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CONGRESS NBC News

Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, calling it ‘irrevocably flawed’ and ‘partisan’

Democrats want the bill to include bans on chokeholds and “no-knock” search warrants and to address qualified immunity, which shields police officers from lawsuits. 

 

Booker, Harris on Republican police reform plan: It would ‘lead us into a dead end’

JUNE 24, 202002:53

June 24, 2020, 11:51 AM CDT / Updated June 24, 2020, 3:28 PM CDT

By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Republicans from taking up a bill to overhaul policing, calling the legislation flawed and a nonstarter.

A motion to open debate on the measure, which needed 60 votes, failed 55-45.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans for what he called a “partisan” and “irrevocably flawed” approach to fixing the problem of police brutality, which has come into sharp focus in the weeks after the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers.

“I want to ask the American people, I want to ask Republican senators, who is a better guardian of the civil rights of African Americans when it comes to police reform, the NAACP or Mitch McConnell?” Schumer said. “So don’t get on your sanctimonious horse, leader McConnell. You have none of the civil rights community behind you.”

Schumer predicted the bill would “likely fail” and said McConnell should allow bipartisan negotiations when it does.

Trump: Democrats ‘want to weaken our police’ after blocking Republican reform plan

JUNE 24, 202001:35

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and other Senate Republicans unveiled their policing legislation last week after weeks of nationwide protests over the treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement.

After the vote, Scott, the Senate’s only Black GOP member, accused Democrats of taking Black voters for granted and biding time until after the November election, when they could be in the majority and could try to push through their version of reforms.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to wake up our entire nation about the importance of a duopoly and not a monopoly,” Scott said. “Because look at your results. Look at the results we are getting.”

Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, tweeted that it was “a shame” that Democrats were “playing politics” with the legislation.

At a news conference later Wednesday, President Donald Trump said Republicans have “total cooperation with many different communities, including the police community,” on the legislation.

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CONGRESSFinger-pointing begins over stalemate on police reform legislation

CONGRESSSenate Democrats will oppose GOP police reform bill, setting up stalemate in Congress

The president accused Democrats of blocking the Republican bill because “they want to take away a lot of the strength from our police and from law enforcement generally,” including police “immunity,” and said his administration would not do anything to hurt police. Trump again pointed to what he said were high crime levels in cities run by Democrats to back his point and referred specifically to the recent unrest in Seattle.

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced their own legislation to address police brutality. Unlike the measures recently introduced by House and Senate Democrats, the Republican bill would not include outright bans on chokeholds or “no-knock” search warrants and does not touch on qualified immunity, which shields police officers from lawsuits.

The GOP bill would try to incentivize police departments to largely do away with chokeholds by conditioning Justice Department money on restricting the practice. In addition, the legislation would collect data on the use of no-knock warrants, which allow police to enter a property without first knocking and announcing their presence.

While the Democratic bill would create a national registry for complaints and disciplinary records of officers and also require reporting on use-of-force incidents, the GOP measure would collect data only when police officers use force that results in serious injury or death.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that Republicans “have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration. But so far, they were trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd” — prompting Senate Republicans to demand an apology.

The House plans to vote Thursday on the Democratic proposal, which is expected to pass the chamber.

CORRECTION (June 24, 2020, 6:24 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Tim Scott’s distinction in the Senate. He is the only Black Republican senator, not the only Black senator.

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Oh, rich, white men.  You unfathomable idiots.  You could have had it all!

There you were back in 2008, freshly bailed out after almost totaling the economy with your criminal greed, with not a single one of you headed to prison for it.   While working class incomes stagnated, health costs soared, and the young staggered under the weight of student loans, you and your fellow plutocrats sat smugly atop a mountain of accumulated wealth, courtesy of an economy structured for your benefit by legislators beholden to your largesse.

Yes, you were sitting pretty.   And all you had to do to keep it that way was to not wage a racist, scorched-earth war against the first Black President of the United States.  That’s all!  That is the only thing you dumb, stupid idiots had to do:  swallow your pride, smile, shake hands, and play nice with one of the most charismatic, inspiring, intelligent and genuinely moral politicians in American history.

Barack Obama didn’t want to ruin you, you dumbasses!  He wasn’t out to confiscate your estates, kill your grandmas, and force you into re-education camps!   All he wanted was a more humane, less cruel, less racist version of the system that made you rich.  You should have wanted that too!  Not because you care about other people — for your own good!   But you were too stupid.

What would it have cost you?  A moderate tax hike?  More oversight from nosy bureaucrats?  Some limits on your environmental depredations and exploitation of workers?  Maybe a few more women and people of color showing up at the Executive Retreat?   And in return, millions of your fellow citizens would have health coverage, a living wage, affordable education and child care, clean air and water, some disposable income and free time – in short, a stake in the system.

You should have seen how providing these things served your interests, you imbeciles!  How a more economically secure working and middle class would be less likely to question the legitimacy of the system!  How living in a society where people are happier because they aren’t beset on all sides by financial and physical insecurity would be more pleasant for you, too!   But most of all, how unbelievably, brain-meltingly stupid it would be to actually burn down a system constructed by rich white guys for rich white guys – just because you can’t stand being told what’s good for you by a confident, competent, superior Black man.

But you couldn’t see that, because you were too greedy, too racist, and – most of all – too stupid.  So instead, you declared open war.  You obstructed.  You “investigated.” You lied – about his policies, about your intentions, about his religion and national origin.  You vilified the man who came to save you from yourselves, thwarted his reasonable agenda, blocked his qualified judicial picks, mocked and slandered him for actualizing the very promise of America: that anyone can rise to the top based on talent, initiative, and the content of their character.  Then, just to drive the point home, you replaced him with the most grotesque caricature of rich white entitled male supremacy imaginable, a man you knew to be an idiot, an incompetent, a degenerate, a xenophobe, a racist, a con man and a criminal.  That’s who you made Barack Obama shake hands with as he departed the White House — and he still managed to do it with dignity.

You elevated this grotesquery to the Presidency, cynically stoking the racist, sexist, xenophobic resentments of the white working as you proceeded to loot the treasury, stack the courts, disenfranchise voters and eviscerate the civil service.  Nothing was off limits to your idiotic greed.  You even looted the pandemic relief fund!    Money that was supposed to go to struggling people and small businesses!   You dolts!   You seriously didn’t think people were ever gonna get sick of your bullshit?  Denying systemic racism!   Denying economic inequality!  Denying police brutality!   Denying climate change, for fuck’s sake?!  You know your mansions, your companies, your real estate holdings are located on planet Earth, right?   You dumb fucking morons!

And now, the people are in the streets demanding fundamental, systemic change.   And, like a bunch of mental defectives, instead of being terrified, you are indignant!   You’re shocked at their behavior.   Castigating hard-working police officers!  Pulling down perfectly good statues!  Demanding the resignation of New York Times editors for the “crime” of publishing the words of a sitting U.S. Senator!   Where can fascism get a fair hearing, if not the pages of the Newspaper of Record?!   You idiots still have absolutely no idea what’s going on – do you?

You should be grateful they’re only coming for the statues.   Maybe you should have thought a little more about how the system protected you before you started hacking away the foundations:  denying the possibility of an impartial judiciary, a fair press, an unrigged election, a well-intentioned law, an unbiased civil servant, a non-partisan scientist, an honest meteorologist, for God’s sake!   Maybe, just maybe, before you noodleheads decided on all-out, us-versus-them, Game of Thrones style partisan warfare, you should have considered that there are more of “them” than there are of you.   A lot more!   And that you liked it that way!

But you were just too stupid.

So here you are.   Your last, dumb stand.  Your castle gates defended by a rabble of red-hatted brownshirts, maskless mouth-breathers, and their Dear Leader, Ramp Boy.  And across the moat, hundreds of millions of angry Americans with torches and pitchforks demanding justice, civil rights, economic fairness, environmental sanity.  If you weren’t so colossally ignorant, you’d see that this is the end of the line for your dumb dream of perpetual white supremacy and dynastic wealth.

Because this movement will not be stopped – not by Donald Trump, not by MAGA nation, not even by Joe Biden should he fail to rise to the occasion, until it returns America to the people who truly make it great.   You should hope to God that will happen peacefully, through the miraculously durable and adaptable/amendable structures of American democracy that our Founding Fathers put in place all those years ago to protect the rights and privileges of white guys like you — and that you’ve done so much to undermine.

If it happens like that, you might even come out OK.  Not as rich, and not in charge, but OK.  And if not – well, good luck to you, dumbasses.  You had a good run, and you probably could have kept it going – but you were too impossibly, unbelievably, unfathomably stupid.

 

This content was created by a Daily Kos Community member.

One of the primary underlying and under reported parts of the ACA repeal is the 2017Tax bill which eliminated the individual mandate, all of this to seemingly hide the financial boon to Corporations and the higher income individuals. see highlighted section below. MA

Tomorrow, the Trump administration and 18 Republican governors and attorneys general will file their opening briefs with the Supreme Court in California v. Texas—the health care repeal lawsuit. The lawsuit, criticized across the political spectrum as a “badly flawed” case, threatens to upend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and strip 23.3 million Americans of their health coverage, according to new CAP analysis—about 3 million (15 percent) more than was forecast before the coronavirus pandemic. The anti-ACA agitators who initiated the health care repeal lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, continue their attempts to dismantle the ACA, including its coverage expansions and consumer protections, amid the pandemic, during which comprehensive health coverage has never been more important. Millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and job-based insurance due to the current economic crisis are relying on the insurance options made possible by the ACA to keep themselves and their families covered.

Background on the health care repeal lawsuit

From the beginning, the Trump administration and allied leaders in Congress and state governments have been committed to dismantling the ACA and the consumer protections it confers by any means possible. The Trump administration has repeatedly sabotaged key provisions of the landmark law by executive actions and other more covert tactics, including removing essential consumer information from federal websites and defunding outreach and enrollment programs intended to expand coverage. After several failed attempts by President Donald Trump’s legislative allies to “repeal and replace” the ACA, Congress passed a tax bill in late 2017 that zeroed out the individual mandate penalty.

After the tax bill became law, Texas and other states filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that because the mandate had no financial penalty, it made the rest of the law unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor accepted this reasoning and held that the entire law must be struck down in what one legal expert called a “partisan, activist ruling.” On appeal, a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel also ruled in December that, following the tax bill’s change to the law, the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The panel then remanded the case back to Judge O’Connor to determine which parts of the ACA, if any, can remain given their decision. Since that ruling, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case during its upcoming term, and, for now, the ACA remains the law of the land.

ACA repeal would have disastrous consequences for the American people. In addition to the roughly 23 million people who would lose coverage, repeal would eliminate essential consumer protections, including those for people with preexisting conditions; requirements for insurers to spend premium dollars on patient care; and mandates that insurers cover prescription drugs, mental health care, and other essential health benefits.

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on coverage

As the Trump administration and 18 Republican state leaders double down on their push to strip millions of their health coverage and encourage predatory insurance practices, a pandemic that has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and infected over 2.2 million continues to sweep the nation.

Since the impact of the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold in mid-March, more than 44 million joblessness claims have been filed as of June 11. Millions of people have lost their employer-sponsored insurance (ESI)—millions of whom will be unable to replace it and will become uninsured. Thanks to the ACA, many of these newly unemployed Americans who previously were covered by employer-sponsored insurance are able to get health coverage, either through the ACA marketplaces, possibly with financial assistance to make their coverage more affordable, or via Medicaid expansion. The Urban Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation have estimated that tens of millions of people could lose job-based coverage due to the economic crisis sparked by the pandemic and indicate that millions of people in this situation are eligible for the ACA coverage that is threatened by the health care repeal lawsuit.

National and state level coverage losses

Because the economic crisis stemming from the pandemic is driving millions of people onto coverage programs supported by the ACA, CAP estimates that approximately 3 million more people stand to lose coverage from the health care repeal lawsuit than the 20 million previously estimated. According to a March 2019 analysis by the Urban Institute, full repeal of the ACA would cause enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to fall by 22.4 percent and enrollment in individual market coverage, including for the ACA marketplaces and other insurance people purchase on their own, to drop by 35.4 percent.

The economic stress of the pandemic has pushed the United States into a recession. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the unemployment rate in the second and third quarters of this year will average 15 percent — higher than it was during the Great Recession. At an unemployment rate of 15 percent, 17.7 million people would lose employment-based health insurance coverage, according to a recent report by the Urban Institute. With access to ACA coverage options, most of these people would find new forms of insurance. Urban estimates that 8.2 million would end up with Medicaid/CHIP coverage, and 4.3million would gain coverage through the ACA marketplaces or other private coverage. About 5.1 million would remain uninsured.

If the ACA is repealed, however, many more people who lose job-based coverage will be without insurance. CAP estimates that because of the pandemic, about 3.4 million additional people are at risk of losing coverage because of the lawsuit. Combining two previous projections by the Urban Institute, CAP’s estimate assumes that 35.4 percent of the 4.3 million people who gain individual market insurance and 22.4 percent of the 8.2 million people who gain Medicaid/CHIP coverage would become uninsured under repeal.

In total, 23.3 million people stand to lose coverage and become uninsured if the ACA is repealed during the pandemic. In Texas alone, the number of people without health coverage would rise by about 2 million. (see Table 1)

Table 1

If the ACA is repealed, the actual number will depend on the extent of job loss during the recession as well as the geographic and demographic distribution of those who lose job-based coverage. CAP’s estimate assumes that the proportion of those newly enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP and nongroup insurance who lose coverage is similar across states, and it is based on a scenario in which the unemployment rate rises above what it is today. It also assumes that the degree of coverage loss among those who newly enroll in Medicaid/CHIP and the individual market during the pandemic is similar to that of those who were previously enrolled in those types of insurance.

Conclusion

The Trump administration and its allied state leaders are attempting to undermine health care in the midst of one of the worst public health disasters in U.S. history. The ACA is crucial to helping families regain coverage and maintain some financial security against health care costs. A Supreme Court ruling against the ACA would take away health coverage from millions of Americans whose lives are already being disrupted by the economic distress and concerns about their health and well-being.

Nicole Rapfogel is a research assistant for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress. Emily Gee is the health economist of Health Policy at the Center.

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Emily Cochrane and Alan Rappeport  10 hrs ago The New York Times

WASHINGTON — House Democrats opened an investigation on Monday into the distribution of more than $500 billion in small-business loans under a pandemic relief program, escalating a clash with the Trump administration as it resists oversight of trillions of dollars in coronavirus assistance funds

The announcement from the seven Democrats on a committee created to scrutinize how the administration is spending pandemic relief money came as Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, abruptly pivoted under pressure from lawmakers and said he would work to disclose more about where government-backed money was going through the lending initiative, the Paycheck Protection Program.

It was the latest indication that, despite attempts by lawmakers to build layers of oversight into the largest stimulus program of its kind in modern history, an administration that has been hostile to congressional scrutiny continues to resist. In a letter to four congressional committees last week, the heads of an independent accountability panel created by the law alerted lawmakers that lawyers for the Treasury Department were interpreting the statute in a way to exempt more than $1 trillion from scrutiny.

“The administration should release the names of all P.P.P. borrowers — as the S.B.A. routinely does for similar loan programs,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the heads of the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, which jointly administer the program. It came days after Mr. Mnuchin told a Senate committee that information was “proprietary” and not public.

“Contrary to Secretary Mnuchin’s recent testimony, there is nothing ‘proprietary’ or ‘confidential’ about a business receiving millions of dollars appropriated by Congress, and taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent,” the Democrats wrote.

Since the $2.2 trillion economic stabilization package became law in March, lawmakers have struggled to establish oversight. With some funds yet to be spent, including about $100 billion in the Paycheck Protection Program, and with lawmakers contemplating negotiations over another relief package, the scope of the task will only expand in the coming months.

Lawmakers have pointed to the creation of multiple oversight panels and positions as evidence that there is relentless scrutiny of the trillions of dollars doled out across the country. In recent weeks, lawmakers have intensified demands for information about which businesses have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program and what kind of loans they have received.

But implementing oversight has proved challenging, particularly as Congress adjusts to working during a pandemic. The five-person Congressional Oversight Commission does not yet have a leader. (Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said on Thursday that she hoped that a pick jointly agreed to with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, “will be imminent.”)

And President Trump has scoffed at oversight, suggesting as he signed the stimulus law that he had the ability to decide what information a new inspector general named to oversee a separate corporate bailout fund could share with Congress. Mr. Trump also in effect ousted the head of a committee of inspectors general responsible for pandemic oversight, known as the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, through a demotion.

Although Mr. Mnuchin promised on Twitter on Monday to work with lawmakers to “strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight of #ppploans and appropriate protection of small business information,” Treasury Department lawyers issued an opinion that would further curtail oversight of more than $1 trillion in aid, according to the letter sent to lawmakers last week, whose contents were first reported by The Washington Post.

Michael E. Horowitz, the acting chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, and Robert A. Westbrooks, the committee’s executive director, warned that the Treasury lawyers’ interpretation would “present potentially significant transparency and oversight issues.” The section singled out included funds for tribal governments already embroiled in a series of lawsuits, aid for states, nearly $500 billion for corporations, funds for aviation companies and the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Paycheck Protection Program and its beneficiaries have received particular scrutiny from lawmakers amid reports that wealthier corporations and businesses benefited from the program, with several restaurant chains, some private schools and at least one professional basketball team returning the money they received.

Mr. Mnuchin’s declaration that the names and amounts of the Paycheck Protection Program loans were proprietary and confidential sparked further backlash from lawmakers, particularly after his March vow of “full transparency.” Instead, during Senate testimony, he suggested that some of that information could be made available to the Government Accountability Office for oversight purposes.

Mr. Mnuchin and Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, discussed on Monday how to make the information public and whether to implement a threshold loan amount for disclosure.

Mr. Rubio argued that some loans should be exempt from full disclosure. “There’s a lot of smaller-end businesses that are concerned about what that might reveal about their business model,” he said.

“There will be disclosure — it’s just a question of what is the differentiation between a $100,000 loan and a $5 million loan,” he said, adding: “If you have a big loan, there’s no avoiding it. We’re going to need to know who you are.”

An adviser to Mr. Trump suggested that the administration was mindful of the public’s need to know how taxpayer money was being spent, but was wary of divulging the financial information of private companies. Through the end of May, the Small Business Administration had approved about 4.5 million loans totaling $510 billion.

Earlier this month, Mr. Rubio and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, sent a letter to Mr. Mnuchin and Jovita Carranza, the head of the Small Business Administration, calling on them to release detailed information about borrowers and their loans.

In letters on Monday to administration officials and eight national banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Company, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, House Democrats demanded details about the distribution of loan money, airing concerns that a “two-tiered system” for processing applications “may have diverted P.P.P. funds intended for vulnerable small-business owners in underserved and rural markets.”

Bank industry groups believed that the loan information would eventually be made public because most of the Small Business Administration’s small-business loans are subject to public records requests. The loan application form also indicates that the loans could be subject to such disclosures.

Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, said on Monday that the department “is fully complying with all of the substantial oversight, transparency and reporting requirements” of the stimulus law.

Top officials at the department and the Office of Management and Budget had expressed “commitment to ensuring transparency, accountability and adherence to all statutory requirements,” Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Westbrooks of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee wrote in their letter to lawmakers. But the two men also said they were writing in part to alert lawmakers to what they described as “possible ambiguity” that could be modified through future legislation.

At least one top Senate Republican signaled openness to including stronger language in another relief measure.

“I believe that American taxpayers ought to know where the money is spent, who gets money, and the oversight of all that is very important,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the Republican who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee, signaling that he would support legislation if needed to clarify the scope of oversight. “We will follow up on that, no matter who it is, or what administration.”

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Conor Friedersdorf
a person sitting in a dark room© The Atlantic / GettyEditor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Earlier this month, Representative Adam Kinzinger told his constituents that he is worried by the excessive number of conspiracy theories he has seen circulating lately on social-media sites.

“As leaders, we have a choice,” he told his constituents in a video message posted to Facebook. “There’s far too many who will simply reflect back that paranoia, to feed fuel to that fire, if it’ll help their reelection … We need to push back against these attempts to divide and destroy us.”

Days later, President Donald Trump disseminated a conspiracy theory for the ages. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans, he attacked a cable-television host, former Representative Joe Scarborough, with a thinly veiled murder allegation. “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough,” Trump wrote. “So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator?”

 

In fact, there is no evidence of an affair or foul play in the staffer’s death almost 20 years ago. Kinzinger quickly pushed back against the leader of his political party. “Completely unfounded conspiracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us.”

Why was his principled stand so lonely?

There are many reasons, besides general concern about conspiracy theories, that a Republican member of Congress would want to speak out on behalf of a former representative being unfairly attacked.

As members of a coequal branch of government charged with checking and balancing the executive, legislators might also feel duty-bound to rebuke flagrant abuses of the presidential pulpit, if only to deter future executive misbehavior. As public figures, they’d presumably all hope for defenders if the president were spreading thinly veiled murder accusations about them.

And even if they’re not concerned for Scarborough as a victim, they might have noticed that Trump’s attack on a political adversary did collateral harm to the still-grieving widower of the woman who died. “The President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him—the memory of my dead wife—and perverted it for perceived political gain,” that widower wrote in a letter to Twitter asking that Trump’s tweet be removed. “I would also ask that you consider Lori’s niece and two nephews who will eventually come across this filth in the future.”

That message apparently moved Utah Senator Mitt Romney to speak out Wednesday morning, when he tweeted, “I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. I don’t know T. J. Klausutis. Joe can weather vile, baseless accusations but T.J.? His heart is breaking. Enough already.”

 

The same morning, Representative Liz Cheney told reporters in Washington, “I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough. I think we’re in the middle of a pandemic. He’s the commander in chief of this nation, and it’s causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died. So I would urge him to stop it.” But this trio was among the rare exceptions of the 197 Republicans in the House and 51 Republicans in the Senate. Silence was the rule. There was no rebuke from the GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who sidestepped questions about the matter, professing ignorance) or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; no reaffirmation of basic decency as a valuable norm by a few dozen members; no call from a frustrated caucus to refocus presidential attention on the disease ravaging the country rather than one accidental death.

Perhaps that dereliction of the duty to protect and defend basic decency should not surprise anyone at this point. Trump bullied Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, implying that Cruz’s father killed JFK and likening Carson to a pathological killer. “Now those targets count as Trump’s most faithful servants,” Jonathan Chait observed in a recent New York magazine column. Trump has been conditioned to expect reward rather than rebuke from prominent GOP officials after he behaves badly.

But I didn’t want to infer too much from silence. So I reached out to the offices of the Republican members of Florida’s congressional delegation, who represent the state where Scarborough served and the dead woman lived, seeking comment. I tried Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as Representatives Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, Ted Yoho, John Rutherford, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Gus Bilirakis, Ross Spano, Vern Buchanan, Gregory Steube, Brian Mast, and Francis Rooney. I also reached out to the Republican Party leadership of the counties of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton, in Scarborough’s former district.

I have yet to receive a response from any member of the congressional delegation. The one GOP county official who replied to me defended Trump’s conduct. No one expects every member of Congress to comment on every controversy. But the president’s indecent behavior makes the silence among his many supporters in the GOP conspicuous. “There are many in the GOP power structure and pro-Trump media who have lost loved ones in unspeakable ways who would be gutted if the president spread malicious lies exploiting their tragedy,” the CNN anchor Jake Tapper wrote.

Yet despite the widower’s pleas, most “sit silently.” And that silence, like past silence on Trump indecencies, all but guarantees more abuses of this kind by the president. I’m hoping to be able to update this story with responses from Republican officials; my email address is conor@theatlantic.com.

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Allan Smith,

NBC News•May 25, 2020

 

As states ramp up their reopenings, some are coming under criticism for making public misleading statistics or concealing information related to the coronavirus outbreak.

While the U.S. has reported more cases and deaths than any other country, the method for counting COVID-19 deaths varies by state. In testimony before the Senate earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the actual number of people who’ve died as a result of the pandemic is “almost certainly” higher than what’s been counted.

Such data has been the basis for how quickly states are beginning to open up and return to a sense of normalcy. But government officials in a number of states are facing questions about how open and honest they’re being about how the virus is impacting their state.

“Accurate, complete and timely information is the best way to understand, respond to and limit the impact of the virus on both health and the economy,” Dr. Tom Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Barack Obama, told NBC News.

“This helps to set realistic expectations on how the pandemic will affect people’s lives and to inform required changes in behavior to prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.

Georgia officials have apologized and corrected what was described as a “processing error” that wrongly showed a downward trend in the number of new daily infections in the state, making it appear as if new infections had dropped every day for two weeks. The error was at least the third in three weeks, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Georgia was among the first states to launch its reopening. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said the state on Tuesday recorded its lowest number of hospitalized patients since it began tracking such data in early April.

In the neighboring state of Florida, which has also moved expeditiously in reopening swathes of its economy, several data-related controversies also have brewed.

According to internal emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, state officials directed a top Florida Department of Health data manager earlier this month to remove data from public view that showed Florida residents had reported coronavirus-associated symptoms before cases were officially announced. The emails showed that the data manager, Rebekah Jones, had complied with the order but said it was the “wrong call.”

Jones was taken off her role maintaining the state’s coronavirus dashboard one day after that directive. She told a local CBS affiliate that she refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen” Florida. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said Jones was under “active criminal charges” for cyber stalking and cyber sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Florida officials last month stopped releasing the list of coronavirus deaths being compiled by the state’s medical examiners, which had at times shown a higher death toll than the total being published by the state. State officials said that list needed to be reviewed as a result of the discrepancy.

A spokesman for the state Health Department said the medical examiners had a different method for reporting deaths and that it was untrue “that deaths have been hidden.”

“The government has one mission; academics and scholars have a very different mission,” Dr. Dean Hart, an expert on viral transmission and former Columbia University professor who has run for the New York State Assembly as a Democrat, told NBC News.

“As a scientist, I’m looking for the truth, the heck with who it hurts politically,” he added.

Amid reopening in Arizona, the state Department of Health Services cut off a team of Arizona State and University of Arizona experts who provided pandemic modeling specific to the state, saying it was no longer needed as the state preferred to use a federal model. After a backlash, the Health Department reinstated the team, though it’s unclear whether state officials are using the local universities’ work in their decision-making.

Since that dust up, Arizona State released new data showing infections and hospitalizations in the state could soar this summer.

CDC conflates diagnostic, antibody test data creating ‘inaccurate’ portrayal of virus

When I first heard about it, I thought ‘there has to be some mistake. This is too obvious,'” Dr. Ashish Jha says. “Now I’m finding out it’s not just Virginia.”

The CDC and at least 11 other states have been combining the results of viral tests showing active infections with the results of antibody tests, which show whether someone had been infected in the past.While boosting a state’s total testing number, health experts have said that practice does not give a proper picture of how the virus is spreading, the Associated Press reported.

The CDC announced it planned to separate the data and some of those states have stopped doing so or committed to change course, CNN reported.

In New York City, the hardest-hit locale in the nation, local officials last week released COVID-19 data broken down by zip code after pressure to go beyond the county-by-county totals that had previously been shown. Such information made it easier to understand which communities were being most affected by the virus.

The top issue nationally related to the publication of specific coronavirus data involving nursing home cases and deaths, where state and local officials have faced intense scrutiny over the collection and release of such information. The virus has hit nursing homes exceptionally hard — a result of both their residents’ vulnerability and policies states and localities have put into place.

In one such example, Arizona officials argued this month they should not reveal the names of facilities with outbreaks because it could give those nursing homes a stigma and could lead to discrimination against them. The argument was made in response to a lawsuit from Arizona news outlets demanding the state provide information on COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and other data.

In Pennsylvania, state officials released such data last week after weeks of delay and in the face of significant pressure.

The federal government, on the other hand, plans to publish such information by the end of May.

Hart said more information on nursing homes could paint a clearer picture of what happened specifically in New York with the spread of COVID-19. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has come under fire for his administration’s March order that nursing homes must accept coronavirus patients. That order was reversed earlier this month.

The group Frieden now leads as president and CEO, Resolve to Save Lives, released a list of suggested criteria to adjust social distancing measures based on key indicators that he believes should be available in every city, state and country. Those indicators include case-count trends and health system and testing capacity to create an alert index for a specific area’s level of risk.

He said much would be improved if the CDC would provide and explain the meaning of such data, adding though “much more information is available, it has not been standardized, validated and presented in clear and compelling ways.”

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Ride the lie and falsehood train until you can’t. Recently TOTUS stated he has been taking a dubious drug: Despite testing negative, Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug in combination with other medicines for a “couple of weeks.” That is around the same time the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the White House.

Apparently The TOTUS “lie train” can’t stop at any station. This latest is dangerous especially to to his loyal supporters who somehow believe he is truthful. His callousness has the power to cause the deaths of many people who follow him and for some reason find him truthful. Contrary to popular belief “Dead” people do not vote. The biggest con in the United States at this time is this Administration. If as voters we are unwilling to see through the fog of Trump then we are sure to begin a long time recession which affects ALL of us. There is no some of the people affected and some not, it is all of us to some degree. Just because the ill effects do not hit some as much as others does not mean it is OK. All of us need to be healed from this political farce of a Presidency.

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“And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office… that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75%” he added.

Jeremy Konyndyk, who previously served as the director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, told CNN that the Trump administration was “extensively briefed” on the plan during the transition.

The White House has garnered criticism in the midst of the coronavirus for a 2018 decision to disband the National Security Council’s global health unit, a decision former national security adviser John Bolton characterized as a “streamlining.”

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Again TOTUS has turned anything that will get him in the spotlight into a political statement, this is TOTUS at his self serving and deflecting best MA.

Trump calls Ahmaud Arbery killing ‘heartbreaking’ but cautions about ’empty spot on the tape’

Yahoo News 
Trump expresses sympathy over death of Ahmaud Arbery, then raises questions about video
“You have a lot of people looking at it and hopefully an answer is going to be arrived at very quickly. But it’s something that is heartbreaking,” Trump said.

President Trump said Monday that a video showing two white men in Georgia gunning down and killing an African-American jogger is “heartbreaking,” though he left open the possibility that “an empty spot on the tape” might reveal more information in the case.

Trump was asked about the video that shows the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged along a tree-lined street in Brunswick, Ga. The question came near the end of a Rose Garden briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s horrible and it’s certainly being looked at by many people. I’m speaking to many people about it,” Trump said of the video that surfaced on social media two months after the Feb. 23 shooting. A swift public outcry erupted and was followed by the arrest of Travis McMichael, 34, on a charge of felony murder and aggravated assault, and his father, Gregory, 64, who is charged as a party to felony murder and aggravated assault.

Trump praised Arbery’s appearance in a photograph released by his family that showed him wearing a tuxedo.

“He looked, I saw the picture of him in his tuxedo and it was so beautiful and he looks like a wonderful young guy. Would have been a wonderful … just a wonderful guy,” Trump said. “I think it’s a horrible thing. I think it’s a horrible thing. Now, with that being said, as you know they’re studying the case carefully, they’re interviewing everybody involved and we’ll see what happens. To me it’s a very sad thing.”

Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)
Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

The video was believed to be in the possession of authorities before it was released anonymously online, but neither McMichael had been charged. In questioning at the time, they told investigators they were attempting a citizens arrest of Arbery, who was 25, suspecting him of a burglary. In the account by the McMichaels, according to the Brunswick News, Arbery, who was unarmed, was struggling with Travis McMichael, who had a shotgun.

Protests have erupted over the killing as well as the investigation. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Sunday that “this was a lynching of an African-American man.”

Trump said Tuesday that he hoped for a speedy resolution in the case.

“You have a lot of people looking at it and hopefully an answer is going to be arrived at very quickly. But it’s something that is heartbreaking,” Trump said.

The president also repeated his earlier assertion that the video, which was shot by a motorist, might contain “an empty spot on the tape” that could affect the case.

President Trump at the press briefing on Monday. (Alex Brandon/AP)
President Trump at the press briefing on Monday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

“Well, I saw the tape and when they moved left, I don’t believe that when they moved left outside of the tape nobody saw what was going on. Nobody saw — it’s an empty spot on the tape, I guess,” Trump said. “Now, do they have additional tapes, I hope, but I will say that it’s something that based on what I saw, doesn’t look good.”

Trump added that he he had spoken over the weekend to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., an African-American who he had “a lot of respect for” to ask him his opinion of the video.

“Tim, what do you think, tell me,” the president said, reprising his conversation with Scott.

Trump said Scott was “very disturbed by it.”

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TOTUS and his allies abetted by a “BOTCH” McConnell Senate has resolutely taken us down a path of continued fiscal irresponsibility. The “Conservative” Congress has shown that being conservative is great for sound bites and garnering votes while secret personal deals are made on the backs of the voters. We (the United States ) will be in debt for many years to come, the way out is a clear understanding of how government works and spend the tax dollars we  (voters) provide. The math of Government spending and taxing is not simple and often impossible to balance since the political parties can’t seem to get out of politicking mode long enough to do the job they are supposed to do. In simple terms: We (voters) pay taxes to supply the money to run the government. The people we elect are supposed to spend this money responsibly but politics get in the way since outside interests (lobbyists) push and sway the actions of these elected officials. Now with the CVID-19 pandemic it is worse. We’re at the mercy of a consummate liar and scam artist whos sole purpose his own image and edification. While TOTUS is stroking himself in any way that he can think of , the leadership falls to no one and anyone. The sole purpose of the current cabinet members appears to be doing the bidding of an uninformed leader no matter the  crucial effect on the citizens and their lives. It is easy to express the failures of this administration but the need is now to use the power of the ballot to put us on a corrective course with a new leader. Keep in mind that an informed voter, no matter your politics has more power than a party line voter.

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