Saturday, September 12, 2020

Last Call For Trump Goes Viral, Con't

The Trump regime is now demanding the right to openly rewrite CDC COVID-19 reports in order to help keep Trump in power, because this is what fascist regimes do.

The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.
In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump's optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation.

CDC officials have fought back against the most sweeping changes, but have increasingly agreed to allow the political officials to review the reports and, in a few cases, compromised on the wording, according to three people familiar with the exchanges. The communications aides’ efforts to change the language in the CDC’s reports have been constant across the summer and continued as recently as Friday afternoon.

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports are authored by career scientists and serve as the main vehicle for the agency to inform doctors, researchers and the general public about how Covid-19 is spreading and who is at risk. Such reports have historically been published with little fanfare and no political interference, said several longtime health department officials, and have been viewed as a cornerstone of the nation's public health work for decades.

But since Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background, was installed in April as the health department's new spokesperson, there have been substantial efforts to align the reports with Trump's statements, including the president's claims that fears about the outbreak are overstated, or stop the reports altogether.

Caputo and his team have attempted to add caveats to the CDC's findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior, according to the individuals familiar with the situation and emails reviewed by POLITICO.

Caputo's team also has tried to halt the release of some CDC reports, including delaying a report that addressed how doctors were prescribing hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug favored by Trump as a coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The report, which was held for about a month after Caputo’s team raised questions about its authors’ political leanings, was finally published last week. It said that "the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks."

In one clash, an aide to Caputo berated CDC scientists for attempting to use the reports to "hurt the President" in an Aug. 8 email sent to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other officials that was widely circulated inside the department and obtained by POLITICO.

"CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration," appointee Paul Alexander wrote, calling on Redfield to modify two already published reports that Alexander claimed wrongly inflated the risks of coronavirus to children and undermined Trump's push to reopen schools. "CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening . . . Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear."

This has been going on for months now.

Understand that our entire executive branch, the federal agencies under its control, all exist now with the priority to keep Donald Trump in power. It's not the only job for all these agencies, but it is the top priority. Trump has successfully suborned the entire federal apparatus to serve his interests, and the people running these agencies and Cabinet departments are there to make sure that happens.

It's horrific. The American public is secondary, if not tertiary, to the goals of Trump and the money he's making for his friends and allies.

We've got to get rid of him before more Americans die.

It's About Suppression, Con't

 I did warn everyone that the Florida state constitutional amendment battle to restore voting rights to felons would end badly for Black Floridians, and Friday's 11th Circuit ruling has just restored the Poll Tax for felons.

In a significant reversal, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled on Friday that a Florida law requiring people with serious criminal convictions to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote is constitutional.

The decision overturned a ruling by a lower court in May that found the law discriminated against the majority of felons, many of whom are indigent, by imposing an unlawful “pay-to-vote system.”

The ruling, if upheld, will put new hurdles in place for people convicted of crimes who are seeking to vote, after Florida’s voters had amended the state’s Constitution in 2018 to end the disenfranchisement of those convicted of felonies, except for murder and sexual offenses. And with Florida a perennially close state in presidential elections, the decision could help shape the outcome this year.

The appeals court sided with the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, and found that the felons who sued had failed to prove the law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It reversed the prior ruling by the United States District Court in Tallahassee.

“If a State may decide that those who commit serious crimes are presumptively unfit for the franchise,” the 11th Circuit ruled, “it may also conclude that those who have completed their sentences are the best candidates for re-enfranchisement.”

At issue was a Florida law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Mr. DeSantis last year that required those convicted of felonies to settle their financial obligations to court before having their voting eligibility restored.

The law was passed after an overwhelming majority of Florida voters in 2018 approved Amendment 4, a landmark measure that automatically restored voting rights for people who have completed their sentences for felonies other than murder and sex crimes.

Lawyers for the DeSantis administration argued at trial that voters knew that felons would first have to pay their outstanding debts before becoming eligible to vote, a notion civil rights groups dismissed, countering that the state had no centralized system to let people know how much they might owe.

With Florida elections frequently decided by tiny margins, the restoration of felons’ voting rights was seen as a way to expand the electorate in the nation’s biggest presidential battleground state. An expert for the American Civil Liberties Union and the other civil rights groups testified at trial that more than 774,000 felons in the state owe legal financial obligations. Most criminal defendants are indigent when they are arrested.

“This ruling runs counter to the foundational principle that Americans do not have to pay to vote,” said Julie Ebenstein, a senior staff attorney with the A.C.L.U.’s Voting Rights Project. “The gravity of this decision cannot be overstated. It is an affront to the spirit of democracy.”

Again, the real issue here is that the vast majority of felons who are too poor to pay their court fines are Black or Latino, and Florida Republicans are completely okay with restoring voting rights to rich, white-collar felons who can pay while leaving non-white felons disenfranchised permanently.

The state doesn't even have a system to track exactly how much felons owe, but if they owe even a dollar, they can't vote. Effectively, the burden is placed on the felon to get their rights back even after serving their time. It's a poll tax, period.

But Trump of course packed the 11th Circuit over the last four years and now it's paying off.  Republicans will continue to rule Florida for the foreseeable future.

Trump's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Black community leaders who approached Trump in order to get help for Black America have not only found that Trump kept none of his promises and used every Black person he could get close to as a photo op, but that Trump is actively eliminating what Barack Obama did to help Black America, one checklist point at a time.

On Martin Luther King’s Birthday in January 2017, Donald J. Trump, then the president-elect, welcomed a group of civil rights leaders, led by Dr. King’s eldest son, into his office in Trump Tower.

After a tour of Mr. Trump’s celebrity curio collection (Shaquille O’Neal’s sneakers, size 22, were a highlight), the visitors presented him with a proposal intended to prevent state voter identification laws from disenfranchising people of color.

The delegation had low expectations. Mr. Trump had championed the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in America and, in their view, played to racial fears during the 2016 campaign. He quickly dashed even those modest hopes. Low turnout among Black voters, Mr. Trump declared, had helped him defeat Hillary Clinton.

“Many people didn’t go out — many Blacks didn’t go out — to vote for Hillary because they liked me. That was almost as good as getting their vote,” Mr. Trump said, lowering his voice to say the word “Blacks,” on a recording provided by a meeting participant and confirmed as authentic by three others. (A White House spokesman did not dispute the veracity of the recording.)

Mr. Trump promised he would seriously consider their proposal. It went nowhere.

“I will be better to the African-American people than anybody else in this room,” he declared just before heading down the elevator to appear before the cameras with his guests, according to the recording, which was shared with several news organizations last month.

To Mr. Trump, this was little more than a photo op: Two former aides recalled that he wanted to be seen with a group of Black leaders to rebut an assertion made by Representative John Lewis, the late civil rights paragon, who at the time had said he did not “see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

As the 2020 campaign hits the homestretch, Mr. Trump has been claiming that he is the best president for Black Americans since Abraham Lincoln and papering over his history of racist remarks by having Black supporters at the Republican convention back his boast that he “is the least racist person in the world.”

In fact, Mr. Trump has hired very few Black officials to positions of authority in the White House and for his re-election effort. And his campaign has stoked racial divisions to an extent not seen since George Wallace’s run in 1968. He has tried to block or hamper efforts to expand ballot access. He has said Black people were “too stupid” to vote for him, according to his estranged former attorney, Michael Cohen.

When asked about Mr. Cohen’s charge, a White House spokesman emailed a statement by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calling Mr. Cohen, “a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress.”

And as the 2017 meeting illustrates, many of Mr. Trump’s interactions with Black leaders have followed a similar pattern: He has turned opportunities for reconciliation, or even to debate policy differences, into empty-calorie encounters in front of the cameras, according to interviews with more than 30 Black officials, civil rights leaders, and former and current administration officials.

Trump campaign officials told reporters last week that they were working hard to slightly exceed their performance with Black voters in 2016 when they won about 8 percent of their vote. The president has also tried to mollify white moderates who might be turned off by his racial rhetoric.

The result is a jarring, split-screen approach: The president talks up his friendships with Black Americans (often famous ones like Kanye West) while running a campaign whose objective is to frighten white suburban voters into thinking a Biden presidency will bring problems from inner-city America to their front lawns.

What Trump wants is worship, adoration, and fear. Those he cannot control, he destroys. He asked us what we had to lose by supporting him. Obviously, the answer is everything.

When we told America this, we were dismissed as hysterical, hyperbolic, and crazy. The system wouldn't allow anyone as racist as "The Trump in our heads" to become President.

The system has obviously failed.  We have one chance left to correct it.
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