mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Money No Where In Sight”: As Zika Spreads, Republicans Hold Funding Hostage

More than three months have passed since President Obama first asked Congress for $1.8 billion to fund the fight against the Zika virus, and the full amount is still nowhere in sight.

The mosquito-borne virus, which can also be transmitted between humans, has become a growing concern in recent weeks. The CDC announced Friday that the number of pregnant women with the virus has tripled, and that number is only expected to swell as the summer months bring more mosquitoes to the United States and its territories. People with Zika do not always show symptoms, further complicating the ability to monitor the spread of the virus.

Despite the alarming developments, Republicans have balked at the request by the President, offering a fraction of his requested amount. The House on Wednesday passed the Republican-backed Zika Response Appropriations Act, a bill that would provide $622.1 million in funding towards Zika but would also lead to other cuts — including on funds allocated for the fight against Ebola — in order to satisfy Republican demands to limit deficit spending.

Democrats have called out Republicans for failing to allocate the necessary funding, which would be used for training efforts, testing, and mosquito control. The Senate on Tuesday voted to push forward $1.1 billion in emergency funding — still less than the amount requested by the President. No Democrats opposed it.

Some Republicans, particularly those representing the Southeastern United States where the Virus is expected to be the most prevalent, have called on Congress to provide as much funding as the President has requested.

“There is no reason why we should not fully fund this,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said earlier this week. Rubio went on to slam the House bill, saying “Quite frankly, that’s just not going to cut it.”

Obama warned Congress on Friday not to go on recess without first addressing the funding he has requested, noting that it is not yet time to panic but that the issue should be taken seriously. The president met with his top public safety officers and said there is still more research needed to find answers on the virus — research that can only happen once the necessary funding is allocated by Congress.

The long wait for funding has had a ripple effect on the local level, at least for the time being. The CDC was forced to move $44 million from state and local governments — including $1.1 million in New York City — to fight the Zika virus. Local governments will be limited in their ability to respond to other public health emergencies until adequate funding is made available.

 

By: Matt Tracy, The National Memo, May 20, 2016

May 22, 2016 Posted by | House Republicans, Public Health, Zika Virus | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Politics Of Fear, Getting Worse”: Scott Brown Combines ISIS, Ebola, And Border Security

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was dismissive yesterday of an unfounded concern: Islamic State terrorists using the Ebola virus. In remarks to the Association of the United States Army, Johnson specifically said, “We’ve seen no specific credible intelligence that [ISIS] is attempting to use any sort of disease or virus to attack our homeland.”

That’s good to hear, of course, but the fact that it was necessary for the DHS secretary to make these comments was itself rather striking.

As a friend reminded me yesterday, we’ve heard quite a bit about possible threats from ISIS terrorists; and we’ve heard plenty about the dangers of Ebola; but we’ve apparently entered a new phase in which ISIS may strike with Ebola.

And where is such talk coming from? Greg Sargent reported yesterday on the latest remarks from former Sen. Scott Brown (R), now running in New Hampshire after losing two years ago in Massachusetts. In this case, the Republican was asked whether he supports travel restrictions on countries in West Africa. Brown replied:

“We need a comprehensive approach and I think that should be part of it. I think it’s all connected. For example, we have people coming into our country by legal means bringing in diseases and other potential challenges. Yet we have a border that’s so porous that anyone can walk across it. I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border.”

Brown has dabbled in this before, but I think this was the most direct he’s been to date to tie together the disparate threads of terrorism, Ebola, and border security, all at the same time, all in the hopes of exploiting public anxiety to advance his personal ambitions. (North Carolina’s Thom Tillis recently pushed a similar tack, though he didn’t go for the full trifecta.)

The politics of fear isn’t pretty, and as Brown makes clear, it’s getting worse. The public can, however, take at least some comfort in the fact that the New England Republican doesn’t seem to have any idea what he’s talking about.

For example, Brown believes “that anyone can walk across” the border because “we do nothing to secure” it. For an issue the Republican claims to take seriously, he’s badly confused – border security is actually at an all-time high.

But the more amusing takeaway is the degree to which the right wants to connect every story to its unrelated goal. Want to improve the economy? Secure the border. Want to fight terrorism? Secure the border. Worried about public health? Secure the border. Worried about crime? Secure the border.

If you’ve got a problem, Republicans have a border that needs securing.

It’s reminiscent of the Bush/Cheney era, when just about every possible challenge – economy, energy policy, terrorism, health care – was met with a call to cut taxes.

Of course, the difference is, when it comes to immigration, Democrats are fully prepared to give Republicans the exact border-security measures the GOP wants as part of a comprehensive reform package. It’s a shame Republicans won’t consider a compromise.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 15, 2014

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Border Security, Ebola, ISIS | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Right-Wing Xenophobes Are Spreading Lies About Migrant Diseases”: Latest Chapter In An Ugly History Of American Nativism

Citing the “potential threat of communicable diseases,” the city council in League City, Texas, voted last week to ban undocumented children from entering the Houston suburb. In Murrieta, California, Mayor Alan Long claimed that the government was placing “ill and contagious” kids in its midst. Even national politicians who should know betternamely, House Republicansare spreading lies and paranoia. Phil Gingrey, in a letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote that “deadly diseases” threaten “Americans who are not vaccinatedand especially young children and the elderly.” And Randy Weber said, “We’re thinking these are diseases that we have eradicated in our country and our population isn’t ready for this, so for this to break out to be a pandemic would be unbelievable.”

There’s a legitimate policy debate to have over the border crisis, but it must begin with the facts. Doctors have debunked claims of diseased-ridden children: The migrants tend to be middle class with updated vaccines. By engaging in this right-wing fear-mongering, the aforementioned elected officialsand many othersare earning their ignominious place in a long, ugly history in American nativism that demonizes immigrants under the guise of public-health concerns.

With each wave of immigration, nativists have made public-health excuses for keeping out migrants. In the 1830s, cholera was described as an “Irish disease,” and in the late 1800s Tuberculosis was portrayed as a “Jewish disease.” In 1891, Congress banned any immigrant “suffering from a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease.” Even at Ellis Island, a site we celebrate as America’s front door for the “tired and weary,” medical inspections were a weapon aimed at immigrants who traveled on second and third class and were commonly used to quarantine and turn back unwanted immigrants.

Public-health nativism was also used to justify violence against immigrants. After a Chinese immigrant died of the bubonic plague in 1900, San Franciscans quarantined Chinatown and threatened to burn it down. Mayor James Phelan said that Chinese immigrants were “a constant menace to the public health.” Later, he ran for the Senate under a pledge to “Keep California White.”

More than a century later, the overt racism is gone but the underlying sentiment is the same. The ugly rhetoric we’ve seen over the past few weeks didn’t emerge out of thin air. In 2005, Lou Dobbs’s CNN show falsely reported that there had been 7,000 leprosy cases over the previous three yearsone of immigration’s “deadly imports,” he said. The following year, Pat Buchanan claimed that “clearly the illegal aliens” were to blame for the rise in bedbug infestations. And so on.

Time and again, the public health opposition to immigration has been exposed as nothing more than a socially accepted form of xenophobia. That’s true again today. Ignoring the expertise of public-health officials, congressional Republicans and other conservatives continue to invent their own “facts” to prop up, once again, the idea that our country is pure and that foreigners who are trying to enter it are impure. The real disease here, though, is what Democratic Congressman Luis Guitterez called the right’s “demonization” of these desperate children.

 

By: Samuel Kleiner, a Fellow at the Yale Law and Information Society Project; The New Republic, July 15, 2014

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Border Crisis, House Republicans, Immigrants, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: