Since covid-19 hit the nation like a freight train, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become one of the most trusted voices in America. But despite the fact that 65 percent of Americans reportedly trust his judgment, his public appearances have diminished in tandem with his relationship with President Trump and numerous Republicans, while some Americans refuse to listen to his pleas to wear a mask and social distance, and his inbox is in shambles.
Fauci was temporarily allowed out of the dungeon for an interview with New York Times columnist Jennifer Senior on Tuesday, just hours before the first covid-19 press briefing since April (he was not invited) and discussed his concerns:
If you were an executive for the day, what lever would you pull?
But Jennifer, would you want me to say something that’s directly contrary to what the president is doing? That’s not helpful. Then all of a sudden you don’t hear from me for a while.
How much faith do you have in people to pivot and change their behaviors?
It’s disconcerting when you see people are not listening. I could show you some of the emails and texts I get — everybody seems to have my cellphone number — that are pretty hostile about what I’m doing, as if I’m encroaching upon their individual liberties.
Can you read me one?
Just trying to get a glimpse into your inbox.
It’s not good.
His weariness was evident throughout the write-up, especially when discussing pushback to social distancing guidelines from politicians, business owners, and average Joes. He’s especially concerned about the uptick in covid-19 among younger Americans.
“I’ve just been doing this for so long, and I’m trying to do my best to get the message across without being overtly at odds, OK?” Fauci siad. “The only thing I can do is to get out there with whatever notoriety or recognition I have and say, these are the four or five [guidelines]. Please pay attention to them. And if we do that, I feel confident that we’ll turn this around.”
There was a sliver of optimism from ol’ Fauci when discussing vaccine trials, which he said might be available to the public sometime in the first half of 2021. “I mean, 20 years ago, we never would have been able to get candidate vaccines ready to go into Phase 3 trials literally within a few months of the discovery of the new virus,” Fauci said. “That is unprecedented.
Here’s some messy news to devour: The FBI arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder Tuesday for his involvement in a $60 million bribery scheme related to the $1 billion bailouts of coal and nuclear plants.
From Courthouse News:
[Southern Ohio U.S. Attorney David DeVillers] called the alleged enterprise involving the Ohio speaker “likely the largest bribery and money laundering scheme ever perpetrated in the state of Ohio.”
The prosecutor detailed the creation of Generation Now, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization he said was used to funnel money to an undisclosed corporation known as Company A in the indictment, which then allegedly passed funds on to Householder and the others.
A 501(c)(4) is not required to disclose its donor information, and is supposed to be created as a means to promote social welfare.
“Not a dime of the money went to any social cause,” DeVillers said.
Scamming isn’t out of fashion, lads. Emphasis ours.
According to prosecutors, millions of dollars were filtered to Company A through Generation Now to both pass House Bill 6, which authorized the power plant bailouts, and to defeat a later ballot initiative that sought to overturn the law.
Householder, 61, allegedly received more than $500,000 personally, most of which he used to pay for legal fees related to an unrelated lawsuit. Some of the other defendants allegedly transferred millions to firms they controlled in addition to payments to themselves.
This Vox article goes into even more detail about this mess. It’s wild from start to finish.
- The Trump administration is really trying it with China. [Guardian]
- A white veteran who got roughed up by federal officers in Portland really wants everyone to focus on black people again:
- In other fucked up Portland news, Portland officers are allegedly hiding their names. [Williamette]
- Trump is threatening to send hundreds of federal officers to Chicago. [NBC News]
- When it comes to extending covid-19 unemployment benefits, Republicans don’t know whether to do the right thing or not [Reuters]
- Matt Gaetz is in an ethics violation clusterfuck. [Politico]