Posted by: Dr Churchill | March 25, 2020

Medicare for All — Time is Now — Because we should not allow a good crisis to go to waste…

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.”

Dear Friend,

As Congress negotiates what looks to be a huge corporate bailout — and a modest economic stimulus package — coronavirus cases continue to increase exponentially.

And lucky us — we are all looking ahead to a dimly lit future of an economic and a public health catastrophe.

Yet at the moment we are all Survivors and we need to give as well as to get help, the same way like we pulled together and helped each other after the 9/11 Saudi terrorist strikes at the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Back then New York City and the rest of the country came together and we need to do the same today. Because, today, once again, we need to mobilize all sectors of our society and all of our Emergency Services and the Military, in order to respond effectively to this virological attack and to all of the many crises that are expected to come forth from this.

What else might be coming down the pike, and what would our response look like?

For starters, at this phase of the epidemic — we need to stop rationing healthcare.

In the longer term we need much bigger changes, like Medicare for All.

Because if you’re worried about health care rationalizing, just look at us today, when we have shut down our entire economy to ration the for-profit health care from the richest sector of our Economy…

Now, much like many others — I call on you to come aboard because we all need to come together to beat this bug.

And indeed, we absolutely need to help each other, because we don’t have time for politics as usual.

Yet, I also know that in times like these, and in the midst of a crisis like the pandemic we are facing because of the current coronavirus — these sorts of calls for cooperation become the trite drumbeat in the midst of the cacophony of our daily lives, emanating from our radios and televisions ad nauseam.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, no centralized drumbeat ever gets everybody marching in sync in America and methinks that this is a good thing. Because fascism would have a difficult time catching roots here, since nobody wants to salute together in unison any Supreme leader, and certainly nobody is willing to walk in lockstep goose style amongst all the people that I know…

Yet, in deeply unequal societies like our own, a wealthy few can surely exploit such catastrophes to make themselves even wealthier.

Back in 2007, the economic meltdown amply showed how corporate elites worldwide have repeatedly and brutally used the public disorientation following a collective disaster, like the Covid-19 today, or the wars of the past, the various suspected and expected Coup D’Etat, the 9-11 Saudi terrorist attacks, our frequent market crashes, the natural disasters, Climate Change, and all manner of dislocations and shocks to the system — in order to push through radical wealth transfers that benefited largely the wealthy corporate owners.

Indeed nothing demonstrates this better, that the 2008 financial collapse, that vividly illustrated the bail out of the Wall Street giant banks and Investment Houses, whose recklessly criminal behavior brought about the financial collapse.

Indeed after that 2007 crisis, all the usual suspects, the big banks especially and their uber-wealthy shareholders — all ended up far bigger and far more powerful than before the crisis began, and certainly they outdistanced themselves from the rest of America.

Today, those same dynamics of wealth inequity, and social separation, if not social distancing ad infinitum — are all now resurfacing during the Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic Crisis.

Indeed, we are seeing, this very predictable process that we see in the midst of every economic crisis, which is extreme corporate opportunism ripping away at the economic fabric of our Society because they have a compliant government that they pretty much own, and in their pocket…

In response to this Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, Prez Trump is dusting off the Wall Street wishlist on everything from cutting and privatizing Social Security — by undermining its payroll tax revenue stream — to enriching the fossil fuel industry and its’ relations, airlines, hotels, and automobile industries, with huge bailouts.

So how can we prevent a repeat of the disastrously slow recovery of 2007-8 crisis?

For starters, we need to provide immediate support for those the coronavirus is hitting the hardest: the sick and those who care for them, as well as the workers who lose jobs and income.
But we can’t afford to stop there. We need, in effect, a “shock doctrine” in reverse. We need to seize the openings for change the coronavirus presents — and challenge the capacity of our rich and powerful to become ever richer and more powerful at the expense of everyone else.

One example: Within our increasingly coronavirus-ravaged economy, more and more families will be facing evictions. Progressive activists and officials are now quite rightfully calling for a coronavirus moratorium on evictions. And some officials are ready to listen, but not quite yet, like the governor Gavin Newsom — who is hedging his bets with his big Real Estate developers who are his basic funders, by not committing to a statewide ban.

But aside from the Governor of California and the other less forthcoming leaders out there — we have President Trump to Thank for some of the difficulties that we are now facing with this pandemic beast of a bug…

To be sure, the president isn’t responsible for either the onslaught of the Wuhan Coronavirus or the deaths and critically ill people that it causes, because no matter what President Trump couldn’t have stopped COVID-19 from hitting our shores, even if he had done everything right.

Nor is it the case that the president hasn’t done anything right. In fact, his decision to implement a travel ban on China was rather prudent early on.

So, any narrative that attempts to pin all of the blame on President Trump for the coronavirus epidemic, is simply unfair, and the temptation amongst the president’s critics to use the pandemic to get back at Trump for every bad thing he’s done, should be resisted, because if there is a time that we all need to get together, that time is now.

That said, the current leadership, including the President and the White House along with his administration, are responsible for the grave, costly and catastrophic errors committed early on when we started the fight against this beast of a bug.

Especially important setback, is the Trump administrations’ epic manufacturing failure in producing and distributing diagnostic testing kits.

Second major catastrophe, is their decision to test too few people.

Third, is the delay in expanding testing to labs outside the Centers for Disease Control.

Fourth is the general laxity about the well known problems with hoarding and profiteering in the supply chain for critically needed masks, medical protective equipment, respirators, oxygen, hand sanitizers, and for all the needs of the front line health care workers, that are sorely needed in order to keep them safe to be able to continue the battle against this monster disease.

And fifth is the jocular way that President Trump approached this epidemic from the get-go, and failed to place his serious face on this.

Now, because these mistakes have left us poor, blind and badly shaken, keeping us all far behind the curve — in aggregate, our President’s errors, have created a false sense of security in the mind of the public that has lulled us all to sleep for a few crucial weeks, and it is because of that we now pay the price…

Because what we now know, is that the coronavirus spread unfettered and silent, hiding under the table, amongst all of us, for several weeks, wrecking havoc to all Americans, and hijacking our health with us being unawares all the while doing jack-shit nothing, to stop it.

Instead, if we were aware earlier on — our containment and mitigation efforts could have been far more effective and thus we could have significantly slowed down the viral spread of COVID-19 at a far earlier, and far more easier to deal with critical point.

We lost that opportunity, due to the President’s power of positive thinking dog eared manual of how to be a presidential president.

This lost time can’t be retrieved anymore than the President’s errors can be retroactively corrected, because we cannot get back six weeks of inactivity and runaway infections. So, to the extent that there’s someone to blame here, the blame is on the chaotic management emanating from the White House and the failure of the President to acknowledge the seriousness of the disease and to see the big picture — all the while himself made light of the situation.

Screen Shot 2020-03-19 at 7.59.54 AM

Earlier this week, Anthony Fauci, the widely respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases whose reputation for honesty and integrity has been only enhanced during this crisis, admitted in congressional testimony that the United States is still not providing adequate testing for the coronavirus. “It is failing. Let’s admit it.” He added, “The idea of anybody getting testing easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. I think we should be, but we’re not.”

We also know the World Health Organization had working Wuhan Coronavirus tests that the United States refused, and researchers at a project in Seattle tried to conduct early tests for the coronavirus but were prevented from doing so by federal officials. Eventually, the Seattle Doctors at the research project, decided to perform all the coronavirus tests they had, without federal approval.

But that’s not all.

The president reportedly ignored early warnings of the severity of the virus and grew angry at a CDC official who in February warned that an outbreak was inevitable.

The Trump administration dismantled the National Security Council’s global-health office, whose purpose was to address global pandemics, and naturally now, we’re paying the price for that.

“We had worked very well with that office,” Dr Fauci told Congress.

“It would be nice if the office was still there” according to Dr Fauci…

“We may face a shortage of ventilators and medical supplies, and hospitals may soon be overwhelmed, certainly if the number of coronavirus cases increases at a rate anything like that in countries such as Italy. This would cause not only needless coronavirus-related deaths, but deaths from those suffering from other ailments who won’t have ready access to hospital care.”

Some of these mistakes are less serious and more understandable than others, because we always have to take into account that in government, when people are forced to make important decisions based on incomplete information in a compressed period of time — things could and usually do go wrong.

Yet in some respects, the avalanche of false information from the president has been most alarming of all.

It’s been one rock slide after another, the likes of which we have never seen.

Day after day after day he brazenly denied reality, in an effort to blunt the economic and political harm he faced.

Yet with this virus, President Trump is in the process of discovering that he can’t spin or tweet his way out of this killer pandemic, since there is no one who can do that to the coronavirus (lie about it) and get away with it for long…

Because it appears that the president’s misinformation and mendacity about the coronavirus are head-snapping, as he claimed that it was contained in America when it was actually spreading, and then he went on to claim that we had “shut it down” when we obviously never had…

The Prez, claimed that testing was available when it wasn’t.

He claimed that the coronavirus will one day disappear “like a miracle” yet anyone with medical knowledge can tell him that this will not happen overnight, or in a miraculous form. Simply this virus will not away quietly into the night.

Still the President doubled down, as he claimed that a vaccine would be available within weeks if not a couple of months…

Dr Fauci says it will not be available for more than a year or even far more.

President Trump, also falsely blamed the Obama administration for impeding coronavirus testing.

He stated that the coronavirus first hit the United States later than it actually did. He said that it was three weeks prior to the point at which he spoke, whereas the actual figure was more than double that.

The president claimed that the number of cases in Italy was getting “much better” when it was getting much worse. And in one of the more stunning statements an American president has ever made, Trump admitted that his preference was to keep a cruise ship off the California coast rather than allow it to dock, because he wanted to keep the number of reported cases of the coronavirus artificially low.

“I like the numbers,” Trump said. “I would rather have the numbers stay where they are. But if they want to take them off, they’ll take them off. But if that happens, all of a sudden your 240 [cases] is obviously going to be a much higher number, and probably the 11 [deaths] will be a higher number too.”

Thank God, cooler heads prevailed, and over the president’s objections, the Grand Princess was allowed to dock at the Port of Oakland and the paying passengers allowed to disembark and were sequestered in Miramar in San Diego, whereas the crew was shunted inside the stricken ship and ordered back out to sea…

And thus the saga of the President’s gaffes go on and on… and apparently will continue to surprise exactly no one as the Epidemic spreads far and deep within the human fabric of our country.

Yet, to make matters worse, the president delivered an Oval Office address that was meant to reassure the nation and the markets but instead shook both.

The president’s delivery was awkward and stilted. Worse yet, because at several points, the president, who decided to ad-lib the teleprompter speech, misstated his administration’s own policies, which the administration had to correct.

Stock futures plunged even as the president was still delivering his speech. In his address, the president called for Americans to “unify together as one nation and one family,” despite having referred to Washington Governor Jay Inslee as a “snake” days before the speech and attacking Democrats the morning after it.

All of this taken together, represents a massive failure in leadership that stems from a massive defect in character of an egomaniac President Trump who is such a habitual hyperbolic liar, that is seemingly incapable of being honest, even when being honest would serve his own personal and political interests.

Sadly because of the stresses of the Wuhan Coronavirus Epidemic, President Trump has revealed himself to be impulsive, shortsighted, and undisciplined, to the extent that he seems unable to discipline his mind in order to plan or even think beyond the current moment.

Seems to me that President Trump is always extemporizing and improvising his response in a reactive manner, and not in a disciplined putting way that the Ship of State requires in order to make the U-turns necessary to solve this.

And his feisty, fighting and pugilistic personality further undermines him, because he is presented as such a divisive and polarizing figure that has lost the ability to unite the nation under any circumstances and for any cause.

And if President Trump is so narcissistic and unreflective that he is completely incapable of learning from his mistakes, then the president’s disordered personality makes him as ill-equipped to deal with a crisis as any president has ever been.

Sadly now, I’ve come to the conclusion, that with few exceptions, whatever President Trump has said about the Coronavirus epidemic — is not just useless, but it is downright injurious.

Still, the nation is recognizing this, and treating him as an innocent bystander, as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president, and that makes our Leader, President Donald Trump to start shrinking before our very eyes.

Thus the Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic, is quite likely to be the Trump presidency’s inflection point, when everything changed, when the bluster, the ignorance and the shallowness of America’s 45th president became undeniable, as an empirical reality, and as indisputable as the laws of Gravity, and as self evident, as the Pythagorean theorem.

So, now it is up to us.

As I said many times before we ought to democratize medicine for ourselves.

Get tested.

Do the self test as I have advocated and send the Q-tip swab to the nearest public or private laboratory operating for this epidemic in your immediate vicinity.

Now, we, the people, have to do this, and we have to use this crisis as the once in a lifetime chance, to go much further.

Medicare for all has arrived.

Let’s not backstep on this.

Instead let us bookend it with buttressing laws and regulations that will easily be passed now in the midst of this epidemic the same way that my grandfather WINSTON CHURCHILL built the UK’s National Health Care System by inviting the noted Cambridge Economist William Beveridge, to produce this report in the midst of the existential Second Words War during 1942 for how to keep all the military hospitals and war time clinics and auxiliary convalescence centers open even after the war. This was the basis of the report Social Insurance and Allied Services that served as the basis for the post-World War II National Healthcare System of England and the UK that has been declared as the best Health Care System in the World for the last 70 years running…

That is not welfare state policy but a simple National Security policy of Winston Churchill that sought to keep his population healthy and in good fighting spirits…

So, I ask you this: Why not use this current crisis, as a tool in order to rewrite the statutes that let corporate insurance companies and health care providers get aways with murder and enrich themselves at the expense of all of the American people and especially the vulnerable families in the first place, as we’ve seen that we pay as a nation upwards of 19% of our GDP for health care services that do not even cover 60% of our population?

This epidemic of the Coronavirus crisis, also gives us an opportunity to use the public purse to shift our economy towards greater equity and sustainability. The core of this mechanism ought to be a massive public investment program designed to create good jobs, with a premium on projects that better position our economy to address health care epidemics like this one, or even bigger things like climate change, and the looming Third World War…

Yet we could also use these funds to reverse some of the inequality that makes economic crises so dangerous to begin with.

Various industries are already clamoring for federal loan guarantees and other bailouts to get them past the coronavirus crisis, yet for immediate bailout funds, policymakers should consider attaching pro-worker strings and family bailouts, and not just fat cat bailouts.

We could deny, for instance, tax-dollar support to private companies that pay their CEOs over 50 or 100 times what they pay their most typical workers. Moves in that direction would give top execs an incentive to pay workers more — and exploit them less.

Back in the early to mid-20th century America, a time of much greater equality than we have now, corporate top execs only averaged 30 times more pay than their workers. That more equal America proved resilient enough to overcome a fearsome polio epidemic and prosper.

That more equal America, let’s remember, also emerged out of the back-to-back crises of the First World War, the 1929 Great Depression and the Second World War against fascism.

And it was in the midst of all that when the progressive people of America seized the opportunity those crises had created and changed the face of American society.

So tell me again, why we can’t do it now…

Now, if you feel angry about all this — well, you should, because the people at the top screwed things up, really really badly. But along the way they also screwed all of us too. And now, methinks that this crisis might actually be the opportunity that we’ve been waiting for and we need to grab it before it gets wasted and built Medicare for All regardless of any cost considerations because we se it working now and Thanks God for the Coronavirus, since it will serve as the divine tool that will bring us finally all together again.

And He knows that we need to get together again, after all these ages and ages that we’ve been drifting apart.

So, in conclusion — please stay safe out there, or in there, wherever it is that you are sheltering in place.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Allen Ginsberg’s beat poem “Howl” booklets, were confiscated by U.S. Customs agents who deemed the work obscene.

This I still do not understand because the poem begins simply like this:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.”

–Allen Ginsberg


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