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Fauci admits he 'got in trouble' under Trump — and now has a 'liberating feeling'

January 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

Many observers of the U.S. COVID-19 response frequently wondered about and speculated on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emotional reaction to the Trump administration’s mishandling of the crisis. Former President Donald Trump frequently contradicted public health experts like Fauci and floated ideas and claims about the coronavirus that no trustworthy scientist took seriously. And on Thursday, Dr. Fauci — who has been given a prominent role in the COVID response on President Joe Biden — finally shared his candid thoughts about what it was like to work under Trump.

“There were things that were said,” Fauci said during the days’ White House press briefing, “regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that that was really uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact. I can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president. So it was really something where you didn’t feel like you could actually say something and there wouldn’t be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is, and know that’s it! Let the science speak — it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.”

A reporter noted that Fauci was basically “banished” for a period under Trump. Asked if he felt like he was back, Fauci said with a laugh: “I think so!”

Fauci also emphasized that under Biden, the focus will be on the facts and the science, rather than a purely political agenda.

“One of the new things in this administration is that if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess,” he said. “Just say you don’t know the answer.”

He denied that, under Trump, he let himself be genuinely censored or forced to say things he didn’t believe.

“I always said everything — that’s why I got in trouble sometimes,” he said.

Watch the clips below:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Chomsky and Prashad: Why we need a tribunal on governments' crimes against humanity during COVID

January 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Vijay Prashad

Warnings that the oxygen supply was running out in the city of Manaus, Brazil, came to local and federal government officials a week before the calamity led to the deaths by asphyxiation of patients afflicted with COVID-19. No modern state—such as Brazil—should have to admit that it did nothing when these warnings came in and simply allowed its own citizens to die for no reason.

A Supreme Court judge and the solicitor general have demanded that the Brazilian government act, but this has not moved Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. Everything about this story—detailed in Solicitor General José Levi do Amaral’s report—reveals the rot of privatization and incompetence. The local health officials knew in early January that there was going to be an oxygen shortage imminently, but their warning did not carry any weight. A private contractor who had the job of providing the oxygen informed the government six days before the city ran out of this crucial supply in the fight against COVID-19. Even with the contractor’s information, the government did nothing; it would later say—against all scientific advice—that early treatment for coronavirus did not work. The insensitivity and incompetence of the government of Bolsonaro have led General Prosecutor Augusto Aras to call for a special probe. As Bolsonaro dithered, the government of Venezuela, in an act of solidarity, sent a shipment of oxygen to Manaus.

The latest development caused by the government’s toxic mix of privatization, ineptitude, and callousness should strengthen the case brought by Brazil’s health care unions against Jair Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July. But the problem is not the fault of Bolsonaro alone or even of Brazil. The problem lies in the neoliberal governments, governments in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and others, governments whose commitments to profit-making firms and billionaires far outstrip their commitment to their own citizens or to their own constitutions. What we are seeing in countries such as Brazil is a crime against humanity.

It is time to impanel a citizens’ tribunal to investigate the utter failure of the governments of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Narendra Modi, and others to break the chain of the infection of COVID-19. Such a tribunal would collect the factual information that would ensure that we do not …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Democracy in crisis: Here's how experts want to save our elections

January 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Independent Media Institute

The Trump presidency is over and the Biden presidency has begun. The 2020 election’s legacy will now turn to examining how the institutions and laws that govern voting can be fortified, after a bruising season where Trump attacked the process as illegitimate and enlarged the GOP myth of massive voter fraud.

Normally, after every presidential election, every sector involved in elections issues post-election reports and prescriptions. While Trump’s refusal to admit defeat has delayed that process, the emerging analyses and recommendations so far have two focuses. The first concerns the maze of laws and rules governing elections. The second focus is arguably harder to solve, as it concerns the personal and societal factors that allowed the narratives of stolen elections and underlying conspiracies to take hold among tens of millions of Americans—such as 15 percent of Republicans who still support the storming of the Capitol on January 6.

“This anger on the part of some people has been building for a long time, and there can be a separate discussion of why it is that people are feeling frustrated and that leads to a willingness to engage in violence,” said Michael Chertoff, former U.S. secretary of homeland security and a leader of the bipartisan National Task Force on Election Crises, which was convened last year as Trump escalated his attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election. “But the fuse that lit this particular explosion was a big lie.”

“It was the lie propagated by Donald Trump and his supporters that this election was rigged and stolen and fraudulent,” Chertoff said, speaking on January 15 as the National Task Force on Election Crises issued its recommendations. “Even though, repeatedly, when evidence was requested, no evidence was provided, and every court rejected these claims. But the big lie nevertheless continued to propagate and reflects a challenge in our society in terms of truth and willingness to trust our [electoral] institutions.”

In the short run, Chertoff believes that those individuals who led the lie-based attacks on 2020′s elections—Trump, those storming the Capitol, elected officials seeking to override swing-state popular votes, pro-Trump lawyers filing falsity-filled lawsuits—must be held accountable. That near-term step will help revive factual baselines and trust in electoral institutions, he said. But the body’s recommendations, like other “what next?” discussions by legal scholars, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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New filings reveal the Capitol attack was much more organized and pre-planned than was known

January 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

The more the media and law enforcement officials discuss the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol Building, the more disturbing the details become. Journalists Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein address the events of Jan. 6 in an article published by Politico this week, reporting that according to federal investigators, evidence is suggesting that some of the insurrectionists were making detailed and complex plans in advance of the attack on the Capitol Building.

Cheney and Gerstein explain, “A new affidavit filed Tuesday by the FBI described preparations by the right-wing Proud Boys to storm the Capitol, including using earpieces and walkie-talkies to direct movements throughout the building and a discussion about wearing black to dupe people into blaming Antifa for any trouble.”

And according to the Politico reporters, a “separate criminal filing released Wednesday afternoon…. described leaders among the rioters issuing marching orders to more effectively fight police.”

An affidavit from a deputy U.S. marshal, they note, reads, “Unidentified rioters are heard instructing the front line of rioters to make a ‘shield wall’ to prevent law enforcement from controlling rioters with oleoresin capsicum spray.”

Cheney and Gerstein quote Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti as saying of the Jan. 6 attack, “Mob is not the right term, because there’s a level of organization here that bears noting. The rioters are swapping in people here who are fresh. They’re passing weaponry to the front of the scrum to use against officers.”

According to Cheney and Gerstein, “The new court filings were the latest indications that the Jan. 6 riots included cells of organized, militarized insurrectionists, beyond the rabble of disorganized Trump supporters who joined the fray. That evidence includes the conspiracy case filed this week against three so-called Oath Keepers, members of an Ohio-based chapter of the loosely connected paramilitary group, who face charges of seeking to injure police officers, obstruct Congress and damage federal property.”d paramilitary group, who face charges of seeking to injure police officers, obstruct Congress and damage federal property.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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Stunning video shows the contrasts between Sean Spicer and Biden’s new press secretary

January 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When Jen Psaki, the new White House press secretary under President Joe Biden, addressed reporters on Wednesday, she had a much different tone from those who held that position under former President Donald Trump. And a short video vividly illustrates the contrasts between Psaki and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump’s White House press secretaries were known for being hostile and combative with members of the media — first Spicer, then Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then Stephanie Grisham, and most recently, Kayleigh McEnany. The former president often described the press as “the enemy of the people,” and all of them acted like they shared that point of view.

The Spicer/Psaki video compares clips of Spicer from 2017 with clips of Psaki addressing reporters after Biden had been sworn in as president. In the video, Spicer angrily barks, “Some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting” — while a diplomatic Psaki (who served as a State Department spokesperson under President Barack Obama from 2013-2015) advises reporters, “There will be times when we see things differently in this room.”

Spicer demands, “That’s what you guys should be writing and covering,” while Psaki notes the importance of “bringing truth and transparency back to the (White House) Briefing Room.” And while Spicer ends a press conference by barking, with obvious hostility, “I will see you on Monday,” Psaki has a much friendlier tone when she wraps up by telling reporters, “Let’s do this again tomorrow.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Shirley Chisholm: Facts About Her Trailblazing Career

January 21, 2021 in History

By Nadra Kareem Nittle

She may be best known for her 1972 run for president, but Shirley Chisholm broke barriers and influenced change throughout her life.

Shirley Chisholm is widely known for her history-making turn in 1972 when she became the first African American from a major political party to run for president and the first Democratic woman of any race to do so. But Chisholm’s presidential bid was far from Chisholm’s only accomplishment throughout her 80-year life.

Born Shirley Anita St. Hill to a Guyanese American father and a Barbadian American mother in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, Chisholm excelled first in school and then in her political career.

Chisholm Came From a Low-Income NYC Neighborhood

At a young age, Chisholm demonstrated that she had an aptitude for academics and activism alike. “She came from one of the poorest communities in New York City,” says Julie Gallagher, associate professor of history and American studies at Penn State Brandywine and author of Black Women and Politics in New York City. “Her parents struggled in the economic crisis, and they faced discrimination, but she had incredible intellect, and that was recognized.”

Chisholm spent part of her childhood in Barbados with her grandmother and then attended the prestigious Girls’ High School in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Chisholm went on to Brooklyn College, where she received awards for her skills as a debater, joined the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Harriet Tubman Society. While a student, Chisholm advocated for an African American history curriculum and for more women to be student government leaders, among other causes.

Rep. Shirley Chisholm, dedicates a playground named for her at Willoughby Houses, in Brooklyn, New York, 1971.

She Earned a Masters in Elementary Education

Chisholm graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946 and earned her master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University’s Teachers College five years later. Her studies and work experience in preschools later helped her advocate for early childhood education and working mothers. In 1954, Chisholm became director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center, and later she consulted for the New York City Bureau of Child Welfare.

She Campaigned for Brooklyn’s First Black Judge

Chisholm kicked off her political career in 1953 when she campaigned for Lewis Flagg Jr. to become Brooklyn’s first Black judge, which led to her involvement in the Belford-Stuyvesant Political League, a group that fought for economic empowerment and civil …read more

Source: HISTORY