Monday, August 24, 2020

Orange Meltdown, Con't

FOX Business host Lou Dobbs was the functional head of the entire Department of Homeland Security, and if that surprises you in any way, understand that this is how Trump operates and has operated for years: the most qualified experts are always the people on TV who say Trump is right.

President Donald Trump told officials from the Department of Homeland Security to get their marching orders by listening to Fox Business host Lou Dobbs “every night,” former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor told Anderson Cooper on Friday.

Dobbs, an effusive supporter of Trump, was basically the “shadow chief of staff” for the department, Taylor said in the CNN interview.

“The president would call us and ... he would say, ‘Why the hell didn’t you watch Lou Dobbs last night? You need to listen to Lou. What Lou says is what I want to do,’” Taylor said.

“So if Lou Dobbs peddled a conspiracy theory on late-night television or made an erroneous claim about what should be done ... at the border ... the president wanted us to be tuning in every night,” he added.

Taylor said he didn’t have time to watch Dobbs while the 250,000-person DHS was “trying to guard against some of the most severe threats to this country.”

“We can’t be watching Lou Dobbs and taking our orders from him, but this happened on a regular basis,” Taylor said.

Taylor served in the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including as chief of staff to former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. He has blasted the Trump administration and is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president. He accused Trump in a blistering Washington Post op-ed of sacrificing national security for his personal benefit.

Taylor said earlier this week that Trump once asked if America could swap Puerto Rico for Greenland and that he frequently made disparaging comments about the Puerto Rican people.

Lou Dobbs is running DHS, Tucker Carlson runs State, Jeanine Pirro runs the DOJ, and Stuart Varney runs Treasury. The reality TV star in the Oval Office has TV pundits running the country and has for years.

No wonder then that Republicans, led by former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, are finally saying Trump needs to go.

More than two-dozen former Republican U.S. lawmakers, including former Senator Jeff Flake, endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention, in the latest rebuke of President Donald Trump by members of his own party.

The 27 former members of Congress joined a “Republicans for Biden” initiative organized by the Biden campaign to encourage Republican support for the Democrat, the Biden campaign said. They cited Trump’s “corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course” as reasons for the move, according to a Biden campaign statement.

Flake, whose opposition to Trump led the Arizona Republican to retire from the Senate in 2018, was due to speak to reporters later on Monday about his decision to endorse Biden.

The former lawmakers represent only the latest Republican group to endorse Democratic presidential nominee and oppose Trump in the Nov. 3 election, illustrating how the Republican president has alienated members of his own party.

Last week, 73 former Republican national security officials, including former chiefs of the FBI and CIA, endorsed Biden while calling Trump corrupt and unfit to serve.

The opposition groups object to Trump’s alienation of U.S. allies abroad and his leadership at home, including his response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 176,000 Americans, according to a Reuters tally, and triggered a severe economic downturn.

The Trump campaign has described the Republican groups campaigning for Biden, such as Republican Voters Against Trump and 43 Alumni for Biden - hundreds of officials who worked for George W. Bush - as “the swamp,” disaffected former officials “trying to take down the duly elected President of the United States.”

Everyone who opposes Dear Leader is a Deep State operative, you know, including all the voters I guess. We have to escape this madness or they're going to kill us all.

Trump Goes Viral, Con't

Trump's latest stunt ahead of his four-day infomercial from hell is announcing a NeW BrEAkThROuGh tREaTmeNT for the coronavirus, which apparently is news to both the entire medical science community and to the coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for blood plasma as a coronavirus treatment, the agency and President Donald Trump announced Sunday — one day Trump attacked the drug regulator for moving too slowly to back the treatment.

The agency held off on the decision last week over concerns from government scientists that evidence for the treatment's effectiveness is thin, prompting Trump to accuse the FDA of slow-walking the therapy to harm his reelection chances without offering any evidence to support his claim. It is not clear whether the FDA has received additional clinical trial data in the last week that would support the therapy's use.

An emergency authorization normally paves the way for expanded use of an experimental therapy. But FDA's decision for so-called convalescent plasma — which more than 70,000 Americans have already received — is limited because patients have largely received it outside of randomized, controlled clinical trials that could prove whether the approach is effective.

Trump in a brief Sunday evening news conference appeared to oversell the FDA's assessment, claiming the agency found plasma "safe and very effective." However, the agency said more rigorous study is needed to prove whether the treatment effective. Janet Woodcock, the head of FDA's drug division who is now working on Operation Warp Speed, an interagency effort to accelerate coronavirus treatments and vaccines, on Friday told POLITICO that plasma has not been "proven as an effective treatment."

And unlike Gilead's remdesivir, which received an emergency use authorization months ago and has shown to benefit hospitalized patients, convalescent plasma "does not yet represent a new standard of care based on the current available evidence," FDA said in a statement.

Trump announced the emergency authorization alongside his health secretary, Alex Azar, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, in a press conference one day before the start of the Republican National Convention. While Trump called it a "historic announcement," experts have said the treatment is unlikely to be a game-changer in the fight against a pathogen that's killed more than 170,000 in the United States.

Hahn, who took over as FDA chief in December, said Trump "has asked FDA to cut back red tape and try to speed medical products into the hands of providers, patients and American consumers."

Outside experts and former officials have accused FDA of caving to White House pressure during the pandemic -- most notably in its decision to authorize emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for treating Covid-19 infection despite limited evidence. The agency later pulled the authorization after randomized clinical trials found it provided no benefit, but Trump as recently as this weekend complained about the agency's reversal.

Plasma therapy involves giving the sick antibody-rich plasma extracted from the blood of coronavirus survivors. In theory those antibodies should help recipients fight off the virus. But while plasma treatment has been used safely against diseases from diphtheria to Ebola over the past 130 years, its track record on effectiveness is mixed. And it has not yet been proven to work against the coronavirus.

Scott Gottlieb, Trump's first FDA commissioner, on Sunday said that plasma is "probably beneficial" for coronavirus patients, as he also acknowledged scientists' concerns about the lack of evidence for the treatment.

"I think some people wanted to see more rigorous data to ground that decision," Gottlieb said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

So this is now what, the third? Fourth? Fifth "treatment breakthrough" announced by the FDA, none of which actually have been confirmed by the FDA or backed up by doctors in other countries for that matter. None of them are actually treatment breakthroughs, and none of them are even remotely ready for widespread use yet (remember, if remdesivir from pharma giant Gilead was working as well as thought, why not make that available for widespread use?)

At least the American media isn't taking Trump seriously or giving him the benefit of the doubt when he's clearly forcing the FDA to move up the timetable for political reasons ahead of the Republican convention this week.

The sad part is 175,000 Americans have died to this virus, and Trump is the most upset about how it's hurting his poll numbers. He doesn't care if your loved ones die to the virus or not, he just cares if he wins.

But what Trump will almost certainly do is announce an October Surprise vaccine that doesn't have rigorous testing behind it, and that will be the nightmare scenario from a public health standpoint.

The Trump administration is considering whether to bypass normal U.S. regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the U.K. for use in America ahead of the presidential election, the Financial Times reported, citing three unnamed people briefed on the plan.

One option is to issue an “emergency use authorization” in October to a vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University, based on the results from a relatively small U.K. study if it is successful, the people told the British newspaper.

A spokesman for the U.S. Health and Human Services department, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, told the Financial Times that any claim that an EUA would be issued before the election was “absolutely false.” The administration was hopeful that a vaccine would be developed by the first quarter of 2021, he said.

With Covid-19 infections still widespread in the U.S., President Donald Trump’s political future hinges on his response to the pandemic and his promise to bring forth a vaccine by Election Day on Nov. 3. On Saturday, he tweeted that employees at the FDA are attempting to sabotage his re-election by slowing down coronavirus research.

There’s no evidence that the scientists and staff of the FDA are delaying treatments or vaccines.

The FT article came shortly before Bloomberg reported that the president is set to announce that a new treatment involving blood plasma donated by people who’ve recovered from the disease has received an emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators.

Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, have told top Democrats that the administration was considering fast-tracking a vaccine, the Financial Times reported. A spokesperson for the Treasury secretary said in response that Mnuchin “did not make any comments regarding AstraZeneca” and believes any decision on vaccine candidates is up to the FDA.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told the Financial Times that it had “not discussed emergency use authorization with the U.S. government” and that it “would be premature to speculate on that possibility.” AstraZeneca’s trial of 10,000 participants may be too small to justify just an order, according to the newspaper.

Trump will have to have a "vaccine" before the election, or there is zero chance he wins. And how many of his cultists will line up to take it because Trump said so?

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Another brutal police shooting, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The victim's name is Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man shot in the back seven times by a white officer, in front of Blake's three sons who were in an SUV that Blake was entering. Three officers on the scene to break up an argument, and the officer's response was to empty this clip into Blake's back.

A man identified as Jacob Blake was shot by police during a domestic call in Kenosha on Sunday, Aug. 23. A large crowd took to the streets afterward to protest.

Kenosha County declared a state of emergency curfew from 10:15 p.m. until 7 a.m. Monday.

The shooting happened near 28th Avenue and 40th Street around 5:11 p.m., after officers were called for a “domestic incident.”

Graphic video of the shooting circulated social media. It shows Blake walking away from police and getting into an SUV. One officer is seen holding Blake’s shirt, and then seven gunshots can be heard.

According to the Kenosha Police Department, officers provided immediate aid to the man after the shooting. He was transported via Flight for Life to Froedtert in Milwaukee in serious condition.

Protests were nearly immediate, hence the curfew last night. Adam Silverman at Balloon Juice has more:

I’ve watched the video several times. As I’ve noted here several times, I’m a criminologist by training, even if not by practice anymore. I’ve taught hundreds of law enforcement officers. I’ve even taught policing to them. I’ve consulted with law enforcement, I’ve trained law enforcement (Federal, state, and local) in continuing ed/inservices, as well as in my martial arts classes, and I’ve had tactical training from some law enforcement (my quarterly weapons training is supervised by a close friend who is a SWAT sniper). While we only have 20 seconds of video, so almost no context, there is nothing in that 20 seconds that should have resulted in shooting Mr. Blake, let alone shooting him seven times in the back. There are three officers. His back is to them, and at one point he is close to pressing himself against the driver’s side front door of his mini-van. At that point the officer that had a hold of his t-shirt should have stepped forward and pressed Mr. Blake into the van with the other two officers providing cover and support. With Mr. Blake immobilized against the van, he could have then been taken into custody if he was either A) the person responsible for the domestic disturbance that they’d been called to deal with or B) someone else at the seen who had somehow interfered with their responding to the domestic disturbance call. Even if Mr. Blake had ignored their instructions – “lawful orders” – that is not a justification for this type of law enforcement response. There is no crime on the books in the US that allows for summary execution without judgement. In those 20 seconds, Mr. Blake had taken no aggressive actions towards those officers. He appears to simply be trying to get away from them and into his van. He hadn’t swung at them, kicked at them, charged at them. He certainly didn’t try to run them over as he wasn’t in the van yet.

As we wait for more news about both Mr. Blake’s condition and the context around what actually happened yesterday in Kenosha, the US is now faced with another example of how African Americans’ contacts with law enforcement, as well as those of other people of color, all too often end violently with the violence directed at the African Americans or people of color. And we’re faced with this example, and the responses it will engender, as the Republican Party begins its nominating convention. A nominating convention that was already expected to focus on unwavering, unflagging, and unconditional support for law enforcement and harsh condemnation of any criticism of law enforcement and how they actual interact with African Americans and people of color.

What has become exceedingly clear is that no one should be policed the way African Americans and people of color are policed. And by policed I do not just mean how law enforcement interacts and deals with them, but how our entire criminal justice system from law enforcement to the courts to corrections is applied. We are in serious need of reform across recruitment, vetting, hiring, initial education, continuing education, policing unions, as well as what prosecutors and judges authorize, tolerate, and do. And we certainly need to rethink how law enforcement should respond, and who within law enforcement should do the responding, to domestic disturbance and welfare check calls.

The video, which I will not link here, is being recorded from a window across the street. It clearly shows the officer shooting Blake in the back as Blake is opening the driver's side door and entering the SUV to check on his three sons in the vehicle.

The first officer makes no effort to restrain Blake as Blake passes him to go around the front of the SUV to reach to the driver's side door, the second of the three officers is standing at the left rear door of the vehicle and the third officer is behind the second at the rear corner of the SUV. The second officer draws his pistol one-handed and empties the clip into Blake's back at a distance of maybe two feet as Blake leans into the vehicle with the kids screaming in the SUV as it happens.

It is a black man being sentenced to summary execution by a white cop, only Jacob Blake at least survives the initial shooting by a miracle. I sincerly hope he lives and sues Kenosha PD into oblivion.

I'm so tired of this.  I'm so tired of my life's sole meaning being reduced to "I draw breath only because haven't been murdered by a cop yet for being a perceived threat". I am so much more than that.

But I'm also not because at any time, a police officer can decide I am a dead slab of cold nigger meat.  But for the grace of police, go millions of us. Savage beasts, subject to extermination in the name of "law enforcement". We are in America, but we are not Americans and never have been. We are not human in the eyes of police. We are just suspects, threats, things denied dignity and agency. There is an entire political party dedicated to keeping us in this social, open-air prison, to keep us as a menagerie of beasts to hunt for fucking sport, video game targets that can be butchered and splayed out for a laugh at the local cop bar and it makes me livid. I want to punch and hit and tear and I want to smash and I want to make them truly afraid so they stop, but that's exactly what they want.

An excuse to execute.

I am tired, and angry, and tired of being angry. I am tired of writing this story every few months. I am weary to my soul of seeing the absolute disdain by tens of millions of Americans who just don't give a shit if Black people are butchered. We deserve it, we are told. We should stop being thugs. We should always obey officers of the law. We shouldn't make them shoot us.

So I say this to you this morning. For the love of God, help us.

Get your families and your friends and the people you love to register to vote and help us. Trump got 57% of the white vote in 2016. In that CBS poll I referenced from yesterday when Biden is winning overall 52%-42%, Trump is getting 52% of the white vote. If white voters make up 70-71% of the electorate as they did in 2016, that would be an 8-point overall swing toward Biden from where Clinton was in 2016 and he'd walk away with an easy win.

That's it. Five percent of white Trump voters have to vote for Biden instead and it's a landslide.

It's been four hundred fucking years of this. Of only surviving because "we're one of the good ones" right up until someone decides we're not.

See this for what it is and help us.


Related Posts with Thumbnails