Gov Vetoes Telemedicine Bill
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a bill that would have expanded patients' access to telemedicine services during the coronavirus lockdown because "it didn't include at home abortions." In his veto message Wolf explained that "Planned Parenthood spent $1.5 million to help me win reelection. I would be a terrible ingrate if I failed to protect their interests."
Critics pointed out that the veto will prevent a wide array of patients with serious health concerns from consulting with a doctor. Wolf expressed his sympathy, but asserted that "securing the equal treatment of all medical issues has to take precedence over discrimination against one procedure. The need of some women to end the lives of their unwanted children is just as valid as any other health concern. If these don't-want-to-be mothers can't be served, then no one can be served. If some must be deprived then all must be deprived."
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser questioned Wolf's reasoning, pointing out that "abortion-inducing drugs pose a serious risk of potentially life-threatening complications. Research shows as many as five to seven percent of women who undergo chemical abortions will require follow-up surgery. Aside from the moral issue of killing babies, it seems clear that for the sake of the woman, even drug-induced abortions ought to be performed in a facility equipped to respond to the potentially deadly complications that may occur."
Trump Accused of "Attempted Murder"
President Rump's offer to provide his anticipated Democratic opponent for president with "the same kind of rapid COVID-19 testing system that I have so he can get out of quarantine and back on the campaign trail" was denounced by former Vice-President Joe Biden's campaign manager Greg Schultz as "attempted murder."
"Trump knows that Joe is a member of the aged and decrepit cohort of the population that is most vulnerable to the virus," Schultz charged. "These tests don't provide any protection from infection for the person being tested. They only assure that the person is not likely to infect others. The risk of Joe being infected by others while he is campaigning would still be present."
"Trump may be willing to take such risks in his campaign to deceive people into voting for him, but Joe is not," Schultz asserted. "He will continue to set an example that he hopes every American will emulate by remaining in quarantine until there is a vaccine. We are confident that this heroic decision will show voters the kind of leadership Joe will exercise once he is elected the nation's next president."
Case Against Flynn Dropped
Disclosure of previously withheld FBI documents reveal that rather than pursuing an honest investigation of former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, the FBI plotted to entrap him. This prompted Attorney General William Barr to order that the case against him be dropped.
"When we look at the evidence it is clear that there is no underlying crime," Barr observed. "As in-coming NSA, Flynn was acting within the scope of his duties to converse with the Russian Ambassador. The FBI's transcript of its illegal wire tap of Flynn showed no illicit content. Yet, the FBI proceeded to entrap him by comparing his later recollections of those conversations to their tapes, noting differences, and alleging he lied to the FBI. To this, the Mueller investigators added extortion by threatening to concoct charges against Flynn's son unless he pled guilty. It's time the unjust persecution of this man is stopped."
House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) decried Barr's decision. "A lot of people worked long and hard to get Flynn to plead guilty," he pointed out. "Dismissing the case at this late date makes it all seem a waste. In my mind, once a person pleads guilty the case is over and the punishment phase needs to begin. Reversing this process on the grounds that it was not a proper investigation is unconscionable. Lots of investigations are imperfect. Does that mean we have to let guys off because of these imperfections?"
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) echoed Nadler's frustration, "trickery and intimidation are standard tools for ferreting out the guilty and ensuring their punishment. I shudder to think of the precedent Barr is setting. People that law enforcement know to be bad actors will go free to continue their depredations against society if our hands are tied by excessively fastidious demands for hard evidence before we can prosecute. Evil men like Trump will be unconstrained and our democracy will suffer."
Former FBI Director James Comey, instigator of the effort to frame Flynn, lamented that "the DOJ has lost its way. Entrapment is a long-standing and vital tool for law enforcement. At the very least, the ease with which we were able lure Flynn into making inconsistent statements and pressure him to plead guilty showed he was too weak to serve in government. Regardless of whether he was or wasn't an actual criminal, per se, we still saved the nation from suffering from his incompetence as NSA director."
NY Gov Declares 90-Day Rent "Holiday"
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) issued an executive decree absolving all tenants from having to pay rent until August 20. "Since it was my previous decree barring all nonessential businesses from operating during the pandemic that ended the employment of millions of workers, it is only fair that I also decree that no one be required to pay rent until I deem it appropriate to allow these businesses to reopen," he said.
The Governor acknowledged that "this may seem unfair to landlords who will lose their incomes during the rent holiday. But as former President Jimmy Carter said, 'life is unfair.' Considering state laws levying the highest property taxes in the nation and various local rent-control ordinances, I'm really amazed that anyone invests in rental properties. If my 90-day suspension of rents negatively affects this segment of the economy that crisis will present yet another opportunity to transform society. Maybe down the road all property will be owned by the government and rent can be supplanted by a better system for determining who lives where."
In related news, Cuomo is demanding that health workers who came to help out his state at the peak of the pandemic be taxed. "I'm not saying that I don't appreciate the help these doctors and nurses provided," he pointed out. "All I'm saying is that anyone who earns a dollar of income while in my state must be taxed. If I let these people go untaxed a bad precedent will be set for the next crisis that comes along. To stay consistent with our values of having the highest taxes of any state we can't afford to make any exceptions."
Campus Due Process Rule Denounced
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' effort to ensure due process in cases alleging sexual assault on university campuses sparked immediate criticism from presidential candidate former Vice-President Joe Biden. The Secretary's action seeks to both strengthen Title IX protections for survivors of sexual misconduct and to restore due process in campus proceedings.
"We want to have a system where students can have confidence that justice will prevail," DeVos said. "This includes justice for victims and for those wrongfully accused. For a long time, many universities discouraged women from coming forward to lodge complaints. In more recent years, many universities have implemented Kafkaesque procedures denying the accused a right to defend themselves. This initiative is intended to correct both these problems."
Biden called DeVos' action "wrong. I will reverse this once I'm president. Throughout my career I have always been on the side of women—massaging their shoulders, nuzzling their necks, and groping for a way to show them that I care, that I am on their side. The men who prey on women will find out that I'm not afraid to crack down on predators. In my opinion, the summary expulsions doled out by universities are too good for these offenders. We need to add prison time and maybe castration if we are to stem the epidemic of sex crimes on campus. As president, I will be the man who finally makes this happen."
Plan to Wind Down Task Force Sparks Criticism
President Trump's suggestion that we need to pivot from battling with COVID-19 to resurrecting the economy has been met with criticisms from Democrats. "We've done a pretty good job flattening the curve," Trump said. "We met all the states' requests for equipment to ensure that our hospitals wouldn't be overwhelmed. We even built some new hospitals in the New York City hot spot. We're well on our way to winning on this front. Now, I think we need to get to work on rescuing the people flattened by the temporary economic shutdown. People who have been blocked from earning an income need to have their right to live restored."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) called Trump's suggestion "unthinkable. Over the last two-months we've seen a level of civic obedience that I didn't think would ever be possible in this country. By declaring a state of emergency, governors across the nation have been able to rule without the encumbrance of having to have new laws enacted by legislatures. This was greatly aided by the fear of sickness and death. The Coronavirus Task Force has been an integral part of this transformation of our government. Rather than winding down it needs to become a permanent feature going forward."
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shared Hoyer's perspective. "Disbanding the Task Force means that the freedom fanatics win," she warned. "The almost uniform compliance with directives that these fanatics claim violate their constitutional rights has been unprecedented. Even if the pandemic is basically whipped, this is something we need to build on, not throw away. In my view, this task force can serve as a model for future governance. We should have similar task forces established to make rules for the economy, the environment, and social justice. The geriatric Congress can continue to shelter at home and offer advice from a position of safety to these new ruling bodies."
Gov Orders Gardens Torn Out
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich) ordered state police to "investigate and exterminate unauthorized gardens" that have popped up in the increasingly warm spring weather in her state.
"Look, I outlawed the purchase of seeds as part of my stay-at-home directive," she explained. "The appearance of well-tended gardens raises suspicion that the homeowner has either illegally bought seeds, gone outside for nonessential activity, or both. If we allow some individuals to flout the law like this people will tend to lose confidence in my governance."
"I have instructed law enforcement to act on either on their own initiative or in response to a tip from a citizen snitch to approach suspected violators and interrogate them," Whitmer said. "If those residing in homes with a garden cannot persuade the investigating officer that they had nothing to do with the flowers or vegetables growing in their yards they will be given seven days to tear out the illegal garden or face a fine of $1,000 or 30 days in jail."
Meanwhile in Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas ordered that churches in the jurisdiction "turn over the names and addresses of anyone attending services. Worshipping a nonexistent deity is the very definition of a nonessential activity. Violators must not be allowed to cloak their illegal activity behind a claim of constitution privilege. During this emergency it is my responsibility to protect everyone from being endangered by the irresponsible behavior of others. I will not be deterred by fanatics waving an out-dated piece of paper at me."
Senators Concoct Plan to Worsen Economy
In the realization that the fear of the coronavirus that is keeping people from resuming normal life won't last forever, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Ed Markey (D-Mass) are cosponsoring legislation that will pay everyone in America until the virus' impact on the economy subsides. Their bill is called the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act and would provide a monthly $2,000 check to single individuals, $4,000 to married couples, and $2,000 for each child (up to a maximum of three per family). To be eligible, your income needs to be less than $120,000 per year.
"The hope is to keep everyone sheltering in place until after the election," Harris said. "As we have seen in California, people are leaving home to go to the beach. There are also protests against the lock down at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Obviously, the fear of the virus is waning. Offering cash to stay at home is our only feasible option if we are to have any chance to thwart Trump's drive to bring back the prosperity he hopes will secure his reelection. Even if we can't get our bill past McConnell, we'll still be on record as supporting a guaranteed income. This will let those who prefer leisure over work to know who to vote for come November."