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The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff


The failures of the moment can be partly ascribed to the loyalty culture that Trump himself has spent three years building in Washington. Only two weeks ago, he named his 29-year-old former bodyguard, a man who was previously fired from the White House for financial shenanigans, to head up a new personnel-vetting team. Its role is to ensure that only people certifiably loyal are allowed to work for the president. Trump also fired, ostentatiously, the officials who testified honestly during the impeachment hearings, an action that sends a signal to others about the danger of truth-telling.

These are only the most recent manifestations of an autocratic style that has been described, over and over again, by many people. And now we see why, exactly, that style is so dangerous, and why previous American presidents, of both political parties, have operated much differently. Within a loyalty cult, no one will tell the president that starting widespread emergency testing would be prudent, because anyone who does is at risk of losing the president’s favor, even of being fired. Not that it matters, because Trump has very few truth-tellers around him anymore. The kinds of people who would dare make the president angry have left the upper ranks of the Cabinet and the bureaucracy already.

But some of what we are seeing is unrelated to Trump. American dysfunction is also the result of our bifurcated health-care system, which is both the best in the world and the worst in the world, and is simply not geared up for any kind of collective national response. The present crisis is the result of decades of underinvestment in civil service, of undervaluing bureaucracy in public health and other areas, and, above all, of underrating the value of long-term planning.



… quando para terem um seguro de saúde, tentaram que os professores da Virgínia Ocidental tivessem de usar Fitbits e cumprir metas para não serem multados. Embora as causas fossem muito além disso. E os professores tivessem de avançar para lá dos “acordos” feitos pelos seus “representantes”. E fizeram-no nos 55 condados. Independentemente do cheque ao fim do mês.

The West Virginia Teachers Strike Shows That Winning Big Requires Creating a Crisis

The strikers won all five of their demands by shutting down every public school in the state.


The teachers understood that to win, to not go down in the record books as another huge defeat, they had to stay on strike and escalate the crisis. They could not have achieved the victory without having the community firmly on their side. Educators, like health-care workers, have an incredibly powerful, organic relationship with their communities—relationships so strong they are durable against sophisticated right-wing attacks. The solidarity built in West Virginia was built in a strike that united the state against the power structure. The sooner the progressive movement understands that, to save our democracy, people must rebuild robust unions—that means a strong embrace of teachers and education and public-service workers—the sooner we all start winning.


(o problema é que por cá os ataques “sofisticados” não surgem apenas da “direita”… tantas vezes são bem mais “próximos”…)