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News & Politics Thread (Part 5)

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    The2ndAvenger
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    I have to defer to your analysis, as I know little of Amash, just that the majority of his support goes the Democrats, like Flake and McCain.

    I mean, it depends on what you mean by “the majority of his support.” Amash votes in line with Trump 63.8% of the time. (For reference, Jeff Flake did so 81.3% of the time and John McCain did so 83% of the time. On the Democratic side, Pelosi votes with Trump 18.6% of the time and Chuck Schumer 24%). He consistently gains high ratings from organizations like the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America, Americans for Prosperity, and FreedomWorks (though they’ve backed off from him due to his criticism of Trump).

    Mitt Romney is now a footnote.

    “We are all footnotes at best in the annals of history, but in the most powerful nation on Earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that distinction is enough for any citizen.” – Mitt Romney

    Gold Derby is a free society. Freedom of speech lives on Gold Derby and thank you Mr. Tom O’Neil.

    Sweet!

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    The2ndAvenger
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    Wearing a mask is a sign of slavery When persons being held as slaves were accused by their masters of insubordination, or of eating more than their allotment of food, they might expect to be fitted with an iron muzzle. In his autobiography, Olaudah Equiano described his first encounter with such a device in the mid-1700s. . . “I had seen a black woman slave as I came through the house, who was cooking the dinner, and the poor creature was cruelly loaded with various kinds of iron machines; she had one particularly on her head, which locked her mouth so fast that she could scarcely speak, and could not eat or drink. I [was] much astonished and shocked at this contrivance, which I afterwards learned was called the iron muzzle.” Today we have the burka and the N95, or the N36 according to Biden.

    What is your point here? That every mask ever is now a sign of slavery? Pretty sure masks existed before all that. What qualifies as a mask? A muzzle, I thought, was different from a mask. So is a burka.

    BILL GATES IS NOT Bill Gates has inserted himself into the national dialogue as a self-proclaimed coronavirus sage who will lead the world out of dark times through a digitally-assisted brave new world of testing, contact tracing, and of course – a vaccine. Sure, my Dad was on the board of Planned Parenthood – an organization founded by a eugenecist, and yes, I’ve talked about the need for population reduction for years. And sure, I want you to take my vaccines and get chipped. And ok, maybe India kicked us out after our immunization campaign was blamed for paralyzing 490,000 kids. And yeah, there was that whole ‘coronavirus pandemic’ simulation my foundation spearheaded late last year which modeled 65 million dead. BUT, hear me out…’ No sane person would take a vaccine from this misbegotten demiurge.

    Don’t entirely disagree, but FWIW you should probably read this article.

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    Keytobsenly
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    The2ndAvenger
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    Wow. Pretty blatant over here.

    I read this pro-vax pro-Gates propaganda. Snopes and Dispatch are nothing but sellout shills for the vaccine industry. You need to factcheck the factcheckers…try following the money trail. It is a massive problem that non-democratically elected Bill Gates shapes our democracies with “philanthropist” billions. Gates pushed the idea of the pandemic of the century. He even suggested in a recent interview, that the opening up should not come until there is a digital immunity proof documenting who is vaccinated or not. I assume the vaccine would be Gates-owned as the coronavirus strain that’s currently spreading throughout China and abroad is a patented virus that’s owned by an entity called The Pirbright Institute, which is partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A close look at the patent page shows that the Pirbright Institute owns all sorts of other virus patents, including one for African swine fever virus, which is listed as a “vaccine.” It is thus no surprise that Bill Gates is a Pirbright Institute financial backer, seeing as how he’s one of the most aggressive, vaccine-pushing “philanthropists” on the planet.

    Snopes is a fact-checking site. The Dispatch is a conservative news outlet that also fact-checks some things. To my knowledge, this is the first (?) article they have ever written about vaccines.

    The Pirbright Institute does not hold a patent for SARS-CoV-2. It holds a patent for a weakened form of Coronavirus that could potentially be used as a vaccine for birds. Coronavirus, it must be noted, is a broad term for a certain type of virus, anything from the common cold to MERS-CoV.

    I don’t agree with everything Bill Gates says, but I don’t think he’s trying to profiteer from the Coronavirus.

    We are all involved in an orchestrated disaster. Last year China was experiencing its poorest economy since ’76, due to Trumps balancing of trade discrepancies, as with NAFTA. China couldn’t take it so they retaliated brilliantly, from a Machiavellian perspective, and happily infected the world. Taking down Donald Trump was priority one, but weakening the West was number two, and they have succeeded to a small degree. Our culture is far more formidable than they imagine. China is unicultural as far as the CCP are concerned, and that is a major fail. (Major is actually spelled majour, in the Queen’s English) I will not wear a stupid mask I go out each and every day to buy a coffee or chocolate bar or lottery ticket or to feed the ducks/geese/seagulls/herons etc I and my beloved go to get fresh eggs/veggies/ shrooms/ cream/bread/fruits/and sundries grown and made here, daily as well I will not get a vaccine made from aborted human cells, monkey brains and more disgusting ingredients than you can imagine I will not comply

    So … did China start it or did Bill Gates? Make up your mind.

    I doubt China purposefully started it (though they may have carelessly done so). Why would your retaliation be releasing a really bad flu on your own people? Seems kinda dumb to me.

    I did not know that about majour. Good to know!

    Then, you announce that you will not comply, thus doing … exactly what China wants? Which is to get everyone sick?

    And while I believe that abortion is disgusting and that it should not be used for research purposes, vaccines aren’t made out of aborted babies. They’re made out of weakened diseases and viruses. You may want to research that.

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    The2ndAvenger
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    We are in the midst of a plandemic. Who started it is legion. The timing is impeccable when you wish to remove an anti-globalist. China’s economy was at 1976 levels (due to the Presidents moves to equalize horrible trade agreements) and they had to do something about it. To sacrifice a small portion of their own population to infect the world is practical..to the CCP and Emperor Xi. The USA knew Pearl Harbor would be bombed, they needed Pearl Harbor to be bombed, so they could enter the WW2 fray. I am enraged that I live in ‘interesting times’. I was 8 yrs old during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and it seemed the world would end. We were taught to ‘duck and cover’…if you see a bright light, duck under your desk. And now we are in a cower and hide universe…fuck that! Please note: I live in a rural community in south-eastern Ontario…my neighbours are a half mile and quarter mile away, so social distancing is automatic. I put no person at risk and I still have a decent life. I am having a hard time imagining being under house arrest. I suggest that you do your research on the composition of vaccines… ” they do use aborted dead baby (foetus to the soulless) cells in vaccines”

    OK, but if China really wanted to hurt the world wouldn’t they use something more dangerous than Coronavirus, which you yourself seem to think isn’t that big of a deal. And the odds of China and Bill Gates and others conspiring are just about nil.

    Also, as a student of history, I assure you that the US Government did not purposely have Pearl Harbor bombed.

    You live in Ontario? I kinda assumed you were American… but whatever. Doesn’t really matter. I guess you’re lucky… I live in a city and it’s pretty miserable right now.

    I did do my research, my dude. Vaccines, by definition, are simply weakened strands of a certain bacteria or virus. Now – admittedly – some of those viruses were harvested from cells taken from two aborted babies sometime in the 60s. Which is unethical and horrible. But the babies themselves are not ingredients. Nor are monkey brains.

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    Atypical
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    Trump still seems to not understand how bad the coronavirus crisis is

    (CNN) Three months in — after a million infections, nearly 60,000 US deaths and a potential economic depression — it’s still unclear whether President Donald Trump grasps the gravity of the coronavirus crisis.

    The man who said he knew more about ISIS than the generals and claimed to have stunned dumfounded aides with his scientific acuity prides himself on a mystical instinct to make right calls.

    Yet Trump’s leadership in the worst domestic crisis since World War II has consistently featured wrong, ill-informed and dangerous decisions, omissions and politically fueled pivots.

    “Many very good experts, very good people too, said this would never affect the United States,” Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Tuesday. “The experts got it wrong. A lot of people got it wrong and a lot of people didn’t know it would be this serious.”

    Such comments are typical of Trump’s consistent habit of blaming others for his own poor judgments. For the record, senior Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official Nancy Messonnier warned on February 27 that it was inevitable the disease would reach the US and could be “bad.”

    The President’s deflections on Tuesday are typical of his wider political method of evading responsibility by bending the truth and of creating distractions. They play into what is apparently his most pressing concern — massaging his own reputation. Such tactics helped him ride out the Russia scandal and impeachment.

    But in the depths of the current disorientating times, the deeper liabilities of the President’s political approach are being exposed. A hostility to details, a resistance to accepting the advice of experts and for learning the messy intricacies of a crisis that interrupted his own narrative in election year.

    Bolstering such an impression, the Washington Post reported for instance that multiple references to the threat from the novel coronavirus were embedded into Trump’s classified briefings. Either he didn’t read them or he chose to ignore them.

    Trump’s initial failure was to downplay the seriousness of the crisis. But his management of the situation ever since then has raised questions about the extent to which the President has appreciated the multi-front challenge facing the United States and the world.

    Humanity is facing three crises at the very least — medical, economic, and social — that will cause financial and geopolitical reverberations for years.

    The grim state of the economy was underscored Wednesday morning when it was reported that first-quarter GDP fell 4.8%, the worst contraction since the Great Recession.

    Yet Trump says he sees “light at the end of the tunnel” and acts as if America is nearly home free.

    The President’s minimizing of the current crisis is also shared by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who predicted that by July the country will be “really rocking again” in a Fox News interview Wednesday.

    “The goal here is to get people back to work,” he said. “The eternal lockdown crowd can make jokes on television but the reality is, is that the data’s on our side and President Trump has created a pathway to safely reopen our country.”

    Doubts about the seriousness of the administration’s response were also revealed in a more trivial, yet still telling, episode on Tuesday when Vice President Mike Pence flouted CDC guidance and chose not to wear a facemask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Pence explained that he is frequently tested for Covid-19 so was unlikely to be an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.

    But he missed a chance to set an example to the rest of the country.

    Trump’s comments contradict his own experts

    Trump’s comments on injecting disinfectant last week were ridiculed. But they were a sign of something more than the usual Trumpian storm. They were remarks of a President who often appears unprepared, riffs on intricate issues and hasn’t done the homework to master details of a complicated emergency.

    Similarly, Trump urged governors on Monday to seriously consider reopening schools, CNN reported. But he didn’t appear to have considered implications of millions of kids gathering, spreading the virus and infecting older, more vulnerable family members in a manner that could fuel the pandemic. His comment was consistent with an apparent conclusion that the worst of the pandemic has passed and that the virus, which scientists say is lying in wait for reopening, is simply gone.

    Even if the looming clutch of state openings do not cause a second spike in the virus, public health experts fear that in the absence of a vaccine it will return with a vengeance later in the year. Not Trump.

    “I think what happens is it’s going to go away. This is going to go away. And whether it comes back in a modified form in the fall, we’ll be able to handle it,” he said in remarks that may again amount to underestimating a potential threat.

    One of Trump’s top medical experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been far less enthusiastic than Trump about the lackluster US testing effort appears far less optimistic.

    “If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well. If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter,” Fauci said on Tuesday during an Economic Club of Washington webinar.

    The President is again pushing aggressively for states to get back to business quickly — despite balking at Georgia’s aggressive plan last week.

    “Many States moving to SAFELY & QUICKLY reopen!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, showing little appreciation of the huge gamble with health and lives governors are taking without the safety net of a blanket testing program Trump has declined to provide.

    The terrible choice facing political leaders

    A wrenching national conversation is needed, ideally led by the President, about the relative impact of the pandemic and the job destroying lockdowns ordered to stop its spread. Political leaders must consider what level of infection and ultimately death is acceptable in a modern society in order to protect basic levels of economic viability. These are crushingly difficult issues that no official expected to face when they ran for office.

    But there is no sign that Trump is about to engage on that issue with the public whose confidence will be needed to make any economic rebound sustainable. Every world and local leader is facing these agonizing choices. But given US power, influence and historic leadership of the Western world, a special burden of responsibility is often seen to rest on the shoulders of the man in the Oval Office.

    Any normal President who made a prediction that a miracle would sweep a pandemic away, only to see it infect a million Americans over a couple of months, would be politically shattered. President George W. Bush’s failures over Hurricane Katrina look trivial by comparison. Yet Trump is protected in his bubble of unknowingness by a conservative media machine that attacks anyone who contradicts his comments.

    Misleading over tests

    The administration’s questionable commitment to addressing the nuts and bolts of the emergency have been evident in its repeated promises and failures to scale up the kind of massive testing effort that could help pry open the economy without the risk of a major resurgence.

    Trump appears to have convinced himself that the lack of tests that his own experts and governors say are needed to trace and isolate new infections to stop a resurgence are mere distractions.

    “There are big believers in testing, and then there are some governors that don’t feel as strongly about it at all,” Trump, said Monday.

    Such comments make it seem unlikely the President has read the multiple think tank studies or expert opinions that millions of tests per day are needed to beat the pandemic or is interested in guidance that contradicts his pre-cooked view of the pandemic being close to its end.

    Trump prefers to boast about the true fact that the US has tested more people than any other nation, which he did again early Wednesday morning.

    “The only reason the U.S. has reported one million cases of CoronaVirus is that our Testing is sooo much better than any other country in the World. Other countries are way behind us in Testing, and therefore show far fewer cases!,” Trump tweeted.

    But his sincerity is undermined by the reality that other smaller countries have tested far more people per capita. The US has tested 16.4 tests per 1,000 people, according to the a new Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development report, below the OECD member average of 23.1 tests per 1,000 people and trails Spain and Italy. America does, however, lead the UK and France.

    The President’s forecasts for the economy also don’t seem to appreciate the depth of the slide. His predictions of “spectacular” growth in the next few quarters and an economy that will take off like a “rocket” sit uneasily with warnings by a top adviser, Kevin Hassett, that the country could be heading for Great Depression levels of unemployment.

    There is also debate about the President’s observance of another aspect of his role as head of state — his willingness to console the country at a time of mourning. Trump usually mentions those who died and says they will not be forgotten during his scripted remarks at the start of press conferences. But he most often talks about the dead in terms of what he says are lower than projected final death toll models after the pandemic. And he has taken to arguing that his efforts — which were belated — might have saved a million lives.

    There are no guarantees another president of either party would have done a better job in this time of testing than the unconventional Trump.

    But it’s almost certain that he or she would have made a far greater show of mastering the details and would — even for their own political protection if nothing else — have done far more to prepare the country for the trial ahead.

    This story has been updated to include comment from Kushner.

    CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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    Pulitzer Prizes announced today!

    FICTION

    The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
    A spare and devastating exploration of abuse at a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida that is ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity, and redemption.

    Finalists:
    The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett (Harper)
    The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

    DRAMA

    A Strange Loop, by Michael R. Jackson
    A metafictional musical that tracks the creative process of an artist transforming issues of identity, race, and sexuality that once pushed him to the margins of the cultural mainstream into a meditation on universal human fears and insecurities.

    Finalists:
    Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery
    Soft Power, by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori

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    New coronavirus case counts are going down in almost half of US states. But it’s too soon to celebrate

    (CNN) First, the good news: In 24 states, the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day is generally going down.

    In 17 states, the numbers are holding steady, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. And in nine states, the numbers of new cases are still rising.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate and take off face masks in public.

    As states remove more stay-at-home restrictions, it will take weeks to learn the health effects.

    A poll shows most Americans aren’t yet ready to return to their regular routines.

    And a new study reveals the virus can be spread just by talking, with airborne particles lingering for eight minutes.

    As of Thursday, more than 1.4 million people in the US have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 85,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

    “The virus is still spreading everywhere”

    Rick Bright, senior advisor with the National Institutes of Health, warned there’s still not enough testing capability in the US.

    “The virus is still spreading everywhere,” Bright told the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday.

    Bright was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a government agency that procures vaccines for the national stockpile.

    Bright claims his ouster was retaliation for his criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, including Trump’s touting of the drug hydroxychloroquine.

    “There were some attempts to bypass that rigorous vetting process that caused me great concern,” Bright testified.

    But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar slammed Bright’s claims, saying he “literally signed” the application for FDA authorization of hydroxychloroquine.

    CDC has reopening “decision trees”

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released six so-called “decision trees,” aimed at helping workplaces, communities, schools, day cares, camps and mass transit decide when it’s safe to reopen.

    Documents posted to the CDC’s website provide step-by-step guidance. For example, employers are advised to encourage social distancing, handwashing and intensified cleaning.

    “The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers,” one reads. “It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”

    The decision trees are very similar, with small adjustments to account for the differences between schools, for instance, and restaurants.

    By Friday, at least 48 states will be partially reopened.

    Wisconsin is among the latest after the state Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order Wednesday, calling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable.”

    It was a victory for Republican state lawmakers, who said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order to May 26. Those lawmakers said the order would hurt companies and cost residents their jobs.

    Less than an hour after the court’s decision, some revelers celebrated by going to bars. Many ignored health officials’ guidance to stay 6 feet away from each other.

    “First thought, we flipped it right into the parking lot,” Matt Griffin, a customer at The Buzzard’s Nest in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb, told CNN affiliate WTMJ. “And yeah, we’ve got to get in and have a first drink.”

    Not everyone was comfortable opening. The majority owner of the Milwaukee LGBTQ+ bar This is It! told CNN that while he wants to open, he also wants to keep customers and staff safe.

    “The Wisconsin Supreme Court may be a legal authority, but is not a public health authority,” George Schneider said.

    “You wouldn’t take medical advice from a butcher, right? You’d go to your doctor.”

    States consider reopening summer camps

    Some state officials have taken steps toward allowing some typical summer activities in the coming weeks.

    Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced her state would allow summer and youth camps to operate in-person beginning June 29, with strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines, such as keeping children in small groups of 10.

    While this is just a goal and subject to change, Raimondo said she believed opening camps was important for kids’ “mental and emotional and intellectual development and health.”

    Similarly, Connecticut officials aim to reopen summer camps on June 29 and open summer schools in July, Gov. Ned Lamont has said.

    New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Wednesday that youth summer programs would be allowed with restrictions, such as daily temperature checks, a limited 5:1 child to adult ratio and maintaining 6 feet of distance.

    Meantime, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said beaches will be open by Memorial Day weekend, with capacity restrictions and social distancing. Organized sports, beachfront summer camps and other events that draw people to the beach will remain prohibited.

    Doctors across the country are being warned by the CDC about a troubling new syndrome that seems to be affecting children after they were infected with coronavirus.

    Hospitals and clinics in at least 18 states have reported cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. At least 150 children are under investigation, most of them in New York.

    A 12-year-old girl survived cardiac arrest. Doctors say she had Covid-19 and a Kawasaki-like disease

    “There is limited information currently available about risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment for MIS-C,” the agency said.

    “CDC is requesting healthcare providers report suspected cases to public health authorities to better characterize this newly recognized condition in the pediatric population.”

    Some children have been affected by the virus while battling Covid-19 or after healing, but experts can’t say with complete confidence that both conditions are linked, Dr. Jake Kleinmahon, a pediatric cardiologist at Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans, who has treated at least one case of the syndrome, told CNN.

    But reports from Europe and from several cities in the US show a link, health experts say.

    Expect more cases of strange coronavirus syndrome in kids, doctors warn
    Symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation and poor function in organs such as the kidneys or heart. Children might also have blood vessel inflammation, such as red eyes, a bright red tongue and cracked lips.

    The condition has been described as similar to Kawasaki disease — another inflammatory disease most commonly diagnosed in children — and toxic shock syndrome.

    Study provides new details on air droplets

    A new study reveals talking releases small respiratory droplets that linger in the air for at least eight minutes, potentially explaining why the coronavirus spreads faster in confined spaces.

    Talking loudly for one minute in a confined space could generate at least 1,000 speech droplets containing Covid-19 particles, according to an estimate by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania.

    “These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments,” the study says.

    CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Liz Stark, Sergio Hernandez, Steve Almasy, Shelby Lin Erdman, Maggie Fox, Matthew Hoye and John Bonifield contributed to this report.

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    Richard Burr to step down as Intelligence Committee chairman

    Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is stepping aside as chairman of the influential Senate Intelligence Committee while he’s under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Thursday that Burr “contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation.” McConnell said Burr’s resignation as chairman will be effective at the end of the day on Friday.

    Burr’s decision to step down as chairman is a stunning development for the North Carolina Republican, who has led the Senate Intelligence Committee through its three-year investigation into Russian election interference that’s nearing completion and affirmed the intelligence community’s conclusion Russia was trying to help President Donald Trump’s candidacy.

    Shortly after McConnell’s announcement, Burr told reporters he was resigning as intelligence chair because “this is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members and I think the security of the country is too important to have any distractions.”

    Burr said he has been cooperating with investigators “since the beginning” and will let the investigation play out. Burr has given no thought to resigning from the Senate, he said, and he does not believe he exercised poor judgment with his stock trades. He’ll remain a member of the Intelligence Committee.

    Burr is stepping down after the FBI served his lawyer with a search warrant and Burr surrendered his phone Wednesday, a senior Justice Department official told CNN. The use of the search warrant had been signed off at the highest levels of the Justice Department, as is protocol, the official said.

    The Los Angeles Times first reported the warrant.

    McConnell did not announce who would replace Burr atop the Intelligence Committee. Senate Majority Whip John Thune said Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the panel, was likely to become interim chairman. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch of Idaho is next in line in seniority, but Thune said he “doubts” Risch wants to give that post up.

    Thune said Burr “did what he thought was in the best interest of the conference,” but he added that Burr deserves his day in court.

    Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s top Democrat, declined to comment on Burr’s resignation but said he “got a heads up from him.”

    Burr said he explained his decision to the Senate Republican conference at its closed-door lunch Thursday that he did not want to be a distraction.

    “He was supported,” said Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

    Burr sold up to $1.7 million in stocks on single day

    Burr came under fire in March when it was first disclosed that he and his wife made nearly three dozen stock trades worth between $628,000 and $1.7 million on a single day, February 13, according to Senate filings, representing a significant portion of his stock portfolio.

    As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr has received classified briefings on the coronavirus outbreak in addition to closed-door briefings all senators had access to as the virus spread.

    Coronavirus Markets Dashboard
    Burr has said that he made the trades using only publicly available information, not classified briefings. But he asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review the sales in March.

    Congress passed the Stock Act in 2012, which explicitly made it illegal for members of Congress to trade stocks with inside information. There’s no public evidence that Burr broke the law or violated Senate rules with the trades.

    In addition to the trades Burr made on February 13, the senator’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, sold six stocks worth between $97,000 and $280,000 on the same day as Burr. Fauth is a member of the National Mediation Board, which deals with aviation and rail commerce.

    Burr’s attorney, Alice Fisher, said last week that Burr did not coordinate his trades with Fauth.

    “From the outset, Senator Burr has been focused on an appropriate and thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate,” Fisher said in a statement Thursday.

    Burr is one of several senators who were scrutinized for their trades made in January and February before the market tanked after the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy and forced businesses to shutter. CNN reported in March that the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission had contacted Burr as part of a review of lawmakers’ trades.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, was contacted by the FBI about sales her husband made in a biotech company in January and March, her spokesman said. Feinstein, who has said publicly she had no involvement her husband’s stock trades, was asked basic questions by law enforcement about the transactions and provided additional documentation to show she was not involved, according to her spokesman.

    Feinstein said she never had a conversation with the FBI and has not heard back from them after answering their questions. “I’m pretty scrupulous,” she said about how she keeps separate from husband’s business dealings. “I don’t even know, we don’t discuss.”

    Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican who was appointed to her Senate seat late last year, also faced public scrutiny for trades she and her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, made in January and February. Loeffler, who is up for reelection this year, said she had no involvement in the trades made by a financial adviser. She and her husband announced in April they were selling their individual stocks so they would not be a distraction amid the pandemic.

    Asked if Loeffler had been contacted by the FBI, a Loeffler spokesperson said: “No search warrant has been served on Sen Loeffler. She has followed both the letter and spirit of the law and will continue to do so.”

    “That’s too bad,” Trump says

    When Burr’s trades were made public it March, there were calls for the North Carolina Republican to resign not just from watchdog groups, but also conservative allies of the President, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.

    Trump’s allies are still unhappy with Burr for issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. last year as part of the committee’s Russia probe. They also take issue with the committee’s bipartisan finding that the intelligence community’s assessment was sound that Russia was trying to help Trump win in 2016.

    Trump told reporters Thursday that he had not yet heard about the news Burr was stepping down. “That’s too bad,” he said.

    Asked whether he’d discussed the investigation with the Justice Department or anyone else, Trump said, “I knew nothing about it, nothing about it. No I never discussed it with anybody.”

    Asked Thursday if he thinks he was targeted for his work on the Intelligence Committee, Burr said: “I’m not going to comment on the investigation — you have to ask them about the investigation.”

    Republican senators, meanwhile, reacted cautiously to the news of the FBI’s search warrant for Burr, saying that the investigation had to play out.

    “He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence just like anybody else, and I know he’s asked the Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation as well. So, the best I can tell he is trying to do the right thing by the Senate,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican in Senate leadership.

    Burr’s fellow North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for reelection in 2020, declined to weigh in on whether Burr should remain chairman in a radio interview Thursday before Burr stepped down.

    “I do believe as I said before he owes us all an explanation and I was well aware of the fact that an investigation is moving forward, we just need to see where the investigation ends,” Tillis, said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

    Burr’s trades in March prompted calls for the North Carolina Republican to resign from conservative allies of the President, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Trump’s allies are still unhappy with Burr for issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. last year as part of the committee’s Russia probe.

    Senate Republican conference rules state that chairs should step down if they are indicted, but the rules do not make reference to senators who are under investigation.

    Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, stepped down as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2015 after he was indicted. He returned to that post in 2018 after the Justice Department dropped the corruption charges against him.

    Menendez, informed by a reporter that Burr was stepping aside, told reporters Thursday Burr made a “good decision” at this point, that the “proper” call was to step aside as Intelligence chair.

    The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said on CNBC Thursday that it was “premature” for him to comment on the investigation into Burr.

    “I don’t own any stocks. I’ve told my colleagues in the Senate at the very least it creates the appearance of a conflict, so it’s better not to own any. But I cannot comment on Burr until I know the details,” Schumer said.

    This story has been updated to include additional background information and reaction.

    CNN’s Ted Barrett, Lauren Fox, Evan Perez, David Shortell and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

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    The2ndAvenger
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    Who is the worst governor the USA has ever had?

    Well, there are a lot of options, but Henry S. Johnston of Oklahoma was impeached and removed in 1929 for “general incompetence” which seems like it would be kinda hard to outdo.

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument." - William Gibbs McAdoo

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    Emmyfan
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    Emmyfan
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    Finally a small step in the right direction, but the other three need to charged as well. I won’t be satisfied until all four are convicted

    https://news.yahoo.com/minneapolis-police-officer-derek-chauvin-173454594.html

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    Atypical
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    George Floyd: Donald Trump under fire as violence flares across America

    David Smith in Washington
    THE GUARDIAN
    Published: 13:22 EDT Sunday, 31 May 2020

    The chaos and crisis engulfing America came to the president’s doorstep on Saturday night, as protesters chanting “I can’t breathe” and “Fuck Donald Trump!” clashed with the Secret Service and police outside the White House.

    It was a visceral warning that after three years of relative peace and prosperity, Trump is in danger of being overwhelmed by cascading disasters: the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken more than 100,000 lives, an economic slump that has cost 40m jobs, and rising social unrest.

    “If there was ever a time we need leadership in the White House, it is now, to help heal our nation,” Democratic congresswoman Val Demings told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “But I don’t know why I would expect this president to do something that he has never done before and we have never seen before.”

    The capital was no exception to nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was killed on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.

    People gathered outside the White House on Friday night and returned on Saturday, facing a barricade formed by the Secret Service, parks and city police and their vehicles. The executive mansion resembled a fortress.

    Protesters knocked over steel barriers and threw fireworks and bottles. Officers used batons, riot shields and pepper spray. After hours of relative calm and a peaceful march through the city, the situation deteriorated around midnight, as demonstrators were driven back by tear gas.

    Breaking into small groups, some set cars ablaze, smashed windows with bats and rocks and looted shops downtown. At the front of the Oval Room, a ritzy restaurant where guests have included former presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, a protester sprayed red paint: “The rich aren’t safe anymore!”

    From Atlanta to Chicago to Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, there were similar scenes as peaceful daytime protests were followed at night by fires and looting, police firing rubber bullets and tear gas. There was a demand for courageous moral leadership, to find a way out of the malaise by offering unifying grace notes.

    But Trump, who forged his political identity in racist conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s birthplace, has proved unable to articulate the accumulated pain of black Americans over 400 years of slavery, segregation and police brutality, now exacerbated by a pandemic that has taken a disproportionate toll on communities of colour. Instead he has resorted to a series of tweets that critics found divisive, inflammatory and self-serving.

    On Friday he branded the protesters “thugs” and warned: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a historically loaded phrase that Twitter hid behind a warning, accusing him of glorifying violence. On Saturday he claimed the Secret Service had been ready to deploy “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen” on crowds outside the White House.

    He has also blamed the media, Democrats including Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis and an anti-fascist movement known as Antifa. On Sunday afternoon Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night. The Antifa-led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly. Should have been done by mayor on first night and there would have been no trouble!”

    He added: “The United States of America will be designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization” – a tweet for which the legal basis was not immediately clear.

    With an election less than six months away there are fears that Trump, who ran on the slogan “Make America great again”, is motivated more than ever by what plays to his support base, encouraging him to pour fuel on the fire of racial division with a law-and-order crackdown.

    Robert Reich, a former labour secretary now a Guardian columnist, tweeted: “More than 100,000 Americans dead, the highest unemployment since the Depression, America in flames, the national guard deployed. Make America Great Again was a sick hoax.”

    In such a dark hour, an American president might be expected to address the nation. Trump had no such plans on Sunday. David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W Bush, told CNN: “Well, that’s good, this president’s shouldn’t speak because what could he possibly say?

    “He’s already spoken. He’s already conjured up the image of dogs attacking protesters, one of the most powerful anti-civil rights images this country has. That’s what’s on his mind. He’s identifying with the people who unleash dogs on protesters.”

    Frum added: “Donald Trump’s authority is slowly draining away. He still has the power of the presidency but none of the moral authority.”

    Trump has a long history of racially divisive rhetoric, including his response to deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when he drew moral equivalence between white nationalists and anti-fascist protesters. As on that occasion, few members of his own Republican party have spoken out to condemn him.

    Democrats complained of a leadership vacuum. Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, told CNN’s State of the Union: “He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks, and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet.

    “Or if he can’t be silent, if there is somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray that he reads it and at least says the right things, because he is making it worse.”

    Trump’s re-election hopes had already been damaged by impeachment and his handling of the pandemic. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Democrat Joe Biden leading Trump to 53% to 43% nationally.

    Biden said in a statement: “Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us.”

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    Emmyfan
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    Everyone needs to register to vote. Trump needs to be voted out of office.

    Amy Klobuchar should not be selected as the VP.

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