March 16th Phil-osophy

BIDEN VERSUS SANDERSHere is a CNN article that compares the two leading Democratic candidates on various issues.  You may want to read it and make up your own mind as to which one you want to support – that is, until we go through the Democratic Convention and then we support the candidate that comes out of that.

BLAME WHO?  Let’s see why we are in trouble with the response to the latest coronavirus.  At the beginning of trump’s administration, there were people in place in case of such an outbreak.  They were there from the prior administration.  So, trump fired Tom Bossert, homeland security advisor who coordinated NSC’s responses to global pandemic.  Bossert was not replace.  Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, the NSC’s senior director for global health security and biodefense, left the council and was not replace.  Dr. Luciana Borio, NSC’s director for medial ad biodefense preparedness, left in 2018 and was not replaced.  Methinks the blame resides in that house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Read this NBC article for more.

PEOPLE OF THE LIE.  A 35-year-old book may explain trump.  That would be Dr. M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.  It tells of the evil in humans; not the religious evil, but still vile.  In it, Peck lists the following traits he classifies as evil:

  • Self-deceiving in an effort to avoid guilt and maintain a self-image of perfection;
  • Deceiving others as a consequence of their own self-deception;
  • Projecting his or her own evils onto specific targets (scapegoats) while interacting normally with everyone else;
  • Hates with the pretense of love, in order to deceive both self and others;
  • Abusing political (emotional) power – imposing one’s will on others using overt or covert coercion;
  • Maintaining a high degree of respectability, propped up by incessant lying;
  • Consistent in his or her destructiveness;
  • Unable to empathize or think from their victim’s point of view;
  • Unable to tolerate criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury.

You can read more about Peck and his writings in this Wikipedia article or on this site dedicated to information about him and his writings.

BARBRA TAKES A STAND.  Barbra Streisand has taken a stand to defeat trump.  Read her reasons why in this Variety article.

GRAFT.  Where does trump’s campaign money go?  According to thisHuffington Post article, money is channeled to eric trump’s wife and don trump junior’s girlfriend.

A REPUBLICAN DID IT.  Remember the Great Toilet Paper Scare of 1973?  Nor do I, but it happened.  Read this funny, but sad, story of how a republican in Congress made a mountain out of a cow patty.  It says a lot indirectly about the panic buying we see today.

CORONAVIRUS.  Some, especially bad politicians, are saying the virus will die when warm weather arrives.  It is summer in Australia and very warm there.  The virus is spreading there.  Listen to doctors, not bad politicians. For some reason, trump seems to think that if he fixes the financial markets, that will fix the virus human health problem.  I think it is the other way around.  He must have that illness called money-on-the-brain where one loves money more than people.

VOTING RESULTS.  According to the March 3 election results reported by the Virginia Department of Elections, 3,513 votes were cast in the City of Winchester and 8,711 votes were cast in Frederick County.  Congrats to all the fine Democrats who did the right thing and voted on March 3!

INSURANCE & CORONAVIRUS – THE REAL SCOOP.  So, trumpboldly told us that the insurance industry agreed to lessen the financial medical impact of the virus on people.  He said they agreed to waive patient co-payments for treatment of COVID-19 and other things related to COVID-19.  That set the mind of many that insurance would cover it all.  WRONG!  All they have agreed to do is to cover the full cost of diagnostic tests.  Treatment of the viral infection can be very expensive and the consumer is still left holding the bag.  Read more about it here.

HAND WASHINGHere is a fun 1-minute video that demonstrates how to wash your hands.  There is a good laugh at the end.  The text accompanying it gives a link to a short summary of the result of a study about using music to teach kids proper hand washing technique.  It’s a good read.

TOO MANY LOOPHOLES.  Oh, we got loopholes.  Look closely at trump’stravel ban.  He excluded countries where he has properties.  That’s not all.  Read this Politico article for more and you will see that the travel ban does little, if anything except disrupt lives.

From the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA):

We know many of you have questions and concerns about the challenges we currently face. Our team has been meeting and consulting with all of our various partners and leaders. We strive to keep you up to date, and please know that we are working hard to provide you with real time information. Based on the latest information from Governor Northam and others, we are recommending the following steps to Local Democratic Committees across the Commonwealth.

  • In place of your in-person committee meetings for the remainder of March, we suggest either scheduling them virtually (whether video call or tele-conference) and/or canceling them entirely if there is no pressing matters to discuss.
  • Postpone any events where 15 or more individuals are expected to gather and/or move them to a virtual platform.
  • The Democratic Party of Virginia HQ will remain open to credentialed personnel but closed to the public and staff will be working per usual to assist with any technological needs you may have in executing the above actions.

Lastly, we understand many of you have questions about the upcoming April 18th/20th caucuses. We are in constant communication with our national partners, including the Democratic National Committee, and the Association of State Democratic Committees to make sure our next steps are executed both safely and in a timely manner. We will continue to update you as this situation progresses, but the moment, we are strongly advising every Local Committee to choose to do an Unassembled Caucus for the purpose of selecting State Delegates. Please reach out to staff for any help that you need with making that change logistically and in your calls to caucus. Thank you for your help and patience during these stressful and uncertain times.

The safety and wellbeing of you, anyone who wishes to participate in our Party, and everyone in our community is our number one priority. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

THE  BEST INFO SO FAR!  FROM AN EXPERT AT STANFORD

Subject: Stanford Notes. The new Coronavirus may not show sign of infection for many days. How can you know if you are infected?  By the time you have fever and/or cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50% fibrosis.

Taiwan experts provide a simple self-check that we can do every morning:  Take a deep breath and hold it for more than 10 seconds. If you do this successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, there is no fibrosis in the lungs; it basically indicates no infection. In critical times, please self-check every morning in an environment with clean air.

Serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases: Everyone should ensure your mouth & throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why?  Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus.. If you don’t drink enough water regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and then the lungs. That’s very dangerous.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – CORONAVIRUS:
1. If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold.
2. Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.
3. This new virus is not heat-resistant and will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27 degrees C.  (About 77 degrees F.)  It hates the Sun.
4. If someone sneezes with it, it goes about 10 feet before it drops to the ground and is no longer airborne.
5. If it drops on a metal surface it will live for at least 12 hours – so if you come into contact with any metal surface, wash your hands as soon as you can with a bacterial soap.
6. On fabric it can survive for 6-12 hours. normal laundry detergent will kill it.
7. Drinking warm water is effective for all viruses. Try not to drink liquids with ice.
8. Wash your hands frequently as the virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 minutes, but – a lot can happen during that time – you can rub your eyes, pick your nose unwittingly and so on.
9. You should also gargle as a prevention. A simple solution of salt in warm water will suffice.
10. Can’t emphasis enough – drink plenty of water!

THE SYMPTOMS:
1. It will first infect the throat, so you’ll have a sore throat lasting 3/4 days 2. The virus then blends into a nasal fluid that enters the trachea and then the lungs, causing pneumonia. This takes about 5/6 days further.
3. With the pneumonia comes high fever and difficulty in breathing.
4. The nasal congestion is not like the normal kind. You feel like you’re drowning. It’s imperative you then seek immediate attention.

SPREAD THE WORD – PLEASE SHARE.”

From Kim Bobo, Director, Virginia Interfaith Center: LEGISLATIVE VICTORIES

Minimum Wage Increase.  Both the House and Senate passed a minimum wage increase that is a great step forward for working families. The final bill (SB 7) has wage increases as follows:  Jan 1, 2021: $9.50, Jan 2, 2022: $11, Jan 1, 2023: $12, Jan 1, 2025: $13.50, Jan 1 2026: $15.  Between Jan 1, 2022 and Dec 1, 2023, a robust study will be conducted to examine regionalism options and the General Assembly will have to act again in 2024 to implement the last wage increases and consider regionalism options. VICPP was very concerned about the regionalism plan that was in the bill passed in the Senate. The final bill, which requires a regionalism study, is fine.

The final bill removes many of the bad exemptions of the minimum wage bill. It removes the piecework exemption, which was also passed in a stand-alone bill, the exemption for those with disabilities, the small business exemption, and the domestic worker exemption, another stand-alone bill. These are great steps forward.

We are disappointed about two aspects of the bill. It continues to exempt farmworkers from the minimum wage. VICPP will encourage the Governor to amend this section of the bill and remove the farmworker exemption. The bill creates a training wage that is 75 percent of the minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment. This provision wouldn’t be horrible if it weren’t abused, but often employers will hire people for 89 days and then fire them to avoid paying the higher wage.

Driver’s Licenses for All.  The House and Senate passed a bill that will give people of differing immigration status the ability to obtain a Driver’s Privilege Card (HB1211/SB34). Technically, the final bill (HB 1211) is a driver’s privilege card that is treated as a category of driver’s licenses. Advocates are working to ensure that the look of the card will not open people up to discrimination and that the substantial privacy concerns will be addressed. If and when these concerns are addressed, this legislation will be a great step forward for Virginia.

In-State Tuition. The bills to allow all who meet the Virginia residency requirements to receive in-state tuition (HB 1547ER) passed both chambers and we are waiting for the Governor to sign. Another great victory.

Wage Theft Reforms. All our wage theft bills have passed and are in various stages of moving to the Governor (HB 336, SB 49ER, HB 123, SB 78, SB 48ER, HB 337 and SB 838). These bills remove the piece work exemption from the minimum wage law, protect wage theft victims against retaliation when they file a wage theft complaint, strengthen the Department of Labor and Industries’ ability to investigate wage theft, and allow attorneys to take wage theft claims to court. We have been working on all of these bills for the past four years. These are major victories in the fight against wage theft.

Comprehensive Predatory Lending Reform. Predatory lending bills (SB 421ER) have passed both chambers and should be sent to the Governor soon. Thanks to the leadership of the Virginia Poverty Law Center for its work on the amazing accomplishment to curb predatory lending.

Environmental Justice. The Governor has signed the bill codifying the Environmental Justice Council (HB 1042ER) into law!  The bills to establish environmental justice as the policy of the Commonwealth (HB 704 and SB 406) have passed both chambers and should be sent to the Governor soon. These bills make Virginia a policy leader on environmental justice.

Energy Burden. There were lots of great energy bills this year. We were particularly engaged in supporting the bills to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and use some of the revenue to invest in energy efficiency.  SB 1027ER passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor. This is a great environmental victory.

 

LEGISLATIVE DEFEAT

Paid Sick Days. The conference committee report on our Paid Sick Days bill (SB 481) passed the House 52-45, but was killed in the Senate. See our news release on the issue. We are terribly disappointed, of course, but we will try again next year. By the end of the General Assembly, we had garnered enormous attention to the issue. We have quite a bit of work to do to help legislators understand why so many people desperately need paid sick days. We’ll be talking with our board and chapter leaders in the coming weeks about next steps.

Overall, it was a fabulous session. We made great progress on almost every priority issue. And even our paid sick day bill went way further than expected and helped to lay the groundwork for passing it in 2021.

The General Assembly will vote on a budget tomorrow (Thursday, March 12) and the Governor has until April to sign or amend bills, but mostly we are done. At least the crazy hours and nonstop emails are over until next year.

I learned a lot this session and will write up my reflections soon, but one important lesson I relearned was the importance of talking with legislators before the session begins. So don’t be surprised when I ask you to arrange meetings with your legislators in the summer and fall. (We’ll give most of them a break this spring.)

Thank you again for all you’ve done this session. Collectively, we made a tremendous impact. Kim Bobo, Executive Director

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