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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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White House blocks Fauci from testifying before House panel, committee spokesman says

White House blocks Fauci from testifying before House panel, committee spokesman says
Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post Published 2:24 pm PDT, Friday, May 1, 2020

WASHINGTON - The White House is blocking Anthony Fauci from testifying before a House committee investigating the coronavirus outbreak and response, the panel's spokesman said Friday.

Evan Hollander, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the panel had sought Fauci's testimony for a hearing next week but that Trump administration officials denied the request. The committee was told by an administration official that the denial came from the White House.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 05:52 PM (2 replies)

Trump woos older Americans after tossing them aside as collateral damage in his reelection


Trump woos older Americans after tossing them aside as collateral damage in his reelection
Kerry Eleveld
Daily Kos Staff
Friday May 01, 2020 · 2:16 PM EDT

Donald Trump declared May 2020 "Older Americans Month" as his campaign works to blunt an erosion in support among the demographic that's integral to his reelection. “Our country could not be anything near what it is without our incredible seniors,” Trump said Thursday at a White House event.

But older Americans can be forgiven if they're not super excited by the transactional rhetoric of a man who very clearly considers them collateral damage in his reelection.
Trump and other Republicans have eagerly prioritized saving the economy over slowing the spread of the virus, which has proven particularly lethal to older people.

Trump's renewed focus on the must-get voting bloc comes as his campaign team grows increasingly worried about his polling with the demographic and the fact that Trump's presumed rival, Joe Biden, has shown particular strength with the group.

Buttressing the trends in recent Civiqs polling that showed the group's sagging support for Trump, the Wall Street Journal notes that Trump has trailed Biden among 65-plus voters in all four of its polls this year, sometimes by double digits. That stands out in particular because older voters have favored Republicans in elections for the past couple decades. In Florida, for instance, which Trump won by 17 points in 2016, Trump trailed Biden by 10 points in the latest Quinnipiac poll in mid-April. Senate Republican aides are reportedly so concerned they told Trump's campaign that they would never prevail in their own races if Trump's standing among the demographic didn't improve.

But Trump doesn't just have a Biden problem—he's got a Trump problem. Trump's campaign recently tested some Democratic ads on the issue but ultimately found that Trump's slide with older voters was directly related to his piss-poor showings at the White House coronavirus briefings. It's almost as if older voters remember how a real commander in chief is supposed to act in the midst of a national emergency.

The Journal notes that Trump's widely reported blowup at his campaign manager Brad Parscale last week was the direct result of Parscale and others relaying the data about his disastrous briefing performances.

Old voters, a critically at-risk population with very few other distractions, have been paying a great deal of attention to those briefings, according to the campaign. And many, apparently, don't like what they've seen.

“I quit watching. I truly can’t stand it,” Judy Hoffman, a 72-year-old Ohio retiree who had considered supporting Trump until the pandemic emerged, told the Journal. “I quit feeling like I was gaining any information. I started listening to podcasts.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 05:33 PM (8 replies)

"The Workers Are Being Sacrificed"...Meatpacker JBS Kept People on Crowded Factory Floors

“The Workers Are Being Sacrificed”: As Cases Mounted, Meatpacker JBS Kept People on Crowded Factory Floors
With coronavirus outbreaks at two-thirds of the company’s beef processing plants, employees are asking, “Why didn’t they help protect us?”
Esther Honig and Ted Genoways3 hours ago

On her phone, Crystal Rodriguez keeps a photo of her father hooked up to a ventilator. Nurses at the hospital sent her the image after he’d spent close to a month in the intensive care unit at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, battling severe complications from COVID-19. At 58, he was unable to speak or visit with family. Rodriguez is convinced that her father was exposed to the coronavirus at work on the meatpacking line at JBS, a Brazilian-owned multinational that brings in $50 billion annually as the world’s largest meat processor. “They have so much money and so much knowledge of everything,” Rodriguez says. “Why didn’t they help protect us?”

A 33-year-old single mother of four, Rodriguez grew up in Greeley, Colorado, home to JBS’s American headquarters and a massive plant that employs 6,000 workers. Rodriguez has worked there, on and off, alongside her father since she was 18. In the photo on her company ID, she has thick black hair and a wide smile, but her happy expression belies the reality at work. She says JBS is like a bad ex-boyfriend who you keep trying to leave, “but you still go back for some reason.”


By mid-March, Rodriguez says she started noticing co-workers missing from the line. The parking lot seemed emptier than usual. According to data from the county health department, COVID-19 had already begun spreading among workers at the plant. Yet even as Colorado schools were ordered to close and the country declared a national emergency, the production line at JBS continued to run as usual.

On March 20, Rodriguez showed up for her shift at 5:45 a.m. and later that day shared lunch with her dad. As she left that afternoon, her mom called to say her dad had come home sick and gone to urgent care with a high temperature. Doctors said his symptoms were consistent with COVID-19 and advised him and the rest of the family to self-quarantine. Rodriguez says she called her supervisor to report that she’d likely been exposed. “They said, ‘But you’re not symptomatic, so you should come to work.’” If she wanted to take two weeks off to quarantine, Rodriguez says, she was told she would lose her job and would have to reapply after 90 days. “No one is forced to come to work and no one is punished for being absent for health reasons,” a JBS spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “If anyone experienced something different, that is troubling and not consistent with our culture or our policies.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 05:26 PM (3 replies)

How Trump Gutted Obama's Pandemic-Preparedness Systems

How Trump Gutted Obama’s Pandemic-Preparedness Systems
Former officials: Trump’s reshuffling of positions and departments, focus on business solutions, downgrading of science, left the country dangerously unprepared for an unprecedented pandemic.
By Abigail Tracy
May 1, 2020

When the first reported cases of Ebola in Guinea came to light in March 2014, it set off a mad scramble inside the Obama White House to track and contain the spread of the virus, which killed around 50% of the people it infected. Though not nearly as contagious as the current coronavirus, an epidemic, or even a pandemic, seemed possible if the disease weren’t confined to its West African redoubts. The Obama White House had clear protocols and chains of command for these kinds of threats. “The way to stop the forest fire is to isolate the embers,” Beth Cameron, a former civil servant who ran the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, told me. Cameron and her colleagues quickly drew up a memo to Susan Rice, the national-security adviser, and Lisa Monaco, the homeland-security adviser, outlining what was known about the outbreak, setting off a chain of action that went up through the Oval Office, then spread through the government.

In the summer of 2018, on John Bolton’s watch, the team Cameron once ran was one of three directorates merged into one amid an overhaul and streamlining of Donald Trump’s National Security Council. And the position Monaco previously held, homeland-security adviser, was downgraded, stripped of its authority to convene the cabinet.

Obama’s team never faced a crisis as serious as the novel coronavirus, a truly unprecedented challenge. But officials who worked on past crises and experts on pandemic response believe that Trump’s dismissal—and in some aspects, wholesale discarding—of the Obama administration’s preparedness structures and principles, and the current administration’s ideas about government—that states could and should take take responsibility, that business could be more effective than government at solving problems at this scale—have left them dangerously unprepared.

“What the administration lacked in February, and still lacks today is articulating an overall strategy for managing this crisis,” a former administration official told me. “There’s a framework in place, we understand what authorities and roles and responsibilities everybody across government has at their disposal to be able to address an emergency. But when you walk through crisis management at a presidential level, the job of the president, first and foremost, is to develop and articulate the end state that we are trying to get to.”

Trump has yet to do this. “President Trump has, throughout this, seemed a little schizophrenic about his role,” Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development who ran USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance in the Obama administration, told me. “On the one hand, he clearly wants all the credit for it when things go right. On the other hand, he has furiously attempted to avoid having to take ownership for the success of the effort…he wants the credit without the accountability.”

The biggest difference between Obama’s approach and Trump has to do with science. “Traditionally, we have had a situation where the response is always scientifically, technically proven,” says a former government official. “Of course there are political considerations. But the options that are presented are fundamentally sound from a scientific perspective.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 05:11 PM (2 replies)

For Some Reluctant Trump Voters, Coronavirus Was The Last Straw

For Some Reluctant Trump Voters, Coronavirus Was The Last Straw
By Charlotte Alter and Tessa Berenson
April 30, 2020 3:54 PM EDT

Heidi and Dennis Hodges were proud to vote for President Donald Trump in 2016. “I liked his tough stance. I liked that he wasn’t a politician,” says Dennis, who runs a window-tinting company in Erie, Penn. “I supported him for three and a half years,” says Heidi, who manages the office of an auto service shop.

Then came the coronavirus crisis. For Dennis, the last straw was seeing Trump downplay the seriousness of COVID-19, even as troubling reports about the disease emerged from China. “Before the pandemic, Trump would have gotten my vote again,” he says. “Business was booming, the economy was good, it looked like everything was turned around.”

For Heidi, the stakes were personal: In March, her uncle had to visit the ER three times before he could get tested for COVID-19, she says. By the time he was finally admitted to the hospital on March 23, he was so sick he had to be put in a medically induced coma. He was on a ventilator for 28 days before his condition improved, she says. Trump “is sitting there touting that nobody has an issue with getting a test,” says Heidi. “And that’s not true.”

One of the defining questions of the 2020 election is how many Trump voters feel in November like Heidi and Dennis Hodges do now. Over the past four years, Trump has developed a Teflon mystique: no matter what he says or does, nothing seems to stick to him. Predicting that the latest outrage will finally sever his bond with supporters has been a mug’s game. And even as the coronavirus crisis escalated in March and April, there have been few signs that this is changing: 93% of self-described Republicans said during the first half of April that they approved of Trump’s performance, according to Gallup—up two points from a month prior.

Yet there is also little question that the pandemic has transformed the election. Two months ago, Trump was an incumbent president riding a strong economy and a massive cash advantage; today, he looks like an underdog in November. The RealClearPolitics polling average has former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leading Trump 48.3% to 42% nationally. Trump’s prospects aren’t any brighter right now when broken down by states that were key to his 2016 victory. According to Real Clear Politics polling averages, Biden leads Trump by 6.7 points in Pennsylvania, 5.5 in Michigan, and 2.7 points in Wisconsin. Biden is also leading Trump narrowly in Florida and Arizona.

“If you look at all the swing states, virtually all of them, he’s underwater,” says Douglas Schoen, a former pollster for President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “This election is a referendum on Trump,” Schoen continues. “And so far from what we see over the last month, month and a half, he’s losing that referendum.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 01:54 PM (8 replies)

Queen + Adam Lambert - 'You Are The Champions'


Queen + Adam Lambert - 'You Are The Champions' (New Lockdown version! Recorded on mobile phones!)
Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 11:33 AM (3 replies)

The White Privilege to Terrorize


The White Privilege to Terrorize
May 1, 2020 / John Pavlovitz

As a white man watching the Michigan protests of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, all I could think was:

Black people don’t get to do this.
Muslims don’t get to do this.
Latinos don’t get to do this.
People who don’t look like this don’t get to do this.

They don’t get to swarm American capitol buildings in tactical gear with high-powered weapons, screaming in close proximity to police officers.
They don’t get to dress up like Call of Duty cosplayers and attempt to physically intimidate politicians into bending to their wills.
They don’t get to get to stop traffic in city streets decked out like they work at the Death Star and brazenly wield semi-automatic rifles.
They don’t get to terrorize decent people and walk away.

Only white people get to do this.

This violence is a singular privilege afforded to caucasian men in America.


This is MAGA America in its dawning renaissance of outward racism, showing us what is at stake as we approach another election. We aren’t just choosing a president or party to steward us through the coming years, we’re making a statement on what we will and will not tolerate as a people.

What we witnessed in Michigan was an act of terrorism, by the very definition of the word. We have seen many such acts this week, and if November allows this malevolence another four years, they will seem tame. The self-appointed soldiers in the army of the lord will grow more brazen and become more violent in their holy war to make America whiter—so decent white people need to resist them in the streets, on social media, and at the polls.

I fully suspect people of color will oppose this presidency in large numbers, because they see the disparity.

What I hope and pray, is that more white people, especially those who claim to be Christian, will also stand to reject the supremacy and racism that yields such willful homegrown terrorism; that we will use the unearned currency of our privilege to declare this violence un-American and inhuman and unacceptable.

White terrorists can no longer have a friend in the White House—not if we really want to make America great.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 10:33 AM (30 replies)

Trump urges Michigan's Whitmer to 'make a deal' with those protesting stay-at-home order

How I detest him. Make a deal??

Trump urges Michigan's Whitmer to 'make a deal' with those protesting stay-at-home order
By Morgan Chalfant - 05/01/20 09:47 AM EDT

President Trump on Friday urged Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to negotiate and “make a deal” with those protesting her stay-at-home order in the state.

“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”

Donald J. Trump


The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.
8:42 AM - May 1, 2020

Whitmer extended the stay-at-home order in her state on Thursday, after hundreds of protesters, some of them armed, demonstrated outside the state Capitol. The Republican-led legislature, meanwhile, debated inside and ultimately declined to extend the state’s emergency declaration and voted to bring forth a lawsuit challenging Whitmer’s power.

Whitmer’s new executive actions, issued later Thursday, extend business closures and declare a state of emergency until May 28.

“COVID-19 is an enemy that has taken the lives of more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam War,” Whitmer said in a statement. “While some members of the legislature might believe this crisis is over, common sense and all of the scientific data tells us we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“By refusing to extend the emergency and disaster declaration, Republican lawmakers are putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk. I’m not going to let that happen,” she continued.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 1, 2020, 10:23 AM (18 replies)

Club Rules

Club Rules
May 2020
When the commander in chief departs the White House, he's typically welcomed into a close-knit brotherhood of former presidents. In an exclusive excerpt from her new book, Team of Five, KATE ANDERSEN BROWER reveals why Donald Trump will be left out of the world's most elite fraternity

IT IS A BRILLIANTLY sunny day in the spring of 2019 when I sit down across from President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, ready to discuss how he imagines a particular aspect of his postpresidential life—that of his relationship with his fellow former presidents. Because one overlooked casualty of Trump's norm-defying presidential tenure is the way he has upended the unspoken rules among living former presidents, who have traditionally welcomed one another enthusiastically, regardless of party, into the world's most exclusive club.

In the club, which has its own set of expectations and its own unique set of personalities, power is never completely relinquished—the four living former presidents will always be called Mr. President, and that is how they want it. During the Trump era from January 2017 to November 2018, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama were all members of the so-called Presidents Club, until the elder Bush's death. Despite their different political trajectories, all have lived their postpresidential years fully understanding what is expected of them. Some are more engaged than others, but there is a precedent they all adhere to—with the exception of Carter, who has paid for his disobedience with occasional suspensions from the club. At times throughout history, other former presidents have shirked these rules, but doing so has come at a steep price—their all-important legacies are forever tarnished.

By the time I meet Trump in the Oval Office, I have already spent two years interviewing top aides, close friends, and family members of the former presidents, and traveled to Plains, Georgia, to sit down with the Carters. We are nearly a year away from the early, uncertain days of the novelcoronavirus pandemic, when Trump will tell a CNBC reporter, "We have it totally under control.... It's going to be just fine."

Former presidents used to help each other in times of crisis. Trump has made that impossible. He has not spoken with Obama or Clinton since his inauguration more than three years ago (aside from a brief hello and goodbye to Obama during George H.W. Bush's funeral in December 2018). In fact, the only substantive conversation he and Obama have had was during the customary visit Trump made to the Oval Office two days after he won the 2016 election. He has been criticizing him ever since. "I didn't like the job that he and Biden did," Trump said at a Fox News Town Hall in March. "I didn't like the position they put us in." Seeking to justify his administration's bungled response to the novel-coronavirus outbreak in America, he attacked Obama, tweeting that his handling of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu was "a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem..." Contrast that with John F. Kennedy, who called on all three of his living predecessors to ask for their help during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A year and a half earlier, after the Bay of Pigs disaster, Kennedy had reached out to the man he'd just defeated, Richard Nixon, and to his Republican predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He knew he could not afford to be too proud to ask for help. " No one knows how rough this j ob is until after he has been in it a few months," Kennedy confessed to Eisenhower.

Ronald Reagan sent Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Carter to Anwar Sadat's 1981 Cairo funeral during a sensitive global moment that could have precipitated more violence. And then there's the way the former presidents supported George W. Bush after 9/11, and how George H.W. Bush and Clinton traveled the world together, seeking help after the tsunami in Asia, and in their leadership roles raising money after Hurricane Katrina. They became near-constant companions, doing interviews together and even traveling with George W. as part of the American delegation to Pope John Paul 11's 2005 funeral in Rome. "Come on," Bush senior implored Clinton, "it will be better with you along." Nicknamed "the A-team" in the press, they became like father and son. Time made them Partners of the Year in its 2005 Person of the Year issue. After seeing how powerful the Clinton-Bush team was, President Obama dispatched George W. Bush and Clinton to Haiti to raise awareness and funds after the devastating 2010 earthquake. This kind of teamwork and camaraderie now seems unthinkable and almost quaint.

Former presidents typically don't initiate calls to the sitting president to offer their help because it could come across as meddling. But two people close to George W. Bush say that Bush is open to a call from Trump, even though there is no love lost between the two men. They haven't spoken at any length since two phone calls during the confirmation of controversial Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who had worked in the Bush White House. One former top Tmmp official who knows both men well said that if Trump were to call on Bush for help during this pandemic, Bush would "swallow hard, and he would help however he can for the good of the nation. That's the kind of person he is." But Trump's doing that is nearly inconceivable. "His ego and his dismissal of the former presidents are all part of his mindset," this person said on the condition of anonymity. "Early on I was shocked by some of the things he said about the former presidents. It's not pretty. In my lifetime I haven't seen a president so self-centered," adding, "it is ironic that Trump doesn't hesitate to call up strongmen autocrats like Putin and Erdogan—who are not our friends—but he wouldn't call up Obama, Clinton, or even Bush during this crisis."

Given all of this, it is hard to imagine that, whenever he does leave the White House, Trump will receive a warm welcome into the club. He has accused his immediate predecessor of wiretapping his office ahead of the 2016 election and called his most recent Republican predecessor's foreign policy the worst in history. He perpetually notes that his relationships with other world leaders are better than those of former presidents. But have the years he's spent in that awe-inspiring office given him empathy for what his predecessors went through? "No," he replies flatly. Unlike most of the men who came before him, who aged prematurely and struggled with insomnia while in office, often pacing the halls of the White House in the dead of the night, overwhelmed by the gravity of the position, Trump said he has no trouble sleeping.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 06:53 PM (2 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Trump Believes That People Who Die of Coronavirus Are Losers


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Trump Believes That People Who Die of Coronavirus Are Losers


Trump has made a big show about how he refuses to wear a mask because he's been tested and doesn't have coronavirus. At the event Tuesday, in Oval Office gatherings, neither Trump nor the people there, including Drs. Birx and Fauci, wear masks. You know that he sees wearing a mask as a sign of weakness. You know that he's demanded that no one be allowed to wear masks. No one is gonna make him look like a disease-fearing pussy. He is the uber-mensch. All others cower beneath his exceedingly healthy orange glow.

Essentially, that's his attitude towards the dead. If you get sick, you are weak and you are preventing the economy from "roaring back." If you die, you're a loser because it makes him look bad. Here's what he managed to say yesterday: "We mourn — and I have to say this so strongly — we mourn every life tragically lost to the invisible enemy, and we’re heartened that the worst of the pain and suffering is going to be behind us." The worst is not "behind us." We're in the worst right now, with cases rising in some states, falling in others, and staying steady in the others. The sick and the dead are inconvenient because they prevent him from gallivanting around the country and prancing like a coked-out baboon in front of his adoring, cretinous crowds. He talked about how tragic it would be to have social distancing at his rallies of the damned: "I can’t imagine a rally where you have every fourth seat full. Every — every six seats are empty for every one that you have full. That wouldn’t look too good." Your fever and cough are keeping the president from having good-looking campaign events, you selfish fucks.

But I keep coming back to that fuckin' question. Trump admitted that he has not reached out to a single family of someone who died. He didn't take any time to ring up some widow in Alabama or Texas or Kansas, the states that he won. That's just fucked up. He can't because to do so would be to concede that the deaths mean something beyond lower approval ratings. He can't because he's incapable of exuding the kind of empathy that's necessary to come across as anything other than the popularity-driven, praise-thirsty, narcissistic monster that he is.

Instead, he pretends that 60,000 deaths are bad, but, hey, a million deaths is worse and China must be lying; he's petulantly defensive, pissed off that all these weak losers are dying and that he's supposed to pretend to care. Fuck that. Not when it's more fun to shitpost about Brian Williams or CNN.

He says the disease is going to disappear "like a miracle," except it's not. It's going to slowly peter out, the bodies stacking up, becoming to him like a wall preventing his reelection. Your death means nothing more and nothing less.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 30, 2020, 05:29 PM (7 replies)
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