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Trump's desperate attempt to look presidential in COVID-19 crisis falls flat across the board

Impeached Oval Office squatter Donald Trump apparently had his chief of staff Mark Meadows, formerly the leader of the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus, blow up the negotiations with Democratic leaders to save the nation from coronavirus so Trump could swee
Daily Kos

Trump's desperate attempt to look presidential in COVID-19 crisis falls flat across the board

Impeached Oval Office squatter Donald Trump apparently had his chief of staff Mark Meadows, formerly the leader of the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus, blow up the negotiations with Democratic leaders to save the nation from coronavirus so Trump could sweep in with «executive orders» to save the day. Except that three out of four of the orders are actually memorandums, and none of them are actually constitutionally within his power to do. So, yeah, illegal. And not at all helpful for people whose lives have been upended by the crisis. There's no eviction moratorium, he would cut unemployment benefits by $800 in a month and it steals from FEMA (at the start of an active hurricane season), and would top if off by starving Social Security. This hasn't been received well by anybody but the millionaires he announced it to at his luxury golf club last Friday. The New York Times reports it «resulted in confusion and uncertainty on Sunday for tens of millions of unemployed Americans and countless businesses seeking aid after critical benefits lapsed.» The Washington Post concurred, reporting that it «sparked confusion and frustration on Sunday among businesses, Democrats and state officials, some of whom lamented the moves would not deliver the necessary relief to cash-strapped Americans.» The bad press could be why Trump insisted Sunday that «The Democrats have called. They’d like to get together.» They haven't called. He tweeted it again on Monday, «So now Schumer and Pelosi want to meet to make a deal. Amazing how it all works, isn’t it.» But it's still not true.

Trump's sabotage of Postal Service threatens elections in November and leads to mail delays now

Donald Trump has had a vendetta against the U.S. Postal Service throughout his time in office, but it only took center stage after he realized that the Postal Service would be an essential part of the elections because voting by mail is more importa
Daily Kos

Trump's sabotage of Postal Service threatens elections in November and leads to mail delays now

Donald Trump has had a vendetta against the U.S. Postal Service throughout his time in office, but it only took center stage after he realized that the Postal Service would be an essential part of the elections because voting by mail is more important during the coronavirus pandemic. But while Trump’s efforts to destroy the Postal Service have only ramped up in the past couple months, destroying things is one of his areas of greatest competence, so there’s very real worry about voting by mail in November, and, as a result, about the elections as a whole. “It seems like they're just trying to turn customers away from the post office,” the president of the Cincinnati American Postal Workers Union local told The New York Times. A West Virginia American Postal Workers Union (APWU) local president had a related view, saying: “It’s like they’re setting us up for failure.”

No, really: Team Trump 'reached out' to South Dakota governor about adding a head to Mount Rushmore

Donald Trump has repeatedly and far-too-publicly mused over wanting his own face carved into Mount Rushmore. This we knew. Over the weekend, however, we learned that it has gone a bit farther than mere public desire: On Saturday, The New York Times reported t
Daily Kos

No, really: Team Trump 'reached out' to South Dakota governor about adding a head to Mount Rushmore

Donald Trump has repeatedly and far-too-publicly mused over wanting his own face carved into Mount Rushmore. This we knew. Over the weekend, however, we learned that it has gone a bit farther than mere public desire: On Saturday, The New York Times reported that an unnamed Trump White House aide «reached out» to the office of South Dakota's Republican governor to inquire as to what the process of adding new heads to Mount Rushmore might actually be. Oh dear. Oh, oh dear.

Blamestorm begins over botched ballot delivery in Puerto Rico's primary election

“Ballots have not arrived,” reads a sign at a polling station in Puerto Rico. This was the story at multiple locations across the island for Sunday’s primary election for governor, resident commissioner (non-voting representative to Congress), and
Daily Kos

Blamestorm begins over botched ballot delivery in Puerto Rico's primary election

“Ballots have not arrived,” reads a sign at a polling station in Puerto Rico. This was the story at multiple locations across the island for Sunday’s primary election for governor, resident commissioner (non-voting representative to Congress), and for the legislature. The finger-pointing to place blame has already begun, with much of it falling upon the president of the Elections Commission, Juan Ernesto Dávila. However, the party in power, headed by appointed Governor Wanda Vázquez—who is running for reelection—is catching a ton of flak as well. Here on the mainland, right-wingers like Geraldo Rivera have gotten into the act, mindlessly and inaccurately blaming Democrats. The end result is that some of the polling locations are scheduled for a redo next Sunday. Currently, the results at others where there were long delays will stand, even though many people went home in disgust after waiting for hours, masked, in long lines in the hot sun, waiting to cast their ballots. 

Spiking COVID-19 cases among children should put an end to the school reopening debate

Less than a week after Donald Trump claimed children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, we get this sobering news: 97,000 children tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks of July. That’s not near-immunity. As ways to prove tha
Daily Kos

Spiking COVID-19 cases among children should put an end to the school reopening debate

Less than a week after Donald Trump claimed children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, we get this sobering news: 97,000 children tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks of July. That’s not near-immunity. As ways to prove that Trump was yet again wrong go, 97,000 kids with coronavirus is really not the best. What was happening in the last two weeks of July? In some places, camps were opening for an abbreviated summer. In other places, schools were starting to reopen. The spike in coronavirus cases in many states was continuing, but so was the move back to something approaching “normal” life. And the result was that one in four diagnoses of children since the pandemic hit the U.S. back in March was crammed into one two-week period. 

Trump White House called South Dakota to ask about adding heads to Mount Rushmore

Donald Trump has repeatedly and far-too-publicly mused over wanting his own face carved into Mount Rushmore. This we knew. Over the weekend, however, we learned that it has gone a bit farther than mere public desire: On Saturday, The New York Times reported t
Daily Kos

Trump White House called South Dakota to ask about adding heads to Mount Rushmore

Donald Trump has repeatedly and far-too-publicly mused over wanting his own face carved into Mount Rushmore. This we knew. Over the weekend, however, we learned that it has gone a bit farther than mere public desire: On Saturday, The New York Times reported that an unnamed Trump White House aide «reached out» to the office of South Dakota's Republican governor to inquire as to what the process of adding new heads to Mount Rushmore might actually be. Oh dear. Oh, oh dear.

97,000 kids tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July

Less than a week after Donald Trump claimed children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, we get this sobering news: 97,000 children tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks of July. That’s not near-immunity. As ways to prove tha
Daily Kos

97,000 kids tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July

Less than a week after Donald Trump claimed children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, we get this sobering news: 97,000 children tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks of July. That’s not near-immunity. As ways to prove that Trump was yet again wrong go, 97,000 kids with coronavirus is really not the best. What was happening in the last two weeks of July? In some places, camps were opening for an abbreviated summer. In other places, schools were starting to reopen. The spike in coronavirus cases in many states was continuing, but so was the move back to something approaching “normal” life. And the result was that one in four diagnoses of children since the pandemic hit the U.S. back in March was crammed into one two-week period. 

Morning Digest: Perennial candidate's primary win may cost Arizona GOP its state Senate majority

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Lead
Daily Kos

Morning Digest: Perennial candidate's primary win may cost Arizona GOP its state Senate majority

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AZ State Senate: Democrats are making a strong effort this fall to flip the Arizona state Senate, where Republicans hold a small 17-13 majority, and Tuesday's primary results gave Team Blue some potentially great news. Veteran Republican state Sen. Sylvia Allen lost renomination 59-41 to perennial candidate Wendy Rogers in Legislative District 6, a competitive seat located in the Flagstaff area in the northern part of the state, and GOP leaders are very much afraid that they'll now lose control of the district in November. This seat backed Donald Trump 52-42, but Republican Martha McSally defeated Democrat Kyrsten Sinema just 49-48 here two years later; Allen also won re-election in 2018 by a close 51-49 margin. Republicans already were in for a tough race this fall against Democrat Felicia French, who has been a strong fundraiser, but Rogers' victory complicates things even further.

Cartoon: The conversation

If you enjoy this work, and if you can afford to do so, please consider helping me keep it sustainable in this no good, very bad year and beyond, by joining Sparky’s List!
Daily Kos

Cartoon: The conversation

If you enjoy this work, and if you can afford to do so, please consider helping me keep it sustainable in this no good, very bad year and beyond, by joining Sparky’s List!

Will pharmacist resistance hamper law to expand access to HIV prevention meds?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis can save lives, but patients seeking the medications face numerous obstacles. By Larry Buhl, for Capital and Main In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada to prevent HIV in a regimen called pre-exposure prophy
Daily Kos

Will pharmacist resistance hamper law to expand access to HIV prevention meds?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis can save lives, but patients seeking the medications face numerous obstacles. By Larry Buhl, for Capital and Main In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada to prevent HIV in a regimen called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a potential life-saving game changer for people at risk of contracting the virus. Truvada, taken along with other meds, can also be used in post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, for people who may have accidentally exposed themselves to the virus. Studies have shown that PrEP, which now can be prescribed with a newer drug, Descovy, can reduce the risk of contracting HIV from sex by up to 99%, and the federal government considers widespread use of PrEP and PEP as a key part of its goal to significantly reduce the number of HIV infections. But a fraction of the number of people who could benefit from PrEP are taking it, partly, HIV advocates say, because there are so many obstacles to obtaining the medication. The California Department of Public Health estimates that up to 238,628 Californians would meet the criteria for PrEP – that is, they have unprotected sex or are IV drug users. But waiting several days for a doctor’s visit, another few days for HIV test results and maybe another day for insurance preauthorization can make PEP unusable and can make potential users of PrEP think twice about whether they really want the meds.  The CDPH estimates that up to 238,628 Californians would meet the criteria for the HIV prevention regimen PrEP. To help boost the sale and use of PrEP and PEP, the California Legislature last year passed SB 159, a first-in-the-nation law allowing pharmacists to write prescriptions for it (and for PEP) and, in theory, to let the patient get the medication on the same day. The hope is that the law will significantly increase PrEP/PEP use for populations most vulnerable to HIV: Latino and Black gay and bisexual men whose doctors are less likely to prescribe the medication. But a question remains whether this well-meaning law could ultimately be hampered by systemic issues of a for-profit health care system, a system where disparities of care can be intractable. In the first part of this series, I explored the disparities in PrEP access throughout California, and which regions might benefit from the law. Sprawling San Bernardino County, with its lack of LGBT support services and few public clinics, I speculated, could benefit the most—while San Francisco, the least. In part two, I dig deeper into whether the dispersion of retail pharmacies and financial disincentives for pharmacists might undermine the law. The Theory: SB 159 makes it easier to get PrEP Before SB 159’s passage, obtaining PrEP required a prescription from a doctor and an HIV test. (If you test positive you don’t need, and can’t get, a prescription for PrEP, though people with HIV can get Truvada or Descovy for treatment.) The law still requires an HIV test, and standard protocol for PrEP still includes ongoing kidney function tests, to be conducted every three months. Each of those steps creates a potential delay for people who want to get the medication. There’s a financial hurdle, too: Lab tests are often an out-of-pocket expense. SB 159 eliminated insurance preauthorizations for PrEP and PEP, saving, at the very least, time. Another part of the law, allowing pharmacists to prescribe PrEP and PEP, was designed as an end run around doctors, by partially “de-medicalizing” these potentially lifesaving meds. This part is meant to equalize very unequal health care outcomes because providers in some areas are much less likely to prescribe medication to prevent a disease that is largely spread through sexual activity and IV drug use—if they even know about the medication.  One sexually active young man said his doctor asked why PrEP was needed and, “Why are you gay?” Many young, sexually active LGBT participants in Los Angeles told me their primary care doctors were hostile to the idea of providing medication to prevent HIV from sex. One said his doctor asked why the medication was needed and, “Why are you gay?” Several participants agreed that many primary care physicians, especially in Latino communities, are from other countries, older and conservative, and that many doctors who serve Medi-Cal patients are generally not gay-friendly. Some doctors and nurses are also clueless about HIV and STD testing, especially if their practice gets few requests for them. “If they do an HIV test, they don’t do a full STD panel, and never a throat swab or anal swab, and they don’t know what billing code to use,” said one participant. Dr. Clint Hopkins, owner and pharmacist at Pucci’s Pharmacy in Sacramento, testified before the legislature in favor of SB 159, because, as he told Capital & Main, “Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers in the community.” Hopkins claims that one HMO, Kaiser Permanente, makes it difficult to get PrEP, requiring referrals to an infectious disease doctor in the network who will order the HIV test. “It can take up to two months to get PrEP (through Kaiser),” Hopkins said. When asked to verify that the process could take up to two months, a Kaiser spokesperson declined to comment. SB 159 set out to prevent resistance from physicians, insurers and HMOs. Obstacles from the health care industry would also, in theory, be reduced by simply obtaining both a prescription and meds from pharmacists. But there are three ways the law may fall far short of its goal, at least initially, of making PrEP access easier for the most vulnerable populations. Unless retail pharmacies, a., opt in to the law, b., provide the required HIV test on-site and c., make that HIV test free, customers who are younger, lower income, or in areas with few pharmacy options won’t find it easier to get PrEP.  “If we want to end HIV then people should be able to walk into any pharmacy and get a test for free.” — Dr. Clint Hopkins, Pucci’s Pharmacy But Hopkins is concerned that the resulting law doesn’t go far enough. “Nothing in the law says insurers have to pay for the meds or the lab tests. Patients may have an undue burden to pay for testing out of pocket. And there is a lack of testing sites even in Sacramento. If we want to end HIV then people should be able to walk into any pharmacy and get a test for free.” PrEP deserts might remain deserts As reported in part one of this series, most urban areas in California have an extensive network of PrEP providers, some of which offer one-stop shopping for PrEP. Large swaths of the state have fewer physicians who have written or are willing to write a prescription, according to CDC data. Any doctor could prescribe PrEP or PEP, but not all know what the medication does, and more conservative doctors stigmatize and “slut-shame” patients who ask for it. Doing an end run around doctors, thus streamlining the process of getting PrEP/PEP, is one goal of SB 159. But the effectiveness of the law depends in part on where the pharmacies are and whether they choose to participate. I have identified San Bernardino County as one of the counties that could be helped most by SB 159. It has one of the lowest overall rates of PrEP use—35 out of 100,000 people—and among the lowest rates of use of PrEP based on the estimated number of people who could benefit from it (PrEP-to-need ratio, or PnR), and the lowest PnR in California for people under 24 years old. There are currently only eight locations where prescriptions are being written for PrEP, for a population of 2 million—making much of the county a PrEP desert. (A 2019 study classified PrEP deserts in the United States as areas where the one way driving time was 30 minutes or more.) SB 159 could help shrink some of those deserts, provided that pharmacies in those areas agree to participate in the law. However, overlaying a map of California pharmacies on a county map of PnR shows that even if the majority of pharmacies participate in SB 159—again, not a sure thing—there will still be PrEP deserts in California. Hayfork, in Northern California, is in a PrEP desert. The options for its residents for getting a PrEP prescription are Planned Parenthood in Redding and Redwoods Health Center in Redway, 43 and 45 miles away respectively. But even with SB 159, Hayfork would still be a desert: The nearest pharmacy is a CVS in Weaverville, 29 miles away and about 40 minutes of driving time. Even under SB 159 the process for obtaining PrEP and PEP is a little more complicated than procuring birth control, which is covered by another opt-in law. SB 159 spells out requirements for HIV testing before a pharmacist can furnish PrEP, stating that a patient must be “HIV negative, as documented by a negative HIV test result obtained within the previous seven days from an HIV antigen/antibody test or antibody-only test or from a rapid, point-of-care fingerstick blood test approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.” In theory, a patient could get a test at a free clinic, if there’s one nearby, a day or so before heading to the pharmacy for a prescription. But when I contacted a CVS Minute Clinic in West Hollywood, which has been providing PrEP under an arrangement to work with one or more physicians called a collective practice agreement (CPA), I discovered several obstacles: A nurse practitioner first performs an evaluation by appointment only (there are no walk-ins due to the COVID-19 crisis). The NP then sends the patient to a lab for an HIV test. After a wait that can last 72 hours, patients receive the results and may return to the Minute Clinic for the medication. Additionally, patients must call their health insurance company to see if labs are covered, and these insurers might not be open on the weekends. This practice would make getting PEP, which must be taken within 72 hours of risky sexual contact, futile, and could make those who want PrEP give up. And this is at a pharmacy/clinic in a city known for decades as a mecca for LGBT people. As mandated by the Affordable Care Act, HIV testing is free for those with insurance, but it may not always be easy to find a place offering HIV tests. According to CDC data, there are 20 places to get an HIV test, free or not, within three miles of ZIP code 90069, West Hollywood. But a search of Hayfork (in the middle of a PrEP desert) turns up no testing locations nearby. ZIP code 92363, Needles, shows one testing location seven miles away. Needles, in San Bernardino County, abutting the Arizona border, has only one pharmacy, a Rite Aid. If this pharmacy doesn’t offer HIV testing, residents there wanting PrEP will have to make a significant trek to get one. If the store doesn’t participate in SB 159, it will be a moot point, and residents wanting PrEP will have to travel at least 22 miles to get an HIV test and prescription. Then they’ll have to take that prescription back to their pharmacy. A lack of incentives for pharmacists One nagging concern about the rollout of SB 159 is that pharmacies will not opt in, either because of financial or moral objections. In those cases, the current PrEP deserts in California will remain deserts. In other words, for the law to work, pharmacists must buy in. To ensure that buy-in, it helps to have a financial incentive beyond the small Medi-Cal payment for each prescription. The key for successful implementation of SB 159 is widespread pharmacy buy-in, according to Maria Lopez of Mission Wellness Pharmacy in San Francisco. “If they’re paid adequately they might [buy in], she says. “They have to invest in infrastructure and training staff, and that costs money.” Lopez is also developing a training module to instruct pharmacists on the law. Hopkins hopes that more pharmacies like his will offer free, on-the-spot HIV testing to help reduce the number of steps people need to take to obtain PrEP. “There is no way to do (free testing) without the pharmacists losing money. If patients don’t pay for it, who will? Also, there is time involved. There’s OSHA, training requirements for the staff.” A precursor to SB 159 was a 2013 law expanding the ability of pharmacists to act more like doctors, to order lab tests and interpret and modify prescriptions. But Hopkins, who did register for the 2013 law, SB 493, says that as with testing services, the lack of financial reimbursement from the state has prevented most pharmacists from registering. “We’re not trying to get rich,” Hopkins said. “But the equipment and supplies are not free. We are paid pennies on prescriptions. Many opted not to get registered on SB 493 because it will cost them money.” And if they don’t get registered on SB 493, they won’t be able to offer testing, meaning more time and money will be spent by a potential PrEP customer before the medication is sold. Hopkins and Lopez, whose practices for years have had certified physician assistants with doctors who prescribe PrEP and PEP, say CPAs can help pharmacists to provide these meds more easily. But Hopkins believes only a small percentage of pharmacies will do this because there’s no financial incentive. “Insurance providers typically will not recognize a pharmacist for the services that they provide outside of dispensing prescriptions. If there were a financial incentive, I’m certain that many more pharmacies across the state, both independent and chain alike, would seek out these relationships and provide more services.” If few pharmacists, or, more important, pharmacies and their parent companies, decide to participate in SB 159, the current PrEP deserts in California will remain PrEP deserts.  Outreach and education needed, but who will provide? Just as some doctors are unaware that Truvada and Descovy can be used to prevent HIV, it’s news to many pharmacists as well. A 2018 study showed that nearly three quarters of pharmacists nationwide didn’t know the CDC protocols for PrEP, and nearly half didn’t even know what PrEP is.  A 2018 study showed that nearly half of pharmacists nationwide didn’t know what PrEP was. In California, there may be greater knowledge of PrEP, but very little awareness of SB 159, and without any money in the state budget for education and outreach in the California FY 2021 budget, that outreach is up to the California Pharmacists Association and LGBT social services organizations. I randomly called seven San Bernardino County pharmacies in mid-June, nearly six months after the law went into effect, to see, first, whether they already provided PrEP with a doctor’s prescription, and whether their pharmacists were going to take the training to prescribe it themselves. For those pharmacies that sold PrEP with a doctor’s prescription, not only was pharmacist training not in the cards, none of them had heard about SB 159. An assistant at the CVS Minute Clinic in Rancho Cucamonga said that he wasn’t sure whether the pharmacy carried Truvada or Descovy, but that I should make an appointment on the website to meet with a nurse practitioner to learn more. But on the website, neither PrEP nor PEP nor anything related to HIV was given as an option. The Planned Parenthood of Victorville was very helpful, though they don’t have meds on site: If I wanted PrEP they would set up an in-person visit to give an HIV rapid response test with same-day results. Planned Parenthood would submit a prescription for Truvada at the pharmacy of my choice. Calling on a Friday afternoon I found available appointments for Monday, but not over the weekend. This brings up another potential benefit of SB 159. Many pharmacies are open on weekends and after 6 p.m.; most doctors’ offices and clinics are not. That might be a boon to people who need PEP, which has to be taken within 72 hours after sexual activity—right now an ER, if it carries it, is the only option for obtaining PEP on a Sunday afternoon. Again, the law only works as intended if pharmacies opt in. The California Board of Pharmacists said that a 90-minute training module is close to being complete and that pharmacists must complete that or other state-approved training in order to prescribe PrEP or PEP. But as of mid-July no pharmacists had completed any training, and there was a statewide campaign to inform Californians about SB 159. I contacted two of the largest chains in the U.S., Walgreens and CVS, to see whether they would launch awareness campaigns. CVS responded by reiterating its support for HIV-related meds but said nothing about SB-159 awareness in California. A Walgreens spokesperson, in an email, said the chain was “considering a pilot program in the state to gather key learnings and insights that will help to determine any future steps in how our pharmacists can more broadly offer PrEP and PEP.” Dr. Maria Lopez of Mission Wellness said that it has taken some effort in getting San Franciscans to know that her pharmacy provides PrEP without a doctor’s prescription. She said in addition to referrals from partners, people learn about her pharmacy through a city ad campaign, social media, word of mouth, and PleasePrepMe. She has also reached out to Latino and Black residents through an ad campaign for PrEP and drawn a higher percentage of these populations than in the city as a whole. It’s unclear whether pharmacies in other parts of the state, including PrEP deserts, will go to such lengths to inform the public that they provide PrEP through SB 159. It’s possible that larger chains might advertise on gay hookup apps, like Grindr and Scruff. Those platforms feature ads from telemedicine apps, like Plushcare, NURX and the gay-focused Mistr, which provide on-demand doctor’s “visits,” PrEP by mail and, in some cases, home self-tests. These telehealth apps are gaining in popularity and may be an even more important link to PrEP for people in PrEP deserts, both in California and the rest of the U.S. All advocates for SB 159 have admitted that it has some kinks to be worked out, and Hopkins said it’s a good “foot in the door” toward greater use of potentially lifesaving HIV prevention meds. But with all the ways the law might not work as expected, a question looms: Why is it so hard to provide access to meds to prevent a disease that’s a public health crisis? The answer, says Hopkins, is the for-profit health care system, which incites “turf wars” on the part of some doctors and the California Medical Association—who, he says, oppose laws expanding the role of pharmacists because it infringes on their ability to get paid. The CMA initially opposed the bill, because it disrupted the “patient-physician relationship,” but the final version of the bill required pharmacists to refer a PrEP customer to a doctor after providing up to a 60-day supply. “The only way to end HIV is to make access to testing and PrEP universal,” Hopkins says. “insurance co-pays and a lack of free public HIV testing services not only make it harder to prevent HIV, they make the case for socialized medicine. “I did some of my education in England, where you can walk in with a prescription for anything, and it is covered,” Hopkins says. “Everyone is treated the same. It is hard to bring HIV to zero with the health care system we have now. This article was produced as a project for the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism 2019 Data Fellowship. This story first appeared in Capital & Main.

Trump adviser says God created executive orders to save Americans from 'divided government'

For those of you who were literally just born, let us explain a bit of history from the before-times of the Barack Obama presidency. During those years, Republicans, conservatives, and racists—but I repeat myself—were all absolutely certain that Presiden
Daily Kos

Trump adviser says God created executive orders to save Americans from 'divided government'

For those of you who were literally just born, let us explain a bit of history from the before-times of the Barack Obama presidency. During those years, Republicans, conservatives, and racists—but I repeat myself—were all absolutely certain that President Barack Obama's executive orders on take-your-pick were «tyranny.» They were «menacing» evidence of an emerging dictatorship, and an affront to the Framers, and evidence of the «corruptibility of power,» and that's just from a single Fox News freak-out. Now it is One White President later and conservatives would like you to know that Actually, presidential executive orders come from Jesus. xWATCH: Peter Navarro says “the Lord and Founding Fathers created executive orders because of partisan bickering and divided government.” #MTP #IfItsSunday pic.twitter.com/2cwgun9yFd— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 9, 2020 Are you clear now, American citizenry? Before Trump: Executive orders are tyranny. After Trump: God Himself literally created executive orders to deliver our nation from bickering. The Lord is indifferent to whether our government kills 160,000 people through gross incompetence, but hates bickering. So He delivered unto the Founding Fathers an Eleventh Commandment: Everybody shut up and do what Captain Taxcheat von Rapeguy says. There you go, problem solved. Peter Navarro is, and you probably will need to look this up on Google because even they themselves are perpetually unclear on just what job responsibilities each of these ambulatory migraines is supposed to have, so what chance to you have, is in theory Trump's Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. He was courted to the role because Jared Kushner saw his name on Amazon, and also appears to be nominally in charge of some large percentage of this nation's entire pandemic preparedness «plan» for some reason, including which magic medicines Americans should be taking. His main recent career has been Saying Things On Television, most of which continues to be proven wrong. But he knows which policies do and do not come from directly from God, a remarkable power that has nonetheless proven unhelpful in formulating actual government policies. This is probably because it is a power touted by seemingly every single conservative Republican in existence—a lot of divine overkill for something that appears to boil down to «when we do it God likes it.»

Nuts & Bolts: Inside the Convention—Susan Rice isn't Condoleezza, and more myths busted!

It’s another Sunday, so for those who tune in, welcome to a diary discussing the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. If you’ve missed out, you can catch up any time: Just visit our group or follow the Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every we
Daily Kos

Nuts & Bolts: Inside the Convention—Susan Rice isn't Condoleezza, and more myths busted!

It’s another Sunday, so for those who tune in, welcome to a diary discussing the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. If you’ve missed out, you can catch up any time: Just visit our group or follow the Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every week I try to tackle issues I’ve been asked about. With the help of other campaign workers and notes, we address how to improve and build better campaigns, or explain issues that impact our party. We are entering convention week, and now is the time when we are going to see Republican attacks against our nominee, and, more recently, attacks against those who are marketing themselves like they’re on our side ... but may not actually be on our side at all. This week on Nuts & Bolts, I’m taking a look at some of the attacks I expect to hear and the myths that people who want to fool Democratic voters are bound to share. Ready to press on? Here. We. Go.

Trump’s latest attack on undocumented immigrants is a pathetic attempt to garner electoral support

Donald Trump continues to find new ways to attack immigrants. Unsuccessful in his various attempts to end programs for immigrants in the U.S., such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Trump is doing all he can to eliminate representa
Daily Kos

Trump’s latest attack on undocumented immigrants is a pathetic attempt to garner electoral support

Donald Trump continues to find new ways to attack immigrants. Unsuccessful in his various attempts to end programs for immigrants in the U.S., such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Trump is doing all he can to eliminate representation undocumented immigrants have in the country. First, he tried to exclude undocumented immigrants from taking part in the U.S. census by adding a question on citizenship, now Trump is working to exclude undocumented folks from congressional apportionment. Doing so is not only unconstitutional but a clear ploy to move Democratic states to Republican states. Dozens of states, cities, and countries partnered together Friday to urge a federal court to block Trump’s July 21 directive to exclude undocumented citizens when apportioning congressional seats. The plaintiffs including New York State called the directive an “exclusionary policy” that has a “plainly xenophobic and discriminatory purpose” as other immigrant-related policies crafted by the administration have been.

'Our kids almost lose their lives to go to a football game': Georgia cops fire into car of children

A South Georgia community is demanding answers after police in the area fired into a car with children inside of it after earlier suspecting the car’s driver of a traffic violation. Dominique Goodman Sr., the father of the children involved in the inci
Daily Kos

'Our kids almost lose their lives to go to a football game': Georgia cops fire into car of children

A South Georgia community is demanding answers after police in the area fired into a car with children inside of it after earlier suspecting the car’s driver of a traffic violation. Dominique Goodman Sr., the father of the children involved in the incident, told News4Jax all five children were riding in a vehicle together when older teens in the vehicle noticed a police car tailing them with no lights on and got scared. The teens told the younger children to get out of the car, and police ended up shooting at the remaining children, Goodman said. The children were trying to return home to go to a football tournament two of the children were playing in Saturday in Jacksonville, Goodman said. “They shot at a car full of unarmed minors. A car full of unarmed children. Like who in the world can’t see that this is a 9-year-old? Who can’t see that this is a child? They look like children,” Goodman told News4Jax. “They are babies. What was the purpose of shooting?”

Reformers submit signatures to put a measure to end gerrymandering on Arkansas' ballot this fall

Backers of putting an initiative on Arkansas' November ballot to create an independent redistricting commission have announced that they have filed 50,000 more signatures following a 30-day deadline extension by Arkansas' Supreme Court while it revi
Daily Kos

Reformers submit signatures to put a measure to end gerrymandering on Arkansas' ballot this fall

Backers of putting an initiative on Arkansas' November ballot to create an independent redistricting commission have announced that they have filed 50,000 more signatures following a 30-day deadline extension by Arkansas' Supreme Court while it reviews supporters' appeal of GOP Secretary of State John Thurston's decision to reject all of their signatures as supposedly invalid. Thurston contends that signature-gatherers for this initiative and a separate one to adopt a form of instant-runoff voting had not «passed» background checks, even though the groups certified that they had «acquired» them. Redistricting reformers had already submitted nearly 100,000 signatures before the initial deadline earlier this summer, and combined with this latest tranche of signatures, they should have a sufficient cushion to ensure that at least 89,000 are valid statewide and are of a number equivalent to 5% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in at least 15 of Arkansas' 75 counties—that is, if the state Supreme Court overturns Thurston's decision to reject all of their signatures in the first place.

The Incompetent Fascist: Trump's 'executive orders' do the wrong things, illegally

On Saturday Donald Trump announced, in a bizarre golf clubhouse speech to an audience of millionaires, a series of «executive orders» that he will (attempt to) undertake as substitute for negotiating new pandemic aid packages with Congress. Those
Daily Kos

The Incompetent Fascist: Trump's 'executive orders' do the wrong things, illegally

On Saturday Donald Trump announced, in a bizarre golf clubhouse speech to an audience of millionaires, a series of «executive orders» that he will (attempt to) undertake as substitute for negotiating new pandemic aid packages with Congress. Those talks had stalled due to Republican Senate indifference as to passing anything, Trump team unwillingness to assist state governments in economic crisis due to the pandemic, and Democratic insistence that Trump's new postmaster general stop actively sabotaging the U.S. mail system during that pandemic. Because Trump has surrounded himself with conservatism's least competent blowhards—namely, whichever self-promoting grifters impress him during Fox News appearances—the executive orders produced manage to both do extremely bad things, and to do them illegally. The Trump team is looking to manage the nation's spending and tax policies out from under Congress. The Constitution, back when it existed, does not technically allow that; then again, the Constitution doesn't allow a president to accept foreign bribes, either, but here we are.

Biden's campaign may want to try this simple 'message' on for size

The 2020 election is now fewer than 90 days away.  It seems unlikely that too many people’s lives are going to change in any appreciable way during those days. The COVID-19 pandemic is going to keep everyone mostly at home; few big vacation
Daily Kos

Biden's campaign may want to try this simple 'message' on for size

The 2020 election is now fewer than 90 days away.  It seems unlikely that too many people’s lives are going to change in any appreciable way during those days. The COVID-19 pandemic is going to keep everyone mostly at home; few big vacations will be planned by anyone, and travel will remain largely at a standstill. People will continue to be able to go out to eat and shop in a limited, frustrating way. State governments will reopen certain businesses, then close them again in exasperating fits and starts as the virus continues to spread essentially unchecked throughout the country, due in large part to reckless behavior like this. No new testing regime will be implemented. By now, in most places, it’s too late to implement comprehensive contact tracing, even if there was the political will to do so. Businesses, except for those that are “essential,” will continue to flounder, for the most part, as people remain too fearful to make large purchases. It doesn’t appear that Republicans are interested in providing more meaningful assistance to those out of work due to this crisis, and even if they have a last-minute change of heart, the aid that will be provided doesn’t seem like it will make any significant difference to the economy beyond keeping people from starving and keeping some being evicted from their homes. If state and local governments are not funded within the next few weeks, another massive round of layoffs is looming, which will send the unemployment numbers into the stratosphere and further crater the idea of any rapid recovery. The Republican Senate majority blocking any attempts to provide for millions of suffering Americans apparently senses its impending demise and has settled on a scorched-earth strategy, which seeks to pin the blame on the states themselves, accusing Democratic-controlled states of seeking “bailouts.” As ridiculous as that is, in the face of an economic crisis that is fast approaching Depression-level impact, that appears to be the hill Republicans have chosen to die on, possibly with a view towards blaming the Democrats for the broad-based economic collapse we’re all but certain to experience going into 2021.

Black mom told to take 3-year-old's 'Black Lives Matter' chalk art to 'other neighborhood'

A Black California mother attempting to teach her 3-year-old daughter about the Black Lives Matter movement watched for days as the word «Black» in their “Black Lives Matter” sidewalk art was erased. Then, Manette Sharick decide
Daily Kos

Black mom told to take 3-year-old's 'Black Lives Matter' chalk art to 'other neighborhood'

A Black California mother attempting to teach her 3-year-old daughter about the Black Lives Matter movement watched for days as the word «Black» in their “Black Lives Matter” sidewalk art was erased. Then, Manette Sharick decided to act. She wrote the words in an area that was visible from her home surveillance camera, and footage from the camera revealed the culprit, she told ABC affiliate KGO.  It was a man who identified himself only as Jim, a resident in the city of Concord, which is about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. Jim told KGO he would continue defacing the art. «I was only pouring across the word Black because I believe that all lives matter,” he said. “I don't care what nationality, sexual orientation or any of that, we are all human beings.»

As U.S. hits 5 million coronavirus cases, teachers, students, shuffle back into in-person classes

As of Sunday, the United States hit five million confirmed coronavirus cases, as reported by the Johns Hopkins University data tracking system. Of course, as experts have warned for months, our actual number may be higher than what’s reported, giv
Daily Kos

As U.S. hits 5 million coronavirus cases, teachers, students, shuffle back into in-person classes

As of Sunday, the United States hit five million confirmed coronavirus cases, as reported by the Johns Hopkins University data tracking system. Of course, as experts have warned for months, our actual number may be higher than what’s reported, given how many people still have not been able to access a test. Meanwhile, Donald Trump relentlessly pushes to reopen schools, much to the fear of many teachers, students, and communities. Some counties have, in fact, already started in-person learning for the fall semester—and the results are exactly what experts and communities feared they would be. Earlier this week, Daily Kos covered two Georgia high schoolers reporting they’d been suspended for posting photos of crowded school hallways on social media; now, that same high school is reporting nine cases of the coronavirus, spread among both students and staff. And this school isn’t alone, either.

Arizona Republicans fear state Senate nominee could jeopardize their hold on the chamber

Democrats are making a strong effort this fall to flip the Arizona state Senate, where Republicans hold a small 17-13 majority, and Tuesday’s primary results gave Team Blue some potentially great news. Veteran Republican state Sen. Sylvia Allen lost renomin
Daily Kos

Arizona Republicans fear state Senate nominee could jeopardize their hold on the chamber

Democrats are making a strong effort this fall to flip the Arizona state Senate, where Republicans hold a small 17-13 majority, and Tuesday’s primary results gave Team Blue some potentially great news. Veteran Republican state Sen. Sylvia Allen lost renomination 59-41 to perennial candidate Wendy Rogers in Legislative District 6, a competitive seat located in the Flagstaff area in the northern part of the state, and GOP leaders are very much afraid that they’ll now lose control of the district in November. This seat backed Donald Trump 52-42, but Republican Martha McSally defeated Democrat Kyrsten Sinema just 49-48 here two years later; Allen also won re-election in 2018 by a close 51-49 margin. Republicans already were in for a tough race this fall against Democrat Felicia French, who has been a strong fundraiser, but Rogers’ victory complicates things even further.

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