Tag Archives: health care

india is the republican’s idea of the future

In the past two days I have listened to three interviews with Indian journalist Barkha Dutt about the stunning second wave of COVID deaths in India.  Dutt lost her own father to COVID within the past week.  She comes from what she describes as a privileged family in India, but even so, she was not able to get the medical attention that could have kept her father alive.  The desperation in her reporting and in her voice are inescapable.

After it became apparent that a second wave of COVID was out of control in India, a number of journalists posted photographs of vastly overburdened crematoriums operating all over the country.  There was also video footage of hospitals that are so over run patients are laying on the ground, or on flattened paper boxes with IV feeds hanging from the limbs of trees.  Family members are desperately running from hospital to hospital seeking medical attention for loved ones, and individually searching for oxygen and taking it to those lucky enough to be in hospitals.

According to Dutta, India was incredibly complacent after the first wave of COVID.  Most people thought the worst was behind them.  The Indian government failed to buy adequate supplies of vaccines to cope with a possible second wave, rejected the idea of buying vaccines that weren’t completely made in India and even gave vaccine away after the first wave.  Politicians continued to have enormous rallies without any social distancing or masking and the government allowed masses to gather for religious services.

Now, a second wave has hit India and even the official statistics of deaths are stunning. And, as Dutt reports, the official statistics, alarming as they are, are grossly underreporting the number of deaths.  Dutt has talked to crematorium workers who report burning over 120 bodies a day.  This is one crematorium in one location.  Government statistics for that region, report something like 47 deaths for the entire city. 

Dutt has said that she can’t even estimate how extensive the underreporting is.  She said that she has seen instances where there is as much as a four-fold difference between the official statistics and those she estimates for a city. 

To add to the problem, some testing facilities have been asked to decrease the amount of testing so that there will not be so many cases reported.  This is reminiscent of actions taken by the Trump administration when COVID case counts became politically embarrassing.

Dutt argues that the Indian government was outrageously complacent and did not adequately prepare for the possibility of a second wave of COVID.  She also reports that people in India while initially forgiving of the mistakes of the government, are now angry.

Some people are blaming health care workers for the lack of vaccines and infrastructure, but in fact, it is the fault of the government.   Citizens, she says, have been left to fend for themselves.  Whether you survive this pandemic depends on who you know and how strong you are.  It is survival of the richest and the most connected.  People feel that they are out there all alone, she says.  There is no state apparatus to turn to for help at the hospitals or the crematoriums.  It is just every person on their own fighting for resources.  You can hear the fear and desperation and anger in her voice.

This is what the social configuration looks like when the state breaks down in a complex society.  This is exactly what the Republicans have in mind for this country.  They have worked for decades to destroy the faith people had in the government.  They have worked tirelessly to block any policy that would have allowed government to improve their lives of the citizenry.  They have blocked any policies which would have even allowed the government to function.  Republicans are against effective programs to deal with COVID because successful state intervention in a crisis might have caused people to start understanding and valuing the role of government in a complex society.  An effective government response to COVID might cause people to question whether the state is the enemy.

Numerous corporate journalists (who are like parrots) are now having a field day talking about how the Republicans have ceased to be ideological.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They have been and are now conducting an ideological fight for a world where life is each against all, where the wealthy and the powerful can secure access to health and clean food and clean water and the rest of us fight it out on the street as did Dutt’s family when they went to have her father cremated.

This is the world Republicans are ushering in.  The reality is staring us in the face every day, with every news report, but the reality is so disturbing Americans cannot and will not look at it.  They would prefer to watch corporate news hosts make celebrities out of the hundreds of thousands of people who needlessly died because of a refusal to allow the government to act. They would rather watch hosts quote rap lyrics as if they were great literature, follow the soap opera of the royal family, or  interview each other about their books (which all say that the institutions are holding and everything’s fine).  The American people would, in other words, prefer to do anything, anything but look at the stark reality of the world the Republicans are preparing us for.

And, we should remember that many of these Republicans have no investment in this world.  They truly believe that this is the “end times,” and that in a very short time they are going to be leaving the rest of us behind while they ascend to heaven.  So, far from being free of ideology, they have the most destructive ideology on the planet.  They believe that the worse things get the better because that brings us nearer to the end of the world.

If you want to know what that world is going to look like, just take a look close look at India.

Dutt was interviewed on Christine Amanpour’s nightly news program and by Ian Bremmer on his podcast, Gzero World (5/8/21)

further notes about protests in colombia

BBC:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56983865

•       The UN human rights office has accused Colombia’s security forces of using excessive force against protesters

•       They are particularly concerned about events in Cali on Monday, where police fired on protesters.

•       The government had argued that new taxes were necessary to mitigate Colombia’s economic crisis. 

•       The “reform” would have lowered the threshold at which salaries are taxed.

•       More than 800 people are reported to have been injured in clashes between police and protesters.

•       The response is predictable.  Officials claim that the police themselves were attacked and that the police were dealing with “criminal elements.”

Associated Press

https://hosted.ap.org/journalrecord/article/6ed35865fbe5487fe8cc36ddffba6a3c/corruption-economic-woes-spark-deadly-protests-colombia

•       The Associated press is reporting 26 people killed in protests in Colombia in recent weeks.

•       The police are arguing that rebel groups have infiltrated the protests and drug trafficking enterprises are funding the protests.

•       Police are heavily armed from years of dealing with drug trafficking.

Scotsman (5/7/21)

https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/what-is-happening-in-colombia-2021-protests-explained-as-continued-violence-against-demonstrators-claims-lives-3224866

•       The Scotsman is reporting as many as 37 people killed in clashes with police in Colombia.

•       The protests are also about the privatization of health care, something that wasn’t mentioned in the corporate media.

•       The Scotsman is also reporting 89 people missing.

•       Colombia is experiencing the third highest rate of covid deaths in Latin America.

elie mystal, writing in the nation @elienyc

Elie Mystal, today, writing in the Nation:

I would like to mourn her. But even Ginsburg herself realized there would be no time for that.

McConnell has already removed the filibuster rule for Supreme Court appointments, which means he needs only 50 votes to confirm a new justice (since the vice president breaks any ties), and he has 53 Republicans.

It’s not hard to see how McConnell will control his caucus. Remember, while some Republicans will occasionally furrow their brows in performative outrage at the latest Trump tweets, almost all of these people are in favor of the hardcore conservative legal policies Ginsburg spent her life opposing.

Republican senators might not like Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, but they love taking health care away from millions of people; they love the deregulation that leads to environmental destruction; and they consider it a moral imperative to reduce a pregnant woman to the legal status of a medical incubator…

Obama either didn’t anticipate McConnell’s unprecedented maneuver to block his nominee or thought that Garland’s moderate stances would cause other Republicans to resist McConnell’s gambit to block him.

These are people who support “…the right to bear shoulder-launched grenades…”

It would now seem like the list of potential Supreme Court nominees Trump produced last week was released with some kind of inside information about Ginsburg’s failing health

McConnell has proven that the composition of the Supreme Court is a function of raw political power.

We must do everything we can to stop McConnell from filling Ginsburg’s seat and, however that turns out, we must retake political power and reform a Supreme Court that has been irrevocably broken by McConnell’s ongoing hypocrisy.

MORNING RUNDOWN: Belarus, Putin, DoInJ; Barr, Post Office, RICO, “The Chickenshit Club”

joe biden

MORNING RUNDOWN

  • Widespread protests continue in Belarus. Protests have been happening in the major city of Khabarovsk for weeks after Putin “removed a popularly elected governor and replaced him with a hand-selected loyalist.  Putin is now in the position of allowing Lukashenko to flee to Russia (as he did with Yanukovych in Ukraine) and gobbling up parts of Balarus, or does he modulate his interference.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/08/15/putin-lukashenko-belarus-russia/
  • The Department of inJustice: The case against a company  charged with conspiring to defraud the government by orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere with the 2016 election was dropped in March by the Barr Justice Department.  This was a prosecution that had been pursued for two-years and was dropped weeks before the case was to come to trial. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/08/foreign-hackers-have-made-it-harder-us-prosecute-them
  • David Plouffe, along with others stress that the destruction of the effectiveness of the Post Office, is an emergency (see also Jesse Eisinger). He recommends prime-time hearings, now; subpoenas to Trump WH and other officials.  “This is a RICO case,” says Plouffe. Twitter  From the Democrats, silence, strongly worded letters.
  • Lest we Forget: Don McGahn is the nephew of mafia attorney, Pat McGahn, who brokered the AC Taj Mahal land deal between Donald Trump and mob boss, Little Nicky Scarfo.
  • Jesse Eisinger’s book “The Chickenshit Club” is one of the most important books in understanding what is happening with the Republican party and the Trump administration. Tweet (8/16/20)  “…cutting government and then pointing to a crippled government as proof that government doesn’t work has been a Republican strategy for 40 years.”  Republicans who are surprised at the inaction of the federal government in the pandemic and at the dismantling of the post office have not been paying attention to the policies of the Republican party they have been voting for.
  • Fascism not only “can happen here” it “has happened here.”  There have been other fascist movements in the United States.  Also, the Republicans are using flaws in the system to establish this Christian Nationalist authoritarian state.  Hint: Trump didn’t think of these flaws himself.     https://www.alternet.org/2020/08/expert-explains-how-trump-has-exploited-our-legal-infrastructure-to-advance-true-fascism-in-america/
  • Biden is already caving on health care for Americans. Democratic operatives tell “The Hill” that the most likely strategy is to “fix” Obamacare without providing a public option.   This is just one example of what a Biden/Harris administration will be like.  There will be repeated caving to corporate interests and the abandoning of the people they are begging to vote for them now.  “Powerful health care industry groups, ranging from drug companies to health insurers to hospitals, are strongly opposed to a public option, worried about its impact on their bottom line, and would fight any legislative push on the subject next year.  The industry is instead pushing the idea of a more modest ObamaCare fix that does not include a public option.”
  • https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/511909-battle-looms-over-biden-health-care-plan-if-democrats-win-big