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Journal Archives

Eric Boehlert: Press ignores bombshell -- Trump negligence cost U.S. 400,000 Covid lives


15 hours ago
Press ignores bombshell — Trump negligence cost U.S. 400,000 Covid lives
Eric Boehlert

Trump’s deliberate failure to protect the American public from the Covid-19 pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths — nearly half a million fatalities, according to a new study that's being ignored by the news media. It’s the same press corps that’s been demanding Trump receive more Covid “credit.”


Why were news consumers recently fed two weeks of Beltway news coverage about the fact Biden's first formal press conference was slightly late coming, yet there’s been almost no coverage about how Trump's deliberate neglect led to nearly half-a-million deaths? How can that chasm of coverage inequity possibly be explained or reconciled?

Is it possible the press doesn't want to accurately label Trump a stone-cold Covid killer because they're anxious for his return to the political stage? If so, it's in their interest to portray him a mainstream political player, not somebody who consciously turned his back on the country while a year-long public health crisis spun out of control.

All through the pandemic, the political press remained reluctant to address the bigger, darker questions about Trump and why an American president seemed willing to watch the country crumble and decay on his watch — why a president would wage war on his own people the way Trump did. The press preferred to explain the staggering Trump failures as him being “distracted,” or not fully engaged in the once-in-a-century crisis.

We now know the staggering toll for his neglect — 400,000 dead Americans. That's more than perished in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, combined. The press can't keep looking away from Trump's criminality.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 29, 2021, 10:13 PM (24 replies)

Biden's CDC Director: If You're Not Scared Shitless About COVID-19, You Should Be

Levin Report
Biden’s CDC Director: If You’re Not Scared Shitless About COVID-19, You Should Be
Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Monday of “impending doom.”
By Bess Levin
March 29, 2021

With more and more of the country opening up a year into the pandemic, it might seem as though life is returning to normal, and that COVID-19 will soon be in the rearview. Obviously, that would be a welcome development after 12-plus months of lockdowns and death. Yet according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is rapidly moving in the wrong direction on COVID-19 and, in her professional opinion, people should be shitting themselves in fear over what will come next if the country doesn’t get a handle on cases.

During a press briefing on Monday, Walensky told reporters: “When I first started at CDC about two months ago I made a promise to you: I would tell you the truth even if it was not the news we wanted to hear. Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen.” Warning of what she sees happening down the line based on the surge in new coronavirus cases, a visibly shaken Walensky said, “I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared. I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room, gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there. I know what it’s like when you’re the physician, when you’re the health care provider, and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of that patient in front of you. I know that feeling of nausea when you read the crisis standards of care and you wonder whether there are going to be enough ventilators and who’s going to make that choice. And I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see the extra morgue sitting outside.”
The U.S. is currently recording a weekly average of 63,239 new coronavirus cases per day, a 16% increase from a week ago, according a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, while the U.S. is seeing a 4.2% increase from last week in hospitalizations, up to a seven-day average of 4,816 coronavirus admissions as of Friday. Per CNBC:

Leading public health experts have warned since late February that infections could pick back up again amid the rise of virus variants threatening to sweep across the U.S. much like they did in Europe. One of those variants first identified in the U.K., known as B.1.1.7, has now been detected in every state except Oklahoma, according to the CDC’s most recent data. The agency is also carefully watching another variant found in New York City, known as B.1.526, which is also thought to be more transmissible compared with previous strains, Walensky said last week.

The White House’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday, however, that the troublesome virus mutations aren’t the only reason cases are on the rise. More Americans, tired of pandemic restrictions and reassured by the lifesaving vaccines, are traveling for spring break. Some state leaders are pulling back on restrictions, including mask mandates, intended to slow the virus’s spread. “Variants we take seriously and are concerned, but it is not only the variants that are doing that,” Fauci told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 29, 2021, 10:06 PM (15 replies)

The COVID-19 'It wasn't my fault' tour begins in earnest

The COVID-19 'It wasn't my fault' tour begins in earnest
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Saturday March 27, 2021 · 10:58 PM EDT

The “It wasn’t my fault” tour is in full swing.

We heard from Robert Redfield, former director of the CDC and one of Trump’s prime stooges during the COVID-19 pandemic, venturing that that if only China had been a little more forthcoming, the U.S. response under Trump would have been so, so drastically different.

Speaking Saturday to CNN, and rather than trying to justify his own abysmal performance during the worst public health crisis the country has experienced in over a century, he instead chose to repeat the discredited and debunked “lab myth:”

Without citing any evidence to back up his claim, Redfield also told Gupta he believes the pandemic originated in a lab in China that was already studying the virus, a controversial theory that the World Health Organization called "extremely unlikely" and for which there is no clear evidence.

Still, Redfield filled up the Internets up with words, and maybe, just maybe, he will be able to salvage his career, working quietly cleaning bedpans in some nondescript medical hell-hole somewhere in the American “heartland.” Which would be far more than he deserves.

But this is really, really just too much for any words:

Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator under the Trump administration, reveals her chilling conclusion in a new CNN documentary that the number of coronavirus deaths could have been "decreased substantially" if cities and states across the country had aggressively applied the lessons of the first surge toward mitigation last spring, potentially preventing the surges that followed

In other words, mistakes were made “last spring.” If some mysterious and unnamed “others” in those “cities and states” had just not been complicit in those mistakes, so many people would be alive right now!

"I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse," Birx says. "There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."

In “her mind” the number of deaths could have been “mitigated or decreased substantially.”

Well, what exactly was in her “mind,” last spring? How hard would it have been for a 64 year-old physician and diplomat, with a career fully established, well ensconced and secure in her position, to speak out against what amounted to a politically-motivated, contrived agenda that she knew full well would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans?


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 28, 2021, 01:06 PM (2 replies)

Graham blasts Biden for response to Georgia election law: He 'played the race card'

Graham blasts Biden for response to Georgia election law: He ‘played the race card’
"You know what's sick is that the president of the United States played the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way,” he said.
03/28/2021 10:49 AM EDT

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday accused President Joe Biden of playing the “race card” by slamming Republican efforts to suppress voting across the country.

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," the South Carolina Republican was asked to react to new measures being pushed by his party in states like Georgia to restrict access to voting, which Biden referred to as “sick” and “Jim Crow in the 21st century” during his first news conference Thursday.

"You know what's sick is that the president of the United States played the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way,” Graham said to Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Graham went on to disparage Democrats and a package of election and government reforms, known as H.R. 1, that passed the House earlier this month and which seeks to counter Republican efforts to stymie voting, calling the sweeping legislation “the biggest power grab in the history of our country.” It awaits action in the Senate.

“Every time a Republican does anything, we’re a racist. If you’re a white conservative, you’re a racist. If you’re a Black Republican, you’re either a prop or Uncle Tom,” Graham said. Democrats “use the racism card to advance a liberal agenda, and we’re tired of it. H.R. 1 is sick, not what they’re doing in Georgia.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 28, 2021, 11:40 AM (23 replies)

Eric Boehlert: Biden beats the press


1 day ago
Biden beats the press

Deep into a five-minute, detailed policy answer about immigration on Thursday, President Joe Biden asked reporters at the White House press conference if he was wading too deeply into the weeds. Biden wanted to know if he was giving too many details and providing too much factual information.

Talk about a seismic shift from the Trump years, when the entirety of policy discussion could be squeezed onto the back of a matchbook. Back then, reporters were also lied to nonstop at press conferences, and personally denigrated in front of the cameras. As Biden now constantly does, he flipped the script. Affable and at times folksy, Biden was his usual self, offering a common sense outlook to practical governance: "I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better. We can change the lives of so many people."

Overall, Biden delivered a strong, one-hour performance during his inaugural press conference, which must have felt like a colossal letdown for the Beltway media. Journalists had spent weeks mindlessly hyping the idea that Biden was hiding from the press and its legions of truth-seekers. The unending desire by the media to turn Biden's press conference into two-week, navel-gazing “news” story was something to behold.


Here's the reality: Trump made news popular for four years, giving outlets across the country sizeable bumps in readership and viewership as Trump remained committed to creating news all day, every day with his cascade of lies, taunts, and erratic behavior. And Beltway journalists loved it — they loved being in the middle of the tumult and being the creators of the roiling content.

That's all gone now with Biden, who has made a conscious decision to avoid the spotlight and to not needlessly interject himself into every news cycle the way narcissist Trump did. By turning the temperature way down, by refusing to manufacture news where none exists in the name of partisan warfare and general chaos, Biden is denying journalists their professional momentum.

Add to that the fact that Biden slow-walked his way to his first press conference, as compared to his predecessors who held them sooner, and that D.C. journalists hold up pressers as the pinnacle form of presidential communication, and journalists get cranky. They want White House performances. That's why they tried to turn Biden's lack of a press conference into a national news story, when it's really just inside baseball chatter. Searching for a path forward in the post-Trump world, the Beltway press is frantically trying to generate controversy where none exists.

Biden’s modest, winning press conference confirmed all that.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Mar 27, 2021, 06:22 PM (10 replies)

Al Franken Predicts Democrats Will Pass Voting Rights Bills In Response To Georgia Jim Crow 2.0


Posted on Fri, Mar 26th, 2021 by Jason Easley
Al Franken Predicts Democrats Will Pass Voting Rights Bills In Response To Georgia Jim Crow 2.0

Former Sen. Al Franken said that he has been talking to his former colleagues, and he predicts that Democrats will pass new voting rights bills in response to Georgia voter suppression.


Franken said on MSNBC:

Three things I think will happen because of this. First of all, we’re going to pass some version of S.1 and of the House bill HR. 1 and HR.4 And pre-clearance and some federal — because this is so bad and everybody knows it. And to do that, we’re going to have to do something about the filibuster. Now, first of all, we may do something where you lower the threshold to 51 on voting, like a carve-out. And that makes a lot of sense. This is so fundamental to our democracy.

And then, as you mentioned, you reform the filibuster. Joe Manchin has said he doesn’t want to get rid of the filibuster, but he’s open to reforming it. And I’ve been talking to my former colleagues about this, and I think this is possible. And Norm Ornstein and I a few years ago came up with how to do this. Basically, you have to get 60 votes to break a filibuster, you have to get 41 votes to sustain a filibuster, in this case, the Republicans, and they have to be on the floor to do that. And then they would have to do a talking filibuster, which means they would have to debate this. And believe me, I know — I do know my colleagues, they don’t want to have to be there in the middle of the night. This will get old very quick. This is viable.

Senators don’t want to be on the floor all night because Ted Cruz wants to make a point. Many of the Senators in the Republican caucus are older and they are not going to want to stick around for 24 or 48 to block legislation. The whole point is to not make the filibuster easy. If Republicans want to filibuster, they will have to put in the effort.

Every single Democrat, including Sen. Manchin, agrees with filibuster reform. What former Sen. Franken laid out is exactly what is likely to happen.

Democrats aren’t going to sit back and allow Republicans to rig elections. Georgia Republicans may have sealed the GOP’s fate with their voter suppression laws.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 09:45 PM (11 replies)

FOX News Is Going to Have a Hard Time Overcoming the OVERWHELMING Evidence in the Dominion Lawsuit

FOX News Is Going to Have a Hard Time Overcoming the OVERWHELMING Evidence in the Dominion Lawsuit
News Corpse
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Friday March 26, 2021 · 6:51 PM EDT

The bill is coming due for Fox News for having recklessly, repeatedly, and maliciously spread flagrant falsehoods to support Donald Trump's Big Lie over election fraud. Dominion Voting Systems has just announced that they are suing Fox for defamation to the tune of $1.6 billion.

The Associated Press is reporting that Dominion's case argues that "the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost faltering ratings that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election." The story goes on to note that...

"The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and other targets of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment."

This lawsuit against Fox News follows on to Dominion's previously announced suits against Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell (who is adopting the Tucker Carlson Defense), as well as Mike Lindell, the infamous MyPillow Guy. And Fox News has also been sued by Smartmatic, a voting software services company that alleges similar defamation in Fox's election reporting.

Fox News is going to have a hard time defending itself from these lawsuits. There is an abundance of evidence that supports the claims, and most of it consists of video from Fox News itself. Their program hosts and guests relentlessly made baseless charges against Dominion on the air. Media Matters has documented some of the more egregious episodes in detail (with videos and transcripts). Here are some the featured headings:

Dominion Was Used to Rig the Election for President Joe Biden and the Company Has Done This Before
Dominion Is of Venezuelan Origin, Created at the Request of Hugo Chavez to Alter Election Results in Furtherance of an International Conspiracy
Dominion’s Scheme Was Run by a Deputy of George Soros
Kickbacks Were Paid to State Officials -- Including Those in Georgia - to Utilize Dominion Machines
Smartmatic Owns Dominion and Its Software Is Embedded in Dominion Machines
Dominion Machines Are Unreliable and Cannot Be Truly Audited

In addition to this lawsuit, Dominion's lawyers say that they are continuing to explore legal options that could include naming Fox News hosts such as Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and more. The list of defendants could even extend to include Trump. Which would only be fair. There must be consequences for knowingly disseminating slanderous lies. And that is what Fox News does every day. This lawsuit should just be the first of many more to come.

NOTE: Trump tried to peddle his Big Lie about election fraud again on Laura Ingraham's show Thursday night. But Ingraham cut him off. Ya think that had anything to do with this lawsuit?


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 09:14 PM (34 replies)

Prosecutors Are Lining Up Witnesses to Explain Donald Trump's Many Alleged Crimes to a Jury


Legal Affairs
Prosecutors Are Lining Up Witnesses to Explain Donald Trump’s Many Alleged Crimes to a Jury
Countless people may relish the opportunity to tell a jury all the ways Trump (allegedly) broke the law.
By Bess Levin
March 25, 2021

As you’ve probably heard by now, Donald Trump is in a lot of legal trouble, which is unfortunate for him given the fact that legitimate lawyers want nothing to do with him and if it weren’t for the fact that the Republican Party had already decided to let him get away with inciting a violent insurrection, he almost certainly would have been found guilty at his second impeachment trial. (In fact, one of the attorneys on his dream team suggested the Department of Justice should arrest him if they thought he committed a crime.) Currently, the ex-president is the defendant in approximately 29 lawsuits, according to The Washington Post, though likely more worrisome to him are the criminal investigations he’s at the center of, particularly the one being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. In the last several months, the D.A. has brought on the attorney who put John Gotti and other white-collar criminals behind bars, has reportedly been working to flip the Trump Organizations longtime CFO, and, most crucially, obtained Trump’s much sought-after tax returns, documents that the Queens-born real estate developer has gone to such extreme lengths to keep secret that some people have gotten the impression they contain extremely incriminating information. Now, Vance’s office has taken the next step in its criminal investigation: finding people who can explain to a jury why Trump is a possible crook.

Reuters reports that investigators are “combing through millions of pages of newly acquired records with an eye toward identifying witnesses who can bring the documents to life for a jury,” according to people familiar with the matter. Some of the individuals expected to testify are already well known and likely include the 45th president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, who has met with prosectors eight times. (In February 2019, Cohen told lawmakers that Trump regularly inflated and deflated his assets “when it served his purposes,” whether it was to reduce his tax bill or obtain loans. Last year, he said in an interview that Trump should go to prison for 360 years.) In addition, there’s Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization employee who has described himself as Trump‘s “eyes and ears” at the company and would seemingly know if his boss had committed fraud, whether of the bank, insurance, or tax variety. But according to reporters Jason Szep and Peter Eisler, “a growing universe of people, institutions, and agencies are being scrutinized” by Vance’s team.

Per Reuters:

Prosecutors are looking to gather information and testimony from bankers, bookkeepers, real estate consultants, and others close to the Trump Organization who could provide insights on its dealings, according to interviews and court filings. The process of identifying all witnesses and targets could take months. “The next phase is identifying targets” for subpoenas and testimony, said one person familiar with the case…. Vance’s investigators need insiders who can provide the narrative behind any conflicting numbers on Trump’s financial records and testify to Trump’s knowledge and intent, said former prosecutors of white-collar fraud cases. “Even in the most heavily document-dependent case, you need witnesses to tell the story,” said Reed Brodsky, a longtime white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor.

Several potential key figures in Vance’s investigation are current or former employees of outside companies—from financial and real estate consultants to legal advisers—with inside knowledge of Trump’s dealings, according to court filings and the two people familiar with the investigation. Some performed crucial roles for many years, such as Mazars accountant Donald Bender. His signature is on the tax returns of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was dissolved in 2018 after a probe by the New York attorney general found that the organization misused charitable funds. Trump was ordered to pay more than $2 million in damages.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 05:00 PM (1 replies)

Wyoming Tells Donald Trump Jr. to Sit Down and STFU

Swing And A Miss
Wyoming Tells Donald Trump Jr. to Sit Down and STFU
Junior’s quest to avenge his father is not going as planned.
By Bess Levin
March 26, 2021

Back in January, Representative Liz Cheney earned the ire of many a fellow Republican when she had the audacity to claim that Donald Trump had “lit the flame” of the attack on the Capitol, announced her support to impeach him, and then, days later, voted to do exactly that. Of course, nothing that Cheney said or did was wrong—Trump quite obviously incited the violent riot and he should have been impeached—but to his band of loyalists in the party, the Wyoming lawmaker’s actions were tantamount to treason. (Which is an interesting point of view, given that the guy they were defending had literally tried to overthrow the results of a federal election.) Dozens of Republican representatives tried to strip Cheney of her role as conference chair. Florida representative Matt Gaetz flew to Wyoming and, after declaring like only a mediocre white man can that he knew everything there was to know about the place having been there for one hour, urged voters to oust her from the House. Donald Trump Jr. has spent the last two months and change attacking Cheney for disrespecting his father.

Unfortunately for Junior, his quest to avenge Daddy Trump and maybe get more than one biannual hug, is not going so hot. Per CNN:

A Wyoming Senate bill to create election runoffs failed on Wednesday, despite Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign to pass it in an attempt to defeat Republican Rep. Liz Cheney in 2022. The vote was 14–15 with one lawmaker excused. The former president’s son has increasingly attacked the No. 3 House Republican since she voted to impeach his father following the deadly attack on the Capitol…. In January, Trump Jr. called into an anti-Cheney rally led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, urging Republicans to coalesce around a single candidate to challenge her. And in March, Trump Jr. publicly pressured the state senators on the committee working on the bill, tweeting their email addresses to his 6.8 million followers. “Any Republican in Wyoming who does Liz Cheney’s bidding and opposes SF145 is turning their back on my father and the entire America First movement,” Trump Jr. tweeted.

The bill would’ve forced Cheney and other candidates to receive more than 50% of the vote to win a primary, and potentially pit her against one Trump-backed opponent in a runoff primary election…. But despite Trump Jr.’s efforts, a Wyoming state Senate committee amended the bill so it wouldn’t take effect until 2023, as some legislators pushed to give county clerks enough time to adapt.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 04:35 PM (3 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Republicans Need to Feel Way More Heat for Their Opposition to New Gun Laws


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Republicans Need to Feel Way More Heat for Their Opposition to New Gun Laws


In Florida, a February 2020 poll found that 86% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes 96% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans. 72% of voters said they "strongly support" the idea, with majorities in both parties agreeing with that sentiment. Yet, even in the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, skeevy Republican Senator Marco Rubio has never supported universal background checks, completely ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of his constituents.

In Indiana, an April 2019 poll found that 90% of voters in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes over 80% of Republicans and over 90% of Democrats. Interestingly, it also includes 88% of gun owners and 73% of NRA members. But Republican Todd Young, one of that shitty state's shitty senators, has an A+ rating from the NRA for, among other reasons, opposing universal background checks. Young has occasionally made noise about supporting some kind of "strengthening" of background checks, but he's never followed through because of course he won't.

In Utah, a September 2019 poll found that 88% of people in that state supported universal background checks for all gun purchases. That includes around 80% of Republicans and nearly 100% of Democrats. And it includes 88% of people who identify as active Mormons. Batshit insane Republican Senator Mike Lee proudly opposes gun laws and thinks that people need guns to prevent the government from taking their guns or some such vaguely treasonous nonsense.

The point here is not that universal background checks would end mass shootings. It would hinder some sales, but it needs to be paired with an assault weapons ban and other measures. But that's not the point of all that information.

What should be clear by now is that universal background checks are not controversial or extreme, no matter how much the corrupt slugfuckers at the NRA screech that they are. In fact, the extremist position is opposing them. You are going against what almost every American believes and wants. Sure, you can call yourself a lone warrior for Second Amendment rights or whatever the fuck you wanna say to make yourself feel better, but, mostly, you're just a dick who's busy rubbing your nipples with gun lobby cash.

And the three dicks up there are all up for reelection in 2022. I'm under no illusion that Utah, Florida, and Indiana are gonna elect Democrats (although Florida is a little more likely and Indiana did have Evan Bayh for a couple of terms not that long ago), but Rubio, Young, and Lee need to feel some fucking pressure on this issue. Here they are, dismissing the overwhelmingly position of 9 out of 10 of their constituents. There's gotta be some pain for doing that, an ad or two calling them extremists who don't give a fuck about the voters of their state.

Because, see, if they end up having to pledge to support background check expansion, and that actually passes through the filibuster-fucked Senate, that opens the door just a little. Then we can move on to the other anti-gun laws that are also incredibly popular. Or we just fucking elect more Democrats and tell the GOP to go fuck themselves with their AR-15s. You know what the AR means now.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 26, 2021, 04:30 PM (1 replies)
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