You are browsing the archive for 2020 October 05.

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White House refused to trace COVID infections after Amy Coney Barret's potential super-spreader event: report

October 5, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

Nine days after the White House Rose Garden nomination announcement and celebration of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee at least 11 Trump associates have tested positive for COVID-19.

Reporters, including at least one of the three who were present covering the event and became infected, were surprised that they had received no call from the White House or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to attempt any contact tracing, or notify them they should quarantine after coming in close contact with attendees who tested positive for the deadly virus.

Now The New York Times reports that the White House will not perform any contact tracing, and will not notify any attendees to self-quarantine. The CDC has been ordered to not perform any contact tracing as well, despite that it is the government agency best prepared to perform the important function.

The White House “has limited its efforts to notifying people who came in close contact with Mr. Trump in the two days before his Covid diagnosis Thursday evening. It has also cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has the government’s most extensive knowledge and resources for contact tracing, out of the process.

“The Times calls contact tracing “an essential piece of any outbreak investigation,” and “a key to stopping the virus from spreading further, especially after a potential ‘super spreader’ event where many people may have been infected.”

New York Times White House correspondent and CNN political analyst Michael Shear, who became infected after covering the event, says “nobody from the White House has said ‘boo.’”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's Fifth Avenue killing spree and the real American carnage

October 5, 2020 in Blogs

By TomDispatch

Yes, when he was running for president, he did indeed say: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”

Then he won — and this November 3rd (or thereafter), whether he wins or loses, we’re likely to find out that, when it comes to his base, he was right. He may not have lost a vote. Yes, Donald Trump is indeed a murderer, but here’s where his prediction fell desperately short: as president, he’s proven to be anything but a smalltime killer. It wasn’t as if he went out one day, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue or even in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and shot a couple of people.

Nothing so minimalist for The Donald! Nor is it as if, say, he had ploghed “the Beast” (as his presidential Cadillac is known) into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, as so many other drivers have done this year. Let’s face it: that’s for his apprentices, not the showman himself. After all, Donald J. Trump has proven to be America’s twenty-first-century maestro of death and destruction, the P.T. Barnum of, as he put it predictively enough in his Inaugural Address, “American carnage.” In fact, he’s been a master of carnage in a way no one could then have imagined.

Back in 2016, he was way off when it came to the scale of what he could accomplish. As it happens, the killing hasn’t just taken place on Fifth Avenue, or even in his (now hated) former hometown, but on avenues, streets, lanes, and country roads across America. He was, however, right about one thing: he could kill at will and no one who mattered (to him at least) would hold him responsible, including the attorney general of the United States who has been one of his many handymen of mayhem.

His is indeed proving to be a murderous regime, but in quite a different form than even he might have anticipated. Still, a carnage-creator he’s been (and, for god knows how long to come, will be) and here’s the remarkable thing: he’s daily been on “Fifth Avenue” killing passersby in a variety of ways. In fact, it’s worth going through his …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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‘He let his guard down’: GOP senator criticizes Trump on COVID-19 as the party takes a hit

October 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Many Republicans are afraid to publicly criticize President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. But Republican Sen. John Cornyn was overtly critical of Trump’s response to the pandemic during an interview with the Houston Chronicle, essentially acknowledging the president’s carelessness.

Cornyn told the Chronicle, “I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us — I think he got out over his skis. And frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self-discipline.”

Reporter Benjamin Wermund notes that the Texas Republican made that comment when the Chronicle asked him about “Trump rarely wearing a mask, holding Make America Great Again rallies and hosting a Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House where at least eight people, including two senators — who have since tested positive for the virus — were in attendance.”

The prominent Republicans in Trumpworld who have tested positive for COVID-19 range from the president’s long-time adviser, Kellyanne Conway, to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Trump’s campaign chairman, Bill Stepien. So far, Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden have not testified positive for the novel coronavirus, although Biden appeared on a debate stage with the president only a few days before he tested positive, and Pence has been around the president frequently.

Cornyn spoke to the Chronicle during his reelection campaign. In light red Texas, the incumbent senator is being challenged by Democrat M.J. Hegar — who is trailing Cornyn in polls, but mostly by single digits. Polls released during the second half of September found Cornyn ahead of Hegar by 2% (Data for Progress), 5% (CBS News/YouGov), 6% (New York Times/Siena and Morning Consult) or 8% (Quinnipiac).

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump is not 'entirely out of the woods yet' — but his doctor is already engaged in a cover-up

October 5, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

President Donald Trump will be leaving Walter Reed Medical Center after his admission for COVID-19, a team of his doctors led by White House physician Sean Conley explained on Monday.

“Though he may not be entirely out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations and most importantly his clinical status support the president’s safe return home,” Conley said. Trump has met all the hospital’s criteria for being discharged, he said, and the White House itself has a fully staffed medical unit to monitor his progress at home.

Some medical experts were skeptical of this decision. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN said, for example, that the steroids Trump has been prescribed are meant to reduce inflammation and can therefore mask his symptoms, even if he hasn’t made genuine progress against the disease. It’s also not clear how likely it will be that the president could continue to spread the disease when at the White House, and Conley would not go into details about the precautions that will be taken once Trump returns home.

But perhaps more notable than these concerns was everything Conley was unwilling to say.

Citing HIPAA, a law that protects patients’ privacy, Conley refused to answer a series of questions. He wouldn’t say, for example, when the president’s last negative COVID-19 test was taken. He wouldn’t say what scans of the president’s lungs have shown. He wouldn’t say if the president has pneumonia. He wouldn’t answer questions about other potentially concerning test results.

All of this information could be crucial to understanding the president’s health, but Conley made it clear the president won’t disclose it.

The point about the date of the president’s last negative test is critical for multiple reasons.The White House has said the president was tested daily for COVID-19 as a part of it precautions. They may be refusing to answer questions about the tests now because the president was not, in fact, tested daily, showing the White House to be negligent and lying. Or perhaps they’re refusing to answer the question because Trump tested positive earlier than we knew, suggesting he recklessly traveled with the infection and risked spreading it to others. It’s hard to believe that if, say, the president was tested negative for the virus Wednesday or early Thursday, only to test positive Thursday night, then they would be unwilling to say that publicly. So the silence on this point …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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In 2020, undecided voters are dangerous radicals

October 5, 2020 in Blogs

By John Stoehr

I wrote last Wednesday that Joe Biden demonstrated ways of saving the republic from the mistake of electing a demi-despotic goon like Donald Trump. During the first of three scheduled debates, the president was a fire-hose of bullying, pouting and puling, rarely giving the former vice president a couple of quiet minutes to speak. He tested his rival until Biden decided at last to stop tolerating the intolerable: “Will you shut up, man?

Then something amazing happened. As I was writing Wednesday’s edition, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan nonprofit that organizes the debates and set the rules, said “that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” according to the Post. Implicit in this change was a remarkable consensus: that Trump is to blame for the chaos. Changes include cutting off the candidate’s microphones while the other speaks. The commission, in so many words, will be forcing the president to shut up.

Later on the same day, something else amazing happened. CNN’s Jake Tapper, who was the subject of Wednesday’s Editorial Board, followed suit. His guest was Trump campaign Director of Communication Tim Murtaugh. In a clip shared widely, Tapper asks why the president refuses to condemn armed white-power groups. Murtaugh answers with accusations that Biden “palled around with” segregationists decades ago. It’s a maneuver aiming to “prove” the president is no more racist than his opponent. Tapper grows impatient with the nonsense. Murtaugh increases the volume, running over Tapper’s follow-ups until he signals to the camera operator to shut Murtaugh up.

Telling authoritarians to shut up isn’t the only way, or even the best way, of dealing with them. But it’s one of the tools the rest of us can use on confederates who have told us who they are when they exploit the rights and privileges of a free and open society to undermine a free and open society, even destroy it. Don’t argue with them. Don’t reason with them. Don’t debate with them. Debating them civilly is making room at the table of civilization for renegades ready to flip the table over if they don’t get their way. They will never respect you. Therefore, be sparing with your respect …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why African Americans Were More Likely to Die During the 1918 Flu Pandemic

October 5, 2020 in History

By Rodney A. Brooks

Most hospitals turned them away—or sent them to the basement for treatment.

When it came to getting healthcare during the 1918 influenza epidemic, America’s Black communities, hobbled by poverty, Jim Crow segregation and rampant discrimination, were mostly forced to fend for themselves. Opportunities for hospital care proved scarce, leaving many relying on family care and, where available, the small but burgeoning ranks of Black nurses.

When the 1918 influenza epidemic began, African Americans were already beset by a barrage of social, medical and public health problems, asserts Vanessa Northington Gamble, a physician and medical historian at George Washington University. Among the challenges she identified in her 2010 study of the African American experience of the 1918 flu pandemic: “racist theories of black biological inferiority, racial barriers in medicine and public health, and poor health status.”

Some 675,000 people were infected in the United States and 500 million worldwide during the 1918 pandemic, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accurate numbers showing how many African Americans contracted the disease—or succumbed to it—aren’t available; records remain scarce, since so few of those victims had contact with institutional healthcare providers or agencies.

Some research suggests African Americans may actually have been less susceptible to catching the 1918 influenza virus. “One of the theories we advance is that segregation was functioning somewhat as a quarantine,” says Lakshmi Krishnan, a physician and medical historian at Georgetown University, who co-authored a paper comparing racial disparities in COVID-19 relative to the 1918 flu pandemic. Since pandemics “have always disproportionately affected Black, indigenous and Latinx people,” she says, that made the 1918 influenza “a bit of an anomaly” from an epidemiology perspective.

READ MORE: Pandemics that Changed History

Most Hospitals Turned Away Black People

But while African Americans were less likely than white Americans to contract the disease, they were far more likely to die from it if they did catch it.

The key reason: Black Americans received substandard care in segregated hospitals—if they could even be admitted. “Not many hospitals accepted Black Americans, and those that did sent them to the basement for care,” says Marian Moser Jones, a public health scholar at the University of Maryland. There, they likely languished in rooms unintended for patient treatment, receiving neither the full resources nor timely medical attention white patients received in the main wards.

The Spanish Flu Was Deadlier Than WWI (TV-PG; 5:42) …read more

Source: HISTORY

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What Happens If There's a Tie in a US Presidential Election?

October 5, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes. A bitterly divided House of Representatives finally chose the winner.

When the Electoral votes were tallied in the 1800 U.S. presidential election—only the fourth election in the young nation’s history—there was a problem. Two candidates received exactly 73 electoral votes, producing the first and (so far) only Electoral College tie in American history.

Thankfully, the Constitution has a contingency plan for tie elections laid out in Article II, Section 1: “[I]f there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President.”

If only it was that easy. A bitterly divided House of Representatives deadlocked 36 times before it finally picked Thomas Jefferson as the winner of the 1800 election, and in the process laid bare a host of problems with the Electoral College that could only be fixed with a constitutional amendment.

Political Parties Threw a Monkey Wrench in the Electoral College

America 101: What is the Electoral College? (TV-PG; 1:37)

WATCH: America 101: What is the Electoral College?

The framers of the Constitution hoped that political parties wouldn’t be necessary given the limited powers of the federal government, but presidential candidates started coalescing into political factions as early as the 1796 election, the first after George Washington. Almost immediately, the existence of warring political parties created headaches for the Electoral College system.

In the first four U.S. presidential elections, each Elector cast two ballots for president. The candidate who won the majority of Electoral College votes was the president and the second-place finisher was the vice president. In the 1796 election, John Adams won the presidency, but the second-place finisher was Thomas Jefferson, Adams’ arch political rival and now his vice president.

“That was one of the first clues that the Electoral College created by the founders wasn’t working as intended,” says Robert Alexander, a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University and author of Representation and the Electoral College.

READ MORE: What Is the Electoral College and Why Was It Created?

A Tie Between Two Candidates From the Same Political Party

The 1800 tie election made an even stronger case that the Electoral College needed to be fixed. By 1800, two political parties, the Federalists and the …read more

Source: HISTORY