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April 24, 2020: Trump Says Inject Chemicals

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Donald Trump gives more terrible medical advice from behind a podium. Public health officials in Washington State likened it to telling people to eat Tide pods – and by the time you hear this, he might’ve already caused people to hurt themselves.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is taking a very Jimmy Buffet approach to campaigning, with two appearances in two weeks. But so far, it doesn’t appear to be hurting him in the polls.

And lastly, a federal appeals court in Michigan says children have a right to a basic education. What it took was teachers who were forced to do janitorial work and kids who weren’t getting taught to read.


Sometime today or tomorrow, the official coronavirus death toll in the US will pass fifty thousand. Expect this number to continue to rise. As Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, told people of that country yesterday, QUOTE Nobody likes to hear this but it is the truth. We are not living through the final phase of this crisis, we are still at its beginning. We will still have to live with this virus for a long time ENDQUOTE.

In the US, perhaps one-fifth of the COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes. At least eleven thousand Americans have died in nursing homes from this disease and the federal government still isn’t collecting, or reporting, data. And as bad as those numbers are they are based on guesswork. Most nursing homes aren’t able to test residents. As multiple news organizations reported yesterday, they are begging for tests. Federal agencies like Heath and Human Services, run by Trump cronies, say there are plenty of tests. But Trump’s own coronavirus adviser, Anthony Fauci, is also urging for a massive ramp-up in testing.

Trump said last night he doesn’t agree. Then why keep Fauci around? The doctor himself must wonder sometimes. Here was Trump’s big contribution to the discourse last night, in case you still wonder what happens on those briefings: He wondered aloud whether maybe injecting people with disinfectant, like rubbing alcohol, would be helpful. Or maybe somehow doctors could shine a light under people’s skin. I’m just telling you what he said, I don’t know what he meant. I should also add, do not try this at home. Unless you are a Trump voter. In which case, use your best judgment.

Larry Summers advising Biden

Another four and a half million people filed unemployment claims last week, the fifth straight week of mass layoffs, with some 27 million Americans losing their jobs since mid- March. And yet, as of this week, the same portion of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction as thought so one year ago. That’s according to a nationwide poll commissioned by the Associated Press and conducted by the University of Chicago, released yesterday along with those new unemployment numbers. One year ago, there was no coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking about thirty-six percent of people who think everything’s going A-OK. So I guess you can figure roughly one in three Americans has absolutey no idea what’s going on around them, or simply refuses to listen.

A number of other polls looked pretty good for Joe Biden in some key swing states. Even Fox News’s poll showed Biden beating Trump by eight percentage points in Michigan. But it’s too soon to say whether those leads will hold, or how everything will play out with the election. Over forty percent of voters have no idea what Biden has to say about the coronavirus. And they don’t necessarily trust him with the economy. Bloomberg News reported that Larry Summers, who has been mismanaging the economy for various US presidents since Ronald Reagan, is advising Joe Biden on the economy. The Biden campaign had previously concealed Summer’s involvement, probably because some voters remember him as one of the guys who told Barack Obama to bail out Wall Street back in 2008. That is, if they don’t remember him for becoming a national symbol of sexism as president of Harvard. Or for hanging out with Jeffrey Epstein well after Epstein’s was convicted of raping a minor. Surely there’s another rich guy Biden could hire to tell him how to give more money to banks?

Politico came out with its own investigation of former Biden staff member Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against the candidate yesterday. Like The New York Times, they were unable to find other former Biden staff to corroborate her account of an assault – which may not be surprising. However, Politico did speak to Reade’s brother as well as an old friend, and both said Reade told them what had happened at the time.

Biden’s most recent campaign event was this Wednesday. Before that, he last appeared on TV to campaign the previous Wednesday, April 15. Is he doing self-care or what?

Literacy ruled Constitutional right

A panel of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Constitution confers a fundamental right to literacy, and a QUOTE basic minimum education ENDQUOTE -- for the first time.

Lawyers representing a group of children in Detroit Public Schools sued, among others, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder in 2016. Synder has been in charge of appointing so-called emergency managers for troubled public schools. The complaint alleged that students in the most under-resourced, worst-performing public schools were being deprived of their Constituional rights because they were not being taught to read. In 2018, a federal judge in Detroit dismissed the lawsuit. But the sixth circuit took the case on appeal -- and yesterday, two out of three judges agreed that the students were denied fundamental rights by the state. The judge who dissented was appointed by Donald Trump.

Among the claims in the lawsuit: Some classes in Detroit schools had no teachers at all. In one instance, an eighth-grade student taught math classes to seventh and eight gradders for a whole month, because no teacher was available.

The public schools superintendant and the mayor of Detroit praised the ruling. The case now returns to the judge who initially dismissed it. The children’s lawyer wants to see the case settled and the schools funded by the state.


The leading fundraiser among Democratic candidates for a hotly contested Congressional seat in New York has taken a bunch of money from Republicans and dodgy defense contractors. That’s according to an investigation by The Intercept of Evelyn Farkas, a former national security official in the Barack Obama administration and a candidate for the seventeeth district seat in New York. Farkas’s big-dollar donors include former George W. Bush intelligence director John Negroponte -- a key promoter of the Iraq invasion, and a supporter of war crimes in Latin America during the Reagan administration.

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, don’t use the Apple Mail app for a while. At least until the next system update. Use Outlook or Gmail instead. That’s the advice of computer security experts after a new bug was discovered in Apple’s software that could allow hackers to read and delete emails. If you are on iOS version thirteen dot four dot dive, you should be fine. But until you get that update, avoid the Mail app. There you go, another excuse to dodge work – you’re welcome.

What’s the opposite of a miracle? Insane Clown Posse has canceled the 2020 Gathering of the Juggalos. The annual festival and performance had been scheduled for August in Ohio. ICP said in a statement that they QUOTE refuse to risk even one Juggalo life by hosting a Gathering during these troubling times ENDQUOTE. There you have it, folks: ICP is more responsible than the President of the United States.

That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.

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