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Group of Senators Urges HHS to Restore LGBT Questions on Government Survey



  • Without data, LGBT elders and others could be left in the cold

  • Data helps determine funding for home-delivered meals, transportation, home care, and caregiver support

19 U.S. Senators sent a letter Thursday calling on HHS Secretary Tom Price to restore survey questions that assess whether key programs meet the needs of older Americans and people with disabilities within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Among the group are U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA), along with Democratic Senators Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Dianne Feinstein.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal for the most recent National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and the Centers for Independent Living Annual Program Performance Report deleted questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. The data collected by these questions help determine funding priorities for HHS and help guide local programs in their own decision making. 

“Sexual orientation and gender identity questions on these surveys were designed to ensure that vital services were reaching vulnerable LGBT Americans,” the senators wrote. “By rolling back data collection, it is possible that the needs of millions of Americans will go unmet. 

The Older Americans Act provides funding for services such as home-delivered meals, transportation, home care, and caregiver support in addition to programs designed to serve people with disabilities including skills training and counseling. The Centers for Independent Living provide resources to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently in their homes and communities.

Read the full letter below:




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‘Deadly Ignorance’: GOP Governor Slammed for Falsely Claiming ‘We Didn’t Know’ Asymptomatic People Transmit Coronavirus



“This is a game changer, dude? Yeah. So is the wheel.”

Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp has been under fire for refusing to issue a stay at home order for his state’s 10.6 million people. On Wednesday, after his fellow GOP Governor to the south, Florida’s Ron DeSantis succumbed to nationwide public outrage, Kemp finally told his citizens to stay home.

But Kemp is now under fire for his false claim that “we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” that coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic people.

During Kemp’s announcement he also falsely claims he’s been “following the science,” and calls it a “game changer.”  He’s now being accused of a “stunning admission of deadly ignorance.”

Scientific and mainstream media articles going back to at least February 24 – not in “the last 24 hours” – have made clear people with no symptoms can transmit the coronavirus. Many more articles appeared in mid-March. A University of Texas at Austin study published March 16 found “that more than 10 percent of patients are infected by somebody who has the virus but does not yet have symptoms.”

Harvard epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding doesn’t hold back on Kemp’s claim: “That is a lie. We’ve know about asymptomatic transmission for well over a month or more.”

Many across the nation are furious, and as some pointed out, the CDC is based in Atlanta.


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Army Warned Trump Administration on Feb. 3 That Up to 150,000 Americans Could Die From COVID-19



The U.S. Army warned two months ago that up to 150,000 Americans could die in a coronavirus outbreak, but that’s now within the range of President Donald Trump’s best-case scenario.

An unclassified briefing document prepared Feb. 3 U.S. Army-North projected that “between 80,000 and 150,000 could die” in an extreme “Black Swan” analysis, but after weeks of inaction President Donald Trump now concedes optimistically between 100,000 and 240,000 could lose their lives to the virus, reported The Daily Beast.

The document reached high levels within U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), which early on helped civilian agencies evacuate and quarantine Americans overseas, and came two days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper ordered “prudent planning” for a military response to a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

The Daily Beast confirmed the document reached Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy at the Pentagon, but it’s not clear how widely the Army’s death estimate was distributed within the government.

NORTHCOM commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said Wednesday that the assessment reflected “worst-case” planning, but declined discuss the briefing in detail.

On March 4, a month after the Army’s briefing, Trump told downplayed the World Health Organization’s coronavirus death estimate of 3.4 percent as a “false number” to Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying he had a “hunch” it would be lower.

The briefing accurately predicted that asymptomatic people can “easily” transmit the virus, which the Army found to be outside medical consensus at the time, and warned that military personnel would be needed to provide logistics and medical support during a pandemic.

The estimate assumed military infections would be at the same rate as the civilian population, but the Military Times reported Tuesday that troop infections have actually come at a higher rate.

The briefing also assumed — inaccurately, as it turns out — that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control would successfully contact trace all U.S. and Canadian coronavirus cases to contain the outbreak, which still hasn’t happened.

Trump received briefings on the virus throughout January, when it was mostly contained to China, and the Senate Health Committee received one Jan. 24, about a week before the Army briefing.


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Expert Delivers Sobering Warning to Dems: ‘Traitor ‘ Trump Will Cheat, Russia Will Help, Ignore It and Focus on Winning



Political science and foreign policy expert David Rothkopf is out with another sobering but insightful piece of advice for Democrats who want to see President Donald Trump kicked out of office in November. Ignore Trump.

In a lengthy Twitter thread Rothkopf, who is the CEO of The Rothkopf Group and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, among other endeavors,  is warning Democrats that their outrage and upset over Trump may be their undoing, because they take focus away from the goal right now: figuring out how to win.

“Get votes. Get more votes. Win more electoral votes. Don’t count on history. Don’t count on swing votes. Don’t count on anything but hard work, donations, grass roots efforts, groundwork. Don’t focus on him. Focus on how to win,” Rothkopf tweets.

Rothkopf writes, “it really gives me a bit of a headache” when he hears Democrats condemning Trump “as hypocritical or as lying or as being illogical or making an inconsistent argument.”

“Same headache when they say ‘what would happen if Obama did this’ or ‘Hillary’s emails.’ Don’t you get it? He doesn’t care. His supporters don’t care. Facts don’t matter. He is a credibly accused rapist, a racist, unfit, incompetent, deeply unstable. He is a traitor.”

“He is the most corrupt president in history. He was impeached. He is presiding at once over the greatest public health crisis, the greatest economic crisis and the greatest leadership crisis in American history. And his approval ratings are going up!”

Rothkopf, according to his bio, is also “the host of the Deep State Radio podcast, a visiting professor of international and public affairs at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the former CEO and editor-in-chief of the FP Group,” which is the company that publishes the news magazine Foreign Policy.

“Are you going to be outraged if Trump cheats? If the Russians help? If the GOP suppresses votes? Too bad. They will. Are you going to be frustrated that many in the GOP will not respond to reason? Yes. Are you going to hate his lies? Yes.”

He concludes:

Read the entire thread of tweets here, or on Twitter starting  here.

Image by Charles Edward Miller via Flickr and a CC license

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