Nel's New Day

May 15, 2022

Republicans: The Cult of Death

David Barnhart, a pastor in Alabama, wrote the following about the anti-abortion, so-called “right-to-life” movement banning abortions:

“’The unborn’ are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

The anti-abortion movement—actually the anti-choice movement because they don’t want to give rights to people—calls itself the “right to life,” but it’s actually only rights for the human zygote, embryo, or fetus. Conservatives’ respect for life by conservatives disappears at the instant a fetus emerges from the uterus. From then on, they embrace death:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to starve migrant babies held in custody for crossing the southern border because selfish baby formula manufacturers have caused a shortage.

New state anti-abortion laws block treatment for ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tube, cervix, abdominal cavity, ovary or scar from a cesarean section instead of in the uterus. They never result in a birth and are guaranteed to kill the pregnant woman without surgery. A Louisiana bill would permit the charge of murder for anyone who miscarries or needs surgery for ectopic pregnancies. An Ohio bill would mandate doctors to “reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy, medically impossible. An Oklahoma state senator disagreed with permitting surgeries for these pregnancies. Texas law does not define exceptions for medical emergencies, and a doctor denied a woman treatment for her ectopic pregnancy before she was rejected at an emergency room. At least one pharmacy refused to fill prescriptions for this condition. Ignorant legislators create these bills which are then supported by more ignorant people. If laws allow ectopic pregnancies, the confusion may keep women from seeking help. In some states, medical students receive limited education about abortion which means they also don’t know how to care for patients who have had miscarriages. The women who die don’t have the “right to life.”

The Supreme Court supporting “right to fetuses” opposed life for Clarence Dixon, a schizophrenic executed in Arizona last week. His lawyers said he didn’t understand why he was being put to death and suffered for over 25 minutes during the procedure. Age 66 and blind, Dixon is the first execution since Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours, repeated gasping until he died. Witnesses reported that prison had trouble finding a vein for the lethal injection, and Dixon was in pain for 25 minutes until they injected him in the groin. An AP journalist said, “They did have to wipe up a fair amount of blood.” Arizona also has a gas chamber which uses hydrogen cyanide, the same gas used at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Arizona can still kill another 112 people on death row. Supreme Court decisions determined justices shouldn’t meddle in state lethal injections so Arizona can handle the situation any way it wants.  

Republicans virtuously permit people with COVID to infect and kill others with the ridiculous claim of needing freedom from wearing masks. Studies have shown over and over that social distancing, vaccinations, and masks will block the transmission of the disease killing people in a little over two years. Even those who refuse all these precautions have learned how their loved ones have died the hard way, and many of them have admitted this fact. 

In another way to kill people, Republicans block any kind of sex education for young people so that they can protect themselves. Without that knowledge, girls employ myths to avoid pregnancy, myths that don’t work. Their solution is sometimes self-induced abortions, killing the young girls.

In 2008, before President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, over 26,000 people died because they lacked health insurance. Since it passed in 2010, the Republicans have tried non-stop to block health insurance for the poor. Even ten years after the law passed, 45,000 people are still dying each year from lack of health insurance. Even if they don’t die, 25 percent of people in the U.S delay health care for serious illnesses.

GOP hatred for LGBTQ people also promote violent deaths by those with anti-LGBTQ fear and loathing with the attitude that they are following God’s will.   

The deaths of at least ten people in a Buffalo story also shows how cavalier conservatives are permitting mass shootings through the freedom to buy guns. An 18-year-old who had previously threatened a school shooting and posted a “manifesto” on the website murdered people peacefully shopping because they were black. The GOP party line will be that he was a “lone wolf” although the persuasion to stop white people from being “replaced” by minorities has come for the far-right media, especially Fox’s Tucker Carlson, and GOP leaders. This mass shooting was #198 in the first 19 weeks of 2022.

Deliberate income inequality in which Republicans ensure that the wealthy and big business collect the vast majority of assets while people in poverty die from lack of resources.

The conservative anti-science aggression is also causing hunger and starvation by refusing to recognize climate change. Republicans also permit toxic chemicals and other pollution to kill people—if they are poor—to benefit big business.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), possibly the biggest liar in the Senate, said the loss of abortion rights won’t bother most voters although it “might be a little messy for some people.” He blithely commented that women can just drive across state lines for the procedure. No worry about lack of resources, distances from blocks of states banning choice, laws blocking getting an abortion in another state, prosecution for getting an abortion at all. Republicans want to have it both ways—get rid of all abortions while persuading the 70 percent of pro-choice voters that he’s not really against women having reproductive rights. The GOP just wants the discussion to disappear before the 2022 election.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agrees with Johnson that voters for congressional members don’t really care. And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that “angry leftists … don’t even know that overturning Roe means.” They haven’t noticed that 26 percent of respondents to a Monmouth University poll rated their top concern, only one percent below the economic policy. That’s far above the nine percent of them rating abortion policy as the top concern a year ago. McConnell also tries to persuade people that getting an abortion won’t be any problem because it’s up to the states. People who have seen their rights disintegrate won’t believe that either.

In Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft of the ruling that overturns Roe, he bases part of his opinion on the “great” and “eminent” legal authority, Sir Matthew Hale. The English judge and lawyer who died in 1676 at the age of 67, he presided over a witchcraft trial in which he sentenced two “witches” to death.  His “History of the Pleas of the Crown,” published posthumously in 1736, stated that authorities should distrust women who claimed to have been raped, a position still popular in the second half of the 20th century and used even in the 21st century. He wrote the marital rape exemption protecting a man from prosecution if he raped his wife because marriage means the woman has put her body under her husband’s permanent dominion “which she cannot retract.” In the U.S., no state could prosecute a man for raping his wife—even brutally—until 1970. At the current time, 21 states are still more lenient toward marital rape than rape outside the marriage. Men will cling to a legal system in which men complete control their wives.  

His claim about the “deep roots” of history ignores common law in the first decades of the United States that did not regulate abortion before “quickening”—the first feeling of fetal movement occurring as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy. Alito ignored Hale’s description declaring abortion as a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” And he uses as his justification the man who sentences women to death as witches, knows women are liars, and believes women own their wives’ bodies.

Blocking abortion will lead to preventing other human rights such as contraception, same-gender relationships and marriage, biracial marriage, transgenderism, etc. All these rights will be blocked by Republican legislators and their activist partisan judges in a huge government overreach eliminating freedom and liberty for half the people in the country. The GOP has claimed they objected to this practice with Democrats but are now allowing only Christian evangelical laws.  

September 23, 2021

COVID Grows in GOP-Controlled States

In states supporting Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), opposition to mandating vaccinations just got crazier. Florida state Sen. Manny Diaz, the GOP chair of the state Senate Health Policy Committee, wants to “review” school vaccine requirements for such illnesses as measles and mumps. This on top of preventing COVID vaccine mandates. And the appointment of Joseph Ladapo, who opposes mask requirements at school and supports COVID treatments that don’t work, for surgeon general and secretary of Florida’s Department of Health. Wannabe presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, made the appointment, and Ladapo immediately gave parents “sole discretion over mask-wearing at school. His order supersedes earlier ones, wiping out court cases against DeSantis’ ban on school mask-wearing mandates. COVID has killed at least 51,892 people in Florida since the start of the pandemic, and over 3.5 million people in the state, including Manny Diaz, have tested positive for the virus. Ladapo has a history of writing op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, questioning vaccinations and mask-wearing while advocating hydroxychloroquine for a treatment. He also believes in “herd immunity,” allowing the coronavirus to spread unstopped.

A COVID spread in California showed the importance of wearing masks. When an unvaccinated teacher in Marin County took off her mask to read, she spread COVID-19 to 26 students, including 50 percent of her students. The school requires masks, but she didn’t comply. The classroom used social distancing, masks, ventilation, and an air filter, and the farther the students were from the teacher, the less likely they were to contract the disease.

On the Fox network, DeSantis called President Joe Biden’s approach toward the pandemic a “failure” and described the large number of deaths, infections, and hospitalizations in his state a “great success.” During his talk, he referred to his use of monoclonal antibody treatment. DeSantis’ biggest donor has millions of dollars invested in this treatment, and DeSantis ignores vaccines in favor of his donor’s money-making stocks. The Orlando Sentinel, Florida’s biggest newspaper, pointed out DeSantis had tweeted only once about vaccines in 130 tweets about COVID but nothing about people who had died. He did write twice about the state’s annual python hunt.

Seven Southern states ranking in the bottom ten for vaccinations, neighbors to Florida, comprise 70 percent of the orders for monoclonal antibodies in recent weeks. Costing 100 times the amount of vaccinations, the treatment also doesn’t have lasting effect against COVID.

DeSantis’ unswerving faith in mask bans for schools comes from his belief in California psychiatrist, Mark McDonald, who promotes the use of animal deworming Ivermectin for human COVID cases instead of vaccinations. McDonald compares masks on children to “child abuse” and apartheid, South Africa’s racist segregation in the 20th century. On social media, McDonald called people who wear masks “retarded.” DeSantis also listens to Dr. Scott Atlas, DDT’s adviser who pushed White House coronavirus task force members to let people to contract the virus with no government intervention.

In August, Florida Poison Control Centers reported 27 Ivermectin-related cases. DeSantis’ COVID surge is also causing a shortage of water because it needs to be diverted to liquid oxygen for hospitals.

According to an August poll, 60 percent of people in Florida supported in-school masking. In addition, 61 percent agreed the recent COVID spike was preventable, 73 percent see it as a serious problem, and 53 percent believe the surge is a serious problem. The majority opposes DeSantis’ policies.

  • 68 percent: local officials should be able to require masks in indoor public spaces.
  • 69 percent: withholding pay for school officials requiring masking, which DeSantis is doing, is a bad idea.
  • 59 percent: everyone should be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
  • 63 percent: masking is primarily a public health issue and not about personal freedom.
  • 62 percent: health care workers should be required to have vaccinations.
  • 60 percent: teachers should have vaccination mandates.

DeSantis’ net approval rating fell 14 points in Florida by early September since early July, and 59 percent of registered Florida voters oppose his presidential run. He’s also behind his leading opponent for Florida governor, Rep. Charlie Crist, by double digits.    

DeSantis may be killing off his voters: 63 percent of the recent deaths in the state are over age 65, and seniors have been 79 percent of all pandemic deaths in Florida. Death numbers in Florida may be higher than revealed because the state hasn’t released these numbers in its 67 counties for three months. Both numbers of infections and deaths in Florida have dropped since DeSantis revised the method of counting these. Florida isn’t alone in the increasing number of deaths; this chart shows DDT-supporting counties

The number of deaths from COVID in Florida may appear to be shrinking because the state’s Department of Health changed its method of reporting death data. With the new system, a week’s data dropped the number of daily deaths from 262 to 46 although the same number of people died. Instead of deaths reported by the recorded date, the system used by most states, Florida tallied new deaths by the date a person dies, shifting a spike during a downslope and moving the downslope forward in time, creating an “artificial decline” in recent deaths during the current rise in cases.

Another form of disinformation about vaccines comes from evangelicals, including a popular app for evangelical churches, Subsplash, that urges viewers to fight pressure to get vaccinated. Users can put any lies on the app that they want. The National Religious Broadcasters fired Daniel Darling, senior vice president of communications, because he wouldn’t recant his pro-vaccine statements. On MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough’s show, he said his faith motivated him to get vaccinated and was proud of doing it. Darling described the vaccines as an amazing feat of discovery by scientists.

On the other side, Pope Francis and other high ranking Catholic leaders are calling on believers to be vaccinated against COVID because protecting others is the moral thing—a “God’s grace” and “an act of love.”

In other states:

Arkansas doesn’t mandate masks and spent $265,448 of COVID funding to enrich former Gov. Mike Huckabee by buying booklets containing disinformation about coronavirus from his company, EverBright Media. It contains the statement, “face masks aren’t recommended as a way of preventing Coronavirus for healthy people.”

Georgia has skyrocketing numbers of infections, hospitalizations and fatalities, but Gov. Brian Kemp told Fox that people can be trusted to do the right thing. He also signed an order telling “businesses to ignore any local COVID restrictions.”

Mississippi has the highest COVID rate in the nation but has no health mandates, and Gov. Tate Reeves blasted President Biden for any mandates and hopes to sue him. If Mississippi were a country, it would be second only to Peru in deaths per capita, and the vaccination rate is 42 percent. Reeves explained why deaths are okay with people in Mississippi:  

“When you believe in eternal life—when you believe that living on this earth is but a blip on the screen, then you don’t have to be so scared of things.”

In his political statement, Reeves didn’t say how that covers all the people killed by those who choose to not be unvaccinated.

South Dakota’s ten-day motorcycle rally in Sturgis, like last year, was a super-spreader event. Cases in Meade County, briefly home to 700,000 motorcyclists, rose over from a weekly rate of 644 infections to 3,819 infetions plus seven deaths. A neighboring county to the home of the rally jumped from three cases a day at the beginning of July to 160 after the rally. Most of the affected counties have lower vaccination rates that the state’s average of 49 percent. The almost 700 percent increase after the rally was two and a half times that of the percentage leap last year although the daily deaths stayed about the same.

In Tennessee, one-third of the positive cases were youth under 19 years of age after school opened in August. Gov. Bill Lee signed an order leaving students’ mask-wearing up to parents. He recommended vaccines which weren’t available to anyone under 13.

On the more educated side, a New Hampshire legislator and retired doctor, William Marsh, has switched parties from Republican to Democrat because of the GOP House leadership’s anti-vaccine position.

Analyzing why conservatives have fought so hard against protecting their health, political analyst David Graham suggests they are upset with losing influence. In the Atlantic, he wrote:

“[Conservatives] are angry at someone (elites, liberals, the government, the establishment) for telling them how they ought to live… They want to live exactly as they please, even if that means they may die—and even if that means making other people sick along the way.”

Anti-vaxxers are doing more than just yelling against vaccines and masks. They block public meetings, threaten officials with violence and death, and beat up people whose job is to ask them to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination for entry to businesses. Abuse from anti-vaxxers forced the closure of mobile vaccination clinics in Colorado and Georgia when they threw garbage and lit fireworks on healthcare workers. A California clinic had to close down because a person refusing to get a vaccination attacked healthcare workers who wouldn’t give him a vaccination proof card. The stories continue, some of the violence perpetrated by law enforcement. Yet Republican leaders continue to support their behavior, just as they refuse to admit that DDT lost the election.

COVID Unvaccinated Leads to Less Health Care, Increased Costs

Over four years ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) appointed Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. Flynn lasted three weeks before DDT fired him, ostensibly because Flynn “lied” to VP Mike Pence although there were several other reasons. Before DDT left the Oval Office he pardoned Flynn who had pled guilty to lying to the FBI as well as other multiple charges and who plotted the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Now Flynn stated that the “deep state” (aka people who don’t believe in QAnon conspiracy theories) plans to put COVID vaccine in salad dressing to impose their will on “us.”

Flynn is part of the cabal bringing death to people in the United States through the anti-vax movement. Over a decade ago, one of my friends complained that the Affordable Care Act would kill people because it would cause a shortage of doctors. People didn’t die, however, because millions more people had health insurance. But in 2021, conservatives are killing people because they refuse to be vaccinated.

A huge influx of seriously ill—unvaccinated—people has been inundating the hospitals for months, blocking necessary access for those who need medical care such as dialysis and ventilators as well as for others who have cancer, heart issues, dialysis, etc. from necessary access. Now hospitals are denying this care in at least three states—Alaska, Idaho, and Montana—where hospitals are rationing health care. And all because people refuse to be vaccinated. These three states have declared “crisis standards,” which uses legal protection in prioritizing care. Qualifications include both health issues and roles in society, i.e., higher status for health-care workers or politicians with essential responsibilities. Arizona and New Mexico had declared crisis standards in some hospitals for short periods in 2020.

Only 40 percent of people in Idaho are vaccinated, and the state has no mandated masks or other health requirements. A regional health board just appointed a doctor who called COVID vaccinates “fake.” One hospital still not declaring the crisis standard has delayed elective and nonurgent surgeries and checks vital signs less often. The state’s crisis plan prioritizes children through 17 years old, pregnant women, adults from younger to older, and patients who “perform tasks that are vital to the public health response of the crisis at hand.” Those who don’t meet the standards will receive palliative care. One patient suffering a major trauma was sent 800 miles away to Sacramento.

In Montana one hospital said its ICU was operating at 150 percent, and another said shortage of medications keeps them from treating everyone. Oxygen may be administered without monitoring. People going to Providence Alaska Medical Center emergency room must wait in their cars for care, and the hospital has no more staffed beds. Only 48 percent of people in the state are vaccinated.

Another reason for overloaded hospitals is the myth that Ivermectin will protect people from COVID. In rural Oklahoma, emergency rooms and ambulances are backed up because people are taking doses meant for a 1,000-pound horse. One doctor said that gunshot victims have trouble getting into places where they can get care, and ambulances have to wait at the hospital for beds to open up. Symptoms in minor Ivermectin cases are nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, cramping, and don’t forget the inability to control bowels. Worse than that is vision loss, coming from a medication with no evidence of being effective against COVID. A recent review of 14 Ivermectin studies, with more than 1,600 participants, show no help for preventing COVID, and another 31 studies are still underway. One of the biggest trials, the Together Trial, was stopped on August 6 because Ivermectin was no better at a placebo in preventing hospitalization of a longer stay in the emergency room. The leader of the study said that the study would have been halted earlier for no evidence except for the public interest in the drug.

Even states with more vaccinated people, such as California and Washington, are experiencing the “tipping point” of care as people from those crisis states flood into other areas. Hawaii’s governor signed an order releasing health-care facilities and workers from liability if they must ration health care. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told Idaho Governor to stop “clogging up my hospitals.”

This week, the U.S. averaged 153,000 new covid cases and 1,940 deaths each day. Today, clearly identified COVID deaths are 252 short of 700,000, and 2,228 people died in the past day. The so-called Spanish flu of 1918-19 killed 675,000 people, and fewer than the number of those who died from combat in all the American wars.

  WellSpan Health, a health care system covering South-Central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland reports younger and sicker COVID patients—and  90 percent of them are unvaccinated. Despite this knowledge, the stupidity and ignorance of anti-vaxxers and their leaders continues.

While unvaccinated people block those with vaccinations from hospitals, the latter is paying hospital expenses for the 98 percent of people who want the freedom to infect themselves and others. The average hospitalization cost of between $20,000 and $24,000 with ventilators far more expensive is paid by taxpayers and insurance that increases because of vastly higher premiums. An analysis of data shows 32,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations in June, 68,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations in July, and another 187,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated adults in the U.S. in August, for a total of 287,000 across the three months. These costs do not reflect the medical expenses of “long-haul” COVID and welfare for those who cannot work because of the aftereffects of the disease that unvaccinated people chose to contract.

Insurance companies, however, are getting fed up with make huge payments for unvaccinated people. Most of the private and group health plans no longer waive “cost-sharing,” co-pays and deductibles, for COVID treatment, including hospitalization. The change could mean thousands of dollars sick people may have to pay. Preventable hospitalization for June through August ran over $5 billion.

This story sounds like satire, but the mind of conservatives can sometimes be hard to fathom.  Breitbart News’ John Nolte talked with Howard Stern about a conspiracy theory that vaccine-believers are using “reverse psychology” to kill off “Trump supporters.” By pushing vaccines, conservatives won’t take them, and they will die.  Nolte wrote:

“Do you want to know why I think Howard Stern is going full-monster with his mockery of three fellow human beings who died of the coronavirus? Because leftists like Stern and CNNLOL and Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Fauci are deliberately looking to manipulate Trump supporters into not getting vaccinated. If I wanted to use reverse psychology to convince people not to get a life-saving vaccination, I would do exactly what Stern and the left are doing…. I would bully and taunt and mock and ridicule you for not getting vaccinated, knowing the human response would be: Hey, f**k you, I’m never getting vaccinated! And why is that a perfectly human response? Because no one ever wants to feel like they are being bullied or ridiculed or mocked or pushed into doing anything.”

With religious exemptions from mandated vaccinations growing popular, Arkansas’ hospital system Conway Regional Health System now gives those exemptions only to people who swear off medications and other vaccinations with the same issues as the COVID vaccine. Their objection to put a substance with fetal cell lines into their bodies also applies to over-the-counter medications including Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, Lipitor, Senokot, ibuprofen, Maalox, Benadryl, Sudafed, Claritin, Zoloft, etc. People signing up for religious exemptions to COVID vaccines are also prevented from vaccines such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella. All these medications/vaccines and more were developed using fetal cell lines. A religious exemption also lasts as long as it takes the person time to get another job.

The number of people objecting to vaccine mandates is shrinking. Across the U.S. between 53 and 61 percent of people want proof of vaccination for restaurants, hotels, offices or work sites, events with large crowds, and flying, percentages all up from April.

One reason people say they won’t get vaccinated is that it leads to sterility and sexual disfunction. Studies, however, show they are wrong; instead, contracting the virus causes problems in pregnancy, menstrual cycles, erectile performance, or sperm quality. Pregnant women will get infected more quickly without vaccinations. So not getting vaccinated leads to the sexual problems they fear as well as possibly death.

August 20, 2021

GOP: Killing Children—and Others

While many U.S. governors are trying to save student lives while keeping schools open, a few GOP governors, some of them considering a run for president, have banned health protections for their youngest and most vulnerable constituents. Eleven states mandate masks in schools, five states ban mask mandates with a sixth starting a ban on September 29, and the other 33 states permit local officials to make the decision. School board members say they don’t want to see young people die; governors claim wearing masks stifles learning.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is blackmailing schools into refusing mask mandates. Using $163 million of COVID relief funds, he promises $1,800 per student in all schools with no mask requirements and staying open through outbreaks no matter how serious these are. All money goes to schools willing to kill their students.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a good reason for supporting the emergency treatment REGEN-COV, a monoclonal antibody therapy costing the government $1,000, instead of the preventative vaccination, costing taxpayers $25: his #1 political donor, hedge fund Citadel’s DEO Ken Griffin, has almost $16 million in Regeneron Pharmaceutical. DeSantis’ political committee got $10.75 from Griffin. The governor downplays vaccinations while traveling his state promoting REGEN-COV and announcing huge centers where they are available.

Furious because AP journalist Brendan Farrington wrote about DeSantis’ push for treatment while downplaying vaccinations, DeSantis’ press secretary Christian Pushaw lashed out at Farrington. He is now getting death threats. Pushaw warned AP and Farrington of consequences if they didn’t change the factual headline, “DeSantis top donor invests in COVID drug governor promotes.” Before the deadline to change the headline—which didn’t happen—Pushaw urged people to “drag” Farrington.

Backing up the governor, Florida’s board of education voted to punish Alachua and Broward county school districts for mandating masks because Gov. Ron DeSantis prohibit all school districts from any mask requirements. The agency threatens loss of state funds and firing of officials, but further investigation is necessary before any penalties, claiming the issue has nothing to do with what was “good or bad,” just that schools had to follow “the rules.” The school leaders said they were legally responsible for protecting students and staff. After the state agency attacked these two school districts, three more joined them in mandating masks, opposing DeSantis’ ban.

For weeks, Florida has consistently produced at least 20 percent of the rapidly growing number of new COVID infections, many of them among youth, with the highest COVID rate in daily testing, infections, and deaths among the states. In the Hillsborough County Public Schools, including Tampa, 10,384 students and 338 staff members were either in isolation because of a positive test or in quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive as of two days ago. A little over one week into the opening of schools, 4.8 percent of the 214,791 students were affected as are 1.4 percent of all employees. A scheduled emergency meeting in Hillsborough County, days after several educators in Broward County died of covid-19 within a 24-hour period, voted a mask mandate.  One high school students at the meeting said to the anti-maskers, “This tiny piece of cloth is not taking away your freedom. Grow up.” 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott seems to be failing in his order to ban schools from mask mandates: the state board of education won’t enforce his prohibition, and the State Supreme Court’s new ruling reversing an earlier one permits school districts to require masks. Both rulings are temporary, but the Texas Education Agency will also require schools to notify the local health department of students’ positive tests as well as tell students in the same classroom and shared extracurricular activities about positive testing, contrary to Abbott’s order. Seven counties and 48 school districts defied the governor’s ban on mask mandates. Daily cases in Texas increased 37 percent in the past two weeks; 829 students and 872 school staff members tested positive for the virus as of August 8.

The Paris Independent School District in northeast Texas fights Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning mask mandates by making masks part of the students’ and employees’ dress codes “to mitigate communicable health issues. According to the district statement:

“The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district. Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.”

Abbott lost some of his credibility by contracting COVID and then demanding expensive treatment after he was vaccinated. An expert on COVID, Dr. Vin Gupta, tweeted that Abbott’s immediately obtaining the monoclonal antibody therapy (REGEN-COV) despite being vaccinated and asymptomatic “shows just how anxious and scared [Abbott] actually is of a virus he constantly downplays.” Another of Abbott’s solution Abbott to care for the Texas surge of coronavirus cases is his request for five FEMA morgue trailers because of limited access for bodies otherwise.

In Tennessee, however, Nashville DA Glenn Funk refuses to prosecute any teacher or school official, refusing the order from Gov. Bill Lee to not mandates masks.

Another source of bad medical information comes from Fox network. Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt told the viewing audience that REGEN-COV is the same as “getting vaccinated.” The treatment is used only when people become ill and takes medical care from people who need it—i.e., those with heart attacks, strokes cancers, injuries from serious accidents, etc. People complain that vaccinations haven’t received final FDA approval, but the FDA has not given REGEN-COV final approval. A tweet in response to Earhardt:

“I find it ironic they are so willing to take antibodies harvested from a genetically engineered hybrid mouse spleen, but unwilling to get vaccinated.”

Another question for Earhardt could be how many Regeneron shares she has, like DeSantis’ donor.

Earhardt’s co-host Brian Kilmeade also seemed to express approval for how easily and cheaply people can get knock-off vaccination cards so they can go out and entertain themselves in crowds. That was immediately after they talked about Abbott’s COVID infection.   

In more Fox disinformation, Will Cain, another Fox & Friends host,told his audience “natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity” and people who have had COVID don’t need a vaccine. His employer, however, requires either vaccinations or weekly testing.

A new frightening problem worsened by Fox comes from their disinformation about taking Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug used for horse and cattle deworming. People who don’t want to put what they see as the toxic vaccine into their body are poisoning themselves with hydroxychloroquine and animal medicine because of deadly advice from Fox, DDT, social media, and politicians. Recommendations for Ivermetin have appeared on shows hosted by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), known for his disinformation in several issue has promoted the medication for COVID treatment.

A pre-print study put on the Research Square website in November recommended Invermectin but was pulled for alleged plagiarism and calculated data points “mathematically impossible,” according to the Guardian. People submit studies to the site before they are peer-reviewed and accepted by a journal. for alleged plagiarism.  

Mississippi health officials warn residents against using ingesting after 70 percent of their calls to the state Poison Control Center concern Ivermectin. Until now, 85 percent have reported “mild symptoms”: possible symptoms of invermetcin in humans are rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders, and sometimes severe hepatitis. The state has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the nation, third in the greatest number of deaths per capita, and a serious increase in virus cases. The FDA reports “multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with Ivermectin intended for horses.”

According to a Yale study, the bans on mask and vaccination policies by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott caused 4,700 unnecessary deaths, DeSantis 2,800 and Abbott 1,900. With only half Texas nursing home staff members vaccinated, the number of places with at least one new COVID case skyrocketed 800 percent in the past month. DeSantis is forcing students back into unsafe schools, for example the 204 infections during the first few days of school in Pinellas County.

Five of the Northeastern states—Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island—have the highest rates of vaccinations and are in the seven with the lowest number of new cases from the delta variant. Florida and Texas, however, are topping the charts with new infections. Florida had 39,000 unnecessary hospitalizations and 2,806 more deaths than if DeSantis had followed public health policies. People living in the ten states with the lowest vaccination rates, below 41 percent of the population fully vaccinated, are almost four times higher to be hospitalized and 5.5 times more likely to die. These ten states: from ranking of 41 to 50: Oklahoma, North Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho. Wyoming, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) may be anti-mask, but his properties aren’t. People must wear masks in the Miami Trump International hotel in all public places, and employees and vendors must wear masks while at the hotel. The same mask mandate goes for properties with his name in Las Vegas and Waikiki. The expensive private school where Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) children attend requires masks while Cruz repeatedly opposes wearing them.  

August 9, 2021

Republicans Caused COVID Surge

All the COVID news from Florida is worse. A week ago, NBC reported, “The state has become the new national epicenter for the virus.” The weekend showed Florida breaking another of its records for new infections, and COVID-related hospitalizations are an all-time high. Fatalities are climbing in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis is fighting the coronavirus by blocking all methods to stop infections—“no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions, and no [to] mandates.” He followed that by lambasting public-health officials, President Joe Biden, journalists, and immigrants. 

After officials threatened to disobey DeSantis’ order, his office threatened to withhold salaries of officials, including superintendents and school board members, who mandate masks in schools. DeSantis believes his new surges are “tolerable” and don’t need “a robust response to quell.” He blasted reporters for spreading “hysteria” about the growing number of state infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Not all Republicans, however, agree with him. Yesterday on CNN, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) disagreed with DeSantis and said, “The local officials should have control here.”

DeSantis also lost the battle with the cruise lines. A judge had ruled in favor of his banning Norwegian Cruise Lines from mandating vaccination proof if they dock in Florida. Yesterday, a federal judge issued an order that removed DeSantis’ ban, ruling that the cruise line would be “irreparably injured” by DeSantis’ policy. The cruise line argued that Florida violated the First Amendment and interferes with interstate commerce. Republicans typically tout the rights of private businesses but not with the vaccine.

Travel from 49 states in the U.S. would be banned to Florida if it were a country. Jonathan Reiner, a professor and expert on infectious diseases at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said only Botswana and the state of Louisiana had “higher” viral loads of COVID.

Some Republicans fight back by blaming the Democrats for not encouraging vaccinations. For example, Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) maintained that his party supports vaccines. He may not have heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) comparing vaccine mandates to segregation and calling on people in Biden’s vaccination push to be shot. She laughed when a reporter asked her if she felt responsible for deaths caused by her vaccine disinformation. [Visual – Greene laughing]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told his state to resist the CDC guidance, saying, “They can’t arrest all of us.” He continued by claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plans to arrest him and his staff. Paul is up for reelection in 2022.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has asked Biden to require the 1.4 million military service members to be vaccinated by waiving the federal law giving people a choice if the vaccine is not fully authorized by the FDA, an action expected by Labor Day. Last month, Biden mandated either vaccinations or frequent testing for federal employees. Over 30 percent of active-duty troops have not been vaccinated. The military requires 17 FDA authorized vaccines for a number of diseases including flu, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and yellow fever. The State Department and Pentagon again require indoor mask use.

Texas school districts and a non-profit group are suing Gov. Gregg Abbott for his ban on mask requirements in schools, and Dallas ISD will require masking. Other school districts are considering mandates on masks. On August 8, 254 counties had 2.7 million cases. Joining Florida with one-third of the new infection cases, Texas is in such bad shape that Abbott asked hospitals to delay nonessential procedures and requested medical care from other states.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has also banned mask requirements in schools despite outrage from physicians who wrote Ducey:

“Your prohibition on mask requirements means no Arizona school can provide a safe learning environment,” the group of over 150 doctors wrote. “Each and every one of our students and their educators deserve better.”

A major excuse for vaccine denial is that vaccinated people have breakthroughs, yet only 0.01 percent of fully-vaccinated people have suffered hospitalization or death. That’s 1,507 deaths and 7,101 hospitalizations out of the over 164 million people vaccinated against COVID.

Vaccinations radically slowed down after two-thirds of the population, desperate to receive them, managed to get the shots. After that, vaccine deniers, still known in the media as “skeptics” or “doubters,” took over through conservative and social media. They weren’t even persuaded by the diversity of bribes to protect themselves and others. Worldometer puts the number of infections at over 36 million, today’s new cases at 102,375. Deaths are over 633,000 in the U.S.

Men exhibit more reluctance to protecting themselves and others from COVID—including masks, hand-washing, and vaccinations—than women, and a study shows that men trying to project traditional masculinity represent a larger number of vaccine deniers. Men identifying as the most masculine are more likely to attend gatherings of more than 10 people. The “completely masculine” are almost twice as likely to accuse mask-wearing as “dangerous to the health of the wearer” and three times more likely to be infected with the coronavirus. GOP men also comprise the largest percentage of vaccine deniers; eight times as many Republicans as Democrats refuse to be vaccinated.

Vaccine denial also comes from a variety of conspiracy theories, many of them from Fox network—especially Tucker Carlson. Beyond guests talking about microchips and magnets in the vaccine, Fox has reported about deaths, paralysis, and the lack of need for any vaccine. Carlson has said that wearing masks has “no basis in science.” Very little has been said on Fox network about the vaccine’s safety until recently.

According to John Culhane, an intentional bad act of one allows another to sue for personal injury, property damage, and economic loss caused by the wrongful activity. Deliberate representation is fraud, and viewers may have the right to a claim.

“First, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant made a misstatement of fact, knowing that it was false or with reckless disregard as to whether it was true or false. (“Reckless disregard” means that the defendant did no investigation at all, but just put the statements out there.) Examples of such misstatements on Fox are abundant… [Samples]

“To prevail on a fraud claim, the plaintiff next has to show that the defendant intended that the injured party rely on the misrepresentation (this can be inferred from the fact that Fox holds itself out as a purveyor of news) and that the plaintiff reasonably relied on the misstatement. Each potential plaintiff would have to allege, and then prove, that they had relied on Fox and the ‘expert’ making the statements that induced them to forgo vaccination. It’s impossible to imagine that at least some of the sickened and killed didn’t count on Carlson, his guests, and the rest of the Fox misinformers, and it would be hard to hear Fox attorneys claim that no one should “reasonably” rely on what their news station puts out. (Ironically, the network has successfully made this argument in court before, but in a case that involved statements by Carlson that might reasonably be seen as hyperbole. It’s a different story when he puts out information—some of it from so-called experts—that makes demonstrably false claims in a case involving hard facts.)

“The final requirement for a successful fraud claim is a showing of economic loss, which would be easy enough. Hospital bills not covered by insurance, lost wages, and even lost income from the deceased, in a wrongful death situation, are some ready examples.

“But one final hurdle remains. Although such a case would look strong when ticking through the requirements of a fraud case, this situation does not look much like a traditional claim, which typically involves a direct out-of-pocket loss that was itself intended by the fraudulent party. More run-of-the-mill cases would include stock fraud, or selling someone a used car the seller represents as safe, but which has a shoddy transmission of which he had knowledge. Yet even though the misstatements in this case seem designed not so much to bilk viewers out of money directly, it could be argued that Fox News intended to pad its bottom line by catering to a particularly conspiracy-minded market by pushing its anti-vaccine garbage.

“Even beyond the potential economic gain to Fox, though, at least some courts have been willing to extend fraud claims to situations where the defendant’s conduct violates a strong public policy—even without demonstrable economic loss…

“In our world of segmented media, Fox News watchers rely heavily on what they hear on the network. They trust Fox to deliver truthful information. No greater breach of that trust can be imagined than relating misinformation designed to keep people away from lifesaving vaccines… How many … people relied on Fox News? Perhaps we will one day find out in court.”

Talking about the vaccine, conservatives claim right to privacy. A question is whether they will stop buying the Apple iPhone now that the company has new tech to search the phones for child pornography. Software can scan all photographs on the phone. Apple’s “Siri” will also “intervene” if it hears an inappropriate question about sexual abuse or child pornography. Microchips in vaccines are fake; Apple’s new search software is real—like technology’s other methods to violate privacy.

August 7, 2021

Republicans Promote COVID Expansion

Last year, the community of Sturgis (SD), population 7,000, provided a COVID super-spreader event when 460,000 participants at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally returned to over half the counties in the United States and created at least 266,000 new infections. This year, 700,000 people are expected to attend the current ten-day event in the midst of the growing Delta variant and variant plus. Only 46 percent of adults in the host county are vaccinated, and South Dakota infections are rising—a 68 percent leap last week. Meade County, home to Sturgis, has a 37 percent vaccination rate, and neighboring counties are even lower.    [visual – Sturgis]

After a brief period of time when people assumed they could pack away their masks, COVID has come back with a vengeance, thanks to unvaccinated people who encourage new variants. The most famous one right now is Delta, but two of them on the horizon are Delta Plus and Gamma with Lambda not far behind. With an average of over 100,000 new daily cases, one-third of them crop up in Florida and Texas. Governors of both states refuse any precautions, choosing instead to blame foreigners for the massive numbers of infections.

In the ultimate GOP attemps to create new cases, GOP lawmakers in at least 11 states prohibit mandates on masks in schools or local government ordinances—some of them both. President Joe Biden has sent a message to the governors of these states to “Please help.” He added, “but if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”

Florida governor and presidential wannabe Ron DeSantis responded, “I am standing in your way.” As schools begin to open in the state next week, DeSantis’ new executive order threatens to remove funding from any mandating masks. Another one invalidates emergency orders by local governments requiring mask wearing and social distancing; businesses may not require vaccination proof. 

Mayors of Miami-Dade and Orange County have defied the order, requiring masks in indoor county facilities, and Broward County plans to require masks at the beginning of the school year. Dan Gelber, major of Miami Beach, nicknamed DeSantis the “Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff.”

DeSantis persuaded the state school board to give taxpayer-funded school vouchers to students who claim they would be “bullied” if they wear masks. DeSantis also uses immigrants as scapegoats for surging COVID cases in Florida, but a study has debunked his claims.

Fox’s representative to the White House press conferences, Peter Doocy supported DeSantis assertion that public health officials should not be in charge of the decisions on masking and wanting government and politicians to make decisions for individuals. Press Secretary Jen Psaki had an answer for him:   

“I want public health officials to make decisions about how to keep my kids safe, not politicians, and not only is Governor DeSantis not abiding by public health decisions. He is fundraising off this.”

For the third time this week, Florida broke its record for new cases with 23,903 infections today. Earlier this week, the state broke its hospitalization record with 11,515; 95 percent of those hospitalized with COVID, averaging 42 years old, are unvaccinated. In a press conference, DeSantis complained about the judgmental attitude toward those who refuse to get vaccinations. Under 50 percent of Floridians aren’t vaccinated.

DeSantis is “standing” with lower favorability rates than Biden’s—44 percent to the president’s 58 percent approval. DeSantis has lost support from younger people because of his opposition to school mask mandates. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, disagrees with other GOP governors, criticizing himself for signing a law last spring banning any mask mandates in the state. With only 37 percent of the state vaccinated, he’s calling a special session to change the law. Two parents sued Arkansas for banning masks in schools, and a judge blocked the law mandating masks. A few days ago, Arkansas had only 25 ICU beds for severely ill patients; Mississippi had only six ICU beds.

One reason given for refusing vaccinations is that the FDA has not given final approval, but that may change by Labor Day. Meanwhile, former anti-Vaxxers dying of COVID and their survivors are begging everyone to get the vaccine, including Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA) whose husband died of COVID in December before the vaccine was not available. The number of vaccinations has increased, rising to figures in early July with increases in these top states: Louisiana, 302 percent; Mississippi, 250 percent; Alabama, 215 percent; and Arkansas, 206 percent. 

After Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) contracted COVID after having been vaccinated, some of his colleagues attending a gathering with him on Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) houseboat became concerned, and a few senators returned to wearing masks. Of the 100 senators, 96 have reportedly been vaccinated. Yet Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) maintains mask mandates can violate the First Amendment because “wearing a mask in public communicates a message—one with which the wearer may strongly disagree.” He also complained about communication being more difficult with a mask because people cannot see facial expressions. In his state newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, experts called Lee’s protest “ludicrous.” Law attorney Ari Cohn said:

“Unless Sen. Lee would stipulate that vaccine mandates are less restrictive than mask mandates, it’s hard to see how a court would strike down mask mandates on 1st Amendment grounds.”

Eric Segall pointed out that the government mask mandate serves a “compelling interest.”

A local paper in Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-NY) district heavily criticized the DDT-supporting legislator who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as House GOP Conference Chair after Stefanik proclaimed no mask requirements “for anyone.” Columnist Gretta Hochsprung pointed out that New York students must have seven vaccines as children before going to school and two more before going to middle and high schools. The writer stated:

“You can get an exemption if you have a medical condition that qualifies. No other sort of exemption, not for religious, cultural or ‘it’s a free country’ reasons is granted… What makes the COVID-19 vaccine any different from the hepatitis B vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine? Hepatitis B and chickenpox did not kill more than half a million people over the course of the past year, and that is because most of us were vaccinated for those viruses when we were kids…

“We don’t know why, as a federal representative, Stefanik is expending her energy on public school policy, which is the purview of the states. Like everyone else, we are weary of dealing with COVID-19. Being weary or angry or rebellious doesn’t make the virus go away, however, while vaccinations and mask-wearing do.”

In the past, the Supreme Court has generally supported churches appealing an escape from lockdowns for health safety reasons despite their being super-spreaders. This week, however, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer denied a request from a Maine church to block any COVID restrictions after the Delta surge. The court is not in session, and Beyer did not refer the petition to the full court. Right now, Maine has no restrictions.

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker drew a parallel between anti-vaxxers and the insurrectionists on January 6. She writes:

“Both were and are guided by disinformation intentionally distributed to pit Americans against one another—by forces internal or external, or both…

“Both the rioters and the anti-vaxxers believe what is demonstrably wrong to the detriment of others. The rioters believed that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump. The anti-vaccine crowd embraced Trump’s initially blasé attitude toward the virus, despite his having been vaccinated since—and despite massive evidence supporting the efficacy of the vaccines, which, until recently, were close to putting the virus to bed.”

According to Parker, both groups voted for DDT, and both have the belief that “someone—the Deep State, Anthony S. Fauci, Nancy Pelosi, Charles E. Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, take your pick—is trying to pull the wool over their eyes.” She describes anti-vaxxers as “the passive twin to the rioters’ aggression.”

“Both operate from a posture of certitude. Both threaten the health and welfare of the nation…. The good news is that the bad guys of January 6 ultimately will be brought to justice. But the ‘bad guys’ of the vaccine resistance, assuming they survive, likely will get away no matter how many others they infect…

“I’m weary of playing nice with people who are plain wrong and causing 300 million Americans, give or take, to suffer…

“To put it bluntly, the 25 to 30 percent of Americans refusing to get the vaccine are putting their own lives at risk, threatening our doctors’ and nurses’ ability to take care of other sick folks, and by mixing among vaccinated people, possibly causing even more infections.”

Parker concludes that the good news is that the bad guys of Jan. 6 ultimately will be brought to justice. But the ‘bad guys’ of the vaccine resistance, assuming they survive, likely will get away no matter how many others they infect.”

February 9, 2021

Impeachment Trial Day One, More DDT Losses

On the first day of the second impeachment trial of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lawyers used DDT’s favorite defense—victimization. David Schoen vigorously complained the Democrats had impeached DDT only because they hated him. The rest of their argument covered up his incitement of violence and accused Democrats of playing the videos of DDT’s speech followed by the mob at the Capitol only for “blood sport”—a “sport” that DDT loved watching on January 6.

DDT’s lawyers argued he was “horrified” about what was happening and “immediately” moved to stop the attack. Yet a senior official, one of DDT’s former aides talking about DDT’s enjoyment at watching the mob’s attack said DDT was “loving watching the Capitol mob.” Both Republicans and Democrats begged DDT to ask his supporters to stop, but DDT remained silent while watching the tragedy on television. He waited hours to tell the rioters, who he called “special,” to halt and didn’t call for any military help, leaving the responsibility to then VP Mike Pence, whose life was threatened in the coup attempt.

The team of DDT’s two failed attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, gained a third—Michael van der Veen. None of them is a constitutional lawyer, and van der Veen, a personal-injury attorney, sued DDT last year for “repeated claims” about mail voting being fraudulent “despite having no evidence in support of these claims.” Van der Veen sued DDT and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for decreasing “sufficient access to vote by mail” through operation “delay.” Castor works for a firm founded by van der Veen, well known in Philadelphia for his huckster advertising on a local radio station regarding personal injury representation.

In arguing the constitutionality of an impeachment trial for DDT, Schoen invalidated the second penalty of disqualified the convicted person from future office, “always and only imposed on former officials,” according to Michael Gerson. Schoen believes the word “and” between the two penalties makes them “inextricably entwined” although “and” is a grammatical structure, not a mandate for two elements becoming one.

The vote from 44 GOP senators agreeing with DDT that impeachment is “unconstitutional” matched the consistent failure of Republicans to follow the U.S. Constitution in their effort to protect DDT—and themselves. For example, these GOP members of Congress have ignored the Emoluments Clause in order for DDT to illegally make money from foreign governments. The “yes” votes from 46 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 2 unaffiliated senators demonstrates the unity which Biden seeks, and a secret vote could let some of the 44 naysayers change their vote. One-third of them are up for re-election in fewer than two years, and DDT has sworn revenge on non-loyalists. Four leading GOP senators—Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), and Pat Toomey (PA)—have already said they won’t be running; of the remaining 16, only one, Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted that the impeachment is constitutional. (Left: map for 2022 senatorial elections: Blue – Democratic incumbent; Orange – Republican incumbent; Red – Republican retiring; Gray – No election)

Even DDT recognized how bad his attorneys performed on the first day, especially after Bruce Castor traded places with David Schoen to take the opening. Castor explained he went first because “the House managers’ presentation was well done” and he wanted to drop the emotional temperature. His patronizing approach failed as evidenced by criticism from such GOP senators as Texans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. When Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was asked in what way DDT’s lawyers did such a bad job, he answered, “Did you watch them?” Even Alan Dershowitz, a former member of DDT’s legal team, told Newsmax he couldn’t figure out what Castor was doing in his opening presentation.

Part of DDT’s fury about his lawyers may have come from Castor’s statement that DDT is no longer a president and that DDT could be criminally charged if he weren’t convicted in an impeachment. In his opening, Castor said:

“After he’s out of office, you go and arrest him. So there is no opportunity where the President Of The United States can run wild in January at the end of his term and go away scot-free. The department of justice does know what to do with such people.”

The quality of DDT’s lawyers, however, may make no difference. It is assumed the fix in in, that over one-third of the senators, all Republicans, will vote against conviction no matter the evidence or pathetic ability of DDT’s lawyers. On Fox, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) claimed DDT deserves a “mulligan” because “everyone makes mistakes.” Like a person elected as president trying to overthrow the government and sending people how to commit violence and kill people in giving him what he wants.

In an article for the conservative Bulwark, Sarah Longwell, active in the Lincoln Project and co-founder of Republicans for the Rule of Law, wrote:

“There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they ‘fight’ to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do. Look: the people in mobs are supposed to be held accountable for their actions. That’s the law. But there’s also a whole section of the law which realizes that the creation and instigation of a mob is, itself, a criminal action. And people who do that are supposed to be held to account too.”

Outside the impeachment, DDT keeps losing:

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily halted a massive ConocoPhillips oil project on Alaska’s North Slope in the western part of Arctic Alaska. Based on a lawsuit that DDT’s administration failed to consider environmental impacts, the order stops gravel-related work until February 20, giving time for the 9th Circuit Court to look at the case. The judge’s order permits continued work on ice roads which melt in summer. Biden’s review of DDT’s oil policies includes this project.

A man who took over $38 million in no-bid federal contracts to provide N95 masks for the VA and FEMA; he pled guilty to fraud, theft, and lying after delivering no masks. To get the contract, he said he lied about having the masks when he no plan to find or buy them. The federal government supported price gouging and profiteering by hiring contractors with no experience in finding PPE. The contractor, an Air Force veteran, benefited from the program giving forgivable loans when he provided false tax forms claiming 37 employees instead of his actual nine. He has since repaid most of the $805,000 he received while pleading guilty to taking $261,000 from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for his personal extravagant spending. He also collected almost $74,000 from VA benefits by lying about being a disabled Marine corporal.

A judge has ordered Herring, the owner of far-right One America Network, to pay Rachel Maddow, host of an MSNBC show, $258,000 for its failed defamation lawsuit against her. Maddow reported an OAN journalist also contributed to Russia-owned news outlet Sputnik and accused OAN of being “paid Russian propaganda.” Herring demanded $10 million in damages from Maddow and plans to appeal while it faces a lawsuit from Dominion voting machines for a two-hour conspiracy video by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell about his baseless claim the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

The federal government could have blocked the Russian hacking of both its agencies and businesses with a free cybersecurity system, in-toto, developed with $2.2 million taxpayer funding. The system was first adopted in 2018 by Datadog, a competitor of SolarWinds which allowed the hacking into its software. Datadog’s customers include Nasdaq, Whole Foods, and Samsung. The hacked SolarWinds has 320,000 customers in 199 countries, including 499 of the Fortune 500 companies, and its Orion products, responsible for the cyberattack, bring the company 45 percent of its over $1 billion revenue.  “We make IT look easy” is SolarWinds slogan.

A big promise from DDT was to eliminate U.S. trade deficit. Last year’s trade deficit was the biggest and worst ever—worsening by six percent at $916 billion. Exports dropped by 13.2 percent to $1.43 trillion, the worst since George W. Bush’s recession in 2010. Goods imports fell by 6.6 percent to $2.35 trillion. Half the decline came from the 38 percent plunge–$120 billion to $80 billion—in petroleum products, the lowest since 2002. More bad news is here. 

The DOJ has dropped a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump, for releasing taped conservations between the two women when Trump children’s separation and holiday decorations at the White House. Conservative David Frum called the case “an abusive deployment of state power for personal revenge,” and  Attorney Bradley Moss called Trump “a petulant and tiny person unworthy of the role she held.” Moss also tweeted it was a “stupid lawsuit that was dead on arrival and flew in the face of decades of first amendment precedent.”

According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent of people think DDT should be convicted; they also say by a 17 percent margin that the GOP has more radical extremists than Democrats. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 58 percent believe DDT should either “probably” or “definitely” be barred from running for public office in the future. One-third of Republicans want DDT to testify in his impeachment trial.

January 15, 2021

Sedition Has Consequences

The impeachment is over, with National Guard protecting the House chamber, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) needs a team for the trial in Senate. He may have trouble finding one. He’s unhappy with Rudy Giuliani for his failure to overturn the election and refuses to pay him the promised $20,000 a day—maybe not even travel costs. But DDT is famous for stiffing his employees. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was so disgusted by the Capitol siege he told staffers he won’t be defending DDT in the current impeachment as he did last time. DDT also can’t get several prominent law firms this time around, and most of the lawyers from last time have bailed, leaving only Alan Dershowitz who didn’t a poor job the first time around. Yet Dershowitz said provoking people to storm the Capitol was a “political and moral sin.”

Law professor John Eastman (left) who claimed election fraud at DDT’s January 6 rally inciting violence is a consideration. The Chapman University (Orange County, CA) professor was immediately “retired” by the school after his recitation of lies about election fraud. 

In the name of “freedom,” recalcitrant GOP House members are ignoring rules such as wearing masks and using the metal detector before entering the chamber. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is fed up with the lack of security: she’s fining them $5,000 for the first one and $10,000 for the second one, with the money directly deducted from salaries by the Chief Administrative Officer. Her decision came after appearances of collusion between some of the representatives and the violent protesters. The day after the siege, newly-elected Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) bragged about carrying a gun into the House chamber, a violation of the law.

Newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), conspiracy theorist who tweeted Pelosi’s location at the beginning of the Capitol attack and fought the use of a metal detector, announced on Newsmax she plans to file articles of impeachment against Joe Biden on January 21 for abuse of power. After voting against DDT’s impeachment, she accused Biden of being “easily bought off by foreign governments,” referencing “Chiney” (her word) and Ukrainian energy companies.

QAnon follower Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) gives Boebert a run for her money in inciting violence. One week after the mob stormed the Capitol, Greene tweeted:

“These Democrats are the enemies to the American people who are leading the impeachment witch hunt against President Trump. AGAIN! They will be held accountable.”

A member of the party that advocates calming rhetoric, Greene claims DDT “will remain in office” and added, “This Hail Mary attempt to remove him from the White House is an attack on every American who voted for him.” GOP colleague Adam Kinzinger (IL) said the language, which may “incite insurrections,” is “literally anti-democracy.” Greene was one of the Republicans who refused to wear a mask at the superspreader lockdown in the Capitol. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) was the fourth Democrat to contract COVID-19 since some Republicans refused to follow health guidance during last week’s lockdown.  [visual – Marjorie

And Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) wants to know “why there aren’t more uprisings around the country.”

Newly-elected Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), one of ten Republicans who voted for impeachment, said he is buying body armor to protect himself from death threats as well as hiring armed escorts for himself and his family while traveling.

Some Republicans booed the plea newly-elected Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) made for impeachment. Perhaps they were comfortable doing that because she’s a young Black woman. Her entire speech:

“Madam Speaker, St. Louis and I, we rise in support of the article of impeachment against Donald J Trump. If we fail to remove a white supremacist president who incited a white supremacist insurrection, it’s communities like Missouri’s First District that suffer the most. The 117th Congress must understand that we have a mandate to legislate in defense of Black lives. The first step in that process is to root out white supremacy starting with impeaching the white supremacist in chief. Thank you and I yield back.”

No one booed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of former VP Dick Cheney, when she made her speech about how DDT “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.″ She said, “Everything that followed was his doing” because he could have stopped he riot but didn’t, a riot resulting in five deaths including a police officer. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was visibly upset by her statements, including: 

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

A common meme about disasters, especially during the years of DDT—“It is what it is.” Fox’s Pete Hegseth has coined a new one for 2021 when talking about the insurrection at the Capitol: “What happened, happened.

Corporations claim they won’t donate to congressional members voting to overturn the election, but an analysis shows corporate and trade association political action committees gave $170 million to those 146 congressional members since the 2016 cycle. Of the PACs, 46 donated to at least 50 percent of those who objected to electoral votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania.  

Law enforcement seems to finally take the threats to the new administration seriously. Plans for the inauguration:

  • Citywide emergency declaration until inauguration.
  • More fencing—lots more fencing—including around the perimeter of the Capitol and the Pentagon.
  • At least 21,000 National Guard members deployed, many of them armed, and the number could grow.
  • Warnings about armed protests by violent DDT supporters in all 50 state capitals.
  • The National Special Security Event lockdown declaration, usually for the day of the inauguration, moved up to January 13.
  • Sealed parking garages downtown.
  • The 13 Metro stations inside the security perimeter shut down.
  • All downtown hotels urged to close and pay their staff. (Several of them, as well as Airbnb, have already done so.)
  • Reduction of those included inside the perimeter dropped from 200,000 to 3,000.
  • Parade viewing stands near the White House dismantled and inaugural balls canceled.
  • A virtual parade instead of the typical walk.
  • Interior Department asked to issue no permissions for permits.
  • Closure of National Mall and major bridges into downtown D.C. on Inaugural Day.

On the day after his impeachment, DDT released a five-minute video on the White House Twitter account condemning violence and saying he would never condone it—a week after he gave a White House party cheering on the mob descending on the Capitol. He tried to look presidential but finished the speech by lambasting people who attempt to “silence” others. DDT failed to announce “the election was not stolen,” and his official Peter Navarro went on Fox the next day to declaim DDT was “legally elected” as president. DDT also asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who accompanied DDT on his official trip to Alamo (TX), to persuade fellow senators to vote against impeachment conviction.

As DDT gets closer to being an ex-president, he breaks into more rages, especially when confronted with comparisons between him and ex-President Nixon. The reminder of his departure hangs outside his White House residence in the banner stating  “2021 Biden-Harris Inauguration.” DDT refuses to make any farewell address and leaves all official duties to VP Mike Pence. DDT’s schedule continues to be blank. Meanwhile, the administration members are taking “moving” to the extreme: they’re walking out of the White House with items belonging to the U.S. people.

Unemployment claims for the first full week of January have gone up 25 percent to 965,000—a non-adjusted claims of 1.2 million—with another 284,500 from those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

And nobody is leading the country; the surge is escalating. World-wide the deaths are past 2 million; in the U.S. the number of deaths will go above 400,000 by the end of January 15 with an estimate of another 100,000 within two weeks. 

The high note of the January 6 attempted coup came four days later when David Smith, recently retired from the Navy, gathered almost 200 veterans and other volunteers to pick up the trash left behind by the mob. On a sweep through the area around the Capitol and downtown D.C., they collected “Stop the Steal” and other pro-DDT detritus left from the riots and used scrapers and adhesive remover to remove signs and stickers from neo-Nazi and alt-right groups. Messages expressing the need for veterans “to stand up” led to a group deciding to attend Black Lives Matter protests to give demonstrators security and supply them medical and logistical support. Smith said they want to stick to their oath, “to defend the Constitution, thereby ensuring the rights of all our citizens.”  

Five more days of temper tantrums and failures in the White House.

October 28, 2020

DDT, GOP Lie about the COVID-19 Surge, Voting Rights

Filed under: Health Care,Voting — trp2011 @ 12:28 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is crossing the nation, spreading COVID-19 among his campaign rallies and telling his audiences COVID-19 is “rounding the turn” and no longer a problem. He says any cases come from all the testing.

The “turn” evidently means far more coronavirus cases. In many regions—the Upper Midwest, the Mountain West, the Southwest, and the heart of Appalachia—hospitals have record levels of people infected by coronavirus. Over 42,000 people were hospitalized in the U.S. just yesterday, a number nearing the midsummer peak. The result is a nightmare on the horizon–triaging patients to pick which ones will get care and putting younger ones over the older. The 83,000+ cases of last Saturday, a single-day record, set up the motion the COVID-19 pattern: spiking diagnoses, hospitalizations, and then deaths. 

Johns Hopkins University has reported increases of 20 percent in new cases, 13 percent in hospitalizations, and 11 percent in daily death. Nineteen states announced more cases in the past seven days than any other seven-day period of the epidemic, and dozens of states have a seven-day average of over 100 new daily cases per 100,000 people with over 700 per 100,000 in North Dakota, five times the U.S. average. El Paso (TX) hit 100-percent hospital capacity Sunday and moved patients to field hospitals. Tulsa (OK) said the soaring number of hospitalizations “is not sustainable.” North Dakota has only 25 ICU staffed beds remaining in the entire state.

North and South Dakota are the poster states of bad leadership and dramatic surges of COVID-19. Earlier, they bragged about having no problem. North and South Dakota report the highest and second-highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths. South Dakota is second only to North Dakota in the number of virus cases per 100,000 people for all 50 states while North Dakota reduced testing by 2 percent. In South Dakota, the testing average rose by 11 percent, but cases increased by 20 percent over the previous week. South Dakota’s tests have 40 percent positives.

South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem started big outbreaks by forcing infected people to continue working in the state’s meat processing plants, and she thinks the state still has no problems.  Last week she wrote in an op-ed, “Our trust in the data and in each other has been rewarded.” The “data” shows South Dakota reported over 1,100 new cases, 95 cases per 100,000 and a single-day record after the record of 973 the day before. Of the ten hottest spots for coronavirus in the nation, six are South Dakota cities. Nearly half the 3,138 inmates in South Dakota’s prison system tested positive as of Monday. About masks, Noem wrote that people should make “informed decisions” about wearing them because people “question” their effectiveness. The state has no limit at gatherings; last summer’s Sturgis biker event drew almost one-half million people who spread the virus to thousands of people throughout the nation. DDT held another superspreader event at Mt. Rushmore on July 3. Noem sounds like DDT and wants his position in four years: she’s traveled to at least 11 other states as a DDT surrogate for his campaign.

Noem is wrong: masks do work. Last summer after a stay-at-home order expired, Arizona’s COVID-19 daily cases spiked 151 percent for weeks, putting the state with more capita numbers than almost all countries in the world. After the governor lifted his ban on local mask mandates, the number of cases dropped 75 percent later in the summer. Loosening of safety measures, however, are causing another spike in the number of the states’ cases and hospitalizations, matching the June spike. Numbers could be even worse because Arizona includes only electronically-reported test results. By October 28, Arizona almost doubled the number of counties with moderate levels of community transmission (26 percent to 37 percent of counties) and high levels of community transmission, 7 percent to 13 percent. According to an estimate, 7,405 lives would have been saved with a universal mask mandate. With a mask mandate for over five months, Oregon has over five times lower death rate.

A University of Kansas study of counties in the states with and without mask mandates also discovered orders to wear face masks cuts back on the number of COVID-19 cases. The 21 counties adopting rules of wearing masks and distancing six feet from others reported an average of seven fewer cases per 100,000 compared to the spike of up to 40 average daily cases per 100,000 in the other 80 counties. The report concluded a saving of 130,000 lives of the predicted 510,000 deaths in the next four months if 95 percent followed these guidelines.

In his campaign rallies, DDT urges his audience to ignore the surging number of cases. Like a tsunami, each COVID-19 wave is higher than the last one. The first wave reached 9.7 cases per 100,000 on April 7 and dropped before increasing to 20.5 cases per 100,000 on July 19. The latest one rose to 23 cases per 100,000 on October 24 and may not have stopped. DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House planned to do nothing to stop the cases, the hospitalizations, and the deaths. 

DDT actually has a few plans. After he gave farmers $46 billion in welfare to cover his disastrous tariffs, he is in federal court to stop emergency food stamps to 700,000 people during the virus crisis. He has already kept $480 million out of Pennsylvania, a state with extraordinarily high unemployment and a swing state DDT wants to win. The emergency funding is $2 per meal for a person. A federal judge has accused the USDA of “egregious disobedience” for not following congressional mandates. With no backup plan, DDT also wants to rid the country of the Affordable Healthcare Act, leaving tens of millions of people without health insurance. In another idea, DDT said he wants to make reporting about the coronavirus illegal. It “should be an election law violation,” he ranted.

Republicans and conservative judges are trying to infect more people by forcing them to the polls. Virus cases are rising in Texas again, but people fearful of infection who want to avoid exposure cannot cast ballots by mail because of GOP restrictions. The governor, Greg Abbott, has shot down every plan to make voting safer and more accessible. Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee are going along with strict restrictions on absentee ballots. All states also have strict voter ID requirements, and Mississippi limited early in-person voting. Anyone not working for an elections office in Tennessee and handing someone an application for absentee voting faces one to six years in prison. These conditions discriminate against less privileged groups such as people of color and those made vulnerable by medical conditions. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas have some of the country’s highest rates of poverty and chronic health conditions.

One recent cheery piece of news comes from a federal judge order for South Carolina counties to stop rejecting absentee ballots over mismatched signatures and a review of ballots eliminated for that reason. County election boards wanting to have that procedure must get court approval and give voters the chance to correct any mismatches. Ten of the state’s 46 counties, some of them highly populated, were using “signature matching.”

Voter suppression, however, seems to be failing. A week before Election Day, the number of early voters equals about half the total number of people voting in November 2016. Even in restrictive Texas, almost half the registered voters have submitted ballots a week before Election Day, exceeding last year’s complete early votes by over three million and almost equaling the entire number of votes cast in Texas four years ago.

An outstanding occurrence in the current election comes from the large number of young people voting. Both parties have long said that more voters, especially young ones, benefit the Democrat party. For that reason, Republicans have tried to suppress the vote for decades.  

As DDT travels the country negating the disaster he has caused by mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis, health officials and scientists on DDT’s coronavirus task force are offended by the announcement from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that DDT has successfully ended the pandemic. The group called the lying statement to be one of DDT’s major first term accomplishments. The lie explains it “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.” In the conservative Hill, Nathaniel Weixel writes:

“The rosy outlook flies in the face of reality, and underscores the efforts of Trump to continuously try to downplay the severity of the pandemic that continues to rage nearly uncontrolled across the country.”

On October 27, one week before the election, COVID-19 shows no sign of abating in the U.S. Total cases: 9,038,030. New cases during last 24 hours: 75,072. Total deaths: 232,084. Deaths during last 24 hours: 1,039. With under five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has provided planet with over 20 percent of cases and deaths from coronavirus.

July 12, 2020

DDT: Week 181 – Rotten Orders, Infecting Children

Today, I laughed at a headline in my email from the conservative Hill, News Alert: Trump Wears Mask …” With the new normal, a newsworthy item is Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), supposedly the leader of the free world, wearing a mask for the first time after five months in which he did nothing about a virulent disease killing almost 140,000 people just in the U.S. DDT said, “I’ve never been against wearing a mask.” Yet he refused to wear one in public any place until now, even if rules required the practice, and he opposed social distancing. The venue for his Tulsa (OK) speech could not post signs about social distancing, and mask-wearing was not recommended.  

DDT’s campaign tells its staff that wearing masks inside isn’t necessary; those who do are ridiculed in social pressure not to wear them. Staff members are also told not to tell colleagues if they are exposed to COVID-19.

After DDT’s long-time friend Roger Stone lied to protect DDT, the man who supposedly protects “law and order” used his presidential power to commute Stone’s sentence of 40 months for a unanimous conviction of seven felonies. DDT’s bag man AG Bill Barr had already dropped the sentence from seven to nine years in prison. Stone told DDT about WikiLeaks hacking Democratic campaign emails to help DDT win the 2016 election and then lied about doing it as well as being guilty of witness tampering and obstruction.

AG Bill Barr claims that he advised against the commutation; DDT said they never talked about it. White House officials are concerned about political backlash for the clemency grant. In an op-ed for WaPo, Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s link to the 2016 election, explains what happened with Stone and wrote:

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Michael Flynn hasn’t been exonerated yet, but he took an oath on July 4 that ended with the oath of office recited by the conspiracy group QAnon to make themselves “digital soldiers,” “Where we go one, we go all!” Not familiar with the group? Its message: DDT is secretly warring with evil Democrats, the “deep state,” Hollywood celebrities, cannibals, and a hidden group of pedophiles. Last year, the FBI classified QAnon as a domestic-terror threat. Two months ago, DDT said he is considering re-hiring Flynn who is a “fine man,” and VP Mike Pence agreed.

Mary Trump’s tell-all book about DDT has covered up information about other new releases, but one to notice is Jacob Soboroff’s Separated: Inside an American Tragedy. His reporting on immigration led him to the background for taking children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Katie Miller, racist Stephen Miller’s wife and VP Mike Pence’s press secretary, related to Soboroff how she was sent to the border “to make me more compassionate” by seeing the separations, “but it didn’t work.” Asked if she is a white nationalist, Miller said, “No, but …,” finishing by complaining that people don’t “assimilate” and have “Little Havana.” A definition for sociopath, also called antisocial personality disorder, includes no “guilt or remorse for having harmed or mistreated others,” lack of empathy for others, and lack of remorse about harming others 

Once the country survived from DDT’s racist speeches to divide the United States for his July 4th celebration of independence, the media transferred to a focus on DDT’s insistence schools all reopen in a few weeks. Killing children with COVID-19 is all part of DDT’s plan to get reelected by his declaration the virus is gone and all is normal. It isn’t. The number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths has shot up so far that GOP governments desperately announced some business closures and other restrictions.

DDT justified opening the schools by citing other countries such as Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden successfully opened their schools. New coronavirus cases in these countries for the past 24 hours:

  • Germany: 224
  • Denmark: 0
  • Norway: 3
  • Sweden: 0

New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for the same period of time: 61,719

Countries successfully opening their schools without huge new virus outbreaks have waited until they dropped new infections to low levels and allocated funding to schools for this purpose. The U.S. has neither.

Instead of providing incentives for opening schools, DDT threatens removing federal funds from schools that don’t comply with his orders. Congress approved $13.5 billion in emergency aid for K-12 schools, but the loss of local funding from the economic disaster caused by COVID-19 puts schools at great shortages. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos declared that families could take the money for other education if public schools don’t open. It’s part of her strategy to move all education funding to private schools, enriching for-profit corporations and churches.

Summer camps provide an example of problems in reopening schools at the height of the pandemic. Last week, a summer camp in Missouri shut down after at least 41 youth ages 13-18 and their staffers tested positive. The number increased to 82 when the children went to their homes in ten different states. The virus problem was not unique at that camp: others across the nation have closed because both youth and staffers have contracted coronavirus.

Like DDT’s other responses to COVID-19, he has no plans for safely reopening schools, just his decision to pressure governors and other state officials to force children back to school for the fall term. Instead, he rails about everyone objected has “political reasons, not … health reasons.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC) offered guidance about opening schools during a pandemic—distancing, physical barriers, and staggered scheduling. DDT found those these ideas to be too expensive and told CDC to change its guidelines. CDC Director Robert Redfield wants to keep DDT happy and said, “Clearly, the ability of this virus to cause significant illness in children is very, very, very, very limited.” Redfield softened guidelines by claiming that they aren’t “requirements” and shouldn’t be a barrier to reopening schools.

Pence said CDC will have new guidelines this coming week because the old ones are “too tough.” He also asserted children’s need for “nutrition” was the primary reason for forcing children back to school. His “concern” is at odds with his administration’s reduction in funding for school meals and food stamps. Internal CDC documents cautioned fully reopening K-12 school and universities would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus. 

Redfield’s boss HHS Secretary Alex Azar, works even harder to please DDT. As an excuse for opening schools, he said healthcare workers “don’t get infected … because they take appropriate precautions.” Over 94,000 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19—almost three percent of the infections in the U.S.—and at least 500 of them have died—3.6 percent of the total U.S. deaths from the virus. As a reporter commented, “If we don’t have enough PPE for the healthcare workers on the front lines, how can we possibly have enough PPE for all of the country’s teachers to take the same precautions?”

As DDT plans to infect hundreds of thousands of children in school, he plans to return to separating children from parents. A federal judge ordered scores of children to be released from ICE facilities, but her ruling doesn’t cover adults. DDT will give migrant parents the choice of giving up their children to sponsors or stay with their children where the virus is dangerous. Two ICE detention centers in Texas already have the virus, and almost 3,000 of 17,000 detained migrants in ICE facilities have tested positive for the virus along with several dozen ICE employees.

After DDT officially dropped U.S. membership in the World Health Organization, the nation’s allies repeated DDT has given the WHO leadership to China. The U.S. has now lost both input into and knowledge about world healthcare affecting the country. Even China criticized the U.S. action.

Facebook has failed a civil rights audit in refusing to address hate speech and disinformation that permits DDT to interfere in the 2020 election. Unfortunately, the report’s recommendation won’t solve the problems of Facebook’s assistance for helping DDT’s campaign through its transmission of lies.

DDT’s new executive order for the 644,000 DACA recipients brought illegally to the U.S. when they were children won’t include amnesty.

DDT’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, scheduled for next year before the Supreme Court, contains a tax cut for the wealthy. The top 0.1 percent of households, those making over $3 million annually, gets $198,000 each. Those making over $1 million a year get $42,000 in tax cuts. The U.S. would lose about $30 million in revenue in 2020 if the ACA is overturned—Medicaid coverage for about 4 million people. Medicare would lose because the ACA has a 0.9 percent tax on earnings of over $250,000 for couples. Other losses in taxes will cut billions of dollars from Medicare while the top one percent gets over two-thirds of the tax cuts.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, blocked from a deserved promotion because of his testimony during the House impeachment proceedings, has resigned because of DDT’s “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation.” Ukraine expert Vindman reported what he overheard on the telephone conversation between DDT and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.  

The summer of 2020 is bringing unmitigated disasters: 20 percent of people at risk of eviction by the end of September, doubling of delinquency rates since March, 25 million people losing employer-provided health insurance, and a collapsing childcare system. And no solution for the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases—3,355,646 with 137,403 deaths on July 11.

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