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Professor Pigworth

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  1. Comedy gold, right there. If only Donald's groupies didn't take him and his madcap buffoonery so seriously, they could join in the laughter.
  2. He looks like some decrepit old geezer down on his luck who has had to resort to delivering newspapers in his neighborhood. He's failed spectacularly in every other job he's ever had, so it would come as no surprise to hear that half the customers on his paper route have been complaining each week about their papers being delivered in a soggy, wet or torn condition in arbitrary places in their front gardens or on the rooftop and sometimes with the comics section missing because that's Donald's favorite part of the newspaper that he likes to keep for himself and read when he's doing his "special little duty" in the water closet.
  3. You operate in a sort of alternate reality where truth and facts are whatever you want them to be or whatever your Donald tells you they are. So, of course you believe that Donald isn't corrupt and that his scandal-ridden administration isn't oozing with corruption and there haven't been numerous instances of his corrupt appointed lackeys being under fire for corruption or being forced to resign in disgrace. I agree that there's loads and loads of corruption in Washington. But the queen of that corruption is Donald himself. It wasn't more than a month ago that you actually put up a cartoon showing Donald draining the swamp. It needs draining, sure, but Donald Trump is perhaps the very last person in the country that should be trusted with that task. One last thing. Why do you think it is that Donald doesn't like there to be full accountability for all the corporate bailouts that rich and well-connected people like him have benefited from? And why do you think he's fired so many inspectors general and prosecutors who were investigating him and his cronies for corruption and illegal activities? Trump Says He Won’t Comply with Key Transparency Measures in the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill The administration says it won’t provide documentation for audits into $500 billion in corporate bailout funds. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will not adhere to a portion of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that would authorize an inspector general to oversee how $500 billion in business loans will be spent. In a statement released early Friday evening, Trump announced that he had signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act, a relief package aimed at mitigating some of the economic fallout caused by efforts to allay the spread of Covid-19. That bill also establishes a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) within the Treasury Department to audit and investigate half a trillion dollars in loans for large businesses. In his signing statement, Trump said that this provision raises “constitutional concerns,” adding that his administration would not comply with such an official’s request for documents. “I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause,” part of Article II Section 3 of the Constitution that states a sitting president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” This seems to suggest the administration believes it is the president’s duty and not that of an inspector general to ensure the funds are distributed as the law intends. The special inspector general, as authorized within the bill, would be able to request information from government agencies and report on failures to comply with those information requests. In his signing statement, Trump essentially stated that he will not let such reports reach Congress without his approval, which many fear directly undermines the provision’s goal of maintaining transparency in how that fund is handled. The $500 billion loan program was the biggest point of contention between Democratic and Republican lawmakers throughout the relief bill’s negotiation process. Democrats called this a “slush fund” that would give Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broad authority to disburse the funds as he saw fit. The IG provision was intended as an accountability effort to alert Congress if the Trump administration was not complying with auditing measures. It was also meant to help ensure the president and his family did not directly benefit from the emergency funds through their businesses. The addition of this transparency language was what ultimately swayed some Democrat senators to vote for the bill. The bill also establishes a congressional oversight panel to examine the IG’s reports. Trump also said that he would not adhere to a second provision of the bill that would grant some congressional committee consultation for expenditures made by the State Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, and US Agency for International Development (USAID). “These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws,” Trump’s statement reads. The inspector general was put in place to make sure bailout funds helped the vulnerable The broader coronavirus relief package also guarantees direct cash payments to many adult workers, expands unemployment insurance, and provides $367 billion in loans to small businesses. But it was the inclusion of a $500 billion corporate loan program — which includes a guaranteed $50 billion for the airline industry — that proved a key sticking point in the bill’s negotiation. Earlier this week, Democrats blocked a version of the package that they said did not contain strong enough oversight over that fund. As Vox’s Emily Stewart reported, most Americans also backed some form of “guardrails” on those corporate bailout funds, such as ensuring that companies receiving bailout funds commit to not laying off workers. Last week, more than 3.3 million people filed for unemployment, shattering the previous record of about 700,000 claims in 1982. Without oversight of how the funds would be allocated, “what’s to stop an airline from using its bailout money to give its CEO a bonus instead of paying its workers?” Stewart wrote. “Or to prevent a major hotel chain from laying off workers while engaging in stock buybacks?” In addition to establishing an inspector general, the final bill passed on Friday also prohibits businesses controlled by administration officials, including the president, vice president and members of Congress, as well as their families, from receiving loans from that fund. Earlier last week, Trump declined to commit to exempting his business interests from bailout funds, telling reporters, “Let’s just see what happens.” Now, in his signing statement, Trump has made clear that he will decide what information about how the funds are being used Congress needs. This comes just months after the end of an impeachment inquiry into Trump that was sparked by another attempt by his administration to keep independent reports about its inner workings from reaching Congress. During the lead-up to what became Trump’s impeachment hearing, a whistleblower’s memo about a phone call with Ukrainian leadership should have, according to federal law, been reported to Congress by the director of national intelligence. It was not, but came to light in September nonetheless. Trump’s sharpest critics have already begun to raise the alarm about Trump’s plans to shrug off the new law’s transparency requirements. On Twitter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had earlier denounced the corporate fund, wrote, “This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt admin w/ 0 accountability.” It is clear that Covid-19 will have devastating effects on the economy. It’s “an economic tsunami,” one economist told Vox’s Ezra Klein, one that will affect businesses of all sizes and their employees. That includes the large companies that will benefit from the corporate fund. But allocating money to industries with little oversight to how it is being spent is not guaranteed to help the everyday workers, customers, and small-business owners expected to be most dramatically affected by the virus’s economic impact — it could, however, help the president and his businesses. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/28/21197995/coronavirus-stimulus-trump-inspector-general-wont-comply
  4. I've done it again, haven't I? I've managed to say something that has offended one of Donald's sensitive and delicate-natured fans who thinks the world of his dirtball. Look, I'm awfully sorry, Sack. What was it that hurt you the most? Was it the reference to Donald being corrupt? Lawless? Fake? Or something else? But aren't these some of his best attributes that make him so effective at what he does and so accomplished? I'm not exactly sure what he's actually accomplished that has not turned to shit, to be honest, but you seem to know, and he has yet to lose your confidence, if not worship. And now at last I have some insight into your mindset. You want an outsider type to shake things up, rattle some cages, annoy the establishment and anyone with liberal sensibilities, even if the person fails miserably as Donald has done. Just so long as he fits that criteria, then nothing else really matters. You speak of scumbags. Are you really so confident that Donald is not the ultimate scumbag?
  5. I dislike and distrust almost all politicians, on the left and right. This includes Obama, Biden, the Clintons, Bush, etc. To me they're all mostly shitty politicians with no shortage of flaws. And then there's Donald. He's in his own stratosphere when it comes to shittiness, corruption, ineptitude, lawlessness, fakeness, selling out the country to Putin, etc. How it is that you can't see that and why it is you're always banging on about how an equal amount of time should be spent on criticizing Obama, etc., as if they're all about equal in terms of shittiness is something I'll never understand. By the way, my cynical-vitriolic-old-fart meter ordinarily detects abnormally high concentrations of negative readings coming from your posts, but the needle hardly moved after this last post of yours. I thought, well, maybe there's a malfunction or the batteries are running low, but no; it turns out it's in perfect working order. What to make of this, I don't know. Maybe more study and analysis is needed before a working hypothesis can be formulated.
  6. This below is the kind of thing that can hopefully make all the difference: Marcel Louis-Jacques Based on what I've been told, the Bills have been one of the most proactive teams in the league in terms of keeping their players safe -- taking measure that aren't necessarily required but that players understand and agree with https://twitter.com/Marcel_LJ/status/1289613202196553728
  7. Thank you, Sack. Well, that lets Donald off the hook then. Other people in the world have also committed crimes, so that means Donald isn't so bad and is likely innocent of this specific crime. You've used this powerful defense on behalf of your Donald quite a lot, but it certainly is effective. It always leaves me reeling. You didn't say whether you thought all witnesses and alleged victims should be interviewed, including ones that might have something to say about Donald. Since you're so confident of his innocence, then presumably you should welcome the opportunity for him to clear his name, right? By the way, are you aware that over twenty-five women have accused Donald of unwanted sexual advances over the years? This includes Donald's first wife, Ivana Trump, who claimed in a 1989 divorce deposition that Donald tore out some of her hair and raped her because the plastic surgeon she recommended had botched his scalp job. (After their divorce settlement, however, she retracted the accusation, saying that it was "not rape in a criminal sense," if that makes sense to you.) Donald has said that they're all liars. I personally have difficulty in believing that all twenty-five are lying and that only Donald, who has a long history as a proven liar, is telling the truth, but maybe we see things differently. As for the 13-year-old girl that Donald is alleged to have raped, well, of course she would end up troubled or already was troubled. And as much as I'd like to put my faith in a pro-Trump tabloid, the article you put up was completely lacking in any solid evidence supporting its assertion that her claims were fabricated and that Donald was "not involved whatsoever." Isn't it far more believable that Donald did what so many men of wealth and power have done throughout history, which was to use every means at his disposal to intimidate her into dropping her accusation, which, by the way, was supported by two other witnesses, if I remember right.
  8. My hope is that Clinton, Prince Andrew, Bill Richardson, Alan Dershowitz, Maxwell and anyone else who is found guilty will face the full weight of the law. I also hope that all the relevant victims and witnesses can be persuaded to testify, including, for example, Katie Johnson, who as a 13-year-old was said to have been raped by Donald Trump and his friend Jeffrey Epstein. I look forward to you and other Donald supporters here voicing your support for this. If you cannot support this, perhaps you'll be kind enough to let us know why you should object to it.
  9. Some of the credit should also go to that nice Mr Barr, who looks like an older fatherly version of Harry Potter. He's been doing a masterful job of helping Donald pervert justice. It's like playing Monopoly and being handed a bunch of get-out-of-jail-free cards that Donald can then pass on to his criminal friends or use himself when he gets into a jam. And the good times for the corrupt president don't end there. He's also been handed a stack of go-directly-to-jail cards that he's been using against other players that Donald doesn't like.
  10. Donald J. Trump Jul 30, 2020 My friend Herman Cain, a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good, passed away this morning. Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend. I just got off... Donald J. Trump ...the phone with his amazing wife Gloria, daughter, Melanie, and son Vincent to express my deepest condolences to the entire family. @FLOTUS Melania and I loved Herman Cain, a great man. Herman, Rest In Peace! 7:42 PM · Jul 30, 2020 Donald didn't mention Cain's cause of death in his tweet of condolence. Donald fans, why do you think he didn't mention the cause of death? Kayleigh also didn't mention it in her message. Do you think it was an oversight? Kayleigh McEnany @PressSec Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit. Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith. 3:53 PM · Jul 30, 2020 Neither did GOP leader McCarthy, although he did make a reference to Cain's battle with cancer. Does it almost seem to you as though these people don't wish to draw attention to how he died? Kevin McCarthy @GOPLeader My deepest sympathy and prayers to Herman Cain’s family and his loved ones. He led an accomplished life—business titan, cancer survivor, and Republican presidential candidate. He will always be remembered for his love of country. 3:45 PM · Jul 30, 2020 Generalissimo Donald says: "That's a real nice country you've got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it."
  11. I agree that this person's death should be used as a teaching opportunity. It should be used to teach MAGA sheep that when Donald Trump and his cohorts peddle lies, misinformation and quackery for political gain instead of acting in the interests of their followers, it can and will result in the deaths of anyone foolish enough to take them seriously. E.g., the Arizona man who died after swallowing chloroquine on Donald's cosmically stupid advice as well as an unknown number of people who've died because Donald said wearing a mask was stupid and going to work with COVID-19 was a neat idea, etc. Amongst Cain's last words: "The media worked very hard to scare people out of attending the Trump campaign rally last Saturday night in Tulsa." I'm sorry he died, but that's a stupid and irresponsible thing to say. FanBack, maybe I'm being too subtle. Maybe you didn't pick up my message to you. So let me be more direct. Here's what I want to say. Before following the advice of Donald and others like him, think about what they are trying to sell you. Think about it long and hard. If Donald says to inject yourself with bleach, stare directly at the sun, swallow a bottle of chloroquine or burn your mask and enter a kissing contest, don't do it. Please don't. If you have any doubts or you hear something that leaves you confused, you're welcome to consult me, and I'll let you know if it sounds dangerous. My advice will be free. And I'm making this offer to all of Donald's other enthusiastic but impressionable young MAGA supporters here who seem to hang on Donald's every word. I say this because I care. Together, let's MYLS, which means Make You Less Stupid. Best wishes and with loving, chocolate-filled regards, PP CDC press conference on coronavirus: “I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump said. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors say, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of running for president.”
  12. "Thank you, Sackman, for the tremendous job you're doing getting out the real facts. And thank you to all the tremendous supporters here at the Range who defend my honor and integrity each day and who refuse to believe the crazy made-up stories and lies about me by the leftist crazies posting here. "As for the virus hoax, it’s going to disappear. One day -- it’s like a miracle-- it will disappear. Anyone who wants a test can get one. It's fine for people with COVID-19 to go to work, and important we reopen the schools soon. Got to reopen the schools. But the most important thing to remember is that the virus came from China. That's why I call it the kung flu or China flu or Wuhan flu, which is actually no worse than the regular flu, but the crazy left-wing liberals want you to think it's a danger and want to take away your freedom by insisting people wear a mask. I don't call Elizabeth Warren the China flu. Instead, I call her Pocahontas. Earlier this month I drank a glass of water at my rally with one hand. Did you see that? Crazy liberal never-Trumpers said that when I used two hands it was because I have early dementia. No way. That's a lie. It's fake. They're the ones with dementia but can't admit it. Did you see me walk down that ramp at West Point? The radical left said I had trouble with it, but this is FAKE NEWS. The ramp was like an ice-skating rink, and, anyway, I was wearing leather-soled shoes, which made the ramp slippery. Even then, I ran down the rest of the way. In fact, I looked very handsome. I took these little steps; then I ran down. In conclusion, we're the envy of the world when it comes to our tremendous response to the China virus which comes from China. Our response here in the US has been really tremendous-- like a 10 out of 10. We're the toast of the world. I spoke with Angela Merkel today; I spoke with Prime Minister Abe of Japan; I spoke with many of the leaders over the last four or five days. And so many of them, almost all of them — I would say all of them; not everyone would want to admit it — but they all view us as the world leader, and they’re following us. "Keep up the tremendous work, Sackman. If you do, I can all but promise you a night with Ivanka. And, if not Ivanka, then Jared."
  13. But this, Donald's latest instance of runaway corruption as he seeks to use his office to line his pocket, doesn't matter, right, because somebody somewhere else has done or possibly will do something unethical or illegal as well? The funny thing about this is that it's only like the 158th most corrupt or illegal thing Donald has tried to get away with during his kleptocratic rule. . . Trump’s Request of an Ambassador: Get the British Open for Me Woody Johnson, the N.F.L. owner, Trump donor and ambassador to Britain, was warned not to get involved in trying to move the tournament to a Trump resort in Scotland, but he raised the idea anyway — and he failed. The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, left, with President Trump and his wife, Melania, in 2018 in London.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times . LONDON — The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to three people with knowledge of the episode. The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try. A few weeks later, he raised the idea of Turnberry playing host to the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell. In a brief interview last week, Mr. Mundell said it was “inappropriate” for him to discuss his dealings with Mr. Johnson and referred to a British government statement that said Mr. Johnson “made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event.” The statement did not address whether the ambassador had broached the issue of Turnberry, which Mr. Trump bought in 2014, but none of the next four Opens are scheduled to be played there. Still, the episode left Mr. Lukens and other diplomats deeply unsettled. Mr. Lukens, who served as the acting ambassador before Mr. Johnson arrived in November 2017, emailed officials at the State Department to tell them what had happened, colleagues said. A few months later, Mr. Johnson forced out Mr. Lukens, a career diplomat who had earlier served as ambassador to Senegal, shortly before his term was to end. The White House declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s instructions to Mr. Johnson, as did the ambassador and the State Department. Although Mr. Trump, as president, is exempt from a federal conflict of interest law that makes it a criminal offense to take part in “government matters that will affect your own personal financial interest,” the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments. Experts on government ethics pointed to one potential violation of the emoluments clause that still may have been triggered by the president’s actions: The British or Scottish governments would most likely have to pay for security at the tournament, an event that would profit Mr. Trump. It was not the first time the president tried to steer business to one of his properties. Last year, the White House chose the Trump National Doral resort in Miami as the site of a Group of 7 meeting. Mr. Trump backed off after it ignited a political storm, moving the meeting to Camp David before canceling it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump also urged Vice President Mike Pence to stay at his family’s golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, last year during a visit, even though the vice president’s official business was on the other side of the country. That trip generated headlines for the golf club, but also controversy. And Mr. Trump has visited his family-owned golf courses more than 275 times since he took office, bringing reporters with him each time, ensuring that the resorts get ample news coverage. The Trump International Hotel in Washington has done a brisk trade in guests, foreign and domestic, who are in town to lobby the federal government. Turnberry itself drew attention when the Pentagon acknowledged it had been sending troops to the resort while they were on overnight layovers at the nearby Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland.Credit...Mary Turner for The New York Times . But Mr. Trump and his children have struggled for more than a decade to attract professional golf tournaments to the family’s 16 golf courses, knowing those events draw global television audiences and help drive traffic. They own most of the courses outright — as opposed to simply selling the family name, as is the case with several of their hotels and residential towers — and the courses generate about a third of the family’s revenue, with tournaments seen as a crucial way to publicize them. This has been particularly important for the two Trump resorts in Scotland and one in Ireland, which have been losing money under Mr. Trump’s ownership. Mr. Trump himself was intensely involved in promoting them before he was elected, regularly pushing golf writers and the editors of golf magazines to play with him, often after whisking them to Scotland on his private jet. The losses at the British resorts have come even after the family made costly investments to build or upgrade their courses, including $150 million at Turnberry. The most recent annual report for Turnberry shows it lost nearly $1 million, on $19 million in sales, in 2018. But the campaign to recruit tournaments has been complicated by Mr. Trump’s political ascent. Executives who run the Scottish Open, for example, said in 2017 that they would most likely not hold the tournament at the Trump family’s Aberdeen golf resort, even after direct appeals by Mr. Trump. “Politics aside, Trump would be an ideal venue — but you can’t put politics aside,” Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, which is the lead sponsor of the Scottish Open, told reporters. As ambassador, Mr. Johnson has had to navigate Mr. Trump’s up-and-down relations with British leaders. The president soured on the prime minister at the time, Theresa May, and berated her on trans-Atlantic phone calls. His relations with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a like-minded populist, have been warmer, though Mr. Johnson has sometimes steered clear of Mr. Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Britain. A prominent Republican donor, Ambassador Johnson initially supported Jeb Bush for the Republican nomination in 2016, but he later backed Mr. Trump, introducing him to other figures in the party’s money circles. Enlisting Mr. Johnson as an emissary on behalf of his golf course was another way the president was looking for help furthering his financial interests. Beyond the legal and ethical red flags, asking for such a favor from his host country would put Mr. Johnson in an untenable position as the emissary of the United States. “It is diplomatic malpractice because once you do that, you put yourself in a compromised position,” said Norman L. Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama’s special counsel for ethics and later as his ambassador to the Czech Republic. “They can always say, ‘Remember that time when you made that suggestion.’ No experienced diplomat would do that.” For Mr. Johnson, 73, London was a reward fit for the billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. Formally known as the Court of St. James’s, the assignment is the plum of the diplomatic corps — one that comes with a palatial residence, Winfield House, and entree to the highest levels of British society. Like many political appointees, Mr. Johnson had no diplomatic experience before arriving in London. Affable and well connected, he is known mainly for the nickname Woody and his ownership of the New York Jets, a perennially struggling N.F.L. franchise. His transition to leading a large embassy was bumpy. Mr. Johnson’s throwback style has been criticized as offensive. There have been complaints that he complimented the appearances of female employees during staff meetings, and after interviewing a candidate to replace Mr. Lukens as deputy chief of mission, he asked a colleague whether she was Jewish. The ambassador, colleagues said, forced out Mr. Lukens after hearing he gave a speech at a British university in which he told a positive anecdote about a visit Mr. Obama had made to Senegal in 2013, when Mr. Lukens was the envoy. At least some of those complaints were raised with the department’s Office of the Inspector General last fall, when a team of investigators began a routine review of diplomatic operations at the embassy. The findings were submitted in February, and the complaints are expected to be included, according to one of the investigators. It is not clear why the review has not been made public. Neither the State Department nor the embassy addressed the accusations, but the department said Mr. Johnson had led the embassy “honorably and professionally.” In a statement, it said, “We stand by Ambassador Johnson and look forward to him continuing to ensure our special relationship with the U.K. is strong.” Mr. Johnson, who owns the New York Jets, in 2010 at what at the time was known as New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times . As for Mr. Trump’s request for help in getting the Open, it is not clear how much sway the British government would have had even if it had responded to Mr. Johnson’s hints. The tournament is run by the R&A, a golf association based at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, which is the British counterpart to the United States Golf Association. A spokesman for the R&A, Mike Woodcock, said a committee selects the site from a pool of 10 courses in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland based on factors like the readiness of the course and public infrastructure. “We haven’t received any approaches from the British government or the Scottish government about this,” he said. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/21/world/europe/trump-british-open.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage
  14. Information is presented yet again that Donald is a highly insecure clown, and what do Donald's fans do? They attack the interviewer and they attack Biden. Why should it be so hard to admit when Donald has screwed up? How anyone could take Trump seriously and see in him anything other than a laughing stock and proven con man and grave threat to the republic, I can't understand. Donald fans, here's another chance for you to laugh at Donald. Although it's somewhat frightening and sad, since he's in a position of immense power, it's also rather funny. Go on: laugh at Donald. You won't be kicked out of your fan club if you do. If this were written about Biden, you'd laugh at him. Why is Donald to be taken so seriously? Maybe Trump Should Stop Talking About That Cognitive Test Trump is still talking about faring well on a test designed to identify cognitive deficiencies. He said the final questions were "very hard." They're not. Donald Trump and Fox News' Chris Wallace covered quite a bit of ground in their latest interview, though I'll confess I didn't expect to see another round of conversation on this story. Trump then got into a long exchange with Wallace over his recent claim that he had "aced" a cognitive test. After Trump challenged Biden to take such an exam, Wallace said he had recently taken the same exam and found it to be quite easy. "They have a picture, and it says 'what's that?' and it's an elephant," Wallace said. The president, apparently feeling a little defensive, conceded that the "first few questions are easy." He quickly added, "But I'll bet you couldn't even answer the last five questions. I'll bet you couldn't. They get very hard, the last five questions." Trump, seemingly eager to insult the Fox News host, went on to insist that Wallace "couldn't answer many of the questions." Let's pause to review how we arrived at this very odd point. As regular readers know, in early 2018, Trump had an annual physical, which according to his physician, included the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), which led his doctor to conclude that Trump has no cognitive or mental deficiencies. The trouble, of course, was that the president celebrated the results in such a way that suggested he didn't fully appreciate what the test was all about. “If you look at the test, it’s pretty hard to see how you could not score a 30 [out of 30],” a Washington Post piece explained in early 2018, adding, “Yes, Trump passed with flying colors, as any adult with normal cognitive function probably would.” We’re talking about an exam that’s used to identify evidence of dementia, mental deterioration, and neurodegenerative diseases. Those who take it may be asked, for example, to draw a clock or describe the similarities between oranges and bananas. Trump somehow convinced himself, however, that it's akin to a Mensa exam, and his ability to get a perfect score is proof of his genius. Indeed, he keeps talking about it. Two weeks ago, during a different Fox News interview, Trump boasted that doctors were “very surprised” that he “aced” the cognitive test. (He didn't explain why physicians asked him to take it or why they were surprised. The White House also wouldn't release any information, including the test results.) As the public saw yesterday, the president is not only still focusing attention on this, and not only arguing that Wallace couldn't fare as well as he did on the exam, Trump has also added a new argument: the last five questions on the test are "very hard." I don't know why he would think that. While the precise wording of different MoCA tests can vary, and the final questions are marginally more difficult than identifying an elephant, one sample test included among the final questions asked respondents to name words that begin with the letter F -- with the expectation that people could list at least 11 in a minute. Another final question asked respondents to recite a three-digit number backwards. To be sure, if the president is telling the truth about having "aced" the test, I'm glad. It's a good thing if he did well. But let’s be clear: we’re talking about being able to clear a very low bar for an adult in a position of enormous responsibility. The fact that Trump keeps pointing to this as proof of intellectual prowess is unsettling. https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/maybe-trump-should-stop-talking-about-cognitive-test-n1234379
  15. How do you deal with a serial liar who has no shame and no respect for truth and reality and who is only interested in his own welfare and not that of his fellow citizens (apart from his family and 1% chums)? Fact-check him. Fact-check him early and often. Fact-check him into the ground and back into the slimy sewage from which he came. Donald doesn't like facts. . Trump Leans Into False Virus Claims in Combative Fox News Interview The president grew agitated as he was fact-checked on polling, race relations and the coronavirus response by Chris Wallace of Fox News. President Trump on the South Lawn of the White House . WASHINGTON — An agitated President Trump offered a string of combative and often dubious assertions in an interview aired Sunday, defending his handling of the coronavirus with misleading evidence, attacking his own health experts, disputing polls showing him trailing in his re-election race and defending people who display the Confederate flag as victims of “cancel culture.” The president’s remarks, delivered in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” amounted to a contentious potpourri more commonly found on his Twitter feed and at his political rallies. The difference this time was a vigorous attempt by the host, Chris Wallace, to fact-check him, leading to several clashes between the two on matters ranging from the coronavirus response to whether Mr. Trump would accept the results of the election should he lose. The Coronavirus The president made a litany of false claims about his administration’s handling of the virus, despite evidence that key officials and public health experts advising the president made crucial missteps and played down the spread of the disease this spring. In the interview, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that the United States had “one of the lowest mortality rates in the world” from the virus. “That’s not true, sir,” Mr. Wallace said. “Do you have the numbers, please?” Mr. Trump said. “Because I heard we had the best mortality rate.” The United States has the eighth-worst fatality rate among reported coronavirus cases in the world, and the death rate per 100,000 people — 42.83 — ranks it third-worst, according to data on the countries most affected by the coronavirus compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Trump said that by increasing testing, his administration was “creating trouble for the fake news to come along and say, ‘Oh, we have more cases.’” Mr. Trump falsely claimed that the coronavirus case rate in other countries was lower than in the United States because those nations did not engage in testing. When Mr. Wallace pointed out a low case rate across the European Union, the president suggested it was possible that those countries “don’t test.” And when Mr. Wallace pointed out that the death rate in the United States was rising, Mr. Trump replied by blaming China. “Excuse me, it’s all too much, it shouldn’t be one case,” Mr. Trump said. “It came from China. They should’ve never let it escape. They should’ve never let it out. But it is what it is. Take a look at Europe, take a look at the numbers in Europe. And by the way, they’re having cases.” Mr. Trump called Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, an “alarmist” who provided faulty information in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t know that he’s a leaker,” Mr. Trump said during the interview. “He’s a little bit of an alarmist. That’s OK. A little bit of an alarmist.” Mr. Trump said that Dr. Fauci had been against his decision to close the borders to travelers from China in January. That is misleading: While Dr. Fauci initially opposed the idea on the grounds that a ban would prevent medical professionals from traveling to hard-hit areas, he supported the decision by the time it was made. Mr. Trump also said Dr. Fauci had been against Americans wearing masks. Dr. Fauci has said he does not regret urging Americans not to wear masks in the early days of the pandemic, citing a severe shortage of protective gear for medical professionals at the time. Mr. Trump said he doubted whether Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was correct in predicting that the pandemic would be worse this fall. “I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said. “And I don’t think he knows.” He said public health experts and the World Health Organization “got a lot wrong” early on, including a theory that the virus would abate as the weather warmed — one that Mr. Trump himself had promoted repeatedly. Then the president reiterated his earlier claim, unsupported by science, that the virus would suddenly cease one day. “It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right,” Mr. Trump said. “Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.” The Election Mr. Trump insulted Fox News pollsters as “among the worst” when presented with data that showed him trailing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, claiming that he had seen polls that showed him winning. “I understand you still have more than 100 days to this election, but at this point you’re losing,” Mr. Wallace told Mr. Trump after detailing a new Fox News poll that showed Mr. Biden leading the president by eight points, 49 percent to 41 percent, among registered voters. “First of all, I’m not losing,” Mr. Trump replied, “because those are fake polls. They were fake in 2016, and now they’re even more fake. The polls were much worse in 2016.” But in reality, the Fox News poll was much better for him than another major survey released Sunday. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Mr. Biden with a double-digit lead: 55 percent to 40 percent among registered voters. The numbers were part of a slate of polls showing Mr. Biden’s lead widening as the pandemic weighed on the president’s approval ratings. Mr. Trump said he was not worried about losing the election with the decision last week to replace his campaign manager, Brad Parscale. Mr. Trump called Mr. Parscale “a great digital guy” before saying that many of his 2016 campaign hands were getting more involved. He did not mention his new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, by name. When told that Mr. Biden was chosen in the Fox poll as the more mentally sound candidate, Mr. Trump disputed that finding and defended his cognitive test results to Mr. Wallace, who said he had taken the same test that the president had bragged about acing this month. Mr. Wallace pointed out that one of the questions asked to identify an elephant. “It’s all misrepresentation,” Mr. Trump said. “Because, yes, the first few questions are easy, but I’ll bet you couldn’t even answer the last five questions. I’ll bet you couldn’t. They get very hard, the last five questions.” Mr. Trump suggested that he might not accept the results of the election should he lose. Mr. Wallace, who spent the interview grilling the president — a tactic he has used in other high-profile interviews — pointed out that Mr. Trump said the same thing in 2016. “You don’t know until you see,” Mr. Trump said. “It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do.” Mr. Trump, who has voted by mail, has repeatedly warned, without evidence, that mail elections would involve robbed mailboxes, forged signatures and ballots printed by foreign countries. Race and Policing Mr. Trump again tried to attack Mr. Biden, claiming that the former vice president wanted to defund the police. The president suggested this was evidenced by his work with more progressive Democrats to create a charter pledging to work together on matters including changes to policing. “It says nothing about defunding the police,” Mr. Wallace said of that document. “Oh really? It says abolish, it says defund. Let’s go! Get me the charter, please,” Mr. Trump said, before demanding to see the document. In a promotional clip of the interview, Mr. Wallace said the president had been unable to find evidence that Mr. Biden sought to defund or abolish the police. When Mr. Wallace asked the president if he could understand why black people would be angry about their increased likelihood to be killed by the police, Mr. Trump reiterated a claim he made in another interview last week: that white people are fatally shot in high numbers, too. “I mean, many, many whites are killed,” Mr. Trump said. “I hate to say, but this is going on for decades.” Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates. Mr. Trump also refused to back down from supporting people who were against abolishing the Confederate flag, even as Mr. Wallace pointed out that they had used it in defense of slavery. The president equated the movement to pull down the flags and Confederate monuments to “cancel culture,” a term more commonly used to describe a boycott against a person, often a celebrity, who says or does something culturally offensive. “And you know, the whole thing with cancel culture, we can’t cancel our whole history,” Mr. Trump said. “We can’t forget that the North and the South fought. We have to remember that. Otherwise we’ll end up fighting again.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/19/us/politics/trump-fox-interview-coronavirus-race.html?surface=most-popular&fellback=false&req_id=625858641&algo=top_conversion&imp_id=834110585&action=click&module=Most Popular&pgtype=Homepage
  16. An obsession with owning guns is a worse disorder. Now let's see what the homicide statistics are like in other developed countries that don't have a gun disorder: As you can see, the US stands out significantly when it comes to gun deaths. There were almost 40,000 gun-related deaths in the US in 2017. Would you consider that acceptable? Do you think that it's just the price that needs to be paid for the "extra freedom" that other countries don't have? Do you think that other countries are crazy for not having the gun rights that Americans enjoy? The outright banning of guns would never fly in the US, of course, even among many liberals -- but wouldn't it be wise to tighten the laws and follow the examples of other countries in order to bring down the high death rate?
  17. The US has less than 5% of the world's population but 25% of the coronavirius cases. There are now over 142,000 deaths and almost 4,000,000 cases in the US. In the last 24 hours alone, there were 77,000 new cases. The IHME expects there to be almost a quarter of a million deaths in the US by the first of November: The United States actually had more time to prepare than most other countries as the virus first hit Asia and then Europe. Most experts now say the evidence shows that masks help to control the spread. They don't help so much when it comes to preventing you from catching it from another non-mask-wearing person, but it helps to keep the mask wearer from spreading it to others. It's been estimated that tens of thousands of lives could be saved if the wearing of masks was required by law. (Specifically, 33,000 lives by October.) Yet Donald, in his infinite wisdom as an anti-science game-show host and obscenely crass money-maker and successful lifelong fraudster, is against the wearing of masks because it interferes with the freedom of choice of people or something really very stupid like that. (You know, the typical sort of thing that should be insulting to the intelligence of Donald's fan base but is not.) Donald fans, for some reason you've been surprisingly quiet about this, but what do you think of Donald's handling of this crisis? Pretty good, right? Isn't it critical to show your continuing allegiance during a time when your support is needed more than ever, rather than, say, reflect on whether you were sold a lemon from a consummate con artist who laughs at you for being sucker enough to have ever believed in him?
  18. Poor Donald fans. Their idol's latest screw-up is of course predictably blowing up in his face. Everything --absolutely everything-- he does turns to shit in the end, leaving his most impressionable, child-like fans floundering as they search desperately for reasons to convince themselves and the world that Donald is not a POS criminal and incompetent lowlife conman on his way to destroying the country. And what are the odds that the now many hundreds of people who have condemned or exposed Donald over the years for being the fraud that he is always somehow turn out, in the minds of his cult fans, to be fat, ignorant, jealous, worthless slobs that don't know anything-- completely unlike Donald, of course, who can always be trusted. Donald, when he thinks back on all the suckers he scammed throughout his life who either did business with him or who voted for him.
  19. The countries that continue to struggle to contain the virus are mainly Third World countries -- or shit countries, as Donald would call them -- and the US. Again I'll ask Donald's supporters: why is that? Why do you think the US is the outlier? Is it just bad luck, or is it a case of weak, ineffective, incompetent leadership at the national level? In other words, isn't Donald to blame? And if that is so, why in the world would you continue to put your trust in someone who has failed so spectacularly with this crisis, not to mention his other well-documented eff-ups, massive corruption, treasonous sell out to Putin, attack on the rule of law and various instances of outright criminal fraud? Global Surge in Coronavirus Cases Is Being Fed by the Developing World — and the U.S. When the United States began shutting down this spring, a virus that emerged months earlier as a mysterious outbreak in a Chinese provincial capital had infected a total of fewer than 200,000 people worldwide. So far this week, the planet has added an average of more than 200,000 cases every day. The novel coronavirus — once concentrated in specific cities or countries — has now crept into virtually every corner of the globe and is wreaking havoc in multiple major regions at once. But the impact is not being felt evenly. Poorer nations throughout Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa are bearing a growing share of the caseload, even as wealthier countries in Western Europe and East Asia enjoy a relative respite after having beaten back the worst effects through rigorously enforced lockdowns. And then there’s the United States, which leads the world in new cases and, as with many nations that possess far fewer resources, has shown no sign of being able to regain control. Nearly all the countries struggling with a surge share something in common: After weeks or months of trying to suppress the virus, they reopened their economies, only to find that the virus came roaring back. Now they are using a more limited arsenal to contain the spread, with little success. “Let me be blunt: too many countries are headed in the wrong direction,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared in Geneva this week. “The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.” The severity of the toll on the United States was evident in new infection figures released Tuesday, with multiple states — including Oklahoma and Nevada — hitting record highs. Florida has now reported more cases in the past week — nearly 78,000 — than most European nations have in their entire struggle with covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. That sort of explosive growth is mirrored in other nations, though none with the sort of wealth, infrastructure and scientific know-how of the United States. Across much of the developing world, rampant coronavirus outbreaks came relatively late. But now that the virus has taken root, governments are flailing in their attempts to halt it and citizens are resisting changes to their way of life. “As restrictions have been lifted, we’re going back to a new normal,” said Alain Labrique, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist. “But this virus is still circulating. There are still high rates of susceptibility. We have to continue wearing masks and being smart about crowd activities. The new normal is not the old normal.” The struggle has been especially fraught in Latin America, where countries have been lashed by covid-19’s ferocity and many have not yet hit their peaks. Brazil has the second-highest number of covid-19 deaths in the world, at more than 74,000, while Mexico has the fourth-highest, with more than 37,000. (The United States, with at least 133,000 deaths, is far and away the global leader.) With their high levels of poverty and inequality, Latin American countries were more vulnerable to the pandemic than wealthier nations. An estimated one-fifth of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have at least one of the health conditions that put them at higher risk of catching the virus. Many couldn’t afford to stay home for long periods. In Mexico, for example, more than half of workers are employed in the informal economy — as street vendors, gardeners, construction workers — surviving largely on their daily earnings. And people living in cramped homes and densely packed neighborhoods found it hard to isolate. Mexico ended its 70-day lockdown May 30 and began to gradually reopen, maintaining a state-by-state system of restrictions depending on conditions. As with the U.S., though, cases are surging in Mexican states where reopening has moved especially rapidly. “The risk is that the opening, the end of quarantine, is moving too fast, that it’s not orderly, that people aren’t obeying the health measures, that they’re not social distancing,” the country’s coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, recently told reporters. Mexican authorities have been surprised by the lethal force of the pandemic. The virus appeared to spread slowly during its initial weeks, leading López-Gatell to initially predict there could be as few as 6,000 deaths in total. The country massively expanded its hospital system to receive patients, hiring 45,000 doctors, nurses and other professionals — a crucial step given its lack of beds and medical personnel. It has avoided the kind of disaster that occurred in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where bodies littered the streets in April. But Mexico has been slow to implement the kind of testing and contact tracing recommended by the WHO to break chains of transmission. “We don’t have the capacity,” López-Gatell said in a recent interview. “Nor do we have quarantine sites where we can put people into isolation.” The leftist government has been widely criticized for not being more forthcoming about the scale of the pandemic. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador initially played down the danger of the virus and has provided limited economic support to residents who have lost jobs or customers. Another regional leader who initially scoffed at the pandemic — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — has now tested positive for it, along with 1.9 million of his fellow citizens. And though hospitals in Brazil report that some of the strain is easing, the weekly average of deaths continues to rise, up 7 percent in the past week. Unlike Bolsonaro and President Trump, the leader of the country with the third-largest number of cases — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — has not played down the gravity of the virus. Yet his government’s efforts to halt its spread have not succeeded. A strict nationwide lockdown imposed in late March slowed, but did not reverse, the growth in infections. Faced with devastating consequences — more than 100 million people jobless, a historic exodus of migrant workers leaving cities on foot — the government rolled back many restrictions on transport and commerce. Since then, infections have risen at a brisk pace, hitting more than 906,000. The total is expected to cross the 1 million threshold later this week. Still, the number of deaths in India is comparatively low, at about 24,000. But it is unlikely that official statistics reflect the full scope of the outbreak: India has conducted about eight tests for every 1,000 people, compared with 127 tests per 100,000 in the United States. “It is a large country. The numbers will go up,” said Jayaprakash Muliyil, a leading Indian epidemiologist. Muliyil believes that India’s total number of cases will eventually eclipse that of the United States, especially as infections move from cities to the country’s vast hinterland where the health system is even less prepared to cope. India’s economy remains crippled and life is very far from normal, with local officials reinstating lockdown measures in individual cities. Bangalore, India’s technology hub, began a week-long lockdown on Tuesday. Bihar, one of India’s poorest states with a population of more than 100 million people, said it would impose a new lockdown for the second half of July. Health experts say renewed lockdowns would be beneficial in places where numbers are spiraling. But there is little political will. In the Middle East, most governments were relatively swift to lock down during the earliest days of the pandemic, averting the sudden and deadly surge of infections seen in Europe and the United States. But the restrictions exacted a heavy economic toll, and few countries show any inclination to revert to the stringent measures of a few months ago even though coronavirus rates are rapidly climbing. The number of cases reported in the region in June alone was higher than during the previous four months combined, WHO Middle East director Ahmed al-Mandhari told reporters this month. The region, he said, is entering “a critical threshold,” having exceeded 1 million cases and 25,000 deaths. Over half of those are in three of the region’s most populous countries: Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The rate of new infections in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt has begun to slow in recent days. But Iran, with over 262,000 cases, has consistently struggled ever since it became an early global epicenter in March. On Sunday, the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wearing a face mask as he addressed parliamentarians, called the latest resurgence “deeply tragic” and pleaded with citizens to observe preventive measures “to save the country.” Worse may lie ahead, according to Ali Mokdad, director of Middle Eastern initiatives at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Projections by his institute suggest there may be 160,000 deaths in the Middle East’s worst-affected countries by Nov. 1, including 62,000 in Iran and 50,000 in Saudi Arabia. The root of the problem, he told an online panel hosted by the Atlantic Council, is simple: “People are letting down their guard.” Countries where infection rates have jumped in recent weeks are continuing to open up. Egypt is inviting tourists to come back, including to the pyramids. Saudi Arabia has severely restricted travel to the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca but has not reimposed any of the lockdown measures that earlier kept citizens indoors. Russia, too, has held firm to its decision to lift most of its restrictions in late June, just ahead of a vote on a package of constitutional amendments that will enable President Vladimir Putin to seek two more terms in office. Putin cast his own ballot without wearing a mask. Russia continues to post more than 6,000 new infections per day, adding to a total of more than 735,000 — the world’s fourth-highest. But those daily figures are well below the country’s peak of more than 11,000 daily in May. Countries across Western Europe — including Spain, France, Britain, Italy and Germany — have also recorded sustained declines. Not so in some Eastern European countries, however, where experts say outbreaks have been driven by government decisions to hastily drop restrictions — including on mass events such as soccer matches. Serbia was the first country in Europe to restart soccer matches as it lifted virtually all restrictions from one of the continent’s strictest lockdowns just before elections June 21. Since then, the country has experienced one of the continent’s most notable spikes. President Aleksandar Vucic last week declared a critical situation in five cities, and nationwide infection numbers returned to levels last seen in April. While epidemiologists in much of the world are warning about a second wave, countries like Poland, Hungary and Greece, which locked down early, are bracing for their first. In the next week, Poland plans to resume concerts and reopen stadiums, spawning concerns that it will experience what so many other parts of the world already have. “Our lockdown intervened very early,” said Pawel Grzesiowski, president of the Warsaw-based Foundation Institute for the Prevention of Infections. “But now we are switching off the lockdown.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/global-surge-in-coronavirus-cases-is-being-fed-by-the-developing-world--and-the-us/2020/07/14/1e9ca48e-c605-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-banner-main_coronavirus-802pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans
  20. Isn't it funny how whenever someone investigates Donald or says anything bad about him, Donald's worshippers always believe that the transgressor is either incompetent, decrepit, evil or corrupt-- all of which are qualities that their very own Donald, in the real world, has in spades.
  21. Oh, Donald fans. You really are special people. Just because someone pardoned someone else you think didn't deserve it doesn't mean that it's all right for Donald to corruptly commute the sentence of one of his sleazy henchmen to keep him from ratting on him. There's no such thing as evening up the score. That's not how it works. Roger Stone was duly convicted of seven felonies after being tried in a court of law. He's as guilty as sin. That you assume the judge and jury make their decisions based on the same partisan instincts that you routinely depend on to make your decisions speaks volumes about the sort of mindset you possess. Donald fans who are still, after all this time, blissfully unaware that Donald is a dangerous threat to the rule of law: Stupid is calling you on line 2. Will you accept the charges?
  22. A weak, fickle, incompetent leader when a strong, decisive, competent national leader is needed = coronavirus mess. Excuse me: Trumpvirus mess. Coronavirus: Things US Has Got Wrong -- and Right 8 July 2020 Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email So much for a summer lull in the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the US has seen a resurgence of the disease in numerous states, particularly across the south and west. The US nation as a whole has topped 60,000 recorded daily new cases this week. Did it have to be this way, though? Other industrialised nations, in Europe and Asia, pursued more rigorous mitigation plans, ramped up testing and contact tracing earlier, and eased restrictions in a slower and more co-ordinated fashion. They have not, at least so far, seen a resurgence of the virus similar to the one the US is currently experiencing. The US state of Arizona, for instance, is currently registering as many new cases of coronavirus as the entire European Union, which has a population 60 times greater. It makes for a gloomy review of what's gone right and (mostly) wrong, as the US enters its fifth full month of a pandemic that has no end in sight. WHAT'S GONE WRONG States opened too quickly A month ago, the coronavirus numbers in the US appeared, at the very least, stable. The spread of the disease had been slowed, as the daily tally of new cases plateaued. That prompted a number of states - including Texas, California, Florida and Arizona - to move forward with plans to ease off public shelter-in-place and business closure orders. Many of these states moved ahead despite not hitting the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended benchmarks for doing so, such as a 14-day drop in cases and less than 5% of tests coming back positive for the virus. It turns out, the overall national numbers were misleading, as states that were hit hard early, such as New York and New Jersey, were experiencing declines, while numbers in other states were beginning to inch up. They're not inching up anymore, they're surging - and the worst, as far as hospitalisations and fatalities, could be yet to come. Now Texas, California and Arizona, among others, have re-imposed business closure orders and mandated mask-wearing, which has been determined to reduce the spread of the virus. It may be too little to avoid another public-health crisis, however. "We opened way too early in Arizona," Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, a Democrat, said in recent television interview. "We were one of the last states to go to stay-at-home and one of the first to re-emerge." The 8,181 Covid-19 hospitalisations in Texas on Sunday were yet another record high. In Arizona, 14% of coronavirus tests are positive for the virus. California, an early success story in limiting the spread of the virus, has seen a 90% increase in cases over the past two weeks, after the state in May allowed local authorities more discretion in businesses re-openings.The surge in cases is also again leading to delays and shortages in testing - an area that had appeared to be a strength for the US after a halting start. Without adequate testing, it will be significantly more difficult to identify and isolate new cases and locations where the virus is spreading unchecked. "We're right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak," former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during a television interview on Sunday. At least for the moment, the rate of daily deaths has not reached New York levels -- but that may only be a matter of time, as the current cases progress. "It is already too late," says Luiza Petre, a New York City physician and professor of cardiology at the Mt Sinai School of Medicine. "We're at a point of no return where it will be very, very difficult to restrain this pandemic." Mask-wearing became partisan Compounding the decision by some states to prioritise reopening in spite of warnings from public-health officials, one of the best methods of limiting the spread of the virus - wearing a face covering - has become mired in partisan acrimony. A June survey by Pew Research Center found that only 49% of conservative Republicans said they wore a mask most of the time in the past month, while that number is 83% among liberal Democrats. Conservative opposition becomes even more entrenched at the prospect of government-enforced mask mandates. "Kansans don't need Laura Kelly and the nanny state making decisions best left to individuals," Bill Clifford, a Republican congressional candidate in Kansas, said in response to a mask order from his state's Democratic governor. "State mask mandates violate the principles of individual liberty and local control upon which America was founded." Donald Trump himself has contributed to the division, mocking a reporter who refused to remove his mask during a press conference as being "politically correct" and retweeting a Fox News journalist who suggested a photo of Joe Biden in a mask was damaging to the Democrat's image. Few Trump supporters wore masks at his Tulsa rally The president has steadfastly refused to wear a mask in public events - a position that has clearly registered with his supporters. At the president's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June, few in the crowd chose to use face-coverings, and most disregarded social-distancing suggestions. Public-health officials aren't free from blame, either. Early on, they declared that face-coverings were only helpful for front-line medical personnel. While the real motivation for such statements may have been to reserve limited supplies to those most in need, the end result was a message that was muddled and shifted as the pandemic progressed. Public complacency While some state governments have eased restrictions on public gatherings and allowed businesses to re-open, they have frequently accompanied such moves with recommendations that individuals make decisions based on medical advice and common sense. Those recommendations have been, to put it mildly, not always heeded. Summer holidays led to mask-less crowds in reopened bars and restaurants, public parks and beaches. And while masks were a fairly common sight during the mass anti-discrimination protests that swept the nation in the past month, social-distancing practices were essentially non-existent. The numbers behind this new coronavirus surge indicates that many of the newly infected are younger Americans, who have been among the quickest to return to in-personal socialising. Some political leaders, including the president, have essentially encouraged this, asserting that the young and healthy have little to fear from the virus. "Now we have tested over 40 million people," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "But by so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless." That flies in the face of public-health studies that have shown that a fifth of Covid-19 cases result in severe respiratory distress. "We have data in the White House task force," US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Sunday, refusing to reject Trump's 99% figure as false. "Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously." But a president downplaying the severity of the disease can go a long way toward undermining words of warning from his subordinates. Education approaching crisis The coronavirus resurgence has also lit the fuse on a bomb that is set to explode in just a few months. September is when American children traditionally head back to classrooms across the nation, and it's becoming clear that nothing close to a normal educational experience is waiting for them. School administrators are starting to unveil their plans for the coming academic year, and in many cases it's a blend of in-person and distance learning with the hope that it's enough to keep their institutions from becoming staging grounds for spreading the pandemic. Already some teachers' unions are rebelling at the suggestion that educators - including elderly or those at greater health risk - return to classrooms with what they view as insufficient protection or preparation. "Our educators are overwhelmingly not comfortable returning to schools," wrote the head of a Washington DC area teachers' union. "They fear for their lives, the lives of students and the lives of their families." Meanwhile, parents facing the prospect of having to manage more de-facto home-schooling and figuring out how to care for and supervise their children while they, themselves, are being asked to return to their workplaces. Trump, despite campaigning in 2016 against federal involvement in local education systems, is already pressuring schools to open back up on time. He's called for the CDC to revise its guidance to make it easier to reopen school buildings and threatened to cut off federal funds for those that don't comply. Florida, a Republican-controlled state currently in the midst of a widespread coronavirus outbreak, already has ordered its schools to open for classes at the end of August. The president's rhetoric, delivered via Twitter, seems destined to politicise yet another aspect of the coronavirus response, again putting local officials in the unenvious position of balancing community health concerns with demands to return to normal times that seem increasingly out of reach. WHAT'S GONE RIGHT New York recovery Although the coronavirus situation in many US states in the south and west has become increasingly dire, what was once the epicentre of the outbreak -- New York -- has made remarkable improvements. Daily deaths, which peaked on 8 April at 799, have dropped to single digits. Only 1.38% of the state's coronavirus testing last Friday returned positive results. As other areas have re-imposed lockdown restrictions, New York has begun reopening many public facilities and private business such as salons, tattoo shops and youth sport leagues. Indoor restaurants, however, remain closed. "What happened in New York should have been a cautionary tale for the other states to pay attention and learn to create a more centralised strategy," says Ms Petre, the New York City cardiologist. "New York is a success story." As the state continues to ease its mitigation restrictions, there is the risk that the virus will return resurgent. "We've been through hell and back, but this is not over," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "This can still rear its ugly head anywhere in this nation and in this state." Economy stabilised -- for now A funny thing happened on the way to the next Great Depression. The US economy, expected by many forecasters to be in a devastating tailspin, stabilised and began to improve. May unemployment figures, predicted to top 20%, registered at 13.3% instead. Then, in June, they ticked down to 11.4% -- an indication that the workplace haemorrhaging had been stopped much earlier than expected. Meanwhile, key stock indices have bounced back from their late winter beating. By 2 July, the Dow Jones Industrial Index had recovered 66% of its losses from its February record high. The Standards & Poor's 500 Index, a broader measure of stocks, has made up 77% of its losses this year. Other economic indicators offer similar signs of an economic resurgence. The strength of the recovery has largely been attributed to the push by states to quickly lift virus mitigation orders and federal action to provide economic support for businesses and individuals hit hardest by the virus. The return of business closures in several states could mean the economic good news will be short-lived. Meanwhile, most of the stimulus measures passed by Congress have either run their course or are set to expire soon, while there appears little prospect of further action. "Since it is now clear that the effects of this crisis will be felt at least until the end of 2020, that relief package will not be enough," says Jill Gonzales, an analyst with the personal finance website Wallethub. Science advancing While the coronavirus afflicts a growing number of US states, the American medical community continues to grind away at treatments and, ultimately, a vaccine. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, has shown promise in limiting the severity of the disease in hospitalised patients (prompting the US government to strike a deal with the drug's manufacturer to prioritise American patients). A new study indicates that the commonly available steroid dexamethasone cut the risk of death for coronavirus patients on ventilators by a third. There are also "encouraging signs" from experts that the use of blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients could help those currently suffering from the disease, although clinical research is ongoing. "Medicine has evolved at lightning speed," says Ms Petre. "The government has teamed up with pharmaceutical companies and a lot has been done, which is good" On the vaccine front, there are now several pharmaceutical companies reporting positive results from early tests on drugs to boost immunity to the coronavirus. The president is promising a vaccine by the end of the year, if not earlier, although medical professionals caution that such a timeline is far from certain. Anthony Fauci, the chief US immunologist, would only say scientists are "aspirationally hopeful" that a vaccine would be ready by 2021. Given that a return to normal life in the US appears increasingly contingent on a safe and reliable vaccine, a lot is riding on these hopes. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-53337483 CDC press conference on coronavirus: “I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump said. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors say, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of running for president.”
  23. Why should any corporate lobbyist, especially with deep pockets, be allowed to influence what policies are decided on? It's absolute madness. Also, I would do away with political advertisements or severely limit them and also have election campaigns last only a few weeks instead of months and months. They should only be allowed to last about four to twelve weeks like in many other countries. And candidates should maybe have only a maximum spending budget of, say, one million dollars. It's not hard to fix what is an obviously broken system, but the political will just isn't there. Why Are U.S. Elections So Much Longer Than Other Countries'? Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run. ' If Vice President Biden had announced his presidential candidacy today, he would have entered the race with 384 days until Election Day. But he said it was too late for him to be competitive. Here's the thing: 384 days is an absurdly long time. At least, it is when you compare American campaigns to those in other countries. The U.S. doesn't have an official campaign season, but the first candidate to jump into the presidential race, Ted Cruz, announced his candidacy on March 23 — 596 days before Election Day. Meanwhile, Canada just wrapped up its latest campaign season. That one was longer than usual — about 11 weeks. To the south, Mexican general election campaigns start 90 days before election day (and have to stop three days prior to the election), with an additional 60-day "pre-campaign" season, in which candidates vie for the nomination. Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'. Different Laws And Different Systems How do so many other countries keep their campaigns so short while the U.S. drags on so long? The simple answer is that many countries have laws dictating how long a campaign period is, while the U.S. doesn't. In Mexico, a 2007 law limited the length of campaigns. In Argentina, advertisements can begin only 60 days before the election, and the official campaign itself can start only 25 days after that. In France, the presidential campaign is generally only two-weeks long. The system of government can also dictate the campaign season length. In many parliamentary systems, the campaign season is tied to the date when the prime minister dissolves parliament. In August, Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Canada's parliament — 11 weeks before a scheduled election, making for the longest modern campaign season yet in that country, according to the CBC. (The minimum length of an election campaign in Canada is 36 days.) And though the country has no legal limit on how long a campaign can be, it is constrained by that first date of dissolving parliament. "That's only feasible with a short campaign period. We obviously couldn't dissolve the Congress 18 to 24 months in advance," says Michael Traugott, professor of political science at the University of Michigan. Big Money In Politics Laws may keep some countries' elections short, but other factors allow America's to go long — large amounts of money being chief among them. A candidate can't keep advertising for a year and a half, for example, without millions of dollars at his or her disposal. The U.S. system essentially requires candidates to raise millions of dollars to even mount a serious run. "Voters in [Canada] would not have the tolerance or would not accept a system where that kind of money is spent on campaigns. There would be a huge uproar," said Don Abelson, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario. "The elections tend to be very short. They don't tend to be terribly expensive." Indeed, Canadians balked even at the country's recent 11-week campaign. And in many countries, there's not room for a massive advertising arms race like the U.S. has, anyway. Brazil, the U.K. and Japan, among many others, simply don't allow candidates to purchase TV ads (but that doesn't mean zero ads — in some countries, like Japan, candidates each get equal, free, ad space). Primary Creep But the U.S. campaign hasn't always been an ultramarathon, and the presidential campaign didn't always drag on for a year and a half. Prior to the 1976 cycle, most presidential campaigns started within the election year, as Larry Sabato wrote in the Wall Street Journal (just imagine if all today's candidates were still three months from declaring). But then Jimmy Carter decided to jump-start his Iowa campaign in 1975. That helped lead other candidates into the early race as well. Add in states' constant jostling to have the first primaries or caucuses, Sabato added, and it helped create the permanent campaign we all know today. So What's The 'Right' System? It's easy to think that the grass is greener across the border (or ocean). But it's not as if shorter systems are inherently better. Mexico, for example, is still dealing with the unintended consequences of its recent reforms, says one expert. "The truth is that it's really impossible, or incredibly complicated, to create a system where the big problems can be removed without creating another set of problems," said Eric Magar, professor at the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology. He points to the country's Green Party as an example. The government recently fined the party for running ads outside the campaign window. True, the laws are being enforced, but the party's actions point to two problems in the nation's newly reformed system: One is that parties can simply run ads before it's legal, because they think it's worth the fine. The other: They can use taxpayer money to pay those fines. "Most of the money is public, so what ends up happening is they're using a bunch of taxpayer money to pay the fines," Magar says. "So it's a system that has lots of holes in its operations." Other election systems can reinforce a party's power. The prime minister often chooses to disband parliament when his party is popular, Abelson explains, so his party can be assured of winning the next election. This can give the party in power an extra boost — not necessarily a bad outcome, depending on whom you support, but it's a system that plays a big part in determining who leads. (As an example, Abelson points to a hypothetical Prime Minister George H.W. Bush. Had he called an election in 1991, when he was enormously popular, he could have far more easily held onto his spot than one year later, when his favorability ratings had plummeted.) And some have made the case that Japan's uber-strict election laws go too far, keeping new ideas out of the public discourse. Still, a shorter U.S. election season could have plenty of advantages — it wouldn't exhaust voters, and it might not require a candidate to amass tens of millions of dollars to even run, for example. Not that change seems likely anytime soon. For U.S. voters sick of the perpetual electioneering, there's not much to do but gaze wistfully at other countries — or make that perennial "moving-to-Canada" threat. https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/21/450238156/canadas-11-week-campaign-reminds-us-that-american-elections-are-much-longer?t=1594285402677
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