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What Happened to You, America?

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What Happened to You, America?

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Now, in 2020, all that is left is a heartache. Writing these first paragraphs made me tear up. Ive been living in Los Angeles for the past 10 months. It was a dream come true. But almost everything I associated with the country I so admired just a couple of years ago has changed. Where are the forward-thinking people I was praising? Almost all I can see is hate, division, narcissism. Im in disbelief when I see people recklessly spreading conspiracy theories instead of wearing masks to save others. Im hurting when racists refer to statues of confederate generals as Americas proud heritage. Im internally screaming when I hear the president publicly naming the Black Lives Matter movement a symbol of hate. Or when he purposely calls the coronavirus Kung Flu.

What happened to attributes like tolerance and friendliness? What happened to all those positive traits I was missing in my own home country? I dreamed of being part of this great nation for years because I thought it cherished and supported immigration. I wanted to learn and grow with all the talented people living here, in a country that supposedly gives its citizens nearly endless possibilities to succeed and thrive.

Boy, was I completely wrong all along? Or has a lot just changed? I never felt more unwelcome, furious, devastated, heartbroken than I am right now. In my opinion, one main catalyst is the 45th U.S. President, Donald J. Trump. He mainly won the election in 2016 based on a campaign of keeping immigrants out of the country. His primary goal was to shut Americas borders. By now, his wall includes everyone who is planning to pursue a career or find shelter in America. On June 22, simultaneously to the skyrocketing COVID numbers, Trump signed a proclamation suspending aliens to enter the U.S. because they would present a risk to the labor market. Present a risk?! As a German in Los Angeles, I never thought I could be a risk just by wanting to live abroad. I never thought I could be a threat that Americans needed protection from.

The proclamation states: American workers compete against foreign nationals for jobs in every sector of our economy, including against millions of aliens who enter the United States to perform temporary work.

It further reads: under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.

Even though I wont be affected by the measures of the proclamation which took effect on June 24 and will remain in place through December 31, the whole thing makes me incredibly furious. Why? Because more than half of the immigration visas issued in a typical year will be denied. Instead of saving the economy, Trump will potentially worsen the economic hardship suffered by millions. Even major U.S. businesses like Facebook, Google, and Apple publicly spoke out against the presidents proclamation, because putting up a not welcome sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses, and other workers wont help our country, it will hold us back.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Anderson Cooper recently said on CNN: If divisive, inflammatory, racist words could kill the coronavirus, then the president of the United States would be heading to Stockholm right now to pick up his Nobel price in medicine. What Donald Trump is doing is, to put it mildly, dangerous. He riled up the entire country and somehow managed to make a pandemic political. Or as Cooper put it: He is trying to persuade the country that the virus is simply vanishing. Looking at the utter madness that is taking place on Twitter, FOX News, etc., Im in shock. As a German, I also followed the COVID crisis in Germany for the past months. Even though my home country had to face a lot of issues like racism, or divisions between left and right: the pandemic weirdly brought the country closer together. Everyone acknowledged its seriousness and worked together to get it under control.

But in the U.S., it feels as if nothing in the world could unite Republicans and Democrats. Its heartbreaking to see that not even hundreds of thousands of dead Americans can bring opposing sides to the table, to solve an unprecedented crisis. Thats why, for the first time, I am proud to be German. I am proud of the countrys stability, a strong economy, and a working healthcare system. Why is it so infuriating to pay a little more taxes so you wont have to pay off dooming debt caused by medical bills? I will never understand the sense behind paying billions of dollars to the police and military but not to your healthcare and educational system. Looking at Europe, it almost seems boring compared to whats happening here right now. Theres no narcissistic America First, no Fake News-tweeting national leader, or coronavirus is made up by the radical left chants.

Of course, I wouldnt still be here without the slightest bit of hope. With an eye on the election coming up on November 3rd, I hope Americans prove themselves and the rest of the world wrong. Wrong? Yes. The United States has lost a lot of credibility and respect since the 2016 election. But I believe that there are still enough forward-thinking, tolerant, and bold people out there that can turn everything around. They just need to get to the voting booths! I will listen just like in 2000 when I was a five-year-old girl. Only this time, I will understand how important the outcome of an election is.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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