Trump White House wings it on virus response

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BOSTON GLOBE)

 

The White House wings it on virus response

Epidemics can be challenging even for level-headed, well-prepared governments. The coronavirus lays bare just how clumsy the Trump administration is when it comes to public health.

President Trump (center), with members of the president's coronavirus task force, spoke during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday.

Now that health officials are warning Americans to prepare for the spread of a coronavirus, we’re getting a powerful reminder of why the chaotic Trump White House is dangerous. The president’s dismissal of scientific facts and his gutting of critical agencies have put lives at risk.

Invisible pathogens like the coronavirus, which is easily transmitted and appears to kill 2 percent of those infected (compared with the 0.1 percent US death rate for influenza), are challenging even for well-prepared administrations. Because people and goods move around the globe rapidly, it’s tricky to devise quarantines and other containment strategies. That’s why competent governments treat pandemic preparedness as a matter of national security, invest sufficiently in prevention, and speak forthrightly to the public.

Trump has fallen down on those fronts and long ago corroded the trust that is vital in a crisis.

His administration weakened the foundation for pandemic response in 2018, when it disbanded the National Security Council team that coordinated global health security. Then it allowed budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which forced a retreat from pandemic-prevention efforts in China and elsewhere. That same year, the administration shifted control of the Strategic National Stockpile, a storehouse of medicines and medical supplies, away from the CDC. Public-health experts worry that was another unforced error, because the CDC works directly with local health departments that put the stockpile into use.

Even this winter, with coronavirus already ravaging China, Trump proposed a 2021 budget that would slash spending at the CDC and other agencies that underpin the nation’s scientific prowess.

But of course, Trump is allergic to scientific advice. That explains why he would appoint Vice President Mike Pence as the new head of the coronavirus response, replacing the health and human services secretary whom Trump had put in that role just a few weeks ago. Pence’s ability to use evidence to guide public health decisions is worrisome at best. He insisted in 2000 that smoking isn’t deadly because — voila! — most smokers don’t get lung cancer. As Indiana governor, he engineered health-funding cuts that caused an HIV outbreak.

On Tuesday, a CDC official, Nancy Messonnier, said Americans should expect the virus to spread here. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” she added. Scott Gottlieb, who was Trump’s first director of the Food and Drug Administration, tweeted more straight talk: “This could be a long fight that will require shared sacrifice.”

Contrast such comments with Trump’s bluster when he complained about cable news coverage and said that the risk to Americans “remains very low.” As Ronald Klain, who oversaw the Ebola response in the Obama administration, pointed out, Trump’s confidence was unwarranted because very few Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. We might have many more cases than we think.

Meanwhile, a whistle-blower now alleges that administration officials retaliated against her after she alerted them that federal health workers lacked proper safety equipment and training when they interacted with virus patients quarantined at military bases in California.

These are more sad reminders of the reasons we can’t believe what we hear from this White House. Americans should heed the CDC and be prepared.


Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.

Mike Pence, Trump’s coronavirus czar, has a terrible public health record

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Mike Pence, Trump’s coronavirus czar, has a terrible public health record

Mike Pence and Donald Trump

President Trump speaks about his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House on Wednesday.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Seriously? How can Vice President Mike Pence oversee the Trump administration’s response to a human health crisis when he has a record on health and safety that is so abysmal?

This is a man who, as governor of Indiana, signed into law an abortion bill that is among the most restrictive in the country. He also permitted discrimination against the LGBTQ community in his state.

But wait, there’s more. He tried to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana and cut off federal aid to existing refugees — and he believes in stripping judges of their discretion in drug-crime sentencing. His record as being anti-science is even more chilling.

Perhaps the only good that will come from this appointment and other missteps by the present administration is that President Trump is voted out of office in November.

Randy Farhi, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: On Wednesday, Trump put Pence in charge of the administration’s public health response to the coronavirus.

While governor of Indiana, Pence arranged to make Indiana rank 48th in per-capita public health spending in the United States. What qualifications justify his appointment?

Dr. Robert R. Young, Corona del Mar

..

To the editor: Maybe Trump will build a wall to keep the coronavirus out.

William Eaton, Banning

Cokehead, Womanizing, Fag’: Michael Bloomberg’s Book of ‘Wisdom’ Resurfaces

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE DAILY BEAST)

 

Cokehead, Womanizing, Fag’: Michael Bloomberg’s Book of ‘Wisdom’ Resurfaces

OPEN MOUTH, INSERT FOOT

The release of an unauthorized book of quotes by Michael Bloomberg paints a damning picture of the Democratic presidential candidate.

David McNew/Getty

“Cokehead, womanizing, fag.” That’s the way Michael Bloomberg once characterized a competitor in New York’s financial industry, according to a book of quotes presented to the billionaire businessman for his 48th birthday in 1990.

The quote is one of a number of vulgar and degrading remarks, contained in a gag gift presented to Bloomberg by an employee, that may spell trouble for the former New York mayor as he attempts to convince Democrats he can topple Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

The tome, titled Wit & Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg, was published in full by the Washington Post on Saturday morning. It has been quoted at length over the years but has never been printed in full by a mainstream outlet.

The booklet was produced by Elisabeth DeMarse, who worked as Bloomberg’s chief marketing officer. “Yes, these are all actual quotes,” she wrote in her introduction. “No, nothing has been embellished or exaggerated.”

Some of the quotes are pure bathroom humor, like his comments on salesmanship that simply states, “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked.” Another says, “As Chuch Colsen put it: if you have them by their balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

Others are highly sexist, like one that has a name redacted in the Post’s document. “What do I want? I want an exclusive, 10-year contract, an automatic extension, and I want you to pay me. And I want a blow job from [name redacted]. Have you seen [name redacted] lately? Not bad for fifty.”

The misogynistic, homophobic remarks predate the #MeToo era and show a sophomoric obsession with referencing oral sex. On the subject of computers, he said: “You know why computers will never take the place of people? Because a computer would say that the sex of the person giving you a blow job doesn’t matter.”

His company’s financial information computers “will do everything, including give you [oral sex]. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business,” he said in another remark.

Some of the quoted remarks are relatively mild, like, “The three biggest lies are: the check’s in the mail, I’ll respect you in the morning, and I’m glad I’m Jewish.”

Others are positively eyebrow raising, like, “The Royal Family—what a bunch of misfits—a gay, an architect, that horsey faced lesbian, and a kid who gave up Koo Stark for some fat broad.” He characterizes one competitor as, “Cokehead, womanizing, fag.”

The booklet is peppered with cartoons that depict Bloomberg in various poses, of which many are less than flattering, like him dressed as a Roman Centurion fighting off dogs with name tags like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sacks and Citibank.

The booklet’s publication caps a bad week for Bloomberg, who has been dogged by unearthed comments on income inequality and racial profiling.

Bloomberg has not made a public comment on the publication of the booklet. A campaign spokeswoman said on Saturday, “Virtually all of this has been reported over the past two decades. In any large organization, there are going to be complaints—but Mike simply does not tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment, and he’s created cultures that are all about equality and inclusion.”

The Post says it informed the Bloomberg campaign that it would be publishing the full booklet online, to which they were told by spokesman Stu Loeser, “Mike simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift, which has been circulating for 30 years and has been quoted in every previous election Mike has been in.” Loeser also told them, “Mike openly admits his words have not always lined up with his values and that way he has led his life and some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong.”

The Post’s reporting also detailed newly unearthed lawsuits against Bloomberg that were either settled or dismissed and paint a disturbing picture of misogynistic behavior.

(A Savage Comment) Democratic And Republican Parties Are Both Anti-Christ Parties

A Visit To This Time 3 Years Ago

 

September 4, 2016
Democratic And Republican Parties Are Both Anti-Christ Parties

When I was a young child back in the 1950’s-60’s I was raised in a family that believed in the Democratic Party. My parents were folks who believed in the reality that working people if they wanted to be able to financially survive needed Union protections. They also believed that the Republican Party was solely for the wealthiest people and was clearly anti working people. They also believed that the Democratic Party, because they cared about the poor was the party that the Churches backed. I never remember going to a Church that had a Republican Minister simply because the Republicans agenda’s were in direct contrast to the love, kindness and sharing teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court with their ruling on ‘Roe v Wade’ abortion ruling seemed to change the political map within the Churches. The teachings regarding abortion within the Scriptures are definitely anti-abortion yet almost all of the Churches and their Ministers remained as Democrats because they could not transcend over to a Party (Republicans) who were against basically all of the teachings of Jesus about how we should all treat each other. Yet, my question is how can a Church, a Minister, or their congregation openly or even behind closed doors back abortion? How can you say that you or a Minister (that word means, Servant) are a Christian (follower of Christ) and at the same time back abortion?

What I do not understand is why the people who say they are Christians have not created a third National Party! The Democratic Party strongly backs a woman’s “right” to have an abortion at any time during a pregnancy. The Republican Party wants to end all abortions seeing them as the murdering of over a million children here in the U.S. each year. So, Republicans have garnered the “conservative Christians” into their camp because of the abortion issue. This is even though the Republican Party Platform is still strongly anti-working people, and anti the people having the right to work under Union protections.

I am a registered voting Independent because I see both Parties as crooked and pure evil. When the people go to the polls this November we just like every other election know that either a Republican or a Democrat is going to win at every level of Government. To vote for anyone else is nothing more than a protest vote that has no effect on who actually wins the elections, it will be a Democrat or a Republican. So, just like this November we Voters are having to consider which one of the two Evils win. Especially concerning the Presidency this year, which Evil is less Evil, that is what we have to look forward to. For either of these political parties to claim to be close or closer to God is total BS. Evil is still Evil, neither of these Political Parties have the endorsement of the Scriptures of God, so how can anyone who calls themselves a Christian or Jewish endorse or support either of these Demonic structures? I used the title of them being anti-Christ, I am not saying that either Parties leadership is ‘the anti-Christ’. What I am saying is that both Parties policies are in direct indifference and defiance to the teachings of God’s Holy Scriptures, thus both Parties are Anti-Christ based organizations!

Author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS)

 

‘Anonymous’ author warns that Trump ‘will not exit quietly,’ even if defeated or impeached

USA TODAY

The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

From ‘Anonymous’:Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book’s author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.

“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president’s fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don’t, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump’s promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?

The book says that Trump “on more than one occasion” discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

“Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first,” the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Pathway of impeachment:How it works, where we are

“Anonymous” depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry:Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas “go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies.”

On the president’s actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was “barely believable to anyone around him.”

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

The author’s agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn’t take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

  • Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, “a midnight self-massacre,” intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump’s questionable and even corrupt behavior. “The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
  • If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump’s removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.
  • Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. “To Donald Trump, these are unlimited ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards on a Monopoly board.”
  • Trump was “particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t done more to harass the Clintons.” The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump’s 2016 opponent. “You’d be a hero,” the president told him.

Republicans: Trump Is a Mad King — Vote for Us to Give Him Unchecked Power

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTELLIGENCER NEWS AGENCY)

 

Republicans: Trump Is a Mad King — Vote for Us to Give Him Unchecked Power

All power to this person. Photo: Rick Loomis/Getty Images

Throughout 2018, the Democratic Party has had two core messages for the American people: Donald Trump is a dangerouscorrupt president whose power must be checked — and the GOP are a corrupt, dangerous party thatwants to take away health care from the sick.

Now, as the midterm campaign hits the homestretch, Republicans are making the Democrats’ case for them.

In an anonymous New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, a senior Trump administration official wrote that President Trump has “anti-democratic impulses,” is bereft of “any discernible first principles,” behaves in an “erratic” manner that is “detrimental to the health of our republic,” and is so psychologically unstable, “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” (which allows for a president to be removed for physical or mental incapacity). The official went on to insist that all of this “would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House” who “have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.”

The op-ed never advises its readers to vote for Democrats this fall. In fact, it suggests that unified Republican government serves the American people’s interests, as it has led to “effective deregulation” and “historic tax reform.” But when GOP strategists were sketching out the ideal message for their party to run on in 2018, they probably didn’t choose: “The health of our republic requires Donald Trump’s power to be checked — but don’t vote to place any additional checks on his power because his insubordinate staff is sometimes successful at blocking his worst ideas, and if you vote Republicans out of office they won’t be able to pass any more corporate tax cuts that you don’t like.

What’s more, it isn’t just a single, anonymous Republican official saying that President Trump cannot be trusted with power. Following the anonymous op-ed’s publication Wednesday, GOP senator Bob Corker told reporters, “This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one … I understand this is the case and that’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the president to stay. I thank General Mattis whenever I see him.”

Corker’s comments echo remarks he made in October 2017, when he told theTimes that the president’s recklessness threatened to put America “on the path to World War III”; that “every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” and that “the vast majority” of the Republican caucus knows these things to be true.

Corker’s Republican colleagues have not moved to expel him from the Senate for telling outrageous lies about the president. Many have declined to even dispute the senator’s account. Which is to say: A large swath of elected Republicans have tacitly conceded that Donald Trump poses a threat to global security, and that this threat is mitigated primarily by the systemic insubordination of officials who serve at Trump’s pleasure.

Once all this is stipulated, the only plausible argument for allowing Republicans to retain full control of Congress (instead of putting a check on Trump that he could not summarily fire) is that the GOP is ready and able to check Trump’s authority itself.

But in recent weeks, congressional Republicans have explicitly assuredvoters that they will not provide effective oversight of the Executive branch. In campaign advertisements, Republican congressional candidates have devoted more airtime to proclaiming their loyalty to Donald Trump than they have to defending their party’s signature tax reform legislation. In recent weeks, many Republicans have reframed their 2018 message around a pledge to protect Trump from overzealous oversight. Last month, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn warned voters that a Democratic Congress would seek “to reverse the election by whatever means possible.”

Around the same time, Republicans on Capitol Hill compiled a list of all the White House scandals that a Democratic House would likely investigate — which is to say, a list of scandals that the current Congress is actively covering up. Among them, per Axios:

• President Trump’s tax returns

• Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the

Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization

• Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin

• The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels

• James Comey’s firing

• Trump’s firing of U.S. Attorneys

• Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military

• Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings

• White House staff’s personal email use

• Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks

• Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago

• Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance

• Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors

• The travel ban

• Family-separation policy

• Hurricane response in Puerto Rico

• Election security and hacking attempts

• White House security clearances

It’s hard to imagine any Democratic consultant putting together a better advertisement for divided government than this.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been doing everything in its power to bolster the other pillar of Team Blue’s midterm message. It’s long been clear to Democrats and Republicans alike that health-care policy is the House majority’s biggest liability. The Obamacare repeal bill that House Republicans voted for last year proved to be the most unpopular piece of major legislation in America’s modern history. Shortly after the bill’s introduction last spring, the Democratic Party opened a double-digit lead in polls of the 2018 generic ballot, while President Trump’s job approvaldipped. Subsequent surveys showed the public favoring the Democrats over the Republicans on health-care policy by wide margins.

In May, Republican congressman — and longtime GOP strategist — Tom Cole told CNN that he wasn’t worried about the repeal effort hurting his party on Election Day. After all, by then, it would be water under the bridge. “It’s hard to beat you on a vote you didn’t succeed on,” Cole reasoned.

Alas, the Trump administration — and red-state attorneys general — has made that task much easier for Democrats. Earlier this summer, the Justice Department announced that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from a challenge brought by a group of red states, which claims that Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate rendered the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions invalid. This claim — that Congress is not constitutionally allowed to eliminate the ACA’s insurance mandate, unless it also repeals the law’s other regulations of the health-care market — is not some sacred principle of originalist jurisprudence. Rather, it’s an ad hoc rationalization for right-wing judicial activism so specious, it makes theNational Review blush. And yet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions concluded that his department could make no honest argument against the plaintiffs’ case, and thus, had no choice but to forfeit its responsibility to defend federal law.

Oral arguments in that case began this week — and a Republican-appointed judge in Texas signaled that he buys the red states’ case. Judge Reed O’Connor “gave only cursory treatment to the baseline question of whether the individual mandate without an accompanying penalty could stand as constitutional,” according to Modern Healthcare’s Susannah Luthi, devoting most of his questions to the matter of precisely how much of the Affordable Care Act he is constitutionally obligated to strike down. On Wednesday, the judge indicated that he expects to deliver a ruling soon on whether the ACA’s consumer protections can remain in force.

It’s hard to overstate how inconvenient such a ruling would be to the GOP’s electoral strategy. The only thing Republicans want to discuss less than repealing Obamacare is repealing that law’s most popular provision. Last year, the idea of letting the market decide who can get chemotherapy without having to declare bankruptcy proved so politically toxic, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell retained versions of the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting conditions in all of their health-care bills. Even for a House Speaker whose signature policy idea is privatizing Social Security, scrapping those protections outright was a bridge too far.

Now, as voters head to the polls, Republicans may be forced to defend the god-given right of insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone who’s ever seen a psychologist. In fact, in some of 2018’s most competitive Senate races, Republicans nominated state attorneys general who brought the lawsuit to begin with.

In general, the relevance of messaging to midterm election outcomes is greatly exaggerated. But to the extent that campaign themes influence voter behavior, the Republican Party is doing its best to turn the long-forecasted “blue wave” into a tsunami.

Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction

Crews have been blasting the hillside at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona for sections of the federal government’s barrier.
Gates in the border wall for flooding.

Border wall construction last month up a mountain in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.Carolyn Van Houten / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

By Erik Ortiz

Red-lettered signs warning of “BLASTING” began appearing over the past week at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert region in southwestern Arizona bordered by Mexico to the south and a Native American reservation to the east.

Crews have been blasting the hillside while excavators and backhoes clear a path for the towering sections of border wall fast-tracked by the Trump administration — a pace that has environmental groups worried that sacred burial sites and ancestral lands are at risk of being irreversibly harmed.

Laiken Jordahl@LaikenJordahl

BLAST WARNING SIGNALS sign & dead saguaros at Organ Pipe as the Trump administration blows up a sacred mountain for the .

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Since 1976, the 516-square-mile park — home to more than two dozen unique species of cacti and countless wildlife — has been recognized as a UNESCO ecological preserve worth conserving.

“This is a new low even for the Trump administration,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona who has been documenting the altered landscape.

“They’re moving forward with complete disregard of sacred sites and indigenous sovereignty,” Jordahl said Wednesday.

The controlled blasting, which has taken place in a section of the park known as Monument Hill, is expected to continue intermittently through the end of February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. The agency added that it will “continue to have an environmental monitor present during these activities as well as on-going clearing activities.”

With this latest spurt in construction, Jordahl and others say they’re concerned with how the federal government has gone about building the wall — without any consultation with the Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized tribe that has land and members on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Trump administration has used federal waivers, including of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, to push the project ahead.

Despite lawsuits trying to halt the government’s actions, Jordahl said the process involving Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has been made easier precisely because the area is federally controlled land.

“It’s such a sensitive area environmentally, and it’s heartbreaking to see that what’s happening is because the government controls it because it’s so fragile,” he said. “It’s become a true desecration of indigenous land.”

Since last August, crews began replacing already-existing fencing with a steel bollard wall design.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose district includes the tribe’s reservation, toured the area last month and highlighted in a video tweeted Sunday that Monument Hill is a resting place for Apache warriors that once did battle with members of the Tohono O’odham Nation. In addition, activists have shared images on social media of ancient saguaro cactuses, many hundreds of years old, either sawed in half or flattened.

Maxie Adler@maxie_adler

Photos from yesterday of construction in Organ Pipe Cactus NM and the heartbreaking graveyard that’s being left in its tracks. New 30ft wall now stretches almost completely from the base of Monument Hill to just 9 miles east of Quitobaquito Springs..

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
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Bulldozing is also occurring at the park’s Quitobaquito Springs, a natural source of water for the tribe and near where artifacts and human bone fragments have been found, Grijalva said.

“The Trump Administration is bulldozing through sacred sites to act on a campaign talking point, no matter the cost to the people of Southern Arizona,” the congressman told NBC News in a statement. “This destruction of the cultural heritage of the Tohono O’odham people for the purpose of building a monument to his racist policies is irreparable.”

Grijalva said he is working with the Tohono O’odham Nation to demand the Department of Homeland Security “stop this assault on sacred sites.”

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The federal waivers it requested last year were vague in describing how many miles are needed and the locations for the border wall project, according to The Associated Press, although the Center for Biological Diversity said it estimates the plans include about 100 miles in Arizona and California along the southern border.

The wall’s construction has become a central theme of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. During his State of the Union speech earlier this month, he said more than 500 miles of barriers would be up by early next year.

The Tohono O'odham Nation's reservation includes 62 miles of border between Arizona and Mexico.
The Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation includes 62 miles of border between Arizona and Mexico.Megan Siquieros

His pledge hasn’t come without a fight from property owners opposed to surrendering their lands to the federal government.

Last fall, the administration began a new approach — preparing to go through federal courts for permission to take over private lands. The move followed Trump’s declaration a year ago of a national emergency along the border, a controversial executive action that was done to free up billions of dollars to fund new border wall projects.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which borders Mexico for 30 miles, is among the places that have come under scrutiny.

The park was once considered one of the most dangerous in the U.S. and favored by drug smugglers, officials said. In 2002, a park ranger was fatally shot while trying to apprehend two people who were crossing illegally. But with the number of illegal crossings down in recent years, a portion of the park that was once closed to the public was reopened in 2015.

The Tohono O’odham Nation says it is troubled over the future of other sacred sites along the border, including at Las Playas, where a roadway could be built near known ancestral burial grounds containing artifacts dating back some 10,000 years.

Ned Norris Jr., the chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, told The Arizona Republic in January that he wants to see “buffer zones” set up around those sensitive areas.

“How would you feel if someone brought a bulldozer to your family graveyard and started uprooting the graves there?” he asked. “That is the relationship, the significance, that is the impact that we see happening here in that way.”

Warren’s epic flop in New Hampshire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

Warren’s epic flop in New Hampshire leaves her no path to the Democratic nomination

Elizabeth Warren admitted defeat in New Hampshire Tuesday night. She claimed to be still plotting a path forward for her presidential campaign, but, at this point, it has nowhere left to go.

With results still coming in, MSNBC has projected that Warren will come out of the primary with zero delegates. At best, she’ll be in a distant fourth, well behind Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. This was a disastrous night for Warren on top of an already lackluster showing in Iowa last week.

In New Hampshire, Warren was supposed to have a bit of a home-base advantage: She represents the neighboring state, and Boston’s media tend to dominate New Hampshire’s coverage. It also has a large population of well-off, educated liberals who tend to be her core base. Yet, she failed to seal the deal with many voters.

The problem for Warren is that her campaign relied on Iowa and New Hampshire to give her the political momentum necessary to win the Democratic nomination. Joe Biden also flopped in the first two primary states, but he has South Carolina to look to. Even if his chances of a comeback are fading, at least he can argue that his strategy hasn’t had a chance to play out again. Warren, on the other hand, is looking at a bleak campaign trail from here on out. She might have been able to win Nevada had she won New Hampshire. But, now, that’s remote, and there’s no reason to believe she can compete in South Carolina heading into Super Tuesday.

Warren suggested on Tuesday night that Iowa and New Hampshire’s results are only one small part of a much bigger picture. “We’re two states in, with 55 states and territories to go. We still have 98% of the delegates for our nomination up for grabs, and Americans in every part of our country are going to make their voices heard,” she said after congratulating Sanders, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar.

This might be true, but Warren is not in a position to seriously compete for the other 98%. She no longer has an advantage, and it’s only a matter of time before her base begins to drift toward Sanders, the leading liberal candidate. Now is the time to bow out gracefully. If she doesn’t, the rest of Warren’s presidential campaigns will have results similar to those in Iowa and New Hampshire. Surely, that can’t be the legacy Warren wants.

Trump Is Trying To End All Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

As student debt continues to climb, President Donald Trump on Monday released a budget for 2021 that would slash many of the programs aimed at helping borrowers.

Student loan spending would be cut by $170 billion in Trump’s plan, titled “A Budget for America’s Future.” The reductions include “sensible annual and lifetime loan limits” for graduate students and parents and the end to subsidized loans, in which the government covers the interest for borrowers who are still in school or experiencing economic hardship.

It would also reduce the number of repayment options for borrowers and nix the popular, if challenged, public service loan forgiveness program.

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That program, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, allows not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that up to one-quarter of American workers are eligible.

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“The Trump Administration already has a reputation of being anti-borrower,” said Mark Kantrowitz, a higher education policy expert. “This just takes it further.”

In all, Trump’s proposal would request $66.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, trimming the budget by $5.6 billion, or nearly 8%. The proposed cut is less steep than last year, when he called for a nearly 10% reduction in spending for the department.

Still, any cuts to student loan relief programs are unlikely to sit well with many voters.

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Eighty percent of Americans agree that the government should make it easier for people with student debt to repay their loans, a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts found. Another poll found that nearly 60% of registered voters said they would support a plan to cancel all existing student loan debt.

Meanwhile, leading Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail are vowing to cancel the majority or all of the country’s outstanding student loan debt.

Bernie Sanders has proposed wiping out the country’s $1.6 trillion outstanding student loan tab.

Elizabeth Warren’s plan would cancel $50,000 in student debt for borrowers with household incomes of less than $100,000. People who earn between $100,000 and $250,000 would be eligible for forgiveness on a sliding scale.

(A Savage Commentary) When The Poor Serve No Need We Will Be Exterminated

When The Poor Serve No Need We Will Be Exterminated

 

Earlier I posted an article that came from the Government of China, the article was in several of their news outlets, the article stated that by the year 2027 in China’s Financial district alone that AI will cause the loss of 2.3 million jobs. Remember that their current President for life Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout follower of Chairman Mao. When Chairman Mao was in charge in China their country’s population was about one billion people and his policies were to let about half of the Nation starve to death. One of the main reason he gave was the Central Government’s inability to not only be able to control them but also their inability to feed them. The population of the United States and of Russia combined today is about 470 million people, Mao was speaking of letting 500 million of his own people starve to death. There are many reasons that China went to their ‘one child’ policies for several decades, these were two of their top reasons.

 

There are those in China and elsewhere in the world who will argue that these things could not happen today because we are now much more civilized and to this I have to say, O really. The United States is without a doubt a ‘surveillance State’ today, if you think otherwise you are being quite naive. There are good things about living in constant surveillance though, I have no doubt that the FBI, CIA, and the NSA have stopped quite a few attacks upon the American people because of their secretive work. Yet how much freedom do the people give up for the sake of being safer? The more a government knows, the more easily they can then totally control the lives of the people. When it comes to governing a Nation the main building block of their power is their ability to control the people. Lose control on the streets, they lose their grip on their power.

 

Now let’s get back to financials within a government. Unless you are oblivious to reality you should know that the tail that wags the dog, is money. Back in the mid 1970’s I worked in a Chrysler Assembly Plant in norther Illinois for just a couple of weeks (I couldn’t stand the thought of working on an assembly line putting cushions in-car seats for at least 37 years) so I quit. What I did notice was how many people worked on the different ‘lines’. As the cars went down the assembly line you had many people doing manual labor like spot welding and putting windshields into the car frames. Go there now, see how many jobs are still there and how many are being done by automation, the job loss is staggering. Even think of stores like Wal-Mart who are getting rid of their cashiers in favor of automation and self-checkouts. Now think about self driving cars, trucks and even trains. Even companies like Uber are killing the Taxi industry. What do all of these things have in common folks? Companies are trying to get rid of human employees and the reason is simple, more profits for the top end persons in these companies.

 

If you are old enough (I am 62) do you remember when we used to hear how technologies were going to allow the workers to only have to work 4 days a week because with technologies we could get 5 days work done in 4 days? Some people were foolish enough to think that their employer was going to pay you for 5 days work even though you only worked 4 days. Reality was that the employees still worked 5 days a week but the companies demanded 6 or 7 days of finished product in the 5 days, for no more pay. Then of course the companies could ‘let go’ some of their workforce because they didn’t need them anymore. The employment issue has just grown from there as more and more computers and machines have taken over jobs that humans used to do.

 

I have spoken of the world Stock Markets before, how I believe that they are nothing but a Ponzi scheme and a curse to the working class, the working poor who labor in these corporations who are on these ‘Markets.’ Some will argue that throughout the years that they have been buying and selling stocks and bonds that they have been able to amass a ‘nice little retirement fund’, yet in reality all of a persons profits that they have amassed over the past thirty years can easily be wiped out in one or two hours on this same ‘Market scheme.’ Little people like us working class folks at best get the crumbs that fall off of the ‘Boss Mans’ plate. We are no more than dogs licking their floor and their shoes. What takes you or I 30 years to amass the ‘connected’ make in one 5 minute transaction.

 

When there are lets say 4 billion working age poor people (ages 16-70) but there are only 2 billion actual jobs that need a humans hands to do, what will happen to the other 2 billion people, and all of their families, all of the children? The Republicans in the U.S Congress often refer to things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Aid For Dependent Children, unemployment checks, VA Disability checks and even the VA itself as “entitlements” as “Welfare”, things that must be “defunded”, “stopped.” Why is this? The answer is simple, it takes away from the money that flows to the top end of the financial class. The Republicans say that they are the “Christian right” yet their actions are as anti-Christian as you can get in American politics. Do not get me wrong, I am no fan of the Democratic Party either with their platform of murdering babies (pro-abortion). Both ‘Parties’ are pure evil, they will both do everything that they can to make sure that the American people never get to have a viable 3rd or 4th political party and the reason is simple, that would take away from their power and they aren’t about to let that happen.

 

When there is not enough jobs for the poor people to do, not even slave labor jobs, who is going to house and feed these people if they can’t get an income? Is the top 1% going to just ‘give’ these people money from their bank accounts? When there is 7 billion people on the planet but only enough food or clean drinking water for 6 billion, who is going to get that food and clean water, the poorest of the poor people? Really? If you really think so, how naive you are my friend! In this new world that is on our doorstep, indeed kicking down our doors right now, you are either the lead dog, or you are daily looking up the lead dogs ass, drinking their piss for water and licking up their shit for food. In this regard, for the poor, this new world that we are all hurtling into, thousands, then millions, then billions of people will be fighting for a position behind these lead dogs just so they can stay alive. Those who refuse will not be fed and housed, we will be exterminated!

 

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