Demings Steps Up To The Plate
Democrat Rep. Val Demings is a firebrand. The well-mannered, well-spoken, former Police Chief from Orlando is on vice president Joe Biden’s shortlist of candidates to be his running mate this election cycle.
And now that Rep. Karen Bass’ candidacy is all-but sunk in a thick bowl of Cuban Black bean soup over her support for Fidel Castro, Demings could be positioned to become the next VP of the United States.
Yeah, Demings checks off all the boxes for Democrats. She’s Black, articulate, and she hates President Trump.
Now the Orlando area lawmaker has penned an op-ed that praises Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative that addresses racial economic disparity and systemic racism.
“The plan is a clear demonstration of Joe Biden’s firm stance that everyone living in America deserves a fair shot at prosperity, and that the American economy is strongest when all ethnic, gender, race and economic groups are supported as full participants.”-Rep. Val Demings (D)
Team Biden was quick to publish Demings’ opinion touting the former vice president’s and cast dispersions on everyone from President Trump to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Our cities are on fire. Black people and Latinos are dying, losing jobs, and becoming homeless faster and in greater numbers than any other group. As we look around today and try to determine who is to blame, the sad truth is there has never been racial economic equity in this country.
Vice President Joe Biden has outlined his plan for addressing the critical issue of racial economic disparity with his fourth plank of Build Back Better, a serious, determined plan that works to eliminate the systemic racism and injustices that have hindered communities of color from economic advancement for generations.
The plan is a clear demonstration of Joe Biden’s firm stance that everyone living in America deserves a fair shot at prosperity, and that the American economy is strongest when all ethnic, gender, race and economic groups are supported as full participants.”
Biden has said that he would pick a woman as his running mate, but the longer he takes to make his decision, the chance increases that he could tap former First Lady Michelle Obama.
If Biden were to pick Obama as his running mate, it could mean ‘lights out’ for the Trump campaign. I don’t think I have to explain how an Biden-Obama ticket would galvanize the Democratic Party to come out to vote.
Florida Rep. Dan Daley (D) and more elected officials are now starting to make the case for why Demings should be the VP pick.
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Rick Scott @SenRickScott–Republicans are trying to help American families and small businesses, while Democrats are just looking for another way to hustle more hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund their Liberal agenda.
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“Bass: ‘I’m Not A Socialist And I’m Not A Communist’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), one of the potential leading contenders to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate said in an interview that she is “not a socialist” and “a communist.” “I’m not a socialist. I’m not a communist. I’ve belonged to one party my entire life and that’s the Democratic Party and I’m a Christian,” Bass told NBC News in an interview published Monday evening. Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was rising to the top of the field as possible vice presidents pick for Biden, but her chances are slowly diminishing as her past remarks are coming back to haunt her. The past week, Bass has faced scrutiny from Republicans and the media over her multiple visits to Cuba and now-renounced praise of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro. In 1973, Bass traveled to Cuba with a U.S. left-wing group that has ties to the Castro regime called Venceremos Brigade to see the Cuban dictator speak. Following his death in 2016, Bass sparked a huge controversy by referring the Cuban Dictator as “Commandante en jefe” (commander in chief) and called his death a “great loss to the people of Cuba.”
“Rubio: ‘God Forbid’ that ‘Solid Liberal’ Joe Biden Becomes President” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – This week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) joined Sean Hannity on Fox News to discuss the upcoming Presidential election. In the interview, the Florida Senator warned of the idea of former Vice President Joe Biden (D) being president and what that would mean for the United States. When asked for his views on the Democratic party and whether or not they have adopted an extremist platform, Rubio agreed, adding that “that’s where the energy is coming from.” He explained that “Joe Biden is a solid liberal,” but “the party has moved so far to the left that it leaves him looking like a centrist to some people.” “If he becomes President, God forbid, all the people in his administration will come from that group and you will see a fundamental change… that will please someone like Congresswoman Bass, for example,” said Rubio. California Rep. Karen Bass (D), who is rumored to be on the shortlist for Biden’s VP pick, has received criticism for her past praise of Cuban Communist Dictator Fidel Castro.
“Florida hits medicaid plans with $2M in contract breach sanctions” by News Service of Florida – Managed care plans were sanctioned 187 times and paid more than $2 million in damages during the 2019-2020 state fiscal year for breach of Medicaid contracts, according to information released by the state.The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration website shows that during the fiscal year, which ended June 30, 13 Medicaid managed-care health plans, one Medicaid specialty plan and three managed dental plans faced sanctions for failing to adhere to contract requirements. Staywell Health Plan, which has the largest market share in the state’s Medicaid managed-care system, had the most sanctions with 24 and the largest amount of liquidated damages with $668,150, according to the data, which was made publicly available Friday. Eight of the sanctions against the company stemmed from “provider services” violations, which included issues related to network adequacy, payment, credentialing and contracting and untimely or inaccurate reporting. For those eight violations, Staywell paid $261,750 in damages.Overall, provider services accounted for nearly one-third of the total number of sanctions during the fiscal year, with the state assessing $673,250 in liquidated damages against plans for 61 violations.
“Florida In National Spotlight After President Trump Praises State’s Mail-In Voting” by CBS Miami’s Ted Scouten – Mail-in voting in Florida is in the national spotlight. “There is no way you can go through a mail-in vote without massive cheating,” President Donald Trump said. President Trump said that in an excerpt from the August 3rd episode of Axios on HBO. The next day, the criticism, at least in Florida, was gone. “Over a long period of time, they’ve been able to get their absentee ballots done extremely professional. Florida’s different from other states,” President Trump said in a news briefing Tuesday. The president doesn’t agree with states like Nevada that just approved a plan to mail a ballot to every registered voter. Here in Florida, you have to request one. Democrats have 1.9 million Floridians signed up to vote by mail in November. That’s compared to Republicans who have signed up 600,000 fewer people. Both are racing for more. Gov. Ron DeSantis told CBS4 News during an hour-long interview that he‘s confident in a system where people must request a ballot. “The model we have, where you can request. You don’t have to be sick or out. No excuse absentee. I think that has been successful and it has integrity,” the governor said.
“Florida Education Association files emergency hearing to delay reopening of schools” by Click Orlando’s Nicky Zizaza – The Florida Education Association hopes a judge will delay the reopening of schools for in-person instruction. The labor union filed an emergency hearing on Aug. 3 to block reopening brick and mortar schools while a lawsuit against the state is pending. On July 20, the Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education. The association accused the state of violating a constitutional requirement for safe and secure schools. The largest teacher union statewide claims students and teachers cannot be guaranteed protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. A special virtual meeting is scheduled for Aug. 5, at 1 p.m ahead of schools reopening. Plaintiffs named in the lawsuit include teachers and some paraprofessionals.
“Trump sows confusion with tweet urging ‘vote by mail’ in Florida” by Reuters’ Andrea Shalal – After weeks of railing against what he has claimed are the potential risks of voting by mail, President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged voters in at least one Republican state – Florida – to vote by any means. Trump, who is trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in polls, has repeatedly warned in recent weeks without evidence that mail-in voting could result in widespread fraud. Voting by mail has been embraced as a way to limit exposure to the coronavirus, though the system to do so will vary from state to state. Most absentee ballots are also conducted by mail. On Tuesday, Trump said that in Florida, where he has voted absentee, there was no difference between “vote by mail” or absentee voting, and urged voters in the state to trust their system. “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA,” Trump wrote. He told reporters at a briefing later on Tuesday that Florida has had two “great” Republican governors and “they’ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally.”
“Trump spares only Texas and Florida in cutting funds for National Guard” by Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein – When President Donald Trump directed late Monday that states now pick up some of the tab for the nationwide deployment of the National Guard to respond to the coronavirus, he carved out two big exceptions: Texas and Florida. While all other states and territories will have to shell out millions to cover 25 percent of their National Guard costs starting later this month, Texas and Florida will be fully covered. The two key states, which voted for Trump in 2016 and are hotly contested this year, are struggling to contain the coronavirus surges. But other states are worse off by several metrics — including total Covid-19 cases and the percentage of people testing positive. An estimated 25,000 Guard troops are on duty across the country running testing sites, contact tracing positive virus cases, building hospitals and carrying out a host of other logistical tasks, including delivering supplies to nursing homes and food banks. The decision to fully fund the Guard deployments was hailed by officials in Texas and Florida on Tuesday, but also prompted accusations from others of an ulterior motive.
“Medical Examiner responds to questions about Florida’s coronavirus death numbers” by Click Orlando’s Erik Sandoval – The Medical Examiner for Orange and Osceola counties stands by the more than 300 reviews his team has made on coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. “These cases are all natural cases for the most part,” said Dr. Joshua Stefany. Stefany said in order for a death to be classified as a coronavirus-related death, the person who died needed to test positive for COVID-19, they needed to have a CT scan that showed inflammation in the lungs and chest and they needed to exhibit some symptoms. “Obviously, you have to be COVID-positive. There has to be a progression of symptoms,” he said. “People don’t just drop dead from COVID with no symptoms right away. You have to have a shortness of breath, a fever, cough and things like that.” News 6 obtained copies of more than 1,000 death reports from medical examiners across Central Florida after some people on social media questioned the daily death numbers being reported by the Florida Department of Health. According to those records, many people died of pneumonia, many were intubated and some died within hours of arriving at the hospital.
“Florida Mandates COVID-19 Testing For Staff At Disabilities Facilities” by CBS Miami – Group homes and other facilities that care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities will be required to start testing staff members every other week for COVID-19 beginning Aug. 24, under an emergency rule issued late Monday by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. The state will provide test kits free of charge so providers, which range from community-based group homes to institutions for people with disabilities, can test employees in an increased effort to keep the virus from spreading further in the residential facilities. Jim DeBeaugrine, interim chief executive officer of The Arc of Florida, said Tuesday his association had to “work” the DeSantis administration to get the change, explaining that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are a high-risk population to contract COVID-19. “I think it’s a relief as much as anything,” DeBeaugrine said. “And it is gratifying. Our people are just as vulnerable as people in nursing homes and ALFs (assisted living facilities). And it’s good that that’s getting recognized and they are addressing this issue.” As of Thursday, 423 group-home residents and 385 staff members had COVID-19 infections, according to state reports
“Karen Bass faces down past as questions mount over Cuba, Scientology, Nation of Islam events” by Fox News’ Adam Shaw – Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., is tackling mounting questions about her past — on issues spanning her remarks about Cuba and Scientology as well as events affiliated with the Nation of Islam — amid renewed scrutiny due to her presence on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s VP shortlist. “I’m not a socialist. I’m not a communist. I’ve belonged to one party my entire life and that’s the Democratic Party and I’m a Christian,” Bass told NBC News in an interview published Monday. Bass is widely reported to be on Biden’s running mate shortlist, but as her odds and profile have risen in recent weeks, so has the media scrutiny into her past — particularly concerning her relationship with Cuba. Bass traveled to Cuba in 1973 with an organization called the Venceremos Brigade, a joint venture between the Castro regime and left-wing U.S. groups that organized trips for Americans to the country. During that trip, she went to see Fidel Castro speak and, in 2016, when the dictator died, she sparked controversy by referring to him as “commandante en jefe” (commander in chief) and calling his death a “great loss to the people of Cuba.”
“Federal judge pens scathing opinion on qualified immunity: ‘Let us waste no time in righting this wrong’” by CNN’s Jamie Ehrlich and Ariane de Vogue – A federal judge in Mississippi wrote a scathing opinion Tuesday urging the Supreme Court to revisit qualified immunity, a legal doctrine created nearly 40 years ago that the judge argues is shielding law enforcement and government officials from accountability. “Tragically, thousands have died at the hands of law enforcement over the years, and the death toll continues to rise,” Judge Carlton Reeves, of the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, wrote in an opinion that started with examples of cases including those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor. “Countless more have suffered from other forms of abuse and misconduct by police.”
“Qualified immunity has served as a shield for these officers, protecting them from accountability,” Reeves added. In recent years, legal scholars, judges and justices on all sides of the ideological spectrum have criticized the legal doctrine known as qualified immunity, arguing that it is not grounded in the proper legal authorities and it too often shields officials from accountability. Under the doctrine, an officer will not be liable even if he violated the Constitution unless it was “clearly established” by prior cases that his conduct was unconstitutional.
“Progressive ‘Squad’ Member Rashida Tlaib Faces Test in Michigan Primary Rematch” by WSJ’s Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson – The staying power of “the squad,” the firebrand progressives who swept into the House two years ago, faced its biggest test Tuesday, when Michigan Democrats voted whether to renominate Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Congress. Amid slow vote counting, Ms. Tlaib had the lead in early results but it remained too close to call late Tuesday. Michigan voters also picked a set of candidates to vie in November for the seat being vacated by Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian who left the Republican Party last year after coming out in support of impeaching President Trump, among other races. As with other states, Michigan is bracing for record turnout as voters rely on mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to about 6,500 deaths in the state. The Michigan secretary of state’s office said about 1.5 million absentee ballots had been returned as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday—a record number. As a result, election results may be delayed by a day or two, the secretary of state previously said. Ms. Tlaib represents the state’s 13th Congressional District, a majority Black district that covers parts of Detroit and its suburbs.
“Dem Senator walks out of Ted Cruz’s Antifa hearing: ‘I don’t think you listen’” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Tensions flared at a Senate hearing on Antifa when a top Democrat walked out of the room declaring she couldn’t sit through Sen. Ted Cruz’s rhetorical speeches any longer. The dustup occurred when Cruz, R-Texas, blasted Democrats for not condemning Antifa more directly for the violence and destruction that has taken hold in certain U.S. cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. But Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Cruz just wasn’t listening during the more than three-hour hearing when Democrats said violence is not acceptable. “Sometimes I don’t think you listen,” Hirono told Cruz at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing as he finished up with a nearly 10-minute speech. “So, how many times have I had to say that we all should be denouncing violent extremists of every stripe.” “Does that include Antifa?” said Cruz, who was chairing the hearing. “I have the time,” Hirono shot back. “…I hope this is the end of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, and that we don’t have to listen to any more of your rhetorical speeches,” Hirono concluded. “Thank you very much. I’m leaving.”
“Alexander Vindman in fiery op-ed upon military retirement: ‘I believe that in America, right matters’” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly – Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman stood by his decision to act as a key witness in President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, vowing in a fiery Washington Post op-ed to reform a government he slammed as “reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled.” “At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment,” wrote Vindman, whose family fled to the US from the Soviet Union when he was a child. “Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents,” he continued later, adding, “There is another way.” In the op-ed that published Saturday upon retiring from the US Army after more than 21 years of military service, Vindman — “now a civilian” — recounted how he did not expect the course of events that stemmed from his decision to report concerns about Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with the Ukrainian President to other officials on the National Security Council. Vindman’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry ultimately prompted Trump to fire him as the top Ukraine expert on the council in February and his decision to retire from the Army.
“Justice Department Seeks as Much as $18.1 Billion From Purdue Pharma” by WSJ’s Sara Randazzo – The Justice Department is seeking as much as $18.1 billion from bankrupt opioid maker Purdue Pharma LP, new filings show, a demand that could disrupt the company’s monthslong effort to reach a settlement with states and local communities that accuse it of helping fuel the opioid crisis. The filings, made by the Justice Department in connection with Purdue’s bankruptcy case, also telegraph for the first time the nature and scope of yearslong criminal and civil investigations into the OxyContin maker. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Purdue’s marketing and distribution of opioids violated criminal statutes including anti-kickback laws, misbranding under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and conspiracy, according to the filings. On the civil side, they are looking at whether Purdue offered kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies to encourage them to prescribe and dispense more OxyContin, and whether the company transferred cash to hide money from creditors, the new filings show. Purdue said Tuesday that the company is in discussions to resolve criminal and civil investigations with the Justice Department and had no further comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.
“Kansas Republicans choose Rep. Marshall over firebrand Kobach for Senate seat” by Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly – Rep. Roger Marshall defeated controversial former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Tuesday evening to win the Republican nomination for a Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS. The win in the GOP primary means that Republican voters in the Sunflower State heeded their party’s advice by choosing the more moderate Marshall over the conservative firebrand Kobach. Republican leadership was concerned that a Kobach win would could ultimately flip the generally safe Senate seat to the Democrats in November’s general election. “Kansas Republicans knew what was at stake in this primary, and tonight’s results prove voters will reject any Democrat efforts to buy this seat,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said in a statement. “I’m more confident than ever Kansas will remain part of the Republican Senate Majority.” Besides besting Kobach, Marshall prevailed in a crowded GOP primary field with the backing of major farm, business and anti-abortion groups but without an endorsement from President Trump. Many Republicans’ fears about Kobach fueled ad campaigns that cost at least $15 million, with most of the spending by political action committees. Kobach is nationally known for advocating restrictive immigration policies and alienated independent and moderate GOP voters in losing the Kansas governor’s race in 2018.
“Lebanon explosion: Thousands injured across capital Beirut” by CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz, Tamara Qiblawi and Ben Wedeman – A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, injuring thousands and blowing out windows in buildings across the city. The blast near Beirut’s port sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipping cars and damaging distant buildings. It was felt as far as Cyprus, hundreds of miles away, and registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in the Lebanese capital. Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, said that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures, “endangering the safety of citizens,” according to a statement. The Prime Minister called the storage of the material “unacceptable” and called for an investigation into the cause of the blast, with the results released within five days, the statement said. Lebanon’s General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said the “highly explosive material” had been confiscated years earlier and stored in the warehouse, just minutes’ walk from Beirut’s shopping and nightlife districts. Initial reports blamed the explosion on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port, according to Lebanese state news agency NNA.
“Convalescent Plasma Reduced Death Rate Among Covid-19 Patients, Study Data Signals” by WSJ’s Amy Dockser Marcus – Hospitalized Covid-19 patients who received transfusions of blood plasma rich with antibodies from recovered patients reduced their mortality rate by about 50%, according to researchers running a large national study. The researchers presented their data analysis Saturday in a webinar for physicians interested in learning about so-called convalescent plasma, with data slides that were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The researchers said they saw signs that the treatment might be working in patients who received high levels of antibodies in plasma early in the course of their illness. They based their conclusions on an analysis of about 3,000 patients. Patients who at three days or less after diagnosis received plasma containing high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus had a mortality rate of 6.6% at seven days after the transfusion. That compared with a mortality rate of 13.3% for patients who got plasma with low levels of antibodies at four days or more after diagnosis. That indicates reduced mortality of about 50%, the researchers said. At 30 days after transfusion, the mortality rate was reduced by about 36%, investigators reported. The sharing of the data comes as the Food and Drug Administration is nearing a decision to authorize emergency use of convalescent plasma for treating people infected with the coronavirus. The FDA can’t comment on whether it would take such action, a spokeswoman said.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts. It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots!