Under mounting lawsuits and immense public condemnation, the Trump administration on Tuesday said it would rescind the dangerous and cruel Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy forcing international students to either attend in-person classes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic or leave the U.S.
“The hearing was over before it began, essentially,” tweeted American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. “After NINE lawsuits filed, DHS backs down completely and revokes the guidance before it's bound by a court.”
This is a California bluebell, which I’ve shown you before. But I especially like this picture, with the background so far away that the flowers pop out really vividly. It almost looks artificial, but it’s not! No Photoshop tricks on this one.April 5, 2019 — Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park, Orange County, California
Early on in the presidential primary, Joe Biden seemed to be solidly middle-of-the-road on almost every issue. That was certainly true of the environment. In a race where Gov. Jay Inslee had made climate change his central issue, and where Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were both pushing comprehensive environmental plans related to the Green New Deal, Biden’s early positions seemed somewhat reserved.
But the speech that Joe Biden delivered on Tuesday showed that he has fully absorbed the need for a dramatic change that would reshape both America’s energy policy and the economy. In a 20-minute address that also took time to punch Donald Trump for his failures to listen to experts in dealing with COVID-19, Biden presented the outlines of a policy that’s genuinely bold, and a view of how the economy and environment are related that was aimed squarely at ending the false dichotomy between good jobs and a clean future.
Senior Trump administration officials have begun signaling their willingness to approve a narrow extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits helping tens of millions of jobless Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
….One potential compromise discussed by Republican lawmakers would involve cutting the unemployment benefit from $600 per week to between $200 and $400 per week and making up at least part of the difference by sending another round of $1,200 stimulus payments, these people said.
….White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that the administration is opposed to the $600-per-week increase but would not rule out the administration agreeing to a more limited expansion of the benefit. Maintaining unemployment insurance benefits at current levels “does not incentivize returning to work,” Deere said in an email. “UI reform is a priority for this White House in any phase four package and we are in ongoing discussions with the Hill.”
It’s not that the disincentive to work is hogwash. It really is true that the $600 UI bonus is big enough that it makes total UI benefits bigger than normal pay for a lot of low-income workers. But this only matters when people are using this as a reason not to work. Right now, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, mortality is rising, and states are shutting down again. That’s why people aren’t going back to work.
In any case, I’d be willing to compromise on a $400 bonus plus a new round of stimulus checks. The UI bonus is more tightly focused on people out of work, but the stimulus checks go out to everyone, which makes up for some of the folks genuinely in need but who don’t qualify for UI. It’s not a bad combination.
The important thing, though, is to get moving on this. We already know that states need time to get their UI machinery going, and Treasury needs time to print stimulus checks. It’s stupid to make millions of people wait and wonder about if they can pay next month’s rent while Congress dithers. Do it now.
There are over 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County, California. That’s more than 19 U.S. states. It’s more than all of Japan. Twice the count of South Korea. And yet, on Monday evening, the Orange County Board of Education met and, by a 4-1 vote, put forward a plan to reopen schools without requiring masks or enforcing any form of social distancing. That proposal doesn’t just violate the guidelines for school reopening set by the CDC, it goes against the plan put together by the Orange County Department of Education … which is, apparently, a completely different entity. What the board passed is a plan they say was compiled from a “community forum,” and is a perfect illustration of why these decisions can’t be left to individual school boards. Anyone who thinks there’s no district that will put children at risk for purely political reasons, has clearly never met America.
What the Orange County board did was simply endorse what they’re being told by Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—the two officials who, you would like to think, would have the welfare of the children at heart. But as Republicans look for leverage to push children back into a crowded indoor environment where they remain for hours at a time—the perfect recipe to spread the virus—Democrats are looking to fund the infrastructure and safety measures that will allow schools to conduct classes remotely, or to open safely in areas where that’s possible. To make that happen, they’re going to have to get past Trump, and DeVos, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The U.S. farming industry may never be the same in the wake of Donald Trump's skyrocketing taxpayer-funded payments to the sector, warn policy experts and watchdog groups, according to Politico.
Trump has been shoveling cash to farmers in order to try to offset the massive hit they've taken from his ongoing trade disputes and tariff wars with China and other countries. And Trump’s cataclysmic handling of the coronavirus has only heightened farmers’ pain. But as subsidies ballooned from $11.5 billion in 2017 to $32 billion this year, experts fear weaning farmers off the government-subsidized cash cow could prove next to impossible.
I’ve been aware that guards at private detention prisons have pepper-sprayed detained immigrants protesting their ongoing detention amid the novel coronavirus pandemic because I’ve written about it. Many Daily Kos community members have been aware that guards at private detention prisons have pepper-sprayed detained immigrants because they’ve read about it here and elsewhere. It’s happened. We know this. It’s fact.
Yet Mother Jones reports that two executives from two private prisons where a number of incidents have been reported—and in at least one instance confirmed by the company itself—claimed to Congress that they had no knowledge about any of that. A third executive, meanwhile, massively downplayed the truth: “GEO Group CEO George Zoley said he was aware of one incident in California,” the report said. In reality, there’s been at least five.
Five. Point. Four. Million. That's how many people Families USA estimates to have lost their health insurance with their employment in the coronavirus pandemic—and that's just up until June. This is the biggest increase in insurance loss ever, bigger than the great recession when 3.9 million lost their insurance over a full year. This time around 5.4 million lost their insurance in just four months.
"We knew these numbers would be big," Stan Dorn, study author and director of Families USA's National Center for Coverage Innovation told The New York Times. "This is the worst economic downturn since World War II. It dwarfs the Great Recession. So it's not surprising that we would also see the worst increase in the uninsured." What's more surprising is that so far the government hasn't done much about it, other than the Trump administration's lawsuit at the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Oh, right. That's not doing anything to help—that's making the whole situation worse!
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A 15-year-old Black girl was sent to juvenile detention for more than a month during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic for failing to complete remote schoolwork even after the teen’s teacher said she was “not out of alignment” with most of the teacher’s other students. The teen, identified in a ProPublica Illinois article as Grace, was sent to suburban Detroit to stay at the Oakland County Children’s Village in mid-June, the journalism nonprofit reported.
Judge Mary Ellen Brennan of the Oakland County Family Court Division ruled that Grace was “guilty on failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school.” Brennan also called Grace a “threat to (the) community” after she reportedly violated probation by not completing the schoolwork. Grace was originally charged with assault and theft. “She hasn’t fulfilled the expectation with regard to school performance,” Brennan said at a sentencing hearing. “I told her she was on thin ice and I told her that I was going to hold her to the letter, to the order, of the probation.”
Colbert Back at Home: Trump's New Coronavirus Plan: Threaten America's Schools, Trash Dr. Fauci in the Press
Instead of drafting a plan to address America's spike in Covid-19 cases, President Trump has chosen to undercut the credibility of his public health experts and push public schools to reopen without a national plan for keeping kids, teachers and families safe. #Colbert #StephenAtHome #Monologue
Even back at the very beginning of the pandemic, it was easy to calculate the scale of the potential threat. At the time, the disease was generating over a 4% fatality rate in China, and epidemiologists were predicting that, left unchecked, an infection rate of 70% could be executed in dealing with a highly infectious, novel disease where there was no underlying pool of immunity. That’s over 9 million dead in America alone. That’s how the worst-case scenario for COVID-19 looked then. That’s how it still looks now.
The response to that kind of staggering threat was clear: Reduce the rate of transmission. By slowing the spread of the disease, hospitals would not be overwhelmed, doctors and scientists would have more time to investigate treatments and vaccines, and patients could benefit from the latest knowledge. To make that happen, it was critical to impose strict social distancing—lockdowns—that broken the chain of transmission. As a number of studies are starting to show, those lockdowns worked. In fact, they have already been effective to the tune of saving millions of lives. And that evidence needs to get more attention, because it’s past time to lock down again.
According to Families USA, about 5.4 million non-elderly Americans (i.e., those without Medicare) have lost their health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic:
It goes without saying that this is insane. More than 5 million working-age people have lost their health insurance during a pandemic. The bulk of the newly uninsured are in the South, in states that refused to expand Medicaid after Obamacare was passed. The rest lost their employer health care when they were furloughed and couldn’t afford to replace it. And of course, the states where lack of insurance is the worst are the same states where COVID-19 is rising the fastest:
If there’s anything that could convince the American public that our current hodgepodge of health insurance is broken, this ought to be it. I’ll just repeat the bottom line in case anyone missed it:
More than 5 million working-age people have lost their health insurance during a pandemic.
Insanity. We need universal health care. We need it now.
Record numbers of Americans are filing for unemployment. The unemployment systems across the country, already hamstrung by conservative bogus bootstrap sabotaging, have left tens of millions of Americans in need of assistance. Meanwhile, our country’s leadership continues its do-nothing-for-Americans-without-money approach to dealing with our current economic and public health crisis. And so with at least 50 million people filing for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, what did Donald Trump and his bestest advisers come up with?
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the White House is backing a new “ad campaign” that will “encourage people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs or careers to ‘find something new.’” Find something new. This is reportedly the brainchild of Trump’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Ivanka Trump, probably best known for being just as untalented and narcissistic as her father, promoted the new program along with the companion website on her Twitter account, saying, “Jobs are changing—and the Covid-19 has accelerated the pace. Today we are launching http://FindSomethingNew.org a website that highlights edu pathways, info about rising careers, a directory of services like childcare, food assistance and Internet access.”
A court ruling that immigrant rights advocates hoped could secure the urgent release of children and parents together from migrant family jails never came on Monday. NBC News reports that a federal judge overseeing an ongoing case seeking the release of parents said he won’t issue a ruling until next week, after a Friday deadline set by another judge for the release of children. What this means is that in the coming days the administration may be set to repeat one of the darkest periods in modern U.S. history.
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey has for years been a stalwart ally of Daily Kos and the progressive movement in a way few others have been. That’s why we’re proud to endorse this singular public servant in the Democratic primary on Sept. 1.
Daily Kos seldom gets involved in primaries, but we’re engaging this time because the Senate would be a much poorer place without Markey in it. His unflagging dedication as a force for progress is why we need his help getting our country back on track. On the issues, Markey can't be beat. For experience, Markey can't be beat.
Montana is quite the action hotspot this election season! According to Civiqs’ first poll of the state, we have a 1) competitive presidential race, 2) a competitive governors race, 3) a competitive Senate race, and 4) a competitive House race (Montana only has one House seat).
For a state that impeached dunderhead Donald Trump won 56-36 in 2016, this is a remarkable turn of events.
Back in 2016, Amanda Reyes and some friends were active in Tuscaloosa as escorts at the West Alabama Women’s Center, one of the Cotton State’s three remaining clinics providing abortions. They had tossed around the idea of starting a fund to provide financial assistance to people who cannot afford abortions, but that meant a big commitment. When Donald Trump got elected, they decided to move ahead with the idea.
They were off to a slow start. As Marissa Endicott wrote last year, unlike Planned Parenthood, which provides a broad range of reproductive health services, the Yellowhammer Fund, like dozens of other such funds part of the National Network of Abortion Funds, only provides assistance related to abortion, including travel costs and logistics. That had made it harder to get donors even though Alabama is one of the nation’s poorest states, with the impacts of economics and laws restricting abortion falling most heavily on Black and other people of color.
Here’s the coronavirus death toll through July 13. Europe and Canada are fine. Argentina might be plateauing, but probably not. Mexico is hard to make sense of. And the United States is continuing its post-reopen rebound.