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“No Room For Misinterpretation”: Donald Trump Warns Of Diseased Immigrants Coming Across The Border—Adds Insult To Injury

This afternoon, future United States President Donald Trump released a statement intended to clarify his remark that illegal immigrants from Mexico are “rapists.”

Trump is unhappy that people are interpreting his statement to mean that he believes all illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists, when he merely intended to say that some of them are rapists.

Trump, who has publicly speculated that vaccines can cause autism, added that immigrants are responsible for bringing “infectious disease” into America.

Trump’s press release began: “I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech.”

The speech, he said, was “deliberately distorted” by the media and to prove it he included an excerpt of his remarks so that readers could see for themselves how they have been taken out of context.

When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) send its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

“What can be simpler or more accurately stated?” Trump asked. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc…On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it.”

Trump then noted that Mexican cartels bring heroin, cocaine “and other illicit” drugs into America via immigrants, and, “Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world.”

About those vaccines: since at least 2012, Trump has claimed that vaccines and autism are linked.

During a Fox and Friends appearance to promote his cologne, “Success,” in 2012, Trump said, “I’m all for vaccinations, but I think that when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different…” Trump said, adding this was “a theory” but anecdotally, “It happened to somebody that worked for me recently. I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of a sudden they go in and they get this monster shot. Then all of a sudden the child is different a month later. I strongly believe that’s it.”

So that’s it.

Anyway, in the event that you’ve been slumbering unaware since Trump’s June announcement, his remarks about illegal immigrants have resulted in a mass exodus of businesses in the Trump Inc. orbit. Univision, a Spanish-language TV network, announced they would no longer air Trump’s beauty pageants; Macy’s pulled all Trump branded products; NBC dropped Trump’s show, The Apprentice. Trump has filed suit against Univision, for $500 million, and threatened legal action against NBC.

“I have lost a lot during this Presidential run defending the people of the United States,” Trump said in the Monday statement. “I have always heard that it is very hard for a successful person to run for President.”

Well, now he knows.

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Immigration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“That ‘My Private Choice’ Thing”: What Kind Of Parent Wants To Protect Their Kid From Vaccines But Not Disney?

I went to Disneyland once. I didn’t like it. I like it even less now that 70 people, including five employees, have been infected in their measles outbreak.

I didn’t like Disneyland because I don’t like rides, but also because I don’t like fantasy of any kind – especially the fantasy that a bunch of adults waving and sweating under 800 pound carcinogenic masks only to go home with barely enough money to buy the gas it took them to get to work and maybe three gallons of Sunny Delight counts as a “magic kingdom”.

But I really don’t like the fantasy in which vaccinating your children is a private choice that you get to make for yourself and your family.

Here’s the big news flash for people who don’t vaccinate their kids: you don’t live on an island in the middle of the woods in the middle of whatever century Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in which, if you wanted pork chops, you had to fatten the hog first. Having a cartoon drawing of your family on the back window of your Honda Element doesn’t make you and them the only people in the world. Look around you. Those things with the heads and the arms and the legs are other human beings.

Some of the people around you have legitimate reasons for not being vaccinated – like they have HIV, or they recently had chemo, or they’re just old. And some of them have been vaccinated and may get sick anyway. (I hesitate to mention that because you’ll probably pretend that’s “proof” that vaccines don’t work, and they do work. The whole “vaccines working” thing is proven by the fact that in in 1953, the year the polio vaccine was developed, 35,000 Americans got polio. By 1961, there were only 161 polio cases. Saying vaccines don’t work is like dropping a casserole on the kitchen floor and throwing up your hands and saying “See, cooking doesn’t work!”.)

Also: you see those tiny little things that some of those people are carrying around? Those are what we call Other People’s Infants. (I know you know what Your Infant looks like because you have a picture of it on the same phone you use to read stupid crap written by absolute morons like Jennie McCarthy and Melanie Phillips while taking up a space in the Whole Foods parking lot.) Anyway, infants also can’t get vaccinated. This means that, if your children aren’t vaccinated, they could infect an infant (not your infant though, of course! Your infant is safe in your phone!) and it could die, and it would be your fault.

I have said this many times to people – “an infant could die, and it would be your fault” – and they look at me like I just told them it’s raining. And then they go back to the “my private choice” thing, and I am left chilled to the bone with the knowledge that whatever kind of anti-vaxxer freak they are – whether they’re the hippie “I think bone broth cures everything” kind or the urban “I’m so hypereducated that I’ve lost touch with reality” kind – they really just don’t care that their actions might hurt other people.

The thing that I don’t get about this whole Disneyland thing is this: who even are these people? In order to not vaccinate, you have to be someone who fundamentally distrusts The System, who thinks that the Government and the Scientists and Big Ag are all in collusion with Big Vaccine to plunder your children’s well-being. You’d think these parents would be kind of worried about a huge, terrifying company that mostly traffics in antiquated gender roles and the plastic that gets wrapped around them. I just don’t understand how there exists a person who says to herself, “My child’s blood is going to be as pure as the driven snow to the detriment of basic public health standards and all that modernity holds dear”, and a minute later is like, “Let’s go all the way with this Frozen thing and let’s go to the Mothership to do it”. If you’re going to be an iconoclast, at least make it make sense. It’s bad enough to put the public health at risk; now you also have to hurt everyone’s brain while we try to figure out what kind of crazy you are?

No matter how many times you sing “Let It Go” alone in the car, it won’t change the fact that being anti-vaccine is sad and fundamentally violent. Yes, violent: it’s one group of people causing physical harm to others. If you’re that antisocial, that divorced from reality, and that incapable of understanding that there are other humans in the world, just stay home. The lines are shorter, and it’s a lot safer for the rest of us.

 

By: Sarah Miller, The Guardian, January 23, 2015

January 25, 2015 Posted by | Public Health, Science, Vaccines | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ebola Politics”: Let Obama — And Frieden — Do Their Jobs

If the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind, then even the possibility of infection with Ebola should do the same — for all of us. Instead we seem easily distracted by attempts to blame President Obama and scapegoat the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Republican politicians and media loudmouths demand the resignation of Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, evidently because he refused to endorse a West African travel ban.

They’re all dead wrong.

First, Obama is following precisely the correct approach in addressing the outbreak with his order to dispatch American troops to Liberia. At this stage, no force except the U.S. military is capable of getting the situation in West Africa under control. The men and women of the medical corps can swiftly set up emergency tented facilities in every Liberian county, while security personnel begin to restore order and prevent panicked destruction.

The president didn’t foresee this outbreak, but neither did anyone else, principally because every earlier Ebola outbreak had been contained within a few rural villages. While his order to send troops isn’t popular – and nobody likes the idea of sending our troops into danger – he made a difficult but wise choice. (Our British and French allies have agreed to do the same in Sierra Leone and Guinea, respectively.)

Why are the unique characteristics and large scale of the U.S. military so vital now? Simply because no other force can adequately handle the logistical and safety requirements of this chaotic, perilous undertaking. To take just one example: Both our troops and the local health care workers will need an enormous supply of protective gear known as Personal Protective Equipment – each of which must be not just discarded, but carefully destroyed after a single use.

More broadly, the effort to contain Ebola needs very well-trained, well-organized, and well-disciplined people on the ground – which is to say, an army. Our military personnel are the best in the world, and will be able to provide leadership and guidance to the Liberians, organizing local health workers to restore order amid chaos and fear.

No organization except the U.S. military possesses the capacity to deal with such problems.

Second, the calls for Dr. Frieden to resign by Republican members of Congress more resemble cheap midterm campaigning than intelligent policymaking. Although the CDC has not functioned perfectly in the current crisis, its director is certainly the most qualified and experienced figure to stem a threatened outbreak of infectious disease. His expertise is not merely on paper, either.

During four of the worst years of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York, when multi-drug resistant tuberculosis was taking a terrible toll, Dr. Frieden oversaw the program that eventually controlled TB and reduced cases by 80 pecent. For five years he worked in India, dispatched by the CDC to work with the World Health Organization to control TB in that country – where his efforts helped to provide treatment for at least 10 million patients and saved as many as 3 million lives. Those are among the reasons that President Obama appointed him in the first place – and why he still deserves far more confidence than the partisan screamers in Congress and on cable television now attacking him.

Now is the wrong time for politicians and pundits to harass the Pentagon and the CDC, as they address the difficult task at hand — which will require many weeks of intensive struggle. There will be plenty of opportunity for recriminations later, if that still seems necessary.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when the country faced what felt like an existential crisis, many public figures, especially Republicans, urged everyone to put national unity and cooperation ahead of partisan bickering. It would be good if, just this once, they would follow their own advice.

What we will need in the months to come is a fresh assessment of our foreign aid programs. We need to understand why our traditional stinginess does both our country and our children a terrible disservice. Our best hope for survival, in the long term, is to notice how small our world has become – and to recognize that protecting our fellow human beings everywhere is the only way to protect ourselves.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, The National Memo, October 17, 2014

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Ebola, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ebola Doesn’t Abide By Borders”: Ensuring Our Public Health System Is Adequately Funded And Allowed To Do Its Job Is Key

The U.S. should not implement travel restrictions on countries impacted by the Ebola crisis and here is why. The Ebola outbreak has reminded the world what public health officials have known for centuries: Infectious disease does not respect geographical borders.

There was a time when we travelled the globe in ships and across land. In those days travel took months and diseases died out or were easy to contain using quarantine measures and broad travel restrictions.

We now live in a global society during a time when the variables we are trying to compute are numerous and complex. The vast number of people traveling around the world, the speed of travel, the large number of conveyances and the presence of multiple ports of entry into our country argues for a focused, well-tested and science-based approach to reducing the risk of exposure to this highly lethal infectious disease.

I’ve just returned from South Africa with a connection through Amsterdam, Netherlands. While this is far from West Africa, I saw a system of health and customs officials on high alert looking for ill passengers, passenger screenings using temperature monitors at airports and health advisories in airports to inform passengers how to protect themselves. What I saw, in fact, was a responsive, competent public health approach at work.

Preventing travel from affected countries is an inadequate measure. Not only do we need to ensure rapid passage of people in and out of the area for response purposes, but we also need to ensure the continued flow of supplies desperately needed to address the outbreak at its source, which is the best way to break the chain of infection. With the number of people passing through airports all over the world, identifying those who could have come into contact with people from affected countries is an impossible task. Multiply this by the number of connecting flights through European or other international hubs and it becomes even harder.

While we are appropriately worried about Ebola, enterovirus-68 has sickened more than 628 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia, a severe coronavirus – the Middle East respiratory syndrome – is circulating in the Middle East and chikungunya virus has entered our country. We have many significant biological threats, and they are all managed best through proven public health measures.

I have yet to hear calls to quarantine our borders between states while these serious diseases are already here because such a measure, of course, would be ineffective. Sound disease surveillance, case finding, monitoring and treatment is the appropriate approach. Ebola, although highly lethal, can be managed using these proven methods. We know its epidemiology, its biology and how to defeat it.

A strong, well-developed and adequately funded public health system is the key to containing Ebola and all of these other infectious threats. Unfortunately, ongoing budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies continue to put a strain on resources. Policymakers who want to be part of the solution need only to support ensuring our public health system is adequately funded and allowed to do its job.

Yes, we should screen travelers, but restricting travel is not the solution. A focused, robust and science-based public health response is.

 

By: Georges Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association; Publisher, Control of Communicable Diseases Manuel; Debate Club, U. S. News and World Report, October 10, 2014

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Congress, Ebola, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Politics Of Fear Comes With Fine Print”: If You’re Afraid Of Anything, Vote GOP, But Don’t Expect Us To Actually Do Anything

After a couple of Republican congressional candidates literally included ISIS propaganda excerpts in their anti-Democratic attack ads, the message of this year’s elections came into sharper focus. The GOP has effectively given up on running against “Obamacare” and unemployment – choosing instead to tell Americans there’s a monster under their beds and only Republicans can save them.

Last night in North Carolina, for example, Sen. Kay Hagan (D) debated her far-right challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), who focused the bulk of his attention on Islamic State terrorists and the Ebola virus.

Does Tillis have any background in national security? No. Has he presented new ideas on keeping the public safe? No. Does he have any expertise in infectious diseases? Of course not. Are there any instances in which Hagan has made a misstep on these issues? Not even one.

But Tillis gets the sense North Carolinians are feeling anxiety, and the Republican hopes he can exploit that angst for personal gain.

As Jeremy Peters reported, there’s a lot of this going around.

With four weeks to go, the election has taken a dark turn as conservatives use warnings about Islamic State militants, the Ebola virus and terrorist acts to send a message: The world is a scary place, and the Democrats can’t protect you.

Take a new Republican ad aimed at Representative Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona that warns of terrorists streaming across the Mexican border. “Evil forces around the world want to harm Americans every day,” it says. “Their entry into our country? Through Arizona’s backyard.”

Another one, against Senator Mark Udall in Colorado, plays a clip in which he says the Islamic State does not pose an imminent threat. “Really?” the announcer asks. “Can we take that chance?” An ad in another Arizona House race features the footage of the journalist James Foley right before his beheading.

There’s no denying the political potency of fear. Those who feel terrified are more easily manipulated, more likely to ignore reason, and more likely to show poor judgment. Those who otherwise have nothing worthwhile to offer the public often turn to demagoguery because it can be an effective substitute for substance.

But there’s one important flaw in the Politics of Fear, or at least the Republicans’ reliance on it.

The GOP pitch relates to government in a fairly obvious and direct way: your government, the argument goes, whatever its intentions, simply isn’t capable, competent, or prepared enough to keep you safe. Your family should therefore feel a sense of panic … and vote Republican.

Cooler heads might notice the flaw in the logic. An American in a constant state of fear about terrorism, diseases, the state of the Secret Service, migrant children, and creeping Sharia, might think twice about supporting the party that believes in slashing budgets, gutting the public sector, and generally avoiding governing whenever possible.

In other words, the Republican tack is burdened by an awkward contradiction: what Americans need is a strong, vibrant public sector prepared for every emergency, which is why Americans should vote for a party that wants to weaken and dismantle the public sector as quickly as possible.

Think of it this way: If Republicans could magically take control every federal office today, what exactly would they do differently than the Obama administration in, say, addressing Ebola? Privatize the CDC, cut taxes, and offer vouchers for protective gear? What would they do differently about ISIS? Continue the airstrikes President Obama launched back in early August – the ones Republicans don’t even feel like holding an authorization vote on?

The entire strategy is void of meaning and purpose if Republicans are pushing fear for the sake of fear – there’s still no agenda, no vision, no plans, and no ideas to serve as a foundation.

“If you’re afraid – of pretty much anything – vote GOP,” the message goes. “Just don’t expect us to actually do anything if we win.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 10, 2014

October 11, 2014 Posted by | GOP, National Security, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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