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Daily Archives: May 31st, 2020


Stupid is as Stupid has always done in private and now it affects millions of people, while his administration continues to assault the American voters and their allies. MA.
Karla Adam- The Washington Post
President Donald Trump formally cuts ties with World Health Organization

LONDON —Global health experts and government officials joined in criticism Saturday over President Trump’s plans to cut ties with the World Health Organization and funnel U.S. money elsewhere.

In the remarks made in the Rose Garden on Friday, Trump blamed China for the covid-19 pandemic and accused Beijing of effectively controlling the WHO and pressuring it to “mislead the world.”

The United States is the single biggest financial contributor to the U.N. agency, and its exit will hit its budget even as it struggles with a global pandemic that has resulted in more than 364,000 deaths.

Trump said that the annual $400 million that the U.S. contributes to the organization will be redirected “to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs” without giving specifics.

Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, tweeted in English on Saturday that Trump’s decision to sever ties with the organization was “a disappointing backlash for International Health.”

Spahn added that the WHO “needs reform” if it is to make “any difference for the future.” Germany will take over the rotating E.U. presidency in July and the minister said finding a way for the European Union to “take a leading role and engage more financially” with the U.N. agency would be prioritized.

South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, called Trump’s move “unfortunate.”

“Certainly, when faced with a serious pandemic, you want all nations in the world to be particularly focused … on one common enemy,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for the British government said the WHO had an “important role to play in leading the international health response” to the pandemic. “We have no plans to withdraw our funding,” the statement said.

The European Union urged Trump to reconsider.

In a joint statement, E.U. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that “as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic.”

“Now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions,” the statement added. “Actions that weaken international results must be avoided. We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

A number of scientists and global health experts also stepped forward to voice their support for the organization.

In Australia, Peter Doherty, the founder of the Doherty Institute, whose modeling has played a role in the government’s response to the crisis, tweeted that the WHO is “central to the global fight against COVID-19.” He added that the “leadership has seemed overcautious in some of its statements,” but added that “much of the real, essential work of the WHO” goes on at lower, professional levels.

Gail Carson, director of network development at the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, warned that a pandemic was “not the time” to make health political.

Richard Horton, the editor of the Britain-based Lancet medical journal, which has not shied away in its criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis, wrote: “We give our 100% support to the World Health Organization at this time of crisis.”

“The U.S. government has gone rogue at a time of humanitarian emergency,” he added

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POLITICS 

 

Trump Signs Social Media Executive Order

The president acted against social media companies after Twitter attached a fact-check label to two of his baseless claims.

The move, which may expose social media companies to liability for what gets posted on their platforms, dramatically escalates a confrontation between Trump and his favored mode of communication, where the president can address his more than 80 million followers directly without relying on news conferences or the traditional media.

Trump and his backers claimed Twitter was suppressing free speech by labeling his tweets, which falsely claimed mail-in ballots would be “substantially fraudulent.” The president typically uses the platform to brag, attack rivals, bolster allies and spread falsehoods.

When a reporter asked at the signing why Trump didn’t simply stop using using the platform, the president retorted, “If we had fair press in this country, I would do that in a heartbeat.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how, if at all, the order can be enforced. The president cannot regulate tech companies without congressional approval and any challenge to their autonomy is sure to end up in court.

“Much as he might wish otherwise, Donald Trump is not the president of Twitter. This order, if issued, would be a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the president,” the American Civil Liberties Union noted on Twitter.

“The president has no authority to rewrite a congressional statute with an executive order imposing a flawed interpretation of Section 230,” the ACLU continued, referring to the section of the Communications Decency Act that shields platforms from being held liable for what users publish on them.

“Ironically, Donald Trump is a big beneficiary of Section 230,” the legal nonprofit continued. “If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Trump’s lies, defamation, and threats.”

But Trump insisted Thursday that he would go as far as shutting down Twitter if his lawyers found a way. “I’d have to go through a legal process,” he said.

Social media companies have enjoyed legal protections for what gets posted on their platforms and have resisted tampering with even vile falsehoods, including Trump’s aspersions that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough committed murder.

Still, Twitter labeled two of Trump’s tweets with a fact-check warning for the first time on Tuesday after the president’s mail-in fraud claim. Many states have moved to expand vote-by-mail during the coronavirus pandemic, including California, which said this month all registered voters would be sent ballots for the general election.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..

83.5K people are talking about this

The Twitter addendum tells readers they can “get the facts” about mail-in ballots and directs them to news reports that debunk Trump’s claims.

The move, however, sparked a dramatic outburst from the Oval Office.

Twitter “is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote. He later said the social media giant was “completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Trump doubled down on that criticism Thursday afternoon, tagging Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth in a separate tweet and deriding him as a “hater.” It’s the second time in as many days the White House has specifically targeted Roth. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway spelled out his Twitter handle on Fox News Wednesday, ominously predicting “he’s about to get a lot more followers.”

 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he disagreed with Twitter’s policy in an interview with Fox News set to air Thursday.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said. “I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey fired back at the criticism, saying the company would “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” Dorsey said. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”

 

Lydia O’Connor and Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.

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