Saturday, July 18, 2020

Last Call For The Legacy Of John Lewis

There's nothing I can say about the passing of Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights icon and long-time Georgia Congressman, that President Obama couldn't say better in his tribute to Lewis, who passed away Friday night at the age of 80 after receiving hospice care for stage IV cancer.

America is a constant work in progress. What gives each new generation purpose is to take up the unfinished work of the last and carry it further — to speak out for what’s right, to challenge an unjust status quo, and to imagine a better world. 
John Lewis — one of the original Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years — not only assumed that responsibility, he made it his life’s work. He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example. 
Considering his enormous impact on the history of this country, what always struck those who met John was his gentleness and humility. Born into modest means in the heart of the Jim Crow South, he understood that he was just one of a long line of heroes in the struggle for racial justice. Early on, he embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience as the means to bring about real change in this country, understanding that such tactics had the power not only to change laws, but to change hearts and minds as well. 
In so many ways, John’s life was exceptional. But he never believed that what he did was more than any citizen of this country might do. He believed that in all of us, there exists the capacity for great courage, a longing to do what’s right, a willingness to love all people, and to extend to them their God-given rights to dignity and respect. And it’s because he saw the best in all of us that he will continue, even in his passing, to serve as a beacon in that long journey towards a more perfect union. 
I first met John when I was in law school, and I told him then that he was one of my heroes. Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders. When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made. And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly. 
It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterwards, I spoke to him privately, and he could not have been prouder of their efforts — of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office. I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books. 
Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.

Rest in power, sir.  We have a lot of work in 2020 to do in order to carry on y our legacy.

But we will do it.

Good trouble is coming.

The Cover-Up Goes Viral, Con't

The Trump regime is blocking House testimony from CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other HHS and CDC health officials, saying that employees are too busy "fighting the pandemic" to bother with Democratic concerns about opening schools.

The White House is blocking US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week, just as the debate over sending children back to classrooms has flared up across the US.
White House officials informed the committee of its decision in an email, a staff member on the House panel told CNN. 
"Dr. Redfield has testified on the Hill at least four times over the last three months. We need our doctors focused on the pandemic response," a White House official said, confirming the decision to block the CDC's participation in the hearing. 
But a spokesman for the House Education and Labor Committee said the panel had requested testimony from any CDC official, not necessarily Redfield.

"We asked for anyone at CDC who could testify at the hearing. The invite was not for Dr. Redfield or no one," the official said. 
House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said the testimony from CDC officials is critical to understanding how scientists would manage the reopening of US schools. 
"It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the Committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators," the Virginia Democrat said in a statement.

The last thing Trump wants is a repeat of January, where executive branch people actually doing their job let slip that Trump is absolutely not doing his, so no CDC folks on the evening news saying "Yeah, the regime told us not to say anything about keeping 50 million schoolkids safe from a pandemic."

Depressing, but Democrats had to expect this. What they will do in response?  Pretty much nothing. SCOTUS surely won't interfere and subpoenas will be ignored or health officials will be fired.

Dems keep playing a game that has rules. Trump plays whatever he wants.

Not exactly a fair fight.

The Cover-Up Goes Viral, Con't

It didn't even take a week after the new policy to reroute COVID-19 daily data through the Trump regime rather than the directly to the CDC for the regime to start removing COVID-19 data from the CDC website completely.

Following the Trump administration’s decision to reroute coronavirus hospital data first to the administration, instead of sending it to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some data is no longer available on the website.

The information removed from the website is the hospital data that was reported to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network, according to CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

The data includes...
  • the current inpatient and intensive care unit bed occupancy
  • Health care worker staffing
  • Personal protective equipment supply status and availability
The information appeared on the National Healthcare Safety Network Covid-19 module page and the CDC’s Covid-19 data tracker.

Remember, the regime claimed that the CDC had to be removed from the reporting chain because the data wasn't getting to the people who needed it quickly enough.

The health department on Friday told hospitals to stop reporting Covid data through the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network and, as of 10 p.m. tonight, submit data only through two other systems, called HHS Protect or Teletracking. Until now, all three systems had been viable data-reporting options.

The change — which hospitals are working swiftly to try to accommodate — was weeks in the making, after White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and other officials grew frustrated with the quality of hospital data. The CDC system was viewed as a weak link in providing comprehensive, up-to-date findings; senior officials have argued it's hampered the response.

“As community spread of the virus continues, we must all improve our ability to detect disease and respond rapidly and accurately with specific interventions and therapeutics,” Birx and HHS Secretary Alex Azar wrote to governors this week, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO. 
Democrats and the CDC’s defenders argue the data change is the latest move to minimize the agency, and the news “alarmed public health experts who fear the data will be distorted for political gain,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Groups like the Infectious Diseases Society of America decried the change as a troubling development, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees HHS’ purse strings, charged that the health department “cannot be trusted” to share data. Trump “can try to intentionally hide the exploding number of cases, but the people will not be fooled,” DeLauro tweeted
But is getting CDC out of Covid data collection actually a good thing? That’s the argument inside the administration and in some corners of the health sector, which note that CDC has repeatedly struggled to provide real-time data in the heart of the coronavirus crisis, and that the HHS Protect and Teletracking systems are better alternatives that draw on private sector expertise.

HHS officials maintained that CDC would continue to have access to the data at all times, adding that agency officials agreed that its system wasn’t ready to support the evolving needs of the pandemic.

“The new faster and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response,” said HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo.

It didn't even take a single day after the new policy went into effect on Wednesday for that to be exposed as a lie. Now some of the data isn't getting through at all.

But what about leakers?  Certainly that will happen, right?

Don't count on that, either.

In the middle of a devastating pandemic and a searing economic crisis, the White House has an urgent question for its colleagues across the administration: Are you loyal enough to President Donald Trump?

The White House’s presidential personnel office is conducting one-on-one interviews with health officials and hundreds of other political appointees across federal agencies, an exercise some of the subjects have called “loyalty tests” to root out threats of leaks and other potentially subversive acts just months before the presidential election, according to interviews with 15 current and former senior administration officials.
The interviews are being arranged with officials across a wide range of departments including Health and Human Services, Defense, Treasury, Labor and Commerce and include the top tier of Trump aides: Senate-confirmed appointees. Officials are expected to detail their career goals and thoughts on current policies, said more than a dozen people across the administration with knowledge of the meetings.

White House officials have said the interviews are a necessary exercise to determine who would be willing to serve in a second term if President Donald Trump is reelected. But officials summoned for the interviews say the exercise is distracting from numerous policy priorities, like working to fight the pandemic, revitalizing the economy or overhauling regulation, and instead reflect the White House’s conviction that a “deep state” is working to undermine the president.

It’s “an exercise in ferreting out people who are perceived as not Trump enough,” said one person briefed on the meetings.

“If they’re spending time trying to hunt down leakers, that’s time they’re taking away from advancing an agenda,” said a former senior administration official who’s spoken with officials undergoing the interviews. “And that’s irresponsible.”

The regime is already conducting loyalty tests to stop leaks.  Expect more and more COVID-19 data to disappear and for a sudden "miraculous reversal" in the rise of case numbers and attributed deaths.

Again, this was all foreseeable, preventable, and still expected. The pandemic will be "over" by the election unless hospital heads are willing to tell the truth.

Luckily, there's a massive pile of evidence that America already knows the danger.

A document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force but not publicized suggests more than a dozen states should revert to more stringent protective measures, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, closing bars and gyms and asking residents to wear masks at all times.

The document, dated July 14 and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, says 18 states are in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases, meaning they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. Eleven states are in the “red zone” for test positivity, meaning more than 10 percent of diagnostic test results came back positive.

It includes county-level data and reflects the insistence of the Trump administration that states and counties should take the lead in responding to the coronavirus. The document has been shared within the federal government but does not appear to be posted publicly.

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said he thought the information and recommendations were mostly good.

“The fact that it’s not public makes no sense to me,” Jha said Thursday. “Why are we hiding this information from the American people? This should be published and updated every day.”

Because Republicans don't want to help Americans out.  Americans working for trash wages and making corporate overlords profits is all that matters.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Senate Republicans are looking to open a second front on trying to desperately create a Joe Biden scandal next week with possible subpoenas of Biden advisers from the Senate Homeland Security committee, chaired by GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

A Senate committee is eyeing subpoenas for current and former advisers to Joe Biden as part of an investigation into the former vice president’s son, an escalation of GOP scrutiny of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and his family.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), is still working to secure witness depositions voluntarily, but the negotiations have faltered in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Johnson is seeking testimony from former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a senior foreign policy adviser on Biden’s campaign; former special envoy for International Energy Amos Hochstein; and former senior State Department officials Victoria Nuland and Catherine Novelli.
The panel has also scheduled an interview with David Wade, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry. But the committee views testimony from Blinken and Hochstein in particular as critical for its forthcoming report on allegations surrounding Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

The subpoenas could be authorized as soon as Wednesday, when the committee holds its next business meeting. The current agenda does not list actions related to the Burisma investigation, though that could change.

President Donald Trump has long urged his Republican allies on Capitol Hill to target his political enemies, and issuing the subpoenas would mark a key step in the probe. The potential move also comes as the president finds himself behind in most national polls and as Republicans are in danger of losing their Senate majority.

Among the subjects Johnson wants to discuss is one that first appeared in an article by conservative opinion columnist John Solomon: a memorandum of understanding signed in 2014 between Burisma and the U.S. Agency for International Development, though it does not mention either the former vice president or his son. Solomon’s work at The Hill was previously faulted in an internal review following complaints about the credibility of his Ukrainian sources.

Austin Altenburg, a spokesman for Johnson, said the committee is “not commenting on our ongoing discussions with witnesses.” A spokesman for the Biden campaign declined to comment but has previously described the Johnson probe as “a political errand for Donald Trump” and an attempt “to resurrect a craven, previously debunked smear against Vice President Biden.”

Again, this is being done to back up Lindsey Graham's efforts on the same front out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the difference being Graham is actually in the reelection fight of his political life right now against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison in South Carolina this November.

The Senate is in session for three weeks starting Monday, which will almost certainly be dominated by COVID-19 legislation, and then is off four weeks for August recess before returning after Labor Day through October 9.  Dominating the news cycle with BIDEN SCANDAL!!!1!! hearings throughout September and early October seems to be the plan followed by whatever Justice Department hooliganism Bill Barr has cooked up leading to Election Day.

Only 15 weeks to go and the Senate is only in session for 8 of those weeks, so whatever Graham and Johnson have (which is certainly all fantasy), we'll find out soon.
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