Happy Tuesday, CivMixers. It is Tuesday, and so far it has been a doozy of a day.
Why do I say that? Well, let’s see…
It’s not every day that the president’s son has his Twitter access restricted for 12 hours, as a tweet he shared violated the platform’s on spreading false information about COVID-19.
The video in question, shared by Donald Trump Jr., featured doctors praising hydroxychloroquine and downplaying the need for face coverings. Both Facebook and Youtube also eventually took the video down for violations of their respective policies.
President Trump himself had more tweets removed, after retweeting a link that attacked Democrats and Dr. Anthony Fauci for discrediting hydroxychloroquine for political reasons. Dr. Fauci is, of course, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and served six previous presidents.
Today, he said he has never intentionally misled anyone in the past and certainly isn’t doing so now.
So. That happened.
Also, a woman died in Maine today in the Casco Bay just off the shore of Bailey Island. The cause of death was a suspected shark attack. At least that’s what a witness said, and we should know more in the coming days. The woman’s identity is being withheld pending notification of her family.
So yeah, it hasn’t exactly been the most average day. But, then again, what IS average anymore?
Shall we see what else went down today?
1) As U.S. Attorney General William Barr testified today on Capitol Hill, six Democratic mayors sent a letter to members of Congress requesting that the president be blocked from sending any more federal troops to cities experiencing spates of violence. The mayor of Portland, Oregon was among the signers, even as his city enters its 61st straight day of protests.
The mayors contend that the presence of the troops, who in many cases have been sent against the expressed wishes of local leaders, is illegal.
Barr defended the deployment of these federal agents – specifically to Portland – saying it is a necessary undertaking to protect federal property. However, the protests have only grown more extensive and more turbulent since the agents have arrived.
Trump has also repeatedly defended the action, doubling down and saying he is likely to send federal agents anywhere that protests are large, perceived as violent, and pose a threat to federal property. Barr has consistently supported Trump, and many leading Democrats say that he has politicized the DOJ like never before.
The six mayors who are signatories on the letter are from Albuquerque, NM; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, MO; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Washington DC. They accuse the administration of using their federal agents for egregious uses of force.
2) Walmart banned a couple who wore face coverings with swastikas on them while shopping at a store in Marshall, Minnesota. The couple was caught on video Saturday, wearing red face masks with the symbol depicted in black within a white circle – a clear reference to armbands worn by members of the Nazi Party during WWII.
Last Monday, Walmart, which is the country’s most prominent retail store, said that across the nation, all customers would have to wear masks while in their stores. Saturday was Day One of Minnesota’s statewide mask mandate.
When confronted, the couple, a woman, 64, and a man, 59, said they are not Nazis, but were wearing the hate symbol to express their opposition to mask mandates.
They also said that a vote for former Vice President Joe Biden this November would be a vote for a socialist America and that the U.S. would become like Nazi Germany if he’s elected.
Walmart banned the couple from its stores for a year and served them with trespass papers. Neither the police nor the store has identified the couple publicly.
The 24-year-old who pointed the couple out to the store’s management and taped the two is Raphaela Mueller, who is German-born. Her grandmother fought in the underground resistance against the Nazi Party in the 1930’s and ’40s. Mueller was shocked to see the hate symbol worn so publicly and with no apparent regret.
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in the country in recent years, and last year anti-Semitic incidents hit a new high. Over 2,100 incidents were reported to the Anti-Defamation League, which has been tracking these incidents since 1979.
The charity concern was held on Saturday in Southampton. The event, according to Cuomo, violated public health protocols and showed an immense disrespect to New York residents. It was billed as a drive-in concert, and organizers insist it was entirely within acceptable social distancing regulations. The state Department of Health is investigating to see if those claims are indeed true, as photo and video evidence appears to indicate otherwise.
Southampton is an affluent section of Long Island, and the concert, “Safe & Sound,” had a price tag of up to $25,000 per parking spot. The idea was for attendees to park and leave their space only if going to the bathroom. Organizers claim that everyone in the roughly 600 cars that showed up was screened for fever before being allowed to enter.
They also maintain that all regulations were followed – mostly – and the context of the social media posts that show something different were taken out of context.
The concert was opened by DJ D-Sol, better known as David Solomon, chief executive at Golman Sachs Group, Inc. Jake Siewart, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, said that “DJ D-Sol” opened the show and left. According to Siewart, Solomon saw concert-goers obeying all the public health rules.
The governor and DOH officials are understandably concerned about any possible violations of policy, as New York only recently flattened the curve after being the first epicenter of the COVID outbreak. Cuomo does not want one gathering to set the state back when it comes to infections.
“(The) concert that happened in the town of Southampton was just a gross violation of not only the public health rules, it was a gross violation of common sense.”
– Andrew Cuomo, NYS Governor
4) Last year, Fancisco Alarcon Badillo, 29, worked at the Saratoga Racecourse. Last Friday, he was sentenced to over five years in federal prison for selling crystal methamphetamine throughout the city. He could also face deportation after time served, as he is a Mexican national.
Prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett, Badillo pled guilty in January to the charges of selling the drug during the time he lived and worked at the track from May to August 2019. He said he sold over 400 grams of meth in that period and stated that he hid the drugs all over the grounds of the race track.
In his guilty plea, Badillo detailed at least four sales that took place on the actual track property. He was arrested in the city of Saratoga Springs during a traffic stop. Badillo was a passenger in that car, and when meth was found, he admitted it was his and that he was on his way to meet his customer. The Saratoga Springs Police took him into custody.
The case itself was investigated by the Capital District Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the New York Racing Association.
There have been three new states, one district and one territory added to the travel advisory list for NYS. Just a reminder, this means that anyone traveling or returning to NYS from one of the places listed here need to self-quarantine for 14 days if they were in that state/district/territory for more than 24 hours.
These areas are determined on a rolling average of seven days with either a positive test rate of over 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10% or higher positivity rate.
See the full list below, with new additions in bold:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- Washington, DC.
All travelers are required to provide contact information and general itinerary upon arrival in NYS to enforce the mandate as well as for tracing purposes if needed.
I have no asides today – I have not mocked my parents or sisters recently for anything I was sure was made up, but then I needed to write about and therefore had to grovel. Seeds man, who knew they would get me yesterday.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.