Saturday, August 1, 2020

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

Donald Trump is now publicly screaming at Dr. Anthony Fauci, because of course the fact that 150,000 plus Americans have died, the fact that Trump is losing, and the fact that he's going to prison can't be Donald Trump's fault.

President Donald Trump publicly rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday, forcefully rejecting the nation’s top infectious disease expert's testimony on why the U.S. has experienced a renewed surge in coronavirus cases.

“Wrong!” Trump wrote in a retweet of a video where Fauci explained to a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic. “We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases,” the president added.
Fauci made the remarks during his Friday testimony on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appearing with CDC Director Robert Redfield and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, contended that the White House’s decision to leave shutdown decisions to states allowed the virus to run rampant.

“If you look at what happened in Europe when they shut down … they really did it to the tune of about 95-plus percent,” Fauci said in his testimony after panel chair Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) presented a chart contrasting Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe.

“When you actually look at what [the U.S.] did — even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty — we really functionally shut down only about 50 percent of the totality of the country.”

Tensions between Trump and Fauci have been simmering for months. The president has previously retweeted posts calling for Fauci’s firing and allies of Trump’s, including top trade adviser Peter Navarro, have publicly attacked him in a smear campaign. Both Trump and Fauci maintain relations between them are good.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has a higher amount of cases because it tests more than any country, contradicting officials in his own administration and confounding public health experts. The president also said at a rally he had as such requested a slowdown in national testing — a claim White House officials later said was a joke.

The "we test more so we have more cases" theory is actually very sinister.

Trump believes that:

  • The majority of COVID-19 tests are false positives.
  • The majority of people sick from COVID-19 are sick for other reasons.
  • The majority of the deaths from COVID-19 are from people who have high-risk factors.
  • The CDC is recording the data to hurt him.
  • The CDC data is not real and has been manufactured.
  • Proof that Trump is the target is that the virus has been contained elsewhere.
  • The virus was safely contained elsewhere because it's not lethal.
  • All of this is a huge international conspiracy to deny him a second term.
In other words, Trump's malignant narcissism will ensure that the American people will never be allowed to take the steps needed in order to stop the virus, and that 30-40% of the population will openly refuse anyway, again ensuring that the virus can't be eradicated here, much less contained.

Trump attacking Fauci is all part of this.  Trump always needs an enemy to blame.


The Kids Go Viral, Con't

Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be fired, preferably out of a naval 12-inch gun.

As schools and universities plan for the new academic year, and administrators grapple with complex questions about how to keep young people safe, a new report about a coronavirus outbreak at a sleepaway camp in Georgia provides fresh reasons for concern.

The camp implemented several precautionary measures against the virus, but stopped short of requiring campers to wear masks. The virus blazed through the community of about 600 campers and counselors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday.

The staff and counselors gathered at the overnight camp in late June. Within a week of the camp orientation, a teenage counselor developed chills and went home.

The camp, which the C.D.C. did not name, started sending campers home the next day, and shut down a few days later. By then, 76 percent of the 344 campers and staffers whose test results were available to C.D.C. researchers had been infected with the virus — nearly half the camp.

The study is notable because few outbreaks in schools or child care settings have been described to date, said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“The study affirms that group settings can lead to large outbreaks, even when they are primarily attended by children,” she said.
“The fact that so many children at this camp were infected after just a few days together underscores the importance of mitigation measures in schools that do reopen for in person learning,” Dr. Rivers added. 

Now multiply this by a thousand in all 50 states and you'll have a pretty good idea how badly the next month is going to go at America's schools.

One of the first school districts in the country to reopen its doors during the coronavirus pandemic did not even make it a day before being forced to grapple with the issue facing every system actively trying to get students into classrooms: What happens when someone comes to school infected?

Just hours into the first day of classes on Thursday, a call from the county health department notified Greenfield Central Junior High School in Indiana that a student who had walked the halls and sat in various classrooms had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Administrators began an emergency protocol, isolating the student and ordering everyone who had come into close contact with the person, including other students, to quarantine for 14 days. It is unclear whether the student infected anyone else.

“We knew it was a when, not if,” said Harold E. Olin, superintendent of the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, but were “very shocked it was on Day 1.”

To avoid the same scenario, hundreds of districts across the country that were once planning to reopen their classrooms, many on a part-time basis, have reversed course in recent weeks as infections have spiked in many states.

Those that do still reopen are having to prepare for the near-certain likelihood of quarantines and abrupt shutdowns when students and staff members test positive.

Of the nation’s 25 largest school districts, all but six have announced they will start remotely, although some in places like Florida and Texas are hoping to open classrooms after a few weeks if infection rates go down, over strong objections from teachers’ unions.
More than 80 percent of California residents live in counties where test positivity rates and hospitalizations are too high for school buildings to open under state rules issued last month. And schools in Alexandria, Va., said on Friday that they would teach remotely, tipping the entire Washington-Baltimore metro area, with more than one million children, into virtual learning for the fall.

In March, when schools across America abruptly shuttered, it seemed unimaginable that educators and students would not return to school come fall, as they have in many other parts of the world. Now, with the virus continuing to rage, tens of millions of students will start the year remotely, and it has become increasingly clear that only a small percentage of children are likely to see the inside of a school building before the year ends.

“There’s no good answer,” Mark Henry, superintendent of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District near Houston, told trustees at a recent special meeting in which they voted to postpone the district’s hybrid reopening until September. “If there was a good answer, if there were an easy answer,” he said, “we would lay it out for you and everybody would be happy.”

Anywhere that schools do reopen — outside of a portion of the Northeast where the virus is largely under control — is likely to see positive test results quickly, as in Indiana.

We refuse as a country to take the steps needed to arrest the spread of the virus, and we can't until Trump is gone.

The virus is everywhere now.  

The coronavirus is spreading at dangerous levels across much of the United States, and public health experts are demanding a dramatic reset in the national response, one that recognizes that the crisis is intensifying and that current piecemeal strategies aren’t working.

This is a new phase of the pandemic, one no longer built around local or regional clusters and hot spots. It comes at an unnerving moment in which the economy suffered its worst collapse since the Great Depression, schools are rapidly canceling plans for in-person instruction and Congress has failed to pass a new emergency relief package. President Trump continues to promote fringe science, the daily death toll keeps climbing and the human cost of the virus in America has just passed 150,000 lives.

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidemic. It’s time to reset,” declared a report released last week by Johns Hopkins University.

Another report from the Association of American Medical Colleges offered a similarly blunt message: “If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could be well into the multiple hundreds of thousands

 The reset will never happen if Donald Trump remains in power.

And the casualties will be shocking.

Ukraine In The Membrane Two: Going Brazil Nuts

The Trump regime continues to be very, very bad at crime, because it basically no longer matters if, say, the US Ambassador to Brazil gets caught red-handed in a quid pro quo with the Bolsonaro regime.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Friday they were “extremely alarmed” by assertions that the American ambassador in Brazil had signaled to Brazilian officials they could help get President Trump re-elected by changing their trade policies. 
In a letter sent Friday afternoon, Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel demanded that the ambassador, Todd Chapman, produce “any and all documents referring or related to any discussions” he has held with Brazilian officials in recent weeks about their nation’s tariffs on ethanol, an important agricultural export for Iowa, a potential swing state in the American presidential election. 
The committee’s letter was sent in response to reports in the Brazilian news media this week saying that Mr. Chapman, a career diplomat, made it clear to Brazilian officials they could bolster Mr. Trump’s electoral chances in Iowa if Brazil lifted its ethanol tariffs. 
Eliminating tariffs would give the Trump administration a welcome trade victory to present to struggling ethanol producers in Iowa, where the president is in a close race with his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The House committee said it was opening an inquiry into the matter. 
The State Department said Friday afternoon in an emailed statement that “allegations suggesting that Ambassador Chapman has asked Brazilians to support a specific U.S. candidate are false.” 
The statement added: “The United States has long been focused on reducing tariff barriers and will continue do so.”

The O Globo newspaper published a story on Thursday saying Mr. Chapman had underscored “the importance to the Brazilian government of keeping Donald Trump” in office. Mr. Bolsonaro, a far-right leader, has made closer alignment with the Trump administration his top foreign policy priority. 
A competing newspaper, Estadão, published an article Friday saying its reporters independently confirmed that the ambassador framed his argument against tariffs in partisan terms. The article said the Brazilian officials who met with Mr. Chapman rejected the appeal, declining to be drawn into the American presidential battle. 
Neither article named its sources. But Alceu Moreira, a Brazilian congressman who heads the agricultural caucus, told The New York Times in an interview that Mr. Chapman had made repeated references to the electoral calendar during a recent meeting the two had about ethanol. 
He said that Mr. Chapman did not explicitly urge him to help the Trump campaign or bring up the contest in Iowa — but that the American ambassador did tie the ethanol issue to the election.

So Ambassador Chapman suggests Bolsonaro lifts ethanol tariffs and Trump gets to claim he's helping Iowa farmers, and of course our ambassador to Brazil is such an undiplomatic lunkhead that his brilliant idea explodes in the Brazilian press.

This regime can't help itself from offering quid pro quo deals to foreign leaders to help Trump. The whole point of doing this is not to get caught but t this point it's clear Trump could go on national TV and say he wants foreign help and he'd get it.

Oh wait.  He's actually done that.  Several times.

Tales Of The Trump Depression, Con't

Here in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear's moratorium on evictions is being challenged in the state Supreme Court by landlords' associations. if Beshear loses, hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians could be on the streets by the end of the year.

About one in four Kentucky adults live in a household that missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or who aren't sure they can make next month’s payment on time, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey
The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel makes a more dire prediction, estimating that 44.3% of Kentucky renter households are at risk of eviction and the state could see 149,000 eviction filings in the next four months. 
From 2017 through 2019, Kentucky saw 127,522 total eviction filings. 
During his media briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said he believes the number of at-risk Kentuckians is much lower than previously thought, saying most who were struggling have reached payment plans with their landlords. 
And while he suspended evictions for nonpayment in May, the outcome of a federal lawsuit that challenges that order and a recent decision by the state Supreme Court could allow for most eviction cases to resume in full just as the state's coronavirus cases are on the rise again. 
Landlords have said some renters are taking advantage of them and not working with them to find solutions and that missed rent payments are impacting maintenance, payroll and other expenses. 
A mediation session for the lawsuit was scheduled for Thursday morning. The Supreme Court is part of that discussion, Beshear said. 
"I know that there have been some possible outcomes that have gone back and forth, trying to find that right area where no one who is unable to pay because of COVID is evicted," Beshear said. "But at the same time those that can, can't use it as a reason to simply not pay." 
During his briefing on Thursday afternoon, Beshear said the last update he received on the mediation session was that it did not look like there would be a resolution. 
"If there is not a resolution then ... we'll move forward and we will defend our order," he said.

He added that he believes the Supreme Court's decision would allow for eviction cases for nonpayment to be filed — although any trials could not start until Oct. 1 — but his order would still prevent people from actually being pushed out of their homes.

I can't imagine that the Kentucky Supreme Court would evict hundreds of thousands of people into a pandemic and depression, but if they decide it, there's not much that will stop things from happening very quickly.  It's be a cataclysm of course to have, I don't know, something like ten percent of the state's population rendered homeless heading into this winter, but here we are.

And Mitch and the Senate GOP's top priority is protecting businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits.  That's all that matters to them.  Millions of homeless Americans?

Well, they won't be able to vote against Trump if they don't have an address, will they?
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