Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Archive for the ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ Category

COVID-19: The monster is finally at the door

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Hurricane Katrina was a climatic disaster for the great city of New Orleans, USA in 2005.

Mike Davis argues that Covid-19 could in 2020 provoke a social and medical collapse of the privately-owned nursing home industry -A Medical Katrina – in the land of Donald Trump.

We are in the early stages of a medical Katrina. Despite years of warnings about avian flu and other pandemics, inventories of basic emergency equipment such as respirators aren’t sufficient to deal with the expected flood of critical cases. Militant nurses unions in California and other states are making sure that we all understand the grave dangers created by inadequate stockpiles of essential protective supplies like N95 face masks. Even more vulnerable because invisible are the hundreds of thousands of low-wage and overworked homecare workers and nursing home staff.

The nursing home and assisted care industry, which warehouses 2.5 million elderly Americans—most of them on Medicare—has long been a national scandal. According to The New York Times, an incredible 380,000 nursing home patients die every year from facilities’ neglect of basic infection control procedures. Many homes—particularly in Southern states—find it cheaper to pay fines for sanitary violations than to hire additional staff and provide them with proper training. Now, as the Seattle example warns, dozens, perhaps hundreds more nursing homes will become coronavirus hotspots and their minimum-wage employees will rationally choose to protect their own families by staying home. In such a case the system could collapse, and we shouldn’t expect the National Guard to empty bedpans.

The outbreak has instantly exposed the stark class divide in healthcare: those with good health plans who can also work or teach from home are comfortably isolated provided they follow prudent safeguards. Public employees and other groups of unionized workers with decent coverage will have to make difficult choices between income and protection. Meanwhil, millions of low wage service workers, farm employees, uncovered contingent workers, the unemployed and the homeless will be thrown to the wolves. Even if Washington ultimately resolves the testing fiasco and provides adequate numbers of kits, the uninsured will still have to pay doctors or hospitals for administrating the tests. Overall family medical bills will soar at the same time that millions of workers are losing their jobs and their employer-provided insurance. Could there possibly be a stronger, more urgent case in favor of Medicare for All?
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Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece – THE GUARDIAN

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Here is a fresh warning about the toxic combination of two different phenomenons – the CoVid-19 Health Crisis and a Financial Money Markets Storm, similar to the 2008 Crash.

The author is Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister sacked from a SYRIZA Government before it surrendered to the Austerians.

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When the air is replete with inflammable materials, any given spark can cause a financial explosion, at any time.

Éric Toussaint of CADTM examines a worldwide stock market collapse.

Eric Toussaint is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the international spokesperson of the CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) , and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. 
He is the author of Debt System (2019), Bankocracy (2015); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago; “Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank, Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers”, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010. He has published extensively in this field. He is a member of the Fourth International leadership.

Yanis Varoufakis, Former SYRIZA Finance Minister in Greece

Nationalism and speculation have seldom had a better opportunity to combine forces as the one riding today on the coattails of Covid-19, known as the coronavirus. When Covid-19 leapfrogged from China to Italy, even ardent Europeanists normally appreciative of open borders joined the deafening calls to end freedom of movement across Europe’s national borders – a longstanding demand of nationalists. Meanwhile, the money men speculating on government debt are performing a classic flight from Italian to German government bonds, seeking the financial safety that only the continent’s hegemon can offer during any crisis. As if in a bid to remind us of the great contradiction of our times, Covid-19 is illuminating gloriously the freedom of money to transcend a borderless financial universe while humans remain as fenced in as ever.

Coronavirus has sparked a perfect storm of nationalism and financial speculation – THE GUARDIAN
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The Right to Die With Dignity – Is Ireland on the Brink of a New X Case?

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Ireland’s legislators have delayed taking action on the infamous X Case for more than twenty years.

In 1992 the State tried to prevent the parents of a raped suicidal pregnant 14 year old girl bringing their daughter to England for an abortion.

In 2011 the State prevented Bernadette Forde, who was suffering from a horrible disease – Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) – that was getting worse all the time – from visiting the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland in order to end her own life.  The Gardaí intervened, threatening legal action against Bernadette and other people who might be helping her.

Shortly afterwards Bernadette took her own life in Ireland.

A file is now with the Director of Public prosecutions.

The 2011 General Election saw Ireland swinging to the left on such matters – Clare Daly TD, with the support of other Leinster House colleagues, took legislative “Action on X”, and this struggle will continue :

Similar establishment inertia surrounds the “Right to Die” issue, and Ireland could experience a political crisis similar to the X Case unless legislative action is taken.

Bernadette Forde’s story – “Forbidden to Leave”  was published in the Sunday Business Post on April 15 2012 : Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 9, 2012 at 9:02 am