Coronavirus Power Grab, India's Tragic Lockdown, Resources for Parents
Revealing News Articles
April 7, 2020
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on U.S. Attorney General William Barr's use of the Coronavirus to grab new powers such as the ability to disregard habeas corpus, the human tragedy resulting from India's pandemic lockdown, the U.S. government efforts to access the public's cell phone data to track the coronavirus spread, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on educational resources for parents whose children are home from school, corporate CEOs giving up their salaries during the Coronavirus crisis, Taiwan's success in minimizing the impact of Coronavirus, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special coronavirus news: For an abundance of intriguing thoughts and verifiable facts about how the coronavirus is being used to manipulate, don't miss this important article. To better understand all that is going on with the Federal Reserve, read this excellent article. A large number of reports have come in from concerned citizens witnessing the aggressive expansion of cellular antenna installations in communities across the US. See this webpage for what you can do. Watch a touching video of a courageous woman's struggle to give her dad a dignified death from Covid-19.
Quote of the week: "We have choice as to whether or not we feed our fear programming. Avoiding or denying fear altogether is one important way it gets fed. Yet the more we open to embracing our fears as profound teachers and learn to dance with the shadows, the more we can relax and enjoy the divine play that we are all continually co-creating together."
Videos of the week: In this six-minute video, New York City emergency room doctor Cameron Kyle-Sidell claims there's something strange about this virus. And New York City pulmonologist David Price, who has treated hundreds of Covid-19 patients, in this highly informative video lays out what he has found is important to know about the coronavirus.
Inspiring stories from the coronavirus: Imagine Italian air force using Pavarotti, Spanish military doing acts of service, and street police playing guitars – to *inspire*. Corporations giving unexpected wage hikes, Canadians starting "caremongering," a six year old in Australia adorably gifting her tooth fairy money, an 8th grader in Japan making 612 masks, and college kids everywhere buying groceries for elders. Imagine Cuba sending an army in "white robes" (doctors) to help Italy, disabled activists producing hand sanitizer. Imagine... Even in a crisis, we can respond with compassion.
Special Note From WTK Founder Fred Burks in These Troubling Times
With all of the conflicting and confusing information and high emotions around the coronavirus, it is exceedingly difficult – even for experts in the field – to get a grip on what's really going on. Hundreds of people from around the world have emailed me with a wide variety of information ranging from "the virus is not real" to "it's going to decimate the human population on the planet."
I strive for balance and do my best not to jump to conclusions. I have no doubt the virus is real and has already taken the lives of many thousands around the world. But I also find the media is greatly skewed towards inducing fear by continually focusing on the worst cases. Here I'd like to share with you the best of what I've found in my extensive research.
In addition to the three excellent articles I highly recommend which you can access at the top of the WantToKnow.info homepage, below are a few of what I feel are the best, most balanced essays on the coronavirus by writers I have long respected.
Crack investigative journalist Corey Lynn of Corey's Digs has written a highly informative essay titled "COVID-19: Inside The Hospitals & Why The Lockdown?" Filled with important facts she has gleaned from nurses and doctors on the front lines and much more, her incisive writing helped me to get clearer on a number of matters.
Paul Levy of Awaken in the Dream is IMHO one of the greatest philosophers of our time. He has written a wonderfully thought-provoking essay titled "Does the Coronavirus Inspire Optimism or Pessimism?" Paul explores how people's interpretation of what is happening with the coronavirus often reflects their underlying level of pessimism or optimism about life. He says, "The coronavirus has two vectors of transmission – one within our physical bodies, another within our minds."
My final recommendation focuses on the emerging possibilities for transformation as a result of the huge shifts we are experiencing. Written by a member of the intentional community of Tamera in Portugal, you can find this inspiring call to action on this webpage.
The Attorney General's Power Grab in the Shadow of the Pandemic is Unprecedented, Unconstitutional—and Unnecessary
March 25, 2020, Newsweek
Our Attorney General submitted a proposal last week that would dramatically erode our civil liberties. Among other things, the proposal suspends habeas corpus ... or the right to appear before a judge before being detained. That right is enshrined in our Constitution and without it, Barr could hold Americans indefinitely without a trial. Our justice system is grounded in an unwavering guarantee that each one of us is entitled to certain inalienable rights, including the right to due process before one's freedom is taken away. On March 13, the President declared a national emergency, which unlocked special powers to keep our country safe. Congress has enacted roughly 120 laws that allow presidents such powers to meet precisely these types of threats while maintaining our democracy. These laws are not without limits. Nor were they meant to be used to capitalize on fear to unnecessarily erode our freedoms. Yet while the world is consumed by this pandemic and when he thought no one was watching, Attorney General William Barr proposed granting himself immense, permanent powers extending far past the needs posed by this threat. For example, the proposal grants Barr personally the power to ask any chief judge to hold a citizen, "whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation." If this were about COVID-19, the proposal would suspend only certain rights narrowly tailored to fighting this disease.
Note: This New York Times article details how autocrats around the world are using the fear generated to grab power. Read another highly informative article on how this crisis is being exploited to grab power. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Coronavirus: India's pandemic lockdown turns into a human tragedy
March 30, 2020, BBC News
India declared a 21-day lockdown with four hours notice on the midnight of 24 March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All over India, millions of migrant workers are fleeing its shuttered cities and trekking home to their villages. These informal workers are the backbone of the big city economy. Escaping poverty in their villages, most of the estimated 100 million of them live in squalid housing in congested urban ghettos. Last week's lockdown turned them into refugees overnight. Their workplaces were shut, and most employees and contractors who paid them vanished. Sprawled together, men, women and children began their journeys at all hours of the day last week. When the children were too tired to walk, their parents carried them on their shoulders. Clearly, a lockdown to stave off a pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis. In the end, India is facing daunting and predictable challenges in enforcing the lockdown and also making sure the poor and homeless are not fatally hurt. India has already announced a $22bn relief package for those affected by the lockdown. The next few days will determine whether the states are able to transport the workers home or keep them in the cities and provide them with food and money. "People are forgetting the big stakes amid the drama of the consequences of the lockdown: the risk of millions of people dying," says Nitin Pai of Takshashila Institution, a prominent think tank. "There too, likely the worst affected will be the poor."
Note: In how many countries besides India is this scenario playing out? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. wants smartphone location data to fight coronavirus. Privacy advocates are worried.
March 18, 2020, NBC News
The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking Facebook, Google and other tech giants to give them greater access to Americans' smartphone location data in order to help them combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to four people at companies involved in the discussions who are not authorized to speak about them publicly. Federal health officials say they could use anonymous, aggregated user data collected by the tech companies to map the spread of the virus — a practice known as "syndromic surveillance" — and prevent further infections. They could also use the data to see whether people were practicing "social distancing." The federal effort [was] first reported by The Washington Post. The government officials have held at least two calls in recent days with representatives from the companies, the sources said. Those officials are "very serious" about making this happen, a person at one of the tech companies said. Similar and more aggressive surveillance practices have already been put to use in China, South Korea and Israel. The moves have set off alarm bells among privacy advocates who fear what the government may do with users' data. Facebook already provides health researchers and nongovernmental organizations in some countries with anonymized data to help disease prevention efforts. Representatives from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco all took part in the call with White House and federal health officials.
The Fed’s Cure Risks Being Worse Than the Disease
March 29, 2020, Washington Post
The economic debate of the day centers on whether the cure of an economic shutdown is worse than the disease of the virus. Similarly, we need to ask if the cure of the Federal Reserve getting so deeply into corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, and exchange-traded funds is worse than the disease seizing financial markets. It may be. In just these past few weeks, the Fed has cut rates by 150 basis points to near zero and run through its entire 2008 crisis handbook. That wasn’t enough to calm markets, though — so the central bank also announced $1 trillion a day in repurchase agreements and unlimited quantitative easing, which includes a hard-to-understand $625 billion of bond buying a week going forward. At this rate, the Fed will own two-thirds of the Treasury market in a year. But it’s the alphabet soup of new programs that deserve special consideration, as they could have profound long-term consequences. The federal government is nationalizing large swaths of the financial markets. The Fed is providing the money to do it. If these acronym programs were abused ... they might indeed force markets higher than valuation warrants. But it would come with a heavy price. Investors would be deprived of the necessary market signals that freely traded capital markets offer to aid in the efficient allocation of capital. Malinvestment would be rampant. It also could force private sector players to leave as the government’s heavy hand makes operating in “controlled” markets uneconomic.
New Oxford study suggests millions of people may have already built up coronavirus immunity
March 24, 2020, Yahoo! News
A model predicting the progression of the novel coronavirus pandemic produced by researchers at Imperial College London set off alarms across the world and was a major factor in several governments' decisions to lock things down. But a new model from Oxford University is challenging its accuracy. The Oxford research suggests the pandemic is in a later stage than previously thought and estimates the virus has already infected at least millions of people worldwide. In the United Kingdom, which the study focuses on, half the population would have already been infected. If accurate, that would mean transmission began around mid-January and the vast majority of cases presented mild or no symptoms. The head of the study, professor Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford theoretical epidemiologist, said she still supports the U.K.'s decision to shut down the country to suppress the virus. But she also doesn't appear to be a big fan of the work done by the Imperial College team. If her work is accurate, that would likely mean a large swath of the population has built up resistance to the virus. Theoretically, then, social restrictions could ease sooner than anticipated. What needs to be done now, Gupta said, is a whole lot of antibody testing to figure out who may have contracted the virus. Her research team is working with groups from the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent to start those tests for the general population as quickly as possible.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Desperate for medical equipment, states encounter a beleaguered national stockpile
March 28, 2020, Washington Post
A shouting match broke out in the White House Situation Room between Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and an Office of Management and Budget official. Azar had asked OMB ... for $2 billion to buy respirator masks and other supplies for a depleted federal stockpile of emergency medical equipment. The relief package enacted Friday secured $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile. States desperate for materials from the stockpile are encountering a beleaguered system beset by years of underfunding, changing lines of authority, confusion over the allocation of supplies and a lack of transparency from the administration. The stockpile holds masks, drugs, ventilators and other items in secret sites around the country. It has become a source of growing frustration for many state and hospital officials who are having trouble buying — or even locating — crucial equipment on their own. Massachusetts ... has received 17 percent of the protective gear it requested. Maine requested a half-million N95 specialized protective masks and received 25,558 — about 5 percent of what it sought. Florida has been an exception in its dealings with the stockpile: The state submitted a request on March 11 for 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields and 238,000 gloves, among other supplies — and received a shipment with everything three days later. President Trump repeatedly has warned states not to complain about how much they are receiving.
Note: This 2018 Washington Post article raises many questions about the secret U.S. stockpile. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Trump rejects congressional oversight of $500 billion in corporate relief
March 30, 2020, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The coronavirus financial aid package that landed on President Trump’s desk last week included a $500 billion corporate-loan fund that contained a major downside for his administration: Congressional Democrats had pushed for increased oversight of the loans, with a federal investigator designated to report to lawmakers on uses of the funding. So Trump, in endorsing the legislation Saturday, turned to a device he has used in record numbers during his tenure, the presidential “signing statement”. He signed the bill into law, but in the accompanying statement, he said he would not be bound by provisions that interfered with executive authority. Trump said he would not allow an inspector general to report to Congress because the Constitution, in his view, requires “presidential supervision” of such information. Using the signing statement to get his way with Congress is a familiar maneuver for Trump. It was at least the 769th signing statement Trump has issued since he took office. President George W. Bush, who produced more signing statements than all previous presidents combined, issued 750 in his first term. The disputes that arise between presidents and Congress because of executive signing statements could be resolved by the courts. But members of Congress have generally been unwilling to file suit, and it is difficult to find private citizens who can ... establish legal standing. Unless a court says otherwise, the president, not Congress, will have the last word on the $500 billion loan fund.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
As Congress Pushes a $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, the “How Will You Pay For It?” Question Is Tossed in the Trash
March 27, 2020, The Intercept
How was Congress able to come up with $2 trillion so quickly? Where is the money coming from? On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse. The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful ... but the moment is instructive ... as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated. Congress has ignored millions of people who have existed in a state of crisis for decades. The people of Flint, Michigan, (and elsewhere) still do not have safe drinking water. Millions of kids go hungry each day. There has been no multitrillion-dollar spending bill to combat these and other domestic emergencies. Instead, lawmakers have deprived communities of critical investments that could have attenuated their emergencies, often hiding behind the excuse that there isn’t enough money in the budget to deal with problems like these. Congress is doing now what it could always have done. Uncle Sam can’t run out of dollars. The U.S. government is the issuer of our currency — the U.S. dollar — which means that ... it can never find itself in a situation in which it has bills coming due that it can’t afford to pay. If the votes are there, the money can always be made available. When all of this is behind us, to the extent that it ever can be, let’s not forget what we’ve learned.
Note: The entire article at the link above raises important questions about why Congress hasn't made more money available in the past for much needed support of a variety of important programs. The author, Stephanie Kelton, served as the chief economist for Democrats on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on banking and financial corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
One Year of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Spending Would Provide 300,000 ICU Beds, 35,000 Ventilators and Salaries of 75,000 Doctors
March 26, 2020, Newsweek
The amount of money spent in one year by the U.S. on nuclear weapons could instead provide 300,000 ICU (intensive care unit) beds, 35,000 ventilators and 75,000 doctors' salaries, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) - a "coalition of non-government organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the UN [United Nations} nuclear weapon ban treaty." In its recent report, the group stated that, according to armscontrol.org, the U.S. spent $35.1 billion on nuclear weapons in 2019. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases, more resources are required. The shortage of ventilators in U.S. hospitals has ... been a major issue during the coronavirus pandemic. During a recent interview with Vox, Dr. Tom Freiden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that "in the worst-case scenario, in which there is an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, the need for ventilators could greatly outstrip the number available." In addition to the shortage, the cost of the ventilators has also become a problem for hospitals. They can cost between $25,000 to $50,000 and require very skilled people to run them. The report published by ICAN also touches on the nuclear spending costs of the United Kingdom and France. For instance, France spent around $4.9 million on nuclear weapons in 2019. This amount ... would translate to 100,000 ICU beds, 10,000 ventilators and the salaries of 20,000 French nurses and 10,000 French doctors.
Note: Read this Washington Post article about a secret stockpile which could be used now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Here are some educational resources for parents during coronavirus quarantine
March 30, 2020, Baltimore Sun
With Maryland schools and some places of work closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, parents are looking for creative new ways to educate their children at home. One expert in homeschooling says a coronavirus-related quarantine situation should not be mistaken for a traditional educational setting. And parents should not lose sleep over whether their children are getting enough learning materials during such uncertain times. “We’re dealing with a global pandemic ... we need to worry about how we’re helping our children to cope with the stress," said Alessa Giampaolo Keener, an educational consultant. One of the best ways to help students stay mentally engaged in the coming weeks is by finding a routine that works for them without caving to the pressure [to] interrupt play or set elaborate schedules for children. Older children may respond well to being given a list of chores or assignments to complete by a set deadline, which allows them the autonomy to budget their own time throughout the day. The Khan Academy is a nonprofit that offers online educational resources for students, teachers and parents. Families can find day-by-day projects on Scholastic’s Learn at Home webpage to keep kids thinking during a quarantine. Projects are available for levels Pre-K through 9th grade. Some kids may miss recess and gym class just as much as academics. Families can find yoga, mindfulness and relaxation exercises on the Cosmic Kids Yoga Channel on YouTube.
Note: You can find more useful homeschooling resources on this webpage and this one and this one. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Why CEOs are giving up their salaries during the coronavirus crisis
March 26, 2020, CNN News
Coronavirus has hit companies hard and fast over the past several weeks — prompting calls for industry bailouts and dramatic measures to cut costs. Among the steps some major corporations are taking to mitigate the consequences of the outbreak are pay cuts to CEOs and other top executives. Executive pay cuts alone aren't likely to have a significant impact on companies' bottom lines or provide a boost to lower-paid employees further down the org chart. But they send an important message. Airlines and travel companies, one of the industries hit hardest by the outbreak early on, were among the first to take such a step, including Delta (DAL), Alaska (ALK), United Airlines (UAL) and others, which all announced CEO pay cuts, and other executive compensation reductions. Marriott (MAR), the world's largest hotel chain, said last week that CEO Arne Sorenson will not take home any salary for the rest of the year, and the rest of the executive team will take a 50% pay cut. The announcement came at the same time that the company said it would begin furloughing what could be tens of thousands of hotel workers, from housekeepers to general managers. On Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) also announced its CEO Ed Stack and President Lauren Hobart will forgo their salaries, except for an amount covering company-provided benefits. The company's other named executive officers will take a 50% reduction in base salary. Other companies, including Ford (F), GE (GESLX) and Lyft (LYFT) have taken similar steps.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
What Taiwan can teach the world on fighting the coronavirus
March 10, 2020, NBC News
As countries around the world grapple with the coronavirus, Taiwan may offer valuable lessons on how to curb its spread. The island is just 81 miles and a short flight away from mainland China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan. And yet, Taiwan has had only 50 cases of COVID-19 and one death. Of the 100-plus countries and territories affected, Taiwan has the lowest incidence rate per capita — around 1 in every 500,000 people. What lessons can Taiwan teach the world so other countries can stem the spread of the virus? On Dec. 31, the same day China notified the World Health Organization that it had several cases of an unknown pneumonia, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control immediately ordered inspections of passengers arriving on flights from Wuhan. Taiwan began requiring hospitals to test for and report cases. That helped the government identify those infected, trace their contacts and isolate everyone involved. Equally important, Taiwan's CDC activated the Central Epidemic Command Center relatively early on Jan. 20 and that allowed it to quickly roll out a series of epidemic control measures. The country’s health insurance system, which covers 99 percent of the population, has been crucial. “You can get a free test, and if you’re forced to be isolated, during the 14 days, we pay for your food, lodging and medical care,” [government spokesperson Kolas Yotaka] said. “So no one would avoid seeing the doctor because they can’t pay for health care.”
Note: This wired.com article further shows how Singapore is doing well with the pandemic. Another article shows why several countries have had success in this. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Vitamin D pills 'could stop colds or flu'
February 16, 2017, BBC News
Vitamin D supplements could spare more than three million people from colds or flu in the UK each year, researchers claim. The sunshine vitamin is vital for healthy bones, but also has a role in the immune system. The analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, argues food should be fortified with the vitamin. The immune system uses vitamin D to make antimicrobial weapons that puncture holes in bacteria and viruses. But as vitamin D is made in the skin while out in the sun, many people have low levels during winter. The researchers pooled data on 11,321 people from 25 separate trials to try to get a definitive answer. The team at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) looked at respiratory tract infections - which covers a wide range of illnesses from a sniffle to flu to pneumonia. Overall, the study said one person would be spared infection for every 33 taking vitamin D supplements. That is more effective than flu vaccination, which needs to treat 40 to prevent one case. There were greater benefits for those taking pills daily or weekly - rather than in monthly super-doses - and in people who were deficient in the first place. One of the researchers, Prof Adrian Martineau, said: "Assuming a UK population of 65 million, and that 70% have at least one acute respiratory infection each year, then daily or weekly vitamin D supplements will mean 3.25 million fewer people would get at least one acute respiratory infection a year."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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