Trump’s tax case

The Supreme Court ruled the President may be issued a subpoena for evidence from Congressional Committees and any Prosecutor in the country.   There is no blanket immunity because Trump is president.   This assertion of absolute immunity from the issuance of subpoena was part of the claim made by Trump.   Most legal experts felt Trump would lose on this point.    Trump attacked both the Supreme Court and the New York prosecutors who issued the subpoena;

“The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue,” Trump wrote. “This is all a political prosecution. … I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration! … Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”

Trump went into this great conspiracy nonsense later on Fox News.   The judicial system is disgraceful when they they investigate his close associates.  Actually, the justice system is doing their job when they prosecuted Manafort, Flynn,  Stone, and Papadopolous.    Trump can rant and rave all he wants on Fox News.   What is so abundantly clear, is that when close associates of Trump don’t cooperate with prosecutors, then they are good people and don’t deserve to go to jail.   But those who rat on him, are the bad people (like Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer) and deserve their sentences.   Even Roger Stone admitted that his sentence was commuted from 40 months in jail to zero, because he kept his mouth shut.  This stinks to high heaven.

The truth of the matter, is that our judicial system is doing just fine.   The damage done is repairable, which I hope can happen after the November elections.  The court case in practical terms, was a win for Trump, because he doesn’t have to release his taxes prior to the election.  In fact, experts say there the cases could stretch on for a long time perhaps late 2021.  The broad subpoena from Congress will have may never be executed.

The Supreme Court very rarely has to rule on subpoenas from Congress because some accommodation is worked out.  The Supreme Court in their ruling has laid down certain criteria for executing subpoenas against a president, to really protect the president and also to allow appropriate requests from Congress and prosecutors to be executed.   I believe what was particularly important to Chief Justice Roberts was that this ruling included three conservative, Republican nominated justices (Roberts, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch) along with the four liberal justices on the court.

Having the subpoena issue pushed off to next year is likely for the best.  If the Supreme Court has enforced the Congressional subpoena, I believe it would be damaging to Trump just before the election. He could blame his defeat on “political prosecution.”   Oh gee, he’s already claiming this!

It isn’t political prosecution or harassment.   It is equal application of the law for everyone.  No absolute immunity for Donald Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

I’ve copied a few opinions on the Supreme Court case.   The opinions are on the supremecourt.gov website.

NYT Opinion:  The Supreme Court Lets Trump Run Out the Clock

Politico: Supreme Court splits on Trump tax cases, potentially shielding returns until after election

Washington Post: Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may pursue Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pa

Voting Fraud

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!   Donald Trump’s Tweet, June 22.

The above tweet from Trump is total  nonsense.  It should be shoveled into a pooper scooper.   Twitter has flagged some of Trump’s more outrageous claims.

I and my wife are mailing in our ballots in the 2020 presidential election.  Many citizens will do the same in Florida.   We do not have to be absent from Miami to get one. It is expected that many people will use the mail in option with the Covid-19 risks.  Unfortunately, many others may not vote at all.  In 2016, 43% of eligible voters did not vote.

Voting fraud is extremely rare.  Investigations have uncovered cases, but never a systematic abuse.   The principal safeguard in election is voter registration, which gives officials opportunity to weed out any invalid voters.  See links below.  A study by the Washington Post found 0.0025% of votes were fraudulent.   So, given a million voters, we might have 25 votes that were not acceptable.  Sometimes valid votes are not accepted because people over time change their signature.

There are research groups who will, for a fee, find cases of voter fraud.  People who are guilty of committing a felony may not know that they are ineligible to vote.  This depends on the state they live in.  So, they are a handful of people committing “accidental” voter fraud, because if they had known, they would have never voted.  This is a minuscule number of voters.

Some people may still like to show up at the polling stations, because they are concerned their vote will not be counted.  There is some truth to this.  If their ballot does not show up before the deadline, the wrong return envelope is used or the signature does not match the one on record, then the ballot will be rejected.  About 1% of all mail-in ballots are rejected.    But, all properly sent in ballots have to be counted.

So, please ignore everything Donald Trump says.   Two reasons he is saying this:  (1) Higher turnout favors a Democratic win and (2) He can claim the election was rigged if he loses.

Please Vote 2020.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Analytical modeling from Moody’s showed Trump’s chances of winning were significantly higher when voter turnout is low, based on historical trends.

Click to access president-election-model.pdf

Washington Post: Minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in states with universal mail voting undercuts Trump claims about election risks

Washington Post:  Here’s the problem with mail-in ballots: They might not be counted.

New York Times Arrested, Jailed and Charged With a Felony. For Voting.

New York Times: The Facts About Mail-In Voting and Voter Fraud

Fact Check:  Trump’s Latest Voter Fraud Misinformation

 

 

Supreme Court Decisions – 3 Down and one biggie to go.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”    Trump’s tweets, June 18, 2020.   (Referencing the court’s decision in favor of the DREAMers, see last link)

The reference to Second Amendment rights is really pretty weird, because the Supreme Court refused to hear 10 petitions regarding gun rights, letting these issues be resolved in the lower courts. In the current term, due to expire very soon, there are no gun rights cases.

Trump has lost 3 cases in a row.  He loves to brag on how he’s backed the courts with conservative judges,  but in these cases, at least one has sided with the liberals on  the court.   The cases that were decided against Trump were:  (1) The Louisiana abortion restrictions case (2)  DACA legality case and (3) LGBQT discrimination case.   You can’t win a case in the Supreme Court unless a Supreme Court Justice nominated by a Republican president joins with the liberals.  If Biden wins,  I suspect Ginsburg will retire, so we will still be 5 conservatives and 4 liberals.

The most recent decision, the Louisiana abortion limitations case,  was decided in favor of the liberal minority, because John Roberts, normally a conservative, decided to join them.   Roberts concurred with the decision, but wrote a separate opinion, defending the decision based on the “Texas Case.”     Simply put, like cases should have like outcomes.   It is called “stare decisis.”

The Supreme Court made its interpretation of the Second Amendment in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.   Based on Heller, any  town, city or state  which passes a rule or law, which renders a gun not readily usable for the owners protection in their home has violated the Second Amendment, and judges must declare these rules to be unconstitutional.   For those who own guns and want to keep them in their homes for protection,  the Supreme Court ruled on this more than a decade ago and the doctrine of “stare decisis” will ensure that these rights are preserved.    Voting for Biden or Trump won’t change a thing.   The liberals on the court  believe strongly in stare decisis, because without this, the conservative majority could undo many decisions, including gay marriage, the right to an abortion and desegregation of schools, to name a few.

The big ones, coming any day now, are 3 lawsuits aimed at release of Trump’s taxes (Trump v. Deutsche Bank,  Trump v. Mazars, USA,  Trump v. Vance).    I think at least one of these, is going to succeed.  From what I understand it, the DOJ has opined that a sitting president can not be indicted,  and the extension of this, is that a sitting president may not be investigated for criminal actions.   Sort of blanket immunity.   We will see soon enough how far this blanket will stretch,

So in advance, let me re-tweet Donald:

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of me.”

If he’s got to give up his taxes, he will not exactly go gently into the night.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Wikipedia:  2019 to 2020:  Supreme Court Pending Cases

NPR:  Supreme Court Hands Abortion-Rights Advocates A Victory In Louisiana Case

NPR: Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees

NPR:  Supreme Court Rules For DREAMers, Against Trump

CNBC:  Supreme Court decides not to hear big gun-rights cases, dealing blow to Second Amendment activists

The DNC v-Convention

The Democratic Convention will be from August  17 to 20, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.   Officials have announced that the actual event will be scaled back due to the Covid-19 epidemic.   The delegates do not have to fly to Milwaukee, stay at hotel rooms, go to packed arenas, meet with others in photo ops  and sit together in numerous meetings, etc.  A convention is an epidemiologist worse nightmare.    Delegates can stay home and vote remotely.   For the health of the delegates, and their entourage, volunteers,  the press, the residents of Milwaukee and really for the state of Wisconsin, I think it’s a terrific move.

I believe the convention should be renamed the v-Convention as in the virtual convention.   Officials should play up this internet event, as not scaling down the convention but scaling up it by placing it on the internet.  The primary purpose of both the Republican and Democratic conventions is marketing of their candidate and bashing the opposition.   Recently, it seems more time is spent on the latter.  The Democrats can claim a health conscious convention and connect with voters in this manner.

I’ve also suggested to the DNC, that this should be called the v-Convention or Convention in the Clouds.   It can be amazingly successful, with live streams of supporters in all the key states.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book – Part 3

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” writes Bolton, who left his position in September.  APF press reports, “Bolton writes that Trump, who came from the worlds of real estate and show business, was inclined to offer ‘personal favors to dictators he liked.'” These excerpts taken from Bolton’s book  have been repeated dozens of times.

John Bolton will be interviewed by Martha Raddatz, tonight June 21 at 9;00 pm ET on ABC.   It is an one hour program.   

John  Bolton served under three presidents (Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush  and G.W. Bush) prior to his 17 months as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor.  I saw him very frequently as a commentator on Fox News, during the Obama administration.   He was always very quick to explain why Obama’s policies, particularly on the Iran Nuclear Deal, were completely wrong.  A summary of his experience is provided in the first link at the bottom of this blog.  According to Wikipedia, “Bolton is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Fox News Channel commentator. He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”

I expect my book to arrive on Tuesday.   Shipments to booksellers have begun.  Legal action to block the book publication appears to  have failed.   But the court case isn’t over.  In the end, Bolton may lose the 2 million dollars that he was promised.  I’m thinking this could easily linger in the courts for a long while.

I am certain Trump admired Bolton’s combative style, his nationalistic approach to foreign issues  and conservative views.  I think Bolton’s way of skewing facts to his favor, really helped him convince Trump that he would be an asset to his administration.     His time at the UN showed that he was not a particularly diplomatic representative to the UN and could be very blunt.   I suspect this is why Trump selected him to head up the National Security Agency in 2018.   At a moments notice, John Bolton could present a clear and concise defense of any of Trump’s foreign policies.

Trump reminded everyone at a press conference that Bolton was not confirmed as Ambassador to the UN in December 2006 under the Bush administration after serving in the UN for 5 months.  What he fails to mention that the Senate was controlled at that time  by the Democrats in late 2006.    Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, on the Senate Foreign Relations  Committee opposed Bolton.  Bolton had been considered as a poor choice by Democrats as he had supported Bush in the Iraq War, but was  strongly supported by conservative Republicans and George Bush.   As stated in the link below,  at press conference, the President Bush said, “I received the resignation of Ambassador John Bolton. I accept it. I’m not happy about it. I think he deserved to be confirmed.”

I’m not particularly upset that Bolton chose to release all he know no and not during the impeachment inquiry.   In Bolton’s book, he states the impeachment inquiry was  too focused on Ukraine.   But Bolton is wrong.  Had the inquiry been broader, the evidence would have been weaker, and the Republicans in the Senate would have been accusing Democrats of making wild accusations.  Come to think of it, they did any way and tried to disparage the witnesses who had testified in the House.      They brought up the fact that the numerous Democrats thought Trump should be impeached based on Russian interference and his obstruction of justice related to the probe, then switched to Ukraine where there evidence was rock solid.

Had Bolton agreed to testify in House, Trump still would have been acquitted in the Senate.  No amount of evidence on the Ukraine scandal  could have changed the verdict.   This was re-iterated in the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg,   “That Bolton did not testify to this earlier is to his immense disgrace. But it is a national disgrace that his confirmation of the Democrats’ impeachment case probably won’t matter, so inured are Republicans to staggering corruption.”    In fact, according to excerpts in the book,  Bolton felt acquittal in the Senate was a done deal, and if the Republicans had been  allowed subpoenaed him, Trump still would have been acquitted.  I’m paraphrasing this a bit.

I would have liked it even better if Bolton had released his book in August 2020, as Trump was really trying to rev up his base support.    From the beginning, I was not a big fan of the impeachment inquiry, because it was as clear as day,  Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, regardless of the evidence.   I said the proper way to get rid of President Trump was through the ballot box in November.

Vote, 2020.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

Links:

Bolton, John,  The Room Where it Happened ($19.95 Hardcopy, available June 23, 2020 Amazon Prime).  Accepting pre-orders.

Wikipedia Link:  John Bolton

APF: John Bolton’s explosive charges against Trump

(There are many copies in circulation among journalists, so many posts like the one above can be found on the internet)

Propublica, John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him
Please note this article appeared when Bolton was in March 2018, when Trump announced Bolton’s appointment as National Security Advisor.

Time, John Bolton’s Temper  (Please not the date of this article,  April 25, 2005)

 

 

Bolton’s book – Part 2

Seems everybody knows what’s in this book, entitled “In the room where it happened” that I could just as well read the excerpts.  Fox New quotes Chris Hayes (MSNBC commentator) for criticizing John Bolton, but they carefully cherry pick Chris Hayes’ comments.   Of course, all this discussion is occurring when not a single copy has been distributed to the public.   What seems to really upset Chris Hayes, is a statement within the book, which blames the Democrats for failing to impeach Donald Trump, with a narrow focus on just Ukraine.   Bolton had his chance to set the record straight four months ago in front of Congress and he didn’t.   But, I think he and just about everyone else knew that once in the Senate, impeachment would fall short of the two-thirds majority as required to send Trump packing.   So, he chose the book rather than the grilling in front of Congress.  If he had chosen to  testified,  the Republicans would have attacked Bolton, despite his life long allegiance to the Republican party.

To correct the record, see below for all the comments made by Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/bolton-blames-democrats-for-failed-impeachment-despite-refusing-to-testify-85295173778

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book is coming

John Bolton served as National Security Advisor to Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019.  He refused when asked to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, in the impeachment inquiry.   Interestingly, he was never subpoenaed to testify,  His book, entitled  “The Room Where It Happened”  will be  distributed on June 23, 2020.   Release has been delayed several months in order to obtain a security clearance.  After nearly 6 months, no security clearance was given, and the publisher decided to proceed without it.

I ordered a copy from Amazon, and hope they will deliver my copy on June 23, 2020 as promised.  I have not read the other books by John Bolton, but just by their titles, I know he advocates a more militant posture for the US, particularly in our relations to Iran.   John Bolton was a very frequent guest on Fox News as was KT McFarland, typically critical of President Obama’s foreign policy.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Justice, as reported below by CNN:

Trump said Bolton would have “criminal problems” if the book was published as is. The lawsuit filed Tuesday is a civil suit, and carries no criminal penalties. Initially, Attorney General William Barr did not confirm that his department was preparing a lawsuit but said the administration was focused on getting Bolton to complete the clearance process for publishing books.

At the end of the CNN article as given below, there is a link  to the DOJ civil complaint.   If this were a criminal charge, the lawsuit would have cited violations of rule 18 US Code 798, “Disclosure of Classified Information” and charged  John Bolton or the publisher of releasing information which damages the interests of the US.   The lawsuit claims John Bolton violated his non-disclosure agreement.  The remedies for this breach are generally monetary.

According to the DOJ lawsuit, the process to obtain clearance was an iterative one, beginning in December 30, 2019.  In the DOJ filing, it is stated that, “In late January 2020,  … [it was]  confirmed in writing [by the NSC reviewer, Ellen Knight] that the chapter in question contained significant classified information.”    This indicates it was not the entire book, but just one chapter that the reviewer was concerned about.   The lawsuit also reveals that on April 27, 2020 this NSC reviewer had concluded that the book contained no classified material.    It is very clear from the filing, that there was a very active period between mid February to April 27, 2020 when the book was being revised to eliminate classified information.  On April 28, 2020,  NSC decided to cut off this interaction,  and Bolton was simply told the process was ongoing.    Anyone reading the DOJ filing can feel that John Bolton was being given the run around, after close interactions with Ellen McKnight.

What happen after April 28 is clear from the filing.   Ellen Knight’s expedited review process was the normal process.   She worked with John Bolton to make the necessary changes so the manuscript was good to go.   Likely, a lot of factual details had to be removed.  The “chapter in question” as identified in January 2020,   containing classified information,  I am assuming, was the one on the Ukraine scandal leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump.   The  White House did not  want to see the book published, so they restarted the entire  review, not wanting a single sentence to be published.   It was no longer a chapter, but the book in its entirety that was under a new review.   On May 1, 2020, this new review  can only be described as a slow boat to China.  Michael Ellis holds the title of Senior Director of Intelligence Programs.  He assumed the position in March 1, 2020, and on May 1, 2020 began his review.   This time around, there were no meetings or phone calls with John Bolton or his lawyer.    It sure looks as if this was a desperate attempt to stop the publication of the book by the White House as, unlike the Knight’s review,  Ellis simply informed Bolton that “the process is ongoing” and that he was bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement.  Unlike McKnight’s review,  Ellis kept Bolton in the dark.

I have read the complaint.   The DOJ lawsuit  does not accuse either John Bolton nor the publisher of  committing the crime of disclosure of classified information.    No lawsuit has been filed against Simon and Schuster, so there is nothing preventing them from printing the book.   Everything Trump says or does as President is not automatically classified and former employees have First Amendment rights.

In fact, the DOJ filing, provides sufficient evidence that the government did not expeditiously and in good faith work with John Bolton from May 1 to June 7, 2020 to revise or remove any classified information.  They basically stonewalled him for 5 weeks, after the book had been with the NSC for 5 months.  The  second phase of the review was simply to push approval to after November 2020.  If the book was in praise of Trump, it would have been out the door in days.  Certainly, Nikki Haley’s book faced no long term scrutiny.

The court case will be a civil lawsuit, as whether Bolton breached his non-disclosure agreements and what remedies are appropriate.  It will be a drawn out process.    As part of the remedy, the lawsuit asks the court to instruct the Bolton to tell Simon and Schuster to destroy all the pre-print copies of the book, if he can.  Just not going to happen.

I will get my copy of The Room Where it Happen.  Amazon, Simon and Schuster and of course,  John Bolton will get more publicity than they can imagine.  Amazon will publish two more books, one by Trump’s niece in July 2020, Too much is never enough,  and the second book by H.R.  McMasters entitled, Battlegrounds.   See links below.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

 Links:

Trump Administration  sues Bolton over Book Dispute (includes a link to the lawsuit)

From Amazon:

John Bolton: The Room Where it Happened (June 23, 2020)

Mary Trump:  Too much and never enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man (July 2020)

H.R McMasters:  Battlegrounds:  The fight to defend the free world,  Sept 2020

 

Covid-19 hits South America hard

Covid-19 is exponentially increasing in  Peru, Brazil and Mexico.   Covid-19 has the capability of doubling the new cases in 2-3 days.  Each infected person gives it to 2-3 people before they become so sick that they are confirmed infected.  The lax attitude of their leaders is partially to blame.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/americas/latin-america-coronavirus-intl/index.html

If anything has proven effective, it is lockdowns including travel  and social distancing, whether we like it or not.   Someone with Covid-19 symptoms must immediately be isolated.

Covid-19 is worldwide, and international cooperation, including the WHO and aid organizations, is critical.  I am hoping that a vaccine can be found which is safe, effective  and easily accessible to everyone in the world.  If not, it will come back to China or  Europe, and we will see a second wave.  World problems are solvable when we pull together.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

 

 

 

Covid-19 Positive News on a Vaccine

The government’s initiative to help vaccine development under project “warp speed” is commendable.    Out of the hundreds of laboratories around the world, in vaccine development,  they are backing the five most promising candidates.   The success will depend on excellent international cooperation.   One reason why Dr. Fauci and others have constantly been saying it takes between 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine, is because it must:   (a) Be safe for the billions of people likely to take it and (b) Be effective in preventing Covid-19 and (c) Be easily available worldwide at low cost.   So in sum, the vaccine must be:

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Available in large quantities and at a  low cost

The development process right now is being fast tracked in a highly  unique manner.   Traditionally it’s safety first, then effectiveness and finally availability.  The way they’re speeding up the process is to do all three at once!  I was very surprised when I saw a Facebook posting by a dear friend, that the  Oxford University vaccine (AZD1222) was set to begin human trials with 2,000 volunteers  in São Paulo,Brazil this month.   Having just posted how to unreliable anything is on Facebook, I did some research and found out to my surprise, that it was 100% true.   The Oxford University vaccine received a grant from the Lemann foundation to fund 1,000 volunteers.   Screening and testing does not come cheap.  The individuals must be free from Covid-19 virus, as determined by tests, and be medical workers in São Paulo,

This good news continues.   Oxford University is already conducting tests  with 10,000 volunteers in Britain.   The problem with Britain is that the chance of contracting Covid-19 is low, so knowing the vaccine is working is difficult.   I guess scientists felt the city of Sao Paulo would provided additional evidence that the vaccine actually works.   Oxford has teamed up with AstraZeneca,  a very large pharmaceutical company (market cap = 143 billion USD) to manufacture the vaccine.  AstraZeneca says it has the capacity to make 2 billion doses by the end of the year.  AstraZeneca has agreed a $750 million deal to produce 300 million doses with international foundations the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.   A second agreement, with Serum Institute of India, will allow the leading vaccine manufacturer to make 1 billion doses for poorer countries, with 40% of those to arrive by the end of 2020.   It was just recently announced the potential global supply of a potential coronavirus vaccine has been doubled to 2 billion after a deal including $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of course,  making a vaccine before it is proven effective and safe is risky.  But the intent is excellent and the generosity of the Serum Institute,  Gates Foundations and other others is just incredible.   Besides Oxford, there are many other companies,  including Moderna,  Gilead,  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson developing vaccines.   Novavax received Department of Defense funding to produce 10 million doses of their vaccine in 2020.

So, the vaccine research, development and production are roaring ahead. Exactly how this plays out is anyone’s guess.

Covid-19 is a global problem and we need global solutions.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Links:

https://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AZN&source=story_quote_link

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/05/24/oxford-professor-lowers-coronavirus-vaccines-odds.aspx

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/06/04/astrazeneca-to-produce-2-billion-doses-of-its-coro.aspx

 

Free Speech and Social Media

The power of social media is huge.   In a survey, 19% of all Americans say they follow Donald Trump’s tweets.  Fact checking websites show that the worst lies come from anonymous social media bloggers on Facebook and Twitter.   Donald Trump comes in a close second in terms of lies, with only 4% of his statements being 100% true and an incredible 69% of his statements being mostly false, false or pants on fire according to Politifact.

Twitter has never refused a tweet from  Donald Trump.  Even when he’s attacking Twitter,  it  all goes through exactly as he sends it, and the 19% of our population can read his lies.  Often his lies are then supported on conservative commentary on cable news (Fox and OAN to name a couple).

However,  Twitter attempted to discourage false information by adding a label on his tweet.

What you need to know
– Trump claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.” However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.
– Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.
– Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.

Simple and factual.   Trump really stepped over the line by saying anybody can get a ballot.  His comment of a rigged election can be considered an opinion, based on false information.    Please read this stuff.  Worse, cable stations repeat this.  A friend of ours was repeating exactly the same story, because it was all over the news.

I remember how one “prominent doctor” on Facebook in Brazil, all people had to do was to take zinc pills to prevent Covid-19.   Go dancing, drinking, etc and take zinc.  No thanks.  Brazil just passed 25,000 deaths as we passed 100,000.  Their outbreak started after ours.

Social media allowed Trump to promote  hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a preventative and possible cure of Covid-19.  It was neither and those people so gullible to believe him, could have risked their lives, as the medication actually increases the chance of dying from Covid-19.  And yet, cable network shows (it is not responsible journalism) like Fox News and OAN were blasting other the liberal media for not letting folks know there was this quick and safe treatment for Covid-19.

Executive orders from the White House will not shut down social media.  Our First Amendment allows Twitter to add labels as they see fit, and  also for Trump to post obvious lies with immunity.

I am hoping the real push back will come from 80 million Americans who  recognize this stuff from Trump is false (or Fake News as he likes it).    We will have open and free elections.   No, the liberal media are not hiding some quick solution to Covid-19.  The quack cures for Covid-19 were harmful to ones health.

I do not send or receive tweets.  To me, that’s like bathing in a river of slime. (see Ghostbusters II).   I am quite frustrated by people who think they can become informed by reading this stuff.

I’ll end this blog by repeating some of my favorite fact checking sites.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Factcheck.org

CNN Fact Check

Politifact.com

Snopes.com

How Covid-19 pushed Twitter to fact-check Trump’s tweets

Washington Post:  Trump lashes out at social media companies after Twitter labels tweets with fact checks

Covid-19: Going for the long game

Anger and quick solutions go hand in hand.   It’s reactive.  It’s frustration and a feeling of loss control.     Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 342,000 people worldwide.  The US death toll is 100,000 and grows everyday.   Whether we are on the increase or decrease, all depends on where you live.  In Russia and Brazil, Covid-19 is increasing exponentially.   Residents are directing their anger at President  Bolsonaro of Brazil, who downplayed the risk of Covid-19.   It seems he’s in the Bob Marley camp of “Don’t worry about of thing, everything little thing is gonna be alright.”   Bolsonaro downplayed the Amazon forest fires.

Anger has a bad habit of blocking out reason.   If you’re pushed, the tendency is to push back.   And then, what is accomplished.

So, who do we blame.?  The enemy is not China, not Bolsonaro, not bats, not bad test protocols, or not bureaucrats.  It’s not WHO or Obama or Democrats.  We could certainly start with ourselves and the highly connected world that serves our needs.

We need a larger perspective.  This is not the last pandemic.   Next time, it may come from South America, Africa or Asia.   If a disease is hosted initially by a mosquito. bird or bat, it doesn’t take much to take the next leap into humans.  If  a disease can hide its symptoms, is highly infectious and enters a large city, like Wuhan with 11 million residents, we will be in trouble again.   Millions of travelers come to our US gateway cities.  I know, I live very close to Miami International Airport.

Bill Gates was way ahead of us all as he said the next major tragedy for the planet will not be war.  Disease was more likely to cause more fatalities than war.  Famine is another planetary threat.  One scientist put it this way:

“The public health and climate debates are really inextricably linked,  In our highly connected world, a disease that originated 3,000 or 6,000 miles away can be at our doorsteps in a day or less. So, the way that we mobilize against COVID-19 needs to be reflected in the way that we mobilize against that other big global affliction called climate change.”

Simple put, what goes around, comes around.  And a little too close for comfort.

I think this video clip  from Bloomberg is very important, in understanding the World Health Organization.   Trump praised both China and the WHO in January 2020.  Then, he targeted them, and it is definitely the wrong time to pull funding.  Absolutely wrong.

Why the WHO went from trusted to targeted

They had no authority to halt flights from China.  They had to rely on the information from China.  I think for the most part China has been honest on what they could have done better.  There’s no question that there was time lost getting all the right information on the threat of Covid-19 but this was due to local bureaucrats in Wuhan.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

 

CNN: Cornered by the coronavirus, Trump returns to a familiar strategy: Attack Obama

These are several commentaries worth reading:

Cornered by the coronavirus, Trump returns to a familiar strategy: Attack Obama

Trump’s $200 billion trade deal with China already at risk due to coronavirus

Donald Trump’s legacy may be he turned a recession into a depression, just like Herbert Hoover did in the 1920’s.

Trump White House Changes Its Story on Michael Flynn

State Department inspector general becomes the latest watchdog fired by Trump

Authorities in Wuhan ‘didn’t like to tell the truth,’ top Chinese adviser says

I found this article very interesting. because Dr.  Zhong Nanshan could level blame at local officials within Wuhan and still keep his job.  Good lesson for Trump that wrongdoing is better out in the open.

Dave

 

Abbott’s miracle Covid-19 testing toaster

When I read about the Abbott new testing equipment, I thought wow, this as a real game changer.   It was small as a toaster.  It could in a matter of minutes let people know if they were positive with Covid-19.

This good news turned to very bad news, when studies indicated that  the test was unreliable due to a high rate of false negatives.   This is scary stuff.    Those who have received erroneous test results may not seek proper medical treatment and not go into immediate isolation.  This can result in further spread of  the disease.     Valid tests are particularly important in the case of high risk individuals of which I am one, due to my age. If I were to contract Covid-19, I would definitely want early treatment, and the only anti-viral out there is remdesivir.   So, exactly what the test promised,  early treatment and less spread of the disease, could easily result in just the opposite, delayed treatment and more spread.

Donald Trump endorsed the miracle tester, which counts for nothing. Sorry.  False negatives are really serious, because everyone receives the wrong diagnostic.

The Abbott miracle has turned into the Abbott nightmare.   I hope there is some immediate resolution whether this new test equipment is sufficiently reliable for general use.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/14/856531970/fda-cautions-about-accuracy-of-widely-used-abbott-coronavirus-test

In today’s breaking news

A friend of mine posted a picture of Walter Cronkite,  to Facebook.  For those too young to know, Walter  Cronkite was the anchorman at CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1980.  He was nicknamed “Uncle Walter.”   Older Americans will remember his sign off line ” And that’s the way it is …” followed by the date.  CBS news was 15 minutes long until 1963 when it was expanded to 30 minutes.  Walter Cronkite would generally read the news accompanied by pictures or videos.    News stories were very short,  because it was just the  facts, not opinion.  We never knew whether Uncle Walter was a Democrat or Republican.  ABC, NBC and CBS simply were our eyes and ears into the world, but would not try to form opinions for us.  They were able to squeeze in sports and weather into the short 30 minutes.

The reason for my friend’s posting was obvious.  Today we have “news shows”  which are more filled with commentary than actual news.  They are targeting certain audiences.  Conservatives like Fox News and One American News (OAN).  MSNBC and CNN generally have commentators critical of Donald Trump, which liberals enjoy.     But there are many examples of outstanding reporting in MSNBC and CNN.  I also watch the BBC which has more of a global focus.   I read the New York Times print edition, and online edition of  Washington Post, New York Times and  Miami-Herald.  Yet to do research, I often just go to Google and hit the News icon.  I consider these newspapers are well worth the money if I really want all the details.   I just found out that General Flynn and I attended the same university but 8 years apart.

I will not differentiate between “Mainstream Media”  and “Alternative News” as Donald Trump seems to do,  They are all multi-million dollar corporations, so they are all mainstream.  They are all contending for national market share, so this distinction is meaningless.   Fox News and OAN are by far the most biased, often leaving out significant parts of the story so they can push a particular point of view.

Yesterday, the top stories were so evident:  (1) A 3 trillion dollar aid stimulus package for Covid-19 was  likely to have problems passing in the Senate (2) Recent events in the continuing saga of General Flynn in Judge Sullivan’s court, and (3)  Whistle blower Dr. Rick Bright’s testimony in Congress.  Each of these 3 stories were given very different levels of importance.  In fact, with the General Flynn story,  the details between

#1 story:   I’ll begin with the 3 trillion dollar Covid-19  stimulus package.   Washington Post gives the facts and the really grim statistic:  “Live updates: House to vote on $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill; U.S. death toll surpasses 85,000.”  The bill was announced 2 days ago, and it will be voted on today (Friday).

Fox News on their website tells you right off that it is a bad package:    PARADE OF ABSURDITIES;  McConnell blasts Dems $3T proposal for stimulus, but makes prediction.   So,  you know Donald Trump opposes it, because Mitch McConnell as the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate opposes it.

#2 story: Next up, is the next chapter in the General Flynn saga, which began in January 2017 with an FBI interview.  As I hope most Americans know, General Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and offered to  cooperate with the Mueller’s Russian probe, and in return would be given a lenient sentence.  Then, once the Russian probe was completed, Flynn got new legal team, and a new strategy evolved  asking the judge to withdraw his guilty plea  and he was actually tricked into making false statements.   Many felt he was doing this in hopes of a Presidential pardon.   The false statement charge meant he could spend either no time in jail or up to six months.  Next.  the Department of Justice under AG Barr decided to drop  the charge against Flynn, but  Judge Sullivan decided on Thursday not to go along.

New York Times was right on the mark with its headline: Judge Appoints Outsider to Take On Justice Dept. in Flynn Case.  A retired judge will also examine whether the former national security adviser committed perjury.  The Times story continues:

The federal judge overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn appointed a hard-charging former prosecutor and judge on Wednesday to oppose the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case and to explore a perjury charge against Mr. Flynn.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s appointment of the former judge, John Gleeson, was an extraordinary move in a case with acute political overtones. Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to investigators as part of a larger inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Mr. Flynn later began fighting the charge and sought to withdraw his guilty plea. Then last week, the Justice Department abruptly moved to drop the charge after a long campaign by Mr. Trump and his supporters, prompting accusations that Attorney General William P. Barr had undermined the rule of law and further politicized the department.

Now that’s just good reporting.   It brings us up to date.   The Times goes into more detail about former judge John Gleeson.  They also note that the action of Judge Sullivan’s action has been criticized, as an extreme departure from normal procedures.  So, their story is balanced.

CNN has the Flynn case in its headline news,  but begins with Judge Gleeson and his role in the persecution of  John Gotti (Mafia boss) case,  Reporting in CNN and Washington Post are very similar.

A very different news story is headlined today in Fox’s reporting.  The focus actually has nothing to do with what happen in Judge Sullivan’s court,  but is totally focused on a Donald Trump’s tweet.   Fox News large headline news “Trump wants FBI’s original ‘302’ report on Flynn case, says former adviser ‘persecuted'” .   The 302 report would be an FBI notes taken during the interview in 2016.  The whole Fox News story is not news at all, because the DOJ wants the charge dropped against Flynn because they consider the false statements unimportant to a legitimate FBI investigation.

So, if you follow Fox News, you might think important information somehow vanished, and of course, one would want comment from the FBI director, Christopher Wrey or the Department of Justice.  Of course Fox just shoots and asks questions later.

#3 story:  Whistle blower   Dr. Rick Bright, who testified in Congress yesterday on the various treatments for Covid-19, and his claim that there were some attempts to bypass’ a vetting process for hydroxychloroquine.  I would not characterize his manner as a “disgruntled”  but more as a frustrated medical expert in infectious diseases, who had to watch as the top leaders ignored his warnings.

CNN gives the latest headlines “Rick Bright plans to start his new job working on coronavirus treatments and vaccines next week.”   (see link)  Others like the New York Times and Washington Post give excellent summaries of the hearing.

Fox New- I don’t see anything on the Fox News website except a short video: “Trump did everything that Bright said he should do.”

It would be fine if they reported that Trump believes he did everything that Bright said he should do,  but this is just another biased opinion from Fox News.

_______________________________________________________________

Three events happened yesterday.  Each were told differently.  On the whole, I believe Uncle Walter would have liked CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post reporting, rather than the Fox mix of commentary and selected elements of the news to support the commentary.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Link:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/14/politics/richard-bright-new-job-hhs/index.html