“Less than 1% of Americans reside in long-term care facilities — a category that includes nursing homes and assisted living residences — but these facilities account for around 40% of the country’s COVID-19 deaths.”
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo has boasted about the relatively low death toll in the state’s nursing homes, despite the fact that no other state counts these deaths as New York does. As of mid-November, there have been more than 6,619 virus-related deaths within the state’s nursing homes and 179 in its adult care facilities, according to official data. Bronxwood, however, has never appeared in that tally.
“The public list is incomplete and misleading,” said Geoff Lieberman, the executive director of the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled, an organization that advocates on behalf of adult home residents in New York City. “Either everyone at Bronxwood died at the hospital, or the information isn’t being accurately reported.” Before the August hearing, Lieberman and his colleagues at CIAD interviewed residents at 28 adult homes in New York City, including Bronxwood, and tallied around 250 deaths from their accounts — a stark contrast to the 53 deaths that facilities had self-reported to the state. Bronxwood employees likewise sounded the alarm: In April, six staff members told local news that by their count more than a dozen residents had died.”
“People talked about leaving Bronxwood almost as soon as they arrived, but the truth was that they were there because they had nowhere else to go. The elderly are typically steered to places like Bronxwood after a stay in the hospital. They have taken a fall or needed a surgery, and while they’re recovering, lose their apartment. Others, like Glenda, are recommended by a caseworker at a shelter. It’s not uncommon for such homes to hire recruiters to help fill their beds.
While many assisted living facilities cater to a wealthy clientele, who pay out of pocket, Bronxwood primarily serves low-income seniors. (It is, technically speaking, an adult home with an assisted living program.) Most residents sign over their supplemental security income to pay for the room and board — and out of that sum the facility gives them a $207 “personal needs allowance” each month. The money runs out quickly, since it often goes toward phone bills, toiletries, transportation and more nutritious food.
Out of Bronxwood’s 270 or so residents, more than half are enrolled in its assisted living program, whose costs are covered by Medicaid. In theory, the program offers an extra level of care to those who need it. In practice, it functions as a “huge financial boon” to the adult home industry, said Tanya Kessler, a senior staff attorney with Mobilization for Justice, a legal services organization. Bronxwood can charge Medicaid between $78 and $154 per enrolled resident each day, depending on his or her needs. But Kessler said there’s little oversight into whether this additional funding results in additional care. Bruno, the spokesman, said that the Health Department conducts regular inspections of assisted living programs “to ensure all applicable laws, regulations and guidelines are being followed.”
Healthier residents at Bronxwood told me that they seemed to be roomed with those who were more infirm, effectively placing them in the role of an extra aide. “One of the big complaints we hear is, ‘I’m not well myself, but they put this person in here that they expect me to look after,’” said Sherletta McCaskill, who, as the training director of CIAD, helps adult home residents organize councils and independent living classes. “It speaks to the lack of services that these homes are providing.” The most recent audit by New York’s Office of the Medicaid Inspector General found that Bronxwood had overbilled Medicaid by $4.4 million in 2006 and 2007. (Bronxwood requested an administrative hearing to challenge the findings, according to an OMIG spokesperson; the date is pending.)”
“Section 230 essentially functions as the internet’s First Amendment by protecting private companies from being held liable for most forms of user-generated content. This is the second time in very recent history that lawmakers have sought to sneak Section 230 changes into legislation that otherwise has nothing to do with Section 230.”
“Section 230 has attracted bipartisan enmity, although for completely different reasons: Republican critics say that online giants such as Facebook and Twitter are too heavy-handed with content moderation, at least when it comes to conservative speech, while their Democratic counterparts want platforms to scrub more hate speech and fake news. 230’s critics range from Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, though one wonders if either would be happy with the result of the rollback once the other party was in power.
McConnell’s bill would also create a committee to investigate election fraud and the impact of COVID-19 on voting practices, as Trump keeps pushing the conspiracy theory that President-elect Joe Biden stole the 2020 election.”
“The debate has been around since at least 1973, when dozens of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed daily by Arab infantry using Soviet-built AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missiles during the Yom Kippur War.
Those arguing against the tank say that there is no point in investing in new ones since they will easily be destroyed by attack helicopters and anti-tank weapons, which have only gotten more advanced since the 1970s.
The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh seems to lend credence to this argument.
On October 26, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claimed his country’s forces destroyed 252 tanks and 50 infantry fighting vehicles. A day before the armistice was announced, Armenia claimed it had destroyed 784 armored vehicles in total.
Both sides are likely exaggerating, but dozens of videos published by the Azeris, as well as open-source analysis, make clear that armored units suffered catastrophic losses.”
“Democrats are increasingly worried about the influence of misinformation on social media aimed at Latino voters in the runup to the election. The misleading narratives continue to spread on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as in closed chat groups like WhatsApp and Telegram, in addition to the more traditional platforms like television, radio, and talking points coming directly from elected officials.
Several misinformation researchers told Recode that they’re seeing alarming amounts of misinformation about voter fraud and Democratic leaders being shared in Latino social media communities. Biden is a popular target, with misinformation ranging from exaggerated claims that he embraces Fidel Castro-style socialism to more patently false and outlandish ones, for instance that the president-elect supports abortion minutes before a child’s birth or that he orchestrated a caravan of Cuban immigrants to infiltrate the US Southern border and disrupt the election process.
“What I’ve seen during this election looks to be a multifaceted misinformation effort seeking to undermine Biden and Harris’s support amongst the Latino community,” said Sam Woolley, a misinformation and propaganda researcher at the University of Texas Austin. “I think that political groups understand that the Latino vote matters and they are showing they are willing to use any and all informational tactics to get what they want.””
“Some of the misleading messages — like that Biden is a radical socialist — aren’t uniquely aimed at the Latino community; Trump often made this claim during his campaign. But these comparisons take on a new intensity with some immigrants from countries like Cuba or Venezuela who have lived under socialist governments and may be deeply opposed to them.”
“If people can get a vaccine that is quite effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms but still carry the virus, they could still potentially spread SARS-CoV-2. This is an important issue because there will only be very limited doses of the vaccine available once it’s cleared for emergency use — and it will likely be many months after that before a sizable amount of the US population will be able to be vaccinated. That means people who have received the injections might need to maintain precautions like wearing masks and social distancing to prevent further spread of the virus before the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.”
“In the very short term, however, it looks like plain sailing for Johnson. The deal, which will be subject to a ratification vote in the U.K. parliament on December 30, is highly likely to pass.
Some Conservative MPs, who have said they will study the deal in depth over the coming days, may quibble over details, but the overall shape of the agreement is — and has been for some time — one that represents a fundamental victory for Brexiteers. The U.K. will leave the EU’s single market and customs union. It will continue to manage its economy under rules similar to those in the EU, but if it wants to change those rules in the future, it has the freedom to (with consequences in the shape of tariffs).
Even on the totemic issue of fisheries, where the U.K. gave ground in the latter stages of the talks, none but the most purist Brexiteer could claim that the final settlement (a five-and-a-half-year transition period to a situation where the U.K. is free to decide who accesses its fishing waters) is not a major change from the status quo.”
“Johnson’s claim during his announcement that there will be “no non-tariff barriers” to trade is not correct. The deal removes tariffs and quotas. It doesn’t remove mountains of new paperwork for firms looking to trade with the EU, as the government’s own copious sets of instructions for businesses testifies.”
“Flynn had recently appeared on the far-right outlet Newsmax suggesting that Trump could order “military capabilities” to “rerun an election” in swing states, and that “[m]artial law has been instituted 64 times.” Meanwhile, Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward urged Trump to “Cross the Rubicon” and impose martial law to claim an election that the Electoral College, not to mention several dozen court rulings, has now certified he lost.
Public reaction to Flynn’s “coup” proposal — which he’d shared previously through a press release on Twitter from the right-wing group “We The People” (tagline: “Freedom never kneels except for God”) — have been furious and damning.”
“There’s a buffet of sedition statutes (18 U.S.C., sections 2383 through 2385) which have some potential relevance here. Section 2383 makes it a crime to incite or assist in a rebellion against the United States or give comfort to those who incite an insurrection. Section 2384 carries a 20-year jail term for seditious conspiracy, which requires an agreement between two or more people to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States … or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” The third provision, 2385, makes it a crime to “knowingly or willfully advocate, abet, advise, or teach the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States.” The statute goes on to criminalize the intentional publication or circulation of any printed matter advocating the desirability of overthrowing the U.S. government. (Thirteen states also have their own laws banning “criminal anarchy.”)
Historically, sedition laws have been used to target critics of the government, and some of those prosecutions have run afoul of First Amendment protections. But the First Amendment does not uniformly protect speech if it incites violence.
Was Flynn inciting violence by proposing the military be used to seize voting machines? During the now-infamous Oval Office meeting, chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone protested vehemently, but were there two or more people in agreement to overthrow the government? Was Flynn’s social media campaign a violation of the rule against circulating any printed matter advocating the overthrow of the government?
This is where the current sedition laws begin to seem inadequate to the task of responding to Flynn’s unprecedented proposal.
First, there is the problem of “sedition against what?” Usually, it’s the sitting government, which means that one could make a strong argument that it’s impossible for Trump to be involved in a seditious conspiracy so long as he’s the sitting President. Second, no one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the sedition statutes for exhorting a sitting president to perform an illegal act, with or without the president’s connivance.”
“The First Amendment protects free speech, but in 1969 the Supreme Court held in Brandenburg v. Ohio that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” (Emphasis mine.)
Martial law is not mentioned in the Constitution. Nor is it authorized by any act of Congress. The Supreme Court has never directly held that the federal government has the power to impose martial law. Although the Insurrection Act allows the president to use armed forces to “suppress” an insurrection and restore immediate law and order upon the request of a state legislature or governor, an 1878 law called the Posse Comitatus Act otherwise forbids the use of the military for domestic law enforcement. A criminal statute puts members of the military who prevent or attempt to interfere with voters “exercising the right of suffrage” at risk of going to prison for up to five years.”
“a flurry of pardons and commutations — largely to a mix of political cronies and allies, from people caught in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to corrupt ex-members of Congress.”
“The president has used his pardon powers to the benefit of political allies before. He recently pardoned his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Prior to that, Trump granted reprieves to adviser Roger Stone and former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who endorsed and campaigned for Trump.
Harvard professor Jack Goldsmith estimated 88 percent of Trump’s pardons and commutations have gone to people with personal or political ties to Trump. The latest pardons “continue Trump’s unprecedented pattern of issuing self-serving pardons and commutations that advance his personal interests, reward friends, seek retribution against enemies, or gratify political constituencies,” Goldsmith told the Times.”
“Past presidents have also used their pardon powers for friends and allies. Former President Bill Clinton triggered controversy when he issued more than 100 pardons on his last day in office, including to his half-brother and to Marc Rich, whose ex-wife was a Clinton donor.
These longstanding problems have led some activists to call for reform of the pardon process, fashioning it to be less a tool of political and personal favors and instead a means to criminal justice reform.”
““No matter how it’s designed, student-debt forgiveness is very poorly targeted,” Bloomberg’s editorial board warned in November. “Even if relief could be better focused on the poor, severe drawbacks remain. For one, the vast majority of Americans who don’t have student debt would rightly feel left out. Many never had the opportunity to get a higher education; others put off financial goals (such as saving for retirement) to pay it down. Also, it would do little to improve the immediate cash flow of the many debtors who — because they’re in default or in income-based repayment plans — are making small or no monthly payments.””
“At the heart of the argument for canceling student debt, especially in the midst of the pandemic, is that it would be good for millions of people and, therefore, the economy. How good is where the disagreement resides — and because mass student debt forgiveness isn’t something we’ve seen in the past, the data on what could happen is relatively limited.
One 2019 working paper from Harvard Business School looked at what happened when students in default had their debt discharged because of a lawsuit. They found that borrowers reduced their overall indebtedness by a quarter and were also less likely to default on other accounts. That’s good for them and for the entities they owe money to.”
“People also demonstrated more mobility — they moved states, changed jobs, and took more risks that often translated to higher incomes.”
““If you give the same type of forgiveness to people that are not in that situation, one effect that we don’t capture is that your monthly payment is going down,” he said. The $300 people were putting toward loan payments every month could then be spent elsewhere.”
Adding extra critical-care beds in other departments or buildings takes precious time, resources, and space. But adding trained staff is much more difficult, especially deep into a pandemic.
When trained staff are in short supply, it’s even harder for hospitals to best meet the needs of critical-care patients. These patients include people very sick with Covid-19, but also many who need to be in the ICU for other reasons, such as those who have had a heart attack or stroke, are recovering from major surgery, or are sick with the flu, among others”
“it is not just ICU physicians and nurses who are in short supply. “Critical care is more of a team sport,” Garner said. “This means physician-delivered care and interventions, but also careful medication selection dosage with pharmacists, skilled nursing care, respiratory therapists, midlevel providers, nutritionists, early mobilization with physical therapists.” To that list, Nagle also adds all of the other hospital staff needed to perform other essential tasks in ICUs, including bathing patients, changing linens, and other functions.”