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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#15301 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-07, 20:14

No problem, COVID-19 isn't even as serious as the flu :rolleyes:

One Of Trump’s Personal Valets Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Quote

The valet showed “symptoms” Wednesday morning, a source told CNN, which also reported that “the news that someone close to Trump had tested positive for coronavirus was ‘hitting the fan’ in the West Wing.”

A White House official told NBC that the valet serves meals to Trump, and that valets have not been wearing masks.

The man’s diagnosis raises the possibility that Trump has been exposed to the coronavirus at the same time he and his administration have downplayed the pandemic’s magnitude.

The White House appears to be winding down its already insufficient response and is intent on reopening the economy — even as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise throughout much of the country.

It is unclear why the Grifter in Chief flew into a rage after being notified that one of his government valets had tested positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 isn't as serious as the flu, and the pandemic in the US has been stopped and crushed by an unbelievable effort by the Stable Genius. What's the problem?

Personally, I think the Manchurian President should show his empathy for COVID-19 patients and victims by taking his campaign rallies to senior care facilities, meat packing plants, prisons and jails, and show his support for the travel industry by taking an international cruise. I know that would increase my chances of voting for him in November by close to 1000%.
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#15302 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-May-07, 21:51

Charlie Savage at NYT:

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said on Thursday.

“I’ve been practicing for more time than I care to admit and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Georgetown University.

The move is the latest in a series that the department, under Attorney General William P. Barr, has taken to undermine and dismantle the work of the investigators and prosecutors who scrutinized Russia’s 2016 election interference operation and its links to people associated with the Trump campaign.

The case against Mr. Flynn for lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with the Russian ambassador was brought by the office of the former special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. It had become a political cause for Mr. Trump and his supporters, and the president had signaled that he was considering a pardon once Mr. Flynn was sentenced. But Mr. Barr instead abruptly short-circuited the case.

On Thursday, Timothy Shea, the interim U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, told the judge overseeing the case, Emmet G. Sullivan, that prosecutors were withdrawing the case. They were doing so, he said, because the department could not prove to a jury that Mr. Flynn’s admitted lies to the F.B.I. about his conversations with the ambassador were “material” ones.

The move essentially erases Mr. Flynn’s guilty pleas. Because he was never sentenced and the government is unwilling to pursue the matter further, the prosecution is virtually certain to end, although the judge must still decide whether to grant the department’s request to dismiss it “with prejudice,” meaning it could not be refiled in the future.

A range of former prosecutors struggled to point to any previous instance in which the Justice Department had abandoned its own case after obtaining a guilty plea. They portrayed the justification Mr. Shea pointed to — that it would be difficult to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the lies were material — as dubious.

“A pardon would have been a lot more honest,” said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

The law regarding what counts as “material” is extremely forgiving to the government, Mr. Buell added. The idea is that law enforcement is permitted to pursue possible theories of criminality and to interview people without having firmly established that there was a crime first.

James G. McGovern, a defense lawyer at Hogan Lovells and a former federal prosecutor, said juries rarely bought a defendant’s argument that a lie did not involve a material fact.

“If you are arguing ‘materiality,’ you usually lose, because there is a tacit admission that what you said was untrue, so you lose the jury,” he said.

No career prosecutors signed the motion. Mr. Shea is a former close aide to Mr. Barr. In January, Mr. Barr installed him as the top prosecutor in the district that encompasses the nation’s capital after maneuvering out the Senate-confirmed former top prosecutor in that office, Jessie K. Liu.

Soon after, in an extraordinary move, four prosecutors in the office abruptly quit the case against Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. They did so after senior Justice Department officials intervened to recommend a more lenient prison term than standard sentencing guidelines called for in the crimes Mr. Stone was convicted of committing — including witness intimidation and perjury — to conceal Trump campaign interactions with WikiLeaks.

It soon emerged that Mr. Barr had also appointed an outside prosecutor, Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to review the Flynn case files. The department then began turning over F.B.I. documents showing internal deliberations about questioning Mr. Flynn, like what warnings to give — even though such files are usually not provided to the defense.

Mr. Flynn’s defense team has mined such files for ammunition to portray the F.B.I. as running amok in its decision to question Mr. Flynn in the first place. The questioning focused on his conversations during the transition after the 2016 election with the Russian ambassador about the Obama administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia for its interference in the American election.

The F.B.I. had already concluded that there was no evidence that Mr. Flynn, a former Trump campaign adviser, had personally conspired with Russia about the election, and it had decided to close out the counterintelligence investigation into him. Then questions arose about whether and why Mr. Flynn had lied to administration colleagues like Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the ambassador.

Because the counterintelligence investigation was still open, the bureau used it as a basis to question Mr. Flynn about the conversations and decided not to warn him at its onset that it would be a crime to lie. Notes from Bill Priestap, then the head of the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division, show that he wrote at one point about the planned interview: “What’s our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

Mr. Barr has also appointed another outside prosecutor, John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to reinvestigate the Russia investigators even though the department’s independent inspector general was already scrutinizing them.

And his department has intervened in a range of other ways, from seeking more comfortable prison accommodations last year for Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, to abruptly dropping charges in March against two Russian shell companies that were about to go to trial for financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 election using social media.

Mr. Barr has let it be known that he does not think the F.B.I. ever had an adequate legal basis to open its Russia investigation in the first place, contrary to the judgment of the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In an interview on CBS News on Thursday, Mr. Barr defended the dropping of the charges against Mr. Flynn on the grounds that the F.B.I. “did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage.”

Catherine Herridge at CBS Evening News said:

"What should Americans take away from your actions in the Flynn case today?"
AG Bill Barr: "I want to make sure that we restore confidence in the system. There's only one standard of justice."

Anne Milgram, a former federal prosecutor and former New Jersey attorney general who teaches criminal law at New York University, defended the F.B.I.’s decision to question Mr. Flynn in January 2017. She said that much was still a mystery about the Russian election interference operation at the time and that Mr. Flynn’s lying to the vice president about his postelection interactions with a high-ranking Russian raised new questions.

But, she argued, the more important frame for assessing the dropping of the case was to recognize how it fit into the larger pattern of the Barr-era department “undercutting the law enforcement officials and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 election and its aftermath,” which she likened to “eating the Justice Department from the inside out.”

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#15303 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 06:43

View Posty66, on 2020-May-07, 21:51, said:

Charlie Savage at NYT:




Dropping the case against Flynn is almost certainly political but the argument is not automatic. Two simple rules for life:
1. Don't lie to the FBI
2.Try hard not to have the FBI be out to get you.There is a good chance it will not end well.

The perjury case against Bill Clinton did not, as I recall, involve lying to the FBI but it illustrates what I am getting at. If you started picking married men at random and had them, under oath, confirm or deny that they had committed adultery you probably would get a fair number of cases of perjury. And so as not to be sexist, the same would be true if you picked married woman at random.

Now Clinton was not just your random guy. But did it matter if he was or was not having sex with Ms. Lewinsky? Maybe, since I seem to recall he was doing so while talking on the phone with foreign diplomats. We can all walk and chew gum at the same time, but this seems extreme.

Anyway, back to Flynn. Did his lies matter? I have not followed it closely enough to be sure, but I expect the answer to be yes. Foreign interference in elections is a real threat, and the Russians in particular use it with gusto. So sure, the FBI should investigate and sure, they need to get truthful answers to relevant questions.

Here is the point: Everyone understands that when law enforcement is after someone they sometimes bend the rules a bit to trap a person. So that is always a possibility and must be addressed. In this case I think it should be pretty easy to address.

Flynn has friends in high places, that's what is going on here.

it's best to play it straight, avoid problems with the FBI and above all, do not, repeat do not, work for Donald Trump. Flynn will apparently survive but others haven't, and I really would not want my future to depend on the whims of Trump. Oops, it sorta does.
Ken
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#15304 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 07:08

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

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I write this just before we learn how historically bad the unemployment numbers for April will be. I write after the U.S. death toll from the pandemic passed 75,000. And how is the president of the United States dealing with these disasters? Passive resignation — and Senate Republicans seem to be on the same page.

President Donald Trump is so far from aggressively acting against the virus that he was about to disband the task force meant to deal with it before he caved to outraged reaction. Now he’s merely burying his administration’s systematic, reality-based plan for reopening the economy while treating the virus that’s killing 2,000 Americans a day as a messaging problem. Yes, the work of government goes on despite the president’s apparent indifference. But for every achievement — testing levels continue to increase, for instance — there’s at least one more fiasco.

Nor is there anything resembling urgency on the economic front, either from Trump or from Senate Republicans. Why? Greg Sargent of the Washington Post suggests that Trump is convinced that his only way out is to “create the illusion that the country is returning to normalcy” and that he’s so keen to do so that he’s actively blocking real progress, since that would shatter the illusion. Perhaps. It’s true that Trump said once again this week that testing makes things “look bad.”

I hesitate to call Sargent’s theory the #CleverFallacy — the pundit tendency to ascribe clever motives to things that Trump simply does at random — because there’s nothing very clever about his version of Trump. Relying on spin instead of attempting to solve problems is a bad strategy for a president seeking reelection. But my guess is that it’s wrong nevertheless; I don’t think Trump is actively doing much of anything.

Take, for example, the looming meat shortage. As far as I can tell, Trump ignored this growing problem for weeks. He then focused on it long enough to issue a proclamation, forgetting that presidents can’t actually do much just by signing edicts. As the BBC put it: “Although President Donald Trump issued an executive order last week deeming meatpacking facilities ‘critical infrastructure,’ seven more plants have shut since then.” Trump, however, seems to think he’s solved the problem. There’s no follow-up, no plan, no nothing. And, in the supermarkets soon, perhaps no beef and no pork.

The one thing Trump may have going for him is that most voters probably find it difficult to believe that the president isn’t working hard to solve either the public-health crisis or the economic disaster. But with the effects so obvious, that may not last for long.

No follow-up, no plan, no nothing?

"We mould clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful". — Laozi Tao Te Ching
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15305 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 07:31

View Posty66, on 2020-May-08, 07:08, said:

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:


No follow-up, no plan, no nothing?

"We mould clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful". — Laozi Tao Te Ching


Many years back I was driving from Minneapolis to Boston during the winter months. Suddenly, up ahead, there were cars this way and that, stopped or skidding around. I tapped the breaks lightly and of course I was on ice. I took it carefully and, with luck, steered my way through it.

I see Trump as the crazy uncle who would step on the gas, lean on the horn, shout at everyone to get out of his way, and when the crash occurred it would be everyone's fault except his.

I want voters to ask themselves "Is this the guy we want at the wheel in an emergency?" If a person will just get to the point of asking this, I think he will have no problem seeing the correct answer. Trump at the wheel??? We take away his keys, call a cab, send him home.

We just have to get people to ask themselves the question. For almost everyone, that should take care of it. But they do have to ask.
Ken
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#15306 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 07:57

James Bennet at NYT:

Quote

My colleagues and I have been talking a lot lately about how distorted the American conversation about freedom has become — and even the American idea of freedom itself.

Take the debate about achieving both economic vitality and public health. Surely everyone wants as much of both as possible.

Yet a small but passionate and attention-snatching minority (with an assist from the White House) has managed to hijack what should be a conversation about figuring out the right balance. They’ve turned it into a cartoon, an either/or proposition in which even the suggestion that people should wear masks in public becomes a jack-booted assault on individual liberty, as my colleague Charlie Warzel wrote this week, drawing a compelling parallel to the warped debate over gun safety.

This raises a deeper question: What does it really mean to be free?

Before our office shut down and we all dispersed, one of the last editorial board meetings we held in person was with the prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin. At 34, she’s the youngest female prime minister in the world.

She spoke about Finland’s challenges in coping with climate change, immigration and a movement of people to cities that is hollowing out rural communities. Again and again, as she talked about sustaining political consensus to confront these challenges, she returned to the importance of the sense of security Finns feel because of their strong social safety net, including free health care and university.

“It gives people freedom when you have a very strong welfare state,” she told us.

That formulation stands the American politics of freedom on its head. Franklin Roosevelt may have envisioned freedom from want, but in recent decades freedom here has come to mean freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation, freedom from having to wear a mask in public. The American left has largely conceded the rhetoric and even the idea of freedom to the right.

Told that some Americans look at Finland and fear socialism, the prime minister smiled. As neighbors of the Soviet Union, Finns had seen a socialist experiment up close and wanted no part of it. “We are an open-market society,” she said proudly.

Our columnist Nicholas Kristof, in a deeply reported exploration of the Nordic model, had the brilliant idea to look at what it’s like to work for McDonald’s in Denmark. The answer is that, even though Denmark has no minimum wage, you make about $22 an hour and get “six weeks of paid vacation a year, life insurance, a year’s paid maternity leave and a pension plan.” All that plus the Danish guarantees of medical insurance and paid sick leave.

To get a sense of what it’s like to work for McDonald’s in the United States, watch this video.

Please read Nick’s piece and consider whether, as he suggests, we might “approach the Nordic countries with a bit more curiosity and humility.”

Particularly now, during this pandemic, I think people like me who are lucky to have health care, housing and the benefits of a good education should be asking: If we’d never had any of these things, would we really consider ourselves free? It’s to confront that question that we’re conducting our project on The America We Need.

And if you want to see what a true assault on freedom looks like, please read our columnist Charles Blow on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

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#15307 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 10:14

View Postkenberg, on 2020-May-08, 06:43, said:

Dropping the case against Flynn is almost certainly political but the argument is not automatic. Two simple rules for life:
1. Don't lie to the FBI
2.Try hard not to have the FBI be out to get you.There is a good chance it will not end well.

The perjury case against Bill Clinton did not, as I recall, involve lying to the FBI but it illustrates what I am getting at. If you started picking married men at random and had them, under oath, confirm or deny that they had committed adultery you probably would get a fair number of cases of perjury. And so as not to be sexist, the same would be true if you picked married woman at random.

Now Clinton was not just your random guy. But did it matter if he was or was not having sex with Ms. Lewinsky? Maybe, since I seem to recall he was doing so while talking on the phone with foreign diplomats. We can all walk and chew gum at the same time, but this seems extreme.

Anyway, back to Flynn. Did his lies matter? I have not followed it closely enough to be sure, but I expect the answer to be yes. Foreign interference in elections is a real threat, and the Russians in particular use it with gusto. So sure, the FBI should investigate and sure, they need to get truthful answers to relevant questions.

Here is the point: Everyone understands that when law enforcement is after someone they sometimes bend the rules a bit to trap a person. So that is always a possibility and must be addressed. In this case I think it should be pretty easy to address.

Flynn has friends in high places, that's what is going on here.

it's best to play it straight, avoid problems with the FBI and above all, do not, repeat do not, work for Donald Trump. Flynn will apparently survive but others haven't, and I really would not want my future to depend on the whims of Trump. Oops, it sorta does.


There are 4 fairly short, quick read articles about the Flynn decision by the DOJ on this really good blog. Here is one of them by a lawyer in DC.

Quote

But the irreducible minimum is that Judge Emmet Sullivan is the one with jurisdiction and control of this case. Not Trump. Not Barr. An honest and good judge, and one that has proven that over decades. Sidney Powell was right about one, and only one, thing: The Stevens case is a template for the court to find the truth.

Emmet Sullivan is a judge that can appoint an honest and independent special prosecutor to make sure real justice is done. Trump and Barr cannot fire the truth if Judge Sullivan seeks the truth and justice. And he should, for all of us. Judge Sullivan is a lion of justice that has done this before, and he should again.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15308 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 15:14

Great news for the US economy

Trump Advisers Slammed For Bragging About How Low Unemployment Used To Be

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President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers sent out a bizarre message of hope on Friday to the 20.5 million Americans whose jobs have vanished in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s tweet suggested that worry about job losses might be wasted energy since, “After all, the unemployment rate stood at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent only two months ago.”

In other news, worry about the coronavirus may be wasted energy because there were zero COVID-19 deaths just a few months ago.
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#15309 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-08, 18:49

AP Exclusive: Top White House officials buried CDC report

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The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House, according to internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press.


Quote

The document, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It included detailed “decision trees,” or flow charts aimed at helping local leaders navigate the difficult decision of whether to reopen or remain closed.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that the documents had not been approved by CDC Director Robert Redfield. The new emails, however, show that Redfield cleared the guidance.

This new CDC guidance — a mix of advice already released along with newer information — had been approved and promoted by the highest levels of its leadership, including Redfield. Despite this, the administration shelved it on April 30.

Why should the Grifter in Chief want this report released? If the report was published and widely available, some people might wonder why the Grifter and the White House wasn't speaking out about why states, local governments, and businesses were publicly flouting the CDC recommendations and causing the sickness and deaths of their constituents/employees. If there are no recommendations, everybody is in compliance. Problem solved.
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#15310 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 02:29

Yet another WTF moment

Trump Declares COVID-19 Will Vanish ‘Without A Vaccine,’ Contradicting Experts

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President Donald Trump contradicted his own health experts to tell astonished reporters on Friday that COVID-19 will “go away without a vaccine.”

“I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time,” Trump said at the White House after meeting with Republican members of Congress.

He did admit there might be some “flare-ups” before COVID-19 goes away, but “maybe not,” and predicted, “we’ll be able to put them out.”

Pressed about what evidence he has seen that the pandemic will vanish without a vaccine, Trump responded: “I just rely on what doctors say. They say it’s gonna go.” (Hear his remarks in the video above.)

Doctors don’t say that, however. Just last month, Trump’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that COVID-19′s spread is “not going to be over to the point of our being able to not do any mitigation” — taking precautions such as social distancing, for instance — “until we have a scientifically sound, safe and effective vaccine.”

After doing some detective work on my own, I have a partial list of those doctors who say that COVID-19 will magically disappear.

1. Dr Leonard McCoy

2. Dr Nick Riviera

3. Dr Granny Clampett

4. Dr Johnny Fever

5. Dr Hannibal Lecter

I will vouch for these doctors as the real deal B-)

In other news, the Trump Organization has acquired Trump Bleach Corp. as a wholly owned subsidiary.
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#15311 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 07:55

re: boneheadedness and <insert your smug ideology here>

I'm reading "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren. Wikipedia's description includes this comment by the author:

Quote

On one hand, there were those who took the thing to be a not-so-covert biography of, and apologia for, Senator Long, and the author to be not less than a base minion of the great man. There is really nothing to reply to this innocent boneheadedness or gospel-bit hysteria. As Louis Armstrong is reported to have said, there's some folks that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em ...

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#15312 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 09:14

I would hope this would be our national mantra: I Will Not Die of Stupid

Quote

I get that businesses are suffering. But I refuse to eat in a crowded restaurant, sit in a packed movie house or fly on a full flight again until I feel I can do so safely. And I am emphatically not assured by TV carnival barkers, political halfwits and people in MAGA hats.

No, I need to hear from serious, credible people. I need to know sufficient testing has been conducted and that they feel the virus is no longer a threat. If other people want to die of stupid, I can’t stop them. But if America wants its economy back — this part of its economy, at least — it better do whatever is necessary to persuade Dr. Anthony Fauci it’s time to give the all-clear.

Look for me two weeks after that.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15313 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 15:05

More criminal incompetence from the Grifter in Chief and his little grifters.

U.S. Turned Down Offer To Manufacture Millions Of N95 Masks As Coronavirus Spread

Quote

A company that offered to make life-saving protective masks as the coronavirus began its spread across the U.S. in January was snubbed by government officials.

Michael Bowen, the owner of medical supply company Prestige Ameritech, told the Department of Health and Human Services that he could begin producing 1.7 million N95 masks a week, only to be denied, The Washington Post first reported.

“We still have four like-new N95 manufacturing lines,” Bowen emailed a top HHS official on Jan. 22, the day the first coronavirus case was detected in the country. “Reactivating these machines would be very difficult and very expensive but could be achieved in a dire situation.”

Laura Wolf, director of the agency’s Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection, responded that the government wasn’t “anywhere near answering those questions for you yet” in response to Bowen’s offer.

“We are the last major domestic mask company,” Bowen emailed the next day. “My phones are ringing now, so I don’t ‘need’ government business. I’m just letting you know that I can help you preserve our infrastructure if things ever get really bad. I’m a patriot first, businessman second.”

The new revelation is part of an 89-page whistleblower complaint from former federal vaccine chief Rick Bright, who alleges he was removed from his position as retaliation for his early warnings about the pandemic and his refusal to make “potentially harmful drugs” to combat the virus.

The newly revealed emails also show that Bright attempted to warn agency leaders about mask shortages, citing Bowen’s offer. But the offer fell “on deaf ears,” Bright told Bowen in an email.

“U.S. mask supply is at imminent risk,” Bowen replied. “Rick, I think we’re in deep *****.”

Who needs N95 masks? Who needs any masks at all? Certainly not anybody in the White House. :rolleyes:
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#15314 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 16:29

It's not just the US that has been Trumped. Brazil's ultra right fringe president and the Manchurian President have a mutual admiration society based on totalitarianism and psychopathic behavior. Bolsanaro is often referred to as Bolsanazi in the Brazilian press and in the streets.

Bolsonaro continues to dismiss Covid-19 threat as cases skyrocket in Brazil

Quote

Brazil's coronavirus cases have spiked to 135,106 including 9,146 deaths, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Brazilian Health Ministry. This surge comes as President Jair Bolsonaro's spokesman, Gen. Otavio Santana do Rego Barros, confirmed he tested positive for Covid-19.

Yet Bolsonaro said earlier this week he believed "the worst had passed" for the coronavirus pandemic, during a press conference outside the Alvorada presidential residence in Brasilia. But as the number of cases and deaths continue to climb, many health experts fear the worst is yet to come.

Quote

On March 24, Bolsonaro compared the coronavirus to a "little flu" in an address to the nation. Less than two months after that comment, there have been more than 132,000 new cases of Covid-19.

Hmmm, remind you of anybody?

Quote

It was followed by a series of controversial statements about the virus by Bolsonaro. "Brazilians don't catch anything ... they already have the antibodies to keep it from spreading," the President has said.

He added again that Brazilians are likely to be immune to the coronavirus during a March 26 press conference outside the Alvorada presidential residence in Brasilia. "Brazilians should be studied, we don't catch anything. You see people jumping in sewage, diving in it and nothing happens to them," Bolsonaro said.

A twofer. Brazil has some of the most polluted water in the world (the sites of the 2016 Olympic boating events were particularly disgusting) and Brazilian exceptionalism.

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Bolsonaro has repeatedly pushed back against quarantine and stay-at-home orders imposed by governors in some of the hardest-hit states, such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, during press conferences and via Twitter.

He's also participated in two so-called "anti-lockdown" protests outside Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, where supporters crowded outside the gates and crammed against each other for a chance to see the President.

As Yogi Berra is reputed to have said, "It's deja vu all over again".

Quote

Bolsonaro gave a late-night press conference outside the Alvorada presidential palace on April 28, the day when Brazil's death toll surpassed those reported in China.
A reporter asked Bolsonaro about the spike, to which he responded: "So what? I'm sorry, but what do you want me to do?" He added that even though his middle name is "Messias," which translates as "Messiah" in English, he's not "a miracle worker."

Obviously Bolsanaro should have declared "Mission Accomplished" and announced he was opening up Brazil's economy.
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#15315 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-May-09, 16:53

Timothy Egan at NYT channeling Fintan O'Toole:

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In 1847, members of the Choctaw Nation sent relief money across the Atlantic to a starving Ireland — something the Irish, who lost more than a million people in a famine made worse by British indifference, have never forgotten. The Irish are now giving financial aid to Native American tribes hit with a pandemic that has been made worse by American incompetence.

This is a gracious act, a boomerang of good will, as reported by my colleagues Ed O’Loughlin and Mihir Zaveri. But it also shows how much of the world has started to feel sorry for a nation laid low by the lethal ineptitude of President Trump.

“The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful,” wrote Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. And he asked: “Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode?”

Before we take up O’Toole’s question, let’s look at where we rank in the worst global crisis since World War II. In Trump’s assessment, his government has done a “spectacular job” with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And I’ll tell you, the whole world is excited watching us because we’re leading the world,” he said, in an updated pat on the back this week.

He’s right about the leading part: Every 49 seconds or so, throughout the first week in May, an American has been dying of this disease. With 1.3 million reported cases, the United States, just five percent of the world’s population, has nearly 33 percent of the sick. With more than 75,000 deaths, we’re at the front of the pack as well. No country comes close on all three measures.

Globally, the average death rate is 34 people per million residents. In the United States, it’s more than six times higher — 232 per million.

South Korea and the United States both reported their first cases of Covid-19 at the same time, in the third week of January. South Korea immediately started testing on a mass scale and socially isolating. The United States denied, dithered and did next to nothing for more than two months.

By the end of April, new cases in South Korea were down to less than 10 a day. In the United States at that time, the pandemic raged at a daily rate of more than 25,000 newly sick. New Zealand, which also quickly went into lockdown, reported no new cases earlier this week for the first time since mid-March.

“The United States reacted like Pakistan or Belarus, like a country with a shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.” That’s the indictment of The Atlantic’s George Packer, calling the United States a failed state.

He’s half right. As scientists note, you can’t stop an outbreak from happening, but you can stop it from becoming a catastrophe that brings down a society. The United States spends more on health care, per capita, than any other rich nation. And yet, here we are: a full-blown disaster, in lockdown with a narcissist for a president.

A country that turned out eight combat aircraft every hour at the peak of World War II could not even produce enough 75-cent masks or simple cotton nasal swabs for testing in this pandemic.

A country that showed the world how to defeat polio now promotes quack remedies involving household disinfectants from the presidential podium.

A country that rescued postwar Europe with the Marshall Plan didn’t even bother to show up this week at the teleconference of global leaders pledging contributions for a coronavirus vaccine.

A country that sent George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower to crush the Nazis now fights a war against a viral killer with Jared Kushner, a feckless failed real estate speculator who holds power by virtue of his marriage to the president’s daughter.

Let’s not put too much of the blame on Kushner. After all, he’s also got Middle East peace, the border wall, the opioid crisis and reinventing the government on his plate. “Who’s in charge of it?” Trump said recently, about the “Warp Speed” vaccine development program. “Honestly? I am. I’ll tell you, I’m really in charge of it.”

Well, then: Where is the test and trace program needed to safely reopen the country? Where is the national plan even to consider such an effort? Trump has surrendered. He never looked smaller or more pathetic than when sitting last Sunday on his little chair in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

America has a failed federal government, laughed at and pitied the world over. But America is not a failed state. It will be saved by its scientists and doctors, its hospitals and universities, its nimble and creative companies, and leaders in the statehouses who act more decisively than the family of frauds in the White House.

Perhaps it is best to let the coronavirus task force die a miserable death. It’s mostly show and ego projection.

As to the Irishman’s question: Will American prestige ever recover? Not for some time. Our image abroad took a real hit after Trump’s election, and it has continued to fall. Most of the world now has no confidence in the president’s leadership.

But then, the same is true with most Americans. Welcome to our nightmare.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15316 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-May-10, 07:02

View Posty66, on 2020-May-09, 16:53, said:

Timothy Egan at NYT channeling Fintan O'Toole:





I read this last night and thought it is too optimistic !
We are in serious trouble and we desperately need the help of people who would not normally vote Democratic. If Trump gets, say, 40 percent of the vote he will declare that he has been re-elected by the largest margin ever and he will release the actual totals right after he releases his income tax returns. He is putting people in place that will make this possible. Barr will announce that Trump must continue in office to restore confidence in elections. We will need people who can put aside disagreements, even put aside substantial disagreements, in order to address a very serious danger. Trump is unhinged. We must address this properly, but we must address it. Responsible liberals and responsible conservatives (neither phrase is an oxymoron) must work together. Will they? We must do so ourselves, and we must insist that they do so.


Ken
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#15317 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-May-10, 09:26

For anyone interested in the Flynn case, the following is well worth listening to

https://www.lawfareb...ping-flynn-case
Alderaan delenda est
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#15318 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-May-10, 10:10

View Postkenberg, on 2020-May-10, 07:02, said:

I read this last night and thought it is too optimistic !
We are in serious trouble and we desperately need the help of people who would not normally vote Democratic. If Trump gets, say, 40 percent of the vote he will declare that he has been re-elected by the largest margin ever and he will release the actual totals right after he releases his income tax returns. He is putting people in place that will make this possible. Barr will announce that Trump must continue in office to restore confidence in elections. We will need people who can put aside disagreements, even put aside substantial disagreements, in order to address a very serious danger. Trump is unhinged. We must address this properly, but we must address it. Responsible liberals and responsible conservatives (neither phrase is an oxymoron) must work together. Will they? We must do so ourselves, and we must insist that they do so.


It appears to me that Attorney General Barr understands the history of Hugo Chavez, and he is using that playbook to try to de-democratize the U.S. Barr, better than anyone else in the administration, understands that at this point in time there is no (zero, nada) repercussions from whatever actions he wishes to take in furtherance of his goal of creating an imperial presidency and a hoped-for Christian theocracy. Two years ago I would have thought it paranoid to think that the elections results could be hacked into and changed, but I'm now concerned not about hacking but about cooperation to accomplish that end.

Trump, Barr, and McConnell appear so intent of retaining power that the concept of democracy is appalling to them.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
"I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
"I'd very like to do more, but I'm very small and far away." Gioia Maria
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#15319 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-May-10, 10:12

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-May-10, 09:26, said:

For anyone interested in the Flynn case, the following is well worth listening to

https://www.lawfareb...ping-flynn-case


Richard, I hope you've kept up with what Marcy Wheeler has been reporting on the Flynn case. She is totally on top and occasionally out front on it.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
"I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
"I'd very like to do more, but I'm very small and far away." Gioia Maria
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#15320 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-May-10, 12:46

A little help, here.

I've been reading one quote attributed to Dr. Birx, which makes it sound as if she is taking exception to the CDC as a source of information.

Quote

“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said....
I have not been a strong defender of Dr. Birx as she seems more and more tied to the administration than to public health. Here is the part of the WaPo article that describes the quote:

Quote

Inside the administration last week, there were roiling disputes over the data used by the government to track the virus as well as over possible therapeutics. The debates underscored the administration’s chronic challenges in managing the crisis, even as Trump pushes to reopen the economy.

During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration’s coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.

“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said, according to two of the people.

Redfield defended his agency, but there was general agreement that the CDC is in need of a digital upgrade.

Birx said in a statement: “Mortality is slowly declining each day. To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities.”

That assertion is contrary to Johns Hopkins data, which shows U.S. daily deaths hovering close to 2,000 most days for several weeks now, and climbing higher some days last week. Many experts also believe coronavirus deaths are actually being undercounted, with mortality data showing that U.S. deaths soared in the early weeks of pandemic, far beyond the number attributed to covid-19.


To my understanding of this quote, she is taking the administration's position that overcounting is more of a problem although without adequate testing there is no real way of knowing how many covid-19 deaths have occurred.

Am I reading this correctly?

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
"I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
"I'd very like to do more, but I'm very small and far away." Gioia Maria
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