You are browsing the archive for 2021 February 27.

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Texas doctor defends himself after being fired for giving away expiring COVID vaccine doses

February 27, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

A fired Texas doctor now facing charges for stealing coronavirus vaccines is speaking out and defending his decision not to allow doses of the vaccine to expire.

During an interview on CBS News, Hasan Gokal, who was previously employed as a doctor for the Harris County Public Health Department and served as the medical director overseeing the county’s COVID vaccine distribution, explained why he made the decision. Gokal noted that the COVID vaccine doses would have, subsequently, led to supply going to waste if he had not taken them.

This is a 5-million person county and we had the first 3,000 thousand doses. There was no room for throwing any of it out. Ever,” Gokal said. “When you have something so precious, life-saving, it would hurt you to throw it away.”

“At that point, I start going through my phone list, thinking of who might” qualify for the vaccine, Gokal told CBS News. He also noted that guidance provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services suggested that they “always try to find eligible people in that tier when there are leftovers vaccine doses at the end of a shift.”

According to Gokal, the public health agency’s message was quite clear: “We don’t want any doses wasted. Period,” Gokal said. At the time, Gokal managed to locate a total of nine people, all of whom were older in age or had some form of pre-existing conditions that placed them in the high-risk category. Just before the vaccines were set to expire, Gokal also administered one of the vaccines to his wife.

Despite Gokal’s arguments, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg insists he did not follow protocol and broke the rule of law. “He abused his position to place his friends and family in line in front of people who had gone through the lawful process to be there,” Ogg said in a statement. “What he did was illegal and he’ll be held accountable under the law.”

Although the charges against Gokal were dropped and the case was dismissed by a federal judge, Ogg still plans to escalate the case to a grand jury.

As of Saturday, Feb. 27, the United States has reported 29.1 million coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 523,325 victims have died of complications of coronavirus.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Politico reporter backs down after facing Twitter storm for sexist Kamala Harris post

February 27, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

A Politico reporter has expressed deep regret after facing heightened criticism on Twitter for a tweeted insult toward Vice President Kamala Harris.

According to Mediaite, after spending hours on the social network defending himself, Politico reporter Marc Caputo conceded and apologized for the insulting meme. On Friday, Feb. 26, Caputo sparked a heated debate after retweeting a meme from a now-deactivated Twitter account with a post that featured a picture of a stripper and a caption that read, “Kamala Harris on the Senate’s $15/hour minimum wage legislation.”

Caputo retweeted the post with a caption that read, “Sitting.”

Although Caputo has removed the tweet, screenshots continue to circulate on the social network. It also did not take long for Twitter users to fire back at the reporter.

According to the publication, the theme behind the meme centers on “progressive critics’ idea that VP Harris can unilaterally decide the fate of the $15 an hour minimum wage provision that will likely be stripped from the Senate version of the Covid relief package on procedural grounds.”

Despite the initial tweets firing back at Caputo’s post, he initially attempted to defend himself, the publication reports. One Twitter user named Michelle B. Young wrote, “I’m glad you think misogynoir is funny you lowlife.” In a now-deleted tweet, Caputo replied, “1) that’s not this. 2) who intentionally follows a “low life”?”

In other tweets, Caputo insisted the meme was “funny” as he fired back at critics. “It was funny,” Caputo tweeted. “But as I’ve said before: Twitter is where humor goes to die of abuse and neglect.” In another tweet, he wrote, “I RT lots of people and I even reply to people with 10 followers.”

Political consultant Julia Zebrak also tweeted, “This is incredibly disrespectful and sexist. If you can’t cover women in politics, then find a new beat.

Yet again, Caputo defended himself. “This is a reaction among many of a regular non-political person on Twitter who happens also to be a Kamala Harris fan (below) I would find it hard to call him “sexist” or his tweet …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump fumes over McCarthy again as his big night at CPAC approaches: report

February 27, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

For the first time since leaving office, former President Donald Trump will speak publicly at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and he is expected to deliver scathing remarks leveling attacks on the Republican lawmakers who did not back him amid during his second impeachment trial.

So, what lawmakers are on Trump’s attack list? According to Politico, advisors close to the former president have revealed the list changes by the day. However, there is one name that remains on the list: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The publication reports that three insiders have revealed Trump is “stewing anew” over McCarthy and “it’s become so frequent that his advisers think the House minority leader may be in for a public reprimand. That’s even after the powwow at Mar-a-Lago where McCarthy tried to patch things up after he denounced Trump for the violence on Jan. 6.”

Trump’s ire toward McCarthy reportedly centers on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a long-time Trump critic who still has the ability to publicly lambast the former president from her top-ranking post within the House chamber. According to the publication, each time Cheney speaks, Trump is reportedly reminded of McCarthy’s role in her maintaining her post despite voting in favor of the impeachment.

Each time Cheney criticizes Trump from her leadership post as the No. 3 House Republican, he’s reminded that it was McCarthy who pleaded with his conference to keep her on as chair — despite her vote to impeach Trump. The latest trigger came Wednesday, when Cheney said at a press conference that Trump should not lead the party going forward while McCarthy awkwardly stood by.

While it remains unclear which lawmakers Trump will go after, specifically, an aide close to the former president has revealed he reportedly intends to cover all the bases by refuting the Republican Party “altogether.” The aide said, Trump plans “to downplay the extent of the rift in his CPAC speech by dismissing the GOP establishment altogether,” reports the publication.

“The only divide in the Republican Party is between the grassroots and a half a dozen Beltway insiders,” Trump is reportedly expected to say. The CPAC may very well set the tone of the Republican Party’s near future.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio suggests he may be 'running for office'

February 27, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio recently suggested that he may take matters into his own hands to confront the grievances he has with lawmakers and the U.S. government.

During an interview with CNN, Tarrio expressed interest in overthrowing the current U.S. government as he revealed his interest in running for public office. “I think right now is the time to go ahead and overthrow the government by becoming the new government and running for office,” Tarrio said, according to Newsweek.

He went on to discuss the civil unrest that erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Since Tarrio was apprehended hours prior to the deadly riots, he was not present at the Capitol but members of the Proud Boys were. But despite their unlawful entrance into the federal building, Tarrio criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice as he argued that members of right-wing organizations were treated unfairly.

“They need a head to roll. They need heads on pikes,” Tarrio said. “The FBI and the DOJ [are] using the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as their go-to, to show the people that they did something.”

Tarrio’s latest remarks come just weeks after the siege on the U.S. Capitol. Shortly after the disturbing incident, members of the Proud Boys took to Telegram to boast about leaving lawmakers in “absolute terror” after the federal building was breached. However, Tarrio made it clear he is not concerned with lawmakers or how they felt amid the deadly riots.

“I’m not going to worry about people that their only worry is to be reelected, Tarrio told CNN. “I’m not gonna cry about people who don’t give a crap about their constituents. I’m not going to sympathize with them.

Tarrio added, “When they support drone-bombing children in the Middle East … [and] those people are dead and they’re just cowering because a group of misfits came into the Capitol, I’m not going to be sympathetic.”

Despite investigative reports about the Capitol siege, Tarrio claims “the Proud Boys ‘absolutely’ did not have a plan to try and overthrow the government on January 6.” He also condemned the actions of fellow Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola who was caught on camera bashing in a window with a police shield.

“I don’t think that he should have done that. I think it was completely wrong,” Tarrio said. “But the other seven individuals …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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CPAC signals a new disturbing era for the Republican Party

February 27, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

While some Republican lawmakers are fighting to return to some form of traditional political normalcy, other lawmakers and members of the political party are pushing for a new direction.

The first night of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which featured some of the most contentious Republican lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), signals the Trump era may be far from over. When Cruz took the stage, he made his perspective quite clear as he suggested that he will remain a Trump loyalist for years to come.

“There’s a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to just erase the past four years, want to go back to the world before,” Cruz said. “Let me tell ya right now: Donald J. Trump ain’t goin’ anywhere.”

Hawley expressed similar remarks. While he admitted that he is aware of the fact that he is not the most popular lawmaker, he and other conservatives like him are not going anywhere.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Hawley proclaimed as he insisted the “radical left, their corporate allies [and] the liberal media to cancel me.” He added, “I’m here today, I’m not going anywhere and I’m not backing down, not a chance!”

According to Hawley, Republicans like him are the future of the political party. “I just want to say to those people who say to us, ‘Oh, you’re the past, your moment has passed, it’s over, it’s Joe Biden‘s America now,’ we’re not the past, we’re the future, we represent the future of this country,” the junior senator said. “We’re not going to back down to the woke mob, we’re not going to back down to the cancel culture, we’re not going to be told what we can say or do.”

A new editorial published by The New York Times notes how the first night of the CPAC underscores the uncertainty of the Republican Party’s future. The publication notes that “in recent years, CPAC has evolved from a family reunion of Republican libertarians, social conservatives and a hawkish foreign policy establishment into Trump-chella.”

This year has been no exception, with speaker after speaker focusing on the pet issues of the former president. “Are your votes being distorted?” one ominous video asked, flashing photos of President Biden on the big screen. Mr. Trump plans to address the crowd on Sunday and anything he …read more

Source: ALTERNET