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Category Archives: Trumpedation

Roxburgh’s goal was to develop students with good character and moral courage, young men that would be “acceptable at a dance and invaluable in a shipwreck.”

It is clear to me that goal was not achieved with our current administration and the Neer do well Congress that supports him. There is little blame to be placed on his voting supporters as they as many of us have been spoofed by our elected officials and the certain parts of the news media. Looking at the current chain of events from 2016 until now, we are, in the vernacular of many “deep Dodo”. This administration has created havoc around the world through withdrawal from climate and trade pacts, assessing tariffs on countries for no other reason than the thinly veiled racism. Pounding our southern neighbors through returning and requiring immigrants to remain there until their number is called ( often years at this point), building a wall that has no effect aside from encroaching on American land owners while at the same time cutting their  farms in half. There is no Rhyme or reason to this administration other than the aggrandizement of this President and his cohorts. All of the executive orders and barely legal actions of the administration abetted by the GOP members of Congress have served only to incite the divide created by a lackluster Congress and gleefully joined by TOTUS. This scam of a Presidency has brought shame on all United States citizens but is acknowledged only by the citizens who have the wherewithal to recognize and embrace the multi nationality that made America in spite of the hundreds of years of inequality. If you are afraid of folks who are different or do not look like you then you are in the wrong country as this has been the case for the existence of the United States. If you allow the status quo to continue we will always have inept and criminal representation in government.


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Coward of the country did what cowards do-Hide! MA
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 30, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)© Provided by Associated Press President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 30, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

Friday’s protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. They sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 .

“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.

Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

Trump continued his effort to project strength, using a series of inflammatory tweets and delivering partisan attacks during a time of national crisis.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump’s advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president’s own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to draw distinctions between the legitimate anger of peaceful protesters and the unacceptable actions of violent agitators.

On Sunday, Trump retweeted a message from a conservative commentator encouraging authorities to respond with greater force.

“This isn’t going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys,” Buck Sexton wrote in a message amplified by the president.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.


Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.


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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


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By Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times

55 mins ago

This is how a thug acts.

Twitter at long last has affixed fact-check links to a couple of tweets by President Donald Trump that include verifiably false details, in this case claims by the president that mail-in balloting leads to election fraud.

Note that Twitter didn’t remove the tweets, and hasn’t gone so far as to add fact-check links to the president’s baseless insinuations that MSNBC co-anchor Joe Scarborough might bear responsibility for a congressional aide’s long-ago natural death.

Trump’s response: Take out the flamethrower and scorch away.

Um, no, calling out bald-faced lies by a politician is not interfering with an election.

As slow and insufficient as Twitter’s response to Trump’s serial lies and grotesque insinuations has been, this moment spotlights just how Trump manipulates a moment to turn it into something it is not.

He’s tweeted spurious insinuations about MSNBC co-anchor Joe Scarborough and the long-ago death of an aide. He’s thrown out inane one-liners such as “OBAMAGATE MAKES WATERGATE LOOK LIKE SMALL POTATOES!” He’s spun lies about the spread of the coronavirus and his response to it, retweeted a cascade of conservative takes on events and his actions, posted free plugs for books and television segments that align with his world view, and attacked the media (he cheered announced staff cuts at the Atlantic; what kind of president cheers job losses?), Democrats and a smattering of fellow Republicans who have the temerity to oppose him.

He has also, most troublingly, tweeted his support for blatant attempts at intimidation by armed anti-government protesters who joined demonstrations in states whose Democratic governors froze many public interactions to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

This is how a thug acts. But it’s also how Trump works to deflect public attention from his historically inept presidency. He creates controversies, then turns them into us vs. them fights to keep his base engaged and his critics outraged. In a divided country Trump makes the divide the issue, at the expense of the public well-being.

Trump’s attacks on the mail-in voting option as a way to conduct an election amid the coronavirus pandemic is an effort to undermine public faith in the November election. And his attack on Twitter for supposed censorship (pointing out a lie is not censorship in any accepted definition) is an attempt to distract the electorate from his initial lie.

Trump is preparing the ground to, once again, claim victimhood. If he loses in November, he’ll scream (well, tweet) “foul!” and “unfair!” and somehow draw in President Barack Obama and Jeff Bezos and his expanding cast of political critics real and imagined to argue that he is the target of some vast left-wing socialist lamestream media conspiracy (it’s not beyond imagination that he’ll claim it was concocted in a Wuhan research lab) and that we need to TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK NOW! (emphasis in the imagined original tweet).

This is standard procedure for Trump. Attack, debase and devalue in the hope that he emerges victorious from the verbal battlefield. Never mind the carnage. Never mind the truth.

Never mind what’s best for the country.



Scott Martelle, a veteran journalist and author of six history books, is a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board.


©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 


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Kevin Breuninger
a person wearing a suit and tie: Rick Bright, deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 8, 2018.© Provided by CNBC Rick Bright, deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

President Donald Trump on Thursday tore into ousted federal scientist-turned-whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright just before Bright was set to testify before Congress that the U.S. “missed early warning signals” about the coronavirus.

“I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

“But to me he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!” Trump said.

Donald J. Trump


I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!

30.3K people are talking about this

Bright in late April was removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and transferred to a job with fewer responsibilities at the National Institutes of Health. He filed a formal whistleblower complaint to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel after his removal.

Lawyers for Bright say he was sidelined in retaliation for his pushback on the Trump administration’s efforts “to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine … which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly.”

Bright is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health at 10 a.m. ET.

In his opening statement, Bright is expected to say that Covid-19 could potentially make 2020 the “darkest winter in modern history” if leaders can’t mount a more coordinated response to contain the outbreak.

“Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Bright’s written testimony says.


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Does anyone really expect honesty out this administration about anything? Within this article TOTUS deflects and lies. MA

Peter Baker and Michael Crowley

7 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — In his eagerness to reopen the country, President Trump faces the challenge of convincing Americans that it would be safe to go back to the workplace. But the past few days have demonstrated that even his own workplace may not be safe from the coronavirus.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Reporters listening to Larry Kudlow speak on Friday outside the White House.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the virus on Friday, forcing a delay in the departure of Air Force Two while a half-dozen other members of his staff were taken off the plane for further testing. That came only a day after word that one of the president’s own military valets had been infected.

All of which raised an obvious question: If it is so hard to maintain a healthy environment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the most famous office address in the world, where staff members are tested regularly, some as often as every day, then how can businesses across the country without anywhere near as much access to the same resources establish a safe space for their workers?

© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times President Trump participating in a wreath-laying ceremony on Friday at the World War II Memorial.

“The virus is in the White House, any way you look at it,” said Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama. “Whether it’s contained or not, we will know soon enough. But the fact that a place — secured, with access to the best means to mitigate harm — is not able to stop the virus has the potential of undermining confidence in any capacity to defeat it.”

The presence of the virus in both the West Wing and the residential floors of the White House brings home the dilemma facing the nation at a pivotal point in the pandemic. With more than 77,000 deaths in the United States so far and cases rising by the day, states and employers are wrestling with when and how to reopen without putting workers, customers and clients at risk.

But the federal government has not detailed the best way to minimize risk, much less avoid more deaths. Even as it has experienced positive tests of its own, the White House has so far blocked the release of a set of recommendations developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deeming them overly prescriptive. As a result, businesses have been left to make their best guesses with lives on the line.

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are now tested daily, and both tested negative after the latest infections were discovered. Staff members in proximity to them are also tested daily, as are guests. Congressional Republicans who visited Mr. Trump on Friday were spaced out around the table.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters that “we’ve put in some additional protocols over the last 48 hours” to reduce the risk and expressed confidence that the president could be protected. “This is probably the safest place that you can come to,” he said.

But neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pence regularly wears a mask, nor do most of their aides. The president hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial in Washington on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany by inviting several veterans aged 95 and over, even though they were in the most vulnerable age group.

The latest positive test further rattled a White House already on edge after the president’s military valet came down with the virus. Katie Miller, the vice president’s press secretary and a top spokeswoman for the White House coronavirus efforts, had tested negative on Thursday but then tested positive on Friday morning.

The result forced Mr. Pence’s scheduled flight to Des Moines to be delayed for more than an hour, even though she was not traveling with him, so that six other aides who had been in contact with her could be escorted from the plane at Joint Base Andrews before its departure. All six later tested negative but were sent home out of caution, officials said. Ms. Miller is married to Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser, and he too was tested again on Friday and the results came back negative.

White House officials initially asked reporters not to identify Ms. Miller as the aide who tested positive, but Mr. Trump blew the secret when he identified her publicly during his meeting with the congressional Republicans as “Katie” and “the press person” for Mr. Pence.

“She tested very good for a long period of time. And then all of a sudden today, she tested positive,” Mr. Trump said. “She hasn’t come into contact with me. She spends some time with the vice president.”

But Ms. Miller has been in the vicinity of the president in recent days, including during his Fox News appearance on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial and again on Thursday in the Rose Garden. Her husband is in meetings with the president even more frequently as the architect of his crackdown on immigration, although he and other aides have sat farther away than they have in the past.

Multiple presidential aides are now tested daily, as are about 10 members of Mr. Pence’s staff, an official said. But tests are conducted less frequently on other White House officials who work next door in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and have regular contact with West Wing aides even if not the president himself.

The Secret Service has 11 active cases of the coronavirus and 23 employees who have recovered, current and former government officials said Friday, but it was unclear whether any were agents or served in the White House. The service, which has 150 offices across the country responsible for protecting a variety of dignitaries and investigating financial crimes, also has 60 others undergoing self-quarantine, Yahoo News reported. While tested regularly, agents in the president’s detail have not been wearing masks, and new faces have shown up in recent days.

The White House infections further inflamed the national debate about testing even as many states begin lifting restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. Mr. Trump has said testing is adequate for reopening even as public health experts said it must be much more robust to have a better map of the outbreak. The Harvard Global Health Institute estimated this week that the United States needs to do at least 900,000 tests a day by May 15, but is only doing about 250,000 now.

“One of the most important ways to protect our workers is by conducting more tests,” said Lorraine M. Martin, the president of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Increased access to Covid-19 testing for our work force will help flatten the curve by removing people with coronavirus from the workplace and better ensure the safety and health of employees who are maintaining operations during this pandemic.”

But on Friday, Mr. Trump cast doubt on testing as a panacea, saying Ms. Miller’s case at the White House demonstrated the limits of its utility.

“This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great,” the president said. “The tests are perfect, but something can happen between a test where it’s good and then something happens and all of a sudden” it is not.

Some experts said he has a point. “People need to understand the limitations of testing,” said Nellie Brown, the director of workplace health and safety programs at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, who is advising businesses on how to reopen safely. “When you take a test you’re basically getting a slice in time. You know what is happening at that moment, but you don’t know what may happen even soon after that.”

Even so, she said, the president should be setting an example for the rest of the country, like by wearing a mask. “You need to model the behavior you want others to exhibit because you’re so powerful an example,” she said. “It’s so important for others to see we’re all doing this because we’re all in this together.”

No one in the White House seems to expect Mr. Trump to wear a mask anytime soon. His aides said it was not necessary because a mask is worn to protect others in case its wearer is infected, and the president is tested regularly. But privately they acknowledge that he has expressed concern that it would make him look bad.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, disputed the idea that the new cases in the White House reflected continuing risk to Americans who are being asked to return to work, with less testing and monitoring than the White House receives.

“The guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe — which means contact tracing, all of the recommended guidelines we have for businesses that have essential workers — we’re now putting in place here in the White House,” she said at a briefing.

Asked about the veterans in their 90s who joined Mr. Trump for the World War II anniversary, she said the men “made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first.” Asked why the president, who briefly addressed them from a distance of several feet, had not worn a mask, Ms. McEnany said, “This president will make the decision as to whether to wear a mask or not.”

Calling into “Fox & Friends” earlier in the day, Mr. Trump provided additional details about the White House valet who tested positive for the coronavirus. He said that the aide, who is in the Navy, had not worked for several days before Tuesday, when he was “in the room” with the president for an unspecified amount of time before discovering that he was carrying the virus. “I don’t think any contact,” Mr. Trump added of his interactions with the aide.

After some prompting, the president cheekily offered to send a test kit from the White House to his likely Democratic opponent in the general election, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. That, he said, would allow Mr. Biden to “get out of the basement so he can speak,” adding that “every time he talks, it’s, like, a good thing.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington.


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Jennifer Rubin
Editor’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.

a man standing next to a train: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) tries out a spraying device that is part of a three-step disinfecting process for a New York City subway car in Queens on Saturday.© Kevin P. Coughlin/AP New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) tries out a spraying device that is part of a three-step disinfecting process for a New York City subway car in Queens on Saturday.How many times have we heard President Trump say he just has a “feeling” or that his “gut feeling” is superior to expert, evidenced-based data? A lot. That “feeling” — whether it’s about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s intentions or the economy or the 2018 midterms — has often been wrong. During the coronavirus epidemic, however, his preference for emotion and feelings can cost lives.

It does not have to be that way. New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) did not mention Trump by name at his news conference on Monday. He did, however, implicitly set up a contrast between Trump (and his minions) and himself when it comes to gradually reopening the economy, schools and public places. Cuomo insisted you have to act with “the best information you have, learning from the lessons you have … which means, don’t act emotionally.” He continued on: “Don’t act because ‘I feel this, I feel that.’ … Forget the anecdotal, forget the atmospheric, forget the environmental, forget the emotional. Look at the data. Look at the measurements. Look at the science. Follow the facts.”

That is as good a model of government decision-making as you will hear, and a complete repudiation of the unscientific (or anti-scientific), impulsive style of political theater now in vogue with many Republicans. “Feelings,” in their mind, take the place of facts. Are facts missing to show the virus was created in a laboratory? Well, he’s got a feeling. No facts to suggest this is all going to “disappear”? Trump has a feeling. Indeed, almost without fail, when he says he has a feeling about something, you can bet there is no evidence for it or that the evidence points in the opposite direction.

Thousands of lives hang in the balance depending upon how elected leaders make their decisions. Trump operates without data (Liberate Michigan!). New York, Cuomo explained, does the opposite: “The rate of transmission goes up, stop the reopening, close the valve, close the valve right away. So, reopen businesses, do it in phases and watch that rate of transmission. It gets over 1.1, stop everything immediately.” Methodical, fact-driven and emotion-free decision-making is called for when the problem — a virus — is a natural phenomenon incapable of being spun, bullied or ignored.

It is not good enough to say, “We have enough tests for everyone!” First, it is not true. Second, it gives no guidance to states as to how they can responsibly reopen. Cuomo explained, “You have to be prepared to do 30 tests for every 1,000 residents. New York is doing more tests than any country in the state by far.” While as a state New York is doing more than any state per capita, “it doesn’t matter what we’re doing statewide. To open a region, that region has to have a testing capacity of 30 per 1,000.” Likewise, on contact tracing, there must be 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents before a region can reopen.

If we are going to reopen the business and return to something approaching normal, we have to be prepared to put facts first. Measure the data. Act on the data. Readjust on the data. Such a rational approach to governance is entirely beyond Trump’s capabilities, which is one reason he is uniquely unfit to govern during a health emergency.


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Frank Bruni

The New York Times•May 4, 2020

Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, cheers essential workers from the roof of her apartment building, joining a citywide ritual every evening in New York, on April 28, 2020. (Joshua Bright/The New York Times)

I told Laurie Garrett that she might as well change her name to Cassandra. Everyone is calling her that anyway.

She and I were Zooming — that’s a verb now, right? — and she pulled out a 2017 book, “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.” It notes that Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was prescient not only about the impact of HIV but also about the emergence and global spread of more contagious pathogens.

“I’m a double Cassandra,” Garrett said.

She’s also prominently mentioned in a recent Vanity Fair article by David Ewing Duncan about “the Coronavirus Cassandras.”

Cassandra, of course, was the Greek prophetess doomed to issue unheeded warnings. What Garrett has been warning most direly about — in her 1994 bestseller, “The Coming Plague,” and in subsequent books and speeches, including TED Talks — is a pandemic like the current one.

She saw it coming. So a big part of what I wanted to ask her about was what she sees coming next. Steady yourself. Her crystal ball is dark.

Despite the stock market’s swoon for it, remdesivir probably isn’t our ticket out, she told me. “It’s not curative,” she said, pointing out that the strongest claims so far are that it merely shortens the recovery of COVID-19 patients. “We need either a cure or a vaccine.”

But she can’t envision that vaccine anytime in the next year, while COVID-19 will remain a crisis much longer than that.

“I’ve been telling everybody that my event horizon is about 36 months, and that’s my best-case scenario,” she said.

“I’m quite certain that this is going to go in waves,” she added. “It won’t be a tsunami that comes across America all at once and then retreats all at once. It will be micro-waves that shoot up in Des Moines and then in New Orleans and then in Houston and so on, and it’s going to affect how people think about all kinds of things.”

They’ll reevaluate the importance of travel. They’ll reassess their use of mass transit. They’ll revisit the need for face-to-face business meetings. They’ll reappraise having their kids go to college out of state.

So, I asked, is “back to normal,” a phrase that so many people cling to, a fantasy?

“This is history right in front of us,” Garrett said. “Did we go ‘back to normal’ after 9/11? No. We created a whole new normal. We securitized the United States. We turned into an anti-terror state. And it affected everything. We couldn’t go into a building without showing ID and walking through a metal detector, and couldn’t get on airplanes the same way ever again. That’s what’s going to happen with this.”

Not the metal detectors, but a seismic shift in what we expect, in what we endure, in how we adapt.

Maybe in political engagement, too, Garrett said.

If America enters the next wave of coronavirus infections “with the wealthy having gotten somehow wealthier off this pandemic by hedging, by shorting, by doing all the nasty things that they do, and we come out of our rabbit holes and realize, ‘Oh, my God, it’s not just that everyone I love is unemployed or underemployed and can’t make their maintenance or their mortgage payments or their rent payments, but now all of a sudden those jerks that were flying around in private helicopters are now flying on private personal jets, and they own an island that they go to, and they don’t care whether or not our streets are safe,’ then I think we could have massive political disruption.

“Just as we come out of our holes and see what 25% unemployment looks like,” she said, “we may also see what collective rage looks like.”

Garrett has been on my radar since the early 1990s, when she worked for Newsday and did some of the best reporting anywhere on AIDS. Her Pulitzer, in 1996, was for coverage of Ebola in Zaire. She has been a fellow at Harvard’s School of Public Health, was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and consulted on the 2011 movie “Contagion.”

Her expertise, in other words, has long been in demand. But not like now.

Each morning when she opens her email, “there’s the Argentina request, Hong Kong request, Taiwan request, South Africa request, Morocco, Turkey,” she told me. “Not to mention all of the American requests.” It made me feel bad about taking more than an hour of her time on April 27. But not so bad that I didn’t cadge another 30 minutes on April 30.

She said she wasn’t surprised that a coronavirus wrought this devastation, that China minimized what was going on or that the response in many places was sloppy and sluggish. She’s Cassandra, after all.

But there is one part of the story she couldn’t have predicted: that the paragon of sloppiness and sluggishness would be the United States.

“I never imagined that,” she said. “Ever.”

The highlights — or, rather, lowlights — include President Donald Trump’s initial acceptance of the assurances by President Xi Jinping of China that all would be well; his scandalous complacency from late January through early March; his cheerleading for unproven treatments; his musings about cockamamie ones; his abdication of muscular federal guidance for the states; and his failure, even now, to sketch out a detailed, long-range strategy for containing the coronavirus.

Having long followed Garrett’s work, I can attest that it’s not driven by partisanship. She praised George W. Bush for fighting HIV in Africa.

But she called Trump “the most incompetent, foolhardy buffoon imaginable.”

And she’s shocked that America isn’t in a position to lead the global response to this crisis, in part because science and scientists have been so degraded under Trump.

Referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and its analogues abroad, she told me, “I’ve heard from every CDC in the world — the European CDC, the African CDC, China CDC — and they say, ‘Normally, our first call is to Atlanta, but we ain’t hearing back.’ There’s nothing going on down there. They’ve gutted that place. They’ve gagged that place. I can’t get calls returned anymore. Nobody down there is feeling like it’s safe to talk. Have you even seen anything important and vital coming out of the CDC?”

The problem, Garrett added, is bigger than Trump and older than his presidency. America has never been sufficiently invested in public health. The riches and renown go mostly to physicians who find new and better ways to treat heart disease, cancer and the like. The big political conversation is about individuals’ access to health care.

But what about the work to keep our air and water safe for everyone; to design policies and systems for quickly detecting outbreaks, containing them and protecting entire populations? Where are the rewards for the architects of that?

Garrett recounted her time at Harvard. “The medical school is all marble, with these grand columns,” she said. “The school of public health is this funky building, the ugliest possible architecture, with the ceilings falling in.”

“That’s America?” I asked.

“That’s America,” she said.

And what America needs most right now, she said, isn’t this drumbeat of testing, testing, testing, because there will never be enough superfast, superreliable tests to determine on the spot who can safely enter a crowded workplace or venue, which is the scenario that some people seem to have in mind. America needs good information, from many rigorously designed studies, about the prevalence and deadliness of coronavirus infections in given subsets of people so that governors and mayors can develop rules for social distancing and reopening that are sensible, sustainable and tailored to the situation at hand.

America needs a federal government that assertively promotes and helps to coordinate that, not one in which experts like Tony Fauci and Deborah Birx tiptoe around a president’s tender ego.

“I can sit here with you for three hours listing — boom, boom, boom — what good leadership would look like and how many more lives would be saved if we followed that path, and it’s just incredibly upsetting,” Garrett said. “I feel like I’m just coming out of maybe three weeks of being in a funk because of the profound disappointment that there’s not a whisper of it.”

Instead of that whisper, she hears wailing: the sirens of ambulances carrying coronavirus patients to hospitals near her apartment in Brooklyn Heights, New York, where she has been home alone, in lockdown, since early March. “If I don’t get hugged soon, I’m going to go bananas,” she told me. “I’m desperate to be hugged.”

Me, too. Especially after her omens.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 New York Times News Service


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TOTUS rode into office on low voter turnout and immediately began his live streaming of lies, innuendo and poor governance. The worst elements of the Congress immediately latched onto his ineptitude and used that to conjure up their own “shadow” government based on purely party and self serving politics. It became apparent that TOTUS was under water as his work habits did not coincide with how the rest of the government and the wider world works. The job of President is 24-7 and consists of READING and Listening to experienced and experts in their respective fields, not on air pundits and opinionators. There is no substitute for first hand information especially when you have to interact with world leaders and the people whom you were elected to serve. There is no automatic input of knowledge, this job requires work and effort of the kind that brings different opinions not just opinions that you like. Accusations, wild rants and fights with world leaders, reporters is not a reasonable course of action for a leader which really tells more about your shortcomings and the inability to grow into the job. There is no light bulb type idea situation here just the ability to listen and understand what is being presented in order to make informed decisions. Any person with average intelligence (or even below) has the ability to understand this concept, yet it seems to have eluded you.


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Clay Bennett Comic Strip for May 02, 2020 Stuart Carlson Comic Strip for May 01, 2020


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