Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
Monday, April 27, 2020
Policymakers Extend Gaze to Life in Summer 2020
As we approach the two-month mark since coronavirus put American life on hold, policy and opinion-makers who have been drinking from the firehose of pandemic information in order to avert immediate disaster have begun to extend their gaze, making plans that will shape American life in the summer of 2020.
BY JACK CROWE
April 27, 2020
AS WE APPROACH THE TWO-MONTH MARK since coronavirus put American life on hold, policy and opinion-makers who have been drinking from the firehose of pandemic information in order to avert immediate disaster have begun to extend their gaze, making plans that will shape American life in the summer of 2020.
Some 54,000 Americans have died and nearly 1 million have been infected, but in the main hospitals have not been overwhelmed, even in hardest-hit New York City, and health experts are becoming more confident that we'll be spared the worst case scenario of 200,000 or more dead Americans. While no one is taking a victory lap, some room has opened up for politicians and public health policy-makers to begin making longer-term plans.
Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, on Sunday laid out for the first time her prediction that the U.S. will not return to anything resembling "normal" until at least September.
"Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another," Birx said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press.
While Birx seemed to put a damper on the idea that anyone will be attending concerts and ball games this summer, Birx did allow that a number of more moderately affected regions can safely begin to reopen. She even endorsed the initiative of a number of red-state governors who have already begun to loosen restrictions — despite the protestations of Democratic lawmakers and much of the D.C. and New York-based press.
"I've had really, very good conversations with a series of governors, and they've really been very insightful of how they're looking at this," Dr. Birx said when asked if she thought certain states were reopening businesses too early. "They understand the risk, and they talk about this not as turning on a light switch but slowly turning up the dimmer."
As Americans try to return to some version of long-term planning, Congress is doing the same.
Bruce Mehlmann has released a useful one-pager laying out the four oversight areas to watch this summer. Much of what Mehlmann presents is obvious enough: Congress will be focused on how to reform the healthcare system to increase surge capacity in the event of another pandemic. But in addition to those pressing concerns, he expects significant activity around the longer-term question of how best to deal with a Chinese Communist Party that represents such a clear threat to the rest of the world. We can expect an extensive investigation into the scale and mendacity of Beijing's cover up, as well as a real push from the more hawkish Republicans to begin clawing American supply chains back from China.
The effort to insulate America from Beijing's future negligence may well realign our politics as centrist Democrats buck their Trump-focused leadership to join Republicans in casting China as the central villain in the story of the pandemic.
Mexico said it has just over 100 people remaining in its government migrant centers after removing thousands over the past five weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mexico's National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement that it had removed migrants from 65 government facilities since March 21, following health and safety guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak. Last month, the Mexican government held 3,759 people, but that number has shrunk to 106 after 3,653 migrants were deported to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Those remaining in INM centers are awaiting the decisions on asylum requests or judicial hearings, or had asked permission to stay, a migration official told Reuters. (Reuters)
The European Union diluted a report detailing Chinese government disinformation about the spread of the coronavirus after Beijing threatened the 27-country bloc, the New York Times reported on Friday.
"China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image," the report initially said. "Both overt and covert tactics have been observed."
The report also noted that China had falsely accused French officials of making racist statements against World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. China, a major trading partner of the EU, blocked the report just before it was released. (New York Times)
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) suggested on Sunday that the government should deny visas to Chinese students who want to study science in the U.S.
"It's a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the Chinese Communist Party's brightest minds to go back to China, to compete for our jobs, to take our business and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people," Cotton said in an interview on Fox's Sunday Morning Futures. "I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas that we give to Chinese nationals to come to the United States to study, especially at the postgraduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields."
South Korea is confident that "there is nothing unusual" about the situation in North Korea, following reports that its leader Kim Jong-un is dead or gravely ill, a senior South Korean official said Sunday.
"Our government has enough information-gathering capabilities to say confidently that there is nothing unusual" about Kim's status, Kim Yeon-chul, South Korea's unification minister, said on Sunday, adding that the circulation of rumors amounted to an "infodemic."
South Korea has continuously denied reports that Kim is seriously ill, with President Moon Jae-in's spokesman saying earlier this month that South Korea "has so far detected no special signs inside North Korea," after Daily NK, a South-Korean online newspaper, reported that Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. Kim Jong-un was last seen publicly on April 11, with speculation growing after he was absent from state celebrations for North Korea's biggest holiday, the April 15 birthday of Kim's paternal grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founder of the country. (New York Times)
Crises nearly always create political upheaval. In recent history the catastrophes of 9/11 and the Great Recession both defined American politics for the decade that came after each event.
The crisis of Covid-19, which has already killed far more Americans than the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were waged in response, seems likely to have a similar effect. And while the political impact of a deadly pandemic is by no means the most important question of the moment, the Trump administration's embrace of a massive government intervention to cushion the economic impact of our national self-quarantine has intensified a debate on the right about Republicans and the role of government.