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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
April 23, 2020

Trump's Criminal Inaction Increased U.S. Coronavirus Deaths By 90 Percent

The president's idiocy and inaction has killed thousands of Americans, and he must be forced to pay for it.


WASHINGTON, DC -- As some of you might have observed, I watch all of Donald Trump’s evening press conferences, or what I’ve been calling the “Trump Show.” I’m watching his Wednesday show as I write this and, so far, it’s about as successful as “Toonces the Cat” trying to drive a car. In fact, I’ve developed a ratings system on a scale of one-to-ten for each episode, ten being full crazy-eyed “Mad King cocaine ragegasm” and one being “somber, so somber, monotone Biff.” For what it’s worth, his April 4 Trump Show was the most recent ten score, while most have hovered in the six or seven range. Nevertheless, by now we’re all aware of Trump’s gambit with these things. Not only are his press conferences an opportunity for him to flood the zone with his gigantic pumpkin head, appearing across most news networks, and, for a while there, the broadcast networks, too, but it also allows him to fully control the news cycle.

Indeed, most of the political press stops what they’re doing to watch the Trump car fly off the ledge. With only a few exceptions Trump’s given both viewers and reporters fresh chaos to choke down during the dinner hour. One of the topics that Trump’s constantly circling back to -- you know, those mental glitches in which he gets caught up in repetitive verbal loops -- is the American death toll from COVID-19. When he does, he tends to do this thing where he talks about cutting the numbers in half until he arrives at the number of soldiers killed in the American Civil War, around 650,000. I have no blessed clue what he’s getting at here, but lately, once he pulls out of his verbal nosedives, he’s been landing on a death toll in the range of 50 to 60,000 Americans. At one point earlier this week, he twice mentioned, straight up, 50,000 deaths -- total. Considering we’re at around 45,000 deaths as of this writing, we’ll probably surpass 50,000 by Friday and 60,000 by the end of next week, with more deaths occurring thereafter.

or a while there, Trump was engaged in the “Scotty from Star Trek” strategy, deliberately overestimating the death toll so that when it ends up being lower than, say, one to two million, he looks like a hero. But now, he’s gravely underestimating the number, making himself look immensely foolish -- for the gazillionth time because Trump always makes things worse for Trump. But the impact of his underestimated number is that it reinforces his casual attitude toward the spread of the virus. Fewer deaths means lower risk. Whatever the death toll ends up being, Trump’s head-games with the numbers end up distracting from the reality that his own criminal inaction for upwards of a month managed to worsen the crisis by augmenting the death toll. A study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation determined that Trump’s slow-on-the-uptake response worsened the death toll by as much as 90 percent.

In other words, the death toll would’ve been 90 percent lower had Trump called for social distancing and other measures just two weeks earlier. Two weeks. One week earlier would’ve likewise meant a 60 percent reduction in deaths due to the coronavirus. Put another way, if Trump had acted one week sooner than he did, if he had acted on March 9, the projected death toll would’ve topped out at around 23,000. Two weeks sooner, on March 2, the date of the last public Trump rally, and the death toll would’ve been 6,000. Sadly, there’s no way to undo Thanos’s snap in real life -- there’s no way to bring back the tens of thousands of Americans who died due to Trump’s criminal negligence -- his hideous and unforgivable compulsion to protect the economy and therefore his re-election chances instead of taking responsible measures when it really mattered. Of course he’ll tell you he closed the “border” to China, but this one teeny-tiny decision was the least he could do without doing nothing. 40,000 Americans traveled from China to the United States after the ban, while most of the coronavirus cases originated with infected people traveling from Europe, not China.

April 23, 2020

A New Supreme Court Justice Could Swing Criminal Justice Decisions In Washington

What G. Helen Whitener does next will shape whether Washington State moves in a more progressive direction.


Governor Jay Inslee made his third appointment to the Washington Supreme Court last week, elevating G. Helen Whitener, a judge on the Pierce County Superior Court. In joining a supreme court that has recently driven major criminal justice reform, and that is generally progressive but often divided, Whitener could determine how boldly it proceeds in years ahead. Whitener replaces Justice Charles Wiggins, who retired last month. To keep the seat, she has to run in the November general election and then again in 2022, when Wiggins’s term would have ended. Three other justices are up for re-election this fall as well.

Her appointment has drawn attention for boosting the representation of marginalized groups. She is a Black, gay, and disabled immigrant from Trinidad. With her appointment, Washington’s Supreme Court is the most diverse appellate court in the country. Whitener also adds range in terms of professional experience. She had been a trial court judge since 2015, and before that served as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, including as a public defender in Pierce County’s Department of Assigned Counsel. The judiciary, including both state and federal courts, is littered with former prosecutors. Former defense lawyers, and public defenders in particular, are significantly underrepresented.

Mary Kay High, the chief deputy in that Pierce County office, noted that criminal defense is “not the typical path to the bench.” She believes Whitener’s diverse professional background will play a crucial role on a court with justices regarded as liberal but fiercely independent. As a superior court judge who previously represented people harmed by prosecutions, Whitener recognized how the criminal legal system’s punitive aspects can be unjust and counterproductive, setting people up to fail and remain trapped in the system. Last year, for instance, she said the fines and fees attached to criminal convictions “have accumulated at a ridiculous rate.” She stressed that judges have broad discretion over most fines and fees and should only impose such obligations when people can afford to pay, taking into account a person’s income and other financial obligations. “We can’t on one side say we’re helping people who are leaving our prison system, and then burden them with all of these fines,” she said.

In that same interview, she also advocated against incarcerating youth offenders for so-called status offenses, which only apply to children — like skipping school, running away from home, and underage drinking — echoing state advocates’ calls to treat kids like kids. She added, “these children are experiencing trauma of some sort, and incarceration is not the answer for dealing with that situation.” Washington, which had an exceptionally punitive system with regard to status offense detentions, adopted a law restricting them in 2019. Whitener brings this sensibility to a court that has been repeatedly at the forefront of criminal justice reform over the last decade—though often without unanimity, and with room to go further, creating opportunity for a new justice to push the court in an even more progressive direction.

April 23, 2020

Dixie in the crosshairs: The South is likely to have America's highest death rate from covid-19

It has unusually unhealthy residents and few ICU beds


America does not face one covid-19 crisis, but rather dozens of different ones. A few places have been walloped; others remain unscathed. So far, sars-cov-2 has claimed most of its victims in areas where it has spread the fastest. Lockdowns have geographically contained most outbreaks. However, once social distancing is relaxed, the virus will accelerate its spread, and could infect a majority of Americans. If that happens, the places it hits hardest may not be those it struck first. Instead, the vulnerability of local populations will determine its death toll in each region.

Covid-19’s true infection-fatality rate (ifr, the share of infected people who die) is unknown, because most carriers are not tested. However, testing is more common for people whose cases are bad enough to endanger their lives: in New York 67% of people with covid-19 on their death certificate had tested positive. If the share of people without grave symptoms who still get tested were similar everywhere, places with high case-fatality rates (cfrs)—the death rate among people testing positive—would be likely to have high ifrs as well.

In fact, testing practices vary widely. And given two states with the same rate of infections and deaths, one that tests only the severely ill will report a higher cfr than will one that tests more broadly. However, within any given state, testing protocols are likely to be more uniform. As a result, we have built a model to identify the traits shared by counties with cfrs far above or below their own state’s average—and predict which places not yet ravaged by the virus will suffer most if it arrives in earnest. Some factors that affect viral spread also predict the cfr. It tends to be higher in cities than in rural areas, and lower where social distancing, as measured by traffic to workplaces and transit stations, is greater. One explanation is that health-care quality drops when caseloads surge. Places with few intensive-care-unit (icu) beds also have high cfrs, bolstering this hypothesis.

However, demography is just as important. Places with older residents and more diabetes, heart disease and smoking have higher cfrs. Race and income also play a role. Counties with lots of poor or black people tend to have more health problems, less social distancing and fewer icu beds. Yet cfrs in such areas are even higher than you would expect from these factors alone. Together, these variables leave a geographic footprint. If covid-19 does infect most Americans, the highest death rates will probably not be in coastal cities—whose density is offset by young, healthy, well-off populations and good hospitals—but rather in poor, rural parts of the South and Appalachia with high rates of heart disease and diabetes. Worryingly, the three states that announced plans this week to relax their lockdowns (Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina) are all in this region. ■
April 23, 2020

Breaking News New data on Gilead's remdesivir, released by accident, show no benefit for coronavirus

New data on Gilead’s remdesivir, released by accident, show no benefit for coronavirus patients. Company still sees reason for hope


The antiviral medicine remdesivir from Gilead Sciences failed to speed the improvement of patients with Covid-19 or prevent them from dying, according to results from a long-awaited clinical trial conducted in China. Gilead, however, said the data suggest a “potential benefit.” A summary of the study results was inadvertently posted to the website of the World Health Organization and seen by STAT on Thursday, but then removed.

“A draft document was provided by the authors to WHO and inadvertently posted on the website and taken down as soon as the mistake was noticed. The manuscript is undergoing peer review and we are waiting for a final version before WHO comments,” said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.

Gilead spokesperson Amy Flood said the company believes “the post included inappropriate characterization of the study.” Because the study was stopped early because it had too few patients, she said, it cannot “enable statistically meaningful conclusions.” However, she said, “trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease.”

The data (for details, see screenshot below) will be closely scrutinized but are also likely imperfect. The study was terminated prematurely, which could have affected the results. The context that would be provided by a full manuscript is missing, and the data have not been reviewed as normally occurs before publication.


April 23, 2020

People Are Finally Starting to See the Real Ellen DeGeneres and It Isn't Pretty

Replacing her own crew with non-union workers during the pandemic underscores how the talk show host’s cheery TV persona is miles away from who she is behind closed doors.


As America’s pre-eminent lesbian daytime talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres has attained a somewhat unlikely arena of ubiquity in mainstream entertainment culture. But in the past year, there is evidence emerging that the tinge of mean-spiritedness that comes through in DeGeneres’ interviews and segments on The Ellen DeGeneres Show are consistent with a rumored behind-the-scenes demeanor. And now it’s not just a give-zero-fucks Dakota Johnson who is coming through with tales of the daytime media queen—it’s the workers. DeGeneres’ comedy and sitcom career famously came to a halt when, in 1997, she used an episode of her show, Ellen, to come out. Even Laura Dern, who played her love interest in the episode, reportedly couldn’t get a job for years afterward. Of course, both women have since seen comebacks that have catapulted them to stardom and riches, but Ellen has more recently received a kind of countercultural check.

Outside of her daytime audience and the celebrities she cavorts with, it appears that a good number of regular people—including several of the people who have worked for her and served her in other ways—reportedly find her to be reliably cruel. There have been rumor mills in the comedy and TV worlds about DeGeneres’ meanness for years. Late last month, a Twitter thread by comedian and podcast host Kevin T. Porter brought many out with first-, second-, and thirdhand stories about DeGeneres’ various transgressions, from refusing to make eye contact with interns to getting a waitress fired for having a chipped nail, and more. Almost none of these stories have been shared or confirmed by anyone still in the industry, but in 2014, former Ellen head writer Karen Kilgariff did share with Marc Maron that she was fired from the show after refusing to cross the picket line during the 2008 writers’ strike. DeGeneres has allegedly not spoken to Kilgariff since.

Earlier this year, DeGeneres came under fire for more public-facing actions. After photos came out of her laughing it up at a Dallas Cowboys game with former U.S. President George W. Bush, fans and critics expressed anger that the host would get chummy with the head cheerleader of the Iraq War (and a vehement opponent to gay marriage). DeGeneres dismissed the criticism by saying that liberals and conservatives should be able to reach across the aisle to be friends.

But more recently, it’s become clear that DeGeneres doesn’t quite extend that self-styled grace toward those who cannot escape by virtue of being the head of it: the incarcerated. Performing a monologue from her multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills home during the California coronavirus lockdown, DeGeneres cracked that being self-isolated “is like being in jail. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone here is gay.” Once again, viewers were incensed, and pointed out the obvious incongruity of the “joke”: As DeGeneres lounges in her enormous home, filming the show she earns $70 million a year to host, prisoners are being packed like sardines without any protective equipment as the virus spreads from guards to them, and even suffering beatings from some of those guards for daring to seek medical treatment.

April 23, 2020

One of the leaders of the Michigan protests is a convicted felon (election fraud) ex-Trump staffer

here is the OP that shows Brandon Hall is a leader of this



Donald Trump staffer found guilty of 10 counts of election fraud (the same Brandon Hall)

Brandon Hall faces five years in prison for the crime (my add, he got 30 days)


A man who worked on Donald Trump’s campaign in Michigan has been found guilty on 10 counts of election fraud. Brandon Hall, a political activist, forged signatures on petition forms in 2012 and now faces up to five years in prison.

The 27-year-old from Grand Haven, along with his friend Zachary Savage, forged signatures in support of judicial candidate Chris Houtaling.

Mr Savage received immunity from charges by the Attorney General’s Office in exchange for his testimony in this case, according to Grand Haven Tribune.

The High Court overturned the Michigan Court of Appeals and Hall was charged with felony, despite his defence arguing he should face misdemeanour charges due to a statement printed on the petitions.


Brandon Hall: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


3. He Runs a Pro-Trump Politics Blog

Brandon Hall describes himself as a “lifelong political nerd” on the politics blog he runs, West Michigan Politics.

Although Hall has not updated his blog since October, the website was extremely pro-Trump, with many of his recent posts being Michigan polls showing Trump ahead and anti-Hillary Clinton stories. In October, he wrote about accusations that the Democratic National Committee had engaged in voter fraud. He has also frequently complained about media bias on his blog, particularly after the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“By not getting caught in a single moment that can be singled out as horrendously bad, and looking presidential throughout, Trump wins what was essentially a tie debate,” Hall wrote. “The dishonest media spin afterwards carrying water for Hillary acting like she had a huge win was as sad as it was pathetic!”

Hall predicted several times that Hillary Clinton would underperformed in Michigan just as she underperformed in the state’s Democratic primary. This ended up being correct, with Donald Trump surprising pundits by turning Michigan red on November 8th.

4. He Was Previously Convicted of Stealing From a School Fundraiser

This is not the first time Hall was in trouble with the law. In 2010, he was convicted of stealing from a Grand Haven school fundraiser, according to The Independent.

At this time, Hall was a member of the Grand Haven school board, although he resigned after being accused of theft. This is how he came to know Chris Houghtaling, who was also a member of the school board and for whom Hall would go on to forge signatures two years later.

Hall was ultimately convicted of this misdemeanor. He unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Grand Haven school board four years later. He also unsuccessfully ran for the Michigan House of Representatives earlier this year, being defeated in the Republican primary.

April 23, 2020

Fox News Executive Tries To Rein In Stars As They Cheer On Anti-Lockdown Rallies


Fox News personalities have been cheerleading protesters across the U.S. gathering in defiance of state lockdown orders. This week, the situation became so extreme that a top executive at the network tried to rein in his stars. Fox News President Jay Wallace sent a directive Monday urging Fox anchors to take time on the air to remind protesters to practice social distancing, according to a senior executive at Fox. The executive said Wallace issued it at the behest of Fox CEO Suzanne Scott. Wallace and Scott declined to be interviewed for this story.

Public health officials say the coronavirus can spread easily when people are packed in tight quarters — including at these protests. Fox hosts have hailed the protesters for standing up for liberty and fundamental American rights, yet have rarely noted the risks involved in those very demonstrations. The hosts have, for the most part, been anchoring their shows from the safety of their own home studios.

Shortly after Wallace's guidance went out Monday, Fox host Harris Faulkner interrupted a guest who said the protesters were not opposing safety measures. Faulkner noted that the footage on the air at that very moment reflected demonstrators clustered closely together, sharing phones and cameras and failing to wear masks.

Few major media outlets have been so resolutely devoted to President Trump's fortunes as Fox News Channel. The crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has proved a test of that loyalty. And with few exceptions, Fox has passed with flying colors — in the sense that its most prominent figures have bolstered the president, even when he has taken a lurching, and at times seemingly self-defeating, approach to the crisis.

April 23, 2020

NYT : Poland and Hungary Use Coronavirus to Punish Opposition

The European Union seems helpless, even complicit, as authoritarian-minded governments cite the pandemic to consolidate their power.


BRUSSELS — Authoritarian-minded leaders around the world have used the coronavirus emergency to consolidate power. In Europe, the governments of Poland and Hungary have done that and more. They have managed to turn the crisis into a windfall and punish their political opponents, too. In a hasty effort to show that it was doing something to help during the virus crisis, the European Union repurposed 37 billion euros — about $40 billion — in structural aid funds, designed to help newer and poorer members, for virus aid. The result: Hungary and Poland each got considerably more money than virus-ravaged Italy or Spain.

Rather than punish two governments that have challenged the democratic values at the heart of the European project, the warped allocation of the money, with little oversight or requirement to respect the rule of law, looked more like a reward. It raised fresh questions about the European Union’s reluctance to criticize two governments that continue to flout the European standards of democracy and rule of law.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary is exercising emergency powers granted to him by the Parliament he dominates to deny opposition mayors sizable tax receipts in the name of new virus funding controlled by the central government. Poland’s government, led by the Law and Justice Party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is planning to go ahead with presidential elections on May 10, despite a virus lockdown that prevents opposition candidates from campaigning effectively. The government is pushing a bill to require all 30 million or so votes to be cast by postal ballot, which the postal union says is absurd and impossible.

At the same time, Poland’s government is pushing ahead with changes to the courts, creating a chamber of “extraordinary control” that will be charged with certifying the elections. Nor is it clear if Warsaw will bow to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the highest in the European Union, ordering it to suspend a new “disciplinary chamber” of the Supreme Court. Last Friday, the European Parliament passed a resolution criticizing the activities of both governments during the coronavirus crisis as “totally incompatible with European values.”

April 22, 2020

Death Cult - Brothers Grimm EP + Gods Zoo EP (1983)

Situation Two ‎– SIT 23 T, Situation Two ‎– SIT 23T
Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, EP
Goth Rock, Post-Punk, Alternative Rock

Situation Two ‎– SIT 29 T, Situation Two ‎– SIT 29T
Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Single
21 Oct 1983
Goth Rock

April 21, 2020

Only 1 in 8 Floridians approved for unemployment benefits have actually gotten any money.

Federal data suggests that Florida has processed its hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims more slowly than any other state


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As unemployment surged during the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Florida ranked at or near the bottom of all states in its speed of processing those claims, federal data shows.

The state is already among the most inhospitable places to be unemployed, and the economic downturn has only added to the misery. Now Florida finds itself frantically trying to catch up as it lags behind other large states and neighbors in the South.

According to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data, nearly 7 of every 8 Floridians who managed to file claims during the three weeks from mid-March until early April were waiting to have them processed — the worst rate in the country.

In comparison, California and Texas had about two-thirds of their claims backlogged, while New York, the country’s current coronavirus epicenter, had about 30% of its claims still waiting, according to the analysis that looked at claims data submitted to the federal government.


much more at the link

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Hometown: London
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Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
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