What can I do? Contacting representatives doesn’t seem to be doing much. Encouraging people to vote, yes, but that assumes that we will have a fair election or an election at all. How do we stop this? I also don’t have the sense that the Democrats are doing much, or are able to do much. Am I missing something? And I ask the question in all seriousness- what can I and others do to stop what feels like daily takeover of agencies, freedoms, communication, truth and accountability?

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Each night, just when I think I've heard the worst, the next night, it's some new outrageous horror. Buying up all the remdesivir??? One son's wife and the other son's girlfriend being paid $15K/month funneled through his (now ex) campaign manager? Controlling the flow of information about coronavirus infections through HHS instead of CDC? smh....

Thank you, Heather, for keeping us informed. I hope that many others will subscribe to you to become informed as well.

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It’s like the Russian bounty scandal never happened. It’s buried under 3 weeks of garbage and can’t breathe. I hope someone is still trying to dig it out. 🤞

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Please be aware that the following is a passionate statement supporting a specific outcome in this years election.

The vote.

The best that we can do now is get people to the polls.

Yes, there will certainly be on the ground hacking of peoples access to voting, and certainly ehacking as well. I still think that the more people we can get to vote, the better chance there is of succeeding in the two "races" where it counts the most, the presidency, and flipping the senate.

It means encouraging people to not consider Facebook,Twitter, et al as news sources. Use them for socializing, sure, but just don't use them as news sources. There are so many more reliable sources.

There are tens of millions of fellow citizens out there who will be on the edge about voting. There are also tens of millions out there who have the time, who are able to support everyone's right, everyone's access, to voting.

On the ground support

It means having as many legal representatives on the ground to challenge access suppression, it means monitoring mail in voting to make sure that it works as intended, it means on the ground support for those waiting in line, especially in areas where there is active suppression.

Obviously more complex, and more dangerous this year, support for those waiting includes not only water, shade, transportation, child care, and food, but PPE's as well.

It means observers with video and sound, aka shine a light on the process.


It means for those of us who can that we must support candidates financially more than we ever have before.

There are many of us who can afford (yes, even in this downturn), to give more.

To rehash an old saw, put your money where your mouth is. However much we have will almost certainly be worth less, provide less security, if this is not turned around.

I think our American democracy is hanging by a thread. Lets make sure we make that thread a great stout rope that brings us back from the edge of the cliff where we now teeter.

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As elections are getting so close and Trump is "shedding his ephemeral sheep's clothing" it is time to stop just "bewailing Trump's evil ways" and ramp up significantly what we are doing about it!

What is to stop the hospitals continuing to report data to the CDC as well as the 2 other private companies? As long as they also obey Trump's directive they won't have a problem receiving any new Covid drugs.

A second line of attack would be for the states to continue to use their existing state-wide health data collections and to set up a collaborative system amongst states to provide a check on eventually Trumpian iniquities with the statistics of infections and deaths. They had already started down this path on the subject of making decisions to "open up" their economies.

A third line of attack would be an avalanche of congressional inquiries into all the different errors made in Trumps neglect of the Covid epidemic and the potential conflicts of interest and corruption......a pre-impeachment move in all but name. What are the Democrats there for otherwise these days?

A fourth line of attack would be through investigative journalists in the national media detailing the collusion and corruption in the non-competitive contracts awarded for private data collection and the potential conflict of interest in eventual filings with the SEC. Does someone in Trump's clan have an investment/interest in the fledgeling operation? A clear statement from the new incoming administration saying that they would look very closely into this matter and prosecute all wrong doing might calm the "raging passions", screw up the public listing and scare away the the crooks and finaciers involved.

And finally on the story of Trump junior's girlfriend etc being paid "off balance sheet".....publicity, publicity, publicity. The firing of Trump's campaign manager, the owner of the company by whom they are paid will probably affect the problem too. If this hits the headlines then the guy won't just be demoted to handling the data analysis but will be out the door. Trump will have to find a new way to hide these campaign expenditures.

We need a new Bernstein/Woodward team on the job.

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Am I the only one who feels even MORE compelled to stay home now that I know the WH is covering up (or cooking) the COVID numbers?

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While listening to the NPR story this morning about the coronavirus reporting change, I kept yelling at the radio --"OK, but just who owns the company that is providing the new database??" Thank you, Heather for supplying that information. Guess I could have predicted it was a Trump crony. Will we ever get national numbers we can trust, now?

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First, thank you again for this newsletter. It is a perfect digest of the important news, and avoids the noisy nonsense of Twitter, about which more below. Dorothy Parker, whenever the doorbell rang, used to say "What fresh hell could this be?" The news has been like this since Nov 2016 (actually Nov 1980), but it's refreshing to get a concise, spirited Reader's Digest version of hell. Many thanks!

With the diversion of COVID-19 resources to the Palantir-made platform, I think we all have to ask ourselves if the Federal government has lost its legitimacy, both because of the obvious conflict of interest here (Thiel being a big Trumpist), and because of the Orwellian-Huxleyan nature of this informational coup d'etat. I am no disciple of Thomas Hobbes, but if your legitimacy test fails by Hobbes's criteria, then your ship of state has sunk. For Hobbes, a government has legitimacy only to the extent that it can preserve the peace and pubic well-being by the sovereign exercise of its power. If we do not get accurate COVID-19 info, or have any reason to doubt it, then the state fails the Hobbesian test. Cutting out the CDC shows, AT BEST, depraved indifference to the well-being of the citizenry. I have Scottish Twitter-friends who have revived the Independence Referendum push because of the indifference of Westminster to their fates, both due to COVID-19 and Brexit, and similar sentiments are surfacing in Wales. I realize this is extreme, and the official constitutional answer is "no", but would the secession of Northeastern, Upper-midwestern, and West-coast states be beyond the pale? No one thought, in 1989, that the Soviet Union was not "forever" and that Ukraine and the Baltics would be sovereign. That I am actually thinking that New York City and environs would be better off if they were like Singapore is very unsettling.

I thought the Twitter hack, when it was happening, was a joke. That is wasn't should prompt us to do two things. First: do not trust ANY Social Media. I quit Facebook in January and do not miss it. I stay on Twitter for two reasons -- to publicize my writing on Medium and to keep in touch with the transgender community. That's it. If you are going to use it for other things, then just stick to the cat photos and funny videos. Second: worry, and worry deeply, about how you are going to vote. Make sure there's a paper ballot -- if it is scanned, there is a physical audit trail. If it isn't in your election district, mail in your vote. I do not trust the US electoral system any more, AT ALL, which brings us back full circle to Hobbes. And if we live in a Hobbesian world now in the US, our democracy is truly sick. Maybe terminal.

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As Dana Milbank said, the next worst thing to happen to Trump will be in tomorrow's news.

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Data has been a problem for the Government since someone came up with a way to combine a bunch of ones and zeros in the form of binary data. The need for more data has outpaced development of the systems to collect, analyze, and store it. The government has always, and still does, rely on manual data calls to gather data. There are a few data systems out there, but few are mature. The system that CDC is 15 years old, which is not old enough to be tried and true. During my time in DHS I was a mission support specialist. I was a director and responsible for what is called personal property. Personal property is basically all assets that are not real estate. IT equipment, weapons, motor vehicles, planes, boats, etc.. DHS is made up of 22 separate government agencies. Try gathering detailed information from that many organizations. Some of the smaller organizations simply track their information in simple spreadsheets. A few of the larger organizations have invested in modern, commercial off the shelf (COTS) data systems that simplify tracking. Then there is the human element - some organizations don't make data tracking a priority. The output from 22 desperate tracking methodologies are usually not compatible and can't be aggregated into a single system without being normalized. If you can't normalize the data, you can't compare apples to apples. Why doesn't DHS develop a single tracking system you ask? Because it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to procure those types of systems and during my time there we could never get it in the budget. When we did around 2010, the contract was so big, the procurement was contested 3 times and the courts sent DHS back to square one with directions to break the systems up into several smaller systems so that more companies could be a part of the solution. Kind of defeated what we were trying to do. We eventually gave up and started developing processes to standardize data at the analyst level.

With that in mind, try to imagine what it must be like to gather data from over 6000 hospitals. Gathering, processing, communication, and management are essential to health care delivery, but the health care sector as a whole has historically trailed far behind most other industries in investments in information/ communications technologies. Again, throw in the human element. Within 6000 hospitals, there would be tens of thousands of data entry points and data input at each point is largely dependent on interpretation of the data by the person at the keyboard. The public doesn't understand this, so when they see fluctuations in the numbers over a period of time they lose faith in them.

I really don't understand why the administration is cutting the CDC out of the loop. (Well, I have my suspicions just as everyone else does.) But this I know, there is big money in data collection, analysis, and storage. To develop and standardize a single system robust enough to be deployed to every hospital would likely cost in the billions. As Heather outlined, follow the money and it's apparent, based on the administration's track record, what they are up to. It would also take 10 years to input all the baseline data needed. That's why I can't grasp the reasons why the administration would change reporting systems in the middle of a pandemic.

Someone suggested that the hospitals could simply continue to report to the CDC. Sure, but not likely. 6000 hospitals means 6000 different medical administrators that all have their own opinions about what the administration is doing. Trust me, there are a lot of Trump supporters in the medical community to, so it's not likely that you would even get a majority of the reporting points to continue funneling data to CDC. And if CDC did continue to collect it, Robert Redfield would be out of a job and be replaced by a Trump loyalist, who would likely not even be a medical expert.

I predict we will see the COVID-19 cases peak, plateau, and fall. And if the administration is successful at containing the data, it will occur before the election.

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Unlike some here, I have recently embraced Twitter. As at least one person here said, I use it to find news stories that I might not otherwise see. I also use it to find reliable, trustworthy information from credentialed sources and / or people I have chosen to trust to share reliable information. I originally got on it to follow James Rebanks but that’s another story. The fact that it could be (presumably) so easily hacked is unsettling, especially given that it is used to report emergencies as with the NWS situation yesterday. That incident hasn’t made me abandon the platform but it has made me more aware of the fragility of our communication systems. I don’t have a good solution other that to advise people to be diligent with critical thinking skills and not just take everything at face value.

That being said, I am grateful for this newsletter and Heather’s ability to connect the dots in this wildly chaotic time. I knew “we” had bought up the Remdesivir and the world was angry at us (though, honestly, I’d forgotten because the news cycle moves so fast now) but didn’t know about the connection to the private reporting company. I would bet real money that the trump family is somehow financially invested in that company. It’s always the damn money with those people. It now appears that they are literally milking this pandemic for their own personal financial gain. This is such an abhorrent thought that I am having great difficulty believing what the facts point to but, as people have begun to say more and more often, here we are.

I am saddened but not surprised to hear people on this forum bring up discussion of secession. It’s not just a topic for Southern rednecks anymore, apparently. All of the rapidly accelerating negative events happening have brought me to the point where I have begun to shift from fearing for our country to fearing that it is already too late. Too many things are happening too fast: COVID rapidly becoming out of control (per Dr Fauci), government takeover of covid data which will guarantee we will no longer have reliable data and won’t know the truth about what’s going on, bounties on US military by the USSR, Cold War with China, USPS being undermined, VOTING and the upcoming election being undermined, McConnell stonewalling everything except his agenda, forced school openings, EPA rollbacks, grift and corruption at the very highest levels of government, absolute and total lack of national leadership - in fact, malignant and harmful actions towards us and our country by our government. I could continue to go on but I know I am “preaching to the choir” so I will stop. Folks, I fear it’s too late. Worse, it’s now too late to get out - we are banned from traveling to most of the rest of the world. What now?

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Twitter is, and always has been, a shoddy, shallow platform. I’m not sure why anyone pays any attention to it. I tried it once, maybe 10 years ago. I set up my new account using a strong password (I’m a techie), subscribed to a few people, and...my account was hacked by some Russian within hours. To rub salt in the wound, Twitter then sent me a nasty email scolding me for sending spam with my account (that would be the Russian who had hacked the notoriously flimsy Twitter security). Irony of ironies, Twitter suspended my account. I’ve not gone back, and have not missed it.

The promise of the Internet was how democratic and open it was, hiving everyone a voice. Look at what Twitter is - a broadcast medium (decidedly undemocratic). There are a few celebs with megaphones, and the rest are just ears, voiceless. The elite tweeters have millions of followers, the followers have? How many millions of nasty, dishonest tweets have been broadcast and consumed. How much has Twitter enabled Trump, Putin (through his digital agents) and other tinpot tyrants? How much of Twitter is pop culture pabulum? I read every week about this or that person who shutdown their Twitter feed, and how much happier it made them.

Some here might defend Twitter, there must be some value. The question is, does the value outweigh the cost?

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More and more I worry about the Nov elections. Certainly this Twitter hacking does little to ease that worry. In George Will's opinion piece today, he mentions that early voting begins in some states in 61 days. Hopefully, the Dems will find a way to better protect the rights of all voters including finding ways to insure that all votes are counted. That leaves the Dems just 61 days before the first votes will be cast.....and hopefully protected. And, to prevent any hacking of voting machines, let's move back to all paper ballots!

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If Twitter Verified users can get hacked, it does not bode well for elections.

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Now that the Trump’s people are in charge of the Covid-19 case count — and making money on it — let’s all watch for the numbers to “magically disappear”. Just as Trump predicted.

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I knew #45 was bypassing the CDC because they were telling the truth about COVID, which contradicted his lies, but should have guessed it was also about corruption and making more money off the ppl who pay taxes. Thanx for the behind the scenes story.

I should be getting my paper, mail-in ballot in a couple of days. The news said they were being mailed out today. I have been voting this way for years. The only time I went to my local polling place recently was to campaign for Andrew Gillum who lost narrowly to Ron DeSantis. I think there are more absentee ballots going out this time in Florida.

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