Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Black newborn babies in the United States are more likely to survive childbirth if they are cared for by Black doctors, but three times more likely to die when looked after by White doctors, a study has found. 
The mortality rate of Black newborns shrunk by between 39% and 58% when Black physicians took charge of the birth, according to the research, which laid bare how shocking racial disparities in human health can affect even the first hours of a person's life. 
By contrast, the mortality rate for White babies was largely unaffected by the doctor's race. 
The findings support previous research, which has shown that, while infant mortality rates have fallen in recent decades, Black children remain significantly more likely to die early than their White counterparts
Researchers from George Mason University analyzed data capturing 1.8 million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015 for the new study, which was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, also known as PNAS. 
When cared for by White physicians, Black newborns were about three times more likely to die in the hospital than White newborns, the researchers found. 
"Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases, and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns," the authors wrote. "The findings suggest that Black physicians outperform their White colleagues when caring for Black newborns." 
The authors did not speculate about the reasons behind the trend, but wrote: "Taken with this work, it gives warrant for hospitals and other care organizations to invest in efforts to reduce such biases and explore their connection to institutional racism." 
"Reducing racial disparities in newborn mortality will also require raising awareness among physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators about the prevalence of racial and ethnic disparities," the researchers added. 

There's a minuscule chance that it's just the state of Florida that's this bad, but frankly I'd suspect that not only is Black prenatal and postnatal care this bad nationally, it's probably far worse than just "three times more likely to die" for Black babies in other states.  I'd imagine in Mississippi or Alabama, it's ten or twenty or more.

It's that third sentence that gets me though.

"By contrast, the mortality rate for White babies was largely unaffected by the doctor's race. "

White babies are fine.

Black babies die.

Black lives still matter.

Convention Connection, Day 2

The Democrats celebrated the past, the present, and the future in day 2 of their virtual convention, with some Never Trump Republican performative theater, but then again, conventions are about performative theater, and I certainly don't have to forgive a single Republican personally if they want to vote for Biden in November.

Oh, and Bill Clinton was there. Briefly. Still, the night was about Dr. Jill Biden.

Four years ago, Clinton mesmerized Democrats in Philadelphia with his defense of “the real” Hillary Clinton versus the Republican caricature of her.

Clinton’s speech on Tuesday served as a reminder of his ability to distill complicated subjects into something someone might want to listen to – in this case, devastating statistics related to the coronavirus.

But Jill Biden’s role this year is more important. Democrats are acutely aware that Biden remains only softly defined for large swaths of the electorate, and on Tuesday, Biden sought to personalize him.

Speaking from a school in Wilmington, Delaware, Jill Biden said she “fell in love with a man and two little boys standing in the wreckage of unthinkable loss, mourning a wife and mother, a daughter and sister” after the 1972 car crash that killed Biden’s wife and daughter.

“How do you make a broken family whole?” she said. “The same way you make a nation whole, with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery, with unwavering faith. You show up for each other in big ways and small ones again and again.”

There are exceptions to the rule. Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim American Army captain who died in Iraq, was effective from the podium in 2016. But most people who are not politicians or performers have difficulty holding a room.

It’s a problem that Democrats at least since the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 have been trying to find an answer for. The coronavirus, it turned out, did the work for them.

At its darkest, the effectiveness of human testimony from afar was clear on Monday, with Kristin Urquiza’s story about her Trump-supporting father dying from the coronavirus – a “a healthy 65-year-old,” she said, whose “only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump.”

But on Tuesday, Democrats demonstrated that they could make more joyful vignettes work, as well – having Biden nominated by The New York Times security guard who told Biden “I love you” when the two met in an elevator last year. The exchange went viral, even as the newspaper did not endorse him, and Biden’s campaign delighted in the contrast between the security guard’s judgment and that of the newspaper.

“I take powerful people up on my elevator all the time,” the woman said on Tuesday. “When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me, I just head back to the lobby. But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me. That he actually cared.”

I've never questioned Biden's humanity and his empathy. He's really good at it, even more so I think than Barack Obama or even 90's Bill Clinton.  Obama is cool and funny but still nerdy as the professor you want to excel for, whereas Clinton overdoes it with the Slick Willie car salesman act at times, but Biden always came across as genuine to me, even if his policy decisions were awful.

Oh, and he's learned from his mistakes (some of them).

Dr. Jill Biden's story of her husband was phenomenal though, moving, funny, and real. She's going to go far as First Lady.

We'll see what day 3 brings.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Senate Intelligence Committee released their fifth and final counter-intelligence volume of their bipartisan report on Donald Trump's Russian collusion and finds that not only was the Mueller report right, but that it didn't go nearly far enough to describe the damning actions by Trump and his campaign.

A sprawling report released Tuesday by a Republican-controlled Senate panel that spent three years investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference laid out an extensive web of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russian government officials and other Russians, including some with ties to the country’s intelligence services.

The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, provided a bipartisan Senate imprimatur for an extraordinary set of facts: The Russian government undertook an extensive campaign to try to sabotage the 2016 American election to help Mr. Trump become president, and some members of Mr. Trump’s circle of advisers were open to the help from an American adversary.
The report drew to a close one of the highest-profile congressional inquiries in recent memory, one that the president and his allies have long tried to discredit as part of a “witch hunt” designed to undermine the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s stunning election nearly four years ago.

Like the investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who released his findings in April 2019, the Senate report did not conclude that the Trump campaign engaged in a coordinated conspiracy with the Russian government — a fact that Republicans seized on to argue that there was “no collusion.”

But the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identifies as a “Russian intelligence officer.”

The Senate report for the first time identified Mr. Kilimnik as an intelligence officer. Mr. Mueller’s report had labeled him as someone with ties to Russian intelligence.

Putin ordered the DNC hacking, and ordered an operation to help Donald Trump win. At the very least, Paul Manafort passed and received information from Russian intelligence, the report finds.

Democrats highlighted those ties in their own appendix to the report, noting that Mr. Manafort discussed campaign strategy and shared internal campaign polling data with Mr. Kilimnik, and later lied to federal investigators about his actions.

Democrats also laid out a potentially explosive detail: that investigators had uncovered information possibly tying Mr. Kilimnik to Russia’s major election interference operations conducted by the intelligence service known as the G.R.U.

“The committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the G.R.U.’s hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election,” Democrats wrote. “This is what collusion looks like.”

The assertion was a sign that even though the investigation was carried out in bipartisan fashion, and Republican and Democratic senators reached broad agreement on its most significant conclusions, a partisan divide remained on some of the most politically sensitive issues.

The Senate report said that the unusual nature of the Trump campaign — staffed by Mr. Trump’s longtime associates, friends and other businessmen with no government experience — “presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities.”

And yes, that now infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Trump's campaign and Russian nationals was every bit as shady as we suspected.

The Senate investigation found that two other people who met at Trump Tower in 2016 with senior members of the Trump campaign — including Mr. Manafort; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son — had “significant connections to Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services.”

The report said that the connections between the Russian government and one of the individuals, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, “were far more extensive and concerning than what had been publicly known.”

Since the release of Mr. Mueller’s report, Attorney General William P. Barr and numerous Republican senators have tried to discredit the special counsel’s work — dismissing the investigation into the 2016 election as “Russiagate.”

Releasing the report less than 100 days before Election Day, lawmakers hope it will refocus attention on the interference by Russia and other hostile foreign powers in the American political process, which has continued unabated.

The report is the product of one of the few congressional investigations in recent memory that retained bipartisan support throughout. Lawmakers and committee aides interviewed more than 200 witnesses and reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents, including intelligence reports, internal F.B.I. notes and correspondence among members of the Trump campaign. The committee convened blockbuster hearings in 2017 and 2018, but much of its work took place in a secure office suite out of public view.

The Senate Intel report concludes that the Russians were behind the DNC email theft, that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were given that information, and that Roger Stone told WikiLeaks to release the DNC information to blow the Access Hollywood tapes out of the news cycle, which it did in the space of hours.

Oh, but it gets worse once we get to the appendices of the document. Specifically, Appendix A notes that were a number of criminal referrals made to the Justice Department of Trump campaign officials that were of course ignored by Jeff Sessions and later Bill Barr.  We now know who these referrals indicate.

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019, passing along their suspicions that the men may have misled the committee during their testimony, an official familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The official confirmed reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, which reported on the matter last week. A criminal referral to the Justice Department means Congress believes a matter warrants investigation for potential violation of the law.

The committee detailed its concerns in a letter to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., in June 2019, the official said.

The Post reported that the letter was divided into two sections. One named those suspected of making false statements, The Post said: Bannon; Clovis, a co-chair of the Trump campaign in 2016; and Prince, a private security contractor.

A second section raised concerns about the testimony of other witnesses, including Trump Jr. and Kushner, whose statements were contradicted by Trump campaign aide Richard Gates, although it did not pointedly make a false-statements allegation, The Post reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the committee questioned whether Bannon lied about his interactions and conversations with Prince about a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and a top Russian official. Prince told special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors that he briefed Bannon on the January 2017 meeting, but Bannon said the conversation never happened. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump's son and son-in-law, a former Trump adviser, and a former Trump campaign co-chair, and the brother of the Education Secretary. They were not prosecuted by the Justice Department, nor were they even investigated as a result.

It's obstruction of justice, all the way down.

The nearly 1000-page report confirms what I've been saying for years:

Trump took Russian help to win in 2016 and then lied about it at every opportunity to the American people.


This is the report that Robert Mueller should have released last year. This is the report that should have gotten Trump impeached. Several people in the campaign should be in prison, including Trump's own son and son-in-law.

And this is the report that should cost the GOP everything in 2020 at the polls.


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