WFCDC Weekly Pulse: May 11th, 2020

Phil-osophy

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POSSIBLE GOOD NEWS.  Researchers at Utrecht University (Netherlands) have identified an antibody that seems to prevent COVID-19 from infected cells.  So far, their work has only been in laboratory culture dishes, but read about it here.

GUNS & MASKS.  The no-mask movement has gone too far.  As you can read here, a person is dead now for asking people to wear a state-mandated face mask in a store.  Since this article, there has been another such incident.

UNFAIR FUNDING.  Why did states with few COVID-19 cases receive so much money?  This article has the details and gets into why.

BEST CASE.  So what is the best case scenario for COVID-19 and how does that apply to politics?  Watch this short video to find out.

DOING IT RIGHT.  Kentucky seems to be headed down the right path on voting, as you can tell in thisvideo and article.  The Senators from that state should follow the Governor’s lead.

RANKING VP CANDIDATESHere is an article that provides its ranking of what the author considers to be the top 10 ten VP candidates to run with Biden.  See if you agree.  By the way, the accompanying video offers a different list in alphabetical order.

DEPORT HER.  That’s what the trump administration wants to do with the doctor in this article who is treating COVID-19 patients.

FOR FUN.  Let’s sweeten up the week a bit.  We all need to step back occasionally from the seriousness.  Here is a 1-minute video of otters juggling.  It was a research project, but just sit back and enjoy the sight.  No science this time, just a fun 1-minute video here of a bear taking a bath and other cute animals doing things.

CHOKING ON SCHADENFREUDEHere is a read about trump you are sure to enjoy and use when you talk to others about voting in November.  Schadenfreude = enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.

DOING THINGS RIGHT.  Read this article with an accompanying video to understand what South Korea did and is still doing right to contribute to their low COVID-19 death rate.  Don’t you wish we had at least equally good leadership here?

From Kevin Kennedy and Published in the Winchester Star:

Democrats are Good People

It is remarkable how some people can be so wrong  in their thoughts about Democrats, judging by the tone of some letters printed in the Star,  Democrats seem to be regarded as the worst people in the world by the authors of those letters.  

From the cries of anguish from too many Republicans when Democrats gained control of the Virginia Legislature one might have concluded that “life-as-we-know-it” was coming to an end.  It hasn’t.  (Not due to the Democrats, at any rate.)

Democrats are definitely not all the same, but there are basic commonalities among them.  Probably the key trait of Democrats, in general, is that they CARE.  They care about people, especially those who have been cast to the side by society or those who were born into disadvantaged conditions.  They care about the planet.  They care about justice and fairness, believing that everyone should have a reasonable shot at reaching “The American Dream”.  

There aren’t–or should not be–any problems with values like those. 

A couple of years ago, several members of the area Democratic Committee got together to itemize basic Democratic Beliefs and Values.  A sampling of what was written: 

Democrats believe that workers deserve a living wage in order to support their families, and that employers have an obligation to provide safe work environments.  They believe that equal work merits equal pay, and they believe that the extreme wage gap between management and “ordinary” workers is unacceptable. 

Democrats believe that a healthy citizenry contributes to making our country more vital and prosperous, and that Healthcare should be available to all citizens and affordable for families.  Healthcare should not be rationed according to one’s income or the job a person has.  

Democrats believe that the right to vote is the key to Democracy, and it should be both protected and encouraged.  The influence of secretive PACs and “Dark Money” hurts Democracy and must be reduced or eliminated altogether. 

There are more beliefs and values which we identified, but what is wrong with those listed above? 

I understand that people who are fervently anti-abortion–if they count a just-fertilized egg as a “full and equal” human being–might have trouble seeing Democrats as “good”, but that couldn’t be the source of all the animus. Democrats are not perfect, but in this chaotic and dangerous time-of-Trump, they should be recognized as the only real choice to lead the country.  

When I asked in my March Open Forum if people had had enough of trump’s “leadership”, I received a resounding “Yes!” from many people, some of whom I did not even know.  But there were also some who wrote to the Star to support this “leader” and criticized me for not giving him credit for what he has done as President.  Well, he does deserve credit (responsibility) for ALL that he has done to the country, its citizens, people he doesn’t like, the environment, our allies, and our influence and standing in the world. 

And, Character Does Matter

Have you had enough?  Is there any more that you need to see to recognize that we have a “leader” who is not just embarrassing or incompetent, but is actually DANGEROUS?  

Many who knew this individual before 2016 knew that he was not qualified to be President.  A few even said that prior to the Election.  As his Presidency proceeded, the evidence steadily accumulated:  Those who had predicted that he was inadequate to the job were, regrettably, exactly correct.   

Trump’s response to the first major crisis of his Presidency has been a cruel reminder to us all that it is essential for our country to have leaders who possess at least SOME aspects of good character.  None of our Presidents has been “perfect”.  A few of them have been graded by history as being “not very good”, and even the ones who are most highly regarded had faults.  

But a “Report Card” for this one would look like this: 

    Temperament:   F

    Knowledge:       F 

    Integrity:            F

Before anyone acts outraged, let’s look at how public knowledge about the coronavirus grew–along with some of the responses by our President and his loyal followers.  

  • In January, German scientists developed a test for COVID-19, and the World Health Organization offered the test to countries around the world.  The U.S. refused the offer.  The President dismissed the coronavirus as no big deal, said that people should not worry, and predicted that the virus would disappear when the weather got warmer.  
  • Meanwhile, 60+ other countries immediately put the tests to use (South  Korea can now test 10,000 citizens per day) and took medically appropriate steps with infected people.  It has been learned that people can carry the virus–and infect others–for 14 to 24 days before they show symptoms. Countries with testing have a level of control over the virus.
  • Trump, with his focus clearly on his reelection chances, continued to down-play the danger, and he lied about the availability of tests and vaccines.  He prohibited advisors from giving figures on the number of people infected, and he asserted that he knows more about the virus than the scientists. 
  • Flights from other countries, including from heavily infected areas such as Northern Italy, were not restricted until just recently, and there were no tests for arriving travelers.  Trump implied–and the most shameless of his sycophants opined–that the whole situation was a “hoax” promoted by Democrats.  Trump NEVER takes responsibility for anything negative; instead, he tried to pin blame on Barack Obama.  

Space does not allow for a full litany, but this should be enough for anyone to understand.  Because of the unconscionable delays in acknowledging the pandemic–and taking action to contain it–countless millions of people are already facing financial crises.  And an unknown number who might have survived may die.  

Trump has been obsessed over November’s election.  A political sign for the times:  

4 More Years?? 

NO More Years! 

Sincerely, Kevin Kennedy. 540-533-3023 

 

Also published in the Star, Trump’s reopening strategy will be lethal

by ROBERT REICH

Donald Trump is getting nervous. Internal polls show him losing in November unless the economy comes roaring back.

But much of the American economy remains closed because of the pandemic. The numbers of infections and deaths continue to climb.

So what is Trump’s re-election strategy? Reopen the economy anyway.

Step 1: Remove income support, so people have no choice but to return to work.

Trump’s Labor Department has decided that furloughed employees “must accept” an employer’s offer to return to work and therefore forfeit unemployment benefits, regardless of COVID-19.

One of Trump’s allies, Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, says employees cannot refuse to return to work for fear of contracting the disease. “That’s a voluntary quit,” she said, making someone ineligible for benefits.

GOP officials in Oklahoma are even threatening to withhold the $600 per week of extra unemployment benefits Congress has provided workers if an employer wants to hire them. Safety is irrelevant.

“If the employer will contact us … we will cut off their benefits,” said Teresa Thomas Keller of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Forcing people to choose between getting COVID-19 or losing their livelihood is inhumane. It’s also nonsensical. Public health still depends on as many workers as possible staying home. That’s a big reason why Congress provided the extra benefits.

Step 2: Hide the facts.

No one knows how many Americans are infected because the Trump administration continues to drag its heels on testing. As of late last week, only 6.5 million tests had been conducted on a population of more than 200 million adults.

Florida, one of the first states to reopen, has stopped releasing medical examiners’ statistics on numbers of COVID-19 victims because the numbers are higher than the state’s official count.

But it’s impossible to fight the virus without adequate data. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s leading infectious disease expert, warns that reopening poses “a really significant risk” without more testing.

Not surprisingly, the White House has blocked Fauci from testifying before a House committee examining the response to the pandemic.

Step 3: Pretend it’s about “freedom.”

Weeks ago, Trump used Twitter to call on citizens to “LIBERATE” states like Michigan, whose Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, imposed strict stay-at-home rules.

Michigan has the third-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in America, although the state ranks 10th in population. When Whitmer announced last week that the stay-at-home rules would be extended to May 28, gun-toting protesters descended on the state capitol, chanting, “Lock her up!”

Rather than condemn their behavior, Trump suggested Whitmer “make a deal” with them.

“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire,” he tweeted. “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!”

Meanwhile, the attorney general, William Barr, has directed the Justice Department to take legal action against any state or local authorities imposing lockdown measures that “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”

Making this about “freedom” is absurd. Freedom is meaningless for people who have no choice but to accept a job that risks their health.

Step 4: Shield businesses against lawsuits for spreading the infection.

Trump is pushing to give businesses that reopen a “liability shield” against legal action by workers or customers who get infected by the virus.

Last week, he announced that he would use the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to remain open, despite high rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths among meatpackers.

“We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists that proposed legislation giving state and local governments funding they desperately need must include legal immunity for corporations that cause workers or consumers to become infected.

“We have a red line on liability,” McConnell said. “It won’t pass the Senate without it.”

But how can the economy safely reopen if companies don’t have an incentive to keep people safe? Promises to provide protective gear and other safeguards are worthless absent the threat of damages if workers or customers become infected.

The truth: The biggest obstacle to reopening the economy is the pandemic itself.

Any rush to reopen without adequate testing and tracing — far more than now underway — will cause even more deaths and a longer economic crisis.

Maybe Trump is betting that the worst of the COVID-19 destruction will occur after election, when the economy appears to be on the road to recovery.

The first responsibility of a president is to keep the public safe. But Donald Trump couldn’t care less. He was slow to respond to the threat, then he lied about it, then made it hard for states — especially those with Democratic governors — to get the equipment they need.

Now he’s trying to force the economy to reopen in order to boost his electoral chances this November, and he’s selling out Americans’ health to seal the deal. This is beyond contemptible.

Robert Reich’s column is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.

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