NDN Blog

Analysis:Time For A COVID Plan For The Americas

This essay written by Simon Rosenberg was originally published in Medium. 

Time For A COVID Plan for the Americas

The worsening COVID crisis in Brazil has made it imperative that the US launch an aggressive plan to defeat COVID in the Americas. It is reasonable to assume that the far more deadly and infectious Brazilian variant is going to start spreading throughout the region, and the economic and societal damage it may cause is simply not in the interest of the United States at any level.

The US should begin mobilizing to help the nations of the Americas, totaling about 630 million people, for all hands on deck assault against the virus (vaccine, testing/tracing, therapeutics, masking etc). We will need to start committing resources from the Defense Department, State, USAID and other parts of the government to provide direct on the ground support; and the US should consider purchasing enough vaccine to ensure that each nation has enough to vaccinate their entire population in the coming months. We have already purchased hundreds of millions of doses beyond what is needed here in the US — that vaccine should be committed to the Americas first, and not to other regions of the world.

The Biden Administration has already starting planning for such an effort in Asia, working through “the Quad” — the US, Japan, India and Australia. Here, closer to home, we may have to launch something that might be considered an extension of our current domestic mobilization that has created large vaccination centers and other backstops to the state and local health authorities. Today the US announced it was making some of its stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine, not yet approved here in the US, available to Mexico and Canada. It is a great first step, but given the gravity of what’s happening in Brazil right now, much more will have to be done.

Doing everything we can to prevent the more virulent Brazilian variant from ravaging the Americas and potentially coming here prior to the US achieving herd immunity is something clearly and pragmatically in the national interest of the United States. But on a deeper level, this kind of American-led regional effort would be hugely beneficial to the understanding in the Americas of what the United States is and can be after a deeply anti-Hispanic America First Presidency. It will also help lay the political predicate for some kind of Marshall Plan for Central America, something which will be needed as a way of preventing the kind of flows to our border we’ve seen episodically since the great Mexican wave of migration slowed more than a decade ago.

As I wrote in an essay in the Mexican-based journal Letras Libres, COVID presents America and the Biden Administration with an extraordinary opportunity to remind the world of the greatness of America while reinvigorating the great liberal project Roosevelt and Truman launched after World War II. If America can successfully lead a global effort to defeat COVID and “build back better” it could become a defining moment for contemporary American liberalism, helping teach an entire new global generation of what modern democracies can accomplish when working together with the people of the world.

The Biden Administration’s rejoining of the WHO and its support of the global vaccine effort COVAX was an important first step in towards standing up such a American-led global strategy to defeat COVID; the establishing of the Quad to do help Asia defeat COVID was a terrific second step; the vaccines to Mexico and Canada a smart third step; standing up a plan for the Americas should be the fourth.

Video: Rep. Suzan DelBene Talks Privacy, American Rescue Plan (3/30/21)

On Tue, March 30th at 1pm ET NDN hosted Rep. Suzan DelBene (bio) for a discussion of her important new bill, the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act.  The bill would create a national data privacy standard to protect our most personal information and bring our laws into the 21st Century. 

Rep. DelBene hails from Washington State, is Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and is the current Chair of the House New Democrat Coalition. 

You can watch the conversation here, and if you stay for the Question and Answer period, you can hear about how the American Rescue Plan is playing back in Rep. DelBene's district. 

NDN believes that adopting a national privacy consumer privacy standard is one of several steps Congress must take to restore the promise of the Internet and our digital life, and strongly supports this bill.  Simon offered this following tatement on the introduction of the bill: "Together, we have a lot of work to do in the coming years to restore the promise of the Internet. One of the areas of greatest need is in creating a single working privacy standard for the United States. In her bill, the approach Representative DelBene takes to protecting Americans’ privacy is smart, measured, and will undoubtedly be highly influential in shaping the approach Congress takes in the days ahead. It is a very welcome addition to the vital debate underway about our digital future."

Here's a bit more on the bill itself, and there is more below too.

DelBene On Privacy - Currently there is no federal data privacy law, resulting in states pursuing their own consumer privacy policies. However, in our digital world, a patchwork of different state laws will lead to confusion for people and businesses. A national standard is necessary to establish a uniform set of rights for consumers and create one set of rules for businesses to operate in.

Key elements of the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act include:

  • Plain English: Requires companies to provide their privacy policies in "plain English." 
  • Opt-in: Allows users to “opt-in” before companies can use their most sensitive private information in ways they might not expect. 
  • Disclosure: Increases transparency by requiring companies to disclose if and with whom their personal information will be shared and the purpose of sharing the information. 
  • Preemption: Creates a unified national standard and avoids a patchwork of different privacy standards by preempting conflicting state laws.
  • Enforcement: Gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strong rulemaking authority to keep up with evolving digital trends and the ability to fine bad actors on the first offense. Empowers state attorneys general to also pursue violations if the FTC chooses not to act.
  • Audits: Establishes strong “privacy hygiene” by requiring companies to submit privacy audits every 2 years from a neutral third party. 

Simon offered this following tatement on the introduction of the bill: "Together, we have a lot of work to do in the coming years to restore the promise of the Internet. One of the areas of greatest need is in creating a single working privacy standard for the United States. In her bill, the approach Representative DelBene takes to protecting Americans’ privacy is smart, measured, and will undoubtedly be highly influential in shaping the approach Congress takes in the days ahead. It is a very welcome addition to the vital debate underway about our digital future."

Video: NDN Talks The American Rescue Plan w/Dr. Rob Shapiro (3/16/21)

On Tuesday, March 16th our NDN Talks series hosted our good friend Dr. Rob Shapiro for a discussion of thhe economic and societal impacts of the newly signed into law American Rescue Plan.  You can watch a recording of the conversation here.

This episode of NDN Talks will be beneficial to anyone wanting to learn more about what this landmark legislation intends to do, and the impact it will have on the US economy over the next several years. For a bit more of Rob's thinking on the current economic moment, check out his recent essay in the Washington Monthly, The Facts About Biden’s Economic Agenda and the GOP’s Cynical Response

Rob Shapiro's Bio

Robert J. Shapiro, the founder and chairman of Sonecon, brings broad and deep knowledge and experience in economics and politics based on many years of providing analysis and advice to U.S. presidents, senators, representatives and governors, members of the Clinton, Bush and Obama cabinets and other senior officials of those administrations, executives at Fortune 100 companies, and many prominent nonprofit organizations.  His analyses and views are respected around the world, and he has developed policies that affect the terms of healthcare, education, investment, taxation, regulation, trade, and government spending in the United States and elsewhere.

Beyond Dr. Shapiro’s leadership at Sonecon and role as advisor to presidents and public and private sector executives, he is also currently a Senior Fellow of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, a director of Overstock, and a member of the advisory boards of Gilead Sciences, Cote Capital, and Civil Rights Defenders, an international human rights NGO.

Before founding Sonecon, Dr. Shapiro was the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs (1997–2001), where he directed economic policy for the Commerce Department and oversaw the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. Before that, he was co-founder and Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Legislative Director and Economic Counsel for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.

Dr. Shapiro holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a A.B. from the University of Chicago.  He has been a Fellow of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Fujitsu Research Institute, as well as the McDonough School of Business.  For many years he was the Director of NDN's Globalization Initative. He is widely published in scholarly and popular journals, and the author or co-author of three books.

In addition to providing counsel to senior cabinet and White House officials under three U.S. presidents, Dr. Shapiro also advised British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.  He conducted studies and provided economic counsel to senior executives at companies such as Amgen, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Gilead Sciences, Google, Nasdaq, and Verizon, among others.  On a pro bono basis, he has advised the International Monetary Fund and conducted studies for the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the McDonough School of Business, and the Progressive Policy Institute.

In the political realm, Dr. Shapiro was the principal economic advisor to Bill Clinton in his 1991-1992 presidential campaign and senior economic adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016.  He also advised the campaigns of Joseph Biden Jr., Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Albert Gore, Jr.

Vaccines and The Great Liberal Project

A New Foreign Policy Era Begins - The first major foreign trip of the Biden era is underway as Secretary of State Blinken and Defense Secretary Austin head to Japan and Korea with Austin also heading to India too. This trip comes on the heels of a Friday virtual meeting of “The Quad,” a new informal working group of the US, India, Japan and Australia which has come together among other reasons to successfully bring the COVID vaccine to the people of Asia in the coming years.  

In a Washington Post oped laying out the goals of their trip, Blinken and Austin write: “As the president has said, the world is at an inflection point. A fundamental debate is underway about the future — and whether democracy or autocracy offers the best path forward. It’s up to us and other democracies to come together and show the world that we can deliver — for our people and for each other.”

We are seeing the early days of what will be a new foreign policy era in Washington, one for now at least NDN will be calling “post globalization.”  It will be defined by the need to revitalize the great American led post WWII liberal project, and to ensure that democracies and not autocracies prevail in setting the global rules of the road in the 21stcentury. 

One aspect of this emergent strategy NDN will be following closely is something Simon wrote about in his big picture magazine essay on the opportunities of the Biden era – seeing the defeat of COVID and “building back better” as a global project, one which if America and our allies successfully lead can become a vital step in reinvigorating the great liberal project.  

We’ve scheduled an event on April 6thto do a deeper dive on these issues, as we will be talking with the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Jessica Brandt about the global information war which has broken out over the vaccines of the West, Russia and China.  It is a fascinating and important battle on a very new geopolitical playing field – hope you will join us on the 6th, and look for more from us in this space in the days ahead.  

Video: NDN Talks w/Karen Kornbluh About Repairing Our Broken Information Ecosystem (3/9/21)

March 9th - One of the great governing challenges facing the new Biden-Harris Administration is to begin repairing our badly broken information ecosystem here in the United States.  This is an area NDN has spent a great deal of time on in recent years, and we were pleased to bring you one of the leading experts on this topic earlier today, Ambassador Karen Kornbluh (bio below). 

You can watch our discussion here, and be sure to stay for the Q and A - it was a really informative part of the conversation. 

As prep for the recording, please check out Karen's Washington Post Op-Ed, "Three steps to help treat America’s debilitating information disorder;" her new report on deceptive content as covered in Axios; and her recent appearance on CBS News talking about disinformation and the January 6th attack on the Congress. 

If you haven't please do sign up to receive notices about our upcoming events, and be sure to check out our growing video library of in-depth discussions in the NDN Talks series. Recent guests have included Congressmen Scott Peters and Ruben Gallego, pollster Fernand Amandi, author and advocate Ari Berman, professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat and former prosecutor and MSNBC commentator Glenn Kirschner.  Most Fridays you can also find our live, always updated signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better too.

Karen's Bio

Ambassador Kornbluh has shaped public policy since the early days of the commercial Internet as a public servant and diplomat in the U.S. and internationally. The New York Times called her a passionate and effective advocate for economic equality. 

Today, she continues that work in two key roles: At the German Marshall Fund of the United States, leading its Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative to ensure technology supports democracies around the globe; and as chair of the Open Technology Fund, a government-funded nonprofit advancing global Internet freedom.

She was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris during the Obama Administration. There she spearheaded the first global Internet Policymaking Principles, gained OECD agreement to provide open access to its data, and launched the OECD Gender Initiative.

She served in the Clinton administration as both deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department and director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission, negotiating early Internet policies. She was policy director for then-Senator Barack Obama, and the author of his 2008 platform.

Kornbluh began her career as an economic forecaster at Townsend-Greenspan and worked in the private sector at various points in her career, including as a senior advisor to McKinsey and executive vice president at the global data firm Nielsen where she launched the Nielsen Foundation.

Kornbluh has held a number of fellowships, including at the Council on Foreign Relations where she was the senior fellow for Digital Policy, Mozilla, the Center for American Progress, and New America. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

It's The Governing, Stupid

March 8 - Joe Biden may be the single most prepared and experienced person to ever be President of the United States, and that experience, and the hard fought wisdom which often comes with it, has been on full display in these early days of his new Administration.  On the issue which matters most, defeating COVID, we’ve already seen truly dramatic improvements – COVID’s spread has dramatically declined, and the vaccine rollout dramatically accelerated.  The weakening of the virus also led to an impressive number of jobs created in February. In the DC area some schools have begun to announce plans to return to full in person instruction in late April. The soon to be signed into law American Rescue Plan will do much to ensure that the progress we’ve made against COVID is maintained in the coming months, and that something like normal life is possible to imagine again. 

It is clear that his many years of experience has taught Biden that to govern well he needs an experienced and capable team, for the issues in front of the United States are beyond the capacity of a single person, or even small, expert team to manage. Despite the enormity of the challenges COVID and economic struggles have brought, Biden is also working on immigration reform and smart border management, infrastructure and climate, reasserting American’s rightful role in the world, a new wave of state sponsored cyber-attacks and past election interference by foreign actors, extreme weather, emergent supply chain issues for American businesses, domestic radicalization, strengthening the ACA……even repairing the Post Office, and the Census, both broken by the previous Administration.  The ambition the President is showing is due in part to the excellence of the team he is building – it is work that must get done, but with his able team, it is work that can get done. 

Successful Obama and Clinton Administrations have left the Democratic Party with very experienced and capable executive branch veterans.  Joe Biden was relentless in recruiting into government at this challenging time the very best of this world, and together they are building a formidable team, one which has begun to harness the awesome power of government when virtuously used for the public good.  After years of Trump’s feckless and shambolic “management” of the US government, this head down, quiet professionalism is a welcome development indeed; it will also put greater and greater distance between the progress the new government makes on the problems we face and the increasingly absurd remnants (Dr. Seuss????) of the once proud Republican Party.  

Video: NDN Talks The Hispanic Vote w/Fernand Amandi (3/2/21)

On March 2nd at 1pm ET we hosted our good friend, noted pollster and MSNBC analyst Fernand Amandi for a deep dive on the Hispanic vote in America, with a special look at what's happened in Florida in the past few elections.  Among his many accomplishments Fernand was part of the team that oversaw Barack Obama’s very strong performance with Hispanic voters in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. 

You can view this latest episode of the NDN Talk series here.  Do watch - it was a really interesting discussion.

As a companion to this episode be sure to check out our new detailed look at the progress Democrats have made in recent years in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the US. This analysis includes a link to a new interview with Rep. Ruben Gallego, who reflects upon the many years of work that he and others undertook to transform Arizona from a red to purple/lean blue state.  It was great conversation, and Rep. Gallego and his colleagues have much to be proud of. 

NDN's analysis of Florida's Hispanic vote will also make good background reading for this discussion.  

Fernand's Bio

Fernand R. Amandi, President of the renowned strategic political consulting and opinion research firm, Bendixen & Amandi International, heads the operation and brings over twenty years worth of experience in research, communications and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, Univision Communications, New America Media, NDN, the White House, the John & James L. Knight Foundation, the National Immigration Forum, the California Endowment, AT&T, Airbnb and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mr. Amandi is a veteran of five presidential contests in the United States, including lead consultant roles in both of Barack Obama’s successful Presidential campaigns in addition to seven national elections in Latin America where he was developed research, messaging and strategy. Fernand has conceived, produced, and edited scores of successful television, digital and radio spots for B&A International’s media practice including the highly regarded “Nuestra Amiga” television ad for the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign, which Rolling Stone magazine lauded as “one of the more charming moments in the history of the political ad wars.”

Mr. Amandi is a political contributor to the MSNBC television network and has also been a frequent guest providing political analysis on the BBC, CBS’s Sunday Morning, CNN, Telemundo, National Public Radio, PBS, Univision and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher and the HBO Features documentary film, 537 Votes. Mr. Amandi’s communications projects and political analysis, in both English and Spanish, continue to be regularly featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, Univision, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, NBC Latino, the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Diario de las Américas and Vox.

For the past eight years Mr. Amandi has also leveraged his experiences in politics, public policy and media as a professor in the political science department at the University of Miami, where his popular ‘Elections Course’ is typically the largest attended class on campus.

From 2015-2017, hosted the daily political talk show, The Fernand Amandi Show for iheartMedia’s 610 WIOD-AM radio station and since October 2017, Fernand has hosted the acclaimed weekly political podcast, Strange Days with Fernand Amandi.

Fernand is a graduate of Florida State University and resides in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife and two children..

You can follow Fernand on Twitter: @AmandiOnAir

Simon In The NYT on Dem Management of Their Senate Majority

Simon in the NY Times– Simon got some significant air time in a major new NY Times analysis about the emerging dynamic inside the Democratic Senate majority: “The strategist Simon Rosenberg……said that he saw a minimum-wage increase as a winning issue with voters including those toward the center. Rosenberg called Republican lawmakers’ seemingly unanimous opposition to it a political “mistake.” 

Rosenberg said that if Democrats were able to burnish their brand by passing other major legislation aimed at workers and families, it could bode well for a minimum-wage increase — even in West Virginia. “I think Joe Manchin wants to be with the Democrats as much as he possibly can, and in order to do that, in his mind, he has to oppose them on certain things,” he said. “If in six months the Covid package is popular and the economy is coming back, Manchin’s going to have much more running room.””

US Could Hit 70m Fully Vaccinated Per Month in April

Good COVID News– With FDA approval of the easy to use J & J one shot vaccine and both Moderna and Pfizer increasing their production runs, the US is now on track to be able to start fully vaccinating close to 70m PER MONTH starting in April. One reason the new COVID package Democrats are pushing is so important is that achieving that level of sustained vaccination levels – 4m a day, every day, for months - is going to require significant investment, which this bill provides.  If we can get to 4m by the end of this month we have an outside chance of hitting 200m people fully vaccinated by early June; and at that point the idea of having something like a normal summer becomes more than a dream.  

Also- do check out this thread which suggests that the vaccines may work to improve symptoms of people suffering from Long COVID (COVID symptoms that last for months beyond the original infection). NDN still believes we should announce a national campaign to get every senior vaccinated as soon as possible, in part to force the system to start addressing and working through the challenge of vaccine hesitancy now. This new Atlantic essay by Zeynep Tufekci about things we still need to get right about COVID is also very much worth a read.  

Video: NDN Talks w/Ari Berman About the War On Voting (2/23/21)

So we just finished up this next week's episode of NDN Talks - an indepth discussion about the savage attacks the GOP is making on voting with noted author Ari Berman, arguably the leading expert on these issues in the country today.  It was a great discussion, and Ari certainly left a lot for us to think about, and do.  You can watch the full recording here.  It lasts about 40 minutes. 

If you are to read one thing as a follow up to our talk with Ari, read his new essay in Mother Jones, "The Insurrection Was Put Down. The GOP Plan for Minority Rule Marches On."  And you can follow him on Twitter at @ariberman

If you liked today's discussion with Ari be sure to check out our upcoming schedule of events and our growing library of interviews in the NDN Talks series. 

Ari's Bio

Ari Berman is a senior reporter at Mother Jones, covering voting rights. His stories have also appeared in The New York TimesRolling Stone, The Atlantic, Politico and The Guardian. He is a frequent guest and political commentator on MSNBC, NPR, PBS and C-Span. Ari’s work has earned him an Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media and a place on the FD200 – 200 awardees whose work embodies Frederick Douglass’s enduring legacy of social change.

Ari is the author of GIVE US THE BALLOT: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction), HERDING DONKEYS: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, and the forthcoming MINORITY RULE – about efforts by white conservatives to entrench power in the face of a massive demographic and political shift.

GIVE US THE BALLOT was named a best book of 2015 by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe and Kirkus Reviews, and was nominated for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Speaking topics include national voting rights issues; the history of voting rights in America; modern racialized voter suppression; partisan gerrymandering; American politics; the state and future of democracy; the intersection of money and politics; the 2020 census.

Ari Berman

 

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