Aggregated News & Opinion
Today’s posts in bigger type.
Prior 2-3 days in smaller type.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
- WHO suspends trials of hydroxychloroquine as virus treatment; Trump defends decision to play golf as US death toll nears 100,000
- UK PM’s top aide Dominic Cummings defies calls to quit; Spain revises death toll down by nearly 2,000
ANTI-PANDEMIC INFRASTRUCTURE Top-grade biosafety lab building spree planned in southern China [ANOTHER FORM OF GOVERNMENT WOULD BE BETTER: Unlike China, for example, mafia-style capitalist nations don't proactively build or maintain anything, excepting for war. Bridges, Dams, Interstate highways and rail networks are left to degrade and collapse. Instead, new (mafia-style) infrastructure is encouraged to be private monopolies, like Amazon—with little government scrutiny or regulation. These profit-making monopolies pay minimal income tax, if any. And as government services are privatized the public then pays higher taxes for fewer and fewer services.]
- Guangdong province science chief says at least one facility will be able to handle the most infectious fatal diseases such as Ebola
- The centres are needed ‘to cut the risks of transporting specimens and to strengthen diagnosis’
....Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wears a mask – as do the governments covering 90% of the world’s population – but, so far, only 12 states in the U.S. require it. In the majority of the remaining states, the CDC recommendation has not been enough: Most people do not currently wear masks. However, things are changing fast. Every week more and more jurisdictions require a mask to use in public. As I write this, there are now 94 countries that have made this move....
We should still strive to stay socially connected, albeit in a different, more virtual way.
DANIEL HARRIS and CATHARINE CHAMBERS
Experimental cell using the potentially game-changing material perovskite passes a series of heat and humidity tests
Air pollution could be a risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study conducted in Italy has found
GOVERNMENT GOING GREEN Could a green new deal turn South Korea from climate villain to model? [MODEL: Totally switch to green energy: 1) switch to renewables for all energy production, 2) switch to EVs for ALL transport using batteries or hydrogen, 3) switch all heavy industry manufacturing to hydrogen power. Results can rapidly happen with minimized inconvenience.]
Country’s youngest MP is on a mission, inspired by Greta Thunberg, as climate moves up political agenda
After the financial crisis, green investment paid dividends. Coronavirus presents an even greater opportunity
Criticism of government reaction has given way to plaudits for public’s virus-challenging habits
The Trump administration announced a grant to AstraZeneca, which has licensed a potential vaccine that is in trials by Oxford University.
Global energy company SGH2 has announced that it is bringing the world’s biggest green hydrogen production facility to the City of Lancaster in California.
India sees 6,000 new cases in biggest one-day rise; China abandons GDP target; Italy death toll could be 60% higher than assumed
Damien Gayle (now); Amy Walker and Alison Rourke (earlier)
| The Guardian
Exclusive: The report does not consider alternatives to gas, or mention climate change and the financial risk of investing in fossil fuel as emissions are [demanded to be] cut
Bad journalists are howled at
Generations after Brown v Board of Education, the US is still separate and unequal
‘In the next 66 years, fulfilling the promises of Brown requires we re-imagine and re-think our social structures.’ Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA
n the same week civil rights activists celebrated the anniversary
of the supreme court’s unanimous decision in Brown v Board of Education, the United States observed another milestone: nearing 100,000 deaths
caused by Covid-19. Early data indicates that black Americans comprise a disproportionate number of the victims. Sixty-six years after Brown partially overruled the “separate but equal” doctrine – laying the foundation for black Americans to have equal access to better schools, healthcare, and housing – this pandemic has laid bare a harsh reality: the country is still separate and still unequal.
At least 20,000 black Americans have died from the virus. Their death rate is nearly 2.5 times higher than whites, and it has never been less than twice that of Latinos and Asians, according to recent data compiled by APM Research Lab. Despite comprising 13% of the country, they make up 25% of Covid-19 deaths.
The Trump administration has placed much of the responsibility for these disparities on victims....
UK researchers find link between severe cases of virus and genetic mutation that increases dementia risks.
Do our genes decide whether or not we are vulnerable to severe cases of Covid-19? That’s the implication of new research, which found that people with a genetic mutation that increases the risk of dementia are at least twice as likely to suffer severe symptoms if they catch the coronavirus – regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with dementia. UK researchers analysed genetic data from 500,000 people and said the link they uncovered between the virus and the “e4” variant of the ApoE gene was “pretty bulletproof”....
The pandemic has led the presumptive Democratic nominee, like other politicians to take his high-dollar events online
Joe Biden: as seen on TV. Photograph: Brian Cahn/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
The coronavirus pandemic may have driven Joe Biden into his basement and forced his campaign online, but one crucial factor is still the same: his run for the White House still needs to raise giant amounts of money....
President targets Democratic governor days after state’s highest daily increase in coronavirus cases
Donald Trump participates in a briefing about Hurricane Dorian with North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, last year. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP
Donald Trump has threatened to move the Republican party’s national convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, if the state is unable to commit to “full attendance” at the gathering due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In a series of tweets on Monday morning. Trump said the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, was “still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee” that the party would be able to fill the arena with supporters....
Critics say data proves New York’s liability shield is linked to higher nursing home death rates during the pandemic
‘Cuomo’s administration said the new immunity provision is necessary.’ Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA
As Governor Andrew Cuomo faced a spirited challenge in his bid to win New York’s 2018 Democratic primary, his political apparatus got a last-minute boost: a powerful healthcare industry group suddenly poured more than $1m into a Democratic committee backing his campaign.
Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for healthcare industry officials, according to legal experts.
Ten companies that allegedly polluted air and water will not be required to pay penalties they agreed to before 1 June
The oil and gas company BP said it paid the $8m penalty it agreed to for alleged air pollution problems at an oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters
Ten corporations that agreed to a total of $56m in civil penalties for allegedly breaking environmental laws are not being required to make payments under a pause granted by the US government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The companies polluted air and water, including in communities already vulnerable to toxic pollution like East Chicago, Indiana, according to legal proceedings.
They signed settlements with the government agreeing to pay fines without admitting liability but the justice department last month advised most of the companies of extensions in letters which were obtained by the government watchdog group Accountable.US via public records requests....
From PPE failures to care home tragedies, this crisis has exposed the pernicious role of corporate power in public policy
‘Private monopolies have either failed to meet their contracts, or have provided defective gear to the entire NHS, like the planeload of useless surgical gowns that had to be recalled.’ PPE from Turkey arrives in an RAF plane at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
mid the smog of lies and contradictions
, there is one question we should never stop asking: why has the government of the United Kingdom so spectacularly failed to defend people’s lives? Why has “this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection”, as Shakespeare described our islands, succumbed to a greater extent than any other European nation to a foreseeable and containable pandemic?
Part of the answer is that the government knowingly and deliberately stood down crucial parts of its emergency response system. Another part is that, when it did at last seek to mobilise the system, crucial bits of the machine immediately fell off. There is a consistent reason for the multiple, systemic failures the pandemic has exposed: the intrusion of corporate power into public policy. Privatisation, commercialisation, outsourcing and offshoring have severely compromised the UK’s ability to respond to a crisis.
Take, for example, the lethal failures to provide protective clothing, masks and other equipment (PPE) to health workers. A report by the campaigning group We Own It seeks to explain why so many doctors, nurses and other hospital workers have died unnecessarily of Covid-19. It describes a system built around the needs not of health workers or patients, but of corporations and commercial contracts: a system that could scarcely be better designed for failure.
Four layers of commercial contractors, each rich with opportunities for profit-making, stand between doctors and nurses and the equipment they need. These layers are then fragmented into 11 tottering, uncoordinated supply chains, creating an almost perfect formula for chaos. Among the many weak links in these chains are consultancy companies like Deloitte, whose farcical attempts to procure emergency supplies of PPE have been fiercely criticised by both manufacturers and health workers....
Exclusively compiled data from the Hadley Centre’s supercomputer shows alarming climate trajectory
....“The climate now is completely different from what we had 30 years ago. It is completely outside the bounds of possibility in natural variation,” said Peter Stott, a professor and expert on climate attribution science at the centre.
In the Hadley Centre’s early projections, he said, scientists forecast 0.5C of warming in the UK between 1990 and 2020 as a result of emissions from oil, gas and coal: “We got it spot on.”
With new heat records being broken with increasing frequency, he said global temperatures were now above any level in the Met Office measurements since 1850, or indirectly calculated through tree rings going back thousands of years. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are also higher than anything seen in million-year-old ice cores. “We are seeing an unprecedented climate,” Stott said. “The human fingerprint is everywhere.”...
President rails against decision after his tweets on mail-in voting are marked with message: ‘Get the facts’
Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco and Sam Levine in New York
| The Guardian
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
| AL JAZEERA
Democrats in Washington are not just passively failing to mount an opposition to Trump. They are actively helping Republicans
Republicans, including the president, have opposed the additional funds. But their expiration could bring ‘incredible suffering’
"With seniors most at risk from Covid-19, we need to be increasing Social Security's modest benefits, not creating secret commissions to cut them."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons.
ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL and ROBINSON MEYER
| The Atlantic
Two-hour video of cabinet meeting released as part of inquiry into claims Bolsonaro tried to meddle in investigation into his son
AMERIKA: Mike Pompeo attacks China and says 'we stand with Australia' – video [1:17 video is red-baiting with gossip against China to distract Trump's voter-base from righteous anger that his gross incompetence made America the sickest country from Covid-19—with the world's highest death rate. Rather than attacking the largest country modernizing at the fastest rate from its behavior 50+ years ago, we should focus on making strong friends for a better future!]
The US should recognise that its designation of China as a strategic competitor creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Would Beijing be more or less willing to listen to a partner or strategic competitor on issues such as Hong Kong?
Examples of innovation aren’t getting the fanfare they would do if they emerged from Europe or the US
Medics increasingly at odds with government that is urging citizens to ‘coexist’ with Covid-19
It’s up to CEOs to rise above their arrogance and stop treating coronavirus as an obstacle to revenues
Solicitor general’s request blocks an appeals court order, arguing it would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to the federal government
Joan E Greve in Washington and agencies
| The Guardian
Idea updated 03/10/20: Those who think nation-states are not increasingly corrupt will not understand why change (below) is needed. [Ref.: The world is waking up to this!]
Instead of Plutocratic/Corporate-Politicians owning and controlling people (and their children ad infinitum) in "their" Nation State, wouldn't it be better if adults world-wide could selectively contract with UN-certified—and annually rated for performance— professional agencies to perform nation-level fiduciary functions
Such nationalesque fiduciary agencies could manage escrow for Social Security and Medicare, plus smart funding for your priority governance and your priority charities.
If this were possible and replaced Nations States, then it would end wars and immigration crises because citizens of every Virtual Nation would be scattered worldwide, as before Nation States. And a world-wide common language might naturally coalesce.
Local city, county and state governments can continue unchanged. But at the Virtual Nation level, governance would be by professional-only and not political. Your only annual(?) vote for Virtual Nation agency would be to renew with the same Virtual-Nation agency or change to a better agency based on UN scoring (which transfers escrows) and/or change priorities for governance and charities.