Saturday, March 28, 2020

Oval Office Immunity from Covid19 Virus?


We are glad the President signed the bill providing two trillion dollars to be used to fight the Covid19 virus, and to help mitigate the economic damage to businesses and individuals it has caused.  However, note that the folks surrounding the President as he signed the bill are NOT OBSERVING THE SIX FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING recommended by medical authorities.  

This is particularly dangerous since some of those in the picture have had recent contact with colleagues, like Senator Rand Paul, who have tested positive for Covid19 and are now in quarantine!  Or, is it possible there is some secret spray being used in the Oval Office which deters the droplets carrying the Covid19 virus from alighting on any surfaces there or being transmitted (cough, cough) from person to person?  Or are they all, being Trumpublicans, just plain dumb?

JL

Friday, March 27, 2020

The One Statistic to Watch and Other Things


The Statistic to Watch


The only statistic to watch, nationally or by States, is the number of new Coronavirus cases (not positive tests, but newly diagnosed people sick with Covid19) each day.  Until that number stops increasing, we are in trouble. When it levels off, that is the light at the end of the tunnel.  When it starts decreasing, that means the end of the Pandemic, at least here, is approaching.  Until we get to that "end," however, keep washing your hands, not touching your face, practicing social distancing and not going back to work despite the words of the President.  You will endanger yourself and others if you do so while the virus is still circulating.


Nature Abhors a Vacuum

To battle the Pandemic, we need leadership in Washington.  We don’t have that.  Nature abhors a vacuum and that is what we have in the White House.  Sooner or later, he will resign, be defeated in the election in November or be removed in a bloodless coup.  We must recognize that a lot of Americans, with weapons, will be unhappy with any of these alternatives, but that is what we have a military for.  At least some States have closed gun stores.  Others have not, deeming them "essential."  It may be ugly.


Voting in Congress


Voting in both Houses of Congress should be possible, at least during the Pandemic crisis, without the Representative or Senator being on the floor.   Travel is difficult and personal contact is dangerous.


 
The November Election

Steps should be taken right now to guarantee the legitimacy of the November presidential election.  Voting by mail in all states should be available and mandatory.  The Pandemic should not be allowed to reduce the voter turnout.

JL

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Trump's Dishonesty, What the Pentagon Thinks and Why NEVER to Trust FOXNEWS

Here are three articles from this morning's AOL/Yahoo Newsfeed.  The first gives you more reason than ever to ignore anything the president says.  He is only interested in an improved economy to help his re-election chances.

The second shows how the Pentagon totally disagrees with the president's position.

The third shows how those who faithfully listen to Fox News for information may be digging their own graves by doing so ... and unfortuanately, infecting others.  Read On!  (And be sure to check out the earlier blog postings which are included.)




Trump again breaks with experts by calling for people to go back to work, claims seniors 'will be watched over protectively & lovingly'

GRACE PANETTA
Mar 24th 2020 12:05PM

·         In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible to re-start the struggling economy.
·         "Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly."
·         Public health experts say that because the virus can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, social distancing is the only way to protect the most vulnerable. 
In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump broke with prevailing public health guidelines by calling again for Americans to return to work as soon as possible, repeating his common all-caps refrain that "the cure cannot be worse than the problem."
The White House is currently half-way through a 15-day "Stop the Spread" campaign led by the CDC, which is encouraging Americans to work from home if at all possible and practice social distancing by not gathering in groups with other people. 
Yet over the past two days, Trump has begun publicly and privately agitating for businesses to start sending people back to work to boost the cratering US economy, a major concern for Trump as he faces re-election this November. 
On Monday, he indicated that he would re-evaluate the Stop the Spread campaign when it ends on March 30, and possibly even relax social distancing guidelines. 
"Our people want to return to work," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!"
Public health experts, including the doctors on Trump's own coronavirus task force, have stressed that because the virus has not hit its peak in the US, it's more important now than ever for Americans to practice social distancing 
Experts also say that because the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people who show no symptoms and aren't even aware they have it, aggressive social distancing and containment measures across the board are the only way to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations. 
Despite Trump's claim that people "will practice social distancing," sending Americans back to work in industries that involve frequent person to person contact directly conflicts with the principles of social distancing. 

In many US states and other Western countries, major population centers largely failed at wide-scale social distancing until governments shut down restaurants, bars, and other large gathering centers altogether. 
Indeed, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, and other public-health officials are warning Republican leaders against ending coronavirus-containment measures to restart the economy. 
In an interview on The TODAY Show with NBC's Savannah Guthrie on Friday, Fauci threw cold water on the idea that life could go back to normal in a week.
"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas, it's at least going to be several weeks," Fauci said. "I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now, it's going to be over. I don't think there's a chance of that. I think it's going to be several weeks."
Trump's push to send Americans back into the workforce and re-start the economy is receiving criticism not just from experts but from members of his own party, who argue letting the virus infect and kill more people will be worse for the economy in the long run. 
On Tuesday morning, Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, tweeted: "There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus."
Read the original article on Business Insiderronavirus in the United S

  

Pentagon leaders suggest coronavirus outbreak could continue for months


THOMSON REUTERS
Mar 24th 2020 12:16PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Pentagon leaders said on Tuesday that the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak that has hit the United States could continue for months and the military would continue to support efforts to counter it for as long as needed.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 550 people in the United States and sickened more than 43,800.
President Donald Trump said on Monday he is considering how to reopen the U.S. economy when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious coronavirus is spreading rapidly and hospitals are bracing for a wave of virus-related deaths.
"I think we need to plan for this to be a few months long at least and we're taking all precautionary measures to do that," U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said when asked how long the outbreak may last and how long the military would continue the support efforts to counter it.
"I am fully confident that at the end of the day, in a period of months, we will get through this," Esper said during a virtual town hall.OTOS
Coronavirus in the United States

At the same event, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that while it was unclear how long the outbreak would last, taking models from the experience of other countries, which may or may not apply to the United States, the outbreak could last into July.
"If it does apply, you're looking at probably late May, June, something in that range, could be as late as July," Milley said.
On Monday, Esper announced more security restrictions on those entering the Pentagon. The building has seen a drop in the number of people coming into work since measures to combat the outbreak started, with many of them teleworking.
Esper said that those teleworking should expect to continue to do so for "weeks for sure, maybe months."
Over the weekend, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the lockdown affecting large segments of the American public to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks, or until early June.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky)



 Fox News' coronavirus denial means 'viewers will die,' media critic says
SUZANNE SMALLEY
Mar 24th 2020 11:53AM
As the coronavirus threat intensified in the U.S. in late February and early March, Fox News viewers received different information than Americans who got their news from other sources. Ben Smith, a longtime reporter and editor and the media critic at the New York Times, set out to understand why. His conclusion: Fox anchors consistently downplayed and even denied the existence of the coronavirus, a failure he blamed on Fox chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s laid-back management style, in contrast to the firm hand of longtime chief Roger Ailes, who resigned in 2016. 
No one with real power over the big talent was engaged enough with the network's coverage to rein in broadcasters who asserted that the virus was fake, Smith said. He believes the network's coverage of the virus, which is widely seen as a major black eye for Fox, caused unnecessary deaths.
On March 9, when 700-plus American coronavirus cases had been confirmed, Sean Hannity told Fox viewers that political enemies of President Trump were using the virus to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.” In an interview Tuesday with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Smith told hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman that Fox didn’t just echo the president, who consistently downplayed the virus, but went even further with comments like Hannity’s, which actually called it fake.
Asked for comment, a Fox spokeswoman pointed to a statement that condemned the “cherry picking of clips” from opinion programs as “the definition of politicizing this serious threat.” The statement also highlighted how the story has changed, saying the pandemic “has evolved considerably over the last few weeks.”
As public criticism mounted over the tone of the network’s coverage, News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch — Lachlan Murdoch’s father — reached out to Hannity with a warning to take the virus “seriously,” Smith reported. Fox host Tucker Carlson, whose reporting on the coronavirus was more aligned with mainstream medical advice, is now the object of scorn by rivals within the network who believe he is burnishing his reputation for independence at their expense.
Fox, which remains a powerful and lucrative media outlet with a firm grip on its audience and advertising dollars, might not be punished, Smith said — other than by facing the likely “consequences ... that some of their viewers will die.”
Smith believes the knee-jerk tendency among Fox commentators to defend Trump vigorously against criticism by the mainstream media caused them to lose sight of the substance of the story itself. Internally, some people at the network took the danger of COVID-19 seriously. Smith reported that Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott was concerned enough that she took proactive steps to better sanitize the network's cafeteria. But Scott had no influence over on-air coverage, and Fox hosts dismissed the threat until mid-March, when the White House itself began taking a different view.
Fox would likely not have lost its way on a story this major as recently as a few years ago, Smith said. Ailes — the former Fox News chairman and trusted Murdoch confidant who died in disgrace in 2017 after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct and rape — always resisted allowing politicians to dictate Fox coverage. 
Smith believes that is no longer the prevailing attitude at the network. The president is personally close to certain Fox anchors, who Smith said often do not share Ailes’s view that “the politicians worked for him and not vice versa.”
The editor of BuzzFeed from 2012 until his recent hiring by the Times, Smith is known to be an astute media observer. Like many big stories, he said, the coronavirus has put the spotlight on great work from individual reporters, outlets and even platforms themselves. Social media coverage of the virus has been spectacular, Smith said, and has been particularly valuable as a forum for doctors and epidemiologists to speak to the public directly. In January, when many people were inclined to believe the conventional wisdom that the coronavirus was overhyped, Smith said, the “voices of both epidemiologists and doctors and nurses on social media ... cut through” when nothing else did. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Cure Worse than the Disease? And Other Virus-related Items




Required Reading

An article in today’s New York Times suggests that the President is beginning to feel that more damage can be done to the nation by some of the steps necessary to fight the coronavirus than the virus itself is causing.   Massive layoffs, business failures, a collapse of consumer consumption, and a stock market collapse, destroying many businesses, financial houses and investments, in the eyes of some, are worse for the nation than letting the coronavirus wreak havoc on Americans.   Read the article, by Maggie Haberman and David Sanger by CLICKING HERE.   or looking for it at:


Imagine a military commander whose task is to capture a hill.  In planning his tactics, he considers how many of his men will die in the attempt, and that goes into his decision.   That is a wartime decision made every day during a war. 


President Trump seems to think that resurrecting the struggling economy, crippled by restrictions to lessen the impact of the coronavirus, is worth the additional deaths which loosening those restrictions will bring about.   These are bad thoughts coming from the mind of a bad person, our president.
JL

Making Social Distancing Work

The key to making social distancing work is enforcement.   Some beaches in Florida are still open (but not in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties) and that’s fine if they are broad enough to allow beachgoers to stay far, far apart.  (Until they shut the Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park, I went there and was able to stay at least 25 to 30 feet from the nearest other person).  Unfortunately, on many of the beaches still open, closely packed crowds are permitted to gather, often vacationing college students who will bring the virus back to their schools and families.  Florida Governor DeSantis must bear the blame for any resulting deaths.

How does the government enforce social distancing rules, be they state or local rules?  They could arrest violators but anywhere they took them would only amount to more dangerous close contact.  Their names and addresses should be taken and substantial fines eventually levied against them (if they survive.)  This is a matter for governors to deal with since the Federal Government is unable or unwilling to do this.  In one State, Mississippi, the governor suggests prayer as an additional tool in combatting the virus.  Faith and prayer may comfort some, but it loses out in effectiveness to mandatory social distancing.   Mississippians find this a difficult concept to grasp, including their governor.
JL


About Senator Paul

It’s unclear that Senator Rand Paul knew he was testing positive for Covid19 when he visited the Senate gym yesterday morning and lunched with fellow Senators the day before.  Even if he didn’t have the test results then, he must have at least known he was being tested for one reason or another.  Most charitably, let’s concede he was tested and got the results after his Sunday gym workout.

As an MD, he certainly should have been practicing greater social distancing.  But look at his first name, Rand!  He is named after the author of the books which are the bibles of libertarianism (”Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”), of minimizing the government’s role in the lives of Americans.  That might explain his behavior.  After all, although a member of the Senate, his political beliefs swing between republicanism and anarchy, compromising on libertarianism. We wish him, and any he may have exposed to the Coronavirus, well.
JL


Bad Vibes in the Future for a Third World USA?


In my cloudy, take-with-a-grain-of-salt, cracked crystal ball, I see hints that it may only be a matter of time until the Joint Chiefs of Staff realize that our civilian government is not capable of handling the Coronavirus Pandemic on a national basis, despite the efforts of individual governors.  Recognizing that we are a third world country, as evidenced by the way we are presently addressing the problem of social distancing from a national government standpoint, they will do what any self-respecting third world military would do, that is, carry out a coup and take over the government, institute martial law, and start shooting people who disregard social distancing guidelines, and also those who interfere with the providing of needed equipment to doctors, nurses and hospitals, also to become the military “junta’s” responsibility.  If NRA inspired militia oppose the “junta,” the Marine Corps should be used to wipe them out.  The lives of millions of Americans are at stake.  No one wants it to happen this way, but do not discount the possibility.

Adios, amigos.
JL

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Pains Me


Pain

It pains me to see each State searching for, and bidding for, the medical equipment necessary to equip doctors, nurses and hospitals to deal with the Coronavirus Pandemic.  They are competing with each other, as well as national governments out there, for this stuff.  And, damn it, that is perfectly okay with the Administration in Washington, which is doing some bidding of its own.  If this adherence to competitive business practices, the free enterprise system and to blessed CAPITALISM is all we can muster, it’s time to consider using another system just for a while, one that functions better in a time of crisis, as we now are in.

I suggest that all manufacturing of, bidding for, gathering up of and distributing this material, be centered in the Federal government in Washington which would have and exercise total wartime powers.  A “czar” who understands the problem should be appointed to manage this effort.  The governor of New York or of Washington, both battle-tested, might be the one to be put in charge nationwide, and of course, Obama appointee Ron Klain, who has been there before during the Ebola threat, should be the general running the operation.   As for the President’s efforts, they just are not working.  Dr. Fauci should remain in charge, medically, but the rest of those participating in the daily briefings should just go home, including Donald Trump.
JL


Advice

And as for you and your loved ones, keep practicing "social distancing," and right now, go wash your hands again.  Even if not mandated to, stay home.  Carefully ration rare trips out for food and medicines.  And wipe down what you bring back with whatever disinfectant you can come up with.  Stay safe and well.