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Hometown: fly over country
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2005, 08:23 AM
Number of posts: 394
Hometown: fly over country
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2005, 08:23 AM
Number of posts: 394
Yves here. This discussion from the BBC gives a damning picture of the performance of the supposedly “best of all possible worlds” US health care system has been in dealing with Ebola:
The Dallas Presbyterian Hospital treated one Liberian, Thomas Duncan, who died. From caring for him, two nurses have now contracted the disease.
Nearly 80 health workers are under observation. It is claimed by the biggest nursing union that those charged with his care did not have the right protective clothing, flesh was exposed, there were no clear guidelines of what to wear, how to wear it, and how to disrobe.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concedes that it is possible flesh was left exposed when treating Duncan. And that is why among those nearly 80 still under observation, no one can rule out the possibility that there will be further cases.
This is a crude, and damning, statistic but so far Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) has treated thousands of people in West Africa with Ebola, and has seen 16 medical workers contract the disease. This hospital in Dallas has treated just one patient, and has two sick healthcare staff.
Posted by Sam1 | Fri Oct 17, 2014, 11:37 AM (10 replies)
The risk from Ebola is greater than it seems. Not only is it out of control in Africa, there is no reasonable chance it will be brought under control in Africa: it will have to burn itself out. This is because the countries simply do not have the administrative capacity to handle it: not enough beds, nurses, isolation suits, money, etc… The best plan I’ve seen for helping them is Vinay Gupta’s suggestion to use survivors are the primary care givers in community centers. (Note that community centers not run by survivors would likely increase the spread of Ebola, not decrease it.)
Fundamentally, however, the decision point for handling Ebola properly passed in the 70s and 80s, when neo-liberalism, the IMF and Western bankers conspired to reduce the growth rate of Africa from its post-colonial high to below its population growth rate. The governments in question do not have the capacity to handle Ebola, and no one is going to send over enough nurses, doctors and equipment to make a difference. Even if they did, the administrative problems of these countries, lack of infrastructure and distrust in Western medicine mean they would be less effective than you think.
Posted by Sam1 | Fri Oct 10, 2014, 08:29 AM (0 replies)
For half a century beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, there was a direct connection between the problems that afflicted American society and the remedies on offer from our democratic system.
High unemployment? The New Deal, the World War II mobilization, and the postwar boom took care of that.
Stagnant wages? With unions, growing productivity, minimum wage laws, and other regulation of labor standards -- American real wages tripled.
Education? The G.I. bill, massive investment in public universities, community colleges, and later in public elementary and secondary education produced a better educated and more productive population. And until the 1980s, public higher education was basically free.
The exclusion of blacks from the American dream? A mass movement and a revolution in civil rights law made a big down-payment on redeeming the promise of Lincoln.
Posted by Sam1 | Mon Sep 29, 2014, 06:19 AM (0 replies)
Before the “no” vote on Scotland’s independence, The New York Times, carried a post by Neil Irwin in the Upshot making the point that the then upcoming vote “shows a global crisis of the elites.” He argues that the independence drive reflects “. . . a conviction — one not ungrounded in reality — that the British ruling class has blundered through the last couple of decades.” He also thinks that this applies to the Eurozone and the United States to varying degrees, and is “. . . a defining feature of our time.”
Irwin then updated his first post last night, expanding it and recognizing the victory of the “no” votes in the referendum. His new post did not add anything essential to his “global crisis of the elites” diagnosis, so the references and quotations below come solely from his pre-vote post. But the points made apply equally well to his update.
To summarize his argument, for decades now, the elites in major modern, industrial nations have committed leadership blunders and created great discontent among the citizens of their nations, to the point where their polices have contributed to damaging their economies seriously, and the rise of popular resistance embodied in extremist parties and independence movements. Elites have had vast power, but have not lived up to their responsibilities to serve the people of their nations. Discontent with their actions and results is so high that many are questioning the legitimacy of the very governing institutions that claim to serve them, and are exhibiting a greater and greater willingness to do something about these institutions and the policies that they and the elites are generating. Scotland is but one example of that, and his implication is that more examples are in the offing.
It’s significant, some might say even remarkable, that Irwin’s article appeared in The New York Times, since it is a flat out criticism of elite leadership over a number of decades and a warning to elites to improve their performance or deal with the consequences. But I think it still misses the most important question. That question is whether there is a global crisis of elites or a global crisis of democracies? I’m afraid I think that the crisis of elite leadership is only a symptom of the underlying cause of a broader global crisis of democracy.
The Global Crisis of Democracy
Think about it. Irwin is describing a situation in which the elites have been failing their citizens for decades now, following neoliberal economic policies that have resulted in increasing inequality and the renewed appearance of extreme economic instability, and doing this while they continuously mislead the public about their poor performance, using the power of the money that supports them and permeates the mass media.
Posted by Sam1 | Wed Sep 24, 2014, 07:47 AM (2 replies)
Bookies call it the “vig,” insurers call it a “PPO Repricing Fee”
You’ve made your money and you’ve left your skid marks on the world. Now you want to fulfill one of your teenage fantasies – owning a red ’57 Chevy (forget the other fantasies – those women are by now all either deceased or decrepit).
I’m a car broker. You hire me to find your dream car, and I get 20% of any savings I can negotiate.
Seller #1 has the car you want. Asking price is $60,000, and I get him down to $55,000.
Seller #2 has the same car in much better condition for $54,000, but he won’t budge on the price.
Which car will you end up with?
Posted by Sam1 | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:10 AM (2 replies)
"Folks, they want to destroy public education," the state Senate minority leader told a room full of supporters last year. He said it as though he had just figured it out.
Since the Republican sweep in 2010, Democrats have spent so much time in state capitols defending against one frontal assault after another coming from yards away. They tend not to notice troop movements on the fringes of the political battlefield. Is The Village any different?
Outside the bubbles, it's been clear for years that destroying public education is where charters, vouchers, and online schools are taking us under the guise of helping the disadvantaged. But one rarely sees it put so bluntly as this week. The WaPo's Valerie Strauss quotes the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of public policy and economic development:
Posted by Sam1 | Mon Sep 1, 2014, 11:49 AM (2 replies)
The militarization of the police has been underway since 9/11, but only in the aftermath of the six-shot killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, with photos of streets in a St. Louis suburb that looked like occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, has the fact of it, the shock of it, seemed to hit home widely. Congressional representatives are now proposing bills to stop the Pentagon from giving the latest in war equipment to local police forces. The president even interrupted his golfing vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to return to Washington, in part for “briefings” on the ongoing crisis in Ferguson. So militarization is finally a major story.
And that’s no small thing. On the other hand, the news from Ferguson can’t begin to catch the full process of militarization this society has been undergoing or the way America’s distant wars are coming home. We have, at least, a fine book by Radley Balko on how the police have been militarized. Unfortunately, on the subject of the militarization of the country, there is none. And yet from armed soldiers in railway stations to the mass surveillance of Americans, from the endless celebration of our “warriors” to the domestic use of drones, this country has been undergoing a significant process of militarization (and, if there were such a word, national securitization).
Posted by Sam1 | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 09:04 PM (2 replies)
Think of the new “caliphate” of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe’s colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood.
Had George and Dick not decided on their “cakewalk” in Iraq, had they not raised the specter of nuclear destruction and claimed that Saddam Hussein’s regime was somehow linked to al-Qaeda and so to the 9/11 attacks, had they not sent tens of thousands of American troops into a burning, looted Baghdad (“stuff happens”), disbanded the Iraqi army, built military bases all over that country, and generally indulged their geopolitical fantasies about dominating the oil heartlands of the planet for eternity, ISIS would have been an unlikely possibility, no matter the ethnic and religious tensions in the region. They essentially launched the drive that broke state power there and created the kind of vacuum that a movement like ISIS was so horrifically well suited to fill.
This has an interesting slant in that the author thinks the U.S. is both opposing and supporting ISIS. That we are opposing them in Iraq and at the same time supporting them in Syria by supporting the opposition a large part of which, according to the author, is ISIS.
Posted by Sam1 | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 12:00 PM (3 replies)
Summary: Events in Ferguson display some of the problems plaguing the Republic — our unresolved racial conflicts, sclerotic governing institutions, and most importantly our weakness as citizens. Decades of propaganda have erased from our minds our history of successful collective action, and replaced it with a mostly false belief in markets and individuals. It’s left us as atomized consumers, incapable of effectively becoming leaders and followers and so governing ourselves. It makes us sheep. We can do better.
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
— Edmund Burke (English statesman and philosopher), Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770)
Posted by Sam1 | Tue Aug 19, 2014, 07:21 AM (0 replies)
Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?
You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.
You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.
On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students (one a high school senior, the other the father of an 18-month-old baby) with shotguns and wounded twelve others.
There was no national outcry. The nation was not mobilized to do anything. That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.
Posted by Sam1 | Mon Aug 18, 2014, 07:15 PM (4 replies)