By Robert A. Vella

Like any tyrannical dictator faced with an insurmountable crisis, especially one of his own making, President Trump is taking increasingly authoritarian measures to silence medical experts on the coronavirus pandemic and suppress scientific information about COVID-19, while pressuring state governors and industries to resume normal economic activity despite the serious risks to public health.  He believes this will help his reelection chances, but all it will really do is exacerbate and prolong the contagion while heaping more public scorn upon his already damaged reputation.

Today, we’ll examine Trump’s latest move against the CDC, how he is pulling the rug out from under his own administration’s reopening guidelines, how he pressured the Republican governor of Arizona to do his bidding, and how his Secretary of Agriculture threatened hard hit meat processing plants to return to full production.  We’ll also take a look at a shady technology firm in Utah, involved in one of Trump’s discredited “miracle cure” drug treatments, which has been conducting questionable COVID-19 diagnostic tests in several red states.  The Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report announced today that an additional 3.2 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.  In other news, Trump is pushing the U.S. Supreme Court to completely invalidate the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) despite objections from his Attorney General (William Barr), and he is intensifying his attacks against the United States Postal Service by appointing one of his cronies to lead it.


From:  AP Exclusive: US shelves detailed guide to reopening country

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Trump administration has shelved a document created by the nation’s top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging coronavirus outbreak.

The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.

It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who was not authorized to release it. The guidance was described in AP stories last week, prior to the White House decision to shelve it.

Reopening guidelines

From:  Trump White House won’t issue detailed CDC guidelines for states, businesses on reopening

As President Donald Trump publicly cheers on efforts to reopen the country and economy, the White House has decided against issuing guidelines drafted to give states and business owners detailed instructions on how to safely do so amid the pandemic, multiple administration officials confirm to ABC News.

As the administration foregoes issuing the further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many states are already moving ahead with reopening plans without meeting the threshold criteria set by the administration’s already-issued reopening guidelines, which call for a two-week downward trajectory in cases within a 14-day period.

Even as much of the country sees an increase in reported cases, President Trump has grown increasingly eager for states to move forward with reopening, saying long-term stay-at-home orders are unsustainable.

Arizona governor

From:  Arizona halts partnership with experts predicting coronavirus cases would continue to mount

Hours after Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, accelerated plans to reopen businesses, saying the state was “headed in the right direction,” his administration halted the work of a team of experts projecting it was on a different — and much grimmer — course.

On Monday night, the eve of President Trump’s visit to the state, Ducey’s health department shut down the work of academic experts predicting the peak of the state’s coronavirus outbreak was still about two weeks away.

“We’ve been asked by Department leadership to ‘pause’ all current work on projections and modeling,” Steven Bailey, the bureau chief for public health statistics at the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote to the modeling team, composed of professionals from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, according to email correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

The move to sideline academic experts in the middle of the pandemic reflects growing friction between plans to resume economic activity and the analysis of epidemiologists that underscores the dangers of rolling back restrictions. Officials in Arizona said they would rely on “real-time” information, as well as modeling conducted by federal agencies, which is not released publicly.

Meat processing plants

From:  Closed meat plants told to submit reopening plans ASAP: agriculture secretary

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has directed all closed meat processing plants to submit plans to reopen as soon as possible within health guidelines, he told governors in a letter.

President Trump’s April 28 executive order to keep meat processing plants open also delegated powers to Perdue, who has directed all such plants to use coronavirus-related guidance laid out by the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Further action under the Executive Order and the Defense Production Act is under consideration and will be taken if necessary,” Perdue wrote in the letter sent Tuesday night.

Utah IT company

From:  This executive links TestUtah.com and the pharmacy selling the state malaria drugs to treat coronavirus

[Update: Utah governor says the state will not make planned purchase of malaria drugs for COVID-19 patients]

In a rush to make up for testing lags early in the coronavirus pandemic, at least three states, including Utah, have enlisted the Orem company Nomi Health to run statewide websites to screen patients and offer thousands of diagnostic tests.

The team that launched TestUtah.com has also won multimillion-dollar, no-bid contracts in Iowa and Nebraska, and the screening form for testing in all three states asks about users’ symptoms and social distancing practices. But the questionnaire also has asked whether patients are allergic to hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drug that’s been controversially touted by President Donald Trump as a “miracle” treatment for COVID-19.

And in Utah, Mark Newman, the founder and CEO of Nomi, also serves on the board of directors of the pharmacy that had already has won an $800,000 state contract for 20,000 doses, according to federal documents obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

See also:  [Iowa] Gov. Kim Reynolds retains faith in ‘Test Iowa,’ despite controversy facing Utah’s version

Jobless claims

From:  1 in 5 American workers has filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March

No end is in sight for coronavirus-related job losses.

Another 3.2 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Without those adjustments — which economists use to account for seasonal hiring fluctuations — the raw number was 2.8 million.

That brings the total number of seasonally-adjusted initial claims filed since mid-March to 33.5 million. Initial claims are considered a proxy for layoffs or furloughs, and that level represents about 21% of the March labor force.


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The TSA Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty and It Doesn’t Need Them

One of Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus

Trump vows complete end of Obamacare law despite pandemic

Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service

Online Retailers Spend Millions on Ads Backing Postal Service Bailout

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Why are Russian coronavirus doctors mysteriously falling out of windows?

Supreme Court Throws Out ‘Bridgegate’ Convictions Of 2 Aides To Former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie

23 thoughts on “Trump silences CDC, suppresses information, pressures governors and industry to reopen the economy

      • Yep. I mean, LOOK at how many people in the US have tested positive for this compared with…well….everywhere else! China is more crowded than here! The Japanese lived crammed onto a series of fairly small islands! An d, yet, WE have one million two hundred thousand cases and counting. TRUMP!! Effing a-hole IS going to kill us all. God, but do I fucking hate that guy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • He or she may well be right. 🙂 I was just out walking my dog and a guy in his mid-20’s was walking up to people and shouting at the top of his lungs, “Fuck Trump! Got anything to say about it? Fuck Trump!” As I live in a very liberal-minded neighborhood, I mentioned to him, when he shouted at me, that he was preaching to the choir. He just moved on to the next person and scared her half to death. I do believe Trump is making people lose their damned minds.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Big time! My neighbor also told me she is very stressed out about this whole situation, and that she is trying hard to find things every day to lift her spirits. She rambled on about the End Times and the giant “murder” hornets which have invaded the pacific northwest. I feel sorry for her, but she wasn’t making much sense.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. Robert, this is slightly off topic, but nonetheless still concerns premature openings of our economy and businesses in light of the pandemic which is STILL very much a lethal threat.

    Here is the latest in Dallas County—where new infections are still alarmingly rising day by day with additional deaths!—regarding the nail and spa salon owner in Dallas, Shelley Luther, who knowingly willingly defied public health & safety orders to remain closed for approx. 1-2 more weeks until state and county authorities modified then Stay-at-Home and Business-closing Orders based upon up-to-date medical data of the COVID-19 spread, AGAIN for public health and safety! A portion of The Fort Worth Star Telegram article reads:

    The Texas Supreme Court ordered the release of a Dallas salon owner Thursday who had been jailed after she defied orders and reopened her business in the face of coronavirus restrictions.

    The owner, Shelley Luther, was released from the Dallas County Jail hours after Thursday’s ruling. She was met with cheers and chants of “Shelley’s free,” according to video from NBC 5.

    “I’m a little overwhelmed,” Luther said. “I just want to thank all of you who I just barely met, and now you’re all my friends. You mean so much to me, this would have been nothing without you.”

    Earlier in the day, Gov. Greg Abbott modified his executive orders to remove confinement as a consequence for violating them.

    Luther, the owner of Salon à la Mode in Dallas, had gained national attention after being sentenced to a week in jail Tuesday for refusing orders to keep her business closed in the face of coronavirus-related restrictions.

    “Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said in a statement Thursday. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order.” *

    Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) supported the early immediate release of Shelley Luther’s law-breaking defiance against public health & safety saying…

    Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had called for Luther’s immediate release, applauded both Abbott and the Texas Supreme Court’s decisions Thursday.

    “No Texan should face imprisonment for peacefully resisting an order that temporarily closed a lawful business and drastically limited their ability to provide for their family through no fault of their own,” Paxton said in a statement Thursday.

    Here are my two questions for you Robert and any of your readers…

    1) What kind of precedent does Gov. Gregg Abbott’s (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s (R), and the Texas Supreme Court’s (R) decision to reverse or drastically undermine previously legal orders & restrictions (as well as their enforcement) do for upcoming violations against public health and safety!?

    2) Is one individual’s will and wishes/desires, or a small minority’s will and wishes/desires MORE IMPORTANT than that of the greater majority AND at the expense of that greater majority’s health, safety, and life!? Are certain individual’s wants/desires higher than the law of the land for ALL citizen’s health and safety?

    * – Source: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article242564506.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting article. Were it anything but a common vitamin, I can just see tRumpsky jumping on it and TOTALLY missing this one sentence from the article: “This needs further study.

      Liked by 2 people

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