Headlines: July 13, 2020
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The Washington Post documented that President Donald Trump has officially surpassed 20,000 documented lies or misstatements in his tenure as President. Trump passed the milestone on July 9th. The paper found that Trump had upped his pace of lying with 10,000 lies or 12 lies per day in the first 27 months of his presidency, and then reached the 20,000 lie-mark only 14 months later at a rate of about 23 lies per day. “The coronavirus pandemic has spawned a whole new genre of Trump’s falsehoods,” said the paper. The nation’s leading scientific expert on the Covid-19 pandemic – Dr. Anthony Fauci – is now the target of Trump’s falsehoods with the White House releasing a list of Fauci’s statements over several months with an accompanying statement saying, “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.” On Monday Trump retweeted a fellow former reality show host named Chuck Woolery who said, “Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election.”
In reality President Trump has been suppressing data particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The New York Times over the weekend obtained an internal CDC document that said fully reopening schools and universities would be “highest risk,” and that, “the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of Covid-19 spread.” The CDC’s “lowest risk” scenario would be for schools to return to online-only classrooms. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in an interview on Fox News on Sunday defended Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from schools that choose safety by remaining shut down and went as far as claiming that CDC guidelines were, “meant to be flexible.” In speaking with CNN she said schools should deal with Covid-19 hotspots on a case-by-case basis. That’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on CNN. Neither CNN nor DeVos raised the fact that the entire state of Florida is now a “hotspot,” with 15,300 new cases documented in a single day on Sunday, shattering all records.
The President on Saturday wore a face mask for the first time in front of reporters during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after months of refusing to. Changing his tune on masks he said, “I love masks in the appropriate locations.” Trump supporters around the country have been documented flouting mask requirements in indoor locations like grocery stores. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has also reversed his past position on mask-wearing when he had said months ago on Twitter that masks were “not effective” in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. In a recent interview Dr. Adams defended himself in a bizarre manner comparing his misstatements to previous cases of medieval science getting it wrong. Dr. Adams failed to mention that other scientists were suggesting masks as effective at the same time that he – the nation’s top MD – was prescribing the opposite.
In other Covid-19 news, many parts of the US are reporting long delays in accessing tests and test results. The Washington Post explained the serious consequence of this, saying, “The long testing turnaround times are making it impossible for the United States to replicate the central strategy used by other countries to effectively contain the virus — test, trace and isolate.” In addition to Florida, Texas is also a major site of new infections and the case of a 30-year old man’s death from the virus is offering a grim lesson. Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas related the story of the man who attended what is called a “Covid Party” with healthy individuals exposing themselves to an infected person on purpose. Among the man’s dying words were, “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.” Meanwhile New York City, the initial epicenter of the US’s pandemic, has finally brought cases down so that the number of Covid-19 deaths finally hit zero on Saturday – the first time this has happened since March.
The Washington NFL team whose racist name has sparked controversy for decades, will finally be choosing a new name. The name, a derogatory slur against Native Americans, has been the focus of sustained protest will be replaced by an as-yet unknown slogan in the future. In examining what led to the change, Washington Post correspondent Robert McCartney who has written about the issue for years concluded that “Corporate money, Black Lives Matter protests and elites’ opinion drove” the name change. Meanwhile a new report shines a light on racism behind the scenes at the nation’s leading sports TV network, ESPN. Black employees are now more openly complaining of the discrimination they face at the network.
In other news, President Trump late on Friday commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and colleague Roger Stone who was about to start his 40-month prison sentence for a conviction over lying to federal officials. No sooner did the commutation spark accusations of political corruption when Stone announced he would begin campaigning for Trump’s reelection saying, “I will do anything necessary to elect my candidate, short of breaking the law.” In response to the commutation, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller broke his lengthy silence by writing an op-ed in the Washington Post. In it Mr. Mueller said he felt “compelled” to respond and that “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most ardent loyalists, immediately announced that Mueller may be called in to testify because he spoke out through the op-ed.
Just hours before the federal government was set to resume executions for the first time in 20 years, a judge has halted Attorney General William Barr’s ardent stated desire for a return to capital punishment. Judge Tanya Chutkan had strong words for the Justice Department and cited concerns that death by lethal injection was, “very likely to cause extreme pain and needless suffering.” In other news, federal law enforcement officers are being called out for their life-threatening injury of a protester in Portland, Oregon. Officers apparently emboldened by Trump shot a man in the head with munitions that shattered his skull and face. Local officials are openly blaming the President. And, police in Allentown, Pennsylvania are under fire after one officer was caught on video pushing his knee into the neck of a man being arrested roughly by several of his colleagues. The man being arrested was not resisting and the local department had already banned chokeholds and neck restraints.
Oil and gas fracking corporations are shutting down and filing for bankruptcy leaving behind huge toxic messes for taxpayers to clean up. According to the New York Times several fossil fuel companies that made massive profits from hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas are handsomely paying their corporate executives ahead of bankruptcy filings instead of using revenues to clean up operations. And finally, a group of wealthy people are demanding immediate high levels of government taxation on themselves and others like them in order to help pay for the economic recovery from the pandemic. The collection of 83 of the world’s richest people includes Abigail Disney and demands that while they cannot care for Covid-19 patients, “we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.”