Progressive Caucus Pressures Pelosi for Relief Package — The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to advance another economic stimulus package that—unlike the previous corporate-friendly legislation—guarantees economic security for all, protects public health, and ensures election safety, reports Common Dreams. With almost 17 million Americans having filed jobless claims between March 15 and April 4, the CPC emphasizes robust aid for workers and the unemployed until the pandemic subsides completely. The CPC’s demands include a monthly cash payment of at least $2,000 to all U.S. adults, a nationwide moratorium on evictions, $30,000 in student debt relief, opening Medicare to the unemployed and uninsured, covering all out-of-pocket expenses for Covid-19 treatment, and nationwide vote-by-mail. But Pelosi may not return the House to session until May and says she will not consider House remote voting.
Bernie Leaves a Path Behind Him —Fair Observer analyzes Bernie Sanders’ campaign suspension announcement and the path he leaves through the modern Democratic establishment. Sanders showed how the party is split between a firmly capitalist system reliant on moneyed interests and a younger generation skewing socialist that’s interested in reforms for human need. Donald Trump pointed out how Sanders’ announcement shows internal divisions in the party, describing his retention of delegates as a “weird deal.” This may worry Trump, as it complicates his battle plan to thrash nominee Joe Biden. Whether or not Biden wins in November, the progressive path Sanders revealed will likely remain.
Noam Chomsky on Trump, Sanders, and Hope —Democracy Now! speaks with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, and author, on the political implications of the pandemic and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign suspension. Chomsky says Joe Biden’s term would look like Obama’s: offering no great change but open to organized public pressure, especially following Sanders’ growing movement. It is obviously preferable to the indescribable health, environmental, and nuclear war disaster a Trump reelection represents. Chomsky calls Sanders’ campaign an “extraordinary success,” as it shifted the arena of debate to place once-unthinkable issues in the middle of public attention.
Chomsky describes how the left of the mainstream political spectrum considers Medicare for All and free college too radical for Americans, though the best-performing, and even poorer, countries offer free higher education: Finland, Germany, Mexico. To frame rising to the rest of the world’s level as a radical notion sounds like “a critique of America that you’d expect from some super hostile enemy.”
Trump Puts Reelection Above Public Health — President Trump is reportedly planning to issue a call to reopen the economy by May 1, despite warnings from health experts—including members of his own coronavirus task force—that a premature return would severely set back containing the virus. Truthout reports Trump hopes to reopen national business soon because rising unemployment and the looming recession could damage his reelection chances. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci warns that without a clear indication of the virus’ spread being curbed, opening businesses could prolong the need for social distancing. As of Saturday afternoon, there were more than 492,416 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, with 18,559 deaths documented due to the disease.
US ‘Disinformation’ Claims Divert from Covid-19 Failures — The U.S. government, with the Washington Post and New York Times in tow, is re-igniting the Fake News scare to censure Russia and China, reports FAIR. The Washington Post described swarms of online personas from Russia peddling conspiracies theories about coronavirus in the U.S. The New York Times reported that Russia and China wished to sow doubts about the U.S. response to the pandemic to divert attention from themselves. Both outlets founded their reporting chiefly on commentary and “‘unreleased reports’” from U.S. intelligence officials. Though both China and Russia have delivered much-needed equipment, like masks and ventilators, to the U.S., The State Department (and its “media stenographers”) is using these countries as a scapegoat to distract from its own policy failures.
NYC’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Was Sold — In 2006, when an aggressive and novel flu strain circulated in Asia and the Middle East, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg revealed a pandemic preparedness plan. From computer models projecting spread, expects found that New York would need a mask and ventilator stockpile, as it could face a shortage of up to 9,454 ventilators. But in the following months, the city acquired only 500 ventilators, which long ago broke down and were subsequently auctioned off at least five years ago, ProPublica reports. The Trump administration too woefully undermaintained the federal stockpile, which also saw ventilators falling into disrepair.
California Rules Make Masks Inaccessible Despite Stockpiles — Since late February, California purchased about two million N95 respirator masks for use in its prison system, but only 56,000 for frontline medical workers. Governor Gavin Newson downgraded requirements for their use in hospitals. The state believes the dwindling supplies must be rationed to prepare for an upcoming surge in patients. As with states nationwide, medical workers in coronavirus hospitals are being told to re-use the same disposable mask for multiple patients, and “lower hazard” staff must forgo N95s for surgical masks. Workers point out this is dangerous for patients and for themselves. While California claims to be struggling to find new N95s, The Progressive finds its prison system has plenty of masks.
Covid-19 Has Made Rent Unpayable for Many — Nearly a third, 31%, of U.S. residents were unable to pay rent on the first of April, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. The president of NMHC points out that many households were still able to meet obligations and expects to see that number increase in the coming weeks. Colorlines reports residents worried about eviction, especially if they filed for unemployment, may be temporarily protected by the federal government’s CARES Act, which has placed a temporary moratorium on evictions and loan forgiveness for mortgages. NMHC has called on apartment firms to avoid rent increases, create payment plans, and identify resources to help residents with food, healthcare and financial assistance.
Trump EPA’s Rule Would Dismiss Clues to Covid-19 — A 2018 study showed that doctor visits for respiratory infections increased with the air pollution that periodically settled into the urban valleys of northern Utah. Such research could prove relevant in investigating Covid-19. But if the Trump administration succeeds in finalizing its rule to limit the science that the Environmental Protection Agency can use, research like the Utah study may no longer be able to factor into U.S. environmental decision-making, reports InsideClimate News. The Trump administration’s rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” takes issue with patients’ anonymity in medical studies. This moves to eliminate some of the most valuable human health science, even when the entire health science field is mired in fighting the coronavirus.
1. Coronavirus: US surpasses Italy for most recorded deaths in the world with 20,254 (The Independent)
2. For China, the ‘USA Virus’ Is a Geopolitical Ploy (The Atlantic)
3. Bernie Sanders Proposes Emergency Version Of ‘Medicare For All’ For The Pandemic (HuffPost)
4. Coronavirus in New York: A paramedic’s diary (BBC)
5. Trump and Fox News: the dangerous relationship shaping America’s coronavirus response (The Guardian)