the Washington Post. She started with a familiar question—how could a candidate as great as Warren possibly have lost?LINSKEY (3/6/20): Elizabeth Warren attracted big crowds. She won rave reviews in nearly every debate. Her organization was second to none. She developed plans, a strategy and a message. Yet when voting started, she not only lost, she lost by a lot.Now as Warren, who ended her presidential campaign Thursday, decides whether to endorse either of the two male candidates remaining, her supporters are left to contemplate a factor that many believe contributed significantly to her loss: She’s female.How could a hopeful that great have lost? According to Linskey, “many believe” the fact that she’s a woman “contributed to her loss.”Indeed, they believe it “contributed significantly.” This belief quickly rose to the level of dogma. But is that belief really true?To what extent did sexism / misogyny contribute to Warren’s loss? Such questions are hard to assess.The dogmatist will always start by disappearing the ways in which a female candidate’s gender may have brought her additional support. We’re led to consider the possible losses in support. The possible gains disappear.So the dogmatist reasons. But as she pleased the tribal hive, Linskey found other ways to put her thumb on the scale.At one point she offered this, slip-sliding away her own reporting from only a few months before:LINSKEY: It felt like an echo from 2016, when a high-profile female candidate with strong qualifications fell short, and the loss renews questions about the perceptions of women in American politics and if, or how, those perceptions can be changed.It’s not that Warren ran an error-free campaign. She had to apologize for previous claims of a Native American identity and struggled to explain her health-care plan and how it would be paid for, and her efforts to bridge the party’s liberal and centrist camps fell flat.Did Warren’d defeat feel like an echo from 2016? Once the virus started to spread, yes, as if by rule of law, it most certainly did. As people like Linskey spread the dogma, they recalled the fact that Hillary Clinton “fell short.” They failed to mention the fact that 1) Clinton won her party’s nomination, and 2) she won the popular vote, by three million votes, in the general election.The Clinton example, in which a woman wins the popular vote, thus supports the pleasing claim that a woman could never win. In the case of the brilliant Warren, the woman had been mistreated again, and that mistreatment felt so good.More striking is Linskey’s account of one of Warren’s “errors.” Let’s restate that account:”It’s not that Warren ran an error-free campaign. She had to apologize for previous claims of a Native American identity…”She had to apologize for previous claims “of a Native American identity?” Does anyone know what that serving of word salad is actually supposed to mean?Back in December 2019, Linskey had been a bit more precise in her reporting. It wasn’t that Warren had previously claimed “a Native American ancesrtry,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.More precisely, and very strangely, Linskey reported that Warren had claimed that her official race was “American Indian.” On that basis, she had officially reported that she was a “minority.”According to Linskey’s previous reporting, Warren “had her race changed to Native American from white” while teaching at the Penn Law School. Later, “she requested that Harvard Law School list her as Native American.”That had been very strange behavior on Warren’s part; presumably, Candidate Trump was once again waiting to strike. But now, with Warren leaving the race, it was time to reinforced tribal dogma.Presumably for that reason, Linskey fuzzed her previous language up, refusing to tell tribal readers what Warren had actually done.So it goes—so it has gone since the dawn of time—as acolytes agree to spread a preferred tribal virus around. The acolyte may also offer such foofaw as this:LINSKEY: The exit by Warren, who spent much of 2019 leading in many polls, was a reminder of four years ago, when Hillary Clinton’s loss sparked a national debate over whether a woman could ever win election to the country’s highest political office. Her departure came just days after another prominent female senator, Amy Klobuchar, dropped out.[…]Warren herself on occasion sought to defuse the issue by speaking about it bluntly.“Look at the men on this stage. Collectively they have lost 10 elections,” Warren said during a January debate. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women, Amy and me!”None of it worked.Once again, Clinton’s 2.9 million vote win suggested that a woman could never win. And the, you see the fiddle-faddle about all those lost elections.For a listing of the ten elections the male candidates had lost, you can just look here. The list includes Biden’s two lost attempts at nomination for president, along with Sanders’ one, and six early defeats by Sanders in various races in Vermont as a third-party candidate.The list included one defeat by Buttigieg as he ran for statewide office in red-state Indiana. With no disrespect to Klobuchar, neither Warren nor Klobuchar had ever won any such races as these.Warren’s two election wins had come in blue-state Massachusetts. Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, she and Klobuchar can now boast of losses while seeking a presidential nomination, just like Biden and Sanders before them.Warren’s presentation was pure apples-to-oranges claptrap. But tribal leaders were now spreading a virus in the form of dogma, so Linskey chose to describe this silly bullroar as “blunt.””None of it worked,” Linskey added—not even bullroar like that! Warren had been “trying to defuse the issue.” She certainly hadn’t been seeking a silly advantage, the way many candidates do! But so it goes—so it has gone since dawn of time—when tribal messengers spread the latest tribal virus around.Tribal dogma is very bad for the human brain. Over the past too many decades, our deeply self-impressed liberal tribe has routinely run on such fuel.She claimed “a Native American identity?” Scribe, could you jumble it more?Tomorrow: In search of The Greatest Candidate Ever

  • Starving: How Prisons Rob Inmates of their Humanity
    by Tessie Castillo on March 12, 2020 at 14:17

    In a new book, Tessie Castillo describes how she came to form relationships with Death Row prisoners.

  • Violence and Virus on the Greek Islands
    by Megan Giovannetti on March 12, 2020 at 10:17

    The European Union mismanages the refugee crisis and the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Donald Trump seems to be mentally ill!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 11, 2020 at 18:43

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020But then, so does everyone else: Is Donald J. Trump “mentally ill” or cognitively impaired in some serious way?In January 2018, the New York Times declared, in an editorial, that journalists shouldn’t discuss this question. In so foinf, the Times undermined a nascent discussion being conducted by Yale’s Dr. Bandy X. Lee.In effect, the Times revealed its Trumpy side that day. He’s strongly inclined to wish away the coronavirus onslaught. The Times wants to wish away the question of Trump’s mental health.Is Trump “mentally ill” or cognitively impaired in some serious way? The possibility never seemed much more obvious than it did last Friday when Trump engaged in a long press conference as part of his trip to the CDC.At one point in the lengthy press conference, Trump broke away from the questions he was being asked to reminisce about his uncle. First he praised the NIH, then he wandered afield as shown. For the full transcript, click here:TRUMP (3/6/20): Well, we’re prepared for anything. We’re prepared. We are, really, very highly prepared for anything. And in a short period of time—I mean, what they’ve done is very incredible. And I’ve seen what they’ve done back there. It’s really incredible.JOURNALIST: And just from a health perspective—TRUMP: And, by the way, NIH, what they’ve done—I spent time over there, and I like this stuff.You know, my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super-genius. Dr. John Trump.I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, “How do you know so much about this?” Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.But you know what? What they’ve done is very incredible. I understand that whole world. I love that world. I really do. I love that world. And they should be given tremendous credit. And the whole world is relying on us. In the past, Trump has described himself as “a very stable genius.” In that exchange, we got to hear about his uncle, who was “a great super-genius.”The suggestion seemed to be that Trump may be able to understand “this [pandemic] stuff” so well because he’s like his super-genius uncle. Very few people would ever make such weird remarks in public, especially in such a serious context.Also at issue is this claim: “Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ ” That evening, on The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell assailed this as another of Trump’s lies. To his great credit, O’Donnell is one of the very few major journalists who is willing to address the possibility that Trump is mentally ill. For our money, he would have been better off that night to see this remark from that perspective.Few people would ever make a presentation as weird as Trump’s presentation about his super-genius uncle. Earlier in that presser, he had also said this:TRUMP: But I think—I think, importantly, anybody right now and yesterday—anybody that needs a test gets a test. We—they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.If there’s a doctor that wants to test, if there’s somebody coming off a ship—like the big monster ship that’s out there right now, which, you know—again, that’s a big decision. Do I want to bring all those people on? People would like me to do that. I don’t like the idea of doing it.But anybody that needs a test can have a test. They’re all set. They have them out there.In addition to that, they’re making millions of more as we speak. But as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test—that’s the important thing—and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, right? This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good. Anybody who needs a test can get a test? Obviously, that statement was wholly inaccurate, but the Big Crazy entered the picture here with that remarkable side trip into the realm of the perfect.To appearances, Trump was saying the (“beautiful”) tests are perfect, just like his phone call with the Ukrainian prime minister was perfect. (He seemed to substitute “letter” for phone call.) What does it tell us when someone makes such an odd comparison in such an inappropriate circumstance?The same question arises about something else Trump said. He had appeared on Fox the previous night, leading to this grossly inappropriate aside:TRUMP: Well, we’re considering different things. But we’re also considering the fact that last year we had approximately 36,000 deaths due to what’s called the flu. And I was—When I first heard this four, five, six weeks ago—when I was hearing the amount of people that died with flu, I was shocked to hear it. Anywhere from 27,000 to 70,000 or 77,000. And I guess they said, in 1990, that was in particular very bad; it was higher than that.As of the time I left the plane with you, we had 240 cases. That’s at least what was on a very fine network known as Fox News. And you love it. But that’s what I happened to be watching.And how was the show last night? Did it get good ratings, by the way?JOURNALIST: I—I don’t, sir.TRUMP: Oh, really? I heard it broke all ratings records, but maybe that’s wrong. That’s what they told me. I don’t know. I can’t imagine that. Even in the course of discussing a global pandemic, Trump couldn’t refrain from making a typically bogus claim about his record-breaking TV appearance the previous night. Very few people would ever behave in such a strange way in public.To this very day, the press corps isn’t willing to discuss this president’s bizarre behavior from the standpoint of possible mental illness or cognitive impairment. To this very day, the corps is satisfied with being “shocked, shocked” for the ten millionth time whenever Trump decides to make his latest wild misstatement.To our ear, these remarks were so remarkably weird that they beg for analysis from a mental health perspective. That said, the mainstream press will never go there. Some skeptics have said that Trump is nuts, but the rest of us seem to be too.Tomorrow: These CDC Officials TodayFor what it’s worth, tormented presidents talking alike: Richard Nixon, leaving the White House:NIXON (8/8/74): Nobody will ever write a book, probably, about my mother. Well, I guess all of you would say this about your mother—my mother was a saint. And I think of her, two boys dying of tuberculosis, nursing four others in order that she could take care of my older brother for three years in Arizona, and seeing each of them die, and when they died, it was like one of her own.Yes, she will have no books written about her. But she was a saint.More recently, Donald J. Trump, floundering among the scientists:TRUMP (3/6/20): You know, my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super-genius. Dr. John Trump.For what it’s worth, Nixon’s mother was a saint, and the death of his two brothers may have taken a toll on Nixon.It also seems like Trump’s uncle was a very good person. According to the leading authority, he knew enough to get away from his brother, who passed his horrible values along to his unfortunate son.

  • DOGMA SPREADS: Qualified candidates lose all the time!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 11, 2020 at 15:23

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020It even happens to men: We liberals! For decades now, our floundering tribe’s “intellectual leaders” have been saying the darnedest things!These leaders have shown great skill at seeing no evil within their own guilds. They’ve proceeded to give awful advice to the rank-and file—to make crazy statements like this:MADDOW (3/5/20): I think that a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out. Whether or not they were supporting you specifically for president, you leaving the race feels different.If Hillary Clinton can’t win when she gets the nomination, and then you can’t get the nomination, and neither can Kamala Harris and neither can Amy Klobuchar and neither can Kirsten Gillibrand, I mean, I think part of what’s going on today is that women around the country are like, “OK, honestly, you know? If it’s not, if it’s not going to be any of them, let’s get real.”Is it just, is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that’s all we can agree to do? If the channel ever posts a transcript, the transcript will appear here.At any rate, thus spake Rhodes scholar Maddow, speaking to Elizabeth Warren, the most brilliant candidate ever. Like so much of the intellectual leadership with which our floundering tribe has been saddled, the statement made no earthly sense.Let’s summarize what this thought leader said:Four conventionally qualified women had pursued the Democratic nomination for president. With Warren’s suspension of her campaign, it was clear that none of the four was going to win.According to Maddow, this seemed to suggest that no woman will ever get nominated, in either of the two major parties, at any time ever again. If none of those four women got nominated, that means that no woman ever will!It’s possible to come up with a dumber assessment, but it wouldn’t be easy. Just four years ago, a woman did get nominated by the Democratic Party, and she went on to win the popular vote in the general election.Meanwhile, a politically talented woman is widely believed to be positioning herself for the Republican nomination in 2024. Why would Warren’s failure to win the Democratic nomination mean that Nikki Haley can’t get to the White House that year?Why would anyone react to Warren’s defeat in the crazy way Maddow did? We can’t answer your sensible question, but we liberals have been saddled with this type of “intellectual leadership” for a good many years.Late last week, Warren’s decision to throw in the towel brought out the progressive Big Crazy. All across the liberal and mainstream landscapes, people stepped forward to insist that The Most Brilliant Candidate of All Time had lost because of sexism and misogyny, full stop.We’ll give more examples of this Scripted Tribal Reaction in the next few days; The Crazy gets rather intense. For today, though, we’ll only note this:Our tribal thought leaders were now eating our own. In 2016, Candidate Clinton had aimed her unfortunate denunciation of the “irredeemable” “deplorables” at the other team’s voters.The condemnations were now on the other foot! When Warren finished third in Iowa; when she then finished fourth in New Hampshire (one of her neighbor states); when she finished third in her own state’s primary; when she registered very poorly among her party’s black voters; When Warren delivered these results, it had to be, by rule of law, because of sexism and misogyny. But the misogyny now belonged to us—to us Democratic voters, more than half of whom are women.The sexism came from the black church ladies who voted in South Carolina. Our thought leaders had already come for Republican voters. Now they were coming for us.Reactions like Maddow’s often seemed to stem from a belief that Candidate Warren was The Greatest and Most Brilliant Candidate Who Ever Sought Nomination. While such assessments are always a matter of judgment, that particular judgment strikes us as nearly insane.In our view, Warren was a terrible candidate, not unlike the rest of this year’s classically beatable Democratic field. But we’ll put that discussion on hold till tomorrow. For today, let’s consider a truth universally acknowledged by people familiar with politics:The vast majority of White House contenders lose. They don’t win their party’s nomination—and this even happens to men!Most White House candidates lose, men as well as women. With that in mind, the fact that four women chose to run this year didn’t mean that one of them somehow “deserved” to win.Most qualified men who ran this year also failed to get nominated. And good lord! Down through the many long years, before women began to run for the White House, long lists of qualified male candidates crashed and burned in the nomination fight.Most men don’t win nomination! Consider some of the major stars whose candidacies didn’t take off:Bill Bradley, 2000: Bill Bradley had been a national figure since he was a Princeton basketball star. All the way back in 1965, the New Yorker’s John McPhee wrote a hagiographic profile of the college senior. In the fall of 99, the Washington Post remembered the famous piece:VON DREHLE (9/12/99): At the tender age of 21, William Warren Bradley became the symbol, for America’s elite, of virtue. In 1965, he was profiled at nearly book length in the New Yorker magazine by a fledgling writer named John McPhee. The New Yorker in that period was the most admired magazine in the world.In those pages, America’s opinion makers met Bill Bradley, rendered by the dazzled McPhee as an almost unimaginably good and gifted young man—not only the finest basketball player in college at the time, but perhaps “the most exemplary youth since Lochinvar,” an outstanding student, a religious leader, a model of self-discipline, a physical marvel, a philosopher-prince.[…]Throughout the article (which later became a book, “A Sense of Where You Are”) it was clear that basketball was just the beginning. Bill Bradley was so good, so able, and so inspiring that—as the author noted more than once—he would probably be president someday. Bradley was announced as a future president when he was still in college. He proceeded to spend a year as a Rhodes scholar; to play on a championship NBA team; and to serve eighteen years in the Senate. He was highly qualified, and revered by the press, until they finally turned against him. (Too “aloof,” they finally said, in January 2000.) But when Bradley finally ran for the White House, he lost every single caucus and primary to his lone opponent, Candidate Gore.Highly qualified male candidates crash and burn all the time. Consider some of the others:Bob Kerrey, 1992: Kerrey had won the Medal of Honor as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. He served one term as governor of Nebraska, then was elected to the Senate in 1988.Meanwhile, how handsome and charismatic was Kerrey? So handsome and charismatic that he had persuaded Deborah Winger to move to Nebraska! But when he sought his party’s White House nomination, he finished third in New Hampshire, then dropped out of the race after doing very poorly, early in March, on that year’s version of Super Tuesday.Jack Kemp, 1988: Before its merger with the NFL, Jack Kemp had been an AFL football star. In 1971, he entered Congress as a self-described “bleeding-heart conservative,” though one with moderate views on most social issues.He was the Paul Ryan of his day, although he was almost surely less phony. Granted, he was the only candidate who had ever abandoned a prior profession because he’d taken too many blows to the head. But he had served in the House as a respected Republican right on through his White House bid in 1988. The handsome football star went nowhere. After a miserable Super Tuesday, he was forced to quit.Ted Kennedy, 1980: Ted Kennedy’s last name was Kennedy. He failed to win the Democratic nomination in 1980.Ronald Reagan, 1976: Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan. He only won his party’s nomination the second time around. George Bush the elder and John McCain also failed the first time around. Also, Bob Dole and Al Gore—and Hillary Clinton! Sometimes, you have to suck it up and try again before you start bellyaching.We’ve listed some higher-profile male candidates who lost. There’s a long list of lower-profile though thoroughly qualified male candidates who didn’t get a sniff. In 1988, Senator Paul Simon went nowhere in the Democratic race. Within the mainstream press, “professorial” became his middle name. (In 2003, Simon’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times started off like this: “Former Sen. Paul Simon, a Democrat with a professorial bow tie who ran for president in 1988 as a budget-balancing liberal, died Tuesday of complications after heart surgery.”)In 1992, Richard Lugar sought the Republican nomination. He had served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis, including a stint as president of the National League of Cities. As of 1992, he was serving his third term in the United States Senate, where he had served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.Lugar was generally believed to be on the brighter, saner end among national political figures, but he was also dull as dishwater. He went nowhere in the nomination fight. Fully-qualified male candidates lose pretty much all the time.It’s very hard to get nominated for president. Many try; almost everyone fails. But how odd!When four qualified women took the leap in the current campaign, our hapless thought leaders apparently thought that one of them was somehow required to win. When it didn’t turn out that way, our thought leaders came for us. We were now the terrible people, including those women down South. Our tribe’s thought leaders are stunningly dumb. Can a major tribe prosper this way?Anthropologists tell us it can’t be done. Our tribe seems eager to try.Tomorrow: The most brilliant candidate ever

  • Federal Court Hears Arguments on Funding for Trump’s Border Wall
    by Helen Christophi on March 11, 2020 at 13:09

    At least one member of the three-judge panel, a Trump appointee, seems likely to side with the President.

  • Teachers in St. Paul Are Striking for ‘Schools Students Deserve’
    by Sarah Lahm on March 11, 2020 at 11:57

    The city’s educators, the latest to go “Red for Ed,” are demanding support for programs like mental health counseling and translation services.

  • Foreign Correspondent: Am I the Next Typhoid Mary?
    by Reese Erlich on March 11, 2020 at 09:55

    My first-hand account of coronavirus quarantine, after a trip to Iran.

  • BREAKING: Dental misery lays entire staff low!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 10, 2020 at 17:06

    TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2020We’ll have no fish today: Dental misery has laid our entire staff low. We’re currently nursing the team back to health. We expect to return tomorrow, but we’ll have no fish today.Spoiler alert for tomorrow: According to sources, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, by 2.9 million votes!

  • Wealthy and affluent, prosperous too!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 9, 2020 at 20:34

    MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2020Ben Smith arrives at the Times: It isn’t what we’d planned to discuss in this afternoon’s post. But just consider what Ben Smith has done at the New York Times.Smith spent ten years as Buzzfeed’s editor. In January, he became the Times’ media columnist.This morning, he takes dead aim at our tribe’s cable stars. Just look at the names he calls them:SMITH (3/9/20): [A]fter his stunning setback on Super Tuesday, Mr. Sanders bent the knee and submitted to a barrage of not particularly friendly questions from the most powerful progressive on TV, the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.He had been avoiding the network, suspicious of its wealthy hosts and corporate owners. He told Ms. Maddow in mild exasperation that one of his challenges was “taking on the corporate media, if I might say so.”[…]Mr. Sanders is right…that much of the U.S. media still covers elections as if they’re sporting events and that the affluent New Yorkers who run and appear on television networks are not inclined to like him. The narrative of Joe Biden’s comeback was an irresistible story to the media—one that often eclipsed the coronavirus, never mind discussion of health care or poverty—on cable news in recent days.[…]Mr. Giridharadas said he wanted to make TV that is a rebuke to cable news as it now exists. “When you get to that level of television, everyone is prosperous at the table,” he said in an interview. “I’m not sure I’ve ever sat next to an uninsured person on television. I sit next to uninsured people on the subway all the time.” You can read Smith’s column to take in his overall point. We were struck by the way he described “progressive” stars like Maddow.Smith described these popular stars as “wealthy” and “affluent.” He quoted MNSBC’s Anand Giridharadas describing that channel’s guests as “prosperous.” Giridharadas was making a point we first made at this site in the fall of 1999:Prosperous people who have good health care may not care about discussing the problems of low-income people who don’t.That thought first occurred to us after the first Gore-Bradley debate in October 1999. The candidates spent the bulk of their time discussing their respective health care plans. The candidates talked about health care. But at the Washington Post, Pulitzer winner Mary McGrory devoted the bulk of her next column, and part of the column after that, to mocking commentary about Candidate Gore’s unappealing wardrobe selections. Part of her thoughtful commentary went exactly like this:MCGRORY (10/31/99): Vice President Albert Gore came to his fateful encounter with newly menacing challenger Bill Bradley carrying heavy baggage. He was wearing an outfit that added to his problems when he stepped onstage at Dartmouth College: a brown suit, a gunmetal blue shirt, a red tie—and black boots.Was it part of his reinvention strategy? Perhaps it was meant to be a ground-leveling statement—”I am not a well-dressed man.” It is hard to imagine that he thought to ingratiate himself with the nation’s earliest primary voters by trying to look like someone seeking employment at a country music radio station. Maybe it was the first step in shedding his Prince Albert image.She barely mentioned the health plans at all. A possibility occurred to us as we read her insulting column—the scribe had excellent health care herself, and possibly didn’t care a whole lot about other people who didn’t.Today, we all know—it’s one of our tribal dogmas—that journalists only attack female candidates for the way they’re dressed. Few examples are even given. Gore was massacred for months on end for his wardrobe selections.That said, Smith’s column today brings a new feel to the Times. He suggests that wealthy cable stars don’t want to discuss heath care plans or poverty. He suggests they want to send Kornacki to “the big board” to entertain us with polling data.We don’t know who selects the topics which get discussed on MSNBC. We also don’t know how much the channel’s affluent hosts get paid. You aren’t allowed to know such things, and you aren’t encouraged to wonder.Smith discusses several people and orgs who are trying to create thoughtful alternatives to the current offerings on cable news. We have no confidence that they’ll succeed. But we were amazed by the naughty way Smith described our own tribe’s stars—the affluent hosts who want you to think that you’re numbered among their best friends.Is Smith allowed to say such things? It looks like we’ll get to find out!That said, none of this will matter. We’re already well past the end.With this we return to our irregularly scheduled very bad case of toothache. We’re back to normal tomorrow.That first Gore-Bradley debate: That was the debate where 300 press members, watching on closed circuit TV in a nearby press room, hissed, jeered and booed every word Gore said.So reported press corps snitches Tapper, Pooley and Mortman, in three separate reports. You’ve never been told that remarkable story because such things simply aren’t done.

  • DOGMA SPREADS: Did misogyny defeat Candidate Warren?
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 9, 2020 at 13:50

    MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2020Maddow’s weird lament: Was Candidate Warren forced from the race by misogyny and sexism? Misogyny and sexism on the part of the press? On the part of Democratic voters?Except in the realm where dogma spreads, those are hard questions to answer. Presumably, some people undervalued or even disregarded Warren on the basis of gender. It’s also true that some people favored her on that basis.On balance, how did all these judgments shake out? There’s no real way to know that. That said, Candidate Warren didn’t lose by a couple of votes. She ended up losing to Candidates Biden and Sanders by a large number of votes, even in her home state.Candidate Warren didn’t come close, as Candidate Gore and Candidate Clinton did in recent general elections. Despite this fact, Warren’s departure from the race has occasioned a wave of keening and wailing which draws back the curtain on the highly irrational our liberal thought leaders perform.How irrational has the keening and wailing been? We plan to explore that question during the bulk of the week.For today, consider what happened when Warren was interviewed by Rachel Maddow. Warren did the full hour last Thursday night. At one point, Maddow made this strange presentation:MADDOW (3/5/20): I would like to ask you about the elephant in the room, which is a conversation you’ve had a number of different ways, and you talked about it eloquently today, and I thought in pretty blunt terms today.I think that a lot of women around the country right now feel differently about you dropping out. Whether or not they were supporting you specifically for president, you leaving the race feels different.If Hillary Clinton can’t win when she gets the nomination, and then you can’t get the nomination, and neither can Kamala Harris and neither can Amy Klobuchar and neither can Kirsten Gillibrand, I mean, I think part of what’s going on today is that women around the country are like, “OK, honestly, you know? If it’s not, if it’s not going to be any of them, let’s get real.”Is it just, is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that’s all we can agree to do?I think there’s a feeling that your campaign ending is very specific to you and it also feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes. To watch this presentation, click here.Maddow’s presentation makes little apparent sense. And Maddow was sold to us, by the network, as Our Own Rhodes Scholar!In her presentation, Maddow is looking back on a nomination race in which six women and something like three million men took part. Judged by traditional standards, only four of the women were fundamentally qualified—the four women Maddow named. (How many of the men? Ignoring issues of age, we’d say more than a dozen.)Four women battled six million men. When it turns out that the last two candidates standing are men, Maddow makes a bizarre suggestion. She suggests this means that “it can’t be any woman ever!” She suggests this means that the two parties are just going to run “two white men…against each other” until the end of time. This is a very strange thing to say, especially if you consider the history of recent presidential elections.In fact, the two parties haven’t run “two white men…against each other” since Campaign 2004 (Bush v. Kerry). The last three White House campaign have demographed like this:Demographics of last four White House elections2004: White man versus white man2008: Black man versus white man2012: Black man versus white man2016: White man versus white woman If this campaign continues as now seems inevitable, it will be the first time in sixteen years that we’ve had “two white men…against each other.” Yet there was Maddow, suggesting this somehow means that no one but white men will ever be nominated again.(For the record, Candidate Trump won’t be “in his late 70s.” When our sachems start keening and wailing, they tend to embellish at will.)Why in the world would Rachel Maddow make such a strange presentation? Does she actually think what she and others seem to think:Does she actually think that if four women run, and none of them wins, this means the whole thing has somehow been rigged, with women denied their rights as part of some ongoing scam?Surely, Maddow can’t think that. And yet, this is the attitude which has poured forth from many of our tribal tribunes, driven along by the apparent belief that Warren was the greatest candidate who ever appeared on a stage.In fact, Warren was an awful candidate, in a wide array of ways. Or at least, so it seems to us, for reasons we’ll explain later in the week.It doesn’t seem to occur to our tribal tribunes that, just because Warren appealed to them, she wasn’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone else. That is the essence of solipsism, an attribute our hapless leaders have long possessed in spades.In what ways was Warren an awful candidate? Let’s set that aside for later. For today, let’s focus on the oddness of Maddow’s presentation.Maddow’s lament made little sense, but neither did Warren’s reaction. Here’s the way that went:MADDOW: Is it just, is it just that it can’t be any woman ever? Are we just going to run, you know, white men in their late 70s against each other, both parties, and that’s all we can agree to do?I think there’s a feeling that your campaign ending is very specific to you and it also feels a little bit like a death knell in terms of the prospects of having a woman for president in our lifetimes. WARREN: Oh God, please no. That can’t be right.MADDOW: You know what I’m talking about. WARREN: I know exactly what you’re talking about. I know exactly what you’re talking about. This cannot be the right answer.Warren was worried too.Like a virus, a pleasingly self-pitying dogma can spread all through a community. On the leadership level, our liberal tribe is utterly hapless. We’re in the hands of the infirm, infected and lame.That said, as people like Maddow start spreading this virus; as a sense of hopelessness infects our tribe; the keening and wailing of these professional victims points the way to a possible future:In this highly possible future, we will “have a woman for president in our lifetimes.” That woman’s name will be President Mikki Haley, and tribunes like Maddow will be selling us new sets of dogma when that day arrives.Viruses kill, but so does cant. Our leadership is hopelessly daft. We liberals need to grasp this fact, but there’s little chance that we will.Tomorrow: BREAKING NEWS! Most candidates don’t win!

  • BREAKING: Did Candidate Warren ever believe that?
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 7, 2020 at 18:15

    SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2020A look at the dogma rules: Judged by traditional, fairly sensible standards, we Democrats had a god-awful list of candidates to choose from this year.Let’s restrict ourselves to the less-than-Magnificent Seven who survived into, and even beyond, South Carolina. The rundown looks like this:Way too old: By traditional, fairly sensible standards, two of the candidates were much too old. One of the two seems to be losing cognitive power. The other one had a recent heart attack and won’t release his medical records.Way too young: One of the candidates was much too young, and was quite inexperienced. Way too wealthy: Two of the candidates were billionaires who were on the debate stage for no other reason. They had bought their way onto the stage. One of them had been a Republican for the past three hundred years. (He too was way too old.)Lacking in charisma: One of the Candidates, Candidate Klobuchar, wasn’t way too old or way too young. She also seemed to be thoroughly sane, and she serves in the Senate. News flash! “White men” who fit the Klobuchar profile never get nominated either! As an example of what we mean, consider these candidates from this very campaign:They too failed to emerge:Jay Inslee, governor of WashingtonSteve Bullock, governor of MontanaMichael Bennet, senator from ColoradoJohn Hickenlooper, former governor of ColoradoThose candidates didn’t get as far as Klobuchar did. They weren’t sufficiently well-known, and they lacked break-out charisma.(What does break-out charisma look like? The stunningly talented AOC had it when she was just 28. So did Barack Obama.)As you may have noticed, we’ve skipped one of the less-than-Magnificent Seven—Candidate Warren. In the past few days, the lamentations about her demise have been straight outta scenes from The Iliad in which wailing women watch sacred Hector die at Achilles’ murderous hand in the plains outside Troy.On the “intellectual leadership” level, has a political tribe ever been as scripted and dumb as our liberal team currently is? By any normal standard, Candidate Warren was a god-awful candidate too. Today, we’ll mention just one of the ways in which she was a nightmare waiting to happen.Below, you see part of what Annie Linksey wrote in a front-page report in the Washington Post last December. Our request:Try to step outside our existing tribal bubbles to see what this seems to mean:LINSKEY (12/20/19): Warren identified herself professionally as a Native American at various points in her life. In April 1986, she listed her race as “American Indian” on her registration card for the State Bar of Texas, according to a copy of that document obtained by The Washington Post. She also listed herself as a minority from 1986 to 1994 in the Association of American Law Schools directory.While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Warren had her race changed to Native American from white, university records show. Later, she requested that Harvard Law School list her as Native American after she was hired in 1995, according to the Boston Globe, which reviewed her personnel records.Warren has said that she didn’t receive preferential hiring treatment because of her Native American claims, and an investigation by the Boston Globe confirmed that she was never viewed as a minority when hired at various law schools, despite being counted as a minority in diversity reports filed to the federal government by Penn and Harvard law schools as recently as 2004.Her past claims have given Republicans openings to attack her character and honesty. To draw attention to the controversy, President Trump frequently refers to Warren as “Pocahontas,” which Warren and others say is a slur. As Linskey notes, our tribe has (dumbly) waved this topic away, repeatedly saying that President Trump is sunk in “racist slurs.” Before we consider the nature of those “slurs,” let’s try to consider the contents of Linskey’s summary.Here’s what Linskey reported:At least from 1986 through 1995, Candidate Warren repeatedly identified herself as an “American Indian,” and/or as a “minority.” She actively said that she wasn’t “white,” causing official records to be changedShe was still being listed as a “minority” through 2004. Is there any conceivable way she really believed such a thing?Did Warren really believe that? Just this once, let’s try to understand this peculiar history:Warren didn’t say that she had some degree of “Native American ancestry.” She wasn’t saying that, somewhere back on the family tree, there was one Native American.That isn’t what she kept saying. She kept saying that no, she wasn’t “white”—she was actually “Native American,” and therefore a “minority.” We’ll ask our question again: Is there any conceivable way she ever could have believed that?A second question follows. Are we really unable to understand the way this history looks? Our tribe’s “thought leaders” have persistently ducked these questions by shifting our focus to Trump. But are we really unable to see the way Warren’s past conduct appears?Our tribe has found a hundred ways to avoid asking these questions. As Linskey noted, we’ve often said that Warren “didn’t receive preferential hiring treatment because of her Native American claims.”That may or may not be true. But this dodge avoids an obvious fact:Unless we’re blinded by tribal dogma, it looks like Warren was trying to achieve a hiring advantage! Inevitably, it looks like she was trying to achieve an advantage by advancing these puzzling claims.Would Trump have returned to his derisive “Pocahontas” taunts had Warren been nominated? We have no way of knowing.That said, the appearance here is blindingly obvious. But because we’re hopelessly sunk in tribal narratives and dogmas, our team has avoided this topic all through the primary campaign—with Trump likely waiting to pounce.So how about it, team members? Do you believe that Elizabeth Warren ever thought she was Native American, not white? Can you find a plausible way to believe that she really believed that?She wasn’t white—she was Native American! Do you think she really believed that?We’ll leave the question of those “slurs” for another day. So too with the ridiculous way this reputedly brilliant candidate took that DNA test, then obscured the original question in the way she explained its results.How dumb did this candidate have to be to stage that second-order charade? And yet, our “thoughts leaders” insist on trying to make us believe that she was The Smartest And Most brilliant By Far.The outpouring of dogma is the past few days has been a deeply instructive sign of the times. Expert anthropologists explain the matter as follows:When tribes lose confidence in their primacy, they tend to cling, even more strongly, to their narratives and their dogmas. So it has gone as our stunningly scripted “thought leaders” have tried to tell us that Candidate Warren was the brightest by far, and that her loss can only be explained by 1) sexism, and 2) the dumbness of the public.We’ll have more on this highly instructive outpouring in the week ahead. That said, riddle us this:Did this seventh god-awful candidate ever believe she was Native American (not white)? Riddle the truth to us just this once:Does that really make any sense?

  • BREAKING: Clyburn endorsement v. Warren statement!
    by <b>bob somerby</b> on March 6, 2020 at 19:51

    FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2020As the liberal tribe burns: We’re not sure we’ve ever seen anything quite as dumb as the Candidate Warren post-mortems which are now being mass produced all across the press. At this point, the alleged “thought leaders” of our tribe are just completely helpless.Starting tomorrow, we plan to compare James Clyburn’s endorsement of Candidate Biden to the endless, heavily scripted excuse-making in the wake of Candidate Warren’s withdrawal. I really don’t think I’ve ever seen the liberal tribe seem so completely clueless.I’ll offer just one point today. It concerns Warren’s recent statement, which is now being treated like it’s on a par with E = mc2:Gender in this race—you know, that is the trap question for every woman. If you say, Yeah, there was sexism in this race, everyone says, “Whiner.” And if you say, There was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, “What planet do you live on?”Forgive us, but if those are the only two answers to that question a politician can come up with, that person should never have run for the White House in the first place. Is there any expectation of basic competence within our tribe at this point?Has our team ever been this scripted, this sorry, this dumb? We’re not sure it ever has been. Given the way partisan “news” now works, there’s a very good chance things will only get worse.

  • MoveOn Kicks Off $20 Million Effort to Win Progressive Governing Majority in Nov. Elections
    by Nick Berning on February 7, 2020 at 16:04

    MoveOn Political Action today announced the launch of its “America for All” 2020 election program to mobilize millions of members to defeat Donald Trump, end Republican control of the Senate, and help Democrats hold the majority in the House of Representatives. The post MoveOn Kicks Off $20 Million Effort to Win Progressive Governing Majority in Nov. Elections appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn asked progressives around the country what they think about the 2020 election as part of a fundraising appeal. Here’s what they said.
    by Oscar De los Santos on January 10, 2020 at 15:43

    Progressives around the country strongly urge the 2020 candidates to take bold and fearless stances on several policy issues from immigration to a Green New Deal to Medicare for All. The results are in!  In recent weeks, MoveOn sent a 2020 National Presidential Survey to tens of thousands of MoveOn members and other progressives around The post MoveOn asked progressives around the country what they think about the 2020 election as part of a fundraising appeal. Here’s what they said. appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn members in 2019: Putting our people power to work
    by Peyton Forte on December 31, 2019 at 19:41

    MoveOn members began 2019 with new hope for our future as a new Congress was sworn in—the most diverse House of Representatives in history, with many progressive champions MoveOn members played pivotal roles in electing. And we ended the year with the impeachment of Donald Trump—a critical achievement to help check his administration’s rampant abuses of power, even as his lawlessness and attacks on so many communities continue. The post MoveOn members in 2019: Putting our people power to work appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Our New Petition Platform
    by Tillie McInnis on December 4, 2019 at 00:00

    We are upgrading our petition system! Please take a look at the FAQs below: The new system: Will the petition site be down during the upgrade? Yes. Certain MoveOn petition pages will be down beginning Monday, December 9 while we complete the upgrade. This means you won’t be able to sign or share petitions or The post Frequently Asked Questions: Our New Petition Platform appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn Criticizes Sen. Coons’ Reckless Comments on Iran
    by Brian Stewart on September 16, 2019 at 20:57

    After Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) appeared on Fox and Friends this morning and said military action may be called for against Iran, MoveOn had the following statement. Statement of MoveOn campaigns director Justin Krebs: “Senator Coons going on Fox and giving ammunition to Trump administration war hawks who are trying to push the U.S. into The post MoveOn Criticizes Sen. Coons’ Reckless Comments on Iran appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Fox guest on possible troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: “The solution is more blood, sweat, and tears” 
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 16:02

    JOHN HANNAH (FORMER VP CHENEY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER): The president, you know, is signaling that he wants done with this. There may be some kind of remnant of counter-terror mission here, but I think the danger is that once we withdraw our support for the Afghan government on the basis of a very phony promise from the Taliban that they are not going to try and reestablish their jihadist tyranny — and in very much in cooperation still with Al Qaeda, that once that Afghan government is brought down, Taliban, Al Qaeda come back. It’s going to be infinitely hard for the United States to conduct an effective counter-terrorism mission without an Afghan government there.  BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR): I apologize for the interruption there. Do you have a better solution then, John?  HANNAH: No, I mean, listen, the solution is more blood, sweat, and tears. I think the mission in Afghanistan, as frustrating and as long as it’s been, Bill, with those several thousand troops there supporting an Afghan government — we’re not in the front lines doing the fighting — I still think it’s a sustainable mission if you believe that things can actually get much, much worse. But it needs a president who actually believes that avoiding a Taliban/Al Qaeda resurgence in the place that spawned 9/11 is important enough to continue this kind of sacrifice. Previously: Fox & Friends guest says a war against Iran would be “pretty quick and easy” The Trump-Fox feedback loop could cause a war with Iran Tomi Lahren: “If the plan were to send a huge surge of land and war power to wipe out Iran and turn it into glass … that might actually solve the problem.”

  • Fox host defends Trump: “Just because you use harsh language doesn’t mean your intent is to denigrate another race”
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 15:48

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Are you a racist if you criticize an African-American politician? The left says, oh, yes you are. The charge, Trump is a racist, is now an established theme in the Democrats’ 2020 campaign. I object. Just because you use harsh language doesn’t mean your intent is to denigrate another race. Throwing that word around, racist, shuts down the debate. You can’t solve problems if you can’t speak freely. The word racist is applied to just about anybody. It no longer has bite. Baltimore has brought the racist charge to a boil. In a series of tweets, the president has criticized Congressman Elijah Cummings. He is a Democrat who has represent a major — majority Black district for over 20 years. The president described Cummings’ district as quote, “A disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess where no human being would want to live.” Oh, that caused outrage. The media jumped on it, and from there on out, branded the president a racist and a bigot. Again, I object. The president was describing reality. Bernie Sanders has said exactly the same thing, but he wasn’t called a racist. Oh, no, he’s a socialist. Now we find that Congressman Cummings himself had used similar language. He said Baltimore was quote, “drug-infested, and the residents walked around like zombies.” He was saying same thing as the president. Nobody criticized him for telling it the way it is, but Trump is a racist. This smearing, this name calling is a deliberate political tactic, and I think it’s going to fail. The weak performance of Democrats running big cities can no longer be covered up. This president, unlike any other president, is prepared to call it how he sees it, and damn the consequences. The president wants the votes of African-Americans. He’s courting them. Instead of pandering with offers of money, he is asking what happened to the billions already spent? Baltimore got 1.8 billion just from the stimulus package. What happened to it? Where did the money go? The Democrats have opened Pandora’s Box without realizing it. They thought that calling him a racist would silence him. Wrong. They’ve given him a campaign theme. And that theme is, the Democrats failing their own supporters. Previously: Fox host defends Trump’s racist tweets: He was just saying Democrats and liberal policies have destroyed Baltimore  Fox’s Brian Kilmeade on Baltimore: “I don’t think anyone passed statewide tests in some of these inner-city schools” Fox host makes bizarre defense of Trump’s racism: Trump “probably never watched The Wire ”

  • Fox News is talking more about abortion than the Democratic debates did
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 15:21

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters During the four nights of the two Democratic presidential primary debates in June and July, Fox News outpaced CNN and MSNBC in the amount of time it gave to abortion coverage even though the network didn’t host either debate. CNN moderators failed to ask a single question about abortion during the second primary debate this week. And even though MSNBC moderators asked the candidates questions about the topic during the network’s debate in June, Fox News spent more time discussing the issue than CNN, MSNBC, or the candidates themselves did. Right-wing media have been regularly dominating the conversation about abortion ahead of the 2020 elections, filling a void of abortion-related coverage by spreading misinformation and stigma about it. Fox News has been a frequent promoter of anti-abortion misinformation — including the allegation that Democratic support for abortion access is “extreme.” Given this emphasis, as well as the decreasing accessibility of abortion care across the United States, it is essential that moderators ask candidates specific and nuanced questions about abortion during the debates. This trend of right-wing media dominating abortion coverage continued during three of the four nights of the Democratic debates. Media Matters monitored both debates and live pre-debate and post-debate coverage on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News and found that Fox News discussed the topic for almost 26 minutes total. In comparison, the topic was discussed on MSNBC for 11 and a half minutes and on CNN for about six minutes; this count includes the time when abortion was discussed on the debate stage as well as during pre-debate and post-debate coverage. CNN’s moderators failed to ask the candidates any questions about abortion during the network’s two nights of debates. The only time abortion was discussed during CNN’s July 31 debate night was when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked former Vice President Joe Biden about his different positions on the Hyde Amendment. Notably, even when discussing the Hyde Amendment (which prohibits federal funds from supporting abortion care except in cases of rape or incest), neither Harris nor Biden used the word “abortion.” The topic was also essentially absent from the July 30 debate. Even though abortion was discussed during both nights of the MSNBC debate in June as moderators questioned candidates about it, Fox News still discussed the topic more each night than the debate participants and commentators on MSNBC or CNN did. During the first night of the June debate, Fox News discussed abortion for about nine minutes and 19 seconds between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. In contrast, debate participants and commentators on MSNBC discussed the topic for only about four minutes and 15 seconds, and CNN commentators discussed abortion for only two minutes. This disparity was even greater during the second night of the MSNBC debate. During the same time period of 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fox discussed abortion for 15 minutes and 48 seconds, while debate participants and MSNBC commentators discussed the topic for four minutes and 44 seconds. Commentators on CNN discussed abortion for less than two minutes. Though there are many important topics that moderators should be raising during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates, Democratic voters are clear that they want to hear candidates discuss abortion. If moderators continue to prioritize optics, vacuous political theater, and right-wing talking points over substantive questions, right-wing media will continue dominating the discussion and will keep spreading anti-choice misinformation unabated on their own platforms. Methodology Media Matters searched the SnapStream video database for mentions of the following keywords: “abortion,” “Roe,” “reproductive rights,” “right to choose,” “pro-life,” “pro-choice,” “anti-choice,” “pro-abortion,” “decisions about her body,” “infanticide,” or “Hyde.” We searched on Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC between 8 p.m and 1 a.m. for the June debates and between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. for the July debates due to the earlier start time. We timed segments, which we defined as instances in which a speaker in the debate or on a network discussed abortion or a related topic. Segments included host monologues, news reports or packages, interviews, and guest panels. We did not include teasers for upcoming segments or rebroadcasts.

  • Fox & Friends touts Trump’s “connections to Ohio” without noting they involve housing discrimination
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 15:21

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): The president of the United States was in Cincinnati last night. You saw the rally right here on Fox News Channel. There were 17,500 people there at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The president has connections to Ohio, he’s talked about it in the past. Fifty years ago his father actually owned the Swifton Village housing complex in the Bond Hill area. So he’s got a connection, not only through his family, but also, he won Ohio last time. He needs to win Ohio again this time.   … AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): He’s familiar with Skyline Chili and Graeter’s ice cream because he said to that entire audience, he said, “I worked for my dad in the Swifton Village.” He said, “Does anyone know where the Swifton Village is?” And some people, you know, clapped and got excited about it. It’s always nice when someone famous comes into your town and they can relate to the people, and that’s what he does there. 

  • The only Black Republican in the House announced he will not seek reelection. Fox News covered it for 20 seconds.
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 14:32

    Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) announced on August 1 that he is not seeking reelection in 2020. I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security. — Rep. Will Hurd (@HurdOnTheHill) August 2, 2019 Politico described the importance of Hurd’s retirement: If you are a House Republican, this has been an absolutely gutting few weeks. And, truly, if someone is trying to spin you on how the political picture is not that bad for the House GOP right now — at this moment — you ought to discount them as a political professional or analyst. Because it’s really, really bad, deflating and discouraging. On Thursday night, Texas Rep. Will Hurd — the only black Republican in the House — announced he would not run for reelection. He beat Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2018 in a large district that runs the stretch of the Texas-Mexico border — and she is running again. Republicans like to say this is an R+1 — fine, perhaps — but it’s an R+1 that Hillary Clinton won by 3 points, so it’s not much of an R+1. Others agreed. But while much of the political world is talking about the retirement announcement, Fox News is not as interested. Hurd was not mentioning at all during Thursday’s evening programming or Fox & Friends on Friday, and he has received only 20 seconds of coverage so far during Friday’s America’s Newsroom: Both CNN and MSNBC covered Hurd’s announcement on Thursday and Friday. Fox News has spent plenty of time touting President Donald Trump’s alleged support in the Black community despite polls showing widespread disapproval of the president. Hurd spoke about his decision not to run again with The Washington Post, calling out Trump’s racism: In an interview Thursday with The Post, Hurd criticized Trump’s racist tweets last month in which the president said four Democratic minority congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the women are from the United States; a fourth, Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), is a Somali refu­gee who became a U.S. citizen as a teenager. “When you imply that because someone doesn’t look like you, in telling them to go back to Africa or wherever, you’re implying that they’re not an American and you’re implying that they have less worth than you,” Hurd said. Hurd recently told Meet The Press, “I shouldn’t be the only African-American Republican in the House of Representatives.”

  • Fox’s Newt Gingrich complains about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: “I don’t remember us electing an angry president literally in my lifetime”
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 14:31

    BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR): Go ahead and frame the argument that the president is making there from last night, sir. NEWT GINGRICH (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Look, I think Kim Strassel did a great job with the column where she said the choice is between the left and the crazy left, and the crazy left is winning. I watched the first night. It was amazing the level of anger that you got out of Bernie Sanders and Senator [Elizabeth] Warren. I mean, these are really angry people, and it was kind of amazing to watch them. It’s the opposite of how people normally win the presidency. You go back and you watch Barack Obama with a big smile. You watch Ronald Reagan with a big smile. I don’t remember us electing an angry president literally in my lifetime. And yet you have these people who were almost in a rage. You also had the fact that they’re all drifting towards cloud cuckoo land. I mean, when you have a number of moderate Democrats on the stage — and they’ll all be gone soon because they’re not getting enough support to survive. But they’re on the stage and they’re saying — one of them said if we go down this road of taking away everybody’s health insurance we’ll be lucky to carry two states. Now that was a Democrat in the debate warning his follow Democrats that they could be throwing away the presidency. And I think we have to take that seriously. And of course, the president is watching all this and he’s exactly right, and he wants to stoke the fire a little bit about Obama. What’s turned out is that President Obama is no longer radical enough for the left wing of the Democratic Party. So you’re going to end up with Biden defending Obama while the rest of the party attacks him. The truth is, on things like deportation, President Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in American history. In terms of the Affordable Care Act, which was not affordable, but it didn’t cover everybody that left-wingers want to cover. And so you can go down a list and you realize there’s a real fault line in the Democratic Party, and we’re watching it play out in these debates.  Previously:  After Democratic debate, Fox’s Newt Gingrich calls Democrats “an anti-American party” Fox’s Jason Chaffetz on Democratic debates: “They were doing everything they could to take away your freedoms” Fox & Friends complains that “the thing that was lacking” in Democratic debates over immigration “was the word illegal”

  • Fox’s Stuart Varney: Electing a Democrat as president will lead to an economic contraction
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 12:52

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): The president was touting the economy last night. STUART VARNEY (FOX BUSINESS HOST): No wonder the Democrats failed to mention the strong economy in their two debates this week, because they don’t have a growth plan, and obviously, President Trump does. The Democrats seem to me to have a contraction plan. No fossil fuels, no private health insurance. That’s a contraction of the economy, rather than the expansion that President Trump’s got. … EARHARDT: Stuart, you mentioned jobs reports, they’re coming out this morning. What can we expect? VARNEY: I think you’ll see the unemployment rate stay around 3.7%. EARHARDT: It’s amazing. VARNEY: Do you realize how low that is? I mean, I have lived in America for 40 odd years, I haven’t seen 3.7% before. Maybe [3.6%] under Trump, I don’t know, but that’s near historic level. EARHARDT: The president said 7 million Americans are off food stamps. Think about that. That’s wonderful. VARNEY: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. And what is it, 125,000 extra employed people in the state of Ohio? STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And the job number today is expected to be about 164,000 new jobs. VARNEY: About that. That’s still pretty strong. It might be stronger than that. But here’s something that was buried by the media. DOOCY: Shocking. VARNEY: Right. In the first two years of the Trump presidency, wages and salaries increased 42% more than in the last two years of the Obama administration. EARHARDT: That’s great. VARNEY: Forty-two percent more. EARHARDT: So people can ask themselves are you better off today? VARNEY: How about that? Yes. EARHARDT: Are you better off today and the answer for most people is yes. VARNEY: Well, it shows you — it’s the Trump presidency which turned the economy around. Don’t give me this, that Obama started the recovery. Well, maybe the recovery started in the Obama years, but the expansion, that started with President Donald J. Trump. Previously: Fox Business host Stuart Varney says repealing Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and corporations “would ruin the economy” After first Democratic debate, Fox’s Stuart Varney lashes out at candidates for promising to tax the wealthy: “They attacked the rich”  Fox Business host blames stock market decline on House Speaker Pelosi’s press conference

  • New Bureau of Land Management head complained that federal employees aren’t held “personally responsible for the harm that they do”
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 12:43

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters William Perry Pendley, the new head of the Bureau of Land Management, complained in a 2018 interview that employees like the ones he now manages aren’t held “personally liable” or “personally responsible for the harm that they do” regarding federal land management. He also said that one thing that would prevent such problems in the future “is the federal government owning less land.”   President Donald Trump’s administration this week appointed Pendley, a right-wing lawyer and commentator, as the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management after he worked at the agency for just a few weeks. Media Matters documented that he has argued that climate science isn’t real, claimed that environmentalists want to “destroy” civilization, and once asked, “How many have died and how many more will die because of diversity and race-based decision making?” Conservation and environmental groups have heavily criticized Pendley’s hiring. Kayje Booker, the policy and advocacy director at Montana Wilderness Association, said: “It’s hard to imagine anyone in this position more dangerous or more conflicted than William Perry Pendley.”  Members of the Blackfeet Nation have also criticized the appointment. As The Washington Post summarized, Pendley is “still the counsel of record representing an aging businessman, Sidney Longwell and his small company Solenex. Solenex leased 6,247 acres in northwest Montana in 1982 during the Reagan administration for about $1 an acre. Longwell wants permission to build a six-mile service road and bridge over the Two Medicine River on lands considered sacred by the Blackfeet tribe. Interior wants to cancel the lease. He would use the road to bring in drilling rigs and other oil exploration equipment.”  Pendley takes over an agency that’s responsible for managing public lands even though he once wrote a 2016 National Review opinion piece which argued that the federal government should sell its public lands. In response to concerns about Pendley’s views, an Interior Department spokesperson claimed: “This administration has been clear that we are not interested in transferring public lands.”  However, Pendley also said in a previously unreported television interview that one of the ways to solve alleged problems with land management is for the government to own “less land.” He also criticized his future employees, saying they’re not held “personally liable” or “responsible for the harm that they do.”   Pendley appeared on the January 26, 2018, edition of the Colorado-based libertarian show Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara and talked about his cases against the federal government and the Bureau of Land Management. During the show, he said that “the federal government is the world’s worst neighbor. It absolutely is the worst neighbor.”    Later during the program, Pendley said that unlike private individuals, the federal government can dodge responsibility for their problems, alleging: “These agencies, these employees, they’re not personally liable, they’re not personally responsible for the harm that they do. They’re going to move down the hall, they’re going to move across the country.”  Pendley was then asked how to prevent such alleged problems with the federal government. He responded: “One of the things that prevents it is the federal government owning less land. We recognize the federal government, the United States government owns a third of the country, including especially here in the West.” 

  • Sean Hannity says one of his main criticisms of Republicans is that they aren’t more like Rush Limbaugh
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 02:35

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST):  I actually see similarities between you and Trump. Let me tell you what two of them are. Number one, you’ve got to be able to take a punch. You paved the way for a lot of us that are conservatives in the media. You’ve taken more than your fair share. And then, you’ve got to fight for what you believe.  My biggest criticism of Republicans is they are weak, a lot of them, and timid and afraid to do what you do every day. To do what Trump is doing. You’re right, showing them the way. Just fight for what you say you were going fight for.  … RUSH LIMBAUGH: This fear of the media, this fear of being called a racist, everyone needs to get over that now because all of us are racists. Everybody’s racist, they can’t talk about anybody now without labeling them racist. Previously:  Rush Limbaugh has ramped up his Fox News appearances in 2019 On Fox News, Rush Limbaugh says that “climate change is what allows them to poison the minds of young kids” On Fox, Rush Limbaugh complains about efforts to address the climate crisis: “There is no man-made climate change”

  • On Fox, Rush Limbaugh complains about efforts to address the climate crisis: “There is no man-made climate change”
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 02:13

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Three words I want to throw at you — Green New Deal. RUSH LIMBAUGH: Well, it’s — it is a trick, the Green New Deal. Even Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, her chief of staff, sackrat — sakreet — sakrot — whatever, Chakrabarti, admitted that it’s not even about the climate. It’s not even about the weather. It’s an economic plan, and it is. It’s designed to get massive federal power, grow the federal government, under the pretense that average Americans cannot be left to live their lives without ruining things, especially for the Democrat Party. It’s unaffordable, it will never happen, and the premise behind it is bogus. There is no man-made climate change. There is nothing we can do to stop whatever the weather is going to do. We can’t make it warmer, we can’t make it colder. We can’t change hurricanes’ directions, we can’t dissipate them. We can’t create them. And yet, they are campaigning and trying to convince people. I mean, look at millennials. It’s really sad, there’s a lot of young people that really think this planet is not going to be habitable by the time they hit 65. These people are ruining people’s lives, they’re ruining their futures all in the pursuit of power for themselves. It’s disgusting on one level to me, and I think that they need to be called out and I think they need — this stuff needs to be said point blank to them, because the media it is not — the media’s their best buddies, the media is their support group, and so forth. It’s a big battle. I’m just — I’m just optimistic, I’m confident that these people can be beat back. Previously: In Hannity segment attacking Green New Deal, climate denier Joe Bastardi says “people are ungrateful” for fossil fuels Hannity invites climate denier Joe Bastardi on his show to deny link between climate change and extreme weather — again Rush Limbaugh on Hurricane Florence: “The forecast and the destruction potential doom and gloom is all to heighten the belief in climate change”

  • On Fox News, Rush Limbaugh says that “climate change is what allows them to poison the minds of young kids”
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 01:51

    RUSH LIMBAUGH: Climate change is what allows them to poison the minds of young kids. To blame people for causing a problem and then offer them redemption, make them feel like they have meaning in their lives by saving the planet. Previously: Rush Limbaugh has dramatically ramped up his Fox News appearances in 2019 Less than 10% of questions were about climate change at CNN’s two-night debate in Detroit Rush Limbaugh shares fake story that sharks are flying around in Hurricane Florence

  • Lou Dobbs says Donald Trump can’t be racist because Mexico is helping the United States
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 01:02

    LOU DOBBS (HOST): This fellow can’t be too much of a quote-unquote “racist,” in point of fact embracing Mexico, its president, its government, because of all of the help they are providing America, acknowledging it, and doing so warmly. Previously: Lou Dobbs laughs at Fox’s effort to restrain anti-Semitism on his show Lou Dobbs guest: “We’ve seen this in Europe, we’re seeing it here, and they are attempting to replace us” Lou Dobbs Says People Should Credit Obama’s Race For His Election Lou Dobbs attacks the media for reporting on DeSantis’ racist comments Lou Dobbs asks if it’s “time for the Trump administration to outright defy the activist” Supreme Court over census ruling

  • Tucker Carlson: Cory Booker was “trying to sound like a Nation of Islam recruiter” 
    by Media Matters for America on August 2, 2019 at 00:27

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Cory Booker meanwhile is in the process of transitioning to a brand-new identity, he spent most of the evening trying to sound like a Nation of Islam recruiter rather than the deeply privileged son of two IBM executives which is what he is. Previously:  Tucker Carlson’s descent into white supremacy: A timeline Tucker Carlson touts hardline approach of far-right ethnonationalists to immigration  Tucker Carlson and guest mock the term “person of color,” call it a racist term because “everyone has a color”

  • Amid unprecedented attacks on reproductive rights, CNN debate moderators completely ignore abortion
    by Media Matters for America on August 1, 2019 at 23:28

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters During the July 30 and 31 presidential debates, CNN moderators Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Don Lemon failed to ask 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls a single question about abortion. Nationally, as state legislatures continue to push an increasing number of abortion restrictions — and with right-wing media already amplifying anti-abortion misinformation ahead of the 2020 elections — the primary debates are a crucial opportunity for moderators to ask precise, nuanced questions about how presidential candiates would protect abortion access. CNN’s failure to ask about abortion was out of step with what Democratic voters wanted to hear about during the debates and was a missed opportunity to break right-wing media’s dominance of abortion-related conversations on cable news. Abortion rights garnered hardly any recognition from moderators or candidates alike during the July 30 Democratic primary debate. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock briefly referred to himself as “pro-choice” in his opening statement. The only substantive conversation about abortion happened during the July 31 debate. On stage, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) confronted former Vice President Joe Biden over his past support of the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that forbids the allocation of federal funds for abortion care except in limited cases. This amendment disproportionately affects people of color and those of lower socioeconomic status who might depend on federal support to access health care. Although this short exchange was the only discussion of abortion during both nights of the CNN moderated debates, neither candidate said the word “abortion.” In fact, five hours of political discourse yielded a mere two minutes of abortion conversation without anyone — the 20 candidates or three moderators — saying the word “abortion.” This is not the first time CNN moderators have excluded discussion of abortion during presidential debates. After a 2016 Democratic primary debate, critics called out the network for not asking any questions about abortion despite coming days after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case concerning anti-abortion restrictions in Texas. After this week’s debates, abortion rights groups were confounded again by the lack of action Given the already precarious state of abortion access, debate moderators need to ask candidates specific and nuanced questions on abortion — otherwise right-wing media and anti-choice outlets will continue to dominate the conversation with harmful misinformation.

  • Fox hosts shout down colleague Juan Williams when he notes that Trump’s racism is a fact
    by Media Matters for America on August 1, 2019 at 22:20

    JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): Let me tell you, it’s a fact, it’s a fact, it is a fact. GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): No, Juan, it’s an opinion, it’s an opinion. … That’s called an opinion Juan, it’s not a fact. I could keep saying it, he won’t listen. Previously: Fox & Friends guest attacks news outlets noting Trump’s racism: It is “an opinion, not a fact” Tomi Lahren previously pushed the same sexist smear about Kamala Harris on Fox Nation

  • MoveOn members demand Congress Close the Camps
    by Heather Kachel on July 3, 2019 at 18:38

    Every day immigrants are suffering from intentional inhumane conditions created by the Trump administration. News continues to pour out that the Trump administration’s escalation of brutal attacks against immigrants and refugees has reached new, even more horrific lows, with children being held in unspeakable conditions in concentration camps at the border. Just yesterday, more images and stories The post MoveOn members demand Congress Close the Camps appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Seven actions you can take right now to help close immigrant detention centers.
    by Tillie McInnis on June 28, 2019 at 20:37

    In the last eight months, six migrant children are known to have died after being taken into U.S. immigration custody.  This tragic tally includes 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vásquez, 2 ½-year-old Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez, 16-year-old Juan de León Gutiérrez, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, and 10-year-old Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle. And a 18-month-old The post Seven actions you can take right now to help close immigrant detention centers. appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Elizabeth Warren in First Place, Bernie Sanders In Second In MoveOn’s Latest Member Straw Poll

    by Brian Stewart on June 25, 2019 at 10:00

    Members say they want a candidate who ‘inspires the public with deep progressive values’ and ‘makes the connections between racial, social, and economic injustice.’ WASHINGTON, DC — Sen. Elizabeth Warren leads a new MoveOn straw poll with the support of 38% of members nationwide, followed by Bernie Sanders with 17%. Warren is also in first The post Elizabeth Warren in First Place, Bernie Sanders In Second In MoveOn’s Latest Member Straw Poll
 appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn 2020 Straw Poll Results, June 2019
    by Brian Stewart on June 25, 2019 at 10:00

    Nationwide First Choice Second Choice Elizabeth Warren 37.8% Bernie Sanders 16.5% Joe Biden 14.9% Pete Buttigieg 11.7% Kamala Harris 6.8% Undecided 2.2% Beto O’Rourke 1.8% Andrew Yang 1.1% Jay Inslee 1.1% Cory Booker 1.0% Amy Klobuchar 1.0% Tulsi Gabbard 0.8% Marianne Williamson 0.8% Someone Else 0.4% Michael Bennett 0.3% Julián Castro 0.3% John Hickenlooper 0.3% The post MoveOn 2020 Straw Poll Results, June 2019 appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Clinton’s Lost Votes
    by Ron Chusid on May 30, 2019 at 17:57

    Establishment Democrats love to blame third party voters for Clinton losing, but The New York Times recently had data… Posted by Ron Chusid on Monday, May 20, 2019 Establishment Democrats love to blame third party voters for Clinton losing, but The New York Times recently had data disputing this. They looked at people who voted for

  • What Mueller Did Not Say Today
    by Ron Chusid on May 29, 2019 at 15:55

    What Mueller did not say today:1) When he said Russia interfered in the election, he left out the important… Posted by Ron Chusid on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 What Mueller did not say today: 1) When he said Russia interfered in the election, he left out the important perspective that interference in foreign elections is common

  • Rahna Epting Will Be MoveOn’s Next Leader
    by Nick Berning on May 29, 2019 at 14:06

    MoveOn announced today that after an intensive multi-month search process, its boards have selected Rahna Epting to serve as the next executive director of MoveOn Political Action and MoveOn Civic Action, beginning this fall. The post Rahna Epting Will Be MoveOn’s Next Leader appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • Castro, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, and Warren To Appear On Stage At MoveOn’s “Big Ideas Forum” June 1 In San Francisco
    by Brian Stewart on May 9, 2019 at 17:02

    2020 Democratic presidential candidates Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Warren will all appear on stage at MoveOn’s “Big Ideas Forum” in San Francisco, California, on June 1. At the event, each candidate will present “One Big Idea” that will change people’s lives for the better. The post Castro, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, and Warren To Appear On Stage At MoveOn’s “Big Ideas Forum” June 1 In San Francisco appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn’s First Endorsement of 2020 Cycle: Ilhan Omar for Congress
    by Iram Ali on April 24, 2019 at 16:16

    The results are in: With 77% of votes cast in favor, MoveOn members in Minnesota’s 5th District have voted overwhelmingly to endorse Ilhan Omar for re-election to Congress! Representative Ilhan Omar’s endorsement for re-election marks MoveOn’s very first endorsement for the 2020 cycle. Rep. Omar is a uniquely powerful, compelling member of Congress. She ran The post MoveOn’s First Endorsement of 2020 Cycle: Ilhan Omar for Congress appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • 2020 Candidates Skip AIPAC!
    by Iram Ali on March 22, 2019 at 21:28

    After MoveOn members asked candidates to skip the AIPAC conference, no 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are yet publicly committed to attend the AIPAC conference in DC this weekend! The story comes after a number of leading candidates—Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Mayor Julián Castro, Governor Jay Inlsee, and Mayor The post 2020 Candidates Skip AIPAC! appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn: 2020 Presidential Candidates Should Not Attend AIPAC Conference
    by Iram Ali on March 20, 2019 at 18:21

    NEW SURVEY: Over 74% of MoveOn Members Believe 2020 Presidential Candidates Should Not Attend AIPAC Conference AIPAC conference to be headlined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Chuck Schumer & Rep. Kevin McCarthy A new survey from MoveOn Political Action asked members if they The post MoveOn: 2020 Presidential Candidates Should Not Attend AIPAC Conference appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • My Vote
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:55
  • A Good Sign For Bernie
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:51
  • Russiagate And Censorship
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:47
  • Democrats Can’t Take Progressive Votes For Granted
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:45
  • Russiagate Nonsense
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:43
  • How To Get Rid Of Donald Trump
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:41
  • A Younger, Fresher Progressive Candidate
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:39
  • Delegitimatizing Anti-War Candidates
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:36
  • Politician For Sale
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:34
  • The Damage From Russiagate
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:31
  • Partisanship
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:29
  • Mueller Wrapping Up Soon
    by Ron Chusid on March 1, 2019 at 19:28

    I will be glad when we stop hearing Russiagate conspiracy theorists say “wait for Mueller to finish.” What will they say if he finishes and still has provided zero evidence to support their claims? Hopefully they will be satisfied with the overwhelming evidence that Trump is a crook, and drop the Russia conspiracy theories about

  • Con Men And Liars Of Hollywood
    by Ron Chusid on February 25, 2019 at 16:59
  • PHOTOS: Amazing Fake Trump Emergency Protests
    by Brian Stewart on February 19, 2019 at 02:58

    277 events. 48 states. At least 50,000 attendees. That’s what power looks like. Donald Trump may control the White House for the moment, but we are not giving up on what this country can be. And on Presidents Day, tens of thousands of MoveOn members and allies hit the streets to build a vision of a country where all people—including those seeking The post PHOTOS: Amazing Fake Trump Emergency Protests appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn Statement on Deal to End the Government Shutdown with No Wall
    by Brian Stewart on January 25, 2019 at 21:02

    “Congress must not give into Trump’s demand for increased funding for a wall, his deportation machine, or border militarization in the next round of this fight” WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, Donald Trump announced a deal with Congress to end the government shutdown and reopen the federal government for three weeks with no funding for The post MoveOn Statement on Deal to End the Government Shutdown with No Wall appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • BREAKING: National Day of Action to #ShutDownTheWall, Open Government Announced for Jan. 29
    by Brian Stewart on January 24, 2019 at 01:38

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 CONTACT: MoveOn, United We Dream, Indivisible, and other groups call for national action on Tuesday, the day Trump intends to deliver a State of the Union address. WASHINGTON — During a television appearance tonight on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Rep. Katie Hill (CA-25) announced that Tuesday, January 29 will be The post BREAKING: National Day of Action to #ShutDownTheWall, Open Government Announced for Jan. 29 appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • MoveOn’s Executive Directors Announce They Will Depart in 2019 with MoveOn Positioned for Continued Impact
    by Brian Stewart on January 17, 2019 at 17:34

    Under Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman’s 6 Years of Leadership, People-Powered MoveOn Has Grown Dramatically and Emerged As a Pillar of the Resistance Movement in Landmark Trump-Era Fights Galland and Sheyman Will Continue in Current Roles Until MoveOn’s Boards Conclude Search for New Director and Will then Assist Transition After six years leading MoveOn Civic The post MoveOn’s Executive Directors Announce They Will Depart in 2019 with MoveOn Positioned for Continued Impact appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • PPP Poll Shows Trump’s Shutdown Will Hurt Senate GOP in 2020
    by Jayne Fagan on January 10, 2019 at 15:36

    For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 10, 2019 Contact: New Poll: Government Shutdown Hurting Senate Republicans Up for Reelection in 2020 Voters would also oppose President Trump declaring a “National Emergency” to fund wall. Washington, DC – New polling from Public Policy Polling (PPP), commissioned by MoveOn and the Immigration Hub, shows the government shutdown The post PPP Poll Shows Trump’s Shutdown Will Hurt Senate GOP in 2020 appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

  • 2018 MoveOn Year In Review
    by Brian Stewart on December 28, 2018 at 23:44

    In 2018, MoveOn members helped power spectacular victories at the ballot box, fought back against attacks on our democracy, and provided critical aid to those facing humanitarian crises at home and abroad. Millions of MoveOn members were part of a movement that ended Republican control of the House, marched against gun violence, fought brutality at The post 2018 MoveOn Year In Review appeared first on MoveOn.Org | Democracy In Action.

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