Tag Archives: coronavirus

‘Truly Shameful’: Pentagon Ran Secret Anti-Vax Campaign Against China at Height of Covid Pandemic

“I don’t think it’s defensible,” an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth said of the clandestine effort.

By Jake Johnson. Published 6-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo:Covid-19 vaccination/flickr/CC

Reuters investigation published Friday revealed that the Pentagon ran a “clandestine operation” aimed at discrediting China’s coronavirus vaccines and treatments, a campaign that U.S. public health experts and others condemned as a cynical ploy that endangered lives for political purposes.

According to Reuters, the Pentagon’s secretive campaign was designed to counter what the U.S. “perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines,” a country that was ravaged by Covid-19. The virus, which killed millions of people globally, was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

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Childcare Crisis Grips US as IRS Chief Says Wealthy Tax Dodgers Cost $150 Billion a Year

“If we can afford to spend over $1 trillion on tax breaks for the top 1% and large corporations making record-breaking profits, we can afford to provide working class families with the childcare they desperately need.”

By Jon Queally. Published 2-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Learning Policy Institute: Laura E. Hernández/CC BY-NC 4.0

A survey of early childhood educators and caregivers released Sunday shows the post-pandemic collapse of federal funding is fueling a national crisis for young children and their families as centers suffer and out-of-pocket costs soar.

The findings of the survey—titled “We Are NOT OK” and put out by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—resulted from questions posed to over 10,000 professionals in the early childhood education sector.

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‘Deplorable’: Iowa’s GOP Governor Opts Out of Summer Food Program for Kids

“Announcing three days before Christmas that we’ve deliberately chosen not to feed hungry kids? The Dickensian parallels write themselves,” said the board chair of the Iowa Hunger Coalition.

By Jake Johnson. Published 12-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds speaking with attendees at Governor Reynolds’s Fair-Side Chats at JR’s South Pork Ranch at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa. 2023. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Iowa’s Republican-led government sparked outrage late last week by declining to participate in a federal program that would have provided low-income residents with $40 a month in additional food assistance during the coming summer.

Created by the U.S. Congress late last year, the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children program aims to boost nutrition benefits for families with school-aged children who typically receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Starting in summer 2024, eligible families will receive a prepaid debit card with $40 per child for three months.

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‘Enormous Policy Failure’: States Throw Hundreds of Thousands—Including Many Children—Off Medicaid

“We knew this was coming,” wrote one policy expert. “But we still treat these burdens like they’re unavoidable natural disasters.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 5-27-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

With a green light from the federal government, states across the U.S. have thrown hundreds of thousands of low-income people off Medicaid in recent weeks—and many have lost coverage because they failed to navigate bureaucratic mazes, not because they were no longer eligible.

More than a dozen states, including Florida and other Republican-led states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, have begun removing people from Medicaid as part of the “unwinding” of a pandemic-era federal policy that temporarily barred governments from kicking people off the program.

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US Unemployment System ‘Wholly Unprepared’ as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

“If another wave of job losses does indeed hit, the unemployment safety net isn’t ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements,” warns the co-author of a new study.

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-1-2022 by Common Dreams

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading

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‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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‘Imminent Danger’: Millions Set to Lose Medicaid, Food Benefits Once Public Health Emergency Ends

“When the public health emergency ends, many individuals and families will experience the cumulative impact of losing access to both Medicaid and SNAP,” advocates warned.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Logo: Public Domain

In less than three months, millions of people across the U.S. could be kicked off Medicaid and see their food benefits slashed if the Biden administration declines to further extend the federal public health emergency that was first declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced an extension of the public health emergency (PHE) until January 11, but it’s not clear whether the administration is planning another renewal—leaving millions of households concerned about their health coverage and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Continue reading

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‘Worst Yet to Come’ as Global Civil Unrest Index Hits All-Time High

“Over the coming months, governments across the world are about to get an answer to a burning question: Will protests sparked by socioeconomic pressure transform into broader and more disruptive anti-government action?”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters at Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile in 2019. Photo: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The risk of civil unrest is rising in over 100 nations, with the “worst yet to come,” according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.-based consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Incorporating data going back to 2017, the latest update to the firm’s civil unrest index (CUI) shows that the last quarter of this year “saw more countries witness an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the index was released,” the analysis states. “Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased.” Continue reading

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Report Details ‘Abusive’ Eviction Tactics by Corporate Landlords During Height of Pandemic

“These firms are buying up a lot of housing, and they’re particularly buying up housing in places that have relatively weak tenant protections,” said one eviction expert. “And I don’t think that that is coincidental.”

By Julia Conley  Published 7-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Four large corporate landlords filed nearly 15,000 eviction actions in the first 16 months of the pandemic, with some executives and property managers engaging in harassment and deception of their tenants and deliberately inflicting cruelty on people who had been unable to pay their rent.

The U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a new report Thursday following a yearlong investigation into the eviction practices of Pretium Partners, Invitation Homes, Ventron Management, and the Siegel Group, all of which were thriving financially when the committee began examining its practices. Continue reading

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‘A Big Deal’: US, African Scientists to Collaborate on mRNA Vaccine Development

“Scientists are leading the way,” said one advocate. “Perhaps political leaders will follow.”

Logo: Afrigen

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-8-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. government scientists on Friday agreed to share technical know-how related to the development of next-generation vaccines and treatments with their counterparts at Afrigen Biologics, a South African drug manufacturer that hosts the first mRNA technology transfer hub established by the World Health Organization and its partners.

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) pioneered the use of mRNA and its parent organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), co-invented Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. Together, NIAID and Afrigen seek to expedite the production of mRNA vaccines—not only to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but also to address other infectious diseases and cancer. Continue reading

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