The Weapon of Mass Destruction Nobody Is Talking About

By Glen Hendrix: For More Info, Go Here…

On April 26, 2018, around 10:30 am two men in a semi truck were stopped for erratic driving near Kearney, NE on I-80. They were acting suspicious, so the truck was searched, revealing secret compartments containing 118 pounds of fentanyl.

Authorities estimated there was enough fentanyl to kill approximately twenty-seven million people, nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population.

This isn’t the first time such a large amount of fentanyl has been seized. One hundred pounds was seized in New Jersey in January of 2018. The two men involved are now in jail.

Let us look at what could have happened that day in late April in Kearney, Nebraska. What if the men in the truck decided to run for it, thinking they could lure the police car along side and run it off the road. A high speed chase evolves with the perpetrators getting on state highway 44 going south off of I-80 towards the Platte River. They lose control of the truck going over the Platte River bridge, vault the guard rail, and slam into the shallow river. The trailer bursts into pieces allowing 43 packages of fentanyl to go into the Platte River.

The packages release their deadly contents as they float along the Platte River to the Missouri River. Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and the Gulf of Mexico are all downstream from Kearney. Nearly three million people in those cities are at risk. Thousands more living along the rivers could die. Farmers could use it on crops, endangering millions of people eating those crops. Millions of birds, including half a million sand hill cranes could die. Billions of fish, including those in the Gulf of Mexico, could be wiped out.

imagine if that plane were carrying carfentanil, elephant tranquilizer, a drug 100 times more potent than fentanyl. The winds could be deadly all the way to the East Coast, causing approximately 100 million people to overdose on opioids. That 118 pound seizure in Kearney, Nebraska would be able to kill 2.7 billion people, one third of the population of the world, if it were carfentanil.

In fact, the routine check of a carbon monoxide alarm guided Canadian authorities to 92 pounds of carfentanil in the basement of a Pickering, Canada home. More sleuthing uncovered a shipment of printer cartridges from China shipped to Vancouver that contained 2.2 of pounds of carfentanil so pure it would have yielded 50 million fatal doses. That’s enough to kill every one in Canada and 14 million Americans to boot.

Real, actual weapons of mass destruction, more deadly than dozens of nuclear weapons, are reaching the shores of the United States; and nobody talks about it. While 4 ounces of gunpowder in a sealed pipe is considered a weapon of mass destruction, it seems silly that nobody is talking about the megadeath this drug represents. Why aren’t alarm bells going off? Does our government even realize the danger these drugs represent? If it does, nothing is being said about it. I’m sure the local law enforcement is proud to have made these interceptions, but no higher government authority has mentioned the implications of such huge quantities of a drug. It has been compared to nerve gas agents in its lethality per volume. We bombed Syria for using such a substance on its own people.

3 Michigan nursing homes report more than 100 coronavirus cases. See newly released data

By Elisha Anderson, Christina Hall and Kristi Tanner: For More Info, Go Here…

New answers about which nursing homes have been most severely impacted by COVID-19 came Friday when Michigan officials released cumulative case data on facilities that house the state’s most vulnerable population.

But the accuracy of some of the numbers has been called into question by previous Free Press reporting. After the state’s release, some said they don’t trust the counts. 

The data released Friday shows nursing homes statewide have had about 5,000 coronavirus cases among residents with about 90% of the facilities reporting. Three homes in metro Detroit have had more than 100 cases and another five reported more than 80 cases, according to the state’s data.

Friday was the first time since the start of the pandemic that the state has provided cumulative coronavirus cases broken down by nursing home. No death data was provided online Friday, but officials previously said more than 1,200 nursing homes residents have died.

A Looming Financial Meltdown For America’s Schools

From NPR: For More Info, Go Here…

Austin Beutner looked haggard, his face a curtain of worry lines. The superintendent of the second-largest school district in the nation sat at a desk last week delivering a video address to Los Angeles families. But he began with a stark message clearly meant for another audience:

Lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

“Cuts to funding at schools will forever impact the lives of children,” Beutner said less than a week after California’s governor called for emergency cuts in education spending. The harm children face from these cuts, Beutner warned, “is just as real a threat to them as is the coronavirus.”

Similar alarms are sounding in districts across the country. With the nation’s attention still fixed on the COVID-19 health crisis, school leaders are warning of a financial meltdown that could devastate many districts and set back an entire generation of students.

A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America

By Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner: For More Info, Go Here…

The novel coronavirus arrived in an Indiana farm town mid-planting season and took root faster than the fields of seed corn, infecting hundreds and killing dozens. It tore through a pork processing plant and spread outward in a desolate stretch of the Oklahoma Panhandle. And in Colorado’s sparsely populated eastern plains, the virus erupted in a nursing home and a pair of factories, burning through the crowded quarters of immigrant workers and a vulnerable elderly population.

As the death toll nears 100,000, the disease caused by the virus has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America, according to a Washington Post analysis of case data and interviews with public health professionals in several states. The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds.

“Free Our People!” Ex-Psychiatric Patients Demand COVID-19 Accountability in State-Run Facilities

By Leah Harris: For More Info, Go Here…

A multi-generational coalition of ex-psychiatric patients and allies ranging in age from 27 to 72 launched a campaign last month to hold the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health accountable for its mismanagement of COVID-19 response in publicly-funded psychiatric institutions and other settings. Mobilizing as Massachusetts Advocating for Change Together (Mass ACT), advocates say DMH is not being transparent about measures it is taking to mitigate the transmission of the novel coronavirus in its congregate facilities, a familiar refrain echoed across the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

Naomi Pinson, a feminist community organizer who was twice institutionalized as a teen, has been widely credited with helping to seed Mass ACT. Pinson was alarmed when she read an April 16 letter to state officials penned by the Disability Law Center (DLC) and the Mental Health Legal Advisors’ Committee (MHLAC) regarding conditions within Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain.

“DLC and MHLAC have received information indicating that the health, safety, and rights of patients at LSH are at great risk,” the letter read. “Those reports include information regarding the rapid spread of COVID-19 infection through the Metro Boston Mental Health Units (MBMHUs) and indefinite suspension on access to fresh air and privileges for the patients in those units beginning two weeks ago.”

“Shattuck is a pit,” Pinson told Mad in America via email. “Its denizens are drawn from the poorest and most marginalized of all. They also have a large Department of Corrections unit, and a large number of forensics patients, mostly people of color, as I understand it.”

They Survived the Worst Battles of World War II. And Died of the Virus.

By Ellen Barry: For More Info, Go Here…

Inside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was a man who had served as a jailer to Hitler’s top aide. A man who had rescued Japanese kamikaze pilots from the sea. A man who carried memories of a concentration camp.

In 1945, James Leach Miller returned from the war and said nothing.

He said nothing about it to his wife, not for 64 years of marriage. He folded up his Army uniform, with the medals still pinned to it, and put it in the basement, where his older boy would sometimes take it out to play soldiers.

He joined the fire department. He went to church on Sundays. He never complained.

“That generation, they didn’t air their problems,” said his younger son, Michael. “He would say, ‘It was not a good time. I’ve had better times.’ He would not embellish.”

Mr. Miller was already in his 70s when he began to tell Michael, an Air Force flight engineer, little bits about landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. “Fragments would come out,” his son said. The deafening roar as they waited for the beach to clear, crowded into a landing ship with other 21-year-olds. A blur that lasted 24 hours. The buzz-drone of Messerschmitts. Dust clouds. Mud.

Michael once offered to take him back to Normandy — World War II veterans were making the journey — but his father shook his head and said, “I’ve been there once.”

This story comes up for a reason. Mr. Miller, 96, who survived what was for Americans the bloodiest battle of World War II, died of complications from the coronavirus on March 30 inside the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. The virus has spread in more than 40 veterans’ homes in more than 20 states, leading to the deaths of at least 300 people.

The conditions inside the 247-bed, state-run home, where Mr. Miller had lived for five years, were so chaotic that his children cannot recount them without breaking down.

The world sacrificed its elderly in the race to protect hospitals. The result was a catastrophe in care homes

By Emma Reynolds: For More Info, Go Here…

Three months ago, as the novel coronavirus began to gain a foothold in countries across Europe, officials in the UK said they were still confident that the risk to the British public remained low.

By February 25, the World Health Organization said the virus had already killed thousands in China and was spreading through northern Italy, but at the time there were just 13 confirmed cases and no deaths in the UK. While the government ordered hospitals to prepare for an influx of patients, its advice to some of the country’s most vulnerable people — elderly residents of care or nursing homes — was that they were “very unlikely” to be infected.

That guidance would remain in place over the next two-and-a-half weeks, as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK exploded. By the time the advice was withdrawn on March 13 and replaced with new guidance, there were 594 confirmed cases, and it was too late.

By May 1, of the 33,365 total confirmed deaths in England and Wales, at least 12,526 — or 38% — were care home residents, according to the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Bringing ‘Poogie’ Home: Hospice In The Time Of COVID-19

By Melissa Bailey: For More Info, Go Here…

After she landed in the hospital with a broken hip, Parkinson’s disease and the coronavirus, 84-year-old Dorothy “Poogie” Wyatt Shields made a request of her children: “Bring me home.”

Her request came as hospital patients around the world were dying alone, separated from their loved ones whether or not they had COVID-19, because of visitation restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Bringing home a terminally ill patient with COVID-19 bears extra challenges: In addition to the already daunting responsibility of managing their loved one’s care, families must take painstaking precautions to keep themselves safe.

Julia Shields, 53, one of Poogie Shields’ four children, said she had reservations about the risk of infection and how it might affect her family’s health and ability to care for her mother. “I didn’t want to bring my mom here, and have it where we’re all of a sudden collapsed in bed ourselves and can’t give her pain medicine and can’t take care of her,” she said.

But she and her siblings were determined to honor their mother’s wishes. So they stocked up on personal protective gear and converted the mudroom of Julia’s Greenwood, Virginia, home west of Charlottesville into a solarium where her mother could be closer to family.

Stimulus Payments and Representative Payees: What You Need to Know

From NCLER: For More Info, Go Here…

Under recent COVID-19 legislation, most people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
and Social Security are receiving stimulus payments of up to $1,200. The Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) will begin issuing these payments to those who have a representative payee
and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 in late May.

This money belongs to the beneficiary, not the payee!

What Should the Representative Payee Do with the Payment?

The payment belongs to the beneficiary. It is not the same as benefits from the Social Security
Administration (SSA). The payee should make a plan with the beneficiary for how they want to spend their payment. If the beneficiary wants to use their payment independently, then the payee should turn it over to the beneficiary.

If the beneficiary wants the payee’s assistance with using the payment, then the payee can
provide that assistance outside of their role as a representative payee.

If the beneficiary receives SSI benefits, then the payee should help to make sure they have spent down the stimulus payment so that they are under the $2,000 resource limit within 12 months of receiving the payment.

Michigan nursing homes linked to 1 in 4 coronavirus deaths. Tally will grow.

By Jonathan Oosting, Robin Erb, Ted Roelofs: For More Info, Go Here…

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus pandemic policies for nursing homes have been “an epic fail,” a Democratic lawmaker said Wednesday as state officials disclosed incomplete new data linking 1 in 4 COVID-19 deaths long-term care residents.

State Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, said her mother contracted COVID-19 in a nursing home last week and questioned whether Whitmer’s policies jeopardized vulnerable residents by requiring facilities to create units  for patients discharged from hospitals or send them to other nursing homes designated as regional hubs.

“I’m so appreciative of what the governor has done to try to keep us all safe… but when it comes to the decisions around our nursing facilities, I think we have an epic fail,” Love said during emotional testimony before the Senate Oversight Committee.