If you’re one of the few people who stayed away from news over the weekend, a lot happened, most of it centered around the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
New York City is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with over 10,000 cases, while New York State has 15,000. New York City hospitals are filling to capacity and officials are quickly preparing overflow locations, including the Javits Center in Manhattan. ICU beds are the main concern as critical cases begin to outnumber the beds and ventilators on hand. Governors and mayors from several states pleaded with Trump this weekend to use the already-authorized Defense Protection Act to conscript large corporations into making crucial medical equipment and ventilators but Trump has thus far refused. And the USA is STILL short on tests, looking more and more like we are on the trajectory of Italy rather than South Korea. California is testing at a rate of 300 per million residents, while tiny South Korea is twenty times ahead.
Dutchess County recorded its first coronavirus death this weekend, and testing facilities are being set up at the Dutchess Stadium in Poughkeepsie (appointment needed) as well as drive thru sites in Fishkill and Kingston (doctor note needed).
Trump continues to speak daily to the media in long, rambling monologues that offer little new, useful or truthful information and instead seem to serve as opportunities for him to defend his prior decisions and boast about fictional accomplishments. It’s such a circus that Rachel Maddow on Friday called on the media to stop broadcasting the pressers live and instead only show edited versions that contain anything accurate or useful. But so far, no network has taken her advice.
It was also announced over the weekend that Republican Senator Rand Paul had tested positive for Covid-19. After the test was administered, Paul opted to continue his normal routine rather than self-isolate, going to a luncheon and working out in the Senate gym before receiving his positive result–which was a wildly reckless and selfish path to take. God only knows how many others Paul infected. Last year, after a fight with a neighbor, Paul had surgery to remove part of a lung so he is at increased risk of complications from the coronavirus. Also testing positive was disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, now in prison.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell spent yesterday cobbling together a coronavirus stimulus bill that would give the Trump administration carte blanche to disperse billions in aid to large corporations, which was obviously a non-starter for Democrats. And because Rand Paul and a few other Republicans were in isolation, McConnell didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill. Democrats asserted that taxpayer money should first be used to bail out people, not corporations. As NY Times columnist Paul Krugman tweeted:
“One cardinal rule for policy is NOT to give a deeply corrupt administration discretionary power to reward friends and punish enemies. Sure enough, the Senate bill tries to enable vast corruption with nothing for workers, of course. R’s will say–after months of delaying response–that we must act NOW NOW NOW. But aid to health care urgent; aid to laid-off workers urgent; aid to corporations can wait a bit for a decent bill.”
It would be profoundly irresponsible to give the corrupt Trump regime, notably Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the power to grant aid and loans to anyone they wanted, including Trump properties, without oversight or accountability. McConnell really wanted to pass something before close of business last night, but could not, and tried to pin the failure on Democrats rather than on the craven corporatist agenda of the GOP, but social media wasn’t buying it. Like so many other Republicans, McConnell was worried about the plunging stock market rather than our devastated fellow Americans.
Please call Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand and let them know we want the federal government to bail out people first, not corporations. And we want Trump to use the DPA to conscript corporations to make urgent medical equipment. Also feel free to let them know that you will never forgive nor forget Trump and his cabinet for lying and fiddling while New York City hospitals were overwhelmed. The only “hoax” in this scenario is Trump’s competence.
Senator Schumer: (202) 224-6542
Senator Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”