Biden Administration In ‘Active Conversation’ To Require COVID Test Before Domestic Flights

On Sunday, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the Biden administration is in active conversations with the CDC about requiring Americans to have a negative COVID-19 test before traveling by plane to another U.S. state.

Buttigieg made his comments during an Axios interview when the Democrat was asked what he thought “of requiring a COVID test before someone flies even domestically?”

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Buttigieg: ‘Going To Be Guided By Data, By Science’

“Well, there’s an active conversation with the CDC right now, what I can tell you is this going to be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people are actually going to have to carry this out,” Buttigieg replied.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 presidential candidate continued, “But here’s the thing, the safer we can make air travel in terms of perception as well as reality, the more people are going to be ready to get back in the air.”

Buttigieg also argued that most Americans’ typical work schedule might be permanently changed due to the pandemic.

Buttigieg said we should start looking more closely at different types of transportation like “bikes, scooters, wheelchairs” because “roads aren’t only for vehicles.”

‘Mayor Pete’ Defends Keystone Pipeline Cancellation

“Mayor Peter” also defended President Joe Biden recently killing the Keystone Pipeline by executive order.

During Buttigieg’s Senate confirmation hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz pressed Buttigieg on that issue, asking, “So for those workers, the answer is somebody else will get a job?”

Buttigieg replied, “The answer is we are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good-paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones.”

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It’s safe to assume the many Americans put out of work by the Biden administration’s decision to axe the Keystone Pipeline XL might take a very different view.

Several unions have blasted the move.

Even the head of America’s largest labor union, the AFL-CIO, declared his disappointment.

“I wish he had paired that more carefully with the thing that he did second by saying, ‘Here’s where we’re creating jobs. We can do mine reclamation. We can fix leaks. We can fix seeps and create hundreds of thousands of jobs doing that stuff,’” AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka said of the move.

The post Biden Administration In ‘Active Conversation’ To Require COVID Test Before Domestic Flights appeared first on The Political Insider.

The statements being made about Trump’s handling of the pandemic demand to be met with outrage

In a convention where a genuine fact might die of loneliness, the biggest lies are all about COVID-19. That’s quite a claim at an event where a parade of wealthy Republicans is taking the stand to claim different varieties of victimhood, and where speakers are painting a vision of what will happen when Trump departs the White House that would make Hieronymus Bosch run screaming. However, while lying about the economy is bad, and lying about Donald Trump being a “uniter” is simply ridiculous, lying about how we ended up as the worst of the worst when it comes to reacting to COVID-19 is dangerous.

It’s dangerous not just because Trump continues to promote quack “cures,” continues to override experts on both policy and treatment, and continues to undercut the need for action. It’s dangerous because the way the RNC is presenting Trump as someone who “understood the threat” while Democrats and the media “downplayed the danger” is such an obvious 180-degree inversion of reality that just presenting it displays an amazing contempt for facts, science, and history that isn’t even history yet. It’s not just that Donald Trump is covering up failure. He’s covering up genocide.

The chart at the top of this article hasn’t been updated in weeks, but it’s still a guide to some of the statements that Trump was making even as COVID-19 marched across the nation. Far from taking COVID-19 seriously, Trump was playing golf, making flu jokes with Sean Hannity, and generally basking in the warm afterglow of Republicans handing him a free pass by not calling so much as a single witness to his impeachment hearing.

It wasn’t until the near end of this chart that Trump showed up in the (then unmutilated) Rose Garden with an array of Big-Box CEOs to announce a national testing strategy that would involve tens of thousands of parking lot testing centers coordinated by a website to route patients and provide results. The website was a lie. Those centers never appeared. And it wasn’t until July that we learned that Trump killed the whole idea of having coordinated testing as attempted genocide against states governed by Democrats. Trump’s “political instincts” were that it was better to continue downplaying concerns about COVID-19, keep the federal government out of the testing business, and let citizens of Blue states simply die. Trump dumped the whole idea of launching a testing plan. 

It wasn’t difficult to see the impact that a national program of testing and case tracing could have. Not only did South Korea use that strategy to wrangle an early epidemic there into one of the great success stories of the pandemic, but even nations as hard hit as Italy were able to use testing in conjunction with a tough national lockdown to stop the virus in its tracks. At one point, Italy had far more cases and far more deaths than the United States. Now it has a fraction of either, and the rate of new cases there is lower than many individual states.

Donald Trump’s response to COVID-19 wasn’t just the worst on the planet. It wasn’t just malignant incompetence. It was intentionally bad. Trump did less than he could have done on purpose, in the hopes that he could make political gains by pointing fingers at Democratic governors as Americans died. And he did. Trump went to war with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, refused to talk to him, failed to provide requested assistance, and saying “I want them to be appreciative” before providing any help. He did the same with attacks on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. And on other Democratic governors who were complaining as Trump refused to start a testing program, refused to support a national lockdown, refused to centralize purchases of protective gear and medications, and actually confiscated materials purchased by blue states to send to his favored red states.

Trump’s handling of COVID-19 hasn’t been bungled or mishandled or poor. It’s been murder. It’s been deliberate. It’s been death-as-a-political-strategy. And now the Trump convention is running film clips from Thailand as part of a propaganda piece claiming it was Trump who took the virus seriously, Trump who took action, and Trump who whatever. 

This level of propaganda might not quite match that of the Nazis … but it’s getting damn close. Not only should Trump’s actions in canceling a national testing strategy be the subject of a second impeachment, they are crimes against humanity deserving of a trial before the world. That the media is sitting quietly by as Trump claims to be the hero of the crisis he created, should be the focus of outrage.

Trump killed plans for a national testing strategy, because COVID-19 ‘hit blue states hardest’

On Thursday, Vanity Fair published a detailed analysis of how the planned federal testing program headed up by Jared Kushner disintegrated into a puddle of mismanagement, hubris, and finger-pointing. As much as any other story over the last three years, it’s instructive in showing how the Trump White House acted as if it were both above the rules and smarter than the experts. Like so many other things that have happened under Trump, it’s ultimately a story about how unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything dooms everything.

Only the utter abandonment of any effort to execute a coherent national testing strategy—a decision that all its own is principally responsible for consigning 160,000 Americans to their deaths—turns out not to be the worst aspect of this story. The worst part is that Trump, Kushner, and everyone involved knew that hundreds of thousands of Americans would die if they failed to act, but they still refused to act out of a political calculation. That calculation was that American deaths in blue states would be good for Trump’s election chances. The worst thing is that Americans did not have to die in vast numbers. The United States’ worst in the world results on COVID-19 were not an accident.

On the day he announced his coronavirus response team, Trump added management of testing for the disease onto the stack of things that son-in-law Kushner was supposed to squeeze in between solving Middle East peace and providing kill lists to authoritarian dictators. Kushner responded by forming a crack team of old college buddies and real estate pals who WhatsApp’d their way to a national testing strategy with the help of advice from billionaire bankers and the occasional health expert. The end result was a plan that recognized that the United States needed a coherent national testing strategy, that states shouldn’t have to compete with each other for protective gear, and that a national contract-tracing database was required to make testing effective.

Then the White House set out to execute that plan. Step one: Illegally purchase over a million Chinese-made COVID-19 tests that turned out to be “contaminated and unusable” in a $52 million taxpayer-funded boondoggle. Step two: Decide that paying any real attention to COVID-19 might be bad for the stock market and just say f-ck it about the whole thing. Seriously.

Trump’s “political instincts” were that it was better to simply continue downplaying concerns about the virus and to keep the federal government out of the testing business. Because, of course, testing for COVID-19 might find COVID-19, which would be “bad publicity.” Besides, Dr. Deborah Birx was backing up Trump, showing models that suggested the virus would just magically disappear with the summer. Trump decided to dump the whole idea of launching any testing plan, forget about contact tracing, and abandon any pretense of a national strategy.

But even that isn’t the worst thing. 

As a member of Kushner’s team made clear, Trump didn’t just decide that turning up cases of COVID-19 by testing for them would lead to bad publicity—he decided that, because it was hitting blue states the hardest, he should just let it burn. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states,” said the source, “that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy.”

Just to repeat that: Trump deliberately decided to let Americans die, in huge numbers, not because there was nothing that could be done, but because it was decided that it would “politically advantageous” to have people dying in states with Democratic governors.

There are acts that go beyond the need for impeachment. There are acts that are so inhumane that they go beyond comprehension. There are actions for which even imprisonment seems inadequate. 

But let’s start with impeachment. The imprisonment can come later.

Man who visited China during coronavirus outbreak says he’s more afraid of being in the U.S.

Most Americans are holding their breath while we wait for the incompetence of our current administration and their gutted health infrastructure to catch up and reveal—by way of more comprehensive testing—how much COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, has penetrated our country. Every day news cases are reported, new people are being monitored, but anyone paying attention to the news should understand that no one can fully know how many people are at risk. The anxiety has led to runs on supplies across the country, and a general unease about what we are, and are not, doing to take preventative measures. Business Insider interviewed a 36-year-old Bay Area man from Cupertino, California, who has been self-quarantined since returning from Kunming, China, on Feb. 2.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that he arrived in China on January 25, when at least 217 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were publicly known. According to the man, the differences between his experience in China and in the U.S. are alarming.

Starting with the difference at the airports, the man explains that full-body screenings with infrared thermometers were performed at the Kunming airport while most people were wearing masks.* Upon his arrival at San Francisco International Airport, he says that no one was wearing masks and no one was taking temperatures. He waited for hours in customs before his temperature was taken, and according to the man, the paperwork he was asked to fill out was handwritten and photocopied. "They literally had no idea what they were doing."

He tells Business Insider that since he and his family were not experiencing symptoms of the virus, no testing was done. Instead, he was given a “verbal recommendation” to stay home for 14 days. If he were in China he would have been given a test and quarantined pending the outcome of that test. Most importantly, he said that the CDC never contacted him to see how he and his family were doing, and that the school where his son attended would not allow him to be excused, so the boy returned a day after returning from China. 

Luckily, it seems, he and his family were not carrying the virus. But the man has still considered returning to China simply because, "As someone who was in China during the initial outbreak/lockdowns and restrictions and seeing the situation develop here in the US I am 100x more concerned for my own safety during this crisis than I ever was in China."

Conservatives have held up passing much-needed funding in order to insure that pharmaceutical companies can price gouge. The president of the United States has continued to say stupid, misleading, and scientifically fictitious things in order to possibly keep the economy from going into a panic. Right-wing media has attempted to not directly communicate to their audience, instead they have pulled out their impeachment notebook to negate the problems we are facing in order to strictly attack the Chinese and Democratic leadership. Meanwhile, getting testing done, the first step toward figuring out the best way to handle containment of this problem, remains chaotic.

*While masks can help prevent the spread of the virus by individuals with the illness, it is not a prophylactic against infection.