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Jonah Goldberg Attacks Press Secretary McEnany As ‘Indefensible And Grotesque’

Jonah Goldberg, the NeverTrump commentator, attacked the new White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, calling her actions “indefensible and grotesque.”

Goldberg: “What Trump Wants In A Press Secretary Is A Twitter Troll”

Goldberg, a writer at The Intercept and other publications, made the comments speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News. Wallace was the first to attack McEnany, whose supposed crime was calling out the press for their leftist bias, and giving them suggested points and questions to follow up with Obama officials regarding the General Flynn case.

“I have to say that if Kayleigh McEnany had told Sam Donaldson and me what questions we should ask, that would not have gone well, Jonah,” Wallace said. Goldberg jumped straight back in, slamming McEnany’s behavior as “indefensible and grotesque”:

What Donald Trump wants in a press secretary is a Twitter troll who goes on attack, doesn’t actually care about doing the job they have and instead wants to impress really an audience of one and make another part of official Washington another one of these essentially cable news and Twitter gladitorial arenas. It’s a sign of defining deviancy down in our politics, and it’s only going to make things worse.”

McEnany was, however, defended by Josh Holmes, who previously served as chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“What’s missing from this conversation that we’ve had this morning is the context by which she is making these statements. Any spokesperson in the Trump world, whether it’s the White House or the campaign finds themselves under constant attack by the press,” Holmes explained.

RELATED: Kayleigh McEnany Flips The Script On Reporters – Whips Out Specifics On ‘Obamagate’

The Media Are Vultures And They Don’t Like Being Called Out!

He went on to blame “the confrontational nature by which journalists approach the questioning.” Holmes noted that that their goals are “not really to obtain much information so much as to try to back them into a corner and I think Kayleigh said, ‘I’m not going to play that game,’ so yeah, it is completely different from what we’ve seen from years and years of briefings from press secretaries but I think it’s reflective of the nature we find ourselves in.”

I completely agree with Holmes here. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world with a fair, unbiased, and unpoliticised press. The press right now are full of liars, snakes, and frauds, and they are the enemies of the American people! We in Britain have just had an incident where the press have tried to hound out our Prime Minister’s most senior advisor, simply because they don’t like him – it’s the same all across the West right now.

The media establishment want to portray themselves as truth-seeking, paragons of justice, but they are really dogmatic, leftist propagandists. Good on McEnany for calling them out – keep it up!

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Coronavirus: Joe Biden emerges from quarantine on Memorial Day

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Reuters

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Joe Biden and his wife Jill visit the War Memorial Plaza in Delaware on Memorial Day

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has made his first public appearance after more than two months in quarantine amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Wearing a black face mask, the former vice-president laid a wreath at a ceremony in his home state of Delaware.

It was part of event to mark Memorial Day – an annual holiday held on the last Monday of May in honour of those who died serving in the US military.

The date also marks the unofficial start of summer.

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Mr Biden told reporters through his mask, adding: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”

Standing alongside his wife Jill, the 77-year-old then presented a wreath of white roses at Delaware’s War Memorial Plaza, before observing a moment of silence to commemorate the military personnel who fought in World War Two and the Korean War.

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Getty Images

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Mr Biden and his wife Jill pay their respects to fallen service members

Mr Biden last made a public appearance about 10 weeks ago. Shortly before defeating his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, the presidential candidate was forced to self-isolate because of the spread of coronavirus.

Following the election results, he gave a webcam speech appealing for Mr Sanders’ supporters from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he has continued his virtual campaign.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony as part of Memorial Day commemorations.

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Reuters

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Mr Trump touches a wreath during ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

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Reuters

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Donald Trump attends a “socially distanced” Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore

The president visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and then the historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Mr Trump, who has been reluctant to wear a face mask but said recently he would do so “where it’s appropriate”, appeared without any face coverings at both events on Monday.

The US has more coronavirus cases than anywhere in the world. It has over 1.6 million known infections and is nearing 100,000 deaths linked to the virus.

All 50 US states have now partially reopened after a two-month shutdown. However, remaining restrictions vary across the country.

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Here’s What Doctors Are Using To Treat Coronavirus

Although no medication is currently recommended to treat COVID-19 there is no mandate against promising treatments and doctors are taking full advantage.

From “supportive care” used to keep vital organs functioning in any way possible, to antimalarial drugs and medications designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, doctors are utilizing an array of treatments to protect patients from the worst outcomes of the coronavirus.

Remdesivir, a drug that has shown growing promise for successfully helping patients recover from the coronavirus, is being used in hospitals across the United States.

“It has been shown to at least be in part effective.” Baptist Memorial Hospital’s infectious disease expert, Dr. Steve Threlkeld told WMC Action News 5 in Memphis. “It was quite a slam dunk or a home run, depending on your analogy, but it did seem to shorten the duration of infection.”

He indicated a critically ill patient at Baptist Memorial was receiving remdesivir and showed signs of improvement, according to WMC.

Didier Raoult, a French infectious-disease expert, known to be a leader among those supporting the use of the antimalarial drug, hydroxycholoroquine, has argued online for its wider use ahead of waiting for lengthy clinical trials, according to the Wall Street Journal. (RELATED: Trump Says He Has Stopped Taking Hydroxychloroquine)

“Some people have gone crazy with methodology,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Our objective as doctors is to make people better.”

Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist Stella Burns prepares medication for a patient taking part in the TACTIC-R trial at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, England on May 21, 2020, during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP)

Dr. Raoult also indicated in an interview with U.S. Dr. Mehmet Oz that in one of his trials that treated over 1,000 patients 92% were cured completely.

As patients began lining up outside Dr. Raoult’s hospital hoping to access the treatment, French President Emmanuel Macron met with him in April to mark interest in what the doctor was professing, according to Politico.

A company in the U.K., Benevolent AI, was able to use its artificial intelligence system to identify, in record time, approved drugs that might help with coronavirus infections, the New York Times reported.

The drug, Baricitinib, is designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and has begun to be tested in patients hospitalized with the coronavirus by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to the New York Times.

Other treatments being researched by the NIH include anti-clotting agents, as well as convalescent plasma therapies meant to boost an individual’s ability to recover from the coronavirus, and which has been used successfully to treat other respiratory viruses.

“Doctors are trying desperately to do something — anything, said Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University, according to the New York Post. “But everything they’re doing with antiviral drugs is experimental.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommend the use of any of these drugs to treat COVID-19 infections, in recent weeks it has approved some of them via an Emergency Use Authorization.

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Sen. Ron Wyden Wants to Stop the Government From Spying on Your Internet Searches – Reason.com

“We’ve reached kind of an inflection point in the privacy debate,” says Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). With Americans spending more time online than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic, he worries that government surveillance of the internet matters more than over before.

Before the Senate’s May 14th vote to reauthorize the USA Freedom Act, formerly known as the Patriot Act, Wyden fought a losing battle to rein in the broad authority that it gives U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on the web activities of American citizens.

“Americans shouldn’t have their most intimate information…snooped over by the federal government without a warrant,” says Wyden. “That [information] is private and personal. It might be your dating history. It might be religious beliefs. It might be your fears…It’s like data mining of somebody’s thoughts.”

The Democrat Wyden, along with his Republican colleague Steve Daines (Mont.), tried attaching an amendment to the bill that would’ve explicitly banned government agents from collecting Americans’ web search histories without a warrant from a non-FISA court. It was defeated by a single vote.

Now an anti-surveillance activist group called Fight for the Future is trying to convince Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and congressional Democrats to add the same amendment to the House version of the bill.

But in a political world where Democrats regularly call the president a power-abusing authoritarian in the making, and Republicans bemoan a Deep State plot to take down Trump, there’s still only weak support for concrete measures to rein in the post-9/11 surveillance state.

“Nancy Pelosi has spent the last several years saying that this administration is dangerous. She impeached the president for abuse of power,” says Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. “If she doesn’t take this opportunity to get this amendment in place that at least puts some limit on this administration’s surveillance authority, it’s hard not to feel like the entire ‘resistance’ rhetoric has been a bit of a scam.”

Greer says Wyden’s introduction of the amendment could be a way of alerting the public that intelligence agencies have already been collecting U.S. citizens’ web search data. Wyden can’t say that explicitly because that information would be classified.

“Senator Wyden has often been sort of a bit of a canary in the coal mine on things like this,” says Greer. “He’ll ask very specific questions of intelligence officials when they come to the Hill that sort of get at some of these things.”

One example was Wyden’s questioning of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2013 about the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. When Wyden directly asked Clapper “does the [National Security Agency] collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” Clapper answered, “No, sir…not wittingly.” Less than three months later, former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden provided journalists documents showing that the FBI and NSA collected millions of cell phone records.

When Reason asked Wyden if he could provide evidence that the government has engaged in warrantless surveillance of Americans’ web searches, he said that he could not discuss classified intelligence information but that he has put in requests for public disclosure of any practices of this sort.

“I believe there’s a [records] reporting requirement,” says Wyden.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposed Wyden in the Senate, claiming that additional limitations to the nation’s surveillance laws would “jeopardize important tools that keep America safe.”

Wyden says McConnell’s claim is “flatly inaccurate” and that his amendment addresses McConnell’s national security concerns because, during a crisis, law enforcement agencies would still be allowed to gather intelligence before obtaining a warrant.

A more modest Senate amendment requiring FISA courts to hear analysis from opposing parties, such as the ACLU, was included in the version of the bill that passed. But Rand Paul’s more radical effort to eliminate the surveillance of American citizens altogether without a warrant from a non-FISA court was defeated 11-85. Even Wyden voted against it.

“I think that Senator Paul started an important conversation…with respect to whether the whole framework needs to be reconsidered,” says Wyden. “I’ve told him that right now, I think I’ve got my hands full trying to make the many reforms that are needed in FISA immediately.”

Greer encourages anyone concerned about government surveillance of what citizens are searching for on the web to call Nancy Pelosi’s office and pressure her to put a version of the Wyden-Daines Amendment, one of which is currently being drafted by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), back in the bill.

“It’s really important that we remind lawmakers that the public does care about our right to be free from overly broad and intrusive surveillance,” says Greer. 

Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Opening graphics by Lex Villena. 

Music credits: “Europa” by Yehezkel Raz licensed from Artlist; “Ganymede” by Yehezkel Raz licensed from Artlist; “Hang Drum Traveler” by Max H. licensed from Artlist; “The End” by Max H. licensed from Artlist. 

Photo credits: “Rand Paul in Congress,” Win McNamee/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA; “Rand Paul Listening,” Toni L. Sandys/CNP/AdMedi/SIPA; “Mitch McConnell Leaving Senate Chamber,” Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; “James Clapper Testifying,” Zhan Jun Xinhua News Agency/Newscom; “Ron Wyden with Colleagues in Capitol,” SIPA/Newscom; “Bill Barr Looks at Camera,” Sipa USA/Newscom; “Mitch McConnell in Halls of Capitol,” SIPA/Newscom; “Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff at Podium,” Aurora Samperio/ZUMA Press/Newscom; “J. Edgar Hoover Building,” Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/Newscom; “Nancy Pelosi at Press Conferece,”Stefani Reynolds/picture alliance/Consolidated/Newscom; “Nancy Pelosi Talking to Press,” Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; “Trump Holds up Fist at White House,” Andrew Harrer/UPI/Newscom; “Web Search in a Dark Room,” Yui Mok/ZUMA Press/Newscom; “Steve Daines Talks with Farmers,” Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; “Ron Wyden Talks to Reporters,” Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; “Zoe Lofgren in Congress,” US Senate Television via CNP/MEGA/Newscom 

 

 

 

 

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Software Developers Tear Apart Infamous Model That Started Lockdowns

If you don’t know what the Imperial College model is, you probably know the number: 2.2 million deaths.

That’s what the mathematical model from the U.K. university predicted the United States would face if politicians and people did absolutely nothing differently. This result was misinterpreted — often deliberately — to state that we were on a collision course for that many deaths no matter what.

That was never true, of course. Now, computer programmers say that the Imperial College model may not have been true in the first place, even if no lockdowns were ever put into place.

A May 16 piece in The Telegraph questioned the computer modeling that Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson used to come up with the “totally unreliable” model, arguing the language it was programmed in was old enough that it made serious testing of the data practically impossible.

Ferguson, of course, is better known for two things now. First, he was in a central figure in the U.K.’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Second, the reason why we’re referring to his leadership in the past tense is that he decided the lockdown rules he’d helped impose on Britain didn’t apply to him; after he decided to visit his lover’s apartment and the tryst was discovered, Ferguson stepped down.

TRENDING: Actor Hagen Mills Dead at Age 29

However, his modeling has been considered mostly unimpeachable until now. David Richards and Konstantin Boudnik, both with distributed computing firm WANdisco, are trying to change that.

“In the history of the expensive software mistakes, Mariner 1 was probably the most notorious. The unmanned spacecraft was destroyed seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral in 1962 when it veered dangerously off-course due to a line of dodgy code,” their article last week began.

“But nobody died and the only hits were to NASA’s budget and pride. Imperial College’s modelling of non-pharmaceutical interventions for Covid-19 which helped persuade the UK and other countries to bring in draconian lockdowns will supersede the failed Venus space probe could go down in history as the most devastating software mistake of all time, in terms of economic costs and lives lost.”

All right, but surely there isn’t much in common between the two events aside from the fact that the authors believe both were in error, right? Well, not precisely. See, despite the fact that Mariner 1 was destroyed nearly 50 years ago, both projects used the same programming language.

Do you think Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College study should be retracted?

“Imperial’s model appears to be based on a programming language called Fortran, which was old news 20 years ago and, guess what, was the code used for Mariner 1. This outdated language contains inherent problems with its grammar and the way it assigns values, which can give way to multiple design flaws and numerical inaccuracies. One file alone in the Imperial model contained 15,000 lines of code,” the article read.

“Try unravelling that tangled, buggy mess, which looks more like a bowl of angel hair pasta than a finely tuned piece of programming. Industry best practice would have 500 separate files instead. In our commercial reality, we would fire anyone for developing code like this and any business that relied on it to produce software for sale would likely go bust.”

That didn’t happen with Neil Ferguson’s model.

This isn’t just using a superannuated computer language, either. There’s something known as “separation of concerns” in computer model testing, something that goes back to the 1970s and is extremely difficult to test with Fortran. What it essentially means is that each part of the program is separate from the others.

This kind of compartmentalization makes it easy to test whether or not there’s an error in either programming or bedrock assumptions with a certain part of a model.

RELATED: Senate Passes Bill To Boot Rogue Chinese Companies from US Stock Exchange

“Without this separation, it is impossible to carry out rigorous testing of individual parts to ensure full working order of the whole. Testing allows for guarantees. It is what you do on a conveyer belt in a car factory. Each and every component is tested for integrity in order to pass strict quality controls,” Richards and Boudnik wrote.

“Only then is the car deemed safe to go on the road. As a result, Imperial’s model is vulnerable to producing wildly different and conflicting outputs based on the same initial set of parameters. Run it on different computers and you would likely get different results. In other words, it is non-deterministic.”

Given this inherent flaw in the model, the authors said it “screams the question as to why our Government did not get a second opinion before swallowing Imperial’s prescription.”

It wasn’t just the United Kingdom that swallowed the Imperial study without checking it first. There were plenty of other problems with how it was handled. For starters, that 2.2 million number was bandied about as if it was what was going to happen unless we took drastic, draconian steps. But that’s not what the study said.

However, the fact that the assumptions that undergirded the study couldn’t have been checked in isolation was a major flaw in the methodology of the model. For a study that was mostly just a scare piece, so much of our policymaking hinged on the study — and we couldn’t even check it correctly, given how it was assembled.

“No surgeon would put a pacemaker into a cardiac patient knowing it was based on an arguably unpredictable approach for fear of jeopardising the Hippocratic oath,” Richards and Boudnik wrote. “Why on earth would the Government place its trust in the same when the entire wellbeing of our nation is at stake?”

Ferguson is no longer in a position of power thanks to his own inability to maintain social distancing continence. This, at the very least, is a good thing. Given this piece, however, the question should be why he was in a position to do away with our rights in the first place.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Dan Bongino Predicts 2 Prosecutions out of ‘Obamagate’ Attacks on the Trump Presidency

As a former Secret Service agent, Dan Bongino has seen sides of Washington that are familiar to few Americans.

As a conservative commentator and author of a book about President Donald Trump’s battles with “the swamp,” he’s read and written more than most about the president’s seemingly endless struggles against the power centers entrenched in the federal government.

So when he all but guarantees prosecutions will be coming out of the tangled morass of what Trump calls “Obamagate” — the Obama administration’s attempts to kneecap the Trump presidency in its earliest days — it’s worth paying attention.

And Bongino did just that in an appearance Monday on “Fox & Friends.”

During the interview, Bongino acknowledged the difficulties of predicting the future of any prosecution activity in the politically charged atmosphere of the capital, but said at least two are probably inevitable.

TRENDING: Actor Hagen Mills Dead at Age 29

Check it out here:

The first, he said, was the FBI lawyer who put together a warrant application the bureau sought from the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to put Trump campaign aide Carter Page under surveillance.

Do you think there will be prosecutions from the anti-Trump plots?

As a Justice Department Inspector General’s report released in December showed, the FBI’s application omitted the information that Page had acted worked for U.S. government agency (probably the CIA) to make its weak case that Page might have been an operative for the Russian government.

The second was the government source that leaked the contents of a Dec. 29, 2016, conversation between Michael Flynn, Trump’s then-incoming national security advisor, and Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States.

That leak, published in a Jan. 12, 2017, Washington Post piece by Post columnist David Ignatius, was the public spark of events that led to Flynn’s ouster from the Trump White House on Feb. 13, 2017, less than a month into Trump’s presidency.

Flynn’s prosecution on a charge of lying to the FBI followed, and the contorted case is still engulfing Washington in controversy.

There are too many characters in the plot to name at this point, but Bongino said at least a couple of them should be fearing the reach of justice.

RELATED: The ONE … Who Did It

“There are two specifically everyone should focus on … The FBI lawyer who manipulated the email about Carter Page to make it appear he was a Russian asset when, in fact, he was a U.S. asset working against the Russians, how he stays out of prison or prosecution is beyond me,” Bongino said.

“If he’s not prosecuted, I would be stunned.

“And secondly, whoever leaked the contents of General Flynn’s phone call with the Russian ambassador — the phone call he was prosecuted for maliciously — whoever leaked that to David Ignatius of the Washington Post unquestionably committed a federal felony.

“How that person, and they have to know who it is at this point … that person, how he stays out of prison, I would be astonished,” Bongino said.

“This case would be meaningless if they get off scot-free.”

Will there ever be any real legal price to pay for those involved?

That’s the question every Trump supporter wants answered — and it should be a question everyone who cares about justice in this country wants answered, regardless of politics.

Democrats, of course, will never concede an inch of credit to Trump’s administration, and liberal media outlets have invested too much time and professional face in promulgating the endless “Russia collusion” hoax to come clean at this point.

But the operation that aimed to strangle the Trump administration in its crib – which Trump has branded “Obamagate” — is becoming clearer by the day.

The legal and judicial assault against Flynn is continuing, in all its disgraceful details.

But the fact that, as the Washington Examiner reported last week, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ordered Flynn’s judge to explain his handling of the case likely bodes well for Flynn.

The declassification of “unmasking” requests related to Flynn’s dealings with Kislyak have shown the Obama administration – including then-Vice President Joe Biden and Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough – up to its ears in “Obamagate” activities.

The entire country has watched as the media pushed the “Russia collusion” hoax for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. It watched as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives under the cynical leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the loathsome Rep. Adam Schiff dragged the White House through a sham impeachment trial.

Now, the country – focused as it is on a global health crisis – has the opportunity to watch the schemes being unraveled.

Dan Bongino has likely been following the story as close as anyone in the country, and probably knows well how tricky predictions can be in this game.

So when he makes one, it’s worth paying attention.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Forget All the -isms and Just Legislate Common Sense

It was just about midnight, on the night before my wife and I moved back to New Hampshire after our brief stint in rural Michigan. I was saying goodbye to our porch, where I’d spent the better part of eight months smoking endless bowls of cavendish and drinking endless cups of gin. It was my home office, my library, my living room, my parlor, and (once or twice on a warm afternoon) my bedroom.

Suddenly, a roar broke the silence of our sleepy little neighborhood. Down the street came a vehicle that looked and sounded as though it had been stolen off the set of Mad Max. Its purple underglow could be seen from space, and its muffler roared like a lion that’s just caught his wife in flagrante delicto with the cat that played Mufasa in the 2019 reboot.

The guy’s speakers really were turned up to 11, though I couldn’t tell what kind of music he was playing, because the bass registered at about a six on the Richter Scale. The vibrations tore up the pavement beneath its wheels. Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for about eight minutes, though she attributed the damage to a spike in the novel coronavirus and has since taken the opportunity to extend the state’s shelter-in-place orders for another two months.

Once the vehicle had passed out of range, another ear-shattering noise split the night. It was my neighbor’s newborn son, who’d been woken from his sound sleep. His dad is the minister of the local Presbyterian church; no doubt the boy had (quite reasonably) assumed the Rapture was upon us and wasn’t quite sure that three months was enough time to get on Jesus’s good side.

It took half an hour for his mother to get him back to sleep—half an hour during which the Reverend Mister and his four older children must have laid awake, folding their pillows over their heads like hot dog buns. And sure: that’s not a new experience for any household with a baby in its number. But sleep is a precious commodity for the family of a newborn. And they don’t have a minute to spare.

All things considered, parents are usually happy to lose sleep for that little bundle of vomit and feces they bring into the world. Older siblings are even known to muster a noble tolerance for its odd smells and sounds. But I imagine there were some cranky faces around the Rev’s breakfast table the next morning. What exhausted mother or father, brother or sister, can help but resent the idiot bachelor who tools around in his post-apocalyptic cannibalmobile at half past eleven?

They do it on purpose, too, you know. Here’s the chorus from “I Love My Country,” the latest hit by Florida-Georgia Line:

Up loud and proud, rollin’ into town
Hangin’ out the window, like a Bluetick hound.
Ain’t sorry. Ain’t nothin’ to be sorry about.
I love my country, and I love my country up loud.

I’m old enough to remember when country music was about busting your ass to put food on the table, drinking a cold beer at the end of a hard day’s work, and loving your mama. Now it’s about the joys of noise pollution.

Now tell me: what civilized society places a selfish moron’s right to be a public nuisance above a young family’s right to a good night’s sleep? Is that why the Founders threw off the British crown? Is that why we fought the Nazis and the Reds and the Jihadis? For the freedom to wake up sleeping babies?

♦♦♦

A lot has been made about the rise of “illiberalism” lately, and I don’t want to pile more empty words onto that nothingburger. When folks began seriously talking about Marco Rubio leading a Catholic integralist faction in the Republican Party, I tuned out. (As it happens, Mr. Rubio was just tapped to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee. I look forward to reading his new essay “Common Good Waterboarding” in the next issue of First Things.)

Having said that, I think there’s more than enough room in this country for a kind of non-liberalism, a politics that basically throws out the whole post-Enlightenment paradigm. It doesn’t argue against it; it simply ignores it. As in the Middle Ages, laws would fall into one of two categories: good or bad—or, if you prefer, just or unjust.

I know that’s not possible anymore. Pandora’s Box has been opened; all the nasty little bat-winged -isms have been unleashed upon the world, and they’re not going back in. America is doomed to spend the rest of her life making distinctions between capitalism and “common-good capitalism,” socialism and “democratic socialism,” conservatism and “national conservatism.”

But just pretend for just a moment that our politics was about making just laws, not keeping newspaper columnists in business. How great would that be?

Since it must have an –ism, let’s call this philosophy “sensibilism,” because its only philosophical basis would be common sense—that is, sense that is common to human beings, but not to journalists or congressmen or political theorists. Under the sensibilist regime, laws would not be judged by magazine editors or Twitter mobs, but by ordinary men reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee. If they say, “That law seems sensible enough,” it stands. If they say, “That law doesn’t make much sense,” then it is struck down.

The Chronicles of Narnia is more or less a sustained meditation on sensibilism. C. S. Lewis tells of how the Pevensie children “made good laws and kept the peace and saved good trees from being unnecessarily cut down, and liberated young dwarfs and young satyrs from being sent to school, and generally stopped busybodies and interferers and encouraged ordinary people who wanted to live and let live.” That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

♦♦♦

The words “centrist” and “moderate” immediately drums up visions of men wearing suits without ties and reading The Wall Street Journal. This centrist doesn’t especially want the government getting itself mixed up in social or economic issues. And yet it’s not libertarianism so much as indifferentism. Its slogan isn’t “Give me liberty or give me death” so much as “I really can’t be bothered.”

That’s why moderate Republicans and Democrats never get elected. Somehow blending red and blue doesn’t create a majestic purple, but a kind of sickly beige. When the least of three evils is Lincoln Chafee, evil starts to look pretty good. John Kasich isn’t a “compromise candidate,” except in the sense that a Pomeranian is a compromise between a cat and a dog: mean like a cat, stupid like a dog.

And yet I think sensibilism has the potential to unify normal, well-adjusted adults in both the Democratic and Republican parties. There’s a whole slew of commonsense laws we can all agree upon.

For instance, nobody likes the pop music that’s piped into some sidewalks. Nobody likes television in bars unless there’s a game on. (Really, most people don’t even like it then. That’s why we have sports bars.) When you take your wife and kids out to eat, you don’t want to have to shout so you can be heard over Tom Petty’s “Free Falling,” which has been playing on loop in every American restaurant since 1989. So why not put an end to it? We could ban it outright, or charge a putative tax, or require an expensive license. We could pass a law saying that only 50 percent of bars may have televisions, and only 50 percent of restaurants may play music, and dole out permissions by lottery. I’m sure publicans would notice how much more business they do when it’s quiet and throw away their speakers altogether.

Or take architecture. Study after study shows that the public unanimously prefers traditional architecture: Georgian or Victorian or what have you. Absolutely nobody likes Modernist or Brutalist designs—those great slabs of concrete and glass that litter every city from Boston to Hong Kong. So why not create nationwide ordinances saying all new buildings must be aesthetically pleasing? Why not set up a fund to create attractive facades for ugly ones?

Senator Josh Hawley’s “Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act” is a model of sensibilist legislation. Every Easter, we’re treated to a flood of articles and tweets and Facebook posts saying how nice it was to give up social media for Lent. Yet then everyone goes right back to spending two hours before bed flicking through photos of their aunt’s parakeet and their college roommate’s trip to Cancun. That’s how addiction works. If an alcoholic decides to celebrate 40 days of sobriety with a little drink (“Just one,” he says, “now that I have it under control!”) he’ll be under the table in an hour.

Mr. Hawley’s bill would therefore require these apps to alert users as to how long they’ve been using their platforms every 30 minutes. It would ban the infinite scroll: the endless generation of content that ensures you can never really finish “catching up” on your Instagram feed. And it would ban autoplay on videos, which is just annoying. That seems sensible, doesn’t it?

Once America has been fully devulgarized, I think we’ll find that most of our old squabbles were meaningless. All of our hatred and anxiety is born of a deep, festering discontent with the world around us. The American people fight, not like two armies in a civil war, but like a husband and wife who can’t agree on whose turn it is to wash the dishes. We find things to squabble about because we’re angry, only we’re not quite sure what it is we’re angry about.

The truth is that the modern world is practically designed to make us anxious. Put Mr. Rogers on a New York subway and watch how quickly he becomes Attilla the Hun.

“Life is too short to be ugly.” This is the motto of sensibilism. We have 80 years on this planet if we’re lucky; it doesn’t make sense to spend them drowning in loud cars, bad music, ugly buildings, mean tweets, and a never-ending deluge of selfies.

The sensibilist regime will guarantee that all peoples—whatever their class, race, or creed—have equal access to beauty. It will implement a full redistribution of peace and quiet. And then it will leave you alone.

Michael Warren Davis is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine. He is the author of The Reactionary Mind (Regnery, 2021).

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Mob Chases Woman Out of ShopRite Grocery Store in New York for not Wearing Coronavirus Mask (Video)

Video posted to Facebook on Saturday shows a mask wearing mob cursing and screaming at a woman for not wearing a coronavirus mask at a Staten Island ShopRite grocery store and chasing her out of the store.

The video captioned, “What happens in Staten Island when you don’t wear a mask in Shoprite!”, was posted by Christine Lynn on Saturday morning. It has gone viral and been copied to Reddit, Twitter and YouTube.

What happens in Staten Island when you don’t wear a mask in Shoprite! 😐😱

Posted by Christine Lynn on Saturday, May 23, 2020

YouTube copy:

TRENDING: BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: As Soon As Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos Testified that Joseph Mifsud Worked For the Clinton Foundation, She Was Brutally Targeted and Harassed By the Left

The ShopRite store where the mob action took place is located in the New York City borough of Staten Island.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order in April mandating the wearing of masks in public where six feet social distancing is not possible, including grocery stores (via the New York Times, April 15):

Imposing a stricter measure to control the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that he would start requiring people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public whenever social distancing was not possible.

The order will take effect on Friday and will apply to people who are unable to keep six feet away from others in public settings, such as on a bus or subway, on a crowded sidewalk or inside a grocery store.

“Stopping the spread is everything,” Mr. Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany. “How can you not wear a mask when you’re going to come close to a person?”…

Excerpt from Cuomo’s April 15 order:

“Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.”

ShopRite’s policy for customers wearing masks is they are only mandatory when ordered by governments.

“MASKS/FACE COVERINGS: In an effort to reduce community spread of the COVID-19 virus and based on the latest CDC guidelines, we are requiring our associates to wear non-medical grade masks or protective face coverings. We are also procuring face shields for pharmacy associates. The availability of these items for non-healthcare settings continues to be limited but we are doing our best to obtain sufficient supplies to meet the demand. Where mandated by state issued executive orders or local ordinances, stores will also require customers to wear masks or face coverings while they are shopping with us. We are complying with these mandates, but you may continue to see associates and customers in our store without a face covering. These individuals may be exempt from wearing a mask based on their age or a medical condition that would prohibit them from wearing a face covering. Please be aware of such exemptions and be considerate of your fellow shoppers and our associates who are working hard to serve you.”

Twitter copy of video:

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Socialists: Help Organize Your Workplaces

The coronavirus is causing a major global social and economic crisis. In the United States, the government’s response to this crisis has been disastrous, and employers are showing, as usual, that they have no qualms about putting their own profits above the health and safety of their workers and of the public.

Strikes and other forms of on-the-job organizing have kicked off all over the country. But workplace militancy on a much greater scale will be required to force a humane pandemic response from corporate owners and policymakers, both to win the kind of measures we need to fight the disease, like Medicare for All, and to slow the disease’s spread.

The labor movement has a key role to play in this. Unfortunately, labor’s strength is at a historic low. The percentage of workers in unions was 10.1 percent in 2019, the lowest rate since 1983 (when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting data). There was a revival of strikes in 2018, with the most workers going on strike since 1986. But that number is mostly confined to public education and still way below the historic heights of the Great Depression and World War II era, or even the 1960s and 1970s, when public-sector strikes kicked off in large numbers.

A fighting labor movement is one of the only forces that can prevent needless misery and death during this outbreak and in coming capitalist-created crises. Socialists need to understand why labor is so weak — and what we can do to bring it back.

Micah Uetricht and Barry Eidlin write about this conundrum in a 2018 article for Labor Studies Journal. They argue that there are three principal approaches to understanding labor’s relative weakness in the United States and what to do about it. Understanding these approaches, and what’s wrong or missing with them, is critical for formulating a successful strategy to revitalize the labor movement today.

One approach says that labor is being held back by unfriendly policies, and that the solution to the labor movement’s woes is to reform labor law. Another approach holds that labor’s problem is due to union leaders using flawed organizing strategies; the solution, then, lies in improving those strategies. The third, related to the second, argues that labor has suffered from the absence of elected officials who are friendly to labor, and that rebuilding the labor movement requires electing more pro-labor politicians.

Uetricht and Eidlin argue that all three are not so much fully wrong as misguided in their emphasis. Labor-friendly policies have generally been the effect, not the cause, of upsurges in labor militancy. The often illegal and occasionally violent strikes of the early 1930s, for example, spooked legislators into passing the Wagner Act, which institutionalized collective-bargaining rights through new labor laws. Leaders’ adoption of new organizing strategies, usually emphasizing research and communications over building power on the shop floor, has failed to revitalize unions. And for decades, unions have tried to strengthen themselves by using connections with the Democratic Party — again, to little avail. Even with Barack Obama, who campaigned on pro-labor policies like the Employee Free Choice Act, in the White House, unions failed to make significant gains.

All of these views, Uetricht and Eidlin argue, rest on a flawed theory of how worker power is built. This theory sees worker power as being granted from the top down, whether by union bureaucrats, politicians, or laws. But the history of the US labor movement shows that power must be built from the bottom up, through rank-and-file workers organizing and taking action themselves. That is because workers’ ability to organize and engage in disruptive action on the shop floor is labor’s ultimate source of power.

Rebuilding rank-and-file worker organization must be labor’s priority. And central to that project will be recreating and strengthening a core of class-conscious workplace activists: the militant minority.

What is the militant minority? Charlie Post defines it as the “layer of workers with a vision and strategy for how to organize, fight, and win.” The militant minority consists of the rank-and-file workers who are fiercely and consistently committed to organizing their coworkers to fight the boss.

In the period stretching from the end of World War I through the Great Depression and World War II, these workers were essential to the formation of class consciousness and militancy in their workplaces. Although the militant minority of this era included many non-leftists, radical leftists played a central role. Communists, socialists, Trotskyists, and other radicals took the lead in forming and maintaining first workplace militancy, then strong worker-led unions across the country. These organizing efforts were critical to the massive wave of victorious strikes in the Depression era, including in San Francisco, Toledo, and Minneapolis.

Uetricht and Eidlin identify five important contributions of these workplace radicals. First, they infused their workplace organizing with class-conscious ideology. Unlike other unionists, leftists’ “beliefs in the illegitimacy of management’s authority on the shop floor led to their refusal to cede control of shop-floor conditions to management.” Radicals’ willingness to challenge the bosses’ authority helped them build fighting, democratic unions. For instance, communists were extremely influential in the formation of the radical longshore workers’ union that eventually sparked the 1934 San Francisco general strike.

Second, workplace radicals were the most dedicated and became the most experienced organizers. Their commitment to class struggle motivated them to organize and fight even under threats of firing and violence. Communists and others organized throughout the 1920s, when employers successfully crushed most efforts at unionization. But the organizational infrastructure leftists built and the experience they gained during this period paid off in the 1930s, when worker unrest exploded.

Radical leadership and organization channeled worker energy into victorious mass strikes in 1934. Communists helped lay the groundwork for the San Francisco general strike, while Trotskyists and socialists affiliated with the American Workers Party led victorious mass strikes in Minneapolis and Toledo, respectively. Later in the decade, radicals played key roles in the massive wave of wildcat sit-down strikes at auto plants, devising strategy and keeping the strikes going when union leaders wanted to shut them down. Communists and socialists also led the drive to organize meatpacking and other industries.

Third, leftist organizers connected workplace and community struggles. Radicals did not organize just to win better wages or conditions for a particular workplace, or even a whole industry. As Uetricht and Eidlin put it, radicals saw union organizing as a “means to organize the entire working class.” That perspective led leftists to build solidarity between workers and their broader communities.

The importance of this sort of organizing can be seen in the 1934 Toledo strike, for instance, in which radical-led groups of unemployed workers joined picketing autoworkers to fight strikebreakers and police. The alliance with the unemployed was crucial to the strikers’ eventual victory. In Austin, Minnesota, socialists, Trotskyists, and communists led the charge in organizing the Hormel meatpacking plant that dominated the city, and then turned to helping workers across the city and region in various industries win union recognition.

Fourth, radicals were very active in the day-to-day life of their unions. That day-to-day participation involved building extensive networks of shop stewards, which allowed rank-and-file workers greater influence on union leadership. Leftist organizers also prioritized education and agitation, especially through newspapers. Publications like the Organizer in Minneapolis, the Waterfront Worker in San Francisco, and the Unionist in Austin, Minnesota, provided both news and analysis of issues affecting workers from a class-struggle perspective. These newspapers helped stoke the militancy that led to historic worker victories in all three cities.

Radicals’ involvement in day-to-day union life was directly connected to their fifth contribution: the development of democratic unions in which workers actively participated. Their commitment to challenging management’s authority over working conditions led leftists to build rank-and-file worker power as a counterweight to union leaderships, which were usually happy to cede control to management in exchange for higher wages.

Through the shop-steward networks just mentioned, radicals created channels of communication among workers and between workers and union leaders, ensuring the leadership’s responsiveness to the rank and file. This was true, for example, in the United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers Union and the United Packinghouse Workers of America, which remained democratic and responsive to worker concerns even when they came under the control of the undemocratic Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The post-WWII “Red Scare” resulted in the purging of communists and other radicals from unions. The severing of the connection between American labor and the Left meant the disappearance of the militant minority. As Post observes, “[T]he divorce between socialist politics and working-class life protected the labor bureaucracy from significant opposition.” Without committed rank-and-file organizers around to challenge conservative union leaders, unions embraced a strategy of attempting to secure better wages and benefits through grievance procedures while avoiding the disruptive strikes typical of the Depression era.

This approach worked well enough during the “boom years” of the 1950s and early ’60s, when owners were willing to make concessions to workers. But when a crisis of profitability set in in the mid-’60s, capitalists began to roll back gains made by workers. Conciliatory union leaderships made little effort to resist capital’s offensive, and rank-and-file workers were ill-equipped to fight back.

Although the wave of wildcat strikes that erupted in the late ’60s and early ’70s won significant gains, without a sizable militant minority to channel this upsurge into durable workplace organization, conservative union leaders were able to reassert control when the strike wave died down. And capital has continued to extract concessions from workers since. The result has been a continuous decline in union membership and workplace militancy.

Bernie Sanders’s two presidential campaigns, the teacher strike wave, and now the coronavirus pandemic have breathed new life into the Left and the labor movement. Sanders has revived socialism as a popular idea in American life. His campaigns helped spur the rapid growth of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which now boasts close to sixty-six thousand members and elected officials throughout the country at all levels of government. Teacher strikes in West Virginia and Arizona — themselves guided by a militant minority — ignited a national strike wave unlike any seen in decades. And now, the coronavirus outbreak is pushing workers to protest and go on strike to shut down nonessential businesses, to win paid leave and safety protections, and to ensure hospitals have adequate staffing and protective equipment to handle the disease.

Socialists should seize on the opportunities offered by the twin revival of labor and the Left to reconnect the two. That is the point of the rank-and-file strategy, which aims to rebuild the militant minority. One way we can start doing that is by taking jobs in strategic sectors (such as logistics) and companies (like Amazon), either to unionize nonunion workplaces or to reform corrupt and undemocratic unions. Labor Notes, which has been building a network of class-conscious rank-and-file activists since the 1970s, provides an excellent model for socialists trying to build organization on the shop floor.

While a critical mass of leftists working in strategic industries may be needed to cohere a new militant minority, getting jobs in these sectors is not the only way socialists can help build worker power. Socialists can also help workers organize for safety during the pandemic through the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, a joint project of the DSA and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

They can also support the struggles of rank-and-file workers locally. Members of my own DSA chapter have done this for health care and fast-food workers, amplifying their struggles and joining their picket lines and protests. And through campaigning for class-struggle politicians like Bernie Sanders, socialists can help raise the expectations of working people and inspire them to fight their bosses (just as Sanders’s 2016 campaign inspired important leaders of the red state teacher revolt).

Radicals’ contributions to workplace organizing were once crucial to labor’s strength and fighting spirit. With socialism again a prominent current in American life and the need for a strong labor movement clearer than ever, it’s time for the Left to go to work.

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US faces Memorial Day like no other under virus restrictions – Boston Herald

By AMY FORLITI, R.J. RICO and SARA BURNETT

ATLANTA (AP) — Americans marked a Memorial Day like no other Monday as the coronavirus pandemic upended traditional commemorations and forced communities to honor the nation’s military dead with smaller, more subdued ceremonies like car convoys and online tributes instead of parades.

On the weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer, U.S. authorities warned beach-goers to heed social-distancing rules to avoid a resurgence of the disease that has infected 5.4 million people worldwide and killed over 345,000, including nearly 100,000 Americans, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Memorial Day commemorations were cancelled or toned down across the country. Veterans, along with nursing home residents, have made up a significant portion of those who died in the U.S. outbreak.

The 37,000 American flags traditionally placed on the Boston Common to honor Massachusetts military members who died in service were replaced with just 1,000 flags, to limit volunteers and onlookers.

The city of Woodstock, Georgia, held its remembrance ceremony online. American Legion Post 316 Commander Julian Windham recognized military members aiding in the global fight against the virus.

“Even when the enemy is an invisible virus, or a microscopic germ, the sacrifices made are just as meaningful,” Windham said. The ceremony, which included readings, vocal performances and gunshots from a ceremonial rifle team, had been filmed over a series of days last week and later edited together, Windham said.

In Chicago, a neighborhood group that’s been holding a parade for more than a half century also moved its event online, with video clips from previous years and messages from special guests, including veterans and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In the suburb of Lisle, a convoy of vehicles from area fire departments and VFW posts drove silently through village streets in what officials said was a safe and unique way of observing the holiday.

Fallen military members were honored in New York City with car convoys and small ceremonies this year rather than parades to conform with lockdown restrictions.

“It’s something we’re upset about, but we understand,” said Raymond Aalbue, chairman of the United Military Veterans of Kings County, which usually puts on a parade in Brooklyn. There’s “no reason to put anybody in harm’s way,” he said, adding “it’s really cutting quick to the heart of all the veterans.”

On New York’s Long Island, a small group of veterans saluted, wearing masks and spaced several feet apart, as a parade of cars passed beneath a large American flag.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined a private ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, with both the sacrifices of military members and the current challenge of coronavirus on his mind.

“Over 100,000 Americans will lose their lives to this COVID virus. How do we honor them? We honor them by growing stronger together,” he said.

“We want to make sure we remember them and thank our heroes today.”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in more than two months by laying a wreath at a veterans park near his Delaware home. He wore a face mask as he and his wife bowed their heads in silence. He saluted and could be heard saying “Never forget.”

Biden told reporters, “I feel great to be out here.” He also yelled to a group standing nearby, “Thank you for your service.”

After two days of playing golf, President Donald Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which overlooks rolling hills dotted with white tombstones. He later spoke at Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry, noting that tens of thousands of service members and national guard personnel are currently “on the frontlines of our war against this terrible virus.”

Trump said brave warriors from the nation’s past have shown that “in America, we are the captains of our own fate.”

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has criticized Trump’s visit, saying the city cannot afford it and that the trip sends the wrong message about stay-at-home directives.

Tens of thousands of Americans still headed to beaches and parks, relieved to shake off some pandemic restrictions. Missouri’s health director issued a dire warning Monday after photos and video showed weekend revelers partying close together. One video posted on social media showed a crammed pool at Lake of the Ozarks, with people lounging and playing close together, without masks. Many of those seen in the video were young people, who may not experience symptoms.

“When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made,” said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson called such high-risk behavior “irresponsible and dangerous.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together. In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities closed parking lots to stem the flood. In Texas, videos of people packed together tubing and drinking on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers also raised concerns.

Trump demanded that North Carolina’s Democratic governor sign off “immediately” on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance. Trump’s tweets about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet.

At the White House, officials slapped a travel ban on Latin America’s most populous nation, saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil. The ban, which takes effect Thursday, does not apply to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. With over 363,000 reported infections, Brazil is second only to the U.S. despite limited testing.

Also Monday, the World Health Organization said it would temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drug Trump said he has been taking — from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, after a paper published last week showed people taking the drug were at higher risk of death and heart problems.

Elsewhere, infections in Russia topped 350,000 — the third-highest toll in the world — as health officials reported 9,000 new cases and 92 new deaths, bringing the overall death toll to 3,633. Russia denies allegations that its death rate is suspiciously low, insisting that’s due to its effective containment measures.

Chinese state media reported Monday that more than 6.5 million coronavirus tests were conducted in the city of Wuhan — the country’s virus epicenter — over a 10-day period in a bid to test all 11 million residents.

No new COVID-19 cases have been reported since the 10-day campaign started, although some people with no symptoms tested positive. More than 3 million people had been tested prior to the campaign, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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Forliti reported from Minneapolis. Burnett reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.