Is Bernie repeatedly voting in support of Russia, because he is expecting continued support for his efforts to disrupt the Democratic primaries or is it because he truly supports Russia against American interests? Which is it? It is just amazing how consistent Bernie is in voting, or skipping, votes in order to benefit Russia.
In 2018, Russian state media included Bernie Sanders in its line-up of Russias friends, alongside Dennis Kucinich, Dana Rohrabacher, Ron Paul, Rand Paul and Mike Flynn. Sanders made the list because in 2012 he voted against the Magnitsky Act, a piece of legislation seeking to impose sanctions for the Russian governments extrajudicial killings, torture, or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the government of the Russian Federation.
In 2017, Senator Sanders voted against legislation that imposed sanctions against North Korea, Iran and Russia. The bill was passed by Congress in response to Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, as well as its human rights violations, annexation of Crimea, and military operations in eastern Ukraine.
In 2019, Bernie Sanders was the sole senator to miss the vote on a bill that would prevent the U.S. Treasury Department from rolling back sanctions on three companies owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Senator Sanders skipped the vote in order to meet with former staff members who conveyed their dismay over the alleged mistreatment of women during his 2016 campaign.
The analysis mainly focuses on official Russian news outlets like Sputnik and RT. This does not include Russian efforts to manipulate social media, including alleged supporters or concerns trolls.
Russia is believed to be trying to boost Sanders' primary campaign while also helping President Donald Trump. New analysis from the Foreign Policy Research Institute revealed that Sanders received the most positive coverage of any candidate from Russia's Sputnik and RT news services.
Clint Watts, an FPRI fellow, told NPR Thursday that pro-Sanders Russian coverage has "really come on strong just in the last 30 to 45 days" and shows "very similar narratives that we saw in 2016 about Sanders."
The FPRI analysis took 3,897 stories and 5,082 mentions on Sputnik and RT from January 1, 2019 to March 2, 2020. It found that former Vice President Joe Biden was the most mentioned candidate (812 times), significantly ahead of Sanders (455 mentions). But 21 percent of Sanders' mentions were positive, compared to only 3 percent for Biden; seven times more positive mentions. Sixteen percent of Sanders' mentions were negative compared to 40 percent for the former vice president.
The first case of COVID-19 appeared in December 2019, though it was not identified as new virus until December 27th. On December 31st China notifies the WHO of the new disease.
China then denies that the COVID-19 is spreading or that there are new cases. On January 11, China records its first death. On January 13th, the first COVID-19 case is reported outside of China in Thailand. It is not until January 20 that China confirms human-to-human transmission of the virus, rather than the virus being transmitted from livestock.
On January 21, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the first COVID-19 case in the United States and China newspapers report on the coronavirus epidemic. On January 23, about three weeks after the discovery of the first case of COVID-19, Wuhan and three other Chinese cities are put on lockdown. So, it took about three weeks from initial discovery and denial for China to begin steps to quarantine and stop the spread of the virus.
Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.
Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.
This timeline, compiled from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post and other sources, shows that China's cover-up and the delay in serious measures to contain the virus lasted about three weeks.
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The bottom line: China is now trying to create a narrative that it's an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early actions led to the virus spreading around the globe.
So, China should be faulted for its denial of the problem for about three weeks. You would think that the Trump administration would learn from China's mistakes. It didn't. Instead, despite having a head start since the U.S. knew from the beginning that COVID-19 was a new disease, Trump doubled down on China's denials.
Again, on January 21, the U.S. confirmed its first COVID-19 case. However, rather than take aggressive steps to try to stop the spread disease internationally, or prepare the U.S. domestically, Trump simply banned travel and emulated China's early steps of denying any risk to the U.S. as seen below. Worse, there reports are that the Trump administration was reluctant to begin widespread testing for fear of increasing the number of affected U.S. citizens. Publicly, Trump repeatedly minimized the potential impact of the COVID-19 from January 22nd until March 10th when he was still insisting that COVID-19 would just "go away."
Three days later, on March 13th, after the DOW began to tank, Trump made his National Emergency Declaration, over ten weeks after the COVID-19 was reported to the WHO on December 31st and over seven weeks after the first U.S. case. To put this into further perspective, South Korea discovered its first case at about the same time as the U.S.
While Trump does his best to distract from the ineptitude and policy choices that helped lead to the current health crisis, it helpful to see the difference in approach taken by President Obama/VP Biden to Ebola while it was still raging in African in 2014 versus Trump's approach of closing the borders, ignoring the crisis, and hoping it goes away. Can you imagine if Trump was President during the original Ebola outbreak when a vaccine had yet to be developed? He would probably just close the border, call it the Africa virus, then accuse anyone for asking him to do more, as trying to impeach him again.
In 2014-15, an outbreak of Ebola hit West Africa. President Obama and VP Biden led an aggressive U.S. response on the ground in Africa, rather than simply closing the borders. The U.S. lead the development of vaccine. A new Ebola crisis has hit Africa, but Trump is taking a far more hands off approach.
CDCs response was directed simultaneously at controlling the epidemic in West Africa and strengthening preparedness for Ebola in the United States. The new MMWR Ebola special supplement primarily focuses on the agencys work during the first year and a half of the response. CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the Ebola response on July 9, 2014. On August 5, 2014, CDC elevated the EOC to a Level 1 activation, its highest level. On March 31, 2016, CDC officially deactivated the EOC for the 2014-2016 Ebola response.
The world came together in an unprecedented waynations, organizations, and individualsto respond to this horrible epidemic, said Inger Damon, M.D., Ph.D., who served as incident manager for the CDC Ebola response during its first eight months. CDC staff performed heroically and were an integral part of the U.S. all-government response, which involved many other agencies and branches of government.
By the end of the CDC 2014-2016 Ebola response on March 31, 2016, more than 3,700 CDC staff, including all 158 Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers, had participated in international or domestic response efforts. There were 2,292 total deployments to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and 3,544 total deployments overall (domestic and international) to support the response. Approximately 1,558 CDC responders have deployed to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the start of the response in July 2014 to the close of the response at the end of March 2016 including 454 responders with repeat deployments. Even after the deactivation of the CDC 2014-2016 Ebola response, CDC continues its work to better understand and combat the Ebola virus and to assist Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the aftermath of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic; currently, CDC staff remain in CDC country offices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to help support the Global Health Security Agenda.
Now, even though Trump benefits from some of the the infrastructure of President Obama's response such as the vaccine, Trump's inaction is helping a second outbreak grow unabated in Africa, so hopefully those cases don't spill over to the U.S., but at least there is a vaccine. Unfortunately, Trump took the same negligent approach to a disease for which there is no vaccine, the coronavirus, rather than committing U.S. resources to fighting the disease or developing a vaccine before it even hits U.S. shores.
Second, WHOs response is far more effective now than it was in 2014. WHO seems to have learned important lessons it has been deeply engaged on the front lines, supporting the DRC Ministry of Health, and transparently sharing data and its approach with the global public. WHO recently labeled the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a legal term that allows for a more concerted international response, including bolstering of funds needed to fight the outbreak. There have only been four PHEIC declarations in history, so such a declaration usually signals a particularly dangerous outbreak that requires a global response.
Finally, since the 2014 outbreak, two new vaccines have been developed that have been instrumental to containing the spread of the virus. The Merck vaccine has been widely deployed by WHO in an effort to halt the further spread of Ebola according to a widely used strategy known as ring vaccination, which involves vaccinating all those who potentially have had contact with an infected person and all the contacts of those people as well. The Merck vaccine has near 100 percent efficacy, having been tested in a large clinical trial (although it has not yet been licensed). The second vaccine, developed by Johnson and Johnson (J&J), is being tested among those who are not at immediate risk.
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In 2014, President Obama worked closely with Congress to allocate $6 billion in emergency aid and, just as importantly, engage the full force of the U.S. military to tackle the epidemic. Although the 2014 outbreak was much larger, the Trump Administrations current response is inadequate for the size of the problem. While the U.S. is sending some health personnel, they are being kept far from the front lines of the outbreak. And there are mixed signals coming from the Administration. While USAID, for instance, just pledged more money to support the response to the current outbreak, the White House continues to propose budget cuts that would weaken funding for infectious diseases and global health systems.
Before he was President, Lyndon Johnson was a southern democrat who espoused moderate views. He was known as a master deal maker, and no one would have imagined that major bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Food Stamp Act of 1964, the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965; and the Social Security Amendments of 1965. Put another way, before he was President, Lyndon Johnson was hardly considered a liberal idealogue. What he knew how to do was pass legislation as a former Democratic Senate Leader.
Between Biden and Sanders, Joe Biden is the most similar to Lyndon Johnson. Biden, who served 36 years in the Senate before leaving to join Obamas administration, authored 20 meaningful bills during his time in the Senate. His final two years in office, when he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were notably active: In those two years, seven Biden-authored bills were signed into law. Of course, as a Vice-President, Biden was invaluable in the passage of the ACA.
In contrast, while Bernie introduced 324 bills, about three became law. This includes a bill naming a post office in Vermont and two more while Democrats had control (one naming another Vermont post office and another increasing veterans disability compensation). Bernie has been loud and outspoken and has made a career of attacking (and alienating) Democrats. In this sense, Bernie is like George McGovern who failed miserably at uniting the Democratic party. In the weeks leading to Super Tuesday, Bernie went all-in attacking the, "Democratic establishment," which alienated many Democrats and contributed to his huge losses.
The ability to develop coalitions is also on display in terms of the ability to get former rivals to endorse them. Biden is way ahead of Bernie on this metric with Bernie Sanders not even able to get his former protege and fellow Sanders Institute founder, Tulsi Gabbard, to endorse him.
I think a common mistake folks have is that they believe that the most ideologically rigid and vocal candidate will be the most effective. This is not true. For all of his faults, Lyndon Johnson was a master at developing the relationships to pass major liberal legislation despite the fact that he was hardly seen as an ideologue prior to his Presidency.
Ironically, if Bernie Sanders really wants to pass meaningful healthcare reform, it would be far better if Joe Biden were President and not him.
NPR and Politico reported about how the Trump administration did not want to aggressive testing, because the President made clear that lower numbers on the coronavirus would be better for his reelection:
Meanwhile, Seema Verma, since being added to the team, has announced all kinds of actions that could be seen as cracking down on the problem - dispatching a team of investigators to Washington state, where there has been a major outbreak of corona virus, predominantly in local nursing homes. But I've talked to officials who say that Seema Verma, in an effort to show that she's cracking down, may actually be creating more problems by having her investigators demanding paperwork, demanding answers at a moment when these nursing home officials are just trying to provide basic patient care to people who have been infected by coronavirus.
However, by delaying testing, Trump not only has put millions of people in jeopardy, but now the U.S. has to impose broad mass quarantines due to the lack of accurate information, which will put the country on the path to a recession. For example, given easy testing access in South Korea, which was hit by the disease at about the same time at Italy, only a few thousand are quarantined and 67 people died. However, in Italy, millions are locked down and more than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus.
At this time, Trump has put the U.S. on the path to being just 10 days behind Italy in terms trajectory all because he did not want to see his numbers rise. Heck, Trump has even admitted on TV that his desire to keep numbers artificially low has driven his decision making on the coronavirus:
We know that Biden should start preparing to campaign against Trump in the General Election. So, being the longtime, loyal Democrat that Bernie is, it turns out that Saturday's debate is just the culmination of a collaborative effort by Bernie and Biden to prepare Biden for the general election.
You see, Bernie has been working long and hard, decades in fact, to engage in a bit of cosplay to prepare Biden for someone like Trump. This is why Bernie has done the following in order to properly prepare Biden:
1. Act like a person who has pushed racist, right wing talking points scapegoating immigrants and calling efforts at immigration reform "open borders" or "amnesty" such as in the following appearance on Lou Dobbs:
Bernie's appearance on anti-amnesty special with Lou Dobbs will really help Biden hone his skill in blowing up right wing talking points scapegoating immigrants for unemployment, disease, crime, etc.
2. Act like a hypocrite who has long history of engaging in nepotism and sponsoring foundations and businesses that have financially benefited his family. This is why Bernie has denounced dark money, but has surrogates running SuperPACs like Our Revolution. Likewise, attack opponents for running private foundations, then (you guessed it), run a private foundation to advance your candidacy, the Sanders Institute, then pay your son-in-law a six figure salary even if has no experience running private foundations. This should help Biden get some practice attacking Trump for such foundations. Way to go Bernie!
3. Have a long history of criticizing the need for NATO. Bernie has denounced NATO as being a waste of money and even floated the idea of admitting Russia into NATO even though its purpose is to protect Europe from Russian aggression. This will give Biden a chance to emphasize the importance of standing by our allies in times of crisis like the current Coronavirus pandemic, rather than abandoning them and cozying up to Russia. Once again, Bernie's decades long playacting has been superb.
4. Attack the media and complain about coverage as being biased against him. This cosplay as a narcissist is uncanny. When he does not get coverage, its the Bernie Blackout! When he gets mild criticism, its corporate bias! Complain about MSNBC and CNN, then run to Fox, which will side with you in your fights with Democrats. Bravo Bernie! It almost looks like you really do want the Democrats to lose in 2020. This will help Biden deal with Trump who is complains that coverage of the Coronavirus is just an effort to set him up for impeachment. This gives Biden a chance to say, "Sorry Bernie/Trump, the world does not revolve around you."
5. Elevates himself by demonizing the Democratic party. This is why Bernie has engaged in the weird strategy of repeatedly attacking the Democratic establishment, whose foundation is black voters, even though the race is to be the Democratic nominee. Trump is always bragging about how he is an outsider standing up against the establishment. Likewise, Bernie who has been in Congress since 1991, has been pretending to be an outsider who is standing against the establishment he hopes to lead.
6. Side with Russia against U.S. on election security. Bernie was one of two people to vote against Russian sanctions for election interference. Likewise, Bernie voted against the Magnitsky Act, which was the subject of the infamous Trump tower meeting. Finally, Bernie ditched a close Senate vote designed to stop Trump from lifting Russian sanctions. This is particularly convincing bit of cosplay to channel Trump's inner Putin stooge.
7. Side with authoritarian dictators. Before SNL was doing skits with Trump and Putin, Bernie was fawning over Castro and going on honeymoons in Soviet Russia. And, unlike Trump, we have the actual tapes! Yup, Bernie was laying it a bit thick on this one.
8. Refuse to be transparent about their health. Bernie has promised comprehensive disclosure of his health following his heart attack, but never mind, here is a Trump-like letter saying he is just fine.
9. Repeatedly undermines our Democracy by claiming that elections are being rigged against him by the establishment or the deep state. For example, the claim by AOC that Bernie lost MI due to voter suppression even though turnout particularly among black voters was at record levels? Funny! AOC later let us know she was just kidding!
10. Refuse to provide details. The Wall? Mexico will pay for it! Medicare for All? No one knows how much it costs (Bernie has said several times he has no idea how much his plan costs). Even better, watch Bernie respond to questions about how to pay for his plans by raising non-sequiturs.
11. Side with gunmakers and vote against control measures like the Brady Act. This is Bernie's chance to mimic Trump by promising to overturn the gunmaker immunity that he helped pass!
So, there you have it. The debate on Saturday is the result of a decades long, forward thinking cosplay by Bernie Sanders to prepare Joe Biden to debate Trump. It is so convincing, that if you close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears, you can still hear Bernie channeling his inner Trump and yelling, angrily during the debate and attacking the Democratic establishment like a Republican.
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