VOICES

 

Coronavirus COVID-19, Delta Variant, SARS-CoV-2 Related Voices

OCTOBER 1, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" speaking about unnecessary deaths from COVID and the forthcoming anti-viral drug from Merck with Dr. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics:

Don Lemon: "So, breaking just moments ago, it's really a grim milestone. The U.S. passing the heartbreaking milestone of 700,000 deaths from COVID-19. All 700,000 memorialized on the National Mall. There it is right there. That as California, the most populous state in the nation, becomes the first to mandate the COVID vaccine for students who want to attend school in-person.


And Merck announces an anti-viral drug that will cut the risk of COVID hospitalizations and death by 50 percent, that's according to the company. So also, tonight, American Airlines announcing that they will have a vaccine mandate for their workers.


So, let's break it down now with Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the co-director at the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. Good evening, sir. I appreciate you joining us. We got a lot to talk about actually. So, we have this sobering milestone. Seven hundred thousand deaths from COVID. More than any other country. So many of these deaths were preventable. What's your thoughts?"


Dr. Peter Hotez: "Don, I'm especially thinking about the last 100,000 deaths, which occurred during this Delta wave over the summer despite the widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines.


So almost all of those 100,000 deaths were among the unvaccinated despite the fact that they could have gotten vaccinated. Almost all of those 100,000 deaths were preventable, were unnecessary. This is what I'm calling death -- I don't even call it misinformation or disinformation anymore. I call it death by anti-science aggression, and this has now become one of the leading killers in the United States, far more than global terrorism or nuclear proliferation or cyberattacks, and yet, we really don't do anything to combat it.


I've been calling this death by anti-science and writing and speaking about it now for a few years, and it's just gotten so out of control and it's just completely heartbreaking."


Don Lemon: "Yeah. You know, there's -- with that grim news, there is very promising news from Merck to tell everyone about. The first anti-viral pill designed for COVID-19. How does that work? Is it a game changer?"


Dr. Peter Hotez: "Yeah, actually the drug was actually first developed at Emory University in Atlanta and it was developed as an anti-influenza drug and it was shown to inhibit virus replication and then it was subsequently shown it does this for the SARS 2 coronavirus.


It's a very interesting mechanism that actually introduces mutations while the virus is trying to replicate and then that eventually stops it cold. And the great thing about it is it's an oral pill. Although it’s a lot of pills. I think it's something like four pills twice a day, so you wind up taking 40 pills or so.


But it works in terms of reducing the hospitalizations by half and in the control group, this was 775 patients with SARS 2 coronavirus, there were eight deaths in the control and none in the treatment group. So, it's still not a huge study but it was so compelling that the Data Safety Monitoring Board said stop, this looks like it's really promising and I think on this basis, Merck and company will file for emergency use authorization.


It has limits. You have to take it very early on in the course of the illness, probably a day or two after symptoms. You have to know that you are antigen positive. So, there is going to be some infrastructure that has to be put in place. But Merck is planning on success and I think they're trying to produce 10 million tablets by the end of the year. The other exciting part of this, Don, is unlike vaccines, which are very hard to reproduce and scale all over the world, this one is relatively straightforward. So just like Cipla in India makes anti-retroviral drugs, they should be able to make this one and I think the plans are to have at least five generic drug manufacturers in India and elsewhere start producing it.


So, I think the key message, though, to take home for tonight is, it's not a substitute for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 -"


Don Lemon: "That was my next question. Let me get to that because I want you to drill down just real quick, how many pills a day, you said?"


Dr. Peter Hotez: "My understanding is four pills twice a day. So, for five days. So, eight pills a day for five days, 40 pills."


Don Lemon: "OK. Got it. Forty pills. I thought you were saying in one day. I was like, that’s a lot of pills! I get it."


Dr. Peter Hotez: "No --"


Don Lemon: "I get it. But this is -- I want to drill down on what you were saying, because if the drug proves to be as effective as the company claims, are you worried that the vaccine hesitant people might say, ‘oh there’s a pill that I can take, why do -- why do I need to get the shot?’"


Dr. Peter Hotez: "That's exactly right. I don't want this to become Ivermectin version 2.0. It's not as good as getting vaccinated. It is a reduction in severity of illness. But there is going to be a big range on how people respond and it's vaccination that's going to save your life ultimately."


Don Lemon: "Yeah. So, this is not an alternative. You should get the vaccine and if you get -- happen to get COVID, this is approved, then take it, right? Yeah."


Dr. Peter Hotez: "Yeah, absolutely..."

 

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2021

José Díaz-Balart on the new MSNBC program "José Díaz-Balart Reports" speaking with Cal Perry on how El Paso, TX has achieved herd immunity and the COVID statistics of El Paso versus the State of Texas:

José Díaz-Balart: "El Paso just reached a milestone in their vaccination effort by getting 75% of their eligible residents vaccinated. What’s El Paso’s secret?"

Cal Perry: "You know, I think one of the secrets here is that this is a bi-national city. This is a city that has had to deal with what we call the ‘border crisis’ on a daily basis and has had to do so for decades, so they have that community outreach. They have those community organizations that can get into the community and can then vaccinate 75% of people… over the age of 12. Those numbers are hugely impressive, and what it has done is it has flattened the curve here in El Paso. Last winter, we saw those refrigerated trucks that were filling with bodies. We saw hospitals like the one that I’m in front of overflowing, and now, we are not seeing that. The other thing that has made a big difference was that very dark time that this city went through. Take a listen to what Dr. Alozie told me yesterday:" 


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Dr. Ogechika Alozie, El Paso Infectious Disease Specialist: “There was some data last year that actually showed if people were worried about COVID or they were planning to get a vaccine, it’s because they knew at least one person that had either been sick or died. And so in this community, it’s a very tight knit community, lots of multi-generational homes - people knew people that got sick, people knew people that died, and so that was a catalyst for them to go get it.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Cal Perry: "In the name of vaccinations, José, I’m just gonna to give you the stats. 75% of people over the age of 12 in El Paso County have been vaccinated. Compare that to just over 50% in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, you have a positivity rate of 18%. Here, it’s 6%. In the state of Texas, 20% of hospital beds are at capacity because of COVID. Here, it’s 7%, so the vaccine is making a difference. Officials here hope that booster is going to make all the more difference in keeping El Paso safe, José."


José Díaz-Balart: "El Paso Strong..."

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SEPTEMBER 9, 2021

Steve Schmidt, American communications and public affairs strategist, speaking about the COVID pandemic and vaccine mandates with Joy Reid on the MSNBC show "The ReidOut":


Steve Schmidt: "We're in the opening months of what will be the children's phase of this pandemic, and we will see death of America's children, and I think there is a lot to be said about how a society treats its children, its most vulnerable citizens, and these GOP governors are showing they're anything but pro-life when it comes to children with their cavalier disregard for the lives of America's children and the immunocompromised and our most vulnerable populations.


And so here's the deal as we move into the second year or third year. Someone's going to lose out. Someone's going to have to stay home. And let it be the people who would rather take horse dewormer than a safe, viable, effective vaccine that's saving lives.


Someone's world is going to get smaller. I don't want it to be mine, and I don't want it to be my kids. So you have a lot of rights in America. I am completely opposed to the government mandating that you must, in the private sector, as a private citizen, take a vaccine.


But you don't have a right to fly on American Airlines or Delta Air Lines. Congress should pass laws that make it easier to file class-action lawsuits against companies that won't make the right decisions to protect their consumers, that pack them in into canisters at 35,000 feet in the air, for example. The incentives that government can bring, and including the imposition of appropriate mandates, using the full lawful authority of the United States government.


And I think it's important to understand that imposing mandates around vaccines and quarantines around diseases is as American as apple pie, and has gone on since the beginning of the country.


We live in an age of misinformation and an age of insanity. And enough is enough is enough..."

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SEPTEMBER 6, 2021

Chris Jansing of "MSNBC Reports" discussing COVID booster shots, criticism over mixed messaging confusing the public, and the future of the pandemic with Dr. Peter Hotez, Director for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital:

Chris Jansing: “The U.S. surpassed 40 million total COVID cases this weekend, including 1 million new cases in just the past 6 days. We’re now averaging more than 160,000 new cases every day. Deaths too have surged to a level not seen since early March. More than 1,500 Americans dying daily.

 

Joining me now to answer all our questions and more, Dr. Peter Hotez, Director for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital. Thank you so much for being here, so - a health official, Doctor, told NBC News that Moderna’s booster shot the data was ‘inadequate and needs strengthening.’ What exactly does that mean, and when do you think booster shots will actually be widely available?”

 

Dr. Peter Hotez: “So Chris ultimately, I think we’re gonna have boosters for all 3 vaccines that are now in use in the United States - the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and even the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine will likely require a second immunization, and here’s why. When those vaccines were first released to the American people back in December of last year, and then into January, it was done with a 3-4 week interval, if you remember, for the 2 mNRA vaccines - 3 weeks for the Pfizer BioNTech, 4 weeks for the Moderna, and that was done because we were in crisis. We were losing nursing home residents, health care providers needed protection, so we needed to quickly vaccinate those groups, and that was a very important endeavor and it saved a lot of lives, and I totally support doing that approach. The problem with it is when you give 2 immunizations with only 3 or 4 weeks apart, that’s not great for producing long lasting protection and durable protection, and that’s why for so many pediatric vaccines, we often give several immunizations in a row, then we wait 6 months or a year and then give that boost, and that’s what we’re going to need to do likely for these other vaccines, and we clearly have data from Israel and the U.K. showing a decline in the effectiveness of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine from over 90% to 40-50% in terms of actually preventing infection, although we’re still doing a good job in terms of keeping people out of the hospital and the I.C.U., and that’s the reason Pfizer’s going to the F.D.A. now for that data package. Part of the problem with the Moderna vaccine and the J&J vaccine is those vaccines are not used in Isreal and the U.K., and so the U.S. has been lagging behind in terms of collecting data, so I think we’re gonna have to wait and see the evidence showing actual decline in immunity and breakthrough hospitalizations and breakthrough long COVID, and so everything will follow it along, but there is a certain pace to this.”

 

Chris Jansing: “So, Maryland’s Governor is among the folks who have criticized how the administration has dealt with this whole booster shot rollout. Here’s what he said on ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday:”

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MD. Gov. Larry Hogan: “We’re getting some mixed messagings out of the administration, out of the C.D.C., the F.D.A., and the White House, and we need clear guidance on these booster shots, because it undermines the credibility of it… What about the people that took J&J? What about the people that took Moderna?”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

Chris Jansing: “I mean, you answered some of those questions, but do you agree that there has been some mixed messaging and that it’s been confusing for the public?”

 

Dr. Peter Hotez: “Yeah, I mean the way this could have been better communicated is to tell the American people from the beginning that the two mNRA vaccines were likely gonna be a three dose vaccine - that’s certainly what I anticipated from the beginning, and likelihood that the J&J - there’s a good chance it’s gonna be a two dose vaccine, and that would have modified expectations, and then it could have been made a little more straightforward that the trigger for actually giving those third immunizations - we’re going to actually wait to see if efficacy is declining, and now we’re starting to see that, and I think the American people would have understood this. I think sometimes what happens with the way our Department of Health and Human Services communicates science information - they kind of give these summaries without really explaining the assumptions and the science behind it, and you know, I’ve always found that the American people have a pretty good tolerance for complexity when their lives depend on it, or the lives of their loved ones, so yeah, communication could have been better. I think the result though is going to turn out to be ok.”

 

Chris Jansing: “This has been a Labor Day weekend which wasn’t exactly, to say the least, what we expected in terms of where we are with the Delta variant. These numbers are terrifying in terms of cases, in terms of deaths, in terms of the number of kids getting infected. As you look forward… what are you looking for as we move forward over the coming months?”

 

Dr. Peter Hotez: “You know, Chris, I wish I had better news, but what I’m seeing now is that horrible, horrible Delta surge in the South - it’s creeping north and west, so it’s going up into Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois now, and it’s cutting west here across Texas with devastating results. We’re back up to over 1,500 deaths per day, and some projections from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington are saying up to 2,000 or 2,500 deaths per day. One last piece, you know, now we have post-Sturgis, if you remember that Sturgis Rally in Western South Dakota, there’s now another surge and that’s expanding as well, so we might expect confluence of those two big nodes of infection.”

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SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

Joe Fryer on the MSNBC hour “Ayman Mohyeldin Reports”, speaking with Dr. Megan Ranney, Emergency Physician, about current advice surrounding the COVID Delta variant climate, booster shots and the forthcoming Mu variant of interest:

Joe Fryer: “Joining me now is the Assistant Dean of Brown University School of Public Health Dr. Megan Ranney. She’s also a Professor of Emergency Medicine. Doctor, always good to have you with us. I want to get your reaction to the news on the jobs front this morning. I know you’re a doctor, not an economist, but it seems the Delta variant is keeping some from going out to eat, maybe planning vacations - really getting back, fully to back to normal. Should people be pulling back on these kinds of things, and will this be an even bigger issue as we head into the fall?”

 

Dr. Megan Ranney: “So let’s be clear that the bedrock of a healthy economy is a healthy population, and we’re seeing that in such stark relief right now. We saw a drop in jobs in March of 2020, before we even had national lockdowns due to COVID, and what we’re seeing now is a result of Delta variant taking hold. People are pulling back. People are hesitating to go out and do things, and people are afraid to go back to work, and what am I telling people to go out and do right now? Listen, if you’re vaccinated, it’s ok to go out and about. It’s ok to travel, but take a little bit extra caution. Make sure you’re masked. Don’t go to large, indoor get togethers where people might be unvaccinated, and maybe, put off some activities that you’ve been thinking of doing in states that have high surges right now.”

 

Joe Fryer: “Let’s talk about boosters. The New York Times reporting that health officials have advised the White House to scale back plans to roll out booster shots so regulators can review additional data. What do you make of that, and do you worry all of this just adds confusion when we just got the new guidance on boosters? I know some people are even maybe already trying to get those boosters already.”

 

Dr. Megan Ranney: “Yeah, certainly I’m hearing lots of stories of folks that are going out and getting that third shot before it’s even officially been F.D.A. approved. Listen, the data is quickly accumulating, showing that those boosters are needed for at least a portion of our population. The F.D.A. is appropriately waiting until it’s had a chance to review the data on who needs it and to confirm the safety, but all the signals are good; both that many of us are going to need boosters and that they’re gonna be safe. The White House was trying to anticipate and to prepare states. What I’m telling people is - if you are immunosuppressed, certainly go out and get that booster. For the rest of us, wait until you get the F.D.A. approval to show up at your local drug store and ask for your third shot.”

 

Joe Fryer: “Here’s something I know more and more people are worried about. It’s two letters, M U - Mu, a new coronavirus variant known as Mu has been designated as a ‘variant of interest’ by the World Health Organization. Now Dr. Fauci said Thursday this new variant was ‘not at all even close to being dominant’ but that his team was ‘keeping a very close eye on it’, so how worried should we be about this variant, and just how important will tracking this one and other new variants be going forward?”

 

Dr. Megan Ranney: “So this is what viruses do. They mutate. We expect this, especially with the uncontrolled spread of COVID, not just in parts of our country right now, but across the world, because remember, most of the globe is not yet vaccinated, so we are going to continue to see new variants. This one in particular doesn’t necessarily worry most of us, but we’re keeping an eye on it, and we’ll keep an eye on future variants as well. The good news and the takeaway for most of us is that the vaccines that we have still seem to work really well, even against this most novel variant, and particularly when combined with masking and ventilation, you’re gonna be ok.”

 

Joe Fryer: “Good to hear that. The vaccines still doing their job…”

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AUGUST 31, 2021

Kate Bolduan of the CNN program "At This Hour with Kate Bolduan" discussing how U.S. Army Veteran Daniel Wilkinson died of a treatable illness while waiting for a hospital bed to open up due to an influx of COVID patients preventing him from receiving care. The discussion takes place with Dr. Hasan Kakli, Regional Medical Director for Concord Medical Group:


Kate Bolduan: "Now this next story is something that should not happen in America. It is a truly tragic example of what health care professionals have been warning us since the start of the pandemic. If the system is overrun by COVID patients, the system will fail, and it did. This is U.S. Army Veteran Daniel Wilkinson. He served 2 tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Purple Heart. Last week, he felt sick and ended up going to the local hospital outside Houston, and he ended up having gall stone/pancreatitis, a painful disease, but one that is entirely fixable and treatable, if treated in time. The E.R. doctor who first saw Wilkinson tried for 7 hours to find a hospital with an available I.C.U. bed for him, but all of the beds were full because of coronavirus. All full because millions of eligible people still aren’t vaccinated, and so the virus just keeps going. And so, 24 hours after this veteran walked in to his local E.R., he was dead at the age of 46. This should not happen in America.


Joining me right now is the doctor who heroically treated Daniel Wilkinson - desperately tried to find a hospital bed to get him the treatment and the surgery that he likely needed. Dr. Hasan Kakli, an E.R. doctor and E.R. physician at Bellville Medical Center. Doctor, thank you for coming on.


I first learned of Daniel's tragic story from the fantastic reporting of David Begnaud of CBS News. And when I saw the report, I just - I could not stop thinking about your conversations. I mean, you knew Daniel needed a more advanced level of care than your hospital offered. Tell me about how you tried - all you tried to do to find him a bed - to get him the treatment he needed."


Dr. Hasan Kakli: "Thanks for having me on Kate. Firstly, I'd love to thank David and his CBS News team for doing everything they could, and did, to make the story get out there. And also Michelle, Daniel's mother who gave us consent and permission to tell the story, because as she puts it, this is what Daniel would have wanted. He doesn't - he wouldn't have wanted this to happen to anybody else.


So when Daniel came in, he was complaining of vague abdominal pain; we see a lot of patients with that, and we do labs to kind of figure out our thought process of where to go from there, and when his labs came back, it was very consistent with gallstone pancreatitis. We still have to do an imaging test to confirm the diagnosis, which we're able to do and we got a CT scan, which confirmed that, and that was around 1:30, 1:15, 1:30ish that the diagnosis came back.


And immediately right after that, myself and the nurses and everyone there, working in the E.R., we get on the phone to call for a hospital that has the specialist and has the I.C.U. capability, because Daniel was quickly deteriorating in front of us, and we kept getting the response - sorry, we're full. We have no I.C.U. capacity. We have no I.C.U. capacity.


And it's about two hours into that ordeal not being able to get a bed that I said, why don't I try posting this on the physician community in Facebook, it's one of the largest, if not the largest physician community on Facebook. And I posted the situation, the dire straits that Daniel was in and got a bunch of responses from doctors, some in Missouri, one from Austin, and unfortunately, all of that fell through, I called the numbers they told me to call and there were no beds.


Finally I got acceptance in Denver, in Colorado, but by that time, we kept making phone calls, and finally about five hours after the diagnosis was made we got acceptance to the Houston V.A., but it proved that too much time had passed, and they were unable to fix the problem, despite the V.A.'s heroic efforts. I have to let everyone know. I'm seeing comments online about people trashing the V.A. That's not the situation here. The DeBakey V.A., the Houston V.A. did absolutely everything they could."


Kate Bolduan: "Look, I mean, did you ever think that you would be up against something like this? I mean, I'm sure this is - this has to be a doctor's worst nightmare."


Dr. Hasan Kakli: "Absolutely, and it was something that myself and all of my physician colleagues - we knew this was an inevitability. Don't get us wrong. We are in the worst crisis of the pandemic. We wish for 2020 again. I don't know how else to put it, Kate. Right now, we are struggling, our - my physician group that I work for Concord Medical Group, we staff hospitals all over Texas, especially rural hospitals, and we're seeing the same exact thing.


Right now at the main hospital I work at over in El Campo, Texas, we have 24 patients, 20 on the floor, 40 in the I.C.U., one of them does not have COVID. I just called this morning to get that update. And we pride ourselves on giving the best evidence based care to give the best care in the world wherever we practice, our Concord physicians, our partner hospitals that we work with. Right now, Kate, the bar is set to safe care. That was always a given. Now that's the goal.


We had to downgrade two patients out of the I.C.U. who are still I.C.U. sick, because there were two other patients who were sicker and needed those beds more. We're making decisions that we've never had to make before..."


Kate Bolduan: ... "Thank you for your message. I mean, the message is loud and clear, folks, this is preventable. It can be stopped. Dr. Hasan should never have to be in this position, and Daniel Wilkinson should be alive today. God bless him. Thank you so much doctor for speaking up and for what you do."

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AUGUST 30, 2021

Chris Jansing of MSNBC speaking with Dr. Kavita Patel, MSNBC Contributor and former Obama White House Aide to Valerie Jarrett, about the low availability of I.C.U. beds due to COVID-19 on "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" broadcast:

Chris Jansing: "The U.S. has now crossed another COVID milestone. Over 39 million confirmed cases, and hospitals are being pushed to the brink. The daily average of COVID patients has now passed 100,000 over the past week. That is the highest average since last winter when vaccines were not widely available. Some hospitals are being forced to delay surgeries. One mother in Texas issued this desperate plea after her son, a veteran, died of a treatable disease with no I.C.U. beds available. By the time he finally got treatment, it was too late."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Michelle Puget, Son died after waiting for I.C.U. bed: "They had called all the hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado... I just don't think people realize, you know, how important this is, you know, it could be your mother, your son, you know, your daughter."
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Chris Jansing: "For more, we welcome back to the program Dr. Kavita Patel, Clinical Physician and Former Senior Policy Aide during the Obama administration. She is also one of our public health experts and a non-resident Fellow at Brookings.


Your heart breaks for that mother when they call five different states. They can't find an I.C.U. bed for her son and he dies. How worried should all of us be about the strain on hospitals right now?"


Dr. Kavita Patel: "Yes, Chris, we all should. And, by the way, that physician in Texas, the emergency room physician that was making calls to those outlying hospitals, he actually went on Facebook to a physician's Facebook group that I happened to be a part of asking for help for anyone who could actually help get that patient transferred. And that's what we're at. We're crowdsourcing, triaging medical care, and that's insane.


So everyone should be concerned because Chris, you look at the map of the country, according to the C.D.C., and the by transmission rates, the entire thing is a block of red. So, it could happen to you, even if you're in kind of a more vaccinated area, parts of the Northeast, parts of the Northwest, for example. So it's relevant and something that all of us should consider. More than anything, Chris, when you think about needing to go to the emergency room, be very thoughtful on whether you need to make that emergency room visit. Many people don't need to go to an E.R. and can find ways to deal with issues short of going into one of those hospitals that's overwhelmed."


Chris Jansing: "Yes, if you're not sure, there's always telemedicine. We're getting pretty good at that. Right."


Dr. Kavita Patel: "Yes."

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AUGUST 29, 2021

Jonathan Capehart of the MSNBC program "The Sunday Show" with his message to the unvaccinated and unmasked in "The Bye Line":

Jonathan Capehart: “… Some folks still aren’t taking this virus or the vaccine seriously…Yes, getting vaccinated is for our personal health and security, but it’s also our patriotic duty. The more of us who get vaccinated or wear masks properly at least, the sooner we will be able to get a handle on the pandemic and get back to a life of friends, gatherings and normalcy. And don’t get me started on the lunatics who won’t take any of the COVID vaccines, but are more than willing to pump themselves full of a livestock dewormer. You know the situation is serious when the F.D.A. felt compelled to issue the following tweet last week, and I quote, ‘You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.’

 

Let me repeat what I said last month, since we’re still surrounded by self proclaimed patriots mewling about their freedom. Your refusal to get the vaccine, or get in the way of mask mandates, or wear a mask properly is filling up hospitals and infringing on our freedom to live our lives free from the fear that you are going to cost the rest of us our wellbeing, all because you don’t trust science, or believe junk science, or don’t want to be told what to do. And, since this is your attitude, I have one cold but honest question for you: If you don’t care about the rest of us, why should we care about you?”

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AUGUST 28, 2021

Charles Barkley, former professional NBA basketball player and analyst on "Inside the NBA", discussing the importance of getting the COVID vaccine:

"I'm just trying to urge everybody to quit being selfish and get the vaccine. You know, you don't get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for the people around you. You know, I hear a lot of I and me, like 'I don't wanna do this'. 'Me, I'm only concerned about me', but that's not the way the world works. I got the vaccine so I can go around other people, and it's really unfortunate that we have to beg people to get the vaccine. I mean, who don't want to live?"

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AUGUST 18, 2021

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, speaking with Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC's "All In" about the COVID booster shot and vaccinating the world:

Dr. Francis Collins: "I mean, think of this as you're running a race. We've been doing that with this virus chasing after us. The vaccines came along. We had a chance to get well ahead. But then the Delta variant came along and the virus started catching up. So, now we need another sort of supercharged boost here to get us well ahead of what otherwise might happen. We're always trying to stay a little bit ahead of this virus so that people don't run into really serious illness. That's what we're trying to do."


(...)


Mehdi Hasan: "And when the WHO, the World Health Organization says that's exactly part of the problem - that America does have lots of vaccine doses but the rest of the world is facing a shortage, now is not the time, the W.H.O. is saying, for the American government to be giving a third shot when millions and millions of people around the world have not had a first shot?"


Dr. Francis Collins: "Well, I sure hear that, because I'm somebody who has been a passionate supporter of global health for my whole career. But, you know, the U.S. still does have a disproportionate amount of deaths and infections from this, so we do have to think about our people rather prominently.


And we are giving out doses. We will - we've committed over 600 million doses to the rest of the world. 115 million of those already sent out. We have made $4 billion contribution to COVAX. We're in that space. I think it is fair to say we can do both of these things without compromising one versus the other, but I totally hear the concern, and we need to watch that and do everything we can to ramp up our contributions to the rest of the world.


They're depending on us, and this is a tradition we want to stick with for all the decades that we've tried to be not just the soldier to the world, but the doctor to the world. This is the time to do that."
 

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AUGUST 18, 2021

Dr. Richard Besser, the Former Acting Director of the C.D.C., speaking with Jim Sciutto of “CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto” regarding how booster shots will not end this pandemic and the importance of ensuring the entire world is vaccinated against COVID for the benefit of all:

 

Dr. Richard Besser: “I do think it’s really important though that we recognize that boosters is not going to end this pandemic. What’s going to end this pandemic is finding a way to motivate the 30-40% of people in this country who haven’t gotten any vaccines yet, and doing a much better job, a much better global job, at getting vaccines around the world, because as long as there is transmission anywhere, everyone is at risk. We’re at risk for variants to arise that the vaccines are totally ineffective against, and then from a pure equity standpoint, the fact that 80% plus of the vaccines have gone to wealthy nations is really unconscionable. We need to do more here in America to get vaccines around the globe.”

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AUGUST 13, 2021

Ed Yong, Science Reporter for "The Atlantic", speaking with Mehdi Hasan on the MSNBC show "All In" about the current state of the pandemic:

Mehdi Hasan: "...I feel like every time we've declared victory over this virus, the virus makes a fool of all of us."


Ed Yong: "I think that's right. You know, we definitely have declared victory too early. I think a lot of people felt that the pandemic was over when the Delta variant clearly makes it so that it's not going away anytime, anytime in the near future.


And I think that was - that was always the case. A lot of experts have predicted that. The fact that the Delta variant is so transmissible really does change the nature of the game. It means that contrary to what people hoped, vaccination alone cannot stop the spread of the variant. We are going to continue needing measures like masks and other precautions.


Now, I want to be clear, for an individual, you the viewer at home, vaccination still remains the single best way to protect you from the virus. But it's the case now that communities, the U.S. as a whole, cannot rely on vaccination alone to protect us. We need to do other things too to manage the pandemic."


Mehdi Hasan: "I'm glad, Ed, you put it so clearly and bluntly. You also point out that pandemics end, but this one is not yet over and especially not globally. Just 16 percent of the world's population is fully vaccinated. Isn't that part of the problem that we in America keep wanting to move on from a global pandemic without understanding that unless it's tackled globally, we'll never be safe. The Delta variant came out of India. It's now ravaging America."


Ed Yong: "I completely agree. The country, I think, has this very strong ethos of rugged individualism. But individualism just doesn't work in the context of a pandemic. It's an infectious disease. It spreads. We all are connected within the nation and internationally. And internationally, we see that many countries have barely even vaccinated one percent of their citizens. And you know, while in America, a lot of folks are arguing about whether to wear a mask, whether to wear masks or not, around the world, a lot of countries are looking at protracted lockdowns and uncontrolled epidemics.


I think we need to have a little bit of perspective. The longer we let that happen, and the longer the U.S. government remains on its responsibility to share doses with the rest of the world, the more trouble all of us are going to be in. Like, addressing the global pandemic is a matter of incredible moral urgency for this country right now."


Mehdi Hasan: "Yeah, and what you're describing, the global scenario versus the American scenario, is both ironic and tragic. In your piece, you say, there is no zero COVID scenario at this point, that the pandemic will eventually become endemic. COVID, well, it's here to stay. But you also seem to suggest that might be a good thing. There might be a silver lining, an opportunity to change the way we live for the better. For example, you suggest maybe Western societies could adopt the practice of masking when sick, a common practice in Asian countries for many years before COVID came on the scene."


Ed Yong: "Yeah, absolutely. The threat of COVID makes it clear that many of our attitudes to respiratory infections in general have been wanting. Throughout the entire pandemic, people have compared COVID to flu often as a way of minimizing it. And even now, the one common refrain I hear is, well, we don't do this or that for the flu.


The flu is a huge problem. Respiratory diseases are a huge problem. They're are among the top 10 causes of deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. We can do better, we can now establish the kinds of surveillance systems that would tell us what actually is infecting us in the air around us. We can do better with ventilation. We can do better with testing. We can do better with our attitudes to masking and going into work or schools while safe.


We can use this as an opportunity to revamp all of that in ways that are going to make us healthier, not just for the rest of COVID, but for future pandemics to come. This is an opportunity. It is a sad state of affairs where we've got to, but we can make the most of it in ways that are going to protect future generations."

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AUGUST 12, 2021

Dr. William Haseltine, Author and Former Professor at Harvard Medical School, speaking with Don Lemon of CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” about the need for the United States to become a culture of caring in this pandemic:

Dr. William Haseltine: “I think we have to look at this as we're in this for the long term. I look at this virus every day as closely as I can, and it seems to me that we may not be out of this in my lifetime. I think we will do much better than we are today. We have good vaccines. We'll get better vaccines. We have some drugs that work. We'll get better drugs that work. We need time. We need to support the people, our doctors. But we need something else that you touched on in this program, which was a culture of caring, caring for ourselves, caring for each other. And what you see with these people is they're calling out. Help yourself, help your family, help others. We don't need to get so sick to do that. We should begin to change now…”

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AUGUST 11, 2021

Dr. Dara Kass, Emergency Medecine Physician at Columbia Univ. Medical Center, discussing the struggles with long COVID that children can experience with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin on “Craig Melvin Reports”:

Craig Melvin: “The New York Times points out that kids are struggling with long COVID. Lingering physical, mental, neurological symptoms are affecting children as well as adults, including many who had mild reactions to the initial Coronavirus infection. What do we know at this point about long COVID and our children?”

 

Dr. Dara Kass: “So we still know very little. We know that obviously anyone that’s infected with the Coronavirus can have long COVID, including children. We also know that the more children that get infected, the higher likelihood they will have the symptoms of long COVID, and more importantly, we don’t know what those effects are on developing brains and body. The effects of long COVID include things like confusion, brain fog, amnesia, cardiac abnormalities, pulmonary abnormalities, things that affect your heart and lungs, and for our children who are really eligible to be vaccinated between 12-17 and those not eligible less than 12, we are literally sending them into a lifetime of chronic medical conditions by allowing them to get infected unnecessarily by not vaccinating ourselves as adults and keeping them as safe as possible.”

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AUGUST 11, 2021

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, speaking about the importance of utilizing high quality masks with Erica Hill on "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto":

Erica Hill: “So, what’s the real story on masks? What works, what doesn’t, especially for kids in schools?”

 

Dr. Michael Osterholm: “Well, in fact, it is confusing for the public, and I understand why, because in this business today, you cannot nuance anything. It’s either left or right, or it’s either blue or red, it’s either yes or no, and in fact science isn’t that way. A year ago last April, we put out a statement from our center, as well as others being involved with it, that basically pointed out that this virus is an aerosol. It’s transmitted in the air, just like we see with cigarette smoke. If you’re in a room and you have a covering on your face and you can smell the smoke, then you know you’re also getting virus in there, if in fact you had an infected person in there.

 

We know that face cloth coverings can reduce the amount of virus that you may inhale, but to be fully protected in the way that we believe, in particular with this variant that we have today - Delta - you need to have the kind of protection that comes with an N-95 or a KN-95 for kids, which are available in children’s sizes, and just putting something over your face doesn’t protect you. That doesn’t give anybody license to take my statement and say masking doesn’t work. It’s what you have to do is use effective masking, and we’ve done a poor job of communicating that, and I think CDC is in part responsible for that. They for many months did not come to the point of realizing that aerosols were a very important part of the transmission, and as such, their messaging has portrayed that, and we need to let people know that’s not the case.”

 

Erica Hill: “So you’re saying, best option: N-95, a KN-95. For some kids, as you likely know, maybe that can be tough. Maybe it’s tough to wear all day. CDC, as we check out this morning, still recommending a 2-ply cloth breathable face mask - worn properly - as an option. A lot of people, myself included, use the disposable one that we order online in bulk. Those are still - if I’m hearing you correctly - those are still somewhat effective at preventing transmission. They’re just not as good as we know as those N-95 masks. So are those still a good option, for example, for kids in schools and staff in schools?”

 

Dr. Michael Osterholm: “Well, this is where it’s hard. No matter who - listening to this interview - some are going to want to skewer me for playing into the hands of those who are anti-masking. Those who are saying, ‘you know, be truthful and tell us really how the masks really work’, the bottom line is nuanced. I mean, for example, there is a group of industrial hygienists - people who really study how to protect ourselves from airborne chemicals or infectious agents, and they determined that based on the CDC’s data, that an infectious dose can occur in 15 minutes in a room, meaning there’s enough virus in a room for me to breathe in, just like with cigarette smoke, where I’d get infected. They did the work along with actually data from NIOSH, a part of the CDC, that showed if you wear a face cloth covering, you can get about 5 additional minutes of protection in that room. If you wear a surgical mask, you get about 10 minutes of protection. If you wear an N-95 respirator - not fitted - you get about 2.5 hours of protection. Additionally, if you wear an N-95 that’s tightly face fitted, you may get up to 25 hours of protection. Now, you tell me how you wanna parse that out? I can tell you, if you were driving an old car and it only had an old, common seat belt in it - wear it. But if you had a modern car that had a body harness, that basically had air bags, had a collision conducive body to it, that had shard glass, that had a computer program on board to reduce impact - brake you before you hit something - I’d tell you to get that one, but I’d never tell you not to wear a seatbelt…Concentrate on (vaccination for everybody first), and use the masking as a backup, and then when you do use it, get the best you can.”

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AUGUST 10, 2021

Nichole Atherton, an ICU Nurse at Singing River Ocean Springs Hospital, discusses the current state of nursing in the era of COVID with Erica Hill on "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto":

Erica Hill: “For so much of the start of the pandemic, there was an emphasis on healthcare workers, and we talked about how you all are heroes, which you still are to this day, and we talk, I think a little bit more in the beginning, about the toll that this pandemic was taking on you. I read that you’re sort of tired of being called heroes.”

Nurse Nichole Atherton: “I think that’s a fair statement. I think that - and I know I can only speak for myself and the people that I’m close with that are in this position with me - to call us heroes but not do what you can to protect yourself and to protect us - it’s just words, and words don’t save lives. Actions save lives, and to continually, people say, ‘I want my freedom and I’m going to live as I want to live,’ I understand that, and I respect that, but please know that you are exposing all of our staff to this deadly virus as well. Those people that don’t believe it or choose not to get vaccinated - when they can’t breathe, they still show up at the hospital, and we still care for them and treat them with absolute respect and do not want them to feel judged for the decisions that they’ve made around their health, but I do want people to understand that they’re jeopardizing our lives as well, and we have children to go home to.

 

There is a whole generation of children right now that will grow up, hundreds of thousands of kids in the United States of America, that will grow up without grandparents because of the first wave, and now we’re seeing parents. There are going to be children - children in my own community - that are orphans, and it could have been prevented.”

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AUGUST 09, 2021

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN Medical Analyst and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital, explaining the dangers of the Delta COVID variant to children with Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight":


Don Lemon: "Dr. Reiner, you just heard those educators, facing threats and pushback from their governors for trying to keep students safe. There were parents there pleading with him to - with this delta variant, they are angry and they are rightfully so at the so-called leaders playing games really with their children's lives."


Dr. Jonathan Reiner: "Right. So, this variant is infecting kids at a very rapid rate now. About 220 children are being admitted to children's hospitals every day in the United States, and in parts of the country, it's hard to find a room in an intensive care unit in a children's hospital because of the coronavirus. So the threat is real.


Over 4,000 kids in this country have had the multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a serious disease with unknown long-term consequences. So the consequences are real. And now, it's also important to understand that all of our kids under the age of 12 are vulnerable to be infected. We have vaccinated almost 200 million people in this country. None of them are under 12.


So, we need to link arms, we need to put the nonsense of the politics away, and we need to protect our kids as best as possible. Hopefully sometime in September or so, we'll be able to start vaccinating children under the age of 12, but until then and even after then, we are going to need to protect them by masking up, to protect the kids and also to protect the vulnerable teachers like your last guest, who after having survived cancer, remains vulnerable to being infected with this virus."

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AUGUST 09, 2021

Dr. Tom Frieden, American infectious disease & public health physician and Former CDC Director, speaking with Lindsey Reiser on MSNBC during the "Hallie Jackson Reports" hour:

Dr. Tom Frieden: "I think we have to look at vaccination and masking as the two crucial interventions and look by state, by county - how are places doing? Places that want to do better - provide all of the assistance possible. Places that are taking a stance that’s really contrary to science - you have to call that out. There are two ways to fight this pandemic: with science or without science. You save a lot more lives with science."

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AUGUST 09, 2021

4 time Grammy Award winner Jason Isbell speaking with Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC’s “Stephanie Ruhle Reports” about politicians working to make people think that their freedom is being encroached upon with COVID mandates like masking and vaccine requirements:

Jason Isbell: “I’m all for freedom, but I think, if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all, so it’s probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty. It’s life, and then it’s liberty, and then it’s the pursuit of happiness, and those are in order of priority.”

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AUGUST 08, 2021

Fareed Zakaria with his take on the Tokyo Summer Olympics and how we can take the lessons learned there and apply them towards vaccinating the entire world on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”:

Fareed Zakaria: “All in all, the Tokyo Olympics was a triumph of logistics and of global cooperation during the biggest health crisis of the century. Getting it done was an amazing feat of ingenuity, and I hope we can take inspiration from it and use it for an entirely different aim - vaccinating the world. This week, the UNDP estimates that more than 50 percent of people in rich countries are vaccinated, compared to about 1 percent of people in poor countries. Rich countries are planning for booster shots, while many poor countries only recently got their first shipments of vaccines. This is not only immoral - it is inefficient, because the virus will only stop mutating, and the pandemic will only truly end when the world is vaccinated. So let’s take the lesson of the Tokyo Olympic Games and apply it to the most pressing need of the moment, as the Olympics shows us we can certainly do it.”

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AUGUST 06, 2021

Brian Castrucci, Epidemiologist and President/CEO of The de Beaumont Foundation, speaking with Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and taking risks with COVID:

Don Lemon: “Joining me now is public health expert Brian Castrucci. He is the president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. Thank you, Brian. Appreciate you joining.”

 

Brian Castrucci: “Don, thanks for having me.”

 

Don Lemon: “So I want to start by getting your reaction to what’s happening in Sturgis. Are you concerned about this, people from all over the country, many likely unvaccinated - you think this is going to be super-spreader event?”

 

Brian Castrucci: “Yeah, I'm very concerned. The slogan this year for Sturgis is ‘we're spreading our wings’, but I'm concerned they're going to be spreading a lot more than just their wings, and that this could be a real serious turn for our country.

When you look at some of the data that’s come out about the Delta variant, they should be very concerned. Governor Noem has said that there is a risk with everything that we do in life, and she's right, but that doesn't mean that we court risk. We don't use that to justify smoking or binge drinking, or if you and I were sitting on a beach and there were sharks in the water, we wouldn't run in and say, well, you know, life has risks.”

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AUGUST 06, 2021

Michael Steele, Former RNC Chairman and MSNBC Contributor, discussing those who are not vaccinated on the MSNBC show "Andrea Mitchell Reports”:

Michael Steele: “The anchor for a lot of these anti-vaxxers and ‘I’m not wearing a mask’ is freedom. Well, you’re never more free than when you’re dead, and if you don’t understand that, go take a look at a picture of a healthy lung, and then take a look at a picture - an x-ray - of a lung infected with COVID. This is the reality, and this idea that people want to be so free that they don’t want to protect themselves is idiotic, and to have leaders who perpetuate that nonsense is absolutely irresponsible, and to think that this is good for your state? … We have to go about protecting ourselves from stupid, because I’m not letting stupid kill me, and I’m not gonna let stupid infect me, so I’m gonna take those precautions, and I can’t at this point help you if you don’t want to help yourself.”

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AUGUST 05, 2021

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, speaking about the importance of vaccinating the world on the MSNBC show “Andrea Mitchell Reports”:

Dr. Michael Osterholm: "These variants - these mutated viruses - are gonna keep spinning out. You know, we seem to have had a focus on the United States and the fact that we have a number of people under-vaccinated or not vaccinated and it could come from here, but I just remind everyone that there are 6.4 billion people in low and middle income countries, of which less than 2% have had access to a vaccine. Right now, what’s happening in those countries is where we’re seeing the most transmission, the biggest problems, and they surely serve as a major source for these variants to spin out. So, don’t be surprised by new ones coming out - ones that could have more transmissibility, they could cause more severe illness, but they may even challenge the protection of our vaccines. So, you know, we’re in this for the long haul, and I hope people understand, this isn’t gonna be a one and done. If you’re thinking about trying to run the clock out on this one and not get vaccinated - don’t. We’re in this for awhile yet. Get vaccinated now."

 

(…)

 

"… When we have 1 or 2 percent of the world’s population vaccinated and we are basically in a situation of riches with vaccine, and we still can’t get people to take it, so I understand where they’re coming from (the WHO recommending we vaccinate the world first before a third dose booster shot for the US). At the same time, I’m a realist. I know that in these high income countries that have paid for the vaccines, people are gonna demand them. So I think we’ve gotta try to do both…"

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AUGUST 04, 2021

Dr. Michael Saag, Infectious Disease Specialist and professor of medicine and infectious diseases and virology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, talking with Kate Bolduan on the CNN show "At This Hour With Kate Bolduan":

Kate Bolduan: "...Nearly 72,000 kids got COVID last week. I said it earlier - an increase of 84% from the week before - that’s 5 times more than the cases at the end of June. How concerned are you about the impact of this variant in kids, compared to earlier in the pandemic."


Dr. Michael Saag: "I think everybody needs to understand that Delta is different. This is not January’s COVID virus. This is something brand new, so we have to take what we thought we knew about COVID and put it aside and look at this Delta variant head on. What it’s doing is #1 - it’s much more transmissible, #2 - it’s causing illness quicker. People are getting sicker if they’re not vaccinated, and #3 - as you just reported - kids. We did not see this with the original COVID strains, and we are now seeing it, and it is quite alarming. Our ICUs at the Children’s Hospital are starting to get kids with COVID pneumonia. Our ERs are filling up, and COVID pneumonia is not something we saw very much of in children. We’re seeing this now."

Kate Bolduan: "As we talk about ICUs and hospital beds filling up again, the stress and toll on health care workers as another wave washes through, is a big problem. I want to play for you how one nurse out of Tennessee - how she describes it:"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Kathryn Ivey Sherman, ICU Nurse:
"It’s worse because it got better. For like a brief shining moment, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was getting better, and you know, the nurses like me who became nurses during all of this, were starting to see what it was like to be a nurse in normal times, and then, the numbers started picking back up, and the units opened back up, and the respirators came back out, and it’s like thinking you walked out of a war and being told you have to go back in."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Kate Bolduan: "How do you describe it, Doctor?"

Dr. Michael Saag: "A brief shining moment like Camelot that’s now gone, that’s exactly right. I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post last week that likened exactly as this nurse said, that the healthcare workers are feeling like they’re going back for their third tour of duty into a war zone, and this time, the case numbers are going to probably be worse. In Alabama, we’re predicting that by Labor Day, the peak number of cases will be 2-3 times higher than our worst time in January, so everybody’s gotta brace themselves and get ready.

I laid this at the feet of unvaccinated folks really generating this. I’m not casting blame. I’m just saying it’s causal. July 4th weekend, everybody went out because that Camelot feeling was there. It felt like we could get back to normal. Unvaccinated folks represented 65% of the population in the Southeast, and the Delta variant was lurking. It jumped in, sparked a flame, and now that flame is a wildfire."

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AUGUST 02, 2021

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, speaking with Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC's "Stephanie Ruhle Reports" morning show about the importance of considering and acting accordingly on new COVID information:

Dr. Francis Collins: "...It’s heartbreaking now - these stories of people in the ICU saying, ‘Oh I wish I’d gotten vaccinated’. A final text message from a 39 year old father to his wife saying, ‘I wish I’d gotten the vaccine’, just before he died. Isn’t that enough to wake people up? We know these vaccines are safe. We know they’re effective. They work against the delta variant, which has got everybody so concerned, so if you have been on the fence, anybody listening right now, this is the moment to step aside from all of the misinformation, and frankly disinformation that’s been put out there. Look at the data and then roll up your sleeve. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Be part of the answer. Be a part of the winning team. You can’t count on the vaccinated people to save you. You’ve gotta become one of them."

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AUGUST 01, 2021

Laurie Garrett, American science journalist, author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and science contributor for MSNBC, speaking with Jonathan Capehart of "The Sunday Show" about the new waters we are navigating with the rise of the Delta COVID variant and recent data updates:

Laurie Garrett: “…I think that everybody’s underestimating the biology here. We have a really, really tough form of the virus that has mutated in multiple sites compared to the prior forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You know, the original Wuhan strain that first slammed us way back in January of 2020 had an RO, meaning Reproductive Rate - the number of people that would get infected by a single infected person - of about 2.5. So in other words, the epidemic doubled, constantly. This one has an RO approaching 8.

So why is everything out of control in a place like Florida? Because anytime you congregate without masks, without adequate protection, you’re looking at any infected individual statistically potentially infecting 8 other people standing around them. Now you add to that, that this virus also produces about 1,000 fold more viruses in your nose and your mouth, which makes you a super, super spreader, unlike anything that we’ve seen before, except very isolated cases with prior forms of the virus.

Now what this means is that even if you’ve been vaccinated, you’re not being exposed to the random puffy little cloud of viruses. You’re getting Niagara Falls coming at you. It is a massive dose of virus, and for many people, regardless of vaccination, if you’re not wearing a mask, you’re in danger of getting infected and of being a transmitter - spreading virus to others. You might not have any symptoms whatsoever. You have no idea that you’re carrying the virus. You’ve been vaccinated. You think you’re a good citizen, but you may have billions of viruses in your nose and your mouth that you can spread to others. And so, the goalposts have been raised on citizenship. It’s not enough just to say I got vaccinated or I have a mask in my pocket and if somebody wants me to put it on, I will. We have to really think that every single one of us has a duty to protect everyone else around us. If you’re going to go in a congregated space, you need to wear a mask.”

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AUGUST 01, 2021

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, speaking with Ali Velshi on MSNBC's "Velshi" morning show about the importance of considering and acting accordingly on new COVID information:

Dr. Francis Collins: "…The situation has changed. The Delta virus is not like what we were dealing with last year. It is so much more contagious, and we now have, just in the last week, this evidence from Barnstable county, Massachusetts, that while it’s rare, vaccinated people can in fact carry the virus at fairly high loads, and therefore, could be part of the transmission of this illness. We didn’t really know that before, so I sort of get a little bit irritated with people who call this flip flopping or changing your position - you should change your position when you have good data. We wouldn’t criticize a stock broker for saying you should sell this week and buy next week, because it’s based on what’s happening. Why criticize public health?"

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AUGUST 01, 2021

Dr. Ebony J. Hilton, Critical Care Anesthesiologist in Charleston, South Carolina, discussing your options in this new fight against the COVID Delta variant with Ali Velshi on MSNBC's "Velshi" morning show:

Dr. Ebony J. Hilton: "I understand you’re tired. I’m tired too. I wear an N-95 mask literally all day in the hospital, to the point that some days I don’t even eat because it’s not worth the risk of taking my mask off, but it doesn’t matter if you are tired. You must finish this race, and you can finish this race alive. You can finish this race with long COVID, or you can finish this race dead. Those are your three options, and so, choose the one that is best for you and your family, but for me and mine, the option is to stay alive. So we will wear a mask. We will get vaccinated. We will follow basic, simple public health measures that will let us see 2022 together."

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JULY 30, 2021

Laura Coates on CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" discussing COVID and large outdoor gatherings with Dr. William Haseltine, American scientist, businessman, author, and philanthropist:

Laura Coates: "(Are large gatherings/outdoor events) still dangerous based on what we know?"

Dr. William Haseltine: "I think it is dangerous. And we now know something very simple - if you could smell somebody else's tobacco smoke, you could catch their virus. You think about that for a minute. How many times have you walked down the street and smelled tobacco smoke outside? That is what this virus is doing.

 

It wasn't true for the earlier viruses. This virus, you produce a lot more virus, and it's a lot more infectious per virus. It is about 10 times more infectious than it was before. You know, you do it by the, you know, whatever bacteria you want. People say chicken pox versus something like a cold or something else - this is really serious what's going on now. You can catch it and people have caught it outside in outside venues, so you should be wearing masks. The moment you get together with a bunch of people you should be wearing a mask, and an N95 mask at that."

 

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JULY 30, 2021

Taylor Hirth on CNN’s “At This Hour with Kate Bolduan”, who decided to enroll her daughter in the pediatric Pfizer vaccine trial for children, “because I trust scientists and doctors… even though they may not have all the answers, I do not trust the virus.”

Taylor Hirth: "…Everybody’s worried about ventilators and dying from COVID. The thing normal immune system people need to be concerned about is the long haul issues. You can get on any Facebook group that is a long haul support group, and you can read people’s experiences. It’s awful…

It’s easy to get lost in the politics of it, because politicians have been running their mouths about the vaccine, COVID, for over a year now. Don’t listen to the politicians… It’s about the doctors. The doctors know what they’re doing… Listen to the doctors. Don’t listen to the politicians. All of the doctors are going to tell you that you need to get the vaccine and you should be wearing a mask, because the more that vaccinated people and unvaccinated people are interacting and passing the virus between each other, the more there’s a risk that we’re going to have a vaccine resistant COVID strain, or a more deadly COVID strain show up, and I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to go back to quarantine and isolation and dealing with all of that.

 

So, do the bare minimum. Get the vaccine. Wear a mask for a little while. I know it’s uncomfortable. I know it’s not fun. It’s not cute, but it’s the only way things are going to get back to normal. This is a global pandemic. We’re not the only ones dealing with this. This is something that we’re all dealing with. This is not unique to the United States. This is not unique to the US government. This is something that every country in the world is struggling to eradicate and mitigate…"

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JULY 30, 2021

Dr. Leana Wen, Former Baltimore Health Commissioner, on CNN’s “At This Hour with Kate Bolduan”, speaking about the importance of vaccination for the good of society:

Dr. Leana Wen: "…At a certain point, we as a society have to decide, what is it that we stand for? Are we ok with saying that people can drink and drive? Of course not, because they could cause harm to other people. You can drink in your home in private, but if you want to get behind the wheel and cause harm to others, you can’t do that, and I think, at this point, especially with the Delta variant, and the possibility of new variants, we have to apply that same lens for vaccination. That, if you want to stay unvaccinated, fine, but if you want to engage in public spaces, go to work, be around other people - you need to be vaccinated."

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JULY 30, 2021

Dr. Paul Offit, an American pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, vaccines, immunology, and virology, Professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, and author of "You Bet Your Life", speaking with CNN’s “At This Hour with Kate Bolduan”, discussing the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine amid talk of incentives and/or possible mandates:

Dr. Paul Offit: "I think we’ve gotten to the point where you have about 35% of the population that’s saying they don’t want to vaccinate. Now we tried. I mean, the vaccine is free. It’s readily available. It’s just 2 shots. We’ve tried to educate. We’ve tried incentives. We’ve tried to decrease misinformation. We’ve certainly, I think largely, solved the access problem, so what do you do now? What do you do when this large a percentage of the population says ‘Not for me’? And I think you’re seeing that, which is mandate vaccines. Which is to say, sometimes you have to compel people to do the right thing, or in the case of this sort of hundred dollar gift, you have to reward them for doing the right thing. You would think you wouldn’t have to do that, that doing the right thing would be its own reward, but apparently not. And I think that’s going to happen. You’re seeing at the private level, you’re certainly seeing it at some level where the Biden administration’s talking about mandating vaccines for federal workers, and that will get vaccine rates up. It’s sad that you have to do that. Anybody who looks at this data would get this vaccine in a second, because it’s clearly safe and clearly effective. I mean, I don’t see why we have to be any more dramatic about this virus. It’s already killed 620,000+ people in this country. That should be enough to tell people they should get vaccinated…"

"If you’re going to be a member of this society, knowing that not everybody can be vaccinated - not just young children, but also people who are on cancer chemotherapy or biologic immune suppressive therapy for their chronic diseases - they depend on those around us to protect them. If you’re going to be a member of this society, then I think you owe it to society to get this vaccine. It’s just amazing the number of people who just say ‘This isn’t for me’. I mean, I’m a child of the 50’s. I remember the polio vaccine. We didn’t go through this then. Everybody saw polio as evil and saw it was a war against polio. Now it’s not just a war against SARS-CoV-2. It’s a war against that percentage of us who simply say, ‘You know, we’re fine with the virus continuing to spread, continuing to mutate, continuing possibly to create variants that can be more and more resistant to vaccination,’ and I think we have to draw a line, and mandates is that line."

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JULY 30, 2021

Poppy Harlow of "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto" speaking with Dr. Christopher Thomas, a Critical Care Physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana regarding the COVID Delta variant escalating and the "insurance" found in vaccines:

Poppy Harlow: "Let me bring in Dr. Christopher Thomas. He is a critical care physician… in Baton Rouge. Good morning Doctor, and thank you for your time."

Dr. Christopher Thomas: "Good morning, Poppy. Thank you for having me."

Poppy Harlow: "We just heard a number of reasons from folks about why they didn’t get vaccinated, and we heard the toll that it takes on the staff, your colleagues. How would you get more people vaccinated? What would you do?"

Dr. Christopher Thomas: "I think it’s important to recognize that we’re becoming victims of the unvaccinated at the current pace. We currently are overwhelming our bed capacity. We’re creating burnout for our teams, and honestly, we’re beginning to impact the rest of the healthcare of the community… Overall, the answer is clear. You cannot avoid Delta. It’s not possible. You have a decision, and the decision is get vaccinated or not, and the results are telling us, if you’re not vaccinated, you have a really poor outcome. If you look at our ICU patients this morning, 97% are unvaccinated, and the average age is 48. That means there are children with parents who are now in the hospital. They may not die, but their lives will be changed. They’ll suffer from medical bankruptcy. They’ll suffer from chronic shortness of breath. They won’t be able to go and play with them. That’s a problem, and so it’s about insurance. The insurance is - please make it so that you don’t have to suffer one of these disasters. We do this all the time. We do it with home insurance. We do it with car insurance. The insurance is the vaccine. If you want to make sure you’re not one of those 50, buy the insurance. And this insurance is free."

Poppy Harlow: "Yeah. That’s what I was just going to say - and this one’s free. Doctor, you made such a good point in a political piece I read this week that you think some are making a big mistake - a deadly mistake - by speaking down to people who have chosen not to get vaccinated, or assuming that they are not educated - that that’s really a dangerous and faulty approach."

Dr. Christopher Thomas: "Yeah, I think it’s one of the major challenges with this entire pandemic. My patients - our community - is smart. We need to have conversations in science. Somehow, we’ve now begun to ask people on Facebook or someone via Twitter what to do, but if you had gotten cancer, you would go to your doctor. You would ask your doctor, and we would look at the best hospitals in the United States and that’s where we would get the information. Unfortunately the misinformation is creating really, really intelligent people to make bad decisions, so my plea is - they’re really smart - have a very high educated kind of conversation that’s one-on-one. Show them the science… Have a good conversation. Don’t start it without being willing to listen, and then once you get the information, make a great decision. Our data’s clear - we need to help people understand it."

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JULY 28, 2021

Chris Jansing on MSNBC's "The 11th Hour" speaking with Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Luis Medina-Garcia:

Chris Jansing: "...Is it going to get worse before it gets better? Do you foresee this spike in hospitalizations continuing? I mean, you said something that I have not heard from anybody before. You said if you aren't vaccinated, getting COVID is inevitable. It should scare people."

Dr. Luis Medina-Garcia: "I'm not trying to scare people, it's just a matter of time, right? It's statistics. If you are in a vulnerable state and you have an increased rate of transmission of a highly infectious disease, chances are that you will get infected at some point..."

(...)

Dr. Luis Medina-Garcia: "The best fight is the one that you choose not to get into. And so, by getting vaccinated, you can help us not have to take care of you in dire situations. Last year, we were called heroes... and now you can help us put your cape on and prevent the tragedy."

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JULY 27, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" speaking with Ana Navarro, CNN Political Contributor, about our current "pandemic of the unvaccinated":

Don Lemon: "People who have been vaccinated are increasingly angry at those who aren't as the Delta variant surges, and it’s not the only crisis fueled by misinformation that’s endangering Americans. Joining me now to discuss - CNN political commentator Ana Navarro. Ana, good evening."

Ana Navarro: "Hi."

Don Lemon: "Let's boil this down, okay? It is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That is the truth. But now, the vaccinated are going to have to put the masks back on, because people aren’t getting their shots. Listen, you’re not one to mince words, as we know. You and I often go at it or, you know, I see you going at it with everyone. What do you think about this situation that we're in?"

Ana Navarro: "I'm apoplectic about it. I'm particularly affected by it because I am one of the vaccinated people in Florida, in a state where our political leadership has chosen to make this into a political issue.

 

I'm enraged as should all of us be enraged, because we are being -- we, who have played by the rules, who have done our part to beat this pandemic, are being held hostage by people who are being influenced by peddlers of lies and outrage for the purpose of gaining political points and driving people to the polls.

 

Look, this is what pisses me off to no end, is that understand this - it didn't have to be this way, and I say this every single time. It didn't have to be a politicized issue. This is the only country in the world where vaccinations and COVID has become politicized, and it’s because of Republicans like the ones on Fox News and some of our elected officials who have chosen this as a wedge issue.

 

But there’s Republicans like Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, or Asa Hutchinson, the governor of Arkansas, or Jim Justice, the governor of West Virginia. These are no RINOs. These are lifelong conservatives who realized that the lives of their constituents were worth more than a fabricated full outrage to drive people to polls."

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JULY 26, 2021

Tiffany Cross on the MSNBC show "The ReidOut" with her quick take:

Tiffany Cross: "The virus is not killing us as fast as ignorance."

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JULY 26, 2021

Ari Melber of the MSNBC show "The Beat" with more on misinformation and how the news of the summer of 2021 is starting to look a lot like the news of summer 2020:

Ari Melber: "I will tell you that sometimes in the news, we have a new story that echoes an old one.

 

And the news tonight, in this summer of 2021, is starting to look a lot like last summer, if you look around and pay attention.

 

It’s looking like other periods where America has been battling this rising COVID problem, even when there are available solutions to curb it.

 

COVID is surging today among the unvaccinated."

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP featuring former Surgeon General Jerome Adams on CBS Face the Nation Sunday):

"This pandemic is spiraling out of control yet again, and it’s spiraling out of control because we don’t have enough people vaccinated… There’s also real harm to you, because guess what, more mitigation is coming, whether it’s masking, or whether it’s closures, or whether it’s your kids having to return to virtual learning - that is coming."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

Ari Melber: "The US daily case count has more than doubled to 50,000, and people who need hospital care, a sign that they’re in a bad COVID situation, has surged up 58% over the last two weeks alone. These are numbers you need to know. The hardest hit places are often areas with anti-COVID politics, misinformation problems, and low vaccination…"

 

(…)

 

"And like so many other polarized issues, we are seeing emerging a story of two pandemics in America during this period of an available vaccine."

 

(…)

 

"Everyone can make their own choices about their health, but many people are trying to make these choices in a framework of misinformation or outright lies. Caregivers know that social media and the media seem to be the main causes driving people to hold out on the vaccine. Some health officials are blatantly pleading with outlets like Fox News to provide more accurate information so their vaccine hesitant viewers may not be led away from a potentially life saving option.

 

Now I began this report for you just a few minutes ago noting how surging COVID can feel like an echo of last summer, or moments we’ve all lived together recently.

 

But the main difference is as obvious as it is tragic. This time, unlike last summer, there is a scientifically sound, widely tested antidote to COVID. A vaccine that’s widely available in this comparatively rich nation that we all live in here, but experts say, whatever the wealth that allows vaccines to be so widely available here, something that many other parts of the world would crave to get, the experts say we are still poor when it comes to scientific literacy, which leads many to reject the one thing that can save them."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP featuring Dr. Isabel Pedraza of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center):

"It’s a little like being on the Titanic and offering people life boats and having them repeatedly turn you down."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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JULY 26, 2021

Dr. Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics, speaking with Nicolle Wallace on the MSNBC show "Deadline Whitehouse":

Dr. Peter J. Hotez: "… This is unprecedented where people have tied defiance - defiance against masks or social distancing, and now vaccines - to political allegiance, and as Eddie (Glaude) points out, you know, there’s a reason why 614,000 Americans have lost their lives. It’s partly due to the SARS-2-Coronavirus, but in equal measure, it was defiance to all of those things, and it’s so self-defeating and so heartbreaking, and it’s not over.

 

We are now going to be looking at Delta sweep through the schools, and even though the deaths may not be as high, because a lot of older Americans are vaccinated, we don’t know the full consequences of long COVID in children and adolescence. We’ve seen some of the MRIs in the adults who have gray matter brain degeneration and clinical pictures that resemble the cognitive decline of aging. This is not what we want to subject our young people to, but that’s what I’m worried about, so we could be looking at long term neurologic consequences for many years because of this…

 

So again, the disinformation out there is, hey - if you’re a young person, don’t worry about it, the death rates in young people are really low - that’s true, but this virus is so much more than that. And once again, we are fighting this disinformation on the streets across Southern cities and Southern rural areas, and we’re losing the battle."

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JULY 25, 2021

Jonathan Capehart of the MSNBC weekly "The Sunday Show" with tough love for the unvaccinated in "The Bye Line":

Jonathan Capehart: "Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water that is normal life, the Delta variant has led to rising rates of infection, hospitalization and death. And to make matters worse, too many folks don’t want to protect themselves or the rest of us by getting vaccinated. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said this is becoming a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated for a reason’. According to a new poll from the AP, 45% of the American adults surveyed who haven’t been vaccinated say they ‘definitely will not get the vaccine’. An additional 35% of them say they ‘probably will not’.

 

Come on, y’all. Early on, we were counseled to basically coddle those of you who didn’t want to get the vaccine. The fear was that finger wags at those unwilling to get their upper arms jabbed would lead from vaccine hesitance to vaccine resistance. Look, let me be truthful - the destructive path of the Delta variant and the danger it poses to our ability to maintain the gains we’ve made so far is wearing down my patience, and that of notable others…"

(...)

 

"And I’m sure I’m going to catch all kinds of hell for saying this, but when doctors around the country are telling us that COVID infection rates are going up, and that the overwhelming majority of those infections are among the unvaccinated, I’m more than happy to hurt some feelings.

 

How can you read the Facebook post of Alabama Doctor Brytney Cobia about the last requests of young, unvaccinated patients and not feel a roiling mix of sadness and rage. ‘One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late. A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same. They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political.’ They thought it was political and a hoax because folks who damn well knew better played politics with public health.

 

Some say they are taking a ‘wait and see approach’. Half the nation is fully vaccinated with nary a report akin to the zombie plot of the movie 28 Days Later, so what y’all waiting and looking for? Some say they have questions about the science and worry about being experimented on. I totally get that, but I implore you to listen to the scientists who are pleading with you to trust them and the science.

 

And let me address those self proclaimed ‘patriots’ who claim vaccine mandates - even mask mandates - infringe on their freedom. You’re infringing on OUR freedom. Freedom to live our lives free from the fear that YOU are going to cost the rest of us our livelihoods, our well-being, and our peace of mind, all because you don’t want to be told what to do.

 

Well, you know what? Get over yourselves and get the vaccine before you ruin everything for all of us."

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JULY 23, 2021

Ari Melber of the MSNBC show "The Beat" with his take on how misinformation is affecting the unvaccinated population of the United States of America:

Ari Melber: (The current events are) “tragically reminding us that for people who claim they don’t want to be force-fed something, the propaganda they are putting in their mind may prove far more dangerous than the antidote they could put in their body.”

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JULY 14, 2021

Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaking on "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto" regarding the rise of the Delta variant:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "There has been this, I think, misconception that this is primarily an older person’s disease, and maybe the initial variants were more of an older person’s disease, but now we’re sort of seeing the majority of people who are hospitalized in many of these places around the country are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, so it’s changing. The vaccines work. Everyone needs to get them, because with these variants, everyone is really at risk."

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JULY 7, 2021

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control with the University of Kansas Health System, speaking with Jim Sciutto of "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto" about the current state of COVID-19 and variants in the United States:

Jim Sciutto: "Well, the CDC is confirming that the highly contagious Delta Variant now makes up more than half of all new infections here in the US. It’s a particularly serious threat to areas with low vaccination rates. In Southwestern Missouri, a state where under 30% of the eligible population is vaccinated, one hospital now must transfer COVID patients to nearby hospitals because of the surge in COVID infections is straining resources there. Dr. Anthony Fauci warned, ‘If ever there was a reason to get vaccinated, this is it.’ By the way, you’re hearing that from lots of folks, including Republican lawmakers.

Here to discuss is Dr. Dana Hawkinson. He is the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control with the University of Kansas Health System. Dr., thanks for joining us this morning."

 

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: "Hi, Thank you."

 

Jim Sciutto: "So I wonder what we’re seeing, for instance, in a state like Missouri now, with the low vaccination rates, a jump in infections, and a lot involving this new Delta Variant. Should we consider that a canary in a coal mine, as it were, about another spike in cases in the country more broadly?"

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: "Yeah I think absolutely. You know, early on in the pandemic, after a lot of those surges in the big cities, we did start to see that people, especially Dr. Fauci and the public health guidance, was talking about, we now will be looking at local hot spots for local infection dynamics. I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing here, and it’s not just the Springfield, Missouri or rural Missouri area. We know that there are a lot of areas that don’t have very good or optimal vaccine uptake. We know that if you are vaccinated, many, many of these problems, hospitalizations, deaths, can be prevented by vaccination, even against the Delta variant, so I agree with you. It is a canary in a coal mine, but we can prevent this and we can save these people if we continue to endorse and get a lot of the population 12 and over vaccinated."

 

Jim Sciutto: "How do you convince those who are still hesitant to take the vaccine? … In your experience, as you speak to folks who are hesitant, what works?"

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: "Yeah, I think it depends on the person, on the patient. It is multi-factorial. We know that there are a variety of reasons why people don’t. There’s still that concern of, I don’t want to be experimented on. Well, really, the data does not show that. The data shows that these vaccines are extremely safe and extremely effective. There are still, for lack of a better word, there are myopic opinions in people trying to create narratives to support their opinion, when that really doesn’t work in the true reality, or going on the basis of true science. There are people who are just otherwise hesitant in general, and that’s ok, but we know that there are other medicines out there that are regularly advertised on TV, which have a multitude of side effects and problems, but people are still clamoring to get those, so I think you have to: #1 see what those issues are for that individual patient. I know even in my infectious disease clinic, I had had a patient in the last few weeks who refuses to believe of the reality of COVID-19 and the severe problems it causes, but it’s talking to those patients, understanding what it is, also endorsing the people that they do trust, whether it’s their pastors, their priests, other counselors that can give them the good information, so I think it is a multitude of reasons, but we continue to have to address that head on."

 

Jim Sciutto: "What’s amazing is the contrast really at this point. You have a tale of two cities, two countries, and an example right now in New York where I am, they’re holding a Hometown Heroes parade to celebrate, in effect, the end of the pandemic and to honor health care workers who were really at the forefront of this. Meanwhile in Missouri, you’ve got this hospital transferring patients to other hospitals because they can’t handle the influx. Is that what we’re going to see, sort of, two different realities in this country going forward?"

 

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: "You know, I hope not. A lot of divisions started really early on in the pandemic. Hopefully we are decreasing that division, but right now as we are stated a little bit earlier in the interview, there are so many areas with low vaccine uptake - we need to get those people vaccinated - those communities vaccinated, because it helps them individually. It helps them with their loved ones and in their social bubbles. It keeps places open. It keeps restrictions lessened. It keeps supply chains moving and people in jobs, so I think we have to address all of those head on, really try to decrease this division, and continue to endorse the positives about vaccination. There are people who are, day in day out 24 hours a day, Dr. Fauci not withstanding, Dr. Birx, all, the only thing they have wanted to do is protect the American people and protect the health, really, of everybody in America and around the world."

 

Jim Sciutto: "Save lives, I mean, literally 99%, like more than 99% of the COVID deaths in June were among unvaccinated people. Dr. Dana Hawkinson, thank you so much."

 

Dr. Dana Hawkinson: "Thank you."

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APRIL 26, 2021

Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University, speaking with Jim Sciutto of "CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto" about the importance of getting your COVID vaccine to assist the USA and beyond:

Dr. William Schaffner: "...If this virus continues to spread abroad, it can mutate, create variant strains, and they could come back to bite us, so the more we suppress the virus around the globe, the safer we are..."

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APRIL 11, 2021

Laurie Garrett, American science journalist, author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and science contributor for MSNBC, speaking with Jonathan Capehart of "The Sunday Show" about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine:

Laurie Garrett: "The (COVID-19) vaccination is not so much about you as it is about the community you live in, and if you’re so selfish that you only identify the vaccination as self-protection and your right to move around freely, then you’re missing the entire point. The point of vaccination is the total population. It’s lowering the chance that everyone in America will get this disease, and if we can’t all get on board, then we lose the game."

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APRIL 11, 2021

Kurt Bardella, American political commentator, journalist and MSNBC contributor, speaking with Jonathan Capehart of "The Sunday Show" about a potential vaccine passport and whether he would get one:

Kurt Bardella: "Absolutely I would. I think that what’s unique about this time is we’re dealing with something that has affected, in some way shape or form, every single person living in this country, and really, on this planet, and one of the disturbing things throughout this past year is that one of the political parties in this country has built their entire rhetoric on doubting science. On doubting facts. On mocking common sense thinking. The fact that there’s even a discussion right now about whether or not people want to take the vaccine is crazy to me, but one of the things that really stands out to me about this argument playing out and what bothers me, is the Republican argument is completely hypocritical, as is just about everything they talk about - I don’t remember them worrying about individual rights in post-9/11 when they wanted to do things that targeted Middle-Eastern Americans. I don’t remember them worrying about rights when they’re clamoring for secure IDs and Real IDs and stronger identification to participate in our Democratic process, so why is it that now, when we’re talking about something that is to the benefit of all of our communities’ health, they’re playing this false flag game of rights and freedoms and liberties? It’s completely inconsistent whether when you’re talking about this or voting or post-9/11 - they’re all over the place."

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MARCH 22, 2021

Brian Castrucci, Epidemiologist and President/CEO of The de Beaumont Foundation, speaking with Poppy Harlow on "CNN Newsroomwith Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto" about COVID vaccination information engagement:

Brian Castrucci: "We engaged in an exercise of active listening. We listened with empathy. We explored people’s concerns and we were honest. Right now, political partisanship has really defined our pandemic response, and it’s time to get politics out of it. If I was having cardiac issues, I want to see a doctor. I don’t want to see a politician, and it’s the same thing with COVID-19. We need to really focus on getting people the information they need - the facts about the vaccine so that they are free to make informed decisions. It’s really not time to have political debates. It’s time for us to unify and make sure everyone can get the vaccine… We’ve learned that the right messengers with the right messages can change minds and save lives… Good data and information and good stories can help people change their minds and make the right decisions… This isn’t the time to shame or humiliate. This is the time to be honest and listen to people’s concerns and listen with empathy, and give people a space where they can ask questions and get non-judgmental answers. No one wins if we don’t reach herd immunity. This isn’t a political debate. It’s not an election. We all lose if people are not getting vaccinated. This is a race against the variants. It’s a race to get us back to the lives that we had before the pandemic, and we have to help people get to where they know why they want to take the vaccine, and that might be getting their business going again, that might mean having their grandkids, but we need those motivations to help us make this choice… Each community needs the right messages from the right messengers, and we can’t ignore any community. It’ll just make it harder to end the pandemic, and so, we need the PSA’s, but we also need physicians and family members sharing facts with everyone, not just Republicans, but every person has concerns about the speed and the safety of the vaccine, and we need to do our best job to help inform them with facts, but not manipulate them into taking a vaccine or even feel that they’re being manipulated."

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MARCH 6, 2021

Dr. Chris Pernell, Public Health Physician, speaking with Tiffany Cross on “The Cross Connection”, MSNBC:

Dr. Chris Pernell: "We’re throwing our progress in peril. We need people who have been fully vaccinated and people who have yet to be vaccinated to hold the line and to wear their mask. The public health science is not acceptable to political partisanship. The governor’s moves across several states - it’s just anti-science. It’s reckless. It’s sabotage . It’s like having a tool in your tool kit that you know can prevent and save lives, and willfully choosing not to use it. Let’s talk about the facts. The CDC published data just at the end of the week that shows that in states that (have) relaxed their universal mask mandate and businesses opened up to fuller capacity, you saw a rise in new infections within 6 weeks, and you actually saw a rise of deaths in 2 months. Those are avoidable deaths. Those are avoidable infections, so individual citizens, individual mayors, business owners, those in healthcare and public health more broadly - we need to exert public pressure to do right by the collective."

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MARCH 4, 2021

Dr. Andrew Carroll, Family Physician in Arizona, speaking with Brianna Keilar of CNN:

 

Brianna Keilar: "I do want to ask you about something that we’re seeing across the country now - states that are fully reopening like Texas and Mississippi, but rescinding their mask mandates while they do it. What are your thoughts as you watch this?”

Dr. Andrew Carroll: "You know, it really is frustrating. I’ve done 24 surge shifts. I’m normally a clinic doc, so I’ve been doing and helping out at the hospitals. I’ve done 24 12-hour shifts. These are overnight shifts - really hard work. I’ve been at the bedside. I’ve turned off the machines on people with family there, and it keeps going. We still have folks in the hospital. We’re still seeing in the state of Arizona over a thousand (1,000+) patients diagnosed with COVID daily, and yet we’re opening back up? Are you kidding me? This is just going to make things worse. Now that we’re 13, 14 months into this really hard battle - to see everyone around us acting normally, or trying to get back to normal… we’re trying to get them there with vaccines. It’s just way too soon. Let us get there with the vaccines. Let us just keep, you know, really fighting this fight. We’ll be there eventually, but to do this now. It’s 10 steps back from 2 steps forward.”

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FEBRUARY 27, 2021

Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris speaking with the Rev. Al Sharpton of "Politics Nation" (quoted excerpt pulled from near the end of the interview which aired on MSNBC 02/27/21):

VP Kamala Harris: "I got vaccinated. I can tell you, first of all, that these vaccines are safe. It will save your life… Let’s not let COVID get us. Let’s get the vaccine instead, right? Let’s not let this thing get us. We know black people are disproportionately likely to contract the virus and die from it. We know when you look at who the frontline workers are, who have been most at risk, disproportionately we are talking about people of color… Let’s save our lives. That’s what this is about. We’re going to get beyond this…Get the vaccine, wear a mask, social distancing, wash your hands… Let’s do all of these things, partnering together, so that we can get through this moment of crisis, because I’m telling you, I have faith. I believe in our ability to get through this, and to be better on the other side if we all work together to lift folks up, and to lift ourselves up when we have the opportunity."

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JANUARY 26, 2021

Brian Williams asking Michael Osterholm, a member of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Task Force, about COVID masking concerns on "The 11th Hour With Brian Williams" on MSNBC:

Brian Williams: "President Biden today held up his mask and said in the short term, it’s masks and not vaccines that are going to save us… it’s masks and not vaccines that are going to be the most direct way to save lives. The projection is we can save fifty thousand (50,000) souls if we just wear a mask between now and the end of the month of February. Do you concur?"

Michael Osterholm: "I do in the sense that, you know, it depends on what kind of mask you’re wearing. We know that we need this higher level of protection. The ideal is these N-95 respirators. We know that medical masks can play some role. Facecloth coverings can play some role also, but one of the challenges that we have with these new viruses is they’re much more highly infectious. So when you walk into a store today, a grocery store, a hardware store - where you’ve walked in a number of times in the past months with your mask on, today, that virus level - because somebody’s standing in there putting out much more virus, may actually cause you to get infected today when it didn’t infect you a month ago or four months ago, so we have to remind people that distancing is still by far the very best thing. That’s what will save the most lives. But again, wear your mask and get vaccinated when you can. Not only will it save your life potentially but the life of those you love."

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DECEMBER 29, 2020

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris when receiving her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine:

VP Kamala Harris: "Literally, this is about saving lives. It’s literally about saving lives. I trust the scientists, and it is the scientists who created and approved this vaccine. So I urge everyone, when it is your turn, get vaccinated. It’s about saving your life, the life of your family members, and the life of your community."

_______

DECEMBER 27, 2020

Dr. Corey Hebert, Member of Louisiana Governor’s COVID-19 Minority Task Force on "The Sunday Show" with Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC:

Dr. Corey Hebert: "Wash up, Mask up, Separate and Vaccinate"

 

"That’s what you must do so we can get through this thing and get back to normal. That’s what we have to do."

_______

DECEMBER 14, 2020

One of the first health care workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the United States - Dr. Jay Schuur, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital, when asked what this moment felt like for him:

Dr. Jay Schuur: "I think it's a mix of hope and gratitude. I'm really grateful for all of the scientists, for the volunteers who participated in the trials to make this day possible, and also hopeful - hopeful that people will understand that this is the beginning. We need to keep masking. We need to keep social distancing. We need people to really speak up about the importance of vaccination so that we can get through this, because as you just said, we're still in the midst of an actual health crisis with people filling up our emergency departments and hospitals every day."

When asked what he's most worried about with this process and with the distribution:

Dr. Jay Schuur: "I have two concerns. One is that some people will think that this means we can let down our guard today, and it doesn't. I'm going to keep wearing a mask after I get vaccinated until the public health authorities say it's time to let down our guard, and the second is that people will go to the wrong sources when they're trying to figure out whether or not to get vaccinated. I understand people have questions. This has been developed quickly. I personally had questions. I looked at the data. I looked at what the CDC said, and I'm really confident that the benefit of getting the vaccine is much greater than the risk of getting COVID."

_______

DECEMBER 7, 2020

NBC Anchor Stephanie Ruhle, from her personal THINK piece and live broadcast:

Stephanie Ruhle: "Covid-19, of course, doesn't care whether you are rich, poor, Black, white, young or old. It doesn't care whether you're about to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday. We're told to do the right thing but not fully how or why. And what I have learned is that the "right thing" gets easier the more privileged you are.

 

The only way we can get through this is if we have a system that works for everyone, and after having Covid-19, I'm convinced that we do not."

Read more here: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/my-family-s-covid-diagnosis-shows-how-our-broken-confusing-ncna1250175

_______

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Rachel Maddow from "The Rachel Maddow Show" broadcast on MSNBC:

Rachel Maddow: "What you need to know is that whoever is the most important person in your life - whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world - that’s the person who you may lose. Or who you may spend weeks up all night freaking out about, and calling doctors all over the place, and over and over again all night long, trying to figure out how to keep that person breathing and out of the hospital."

Rachel Maddow: "I don’t know you at home except through this medium. But believe me, whatever you have calculated into your life as acceptable risk, as inevitable risk, something that you’re willing to go through in terms of this virus because statistically, ‘hey probably it will be fine for you and your loved ones,’ I’m just here to tell you to recalibrate that. Frankly the country needs you to recalibrate that, because there is no room for you in the hospital anymore."

Rachel Maddow: "...so for the sake of your country, you really can’t get sick and need to go to the hospital right now, and the only way to ensure that is to ensure that you do not get infected..."

Rachel Maddow: "This thing is scary as hell. And whatever you’ve been willing to do to risk getting it, don’t. Just don't do it."

 

_______

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Brooke Baldwin of CNN asks Leah Daniels, ICU Critical Care Nurse in the Neuro Trauma Intensive Care Unit at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center in Iowa: "Last quick question for people who are disregarding the restrictions, who are not wearing masks - what do you want to tell them?"

Leah Daniels: "I wish I could unsee what I’ve seen. I’m thankful that not everyone has to see it, but please listen to my words. I don’t care about your political affiliation. I don’t care about what your neighbor thinks about masking or what you read on the internet. It’s real. It’s here. It’s affecting us in Iowa, so - think about someone other than yourself and wear your mask. Try to protect us all.

_______

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Jodi Doering from Woonsocket, South Dakota, a traveling Registered ER Nurse who works in several rural ERs:

Jodi Doering: "These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a (expletive) horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again."

Jodi Doering: "I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else and they want a magic answer and they don't want to believe that COVID is real. And the reason I tweeted what I did is that it wasn't one particular patient, it's just a culmination of so many people. And their last dying words are, this can't be happening. It's not real. And when they should be spending time face timing their families, they're filled with anger and hatred and it just made me really sad the other night and I just can't believe those are going to be their last thoughts and words."

Jodi Doering: "There's a thing on the internet right now that says, ‘I'm not your first line of defense, I'm your last’. And that actually is true in South Dakota. That by the time you get to me and the team that we work with, it might be too late for some. And that is heartbreaking."

 

In Support of Black and Brown Lives Related Voices

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Don Lemon speaking with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight" show about the Wisconsin Assembly attempting to ban words, phrases and enact their own forms of cancel culture:

Don Lemon: "Okay. So, this is a next level you know what here. The Wisconsin assembly passing a bill this week that would effectively ban schools from teaching critical race theory, which isn't exactly taught to kids anyway. The bill doesn't mention critical race theory by name, but the authors of the bill sure have.


One co-author saying that CRT is -- quote -- ‘the opposite of MLK, Jr.'s dream’. Another co-author saying outright that the measure would ban not only CRT but terms and concepts like antiracism, cultural awareness, diversity training, intersectionality, structural racism, woke, and as the list is scrolling, it goes on.


So joining me now is Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul... Mr. Attorney General, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.


So let's take a look at the bill. One part reads that it would prohibit teaching students -- quote -- ‘that an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by other individuals of the same race or sex.’ Does that sound like a dog whistle for critical race theory to you?"


Josh Kaul: “Yeah well, thanks for having me, Don. The language of the bill here is essentially a Trojan horse because the bill is written in a way that probably is not objectionable in and of itself, but as you referred to just a minute ago, there's a laundry list of words that the author has identified as potentially being violations of this new law, and it includes things like equity and social justice and a number of the other terms you mentioned.


What this really would be doing is putting an enormous burden on our teachers, and it’s a bill that doesn't trust our teachers to do their jobs."


Don Lemon: "These are conservatives, right, who are doing this?"


Josh Kaul: "That's right. I believe this was passed on a party line vote and --"


Don Lemon: "So, I thought conservatives didn't believe in censorship or banning things or cancelling things?"


Josh Kaul: "This is cancel culture on display here. That's right."


Don Lemon: "Go on. What did you say?"


Josh Kaul: "This is cancel culture on display here. I mean, this is an effort to stop our kids from learning about concepts that are important for them to learn about, including pieces of our history."


Don Lemon: "Yeah. So, the language is so broad, it seems like this bill would criminalize any teacher that ran afoul of a parent. How do you teach basic American history with the threat of lawsuits hanging over your head?"


Josh Kaul: "It would be really difficult…"


(…)


Don Lemon: "Yeah. We lost you for a second but we have you back there. So, look, this still has to go through the state senate and then the governor would have to sign off on it. Do you think it has any chance of actually becoming law?"


Josh Kaul: "I'm very confident that our governor is going to veto this bill if it comes to his desk. I frankly hope that the bill stops where it's gotten because again, we need to empower our teachers to work with our kids. We've got great teachers. Let's trust them rather than have the legislature put this list of banned words into the state statutes."


Don Lemon: "What has happened to -- why have people become so ignorant, and like, what is this? They are spending all this time working on something that they know won't happen just to appease their base. I mean, it speaks volumes about the divide in our country and this is what our politicians are spending time on."


Josh Kaul: "Yeah, you know, the purpose of our government is to solve problems and there is no problem that this is solving because, as you mentioned in the opening, this isn't something that’s being taught in K through 12 schools. What this is about is trying to divide people and to use race as a wedge to pull people apart and to focus on issues that are not being taught in schools, and distract people from issues we do need to make progress on like gun safety legislation, like universal background checks."


Don Lemon: "Well, Mr. Attorney General, I appreciate you joining us. This is - it’s fascinating. So, we’ll see. You don't believe it’ll pass, but one never knows in this day and age. I mean you can't say systemic. They don't want you to be able to teach or say systemic racism or structural inequality or white privilege or white supremacy or woke. Okay. Thank you, sir. Best of luck to you."

_______

SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

Don Lemon speaking with Randall Kennedy, author and Professor of Law at Harvard University, on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” program regarding racism in the current political climate:

Don Lemon: “…I want to ask you. You described yourself as a racial optimist. This was back in 2014. But in your book, you write this about Trump, about Donald Trump. You said, ‘The fealty he elicits reveals and reinforces ugly racial attitudes that are considerably more prevalent, deep-seated, and influential than I had recognized, even after decades of studying the race question. I am thus no longer a confident optimist.’

 

I mean, that’s a big statement because usually, you know, African-Americans will say, ‘I can't believe people underestimated or didn't think that Donald Trump would get elected’. Of course, he could. Of course there’s racism in this country. It’s always been there. It’s just that the larger culture, meaning white people, didn't see it because they didn't have to deal with it on a daily basis like people of color. Did you underestimate how much racial resentment was still bubbling just beneath the surface?”

 

Randall Kennedy: “Yes.”

 

Don Lemon: “Wow.”

 

Randall Kennedy: “It is humbling to say so, but it's true. I have never felt so much trepidation in my life as in the past two or three years. And, yes, I have been taken aback, and I don't think I was a sentimental person before, but I have been taken aback by the racism, by the cruelty, by the ignorance, by the resentment that is so obvious.”

 

Don Lemon: “Why didn't you see it before, though?”

 

Randall Kennedy: “Why didn't I? I'm - you know, I'm not all together sure, and again, you know, I don't think I was sentimental, but I did think that we had gone farther down the road to racial decency than we have.”

 

Don Lemon: “That's a good way of putting it. Racial decency instead of, you know, equality.”

 

Randall Kennedy: “Yeah. It's - I have to say, this - this book, there are a number of places where I just say, humbly, I was mistaken. And on this one, I was mistaken.”

 

Don Lemon: “That is hard for people to say, especially in this day and age, because people are, you know, wedded to their beliefs. It’s hard to change them…”

_______

AUGUST 1, 2021

The Reverend Al Sharpton with his "Rise Up" segment on the MSNBC show "Politics Nation":

Rev. Al Sharpton: "It's August 1st. So for this week's Rise Up, I want to talk about the coming school year. Millions of American children will be returning to school this month, only to find that their education has become a cultural battleground. More than a dozen states have either passed legislation banning the teaching of critical race theory or are considering similar bills. And on a local level, hundreds of school districts are in the middle of pitched fights on the topic, but before we dig into the absurdity of the bans like this, let's be clear about what critical race theory actually is.


It is just a strategy to analyze the way racist laws and events from our past impact our lives in the present, and despite the current kerfuffle over K-12 education, it is primarily taught in specialized law school classes.


But because the name can sound intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with it, some bad-faith actors are labeling all discussions of racism in the context of American history as critical race theory and trying to sweep those unflattering errors under the rug.


Let's look at Texas, for example. One bill that already has passed the Texas Senate would eliminate the requirement that students be taught the 'history of white supremacy', including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it was morally wrong. 


That bill is bad enough, but Texas has already passed a law preventing the teaching of concepts that make students, 'uncomfortable on the basis of race or sex'. So if learning about the true barbarism of American slavery, or the racist violence of the Klan makes students uncomfortable, it's no longer required in the Lone Star State, but here's the thing about history, it should make you uncomfortable.


Many of the same founding fathers who wrote soaring words about liberty and justice for all, owned human beings, trading, beating, and working them like cattle. Being a patriot is knowing all of that and still believing in the promise of this country that we can do better than our ancestors.

 
Luckily, most Americans know that. Even in ruby red Iowa, for instance, most people oppose the new law banning discussions of systemic racism and sexism in schools, but we can't get complacent. Having public opinion on our side is not enough, because the racist cowards that would fire teachers and ban certain books are accurately describing the history of racism and bigotry in this country are already showing up at school board meetings, and they’re loud. So we have to be louder. We have to rise up together and show up to those same meetings, demanding that our children get a full and accurate history curriculum.
 

If you have school-aged children, pay attention to what their history textbooks say, and make sure the lessons being taught reflect reality. American history is littered with shameful policies, but it is also filled with freedom fighters. We cannot valorize American history without understanding the depths of the evil they fought against. To teach our children anything else is to rob them of their heritage and the truth, and they deserve better."

_______

JULY 27, 2021

Don Lemon on CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" with his take on why racism is a central focal point regarding the January 6th insurrection:

Don Lemon: "What we know is racism isn't a side angle in this story. Racism is the story, and let me explain, because the big lie that lit the flame that exploded into an inferno at our nation's Capitol that day - the big, bogus lie that the election was stolen - well, who do they think stole it? Think about all the evidence, Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia and so on.

Black people -- stop the steal — it's just another way of saying stop black people from voting. Who do they think was stealing? Big cities with sizable black populations. Now they're trying to change the rules with a legislative assault on the vote in those same places.

This isn't that hard. It's quite simple. The evidence is there. This is not my opinion. The evidence is there. Race is what helped to propel Trump on the national stage. Remember? He wasn't born in this country. We need to take our country back, make America great again. It is what he exploits to stay relevant, and his Republicans, they're enablers and they're culpable. It's no accident that those Trump supporters were calling black officers n-words and then trying to recruit white ones."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Daniel Hodges, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer: "They didn't say anything especially xenophobic to me, but to my black colleagues and anyone who's not white, and they would - some of them would try to - try to recruit me. One of them came up to me and said, ‘Are you my brother?’"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

_______

JULY 6, 2021

Keziah Ridgeway, a high school teacher, discussing Critical Race Theory with CNN's Elle Reeve in Philadelphia:

Keziah Ridgeway: “Critical race theory is not being taught in schools. It is a theory. It is a lens by which to view history and the way that law and race kind of overlaps and connects in society. Can it influence the way that some teachers teach? Yeah, but that's a good thing, right? Because race and racism is literally the building blocks of this country. So how can you not talk about it?”

(...)

Keziah Ridgeway: “These are systemic things. Ignoring it perpetuates the problem. By acknowledging it, we can find solutions and we can address the problems in the inequality that exists in our country. And so, I think teaching it this way actually does the opposite of what these people say it does.”

(...)

Keziah Ridgeway: “I’m teaching children to question America. And that's what makes a good patriot.”

(...)

Keziah Ridgeway: “I’m creating little free thinkers and future politicians and lawyers and teachers and change makers. Our kids are smart. They know what's happening. And I think we do them a disservice by continuing to pretend like critical race theory is the issue, when it's really, you just don't want kids to learn the truth. Because not only do they become critical thinkers, they also become voters, and that is what is scaring a lot of these people, because they know that as this generation gets older, a lot of these people that are making these laws will be voted out of office.”

_______

JUNE 20, 2021

Brittney Cooper, American author, professor, activist, and cultural critic & author of ‘Eloquent Rage’, speaking about the GOP and their attack on Critical Race Theory on "The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart":

"The GOP have become masters of facts re-analysis, and so what they do is tell people a bunch of lies and then make it seem like they’re actually talking from a fact pattern that makes sense. None of that is true. Critical race theory does not derive from Marxism. It comes out of critical liberal studies, which is a broader peak of our legal structure, but more than this, what they know is that they are losing the information war, and so now they are trying to start a culture war. When I look at them, and particularly looking at them at a faith and freedom conference right, what they are essentially doing is having these impish kinds of parodies of evangelical revivals in which they are ginning people up based on religious fervor and a belief in nothingness, and Imma just gonna quote Bible and say they’re liars and the truth is not in ‘em, and nobody should believe in anything that they are talking about, and again - just remembering that really they aren’t arguing about critical race theory. They are saying that they don’t want Americans to have an accurate accounting of American history. What they want is a white accounting of American history that would allow them to retain power."

 

_______

May 17, 2021
CNN's Jason Carroll speaking with Kimberlé Crenshaw and Imani Perry about Critical Race Theory on Don Lemon Tonight @ CNN:

Jason Carroll: "Meet professor and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. (Critical Race Theorist Professor, UCLA & Columbia University) Crenshaw is one of the founders of critical race theory, which she helped develop in the late 1980s. In short, critical race theory is an approach based on the idea that the history of white supremacy still has a very real and lasting impact on our society and institutions today."

Kimberlé Crenshaw: "Critical race theory just says, let's pay attention to what has happened in this country, and how what has happened in this country is continuing to create differential outcomes, so we can become that country that we say we are. So critical race theory is not anti-patriotic. In fact, it is more patriotic than those who are opposed to it, because we believe in the 13th, and the 14th, and the 15th Amendment. We believe in the promises of equality and we know we can't get there if we can't confront and talk honestly about inequality."

Jason Carroll: "Critical race theory is not a doctrine, it's not a manuscript. One way of describing it is looking with a critical eye at race and institutions. Let's take an example from history, the Declaration of Independence says, all men are created equal. A critical race theorist would note that slavery persisted for almost 100 years after those words were written and it was more than a century before women got the right to vote. So why is the term causing such a stir in conservative political circles today?"

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): "This left-wing nonsense that suggest that any race is inherently inferior or racist or oppressive."

Jason Carroll: "Opponents are concerned critical race theory is or will be forced on students. Supporters say that critical race theory is not based on the view of, ‘this race is good, this race is bad.’"

Crowd: "George Floyd!"

Jason Carroll: "Supporters also say in the wake of protests and calls for racial equality in the past year, those unnerved by it are now using critical race theory as a catchall term for everything related to race, politics, and education in this country. So says Princeton professor Imani Perry."

Imani Perry: "I think this is the sort of post-Trump era way of inciting anxiety, fear and actually trying to, sort of, illicit a hostility towards the progress that I think we've begun to make in just the last couple of months."

Jason Carroll: "To date, at least eight states have taken steps to ban topics surrounding critical race theory without naming it, including Oklahoma."

Gov. Kevin State (R-OK): "We cannot revert to 100-year-old thinking that a person is any less valuable or inherently racist by the color of their skin."

Jason Carroll: "To be clear, critical race theory does not say someone is racist because of the color of their skin. And it does not say anyone should be ashamed of themselves because of the color of their skin. Still, some parents who hear the term are speaking out at school board meetings."

Unknown: "Just because I do not want critical race theory taught to my children in school does not mean that I am a racist, damnit."

Jason Carroll: "But Crenshaw says the theory is not about calling individuals racist but looking at racism still ingrained in American institutions. And she says, we have to talk about it."

Kimberlé Crenshaw: "If the censoring of all conversation about racism is called racism, that's what this move is really about. It's really not about a theory, it's really not about what's in people's hearts, it's about an effort to shut down all conversation about the sources and the reproduction of racial inequality."

(…)

Don Lemon continues the segment: "I want to discuss now with CNN political commentator Ashley Allison. A former senior policy adviser to President Barack Obama. Very informative report, Ashley. I hope you thought so as well. Thank you for joining. You just heard what Jason reported, lots of people don't know what critical race theory even is. So why does everyone have an opinion about it?"

Ashley Allison, CNN Political Commentator: "Well, I think you're absolutely right that the majority of people who are probably commentating on what critical race theory is, they don't have an understanding of it. There are people, and I believe many of them are the elected officials that are pushing this law, that do have an understanding of it, and they're afraid of it, because for so long in this country, our history has been told through the lens of whiteness. And if you're used to having that privilege, that authority invoked in you that your story is the dominant culture, that your perspective is more relevant than my perspective because I'm not white, then changing that may feel uncomfortable for you. But critical race theory just says that we have to expand the story to tell everyone's perspective. And failure to do that is really failing America and failing children, and failing our elected leaders, because we have to know the whole story so that we don't repeat some of the mistakes of our past."

Don Lemon: "Yes. It's really -- I agree with you, it's really tough for people to -- it's tough for people to change especially if you're used to being the preeminent voice, and as you said, if history has been used to, you know, to elevate you and denigrate others, then you know, that's what you’re used to. That it may seem -- it may seem like something is being taken away from you. It is being used as a giant talking point, Ashley. The right keeps calling it racist. Just this month alone, the Fox propaganda network has mentioned critical race theory 221 times….Why is this so triggering for them?"

Ashley Allison: "You know, my goodness, what? I don't even have words. I'm not even giving it that much attention. But I will say is that they use these tropes to incite chaos. They serve as a distraction, a lot of times on issues around race. So that they can't really get to the fullness of the story. And what do I mean by that? They say like, if you teach critical race theory, then you don't love America. But really, the courage to teach critical race theory is saying to America that, despite removing indigenous people from their land, despite enslaving Black people and having them build this country for free, despite saying give me your poor, you know, all the folks come to the shore to breathe for free, except for those coming from the southern border. Despite a former president who uses racist names and helps increase hate crimes that are going against Asian- Americans. Despite that, critical race theory says if we look it in its evil eye, the original sin of this country and even some of its most recent sins, that we love America enough to move beyond it, because we can find solutions to end the hate and the discrimination. But what Republicans are doing, and what conservatives are doing is they throw it out there as a threat, because they don't have this love for the country that people who want to tell the whole story do. They have an infatuation with this country, that, you know, it doesn't go their way.

It's like an abusive relationship, if it doesn't go your way then they are going to negotiate, then they are going to leave you or they don't want to have anything to do with you. But real love is having those tough honest conversations. And people who are pushing critical race theory really love America despite the pain it has caused, and say that if we can work together there is something better and She (America) can reach her greatest ideals, but Fox and the folks who are trying to demonize critical race theory are just, you know, fear mongering and really feeding into the big lies. It’s all a part of the big lie that that narrative is trying to push."

_______

MAY 5, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN Tonight speaking with Peniel Joseph of the University of Texas at Austin, Professor of Public Affairs; Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values; Founding Director, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy:

Don Lemon asks: "A Tennessee Republican state representative is facing backlash after defending what is widely viewed as one of the most infamous deals in U.S. history. The three-fifths compromise, wherein slaves were explicitly -- explicitly counted as three-fifths of a free person or three-fifths of a man, so that the slave states would be able to accrue more political power without having to count a slave as a full person. Infamous. Racist... It is important to know your history here. Can you refresh everyone on the facts of the three-fifths compromise? Please."

Peniel Joseph: "Yeah, Don. The compromise is really the fact that southern colonies actually wanted to count enslaved African-Americans as one person each for -- for issues of representation. And the compromise was that they would be counted as three-fifths of a person.

And what that did is actually give southern slave-holding states more proportional representation than their actual citizens who could vote. At the time, obviously, women couldn't vote but men could.

So when we think about the three-fifths clause, the three-fifths clause is a compromise to create the United States of America and have the Constitution ratified in 1787.

So, the idea that somehow we can turn that on its head and connect the three-fifths compromise to some secret plan by the founders to get rid of slavery and be antiracist is absurd, but it is part of the kind of history that we are facing, that Dr. West was talking about earlier. And I would -- I would call that history really a battle between the history of redemption and the history of reconstruction.

And redemption is really what takes place after racial slavery and the rise of white supremacy, starting in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866 with the creation of the Klan. And the reconstruction history is really that multiracial, multicultural history that is going to include the Ida B. Wells and the Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas alongside of white Republicans who are -- who are abolitionists as well. So, we have those two battles that are continuing up until today."

_______

MAY 5, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN Tonight speaking with Cornel West, Professor of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and American philosopher, political activist, social critic, and public intellectual:

Don Lemon asks: "Everywhere you look, there's an assault on truth. Whether it's the GOP operating on the big lie, the disinformation spreading through social media, the whitewashing of our racial history. Can you put this into perspective about how dangerous this is to our democracy?"


Cornel West replies: "Well, you know, brother Don, like the deepest of the literary artists in American history, Herman Melville used to say, 'Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges'. Which is to say truth is always unsettling. It's always unnerving, including ourselves. So no one group will ever have a possession of the truth. But there is a difference between wholesale lies and retail lies. Right now, the Republican Party is wrestling with a neo-fascist insurgency. So, when you talk about Trump, he's not an isolated individual. The majority of white fellow citizens in America voted for him. So it's a movement and it's based on wholesale lies. Like white supremacists' ideology, like attacks on Jews and Muslims and gays and lesbians and the rule of big money and the rule of big military."

(...)

Cornel West continues: "This ain't new for us. You've been denying our humanity for all this time. But we recognize, we can still learn something from you when you talk about other issues. And you've got a whole lot to learn from us. Because we have been telling you truths about your white supremacist foundation such that you will lose your democracy if you don't come to terms with your deep racism. And with your deep classism. Not dealing with poverty and so forth. So we shouldn't get too overwhelmed by this, my brother. Lies have been around a long, long time, no matter what the technology used."

Don Lemon continues: "I know what you're talking about. But what you're saying is people are willing to lose their democracy, lose their democracy to what? To keep white supremacy intact?"

Cornel West replies: "Well, there's a number of things. There's greed. There's racist self identity, there's a fear of the future. There is an insecurity about the present. And we have to be able to provide countervailing voices that are more truthful. I would never say I have full control of the truth. I'm a human being. I'm fallible, right? But there's certain fools that are better than other lies. And we have to have countervailing forces and movement to tell the truth about every aspect of America..."

_______

April 25, 2021
Tyler Perry, American actor, director, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist, with words during the Academy Awards a.k.a. Oscars while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award:

"You know, when I set out to help someone it is my intention to do just that. I'm not trying to do anything other than meet somebody at their humanity. Like, case in point this one time I remember maybe it was 17 years ago and I rented this building and we were using it for production and I was walking to my car one day and I see this woman coming up out of the corner of my eye and I say she's homeless let me give her some money. Judgment. I wish I had time to talk about judgment.


Anyway I reach in my pocket and I'm about to give her the money and she says: 'Excuse me sir do you have any shoes?'


It stopped me cold because I remember being homeless and having one pair of shoes and they were bent over at the heel. So I took her into the studio. She was hesitant to go in but we went in. We go to wardrobe and there were all these boxes and everything around the walls and fabrics and racks of clothes so we ended up having to stand in the middle of the floor.


So as we're standing there [in] wardrobe and we find her these shoes and I help her put them on and I'm waiting for her to look up and all this time she's looking down. She finally looks up and she's got tears in her eyes. She says: 'Thank you Jesus. My feet are off the ground.'


In that moment I recall her saying to me 'I thought you would hate me for asking' but how could I hate you when I used to be you? How could I hate you when I had a mother who grew up in the Jim Crow South in Louisiana—rural Louisiana—right across the border from Mississippi, who at nine or 10 years old was grieving the death of that . As she got a little bit older she was grieving the deaths of the civil rights boys and the little girls who were in the bombing in Alabama. She grieved all these years.


And I remember being a little boy and coming home and she was at home and I was like 'what are you doing home you're supposed to be at work?' and she was in tears that day and she said there was a bomb threat. She couldn't believe someone wanted to blow up this place where she worked, where she took care of all these toddlers. It was the Jewish community center.


My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment. And in this time and with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way—the 24-hour news cycle—it is my hope that all of us will teach our kids—and not only to remember—just refuse hate. Don't hate anybody.


I refuse to hate someone because they're Mexican or because they are Black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they're a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate.


I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what's around the walls, stand in the middle because that's where healing happens. That's where conversation happens. That's where change happens. It happens in the middle.


So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment and to help lift someone's feet off the ground, this one is for you, too. God bless you and thank you Academy, I appreciate it."

_______

APRIL 22, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN Tonight speaking with Peniel Joseph of the University of Texas at Austin, Professor of Public Affairs; Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values; Founding Director, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy:

Don Lemon explains: "A group of ninth graders in Aledo, Texas holding a so-called slave auction of Black classmates on Snapchat. Some of America's children desensitized to racism.

I want to bring in now Peniel Joseph, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of 'The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.'  … Clearly, this country is still grappling with the original sin of slavery. Do schools need to take a more active role in teaching anti-racism?"

Peniel Joseph responds: "Absolutely. I think it’s both anti-racism, Don, but also just the history of racial slavery. I'm heartbroken over two aspects of this story. One, the denial of the school district initially that this was racism and that this kind of hurt occurred. But two, also the fact that pedagogically, we're just not teaching the most important facet of American history to all of our children, Don, irrespective of race.

So, the national controversy that we've had over 1619 Project versus 1776 Commission, all of this is connected to racial slavery. We've got to teach that history to our children. And for Black children, they have to understand, it is not a history that we should be ashamed of. It’s a history where our work and labor actually built up the United States of America, and in the process we saved democracy.

The only reason for a thriving democracy in America is because of Black people and Black people's role in challenging and transforming this nation every step of the way."

Don Lemon asks: "Right on, Peniel. Right on! Why is it so difficult for people to call it what it is, racism?"

Peniel Joseph responds: "I think that's a legacy of the system of racial slavery and the caste system and the Jim Crow system where we deny, deny, deny. We deny sexism in this country, we deny poverty, we deny homophobia and transphobia, and we also deny racism, but especially anti-Black racism. Anti-Black racism is the organizing principle of America's racial caste system.

So, unless we can just tell the truth -- we all talk about in this country we want truth, justice, and reconciliation.

We can't get the reconciliation without the justice, and we can't get the justice unless we get to truth. So, we are so used to denying what occurred. We can never actually get to the bottom of these problems.

But, again, I stress, these kids, these Black kids, I'd love to speak to them and tell them they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Black women like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, Black men like Frederick Douglass and Robert Smalls, actually saved American democracy.

We would not be here tonight without the Black people who not just survived during racial slavery, but thrived, at times, and transformed all these institutions that are still imperfect, but they've given us a chance to have a future for the entire country."

Don Lemon completes the segment: "Peniel, thank you. I always appreciate your perspective. We will have you back. Thank you so much.."

Peniel Joseph: "Thank you, Don."

_______

APRIL 20, 2021

Quita Culpepper of KVUE Austin, Texas (ABC affiliate) with her commentary on ensuring justice for all following the Derek Chauvin verdict in the murder of George Floyd:

"Some may see George Floyd's death and now this verdict as a tipping point in this country, a testament to the power of community outrage and how it can put pressure on government leaders to take action. And think about it: This case might not have gotten as much attention if it hadn't been captured on video.

This is a powerful moment in America. So many are celebrating a sense of justice being done, a sense of relief, a sense of being seen.

But this is one case – one verdict – in an unfathomably long list of men and women who did not get their day in court, and their families will never see so-called "justice."

George Floyd is dead. This verdict won't bring him back.

The video of the life seeping slowly from his body, hearing his anguished moans during his final moments, will stick in his loved ones' minds forever – and will never leave his little girl's thoughts.

We all know Derek Chauvin's conviction is the rare exception, not the rule. Still, it's a huge part of the conversation about what happens next.

How do we go about police reform? What would that take? And whose responsibility is it to implement real change? Does it start with the police – or with our politicians?

It's exhausting having to constantly be aware of disparities in this country and see cases like George Floyd's happen over and over.

But what we do know is that the community has power to spark action. You have power in your words, in your actions - in your votes.

And we must all continue to work together to make sure justice is for everyone."

_______

APRIL 20, 2021

Jason Johnson and Michael Steele (MSNBC Contributors) speaking with Nicolle Wallace of Deadline Whitehouse on MSNBC directly after the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced in the murder of George Floyd:

Jason Johnson: "I actually always thought that he would be found guilty because it's sort of a cultural makeup call, but I'm not happy. I'm not pleased. I don't have any sense of satisfaction. I don't think this is the system working. I don't think this is a good thing.

What this says to me is that in order to get a nominal degree of justice in this country, that a Black man has to be murdered, on air, viewed by the entire world. There would have to be a year's worth of protests, and a phalanx of other white police officers to tell one white officer that he was wrong, in order to get one scintilla of justice.

That doesn't make me feel happy. That doesn't make me feel satisfied. It makes me worry about what's going to happen when these other officers are held on trial.

It makes me upset all the more that we didn't have this for Breonna Taylor. It makes me concerned about what's going to happen in the trial for Ahmaud Arbery. So, No - I mean, this is not the system working. This is a makeup call. This is the justice system trying to say that, 'Hey, this is one bad apple', cuz that's how this is going to be interpreted. It's going to be this one bad apple, he got in trouble, yay, blah blah blah. And yet, there's still going to be young, Black men and women across this country being shot today, tomorrow and two weeks from now, because unless we have some radical reform, there's no lesson learned."

Michael Steele: "This was a crucible moment. It's hot. We are forging a new instrument here of criminal justice and a new instrument on how we move forward as a country on these issues, and Black people are on the tip of that spear now and we're saying, we're not having another George Floyd. We watched what happened in the year between George Floyd and just this last week - the Black men and the young children who've been killed. So I think that this crucible moment is one in which, from the heat of this, we emerge stronger. We need to. We have to... We need this system to work for Black men and for Black people if it's going to work at all."

_______

APRIL 12, 2021

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, American activist and the co-founder of Campaign Zero, speaking with Chris Hayes on MSNBC about Daunte Wright and the current state of policing in America:

"Chris, if you ran a company and you hired an outside contracting firm to come and help you solve problems, and they came in and they did their job, and when they did their job, they didn't solve most of the problems. They didn't prevent the problems from happening, and in fact they caused new problems of their own and they caused those problems incredibly severely against certain people who work for and with you who were your neighbors, people that you loved, and then they came back to you at the end of that year and they said 'pay us more money'. And in fact, 'don't just pay us more money, make sure that the people that we cause the most harm to, help pay the bill' --- You would laugh them out of the room, because in this country that is built on a violent capitalism, that is most often defended by the very people who still tell us to back the blue, that would be a laughable premise. And yet we continue to increase police budgets every single year.

Only 46 percent of violent crimes are actually solved by police. Only 18 percent of property crimes are actually solved by police. Why are we giving them a raise? And every single day we are forcing Black Americans, whether we want to or not, to invest in institutional projects that are built based on how effectively they express violence against our bodies, our minds, and our families.

And then this country has the audacity and the unmitigated gall to turn around and demand that we are patient, that we are understanding, and that we try reforms that haven't worked time and again. It is insulting, and let's be very clear, for Daunte Wright, it is deadly. Time up."

_______

 

APRIL 4, 2021

Jonathan Capehart of “The Sunday Show” speaking with Martin Luther King III:

"What would your Father say about where America is today?"

Martin Luther King III response:

"You know, Dad was always hopeful, and he’d be greatly disappointed that we are still at this juncture, I think… but he’d be very pleased with the young activism that we see emerging all the time."

Jonathan Capehart also asks:

"Your view of where we are as a country?"

MLK III responds:

"Well, my personal view is… I’m slightly disappointed, particularly in my state. Not surprised, but just greatly disappointed that we passed a law that the state legislature, mostly Republicans and a Republican Governor, signed one of these draconian laws to restrict the right to vote. I mean, we should be expanding the right to vote, and of course, one of the legislators, Representative Park Cannon, who you know, was doing her job as the Secretary of the Caucus, just being in when the bill was signed, was arrested and now charged with a felony. There’s something wrong in this nation where 43 states are looking at engaging 360 pieces of legislation to restrict the right to vote. So, greatly disappointed, but yet, I know we are going to be vigilant. We’re going to continue. Hopefully these efforts will backfire. We’ve seen corporations… they’ve made statements that they’ve never made before, so I think we’re at a different juncture. It’s unfortunate, but we are going to stay vigilant, I believe… When you live in a country that promotes democracy all over the world but suppresses democracy at home, we are great hypocrites, and we’ve got to address that and change that."

_______

MARCH 31, 2021

Don Lemon speaking on "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" with Mitch Landrieu, CNN Political Commentator and Former Mayor or New Orleans, regarding the Derek Chauvin trial and the state of race in America:

Don Lemon: "So you have heard one witness after another say that they feel guilty for what happened to George Floyd. You’ve heard witnesses break down on the stand. You’ve heard George Floyd himself - a real human being - begging for his life in his last moments. This is not just about Black people. This is about America. All of us. America is on trial, and it’s time for us to have that deep conversation about all of this. About seeing the humanity in each other. The humanity that police did not see in George Floyd, and about what this trial means to America."

(...)

Mitch Landrieu: "I say to my White American friends - do not look away from this. You have to look at what this trial is telling us about us. It is clearly the murder trial of George Floyd with Derek Chauvin being the perpetrator, obviously, it is about police misconduct, but it is also about how we see the world, and my African-American friends are so tired and so exhausted of White people looking away, rationalizing, not looking at what’s happening, and they’re saying, “This is not our problem. It’s White America’s problem”, and they’re right and here’s the reason why - The President is White, the Senate’s White, Congress is White, the Governorships are White, the State Legislators are White, most of the police chiefs are White. We have to change it because we have the power to change it…

_______

MARCH 31, 2021

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, American activist and the co-founder of Campaign Zero, speaking with Hallie Jackson on MSNBC about the Derek Chauvin trial of the murder of George Floyd:

"… We have to recognize that this trauma gets replicated in the lives of Black children over and over again, and especially for those who have witnessed this crime, whether by video or in person, that that trauma is being revisited as this trial plays out. The other thing that I’m confronted with is the fact that that trauma is continual for this entire community. That for George Floyd’s family, for the family of so many of those who have fallen victim to the violence of the institution of policing, and for the Black community broadly, we see the videos over and over again. The wound gets reopened when the trial begins, and ninety-nine percent of the time, not figuratively but literally, the trial ends without anyone actually being held accountable. This kind of trauma is precisely what the movement is trying to end, because we don’t just want to see officers held accountable when Black folks die, we want to see Black folks live. George Floyd being alive is the only possible justice there could be."

_______

MARCH 30, 2021

Witness Darnella Frazier testifying during the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd:

"It's been nights, I've stayed up apologizing and, and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's like, it's not what I should have done, it's what he (Officer Derek Chauvin) should have done."

_______

MARCH 29, 2021​

Reverend Al Sharpton of "Politics Nation" speaking with Katy Tur on "Katy Tur Reports" regarding the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, MSNBC:

"…The real core of this case is that for nine - over nine minutes - this man (George Floyd) laid there for almost half of it limp and dying, pleading for his life, saying he couldn’t breathe … calling for his mother who was dead, saying I love my children, and this police officer, despite the fact that bystanders were arguing and yelling at him, “He’s dying. Stop. This is not going to work” - none of them physically going after the officer, standing back yelling at him, respecting his office, but also respecting this life that was literally leaving him in the eyes. It was heart wrenching to watch that today… Chauvin is in the courtroom, but America is on trial for how we will deal with police accountability… At the end of the day, whatever other issues he (George Floyd) had, does it justify the actions of Chauvin that the bystanders were begging him, Chauvin, not by name, but begging the “Officer, leave him alone”. At one point, he threatened the bystanders with pepper spray. I mean, the hostility and the venom. You know, before we went in the courtroom Katy, we had a press conference outside with the family, and I asked everyone to take a knee for eight minutes and forty six seconds, that’s the time we thought, and people were again brought to terms again with the fact, even if in a fit of anger, or if you’re out here arguing with the defense if your Chauvin, that you started this, at some point did it not become intentional, that you would not relieve this man pain if you wouldn’t step up and release your knee from his throat? It really doesn’t matter. At some point it becomes criminal."

_______

MARCH 28, 2021

U.S. Representative Nikema Williams on "The Sunday Show" with Jonathan Capehart, speaking about moving forward in today's politically volatile crossroads with racial injustice:

"I think that January 6th put it in perspective for me. To see that confederate flag going through the rotunda of the Capitol was like, someone was trying to send a reminder that no matter how far we get in this country that, (they’re) trying to put us in our place… I push forward, and I mean, it makes me want to do more."

_______

JANUARY 30, 2021

Yusef Salaam, Criminal Justice & Prison Reform Activist on “The Cross Connection” with Tiffany Cross:

"The beautiful thing about what the Presidency represents and what the Government represents, is that it’s not just the President of black folks, it’s the President for all people in America, and here we are, and we want the ability to be able to dream with our eyes wide open in the era of a Dr. King. Right? We want to be able to dream that impossible dream, have the best of the best afforded to us in America, for it to be across the board, and not for some, and deprived from others, and far too long since we’ve been brought to this country, many of us in shackles, we have been denied that type of treatment where our humanity has been looked at as being sacred. In the Founding Fathers statement, when they created America as it is now, they said ‘We The People’, and we were not considered part of that. We were still considered three fifths (3/5ths) of a human being. And I think the beautiful thing, like I said, is that this new administration, I believe, is ushering in change that will be so magnificent, that we will go from being in the trash heap of the world to being back on top, being back as the example of what could be, and the great thing about it is that in certain spaces in America, there are already reforms happening, there are already changes happening that will signify how we all can be able to receive that and be able to live beautifully, happily and respectfully."

_______

 

JANUARY 30, 2021

Gyasi Ross, Co-Host of the Breakdances With Wolves podcast on Indigenous Pirate Radio, on “The Cross Connection” with Tiffany Cross,:

"Of course the Biden administration is starting off substantially better than the Trump administration. Easy, Salud! At the same time, I just want to address a little bit about the terminology, because we love to throw these words around - justice and equity, and we have to be clear and honest - this is not equity - and this is not justice because there are active harms that are still happening. On the cusp of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to quote Malcolm X who said that if you stick a knife in my back nine inches, and pull it out six inches, that’s not progress. If you pull it out all the way out, that’s not progress. So of course these executive orders are pulling out the knives of institutional racism, slavery and massive land theft, mass incarceration just a couple of inches, and that’s not progress, and that’s certainly not equity - it’s harm reduction. These executive orders, you mentioned I’m a lawyer - I’m a criminal defense lawyer - and I work with people to avoid the prison industrial complex brown and black folks every single day, so of course I’m glad he ordered the DOJ not to renew contracts with private prisons, but why is the federal government still relying on privately run detention centers for folks who come across the border. That’s not equity, that’s not justice. And similarly, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline - cool, but if we want to talk about equity, and healing that knife wound, we have to talk about canceling the Dakota Access pipeline, the Enbridge Line 3. Hell, giving native people some land back because it’s all stolen. Giving black folks reparations, then maybe we can talk about equity. Until then, it’s just harm reduction…"

_______

 

JANUARY 2021

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, American activist and the co-founder of Campaign Zero:

"Fundamentally, the animating cause here is the perception of a loss of power. The idea that when black people, brown people, indigenous people, marginalized people across this country stand up and say that we deserve our full humanity, that is seen as an assault on white supremacy. That is seen as an assault on the superiority of whiteness, not just white people but the concept of whiteness, so ultimately that is the perceived threat that they were fighting against. The thing though, is that when we’re talking about more equity and more justice for black people and brown people and indigenous people - it ultimately benefits everyone, just like we saw the work of black electoral justice organizers benefiting everyone in states like Georgia and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and those are the very places that their hero, Donald Trump, attacked in trying to get his way with these election results. So all of these things are one in the same. They all have to do, not with any kind of economic anxiety, but with a deeply held racialized anxiety that more free black and brown people will mean less freedom for certain white people. That is the fear that we saw on display at the Capitol, and that’s the fear that we see on display from police when it comes to black lives, and that’s the fear that we’ve seen on display for hundreds of years in this country. Again, the question is, we know the answer, what are we going to do about it? This is not new."

_______

JANUARY 9, 2021

Tiffany Cross of “The Cross Connection” on MSNBC with her solo segment:

"Every time these atrocities happen, like the kidnapping and caging of migrant children at the Southern border, racist comments and tweets from government officials, and these mass shootings, there’s a chorus of people from the shrinking majority who decry, “This is not who we are”. But, isn’t it, though? To quote Childish Gambino, “This is America”, and let’s finally have an honest conversation about it. America was not founded on peace and prosperity. It was taken from the Native Americans with blood and fury. It was not built on equity and equality. It was built on the backs of the enslaved. The country did not allow opportunity for everyone. It afforded power to a privileged few. For so long, their American dream was our American nightmare. So let’s not feign surprise when white supremacy rears its ugly head again, and again, and again, and again, or when a mad MAGA crowd is allowed to violently attempt to disrupt democracy. Now, it may not be who we want the country to be, but crowds of mostly white people violently fighting to maintain rule is as old as the battle of Jamestown and as American as apple pie."

_______

JANUARY 9, 2021

Nikole Hannah-Jones, Creator of the 1619 Project, speaking with Tiffany Cross on her MSNBC show “The Cross Connection”:

"We need to understand, why was there such a need to kind of downplay that racism and the racist element of Trump supporters were just the fringe, that these were just uneducated, low-income white Americans? Where did that need come from despite all of the data, the polling, the fact that thirty percent (30%) of his voters were working class, which means seventy percent (70%) were not, and I think that’s because we have not wanted to acknowledge that racism has always been about power. The elite invented racism in this country to ensure their economic superiority, to ensure their political supremacy, and this is not just about a bunch of buffoons who don’t know better. This is about people, whether they’re personally racist or not, have been able to pull the levers of racism in order to get anti-regulation policies that they wanted, in order to get their tax cuts, in order to flip the courts… This is the long history of our country… Trump should have been the easiest politician to cover racial dynamics, because most politicians are too savvy to be explicit, but Trump was always explicit. He started with birtherism. He started with calling Mexicans “rapists”. He started with the Muslim ban. He called white supremacists “very good people”, and yet again and again we fumbled to get at the center of that."

_______

DECEMBER 30, 2020

Ali Velshi speaking with Alicia Garza, Civil Rights Activist and Co-Creator of the Black Lives Matter Movement, for the Rachel Maddow Show. Ali asks Alicia:

"What a year. What a year it’s been. On some levels, it’s been a deeply sad year for social justice, and on another, it’s been a remarkable awakening, the likes of which we have not seen since the Civil Rights Movement.. but now we move into a new era. What does that look like to you?"

Alicia Garza responds:

"Well, I think in this new era, what we really need to be paying attention to, is not continuing to sweep this epidemic under the rug. What we’ve seen for, not just this past year, but at least the last decade, is that honestly we’re facing a situation where police officers and law enforcement in this country have more rights and more protections than the civilians that they are sworn to protect and serve. And that, in and of itself is a tragedy, but then bigger than that, what we’re seeing is that there are no consistent  accountability mechanisms, and frankly, there isn’t the political will to enforce those mechanisms when they do exist. That is why we see such uneven levels of accountability across the country from department to department, and we even see it in, what I would say is a severely weakened department of justice, especially under the Trump administration, and certainly under attorney general Bill Barr, or former attorney general Bill Barr, as the case may be. So for us, I think moving into 2021, there’s a few things that we need to see. #1 - We need to see an uprooting of racism in every aspect of our lives, and that includes police departments and it includes law enforcement. #2 - We need to see a reallocation of resources across the board. What we’re seeing is that we are bloating the budgets of these police departments with no accountability and no transparency and no oversight, and so the results are very clear, but what if we reallocate those resources into the community needs that we have - mental health services, all of the things that we’re calling on police to help do something about, but that they’re actually not trained to do and they’re not the best people to do it. and then thirdly #3 - I think what we really need to see in 2021 is a strengthening of oversight mechanisms, whether it be at the federal level, or whether it be in cities and states where most law enforcement policy, right, is actually developed and implemented. "

Ali Velshi responds:

"Amazing that you’ve laid that out as clearly as you have. Numbers 2 and 3 are political - they can be done. Number 1 - uprooting racism. Umm, We’ve been trying to do that I suspect for a very long time. What does that involve? That’s not just about having a Biden-Harris Administration - that’s a different - a bigger thing."

Alicia Garza responds:

"It is, but it’s important for the Biden and Harris Administration to actually take this on as a core component of their administration. The problem here is that too often the way that we talk about racism is that it’s about mean people, being mean to people… and that actually is not racism, that’s just people being mean. But racism is about rigged rules. It’s about keeping people from power, decision making and dignity, and we see that in systems across the board, whether it be law enforcement, whether it be education, whether it be healthcare, whether it be in our employment and in our economy. Racism is fundamentally about rigged rules that keep people who have been designed or designated as “other” from the things that they need to live well. And the Biden - Harris Administration needs to make this a core component of their agenda for their administration, and they too need to embrace this notion that racism is not, again, about people being mean to each other. Racism is fundamentally about rules that are rigged against communities that have been left out and left behind for far too long. Once we start to address that, from that perspective, then we can take on the mandate of changing those rules, getting rid of those rules, and replacing them with rules that allow people to access dignity equally."

Ali Velshi completes the segment with:

"What an amazingly clear description of that. I appreciate that. I’m only smarter for talking to you about this, Alicia."

_______

DECEMBER 30, 2020

Brittney Packnett Cunningham, American activist and the co-founder of Campaign Zero, on MSNBC:

“…we cannot afford to continue to live in two different Americas on the same soil, not when the black one is deadly. It will continue to tear us apart from the inside out. We have to get serious and we have to do it now.”

_______

DECEMBER 12, 2020

Tiffany Cross explaining her new show in the opening of "The Cross Connection", debut show. Watch Tiffany every Saturday from 10am-12pm Eastern Time on MSNBC:

"…It is our time. I know, much of 2020 has been straight garbage, and like you, I am over it. But just for a moment, I do have to say, we’ve reached some milestones this year. We just got the news about the vaccine, so we may be able to see our friends and family again soon (I hope). We’re going into a new year with one of the most diverse Congresses this country has ever seen with record numbers of women of color, openly LGBTQ folks, and indigenous Americans serving than ever before. A record number of voters turned out this year to help unseat a beneficiary of years of white supremacy, punctuating the power of the new American electorate, which comprises a whole lot of voters of color. And they helped elect a black woman Vice President. And right here, just announced this week, we have a black woman President making history as a pioneer. Rashida Jones will be the first to run a major news network. Did anybody else just feel that seismic shift happen in the news landscape? And so, here I stand, on the shoulders of so many who came before me, hosting a show that is designed with you in mind. This is your home. If you’ve watched cable news shows and yelled at the tv because you’re not hearing your voice or your lived experienced reflected, this is a show for you. If you’ve been angry that so many of these political discussions are being led by people waxing poetic and nostalgic about a country that never existed for you - you have found a home here. If you get lost in the acronyms, the insular inside baseball chatter that may sometimes fly over your head on cable news channels -  ride with me - because I am always riding for you. I understand you, because I am you…"

_______

NOVEMBER 22, 2020

Errin Haines Editor-At-Large at The 19th, speaking with Professor and Anchor Jason Johnson on AM Joy:

"The black and brown community are getting a very wrong dual message that not only are your votes in question, but really there’s a question of whether their lives matter because we are not centering frankly black and brown people as the ones who are being disproportionately affected, not just from a public health perspective, but also from an economic perspective. We (black and brown people) are disproportionately food insecure, housing insecure - everything from student loan debt to you know, you name it. These inequalities that have been laid bare are definitely affecting black and brown people and they need to be front and center in this pandemic so that people can understand the seriousness of the toll of this on those communities in particular."

 

Democracy in Action Related Voices

 

OCTOBER 13, 2021:

House Representative and Chairman of the Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaking with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" regarding the future of American democracy and it's current fragile status:

Adam Schiff: "...As a member of the select committee, we have to acknowledge there could be another violent attack on the Capitol. The President is still pushing the big lie that motivated the first attack on the Capitol, but the more dire threat, I believe, is what’s going on around the country in state legislatures where Republicans are taking away the authority of independent elections officials and giving them to people beholden to Donald Trump. They’re trying to succeed where they failed before. I call them insurrectionists in suits and ties, and that’s how democracies come to an end. It’s not always by violence. It’s often by the cloak of legality. The appearance of legality, but really, using democracy to attack itself."

_______

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021:

Rachel Maddow of the MSNBC program "The Rachel Maddow Show" speaking with Judge Lina Hidalgo, County Judge of Harris County in Houston, Texas, about the forthcoming Texas audit of the 2020 Presidential Election:

Rachel Maddow: "Yesterday, on the eve of Arizona Republicans releasing the results of their so-called audit of the election today, audit results which, as we've been talking about, proved to be a real own goal for the Republicans, their audit count showed President Biden winning Arizona by even more than the official count already showed him winning.


Nevertheless, yesterday on the eve of the release of those results, former President Trump released a statement demanding that Texas must immediately open a forensic audit of its results, too. He said it must be done, quote, 'this week... Let's get to the bottom of the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.'


Why do you want Texas audited? You won Texas. You think you didn't really win Texas? You want that double checked? You sure? Did you see what happened today in Arizona?


Nevertheless, within hours, because he told them to, Republican leaders in Texas obliged. Late last night, the Texas secretary of state's office announced that they had begun a comprehensive forensic audit, but not in the whole state, only in the state's four largest counties -- Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin Counties, three of which were won by President Biden. This despite the fact that the Republican appointed secretary of state who oversaw the 2020 election had previously said it was smooth and secure. Well now Trump wants it reviewed anyway, and so - sir, yes, sir.


Now, exactly who ordered the election audits of these 4 Texas counties does remain something of a mystery. The Texas secretary of state's office has technically been vacant since May. The news was announced in a two-sentence press release from the secretary of state's office. So the office decided? What part of the office?


The largest county in the state of Texas is Harris County. It's home to Houston. That county's elections administrator told "The Houston Chronicle" she was surprised by the announcement, seeing as she had spoken with staff from the secretary of state's office just hours earlier and nobody mentioned anything about this.


Nevertheless, today, the chief executive of Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo, had this response to the news."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Yesterday, President Donald Trump urged Governor Abbott to investigate the Texas election results. And within hours, an investigation was announced... In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, politicians who've lost all decency are pursuing similar audits.


Texans are smarter than this. Sling politics with the integrity of elections threatens our democracy. Every time you cry wolf, every time you yell fraud, every time you run a phony audit, you are tearing down our democracy brick by brick, and I'm speaking to every person who is playing a part in this...


This does not deserve to be treated as a serious matter or a serious audit. It is an irresponsible political trick. It is a sham. It is a cavalier and a dangerous assault on voters and on democracy."
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Rachel Maddow: "This does not deserve to be treated as a serious matter or a serious audit. It is an irresponsible political trick. It is a sham. It is a cavalier and dangerous assault on voters and on democracy.


Joining us now is Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. She is the chief executive of the county, the most populous county in the great state of Texas.


Judge Hidalgo, it's an honor to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much for your time."


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Thank you."


Rachel Maddow: "So, we learned today that you had no heads up about this. You found out in the secretary of state's office press release just like everybody else. Since that mysterious announcement late at night, have you or the county been given any additional information as to what this is going to entail?"


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "We have not. And that just tells you how nakedly political all of this is, how obviously fraudulent all of this is. We have to remember we had incredibly successful elections here in Harris County in 2020. We had innovations that led to record turnout from both parties, the highest in 30 years. I mean, it was beautiful.


And since then, no evidence has come out that would in any way cause the need for this kind of audit. All we've seen is President Trump exhorting the state -- or Abbott to have this audit. And you ask, you know, okay the office sits vacant, and so who really did this?


The governor appoints the secretary of state, so that gives you a clue, and the reality of it is - Texas is being run from Mar-a-Lago. And that is dangerous. And it's not appropriate.


It's -- it's frankly it is dangerous and it's extremely, extremely concerning."


Rachel Maddow: "You spoke very passionately about this today. You said what Republicans were doing with audits across the country, and indeed in your county now, you said it's the strategy of one party to burn it all to the ground when their candidate doesn't win.


Now that you're up against that, and that is about -- that is -- that's your county in which you are the highest elected official, what is fighting that look like? What does standing up to that look like? We've been talking about not underestimating the corrosive impact of these things and not appeasing people who want to go along with these things when we understand the danger of them, but what does confrontation look like? What does fighting it look like?"


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "There are different pieces to it. First, it is seeing this for what it is. We heard about the Cyber Ninja audit in Arizona. This similar thing is happening in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Now here.


So recognizing that trend, recognizing in the state of Texas, it's not just this audit. The state just passed legislation that creates this veil of criminality around election, basically it sets traps so that innocent mistakes that routinely happen and routinely are dealt with by offices of elections administration, that those are sort of pegged as purposeful fraud and prosecuted as such. And now, we see this.


So, on the one hand, obviously, it's pandering. The folks who are doing this know that it helps with their base. But there's something more sinister there and more concerning, which is that this tears down trust in the elections systems, and in doing that, it conveniently sets Republicans up to question the results of elections they don't like.


So we have to call that for what it is. And we have to make sure that we don't create some sort of false equivalency. You know, on the one hand, there is this audit. On the other hand, counties oppose it.


No, all of us have to recognize this is a cynical effort, a tragic one at that, and it tampers with democracy. As far as what specifically we can do, I have our county attorney here looking at legal options. It's not clear to us that there is a statute under which the state can conduct this audit, but we also recognize that the state Supreme Court will be very friendly to whatever claims the state makes. We also are calling on legislators not to fund this.


This is the time where they should look at their moral compass. Look at who they are as public servants. The legislators in Austin cannot fund this audit because they will need to approve the funding for it.


And, finally, we need the federal government to act. I mean, this has gone too far. We had legislators break quorum - functionally move to D.C. for over a month. I've been fighting tooth and nail since the election. Remember they closed our mail ballot locations. They've interfered every step of the way, and so this should be another call to action that we've got the writing on the wall. We've got to get off our chairs and get moving on all of this."


Rachel Maddow: "Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo, I really appreciate you being here tonight, and that's all really concrete and interesting information. I'm going to try to make sure that we can post this entire interview online tonight. I think officials around the country who are facing these same kind of threats are going to take some inspiration or at least some points of thought, points of order, from the way you and your colleagues are approaching this. Thanks for helping us understand."


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Thank you."

_______

SEPTEMBER 11, 2021:

Nicolle Wallace on the MSNBC special “9/11 America Remembers: 20 Years Later”, discussing the current threats to the homeland of the United States, including those citizens deciding not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with Jeh Johnson, Former Secretary of Homeland Security:

 

Jeh Johnson:”…The overarching threats to our homeland in my judgement are climate change, global warming, and the effects of severe weather events on aging infrastructure. There’s aging infrastructure all around us here in Lower Manhattan, and it’s one of those threats that is a slow motion threat, like Barack Obama used to say, and it always seems to land second in the inbox. Global warming, cyber security, the continued evolving terrorist threat, and in my judgment, a polarization of our democracy. The polarization in our government itself is a security threat. I worry that if there were another 9/11 today, our country would not be able to mobilize behind one national purpose like we did 20 years ago, and the best proof of that is how we’ve reacted to COVID.”

 

Nicolle Wallace: “Right, can you imagine people taking… I think about that all the time. People are still taking their shoes off at airports because of one threat of intelligence about one foiled plot. People won’t take a shot. Do you think they would do all those things we ask them to do. Throw away their eight dollar bottle of Fiji water and take off their shoes and submit to invasive pat-downs?”

 

Jeh Johnson:”It’s against the law to drink and drive. In many states, it’s required by law to wear a helmet when you’re on a motorcycle, not just to protect yourself but to protect all of those around you. We’ve lived with those type of requirements now for generations, yet when it comes to taking a life saving vaccine, and the proof is there - over 90% of the people in hospitals because of COVID are unvaccinated. People seem not to understand that it’s for their protection, the protection of their children, their parents, their students, their patients… it’s, it’s profoundly disappointing.”

_______

SEPTEMBER 9, 2021:

Joy Reid on her MSNBC show "The ReidOut" discussing the statue of Robert E. Lee being removed in Richmond, Virginia:

Joy Reid: "It is impossible to overlook the parallels between the January 6th attack on the Capitol and the Republicans whitewashing of it, and the first effort to mythologize sedition, the lost cause of the Confederacy, the false narrative that the Civil War was a noble cause fought by men of honor, as opposed to a battle led by treasonists with the goal of continuing to enslave black Americans.


Unsurprisingly, the orange demigod of the current lost cause is on the side of the hero of the first, Robert E. Lee the Confederate general whose statue was removed from its perch in Richmond yesterday.


Now, it must be stated the hagiography of Robert E. Lee is a proverbial stew of whitewashing and willful ignorance. As Adam Serwer pointed out, the myth of the heroic General Lee is a fiction of a person who never existed. He was a slaveholder who led a war in defense of human bondage.


He wasn't even an American general. He resigned from the U.S. Army as a colonel and only got his elevated rank from the traitors who seceded and then invaded the United States.


It's no wonder the former president digs him, having been a fraud himself with that whole successful businessman shtick.


In a statement, our current biggest loser called Lee the greatest strategist of them all, adding that: 'except for Gettysburg, he would have won the war.'


Yeah, and except for D-Day, the Axis would have won World War II. Oh, and except for Biden's margin of seven million votes last November, Trump would still be in government housing, pounding ivermectin tablets and Diet Coke, probably. And, sure, except for a crushing defeat, where Lee lost a third of his army to a real general, Ulysses S. Grant, forcing him to retreat and turning the tide and the war - except for that, human bondage would have continued for God knows how much longer in America, just as old Robert E. Lee intended."

_______

SEPTEMBER 7, 2021:

Tweet composed by Rep. Mark Pocan, Democratic House Representative from Wisconsin:

It’s voting rights or the filibuster.

It’s climate action or the filibuster.

It’s racial justice or the filibuster.

It’s worker’s rights or the filibuster.

It’s reproductive justice or the filibuster.

It’s our democracy or the filibuster.

 

End the filibuster. Period.

_______

AUGUST 30, 2021:

Stephanie Ruhle of the MSNBC program "Stephanie Ruhle Reports" speaking with Lucas Kunce, a 13-year Marine veteran and antitrust advocate running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, about the misinformation surrounding the War in Afghanistan:

Stephanie Ruhle: “This morning, we are remembering the 13 service members who were killed in last week’s attack; the deadliest day for the U.S. military since 2011. On Sunday, we tearfully watched the dignified transfer of the remains of those fallen troops. President Biden and the First Lady were there, watching the flag draped caskets return to the U.S. My next guest is a former Marine who served in Afghanistan twice, and he wrote a very important op-ed that in his words, sums up the war in 2 sentences: ‘One: For 20 years, politicians, elites and D.C. military leaders lied to us about Afghanistan. Two: What happened last week was inevitable, and anyone saying differently is still lying to you.’ Joining us now, the man who wrote that op-ed, Lucas Kunce. He is also a Democrat running for Senate in the state of Missouri. Lucas, I know you think the chaos that we saw was bound to happen. Why do you think that, and what do you want to see now?”

Lucas Kunce: “Hi Stephanie. So, for me, what was inevitable was the fact that the Taliban was going to take that country over, and you know, I didn’t always think that, but in 2014, actually 2012-13 and then again in 14, I went to Afghanistan, and I actually, I learned the language Pashto, the language of Southern Afghanistan and Marine Special Operations Command before I went, and on those deployments, I spoke to Taliban. I worked with Afghan security forces. I talked to locals, and this is 2014, let’s say 2014 - 13 years after we had been there - my job was still to do all of the logistics for our partnering force so that they wouldn’t get overrun by the Taliban. I mean like, food, water, ammunition, equipment, literally everything - after 13 years. And I remember interviewing a member of the Taliban in the Herat City Penitentiary at one point, and I asked this guy, ‘Do you know why you’re in here?’, and he just looks me straight in the eyes and he says, ‘Yes, because I was trying to kill you.’  I said, ‘Ok, well uh, where do you think this goes from here?’,  and he said, ‘Well, two things could happen. You could let me out and I’ll keep trying to kill you until you’re gone, or you can leave me in here and eventually you guys are going to be gone and it’s going to be my country again.’ And when you just take the full picture of all that stuff that I saw, the Taliban taking over was absolutely inevitable, and anyone who was telling you otherwise was being dishonest.

Stephanie Ruhle: “And that’s sort of exactly it - we don’t have the full picture. For the last 2 weeks, a lot of people have been blaming the Afghan Army for not putting up a fight. You say it is not that simple. Can you explain to us why?”

Lucas Kunce: “Yeah, absolutely, and so, I mean - The Afghan National Security Forces was essentially a U.S. funded job program, and so we spent 20 years there, about 2.3 trillion dollars, and about 2,500 U.S. service members lost their lives there, and that was to prop up a system that was entirely corrupt, and when I say corrupt, like I don’t just mean on the Afghan side, which was terrible, but also on the U.S. side. Everybody wanted to keep us in this war when it was very clear to people on the ground that we weren’t accomplishing everything, because there was a lot of money involved, and there was a lot of repetitional stake involved too, and so no one was willing to admit what was actually happening there, and what you saw was just this deep systematic, institutional dishonesty propped up by the people at the top in each government, Afghanistan and the United States, because it worked for them. And just like with any war, in Afghanistan, the people who paid the price were normal, everyday Americans who footed the bill and died over there, and then Afghans who also were lied to all this time, told that, you know, they were actually accomplishing something, and when you talk about the troops on the ground, the Afghan troops, it’s really really difficult for me to blame these troops, when in fact their leaders were taking the food, the ammo, the equipment and everything else before it ever got to them, so these guys were being asked to fight essentially with no equipment, no money and no food, and that’s why what you saw over the last 2 weeks with the Taliban just rolling in was absolutely inevitable, because that never changed. It was just a grab-and-go operation for the people on the top, both in America and in Afghanistan.”

Stephanie Ruhle: “A grab-and-go. Trillions of dollars. I do want to play for you what Congressman Peter Meijer, a veteran who went to Kabul last week, what he said about his trip. Watch this:”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Peter Meijer: “I mean, we’ve seen some of the best of the American people, especially in the last 2 weeks. Some of the best of our troops on the ground, and the heroic way they’re carrying out this mission, but we’ve also seen some of the worst of American leadership.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Stephanie Ruhle: “Do you agree?”

Lucas Kunce: “Well, I absolutely agree about the troops. The people who are over there doing this evacuation in very dangerous conditions, as you’ve seen, are doing absolutely the bravest, most impossible job in the world, and I’m very proud of them, but as far as the overall picture goes - like, here’s the deal. All these people are playing the blame game right now over what’s happening right now because they want to distract us from the fact that we spent 20 years, 2.3 trillion dollars and 2,500 U.S. service member lives over there for absolutely nothing. The same people right now who are saying, ‘one more day, one more month, one more dollar’ - are the same people who said that for 20 years, and what we saw last week that what that means is ‘one more Marine.’ It means ‘one more Marine’ over and over again. It reminds me of the saddest day of my entire life, which was standing on the flight line in Helmand, Afghanistan in the middle of the night, watching the fallen body of one of the members of my battalion loaded onto a transport plane to go home. These people are trying to keep us focused on what’s happening right now, because they have been telling the American people that it was worthwhile to spend 2.3 trillion dollars over there for absolutely nothing while they’ve been refusing to spend that much building up our own country here at home, and we can’t let them win. We have to fight back against that narrative, because it’s wrong, and it’s just part of the systematic institutional dishonesty that has us in this position right now.”

Stephanie Ruhle: “Holy cow. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. I so appreciate it. Please come back soon. Our goal every day in this hour is to try to help our viewers get better and smarter, and with you, that definitely happened this morning. Thank you so much for your service, and thanks for joining us today.”

_______

AUGUST 11, 2021:

Matthew Dowd speaking with Nicolle Wallace on the MSNBC show “Deadline Whitehouse” about the current state of democracy in the United States of America:

 

Matthew Dowd: “Well, what we’ve learned - what I’ve learned actually, to my shock over the last few years, and especially over the last 10 months, is their strategy is to make sure that the country as a whole doesn’t have a voice, right? That is basically their strategy. They want a tyranny of the minority. That is fundamentally what they don’t want, and we can go through all of the sociological reasons for that, and all of that, and the political reasons they want to hold power and all that, but they fundamentally don’t want the voices of all of America to be heard in these rooms. I think we need to start saying, ‘If our democracy loses’ - our democracy is failing today. Our democracy is fundamentally failing today when the vast majority of the country wants certain things done and it’s not happening, and this ranges from not only voting rights to health insurance to gun reform to anything you could name - to preserving Roe vs. Wade - all of those things are not happening, and that’s what a vast - a supermajority - of the country wants, so … instead of saying we need to protect what we have, actually, we need to change what we have, because what we have is broken. Our democracy is fundamentally broken, and one of the only paths to fixing our democracy is the voting rights legislation. Not passing voting rights legislation doesn’t mean we’re going to lose our democracy, we’re already on the path, in my view of that, and again, it’s fundamentally broken… The test of a democracy is voting rights, and we’re failing that test today.

 

… The bones of our democracy are broken. The bones of our democracy, the fact - and I understand - I’m a realist like anybody, but the fact that we’ve been through a decade of gerrymandering, the fact that we’ve gone through various systematic ways the Republicans have ensured that a majority of the country is not heard, has ended up as us in a place where Washington is incredibly evenly divided, though the country as a whole is not evenly divided. The entirety of the country is not evenly divided. You go in place after place after place. Michigan has an overwhelmingly Republican legislature. That’s not because people didn’t vote Democratic. It’s because they drew the seats in a way that allowed the Republicans to win. Same in Wisconsin. Same in Texas. Same in state after state after state…”

_______

AUGUST 6, 2021

Senator John Hickenlooper (D) Colorado with his stance on voting rights:

 

Sen. John Hickenlooper: “This is the most sacred right of all our rights. Every other right we have depends on our right to vote, and that means everyone should be able to vote easily… The right to vote is the primary foundation of our democracy.”

_______

JULY 27, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" speaking with Philip Mudd, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst, about the January 6th insurrection fallout:

Don Lemon: “Phil, this one’s for you, because I want to get to Officer Daniel Hodges. When he was asked why he characterized the attack as a white nationalist insurrection, he said that the rioters were overwhelming white males, and then he said this.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Daniel Hodges, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Officer: “They didn't say anything especially xenophobic to me, but to my Black colleagues and anyone who is not white, and they would, some of them would try to recruit me. One of them came up to me and said, ‘Are you my brother?’”
(END VIDEO CLIP)

Don Lemon: “What does that say that these rioters, these insurrectionists, overwhelmingly white males trying to recruit him for the insurrection before they almost crushed him to death in that tunnel?”

Philip Mudd: “How much pain do you want? Let me tell you something as a white guy. This country went through in the 19th century telling my people, the Italians and Irish, they weren't welcome, because their Catholics. They had laws against Chinese immigration 120 years ago. We interned Japanese people who were white during World War II. We told gay people they weren't allowed to get married. We told women they weren't allowed to vote.

If we think this doesn't represent America, I'm not saying America is not great, I'm saying we have to look in the mirror and say, unless we look higher, including looking to our political leadership to say take us higher, that’s who we’re going to be, because we've been there before.

This is not unique. From day one, we've told people, if you’re not like me, you’re worse. That’s where we will go if we don't go higher, Don.”

Don Lemon: “This is who we are. Everyone says this is not America. But this is America.”

Philip Mudd: “We've been there forever. We've been there for - as I said, Irish and Italians in the 19th century with the new immigrants, we say we're the melting pot and we're the world of immigrants, and then we’re told you're dirty. My people were told you're dirty.

So if we want to look in the mirror and they say, that’s somebody else, that’s somebody else who went to the Capitol, I am telling you, that is not correct. Unless we try harder, that’s us, Don. That's us.”

_______

JULY 27, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" speaking with Ana Navarro, CNN Political Contributor, about the January 6th insurrection fallout:

Don Lemon: "Look, you know, COVID misinformation is deadly. Americans are at risk. But honestly, look, so is our democracy. When the former president, his supporters, spread lies about January 6 and the big lie, there’s proof that vaccines work and that January 6 was a violent insurrection. How did we get so divided that we can't even believe the truth about topics that are literally life and death?"

 

Ana Navarro: "And not only are they life and death - the receipts are there for all of us to look at. How can anybody look at the video that we saw in those hearings today and think that that was tourists, not terrorists? At first, I thought maybe they were mispronouncing the word terrorists.

 

How can anybody hear the testimony and see those four officers that were representing all the men and women of law enforcement who ran through danger and risked their lives -- and they were there protecting -- they weren't in Disneyland protecting Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They were in the Congress. They were in the Capitol of the United States protecting the Congress people and senators as they did their jobs.

 

And so for some people, because of the complicity with Donald Trump, because of covering Donald Trump, because of not wanting to implicate Donald Trump, don't give these officers the respect of even appointing credible Republican appointees to this committee and then pretend that this is not going on, that they didn't have time to watch these proceedings.

 

And it is all about complicity. It's all about this cultish mentality where loyalty to Trump -- Trump's loyalty to country, loyalty to Constitution, loyalty to logic - it endangers people's lives.

 

In the same way we are seeing lies and misinformation endanger people's lives when it comes to COVID, we saw how months of propagating and promoting and instigating the big lie led to risking people's lives, including the congress people who now turned a deaf ear, those Republicans who turned a deaf ear and pretend this isn't happening.

 

They are such pathetic hypocritical ingrates, and then they beat their chests about blue lives matter and about being all about law enforcement and pro-law enforcement. Give me a damn break. If you are not willing to give Officer Fanone or Officer Dunn or Officer Gonell the time of day and the respect they deserve, kindly spare me the sermons about how much you love law enforcement."

_______

JULY 23, 2021

Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) on the MSNBC show "Morning Joe" speaking about the differences between Democrats and Republicans in 2021:

Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY): "We're here to deliver while they (the Republicans) divide. We're gonna fix. They wanna fight. You better believe it... What matters is whether the pandemic is in the rear view mirror, whether the economy's growing, people are making money, feeling good and safe in their homes - that's what we're going to deliver on, and that's the national message."

_______

JULY 8, 2021

Laura Coates with "Laura's Case" regarding the status of democracy amidst attacks on voting rights on CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight":

 

Laura Coates: "Since 1776, our Declaration of Independence has made perfectly clear that American democracy will be a system where our government derives its power from the consent of the governed.

Voting rights means that you are only as powerful as the people who elect you. Terrifying, I'm sure, for those elected officials who sought election, not because it was a calling of any kind. Because they relished the idea that their calls would always get answered.

And when you deprive the people of the opportunity to vote, or even worse, try to deny the people's vote outright, even after it's even cast, you deprive them of their right to consent to being governed, and you retain it all for yourself.

State legislatures across the country showing their fear with hundreds of restrictive voting laws in the works. A whole lot of elected officials in Washington now on the record as being totally terrified of your vote. Almost 150 of them moved on January 6th to block millions of votes on the basis of lies. Those actions were based on the fear of losing power.

That's not Democratic. That's autocratic. Maybe you're OK with that, because you're getting away with it, or maybe you've become so emboldened by the neutering of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court. First with the gutting of section five eight years ago. And just seven days ago, the undermining of section two. Maybe you no longer think you have anything to fear. Well, if that's the case, it is every American who believes in democracy who now should be afraid."

_______

JULY 5, 2021

Laura Coates with "Laura's Case" regarding the status of America being able to follow its own rules on CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight":

 

Laura Coates: "Well, she tested positive for marijuana. And now Sha'Carri Richardson won't be running her signature race at the Olympics. Seems the rules apply for her, but not necessarily for everyone here in America. I'll make my case next."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Sha'Carri Richardson, Track and Field Sprinter: "I apologize for the fact that I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time… But sitting here I -- I just say don't judge me, because I am human. I'm you. I just happen to run a little faster."
(END VIDEO CLIP)

Laura Coates: "That was track star Sha'Carri Richardson apologizing after being suspended from the U.S. Olympic team following a positive test for marijuana. Now Richardson is now unable to represent the United States in the upcoming summer Olympics in her signature event, the 100-meter dash. Her 30-day suspension may be up in time to run in a relay.


President Biden reacting to her suspension, said this:"


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Joe Biden: "The rules are the rules, and everybody knows what the rules were going in. Whether they should remain -- that should remain the rule is a different issue. But the rules are the rules, and I was really proud of her, the way she responded."
(END VIDEO CLIP)

Laura Coates: "The President says it. The rules should be the rules. But this country hasn't always done enough to live up to that in recent years. There should be one set of rules for everybody. I mean, it's fairness 101, and America has always been fair.


Now that was hard to say with a straight face, but I did try, because even a cursory review of our history tells you why. Even a glance at the present illustrates the point. For Sha'Carri Richardson, marijuana may be against sporting rules, but its consumption is legal in several states across the country including Oregon, where she says she used marijuana.


Oh, and even conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has recently argued for the need for one rule on the issue, not a patchwork of laws that punish some and excuse others. But beyond that, America isn't always consistent about its rules. We have a rule of no taxation without representation.


Well, ask the residents of Washington, D.C. vying for statehood how that rule is working out for them. And speaking of taxes, we have a rule that we’ve gotta pay them. Well, ask the have-nots about why they must pay taxes while the so-called haves try to avoid them by calling them fringe benefits.


Paging The Trump Organization. The former president's company and its CFO facing 15 felony counts for a tax avoidance scheme. We have a rule that no one should abridge your right to vote on the basis of race. Ask Attorney General Merrick Garland about the lawsuit the Department of Justice has just filed against the state of Georgia over their restrictive voting laws.


And democracy itself has been the rule of thumb here in America. I mean since its inception, the world has watched the United States to see if democracy could really work. And then, on January 6th, the world watched what it could look like if democracy failed.


And here we are. Each day, an opportunity to show the world whether America will follow its own rules. And not just every-four years for an Olympics or a presidential election, but every time we have a chance to pursue equity, so we don't keep finding ourselves first out of the starting block on the issue, only to cross the finish line last. All because we knew the rules and chose not to follow them."

 

 

_______

JULY 4, 2021

Ali Velshi of the MSNBC "Velshi" with his July 4th educational segment on a Thomas Jefferson passage in an early version of the Declaration of Independence that condemned slavery as one of the many evils conjured up by the British King:

Ali Velshi: "July 4th - Independence Day, is a celebration of America’s freedom from British rule. It’s cemented by the Declaration of Independence - a piece of paper declaring the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America.

But that document hides a stark reality that in the year it was written, fully one-fifth of the American population was in bondage. The newly independent 'free' nation still held hundreds of thousands of Black people in slavery, and many of the Colonists who fought to remove the bonds of what they called British oppression saw no contradiction in the fact that they bought and sold human beings themselves.

Nearly 80 yrs later - while millions of African Americans were still enslaved - the abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a speech on the 5th of July, 1852. He chose not to speak on the 4th because he refused to celebrate American freedom while slavery was the law of the land.

His searing speech became known as 'What to the slave is the 4th of July'. His anger highlighted the paradox of a young nation.

'To him (the enslaved), your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.'

He continued, 'There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking & bloody than the people of these United States.' Today, 169 years later, we are living in another paradox in America.

On one hand, the nation just took a significant step in reckoning with its tortured past, including making Juneteenth a federal holiday, commemorating the day when some of the millions of enslaved black people learned of their freedom.

On the other hand, Republican states are fighting to ban schools from teaching aspects of this very history, including some of the speeches by Frederick Douglass. Here’s something else you probably didn’t learn in school:

There was a moment back in 1776 that could have changed the trajectory of American freedom. Founding father Thomas Jefferson - himself an enslaver throughout his life - actually wrote a passage in an early version of the Declaration of Independence that condemned slavery as one of the many evils conjured up by the British King.

Jefferson wrote, 'He has waged a cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere.'

Imagine if these words became the moral mission of America: the difference that would have made. But that passage never saw the light of day. It was taken out after debate by the Continental Congress.

Instead, its omission forged centuries of struggle over basic human & civil rights - the effects of which are still being felt in the Black community today. This 4th of July, let’s remember what Fredrick Douglass was fighting for, and let’s teach our kids about it, because if we don’t, who will?"

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JULY 4, 2021

Fareed Zakari with excerpts from his discussion with Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin, both Pulitzer Prize winning historians, on "State of America, A Fareed Zakaria GPS Special" on CNN:

Fareed Zakaria: “So, Jon, step back. I know it's a difficult - in some ways an unfair question - but, how would you characterize this moment? We do seem divided… What's your best summary?”


Jon Meacham: “Well, I hate to say it because of the way the decade turned out, but I think we're in the 1850s in America. I think you have a dedicated minority of the population. It was the seccessionist slaveholding interest in the 1850s. Today it is this vast swath of people who have found a home in the Republican Party who are no longer part of a coherent and constructive and good intentioned conversation about the future of the country, and when you turn politics functionally into religion - and I believe that's what's happened - is you have your own holy books, you have your own prophets, you have your own path to salvation, that is a terrible, terrible blow to free government, because a democracy fundamentally depends on our capacity to see each other, not as adversaries or heathen, but as neighbors, and so I really do believe that the divisions we're enduring now are a difference of kind and not degree of certainly those that have affected us since the 1930s.”


(…)


“The civil war changed laws, but it didn't change enough hearts. I don't think there's any doubt about that. It didn't change enough minds. One of the tragedies of American history, if not the central tragedy of American history, is that we are founded on an idea of equality, but we profess it far more often and with greater passion than we practice it.


The struggle for justice and equality and a history of which we can be proud is a daily one, I would argue, at the risk of self-parody, in everybody's soul. The soul of a person, I believe, is not all good or all bad but is an arena of contention in which our worst instincts do battle against our better angels, and I don't want to drag you two into this, but I know that my worst instincts win a hell of a lot more often than my better angels do.


And because a democracy is the sum of its parts, and the parts are human, not clinical - this is a country not founded on parchment, it's founded on people. And so if we can't, if we the people cannot realize that a sense of neighborliness and a sense of the pursuit of justice for all are not animating principles, then we fall into this Hobbesian world where it's the war of all against all, and I fear, far more than I would have even a year ago, because of the aftermath of the election, because of January 6th, I fear for the first time in my adult life that we may be handing over democracy to our children that does not resemble the best parts of the democracy that shaped us.”


(…)


Fareed Zakaria: “Doris, Jon was talking about how leaders can lead us, you know, toward the better angels of ourselves or our darker impulses. The question I have which is sort of relates to that, if leadership is so important, clearly Donald Trump is viewed by some very large part of the country as his leader. So much so that he dominates a party in a way that I can't recall any prior president in American history.


The one that I think of is Teddy Roosevelt who so dominated the Republican Party that he left it and tried to, in effect, create his own party, the Bull Moose Party. Are there any other perils? What does it mean when a leader gets so powerful that he is more powerful than the party itself?”


Doris Kearns Goodwin: “I think partly it has to do with the nature of the media today, right? I mean, you had - one of the scary things about the 1850s is that you had - a partisan media so that when Lincoln goes to a debate with Stephen Douglas, the Republican newspapers say, he did great, he was carried out on the arms and shoulders of his supporters. And when he is carried on in the Democratic newspaper will say he was so terrible, he fell on the floor that they had to drag him out.


That's what we have today. We have an echo chamber. We have that consideration of the other being given to us every day by people watching different cable networks, listening to different social media, and you've got President Trump, former President Trump, that dominates one of that form of media. So it is a scary thing, but I think we have to remember, what are the mysteries of when citizens become active?


You've got the Civil Rights Movement that's there before Lyndon Johnson is able to get three great civil rights laws through. You've got the women's movement, the gay movement, the environmental movement right now, the climate change movement. We've got to depend that there are mysteries when the times demand it, those movements happen, and then you need a leader in there, and if a leader comes in and can mobilize the sentiment of the people, then change happens, and I still believe that we're at that moment now. It's up to us to write the end of the story. We know how the 1850s ended. We know it ended in a civil war. We are still writing now the chapter of where this is going to end. There is a chance for what Biden is going to try to do with infrastructure, with jobs, with climate change.


There's a chance for the midterm elections, the chance in 2024. There are leaders out there and there are activists out there, and we're just going to have to take hold of, as Jon said, the better angels of our nature, but it's happened before when we needed it to, and I think we've got to trust that we can make it. But it's up to us. We are the government. We are the collective entity right now.”


(…)


Jon Meacham: “I believe Republicans at some level know that they basically lost the argument over the role of the state in the marketplace. Now, I know a lot of folks on the left think that's crazy, but from their point of view, government keeps getting bigger and that was a central claim. So, therefore, their anxiety, their political energy has to find a channel, and that channel has become cultural.


The Republican Party as currently constituted right now is far more about having power so that liberals can't have it than having power for a positive agenda.”


Fareed Zakaria: “It is what the historian Fritz Stern called, referring to Germany in the 1920s, "The Politics of Cultural Despair." Do you think - I mean, Doris, you have a wonderful buoyant optimism about America. Do you worry that there is this - you know, this very dark strain of people who feel their country is going away, that, you know, this is the last stand? There is a kind of, you know, dark millenarianism to this idea that I agree with. If we don't stop this now, the country is going down to perdition.”


Doris Kearns Goodwin: “I do think it's a problem, and I have no question about everything that Jon has said. I guess what gives me that bland optimism that I'm just not willing to get rid of, is the idea that democracy has been on trial before in this country several different times and we somehow came through with greater strength.


When FDR was about to assume office in 1933, it was said to him, you know, if your new deal works, you'll be the greatest president in history. If it fails you'll be the worst president in history. He said, ‘No, I'll be the last president in history. Democracy itself is on trial.’


It was on trial then, it was on trial during the Civil War, it was on trial in the early days of World War II. I think we have to remember these tough times. We're in a really tough time, and as I said before, voting is the key right now. The idea that people are trying to restrict the vote, the very thing on which a democracy depends, I mean, LBJ said, ‘Without voting, voting is the basic right of which all the rest are meaningless, because it controls your destiny.’


So I think the real fight for the Biden administration right now, the most important thing that's going to happen in Congress, are they going to be able to protect voting rights against these state attempts, not only to take away the right for people to have access to votes, but to potentially deal with the counting of votes, I mean, our partisan involvement in that. This has to be fought, it has to be fought with every bone in every people's body. It should be a bipartisan majority that cares about voting, or democracy itself really is at risk, and I think that's the central point we're at right now.”


Fareed Zakaria: “What a fantastic conversation with the two of you. Thank you so much. It's an honor to have both of you on.”

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MAY 20, 2021

Don Lemon of Don Lemon Tonight/CNN speaking with Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for President George W. Bush, about politicians voting against a Jan. 6th Commission and the future of the Republican Party:

Don Lemon: “New tonight, more and more GOP senators making clear to CNN that they will vote to prevent debate from even starting on the Senate floor over the January 6th commission bill. Are Republicans afraid of finding out the truth? It sure seems like it.

 

Let's discuss now. Matthew Dowd is here. He is the former chief strategist for President George W. Bush. Matthew, thank you. Good to see you again. So, look, it seems like Mitch McConnell and the Republicans, like they're going to do whatever it takes to keep bad facts from coming out. They don't care if they look like hypocrites. They don't care about democracy. What do they care about?"

Matthew Dowd: "Their own political power in the course of this. I mean, that's fundamentally what we've seen for the last four or five years out of the Republican Party, and most of the people in the Republican Party. There is not like a -- there is not a servant leader among them.

 

There is not a single servant leader that I can see among the crop of leadership in the Republican party today. It is all about retaining or getting political power. And it's not in service. I mean, it's OK to pursue political power, as many politicians and candidates do, but it's usually in service of a greater purpose or a greater cause. There is no greater cause or greater purpose."

Don Lemon: "The former guy is bashing the 35 House Republicans who voted for that commission, calling them weak and threatening consequences. Bottom line is that Republicans, what do they fear the most here?"

Matthew Dowd: "Well, you know, it's fascinating. I think sometimes -- I mean, obviously Donald Trump is basically in my mind a place holder for what he represents. The Republican Party is wholesale now the Donald Trump brand of party that doesn't believe in truth.

 

I mean, I saw a poll the other day, this tells you what the Republican Party has become, and it's not fully about Donald Trump. Donald Trump's positive rating among Republican voters is 82 positive, 16 negative, and it didn't drop at all after January 6.

 

Liz Cheney's favorability rating among Republican voters is 13 positive, 59 negative. Think about that. And so, the idea that people like Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney somehow think there is a part of the Republican Party that they can represent and that they can fight through this, it's just gone.

 

It has become the party of anti-truth, anti-facts, anti-science, anti- sort of what we considered Democratic institutions. And I think what they are is they're afraid of what their own base has become. They caused it to become that because they've lied to their base for so many years and allowed it to happen. But now they're dealing with the monster they created."

Don Lemon: "What was -- so the Republican Party was -- it was about smaller government, lower taxes."

Matthew Dowd: "A long time ago."

Don Lemon: "Yes. Yes. Fiscal responsibility, controlling the debt and deficit, but none of that happened over the last five years. It's all been sort of owning -- not sort of, owning the libs and not about any sort of policy at all. What happened?"

Matthew Dowd: "It -- you know, Don, it's become a cultural grievance party, and that's all it is. It's a cultural grievance party purely inhabited by a large amount of white supremacists, and people that believe that the changing nature of the demographics of the country is a bad thing.

 

And they don't fundamentally in my view, they don't fundamentally believe that all men and women are created equal. And so, as the country has changed, the Republican Party became more and more and more akin to the know nothing party in the mid-1800s. And that's what they've become, because they don't like the change. They don't like African Americans in power or Latinos in power or Asians in power or women in power.

 

All of those things have caused a great fear among them, and understandably because they're going lose a place -- their valued place in society that they've always held, and they're going to have to share that place with a whole group of other people that don't look like them.

 

That to me is what's at the fundamental nature of this. Donald Trump was the first to recognize that, that that was brewing and that was growing in the party, and which is why when he came down that escalator, the Republican Party, people in the Republican Party responded to him, the voters did. He recognized that first. He didn't cause it. He recognized it."

Don Lemon: "It's interesting that you said what you said because listen, I can speak for me, and I also see it with other -- with other people as well. But let me just speak for me. Any time there is criticism I find of myself, when I do run across it sometimes, it's usually just steeped in homophobia and so much homophobia and racism that it's laughable that I don't see how anybody can take it seriously.

 

If someone wanted for me to take the criticism that they have of me seriously, then why so much homophobia? Why so much racism? Why not on policy? Why not on just something I said, debate that without throwing in the isms and the bigotry and the hatred? Do you understand what I'm saying, Matthew?"

Matthew Dowd: "No, I think you're exactly right. And the fascinating thing to me is I looked at something the other day. And so, white male heterosexual Christians are less than 30 percent of the population of the United States. White male heterosexual Christians are less than 30 percent. They're almost 25 percent. Less than 30 percent. White male heterosexual Christians represent 80 percent of the leadership of our economy, of our politics, and of our media.

 

So, think about that. They represent less than a third of the country, but they represent more than two-thirds of what's in leadership. And the fascinating thing is since nobody is saying well, you only get 30 percent, for some reason there is a group of people that don't like the idea that they've moved from 90 percent of the leadership positions of the country to 80, and they may move to 75. That's what it is about.

 

And I think, Don, it's important to keep in mind, this is something in our history. Ever -- every time somebody else tries to exert power that doesn't look like what people think America should look like, we've had this pushback.

 

It happened with the Chinese Exclusion Act. It happened with immigration quotas set up in the 1920s. It happened after women got the right to vote. It happened after gay marriage was allowed. It happened after civil rights. Every time there has been a movement for our politics to represent what the country looks like, there has been a pushback from the minority in the country to stop it.

 

What's different today, Don, is, is that we have an entire political party that occupies that space. We've never had that before. One political party occupies that space of a pushback against diversity of the country."

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MAY 19, 2021

Don Lemon of Don Lemon Tonight/CNN speaking with Dan Rather, Host of Axios TV, about a potential Jan. 6th Commission and the state of the USA's 2 party system:

Don Lemon: “Republicans doing everything they can to turn a blind eye to reality. Can they even handle the truth? Dan Rather, well he doesn't think so and he joins me. He's next. One of my favorite people, too. It's not clear tonight when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will schedule a vote on the House bill to create a January 6th commission. But we already know that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes it and other GOP senators may fall in line.

Let's discuss now with veteran journalist Dan Rather, the author of ‘The Steady Newsletter’ on stackable.com. Mr. Rather, always an honor and a pleasure, sir. Good evening to you.”

Dan Rather: “Thank you very much for having me, Don.”

Don Lemon: “Yes, of course. A majority of House Republicans voted against a commission, and it may get killed altogether by Republicans when it goes to the Senate. Now, you posed this question. Can Republicans handle the truth? We posed that question last night, too. Doesn't seem like it, does it?”

 

Dan Rather: “No. There's nothing in their recent record covering - record covering the last at least four years - that would indicate that they can handle the truth. Furthermore, they seem to believe that if they tell the big lie often enough and engage in the massive cover-up, that enough people will either believe what they're saying, if they say it often enough, or that people will just sort of lose interest as time goes by.

 

I think it's critical, Don, to see what this is about. This vision of January 6, I think sometimes those of us in the Press use a short hand, and with the public at large would say January 6, it's beginning to fade in some people's memories just what this was. Let's keep in mind this was a riot, an insurrection that was in my opinion a kind of attempted coup. It left five dead, 140 Capitol police injured. It suspended the Electoral College count confirming Biden's election. That's what it was about. This was an armed insurrectionist mob, got inside the Capitol and actually stopped the Electoral College count. And by the way, was threatening the life of the then Vice President of the United States. This makes it one of the most damaging days in the peacetime history of our country. We can't lose -- we can't lose sight of that.

 

And you say can we, the people, handle the truth and then can the Republicans handle the truth? Frankly, a lot of this is cynical. They know, overwhelmingly, Republicans know what the truth is, but they've decided to follow this autocrat who's sulking away down in Florida, that other guy. And the cult that he has got going his way in a sort of shameless fashion. Their design is we keep saying the big lie often enough and then we have this massive cover-up, and this will just fade away.

 

I don't think in the minds of most people and the public it's going to fade away. But Mitch McConnell holds a lot of power in the Senate. Someone used the phrase earlier on your program a heavy lift, I think it's a very heavy lift to believe that the Senator is going to prove making a commission. But that doesn't mean that the cover-up necessarily succeeds, because the Democrats who, let us remember, they control both Houses of the Congress up there now, they can open congressional hearings that can get to the bottom of a lot of it. That's not as good as a commission, but if we don't get a commission, that's the next best thing…”

 

(…)

 

Don Lemon: “So, but I've -- let me ask you this, Mr. Rather. Do you think -- do you think that this country can function without a second functioning -- can it operate without a second functioning party? Because it doesn't appear that there is a second functioning party. At least one party doesn't believe in reality.”

 

Dan Rather: “You know, Don, I hesitate because I'm just not sure. As you and I have discussed many times before. You know, I hope I'm pretty good about reporting on what has happened or what is happening. When it comes to predicting the future it's very hard to say. But I don't reduct your question.

 

I think the country really needs two functioning political parties. And without a two-party system, at least a two-party system, quite honestly, I would consider it a very dangerous time. That's the reason I keep saying this is a perilous time, because if the Republican Party has been turned over -- and taken over almost completely by Donald Trump, and the party that Donald Trump leads, Donald Trump himself - it doesn't believe in reality. It doesn't believe in the truth. It can't handle the truth, and it thinks as long as it engages and keeps telling lies over and over and runs a very sophisticated cover-up, that they can get through this. And by the way, Don, if I may, you know, there are a number of people have asked what I think to be one of the very core questions about this whole January 6th thing is, we still don't know why it took so long for the National Guard to come in. The Capitol had been breached. An armed mob was stopping the Electoral College, and it took what, two hours for the National Guard to move. That's a big question mark.

 

And then behind that is, where was President Trump when that was happening? With whom was he talking, if anybody? I would say those are two questions that all of us in the Press can keep driving home, because they're right at the core or part of this what I call the big lie and the big cover-up.”

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MAY 13, 2021

U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks with the Morning Joe crew on MSNBC about the future of the Republican party after leaders feed into "The Big Lie" and vote to oust Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her leadership position:

"We can’t be the first generation that leaves our kids a country more soft than the one we inherited, or a political system more soft. You know? We can take back this power."

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MAY 12, 2021

Matthew Dowd detailing on Stephanie Ruhle Reports MSNBC about current division in the United States:

"The dividing line in America today is not idealogical. It’s not conservative versus liberal or progressive. It’s not really red or blue. It is a dividing line of, ‘Do you tell the truth, and are you willing to accept facts, and do you support our democracy or don’t you?’ - that is the dividing line in America today, and that, I think, is where all of us - me, you, the media has to just make the position known, this is no longer a game in Washington. This is about the security and safety of our Republic."

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MAY 11, 2021

U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with Hallie Jackson of MSNBC regarding domestic cyber vulnerability amidst ransomware and the Colonial Pipeline attack:

Hallie asks:

"On the domestic piece of it, what we do here at home, you know the experts, for a long time, have been warning of something like a Cyber Pearl Harbor, if you will. You’ve got Bloomberg calling the US “easy prey” for ignoring one warning after another. Is this anything other than a massive failure by the U.S. Government, including Congress?"

Adam Schiff responds:

"Well I think it’s a collective failure of the government and the private sector. The private sector’s understood its vulnerability for a long time. It resisted having the government regulate and insist on having higher standards, and as I mentioned, we were not able to get that legislation passed years ago that might have helped prevent attacks like this, so it’s a collective failure, and I worry frankly about even more critical infrastructure. You can imagine, speaking of Bloomberg, if there was an attack was on our financial system, and ransomware criminals were able to make it possible to determine whether people had their savings in their savings account, or their checking account, what kind of mayhem there could be, so there’s all kinds of critical infrastructure, and we’re really going to need to up our game..."

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MAY 9, 2021

Ali Velshi of MSNBC discussing unemployment and the status of fair wages in today's current job climate:

"Yeah, I mean, It’s 300 extra bucks a week, the extra payment is $7.50 an hour if you’re full time unemployed. If that’s what’s keeping people home, then we have a bigger problem in society… We do have a bigger problem. It’s not even necessarily ideological. It’s the idea that we somehow find ways to go and increase our deficits when we give companies tax breaks, but we twist ourselves into remarkable pretzels to figure out how to give people - taxpayers - actual government money."

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MAY 6, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN speaking with Fareed Zakaria about Liz Cheney (R-WY), democracy and the current state of the fractured Republican party:

Don Lemon asks Fareed: "So, Liz Cheney is urging the Republican Party to steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality. In her op-ed, she goes on to write this. And I quote, 'History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our Democratic process.' So, she's also warning Trump's language can provoke violence again. Is she right?"


Fareed Zakaria responds: "She's absolutely right. Look, the history of democracy, which is a very brief interlude in human history, has been one that suggests it is very fragile. Democracies get undermined very easily. It's not just the example of Germany. There are many, many examples.


I mean, think about Egypt which went through a flash of democracy and now is a military dictatorship. There are many, many examples all over the world throughout history and almost always, what happens is, a demagogue arises on the scene, somehow captures some part of the population that becomes fanatically devoted to him, and their devotion to him becomes more important than their devotion to democracy.


It’s that simple, and unfortunately, that's really what’s happened to the Republican Party, or a large part of it."


Don Lemon continues: "So, if people think... I say to my viewers every night - I know you're tired of hearing about this. But this is really important to you. This goes beyond the Republican Party. This affects everyone. This affects the entire country - So, if, what can happen next? If this can happen here now, what happens next?"


Fareed Zakaria responds: "Well, the big danger, I mean, and you've been talking about this eloquently, Don. The big danger is that now one of the two parties in our political system - not a faction within the party, but the party as a whole, it's entire command structure. And this is a very powerful party. Don't forget. Trump lost but the Republicans did well in 2020. This very powerful force in American politics really in some sense, the majority party in America, has become anti-Democratic. It is trying to find ways to make it harder for Americans to vote. It is trying to find ways that state legislatures can override, you know, the will of the people and choose their own electors. It’s trying to find ways in which they can subvert the will of the people.


The whole idea behind this Republican movement is that Trump was right. The election of 2020 was a lie. And we have to now reform, quote/unquote, or change the American system to make sure this never happens again. So the whole enterprise is fundamentally anti-Democratic. So the idea that you are going to have one party whose agenda it is to somehow create a less Democratic country in which fewer people vote, in which their votes count for less, and it’s a pretty scary prospect. Not since the Jim Crow south in the '50s have we had a situation like this. So you know, I think it’s going to, and by the way, it's going to provoke a reaction on the other side. So, you are going to have an increasingly hostile, polarized environment.


Look. You know, who knows where this goes? But if the Republican Party continues on the path it is going down, this is looking more like a, you know, a kind of civil war. I don't mean literally but politics more as a kind of violent struggle than any kind of normal political process."

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APRIL 23, 2021

Laura Coates speaking about democracy, voter suppression and justice after the Derek Chauvin trial completion while guest hosting the CNN Tonight with Don Lemon show:


"You know, what we saw in that Minneapolis courtroom this week was never about one case. It was never about one trial. It was never about one guilty verdict or even three guilty verdicts. It was about equality. And it requires more. And that more is being able to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship in this country, which prides itself not just on its constitution, but on the subsequent amendments to the constitution.


Prides itself on being a form of government that is of, for, and by all the people. A country that prides itself on securing human and civil rights across the entire globe. And, yet, we are confronted by the reality that we are also a country that denies the rights that we are promising to others.


You know, while many were waiting for the Derek Chauvin trial jurors to deliberate, others were deliberating how best to undermine voting rights, civil rights. We look at the new election laws in Georgia which restrict access to the ballot for so many voters. And as we waited for the judge to read aloud a verdict and confirm what mattered, others were plotting how to silence lawful, legitimate protests, like in Florida where the Republican Governor signed a controversial so-called pro-law enforcement bill into law this very week.


GOP lawmakers claimed that it's going to crack down on riots and property damage. But Democrats say its real aim is to limit peaceful protests. A new law in Oklahoma granting immunity to drivers who unintentionally run over and injure or kill protesters. And it ups the fines on protesters who block streets.


You know, as jurors were reading the text of a criminal statute, still others were using pretext to justify the gross infringement of civil rights. You know, perhaps they were hoping that people would be so singularly focused on one trial before them that they could do what they pleased in the periphery.


Justice doesn't work like that. Democracy doesn't work like that either. And it just shows that there is still more work to be done. Former President Barack Obama knows it, especially when it comes to Republican efforts in nearly every state to suppress voting, especially the votes of black and brown Americans. He told Bet.com, 'They know they can't win you over with their policies, so they're hoping to convince you that your vote and your voice doesn't matter. That's how they win. And that's why we need to keep marching, keep speaking up, keep voting. And if you think it's too hard to bring about change today, remember that those who came before us had it a whole lot harder. If anyone had a right to believe that this democracy did not work and could not work, it was those Americans.'


You know, our founding fathers envisioned a system of checks and balances by co-equal branches all working toward the goal of one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. So, the work ahead will require us to check and balance the public servants and elected officials who ask for the opportunity to lead, but then fail not only to not protect and serve but also deny your right to vote, your constitutional rights, your civil rights, your human rights. That's called accountability when you check and balance that.


See, it was never about one trial. It was always about the pursuit of justice. And one day with a little bit of accountability and fair representation, our nation, it just might finally catch justice.

The verdict was not the end. It's just the beginning."

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APRIL 8, 2021

Matthew Dowd speaking about the filibuster with Don Lemon on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon:

Matthew Dowd: "The filibuster isn’t helping create places where you can reach common sense decisions. The filibuster is creating a division in this country, and he (Joe Manchin), I don’t think fully understands the history of the filibuster, which was really used by segregationists throughout history in order to block rights, not only for African-Americans but for many people of color in this country… At some point, justice demands a change in rules or a change in procedures in order to get to a just position. When we have in this country today - the majority of the country supports easier access to voting, the majority of the country supports an increase in the minimum wage, the majority of the country supports common sense gun reform, none of which is happening and the primary reason why it’s not happening is because of the filibuster rule, and so if he really wants to do what the majority of the country wants, he’d be getting rid of the filibuster rule and negotiating with other Democrats on what they wanna do."

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MARCH 28, 2021

Fareed Zakaria of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN speaking about how American government needs to work for the people:

"Above all, government needs to show that it can work for people. A generation of polarization has also produced a generation of gridlock, government so divided that it is unable to act. We have to find a way to free government from this death grip. Politics has to function. Those who win must be allowed to act and translate their ideas into policies.

If the public likes it, they have the power to vote, but constant paralysis only feeds the feeling that government does nothing and is to be mocked and despised.

We often talk about plans and policies, but ultimately, this may be a personal challenge up to all of us to imagine ourselves in other people's shoes, to see the world for a moment through those different lenses, and above all, to remember that ancient piece of wisdom contained in the Bible and so many books -- to treat others as we would like them to treat us.

It won't end polarization tomorrow, but it could begin to heal some of the wounds we see all around us.

There is, however, another personal challenge. It's for all of us, but chiefly for our leaders -- please lead.

Republicans for years now have been silent as extreme and intolerant voices have grown in their midst. They've catered to their base no matter where it took them. They must once again become leaders and not panderers. And for them and for all of us, finally, we must stand up for the truth and against lies, no matter who tells them. We cannot repair our broken politics if we all cannot agree that reason is better than unreason, fact privileged over fantasy, and truth superior to lies. No healing can happen without that simple unyielding commitment.

Thank you for taking the time to hear me out on this crucial subject."

_______

FEBRUARY 4, 2021

Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe:

 

“…It seems like disunity has been with us forever?”

Former Republican Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam in response:

 

“Well it has, but I think we also have to recognize that today is a different time. The impact of social media, the impact - the ability to choose your own news - means not only are we mad, do we disagree with the other side, but we’re mad about it, and we think the other side has bad motives… (Howard) Baker had a saying that he taught all of us who ever came into his orbit that said, 'Always remember the other fella might be right', and we have lost that today, and that’s the beginning proposition that, I at least want to hear your side. I have some principles that I disagree with you on, but I want to hear your side, because I realize I could be wrong on this one.”

_______

JANUARY 30, 2021

Rep. Nikema Williams, Georgia Democratic Party Chairwoman, speaking with Ali Velshi:

"We have to continue doing the work… We’re not going to have a one hundred percent (100%) base in Georgia that is representative of what people really believe, that everyone should be treated with fairness and justice, because that’s the exact opposite of what Marjorie Taylor thinks. I think what we need to do is we need to get to work on governing. We need to make sure that we are getting COVID relief back to our district. Her district is hurting just as much as mine. They need the relief. She needs to be in Congress fighting for the people in her district to make sure that we can get vaccines rolled out, get teachers back in classrooms safely, get our children back to school, but yet here she is continuing to spew her conspiracy theories and it’s an embarrassment, and we need to get to work, but if she’s not willing to do it, I’m willing to get to Congress to represent her district as well, because I know that that’s what most Georgians in the state want… someone in the United States Congress looking out for their best interests, not continuing to peddle conspiracy theories that we know led to the violence that we saw on January 6th."

_______

JANUARY 30, 2021

Jeffrey Rosen, President & CEO of the National Constitution Center speaking on the Ali Velshi show:

 

"...Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in 1838 denounces mobocracy and says, 'Once again, we must be guided by reason rather than passion, unless reason and the rule of law become our civil religion, than a demagogue will arise within us, inflame the mob and destroy the Constitution.’ Obviously what we saw on January 6th was Lincoln and Madison and the Founders nightmare, an armed mob inflamed by online demagogues and algorithms attacking the Constitution and the rule of the law, so if we’re going to channel the framers and Lincoln and Madison and Frederick Douglass, we have to say, America let us make ablution and once again commit ourselves to the light of reason embodied in the Constitution.”

_______

JANUARY 19, 2021

Joy Reid’s opening on her MSNBC show “The ReidOut”, titled "The End of an Error" on 01/19/21, the last full day of Trump’s presidency:

“…From the day that he threw his hat into the ring and rode down that escalator in his tacky New York tower, Donald Trump has not spent one day acting like an American President. He literally doesn’t work. He spent most of his presidency playing golf. It’s abundantly clear he never wanted the job, he just wanted the glamour of the job - the marketing. To be clear, we’ve had 45 American presidencies. Some good, some great, some terrible, but we’ve never had a President quite like Donald J. Trump. No American president, not even the truly venal ones like Andrew Johnson or Andrew Jackson or racist Woodrow Wilson or tricky Richard Nixon, who was elected with the help of a foreign power - none of them, let alone a hostile foreign power like Russia. And none of them has been as servile to a foreign government as Trump has been to the Kremlin, and to Vladimr Putin personally… No American president has used the office so openly and directly for personal profit. Now, other American presidents have stolen children from their parents, I mean a dozen of them owned, exploited and sold enslaved humans after all, and presidents like Andrew Jackson made slaughtering indigenous people and separating them from their land into a dark art, but Trump found a way to combine every rotten trait of all of our worst presidents into one, stinking, mutated hulk. The Muslim ban and migrant child caging were like Chester Arthur’s 1880’s Chinese exclusion act meets Cal Coolige’s racist immigration act of 1927 meets the interment of Japanese Americans by FDR. Trump’s criminality, self dealing, and corruption make Dick Nixon look like White Santa (Santa’s Black). And the 400,000 dead from coronavirus certainly recall the lies Woodrow Wilson told about the Spanish Flu, though Trump fell a bit short of Wilson’s 675,000 person death toll, not that he didn’t try. No president has ever launched an insurrection against this country until Donald Trump did it, while lying so much that he personally ushered in the post-fact era… This man is a confederate apologist worse than even Andrew freaking Johnson, his fellow racist one termer, who got impeached one fewer times than Trump did. He’s our most un-American president, and will certainly be ranked as our worst president. But it’s highly likely that Trump won’t be our last awful president. His very presence and the fact that a, let’s say it, ridiculous man like this became President of the United States at all and then won even more votes when he lost the popular vote for the second time during his re-election effort, that fact is proof that as rotten as Trump is - and he is rotten - he can happen again. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but this is who we are, at least in part. Let’s just take this last four years as a warning.”

_______

JANUARY 19, 2021

Reverend Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network, speaking on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show “The ReidOut”:

"Biden has a real situation that no one has faced in many decades. We are dealing with a pandemic… He has a divided country, and he’s coming in after the very Capitol of the United States was under siege to stop (an) election certification. Let’s not forget - they didn’t just have a fit or a riot - they came to interrupt the election certification, the electoral college certification of the President, which was an attempted coup-de-tat, to be able to come together and bring all of that together and unite is an awesome task, but guess what? When you look at all of the adversity, politically and personally that Joe Biden has had to deal with and overcome, things he couldn’t see coming… If you look at Kamala Harris, who had to do the same as a woman, as a woman of color, who was always doubting her career - they were built for this moment, and I hope they rise to the occasion. "

_______

JANUARY 13, 2021

Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican House Representative from Washington State, while speaking about her choice to vote for the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump:

"My fellow Americans, I rise today to stand against our enemy, and to clarify, our enemy isn’t the President or the President-Elect. Fear is our enemy. Fear tells us what we want to hear. It incites anger and violence and fire, but it also haunts us into silence and inaction. What are you afraid of? I’m afraid of what people will say or think. I’m afraid of being devalued. I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I am afraid that my country will fail. I’m afraid patriots of this country have died in vain. I’m afraid my children won’t grow up in a free country. I’m afraid injustice will prevail. But truth - truth sets us free from fear. Truth doesn’t guarantee bad things won’t happen, but it does promise to always prevail in the end. It has no shadows where darkness can hide. With truth comes love, and we could use that right now. My vote to impeach our sitting President is not a fear based decision. I am not choosing a side - I’m choosing truth. It’s the only way to defeat fear."

_______

JANUARY 13, 2021

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) speaks on the House Floor ahead of the vote to Impeach President Donald Trump for a second time:

"Ironic. An administration begins by building an unnecessary wall on our Southern border. It ends by making necessary a new wall around this Capitol..."

_______

JANUARY 13, 2021

Steve Schmidt, Co-Founder of The Lincoln Project, talking with Nicolle Wallace on “Deadline White House”:

"We have a long difficult struggle in this country ahead with this. This is part of a global phenomenon - the recision of democracy. This could have been seen coming from a mile away, but the terrible bill of Donald Trump and Trumpism has come due for this country. Our democracy has been weakened. Our people have been divided. A plague has killed hundreds of thousands of us unnecessarily… The American experiment very nearly came to an end, because all that it takes to end it is a collapse of faith and belief, and when you have eighty percent (80%) of a political party that says that the elections aren’t legitimate anymore, on the basis of BS, we’re on life support as a democratic nation, and everybody should understand how fragile all of this is. All that it took was four (4) years - four (4) years of Donald Trump - to bring this country to one of the lowest points in its history."

_______

JANUARY 13, 2021

Chris Hayes on his MSNBC show “All In with Chris Hayes”:

"This was an attempt to essentially end the version of American democracy that we have come to know and think of - like, to install the loser over the winner - that is what this was - an attempt at multiple levels, from the President to the members of Congress to the mob…"

_______

JANUARY 2021

The only President to be impeached… TWICE

The only President in the modern era to lose the popular vote… TWICE

The only President to incite a rebellion against the United States.

So much winning.

- Don Lemon of CNN

_______

NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Two things can be true - Biden won the election, but we can’t ignore the rise of Trumpism 

Ari Melber of MSNBC in his Special Report from:

"Donald Trump got fewer votes than Biden, just as he got fewer votes than Clinton - indeed, Donald Trump is now the only president to ever lose the total vote twice - both times he ran for president.

 

In the end, it was not even close. Biden beat Trump decisively with roughly four million more votes, with over fifty percent to Trump’s forty-seven. With an electoral college margin of multiple states, which shuts down even the long shot ploy that some sort of recount or lawsuit or something in a single state might drag this out. This is clear to everyone.

 

Donald Trump entered the White House as an unpopular, divisive figure. America’s second choice. Vaulted into power with our strange electoral college system in 2016, and he now leaves the same way - the unpopular loser of the total vote again, and of the electoral college.

 

In one of Shakespeare’s most iconic monologues from the four hundred and twenty year old play “As You Like It”, there are those lines that apply here. “All the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players, and one man in his time plays many parts.” A speech that suggests the last stage is a return to the first. When a man in his old age becomes like a baby again, facing his quote “second childishness and mere oblivion.”

 

That’s Trump right now, tonight, leaving as he arrived, facing a loss that cements his presidency and an abhorrent and unpopular chapter in our history as he enters his own kind of political oblivion.

 

OK  - so what are we to make of it all? If Trump came in on a fluke, never earned majority support, not in two national elections, not in national approval, what was this all about?

 

Can we just forget about him and what he brought? Can Americans just say, you know hey, we want to say and believe we’re better than this, we rejected this, let’s move on? Or, do we need a reckoning with how far Donald Trump got here, which shows how far we have to go.

 

I want to tell you tonight, it matters how we approach these questions, and I want to tell you what I think.

 

On one hand, there’s no reason to overestimate Donald Trump’s support when he lost, when he is the loser of this race, when he has been clearly rejected. It would be inaccurate, and dilute the victory to overdo that, and sometimes, some Democrats get in their own way on these things.

 

But on the other hand, I don’t think there’s any good reason to think that Trumpism is some kind of ahistorical rare anomaly on American life. In fact, over the past four years, we did hear people, sometimes these comfortable DC people blindly claim, “This is not who we are.” But America, Trumpism is who we are in some significant ways. This is who so many Americans support, and after four years of seeing Trump in action, removing any possible doubt people might have had, Trump went from roughly 63 million votes last time to 71 million votes this time. He grew his share of the vote among certain groups as well, including wealthy voters and Latino voters. Trump won outright among men in America. It’s women of color who powered Biden’s margin of victory. Trump won outright and decisively among white voters, fifty seven percent to forty two percent. So we need to remember that as well. Any time you walk into a room of white people who are registered to vote, statistically, most of them back Donald Trump, after all this.

 

And finally, I want to show you this in one of the most telling breakdowns from the future. Donald Trump still broke even with Biden among the traditional electorate - the majority of Americans who had voted before. When you just look at that part, they split, 49 to 50. Biden won this thing by dominating among first time voters by 34 points, and those new voters are 13% of this electorate, so to put it a different way, Donald Trump could have won this race if those 19 million new and young voters didn’t register and vote for the first time over these past few weeks. In the years ahead, I can tell you, whether those new voters keep voting, it could completely control our politics more than anything else.

 

So both things can be true - America has rejected Trump. More people voted against him than for him in 2016, and the majority voted him out in 2020. But second, Trump tapped into broad American support, and he enlarged it over this time. Consider that an informed endorsement of what he stands for. We’ve gotta face that, too.

 

It’s quite obvious Trump didn’t create or begin the bigotry and anger that he tapped into, any more than he wrote, “Make America Great Again”. That slogan was plagiarized from Ronald Reagan, just as Trump’s performative politics came right out of his reality show experience - he just played this part - he got the script from around the nation. He got it from the rest of America, from our living history, from our struggle to ever try to truly achieve justice and to overcome.

 

Which brings us back to another set of classic bars from The Bard on this topic of standing up to a would-be autocrat. I bet you know the line from Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”  We’ve gotta look into ourselves.

 

In a year when so many stood up to America’s ongoing injustices, it is perfectly fine to “Forget Trump”. The loser of elections are often quickly forgotten, but we should not forget “Trumpism”. It’s causes, it’s anger, it’s growing support this week, as Americans face another difficult chapter. Even as many celebrate the relief of putting Trump behind them; you know, the streets were full of this revelry, and the honking and the dancing and the singing - the anthems that had imagined this day. One song in particular has been playing on a loop in many parts of America - FDT, which boils down to basically Forget Donald Trump, where the late artist Nipsey Hussle contrasts how Obama offered hope, as Trump spends his dad’s money on the vote. Adding, quote “I’m from a place where you probably can’t go, speaking for a people that you probably ain’t know, pressure built up and it’s probably gonna’ blow.” And along with the rapper YG, he quotes Tupac’s celebration of American diversity… Quote “It wouldn’t be the USA without Mexicans, and if it’s time to team up, let’s begin, black love, brown pride in the sets again, white people feel the same, as my next of kin”, end quote. How about that? Donald Trump exploited division for his own political survival, but it is this diverse teamwork that led to his political extinction.

 

So just as both things can be true - we can all do two things at once - we can remember exactly how we got here, but also forget Donald Trump."

 

The Climate Crisis Related Voices

SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” program speaking with Jennifer Granholm, United States Secretary of Energy, about climate change, the proposed infrastructure bill and future job opportunities relating to energy:

Don Lemon: “...With so much evidence of this climate and infrastructure crises all across the country right now, why is the President having to beg his own party to actually do something about it?”


Jennifer Granholm: “Well, I mean, honestly, people are seeing it everywhere. It is a code red for humanity. And the cost in human lives, the cost even in financial cost of cleaning up is enormous. When you think about - we spent $160 billion cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. Just in Texas this year, remember that freeze that happened, that weird freeze -“


Don Lemon: “Of course.”


Jennifer Granholm: “- in Texas earlier this year? That cost $130 billion dollars to clean up after. So what are we going to do? Continue to escalate these costs? We used to pay about $13 billion dollars a year to clean up after extreme weather events in the '80s. Every year, it has exponentially increased.


So the point is, we do it now and we pay what we have to do to make sure that these places are resilient and that we prevent the extreme impacts from climate change by doing our part, we can lead the world to also do their part, but we can't just sit back and do nothing. It will continue to escalate.


And people will miss the economic opportunity of addressing climate change, too. It's a $23 trillion dollar global market by the end of this decade. $23 trillion dollars from countries that want to buy products that will reduce their CO2 footprint. Are we gonna just stand by and let our economic competitors like China grab that market?”


Don Lemon: “Okay.”


Jennifer Granholm: “We've got to get in the game. And for states like West Virginia, it's an opportunity.”


Don Lemon: “Alright, well let’s talk - you talked about West Virginia and what they could do, but let's talk specifics here. You said it was a $23 trillion industry that we would be missing out on, meaning America?”


Jennifer Granholm: “Yeah.”


Don Lemon: “So, President Biden's infrastructure and spending bills are both packed with funds to fight the climate crisis. So tell me about your plans to rebuild in new ways to deal with this growing threat.”


Jennifer Granholm: “Well, what we have to - so for example, today, the Department of Energy, through our national renewable energy lab, just released a report called the ‘Solar Futures Report.’


If we do this right and if we pass these policies, solar power can help, which is of course totally clean, can be 40 percent of our energy mix by the year 2035 and create a million and a half jobs as we do it.


In fact, we know that the President's ‘build back better’ agenda is going to create two million jobs per year. I think there’s another study coming out showing how many millions of jobs will be created if we do this clean energy standard that the President wants.


The opportunity for building products, building solar panels, building the racks, building the inverters, building wind turbines, building the blades, building the nacelles, building the batteries for electric vehicles, building the guts to those vehicles, including extraction that is responsible of the minerals that go into a building, the vehicles themselves, extracting heat from the ground using geothermal, I mean, the amount of jobs, the kinds of jobs in all pockets of the country are huge.


The opportunity is huge, and that's why we just cannot miss it. From an economic point of view, from a planetary point of view, from a health point of view, it's imperative that we act.”


Don Lemon: “Wow! Well, you sound like the energy secretary with that enthusiasm.”


(LAUGHTER)


Don Lemon: “Thank you, Secretary Granholm.”


Jennifer Granholm: “I’m enthusiastic and determined. All right, thanks, Don.”


Don Lemon: “Thank you.”

_______

SEPTEMBER 6, 2021

Geoff Bennett of "MSNBC Reports" speaking with Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, about the toll the climate crisis is taking on humans and what we can do as individuals to effect change:

Geoff Bennett: “…Are we past the point of no return here? We’ve got a string of natural calamities - wildfires in the west, you’ve got, what, at least 3 or 4 fires burning in California concurrently, you’ve got intense hurricanes, excessive flooding, all happening simultaneously.”

 

Michael Mann: “Yeah, and this is one of the things that was warned in the recent United Nations report - the IPCC report that came out a few weeks ago - that one of the things that we’re now seeing because of human caused climate change are simultaneous weather disasters that play out around the country. The wildfires out west, the devastating landfalling hurricanes down south that then make their way north into the mid-Atlantic and the northeast and produce record flooding. And so, we’re dealing with all these disasters at the same time. It really tacks our resources. It really starts to test our adaptive capacity, and in your segment earlier, you really showed the human toll on people’s lives that have been disrupted - people who have lost lives. There was a firefighter in California who lost his life just within the last 24 hours fighting one of the monumental wildfires out there. There’s a real toll that climate change is now taking on us, on our society, on our economy, and on human life. We have to recognize that it is the greatest threat that we now face.”

 

Geoff Bennett: “When you talk about the toll it takes on us, you know, one of the questions I have is like, what more can we do? You know, I put out my recycling. I use a paper straw. I’m not saying that to make light of it, but it just feels woefully insufficient. It feels like it doesn’t meet the moment, these things that individuals are doing.”

 

Michael Mann: “Yeah, thanks Geoff, I mean absolutely - we should all do these things. They make us feel better. They make a difference. They set a good example for other people. They often save us money. They make us healthier. They are no regret strategies for trying to do something, but make no mistake - the most important thing you can do is to vote and to put pressure on policymakers, because the only real solution to this problem is systemic in nature. Policies like this reconciliation package - we need those climate policies to remain intact in that reconciliation package that’s being debated in Congress, because that’s really the only sort of action that has the potential to shift us off fossil fuels as quickly as we need, and there’s a little bit of a ray of hope here. We talked about all the devastating impacts that we’re seeing playing out, and they’re a result of the warming of the planet, but the latest science tells us that if we stop burning carbon, stop putting carbon pollution into the atmosphere, the temperature of the planet stabilizes pretty quickly, so there’s a direct and immediate impact of our efforts. We can prevent things from getting worse. Much of what we’re seeing is baked in. We’re going to have to deal with that, but we can prevent things from getting worse by dramatically weaning ourselves off fossil fuels in the years ahead.”

 

Geoff Bennett: “Yeah, well, it’s good to know that there’s still time to turn things around…”

_______

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

Nicolle Wallace of the MSNBC program "Deadline Whitehouse" speaking with Matthew Dowd, MSNBC political and current affairs consultant and author of the forthcoming book 'Revelations on the River: Being a Prophet for Your Own Path', about the Climate Crisis and how Republicans are getting in the way of solutions:

Nicolle Wallace: “Matt Dowd, there’s not equal blame, in this country at least, for inaction. You had one party, the Republicans, I don’t know if they still do this, but wrestling over whether or not it was real, and as the Governor (of New York) has said and the President has said, weather doesn’t discriminate between which party you are registered for, what do you make of whether this is a moment when we can actually do something - something big.”

Matthew Dowd: “I think we don’t have any choice in the matter, because the globe is at stake, and it’s the planet by which we draw sustenance and live on and our children live on, so we have no choice in this. To me, this is a fundamental thing, and you’re exactly right - there’s not equal blame and there’s not both sides on anything close to this issue, which actually both sides stuff has hurt us on getting anything done. There is one side that has listened to science, and one side that hasn’t, and I think this issue of climate change, which in my view is the greatest global threat… We’re about to face a time when we have more deaths because of climate change. But fundamentally the problem is, Republicans don’t believe in the common good - that’s affected their COVID response, that affects their response to the guns, that affects their response to everything. They don’t believe in the common good, and they discount science, and when you don’t believe in the common good and you discount science, we end up here doing nothing about climate change in our time. We are fast approaching, unless we fundamentally do something in the next 12-24 months, an irreversible problem that we’re gonna be facing this week - every single week, and it’s gonna include droughts; it’s gonna include deaths; it’s gonna include freezes - it’s gonna include all of that. And until we elect people that believe in science and believe in the common good, we’re never going to do anything about this until we do that.”

_______

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

Chris Jansing on the MSNBC show “Ayman Mohyeldin Reports” speaking with Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, about the need for urgent action regarding the Climate Crisis:

 

Chris Jansing: “I want to bring in Michael Mann, distinguished Professor and Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University. He is also the author of the new book, ‘The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet’. Thanks so much for being with us, and I want to ask you about the phrase that just was used by Jake Ward. He said we are looking at an entirely ‘altered environment’, very much to the point of what the politicians were saying today. What say you?”

 

Michael Mann: “Yeah, hi Chris. It’s good to be with you on this rather unfortunate day. We are witnessing climate change. These scenes on our televisions now - this is climate change, make no mistake, and, you know, it certainly is true. We are living in a different reality now. But in some sense, it’s worse than that. The changes that we’ve seen thus far - the events that we’re seeing play out on our television screens right now - that’s what’s baked in. That’s what we’re gonna have to deal with if we act dramatically. If we don’t act, this all gets worse, much worse, and at some point, it’s not hard to use your imagination and see that it will exceed our adaptive capacity as a civilization, so we are really at a crossroads here. We have been given a vision of our future, and now, it’s up to us to decide whether we are going to act.”

 

Chris Jansing: “So let’s talk about that, because the Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines gave an urgent message in the New York Times, and I want to read from that article: ‘…the coastal zone will be in ever increasing peril until we tackle the changing climate in a meaningful way. All this resilience spending is just a Band-Aid, not a cure. We can build all the seawalls, dunes, beaches and marshes we want, but the problem long term is not what we put on the ground. It is what we put in the air.’ So what do those long term solutions look like?”

Michael Mann: “Yeah, that’s exactly right, and so, look - we do need to invest in resilient infrastructure. We have to provide reduced vulnerability to people who live in these flood prone regions, or fire prone regions, so there’s no question, but at the same time, if we don’t reduce our carbon emissions dramatically, by a factor of 50% within the next decade if we are to avert warming the planet beyond a disastrous 3 degrees Fahrenheit, then we need not just to invest in adaptation and resilience to deal with the problems we’re already seeing on the ground, we need to invest in new, clean energy infrastructure that will transition us away from fossil fuels on the dramatic and fast time scale that’s necessary here. And that’s why, as this infrastructure deal and the reconciliation package continues to work it’s way through Congress, we have to make sure that there are fundamental items in that bill that ensure that we will act on climate dramatically and with the urgency that it demands.”

Chris Jansing: “It’s hard to imagine people looking at what’s been going on around the country over the last week and they don’t say something has to be done about it. Michael Mann, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.”

_______

AUGUST 9, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" speaking with Jennifer Francis, a Senior Scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center regarding the current state of the climate crisis:

Don Lemon: "The United Nations sounding the alarm on what the secretary general is calling a "code red for humanity," a frightening new U.N. report outlining the threat posed by the climate crisis with the world's leading climate scientists warning that the window to avoid catastrophic changes is rapidly closing.


Some of the key takeaways from the report, all right, it is on the top of your screen now. Humans are unequivocally warming the planet at a pace faster than previously thought. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the only way out of this. Every part of the planet is being affected with some irreversible changes. And the level of atmospheric methane is skyrocketing.


I want to bring in now Jennifer Francis, Senior Scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. Thank you. I'm scared, quite honestly. Good evening to you. I've been wondering though recently, have we gone past the point of return, because this U.N. report is a wakeup call.


It's happening as severe weather events sweep across the globe. The Dixie fire in California forcing thousands of people to evacuate. In Europe, the second largest island in Greece burning. Homes and buildings are being destroyed, and it's not just wildfires - it's floods, it's heat waves, it's droughts like the one that's dried up Lake Urmia in Iran.


I mean, are people beginning to realize that the climate crisis isn't something down the road in the future, that it's right now, the future is now?"


Jennifer Francis: "Well, I sure hope so, Don, because I think all the evidence that you just listed just from 2021 is certainly getting people's attention, and I think people are starting to realize that, you know, this isn't the climate system that they grew up with.


Things are changing so fast and this report makes that very clear. As you know, this report is the sixth that the intergovernmental panel on climate change has put out since 1990, and every one of those six reports has come out with a clearer picture, stronger language, a louder ringing of the alarm bells about this climate crisis that we've created. This is our doing and there's no doubt about that."


Don Lemon: "But the alarm bells have been going off for a long time now. You point out that this is the sixth report from the U.N. group since 1990. So, what's been the biggest barrier of progress on this?"


Jennifer Francis: "The biggest barrier to progress has been a very successful disinformation campaign that's really been fueled and financed by the fossil fuel industry. They've been spending millions and millions of dollars putting wrong information out there and people are unfortunately believing it.


It's easy to believe. You want to believe it. You don't want to have to change. And they are using that desire to confuse people, to cast doubt, to make it seem like this is not a big problem, but it's becoming very clear now that Mother Nature has a very different plan in progress."


Don Lemon: "Well, you say that we can control how much worse this crisis gets and we've got to pull out all the stops immediately, but what are the stops and what would work?"


Jennifer Francis: "Well, we've got to do everything all the way from our individual behavior, all the way up to government behavior, so everything in between. There's a lot happening on the individual and community and even state level and many countries as well, but less progress has been happening really at our national level, and that's where it really has to happen.


So, you know, literally, we need to stop spending money on more infrastructures that supports the fossil fuel industry. We need to stop subsidizing more fossil fuel exploration and building of infrastructure, and instead spend that many millions of dollars that we have been using to subsidize the fossil fuel industry on things that are going to take us into the future - renewable energy, a better electric grid, more jobs to put in those solar panels, to build more wind turbines - that's the future."


Don Lemon: "The bipartisan infrastructure plan doesn't go as far as hoped on climate change, but Democrats today unveiled the climate provisions in the $3.5 trillion dollar reconciliation bill. It would provide tax incentives for clean energy, manufacturing and transportation imposed polluter fees, create coastal and ocean resiliency programs, invest to fight droughts and wildfires. What impact would they have?"


Jennifer Francis: "Well, we'll see. So far, it's mostly just a lot of talk. And so we really need to see that rubber hitting the road and starting to see some of these incentive programs, fee programs, things that are going to actually change people's behavior and government's behavior, business behavior so that we are aiming more towards an economy based on a renewable clean energy system and not going back to the fossil fuels, because burning fossil fuels literally puts these heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere, and right now, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the highest it's been in at least 800,000 years, and the last time there was this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the sea levels were about 20 feet higher. So, that's the trajectory that we're on right now and that's the one that we have to find a way to get ourselves off of."


Don Lemon: "Well, Jennifer Francis, thank you for educating us. We appreciate you joining."


Jennifer Francis: "Happy to do it any time. Thank you."

_______

JULY 22, 2021

NBC News National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer reporting on the climate crisis and discussing 2021 fire weather conditions with Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy during a segment on the MSNBC "Morning Joe" program:

Miguel Almaguer: "...Firefighters say what’s unfolding here (in the West) is more than one disaster feeding off another. Historic drought is the perfect fuel for these epic conditions. But it’s climate change creating infernos larger than ever with a vortex of smoke powerful enough to spawn their own weather systems. The unimaginable is becoming routine."


Brian Fennessy: "We’re seeing hot days and heat waves like we’ve never seen before, and then the wind is just a formula for disaster."


Miguel Almaguer: "Fire Chief Brian Fennessy and his crew say what’s already been lost is devastating, but what’s still at risk is mind boggling."


Brian Fennessy: "These fires are blooming with such speed that it’s exceeding all of the models that we’ve used for decades. We’re trying to gauge fire spread. We hear it all the time from citizens that I didn’t think the fire was going to get here that quickly."


Miguel Almaguer: "While extreme conditions aren’t new, the intensity and duration is. This year, Texas was buried under historic snow and ice. Tropical storms and hurricanes are forming earlier in the season. Catastrophic floods are becoming routine, and as cool climates record record heat, 94% of the West is in drought, with 64% in the critical category of extreme drought..."

 

Texas COVID, Voting Rights and Power Grid Related Voices

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021

José Díaz-Balart on the new MSNBC program "José Díaz-Balart Reports" speaking with Cal Perry on how El Paso, TX has achieved herd immunity and the COVID statistics of El Paso versus the State of Texas:


José Díaz-Balart: "El Paso just reached a milestone in their vaccination effort by getting 75% of their eligible residents vaccinated. What’s El Paso’s secret?"

Cal Perry: "You know, I think one of the secrets here is that this is a bi-national city. This is a city that has had to deal with what we call the ‘border crisis’ on a daily basis and has had to do so for decades, so they have that community outreach. They have those community organizations that can get into the community and can then vaccinate 75% of people… over the age of 12. Those numbers are hugely impressive, and what it has done is it has flattened the curve here in El Paso. Last winter, we saw those refrigerated trucks that were filling with bodies. We saw hospitals like the one that I’m in front of overflowing, and now, we are not seeing that. The other thing that has made a big difference was that very dark time that this city went through. Take a listen to what Dr. Alozie told me yesterday:" 


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Dr. Ogechika Alozie, El Paso Infectious Disease Specialist: “There was some data last year that actually showed if people were worried about COVID or they were planning to get a vaccine, it’s because they knew at least one person that had either been sick or died. And so in this community, it’s a very tight knit community, lots of multi-generational homes - people knew people that got sick, people knew people that died, and so that was a catalyst for them to go get it.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Cal Perry: "In the name of vaccinations, José, I’m just gonna to give you the stats. 75% of people over the age of 12 in El Paso County have been vaccinated. Compare that to just over 50% in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, you have a positivity rate of 18%. Here, it’s 6%. In the state of Texas, 20% of hospital beds are at capacity because of COVID. Here, it’s 7%, so the vaccine is making a difference. Officials here hope that booster is going to make all the more difference in keeping El Paso safe, José."


José Díaz-Balart: "El Paso Strong..."

_______

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021:

Rachel Maddow of the MSNBC program "The Rachel Maddow Show" speaking with Judge Lina Hidalgo, County Judge of Harris County in Houston, Texas, about the forthcoming Texas audit of the 2020 Presidential Election:

Rachel Maddow: "Yesterday, on the eve of Arizona Republicans releasing the results of their so-called audit of the election today, audit results which, as we've been talking about, proved to be a real own goal for the Republicans, their audit count showed President Biden winning Arizona by even more than the official count already showed him winning.


Nevertheless, yesterday on the eve of the release of those results, former President Trump released a statement demanding that Texas must immediately open a forensic audit of its results, too. He said it must be done, quote, 'this week... Let's get to the bottom of the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.'


Why do you want Texas audited? You won Texas. You think you didn't really win Texas? You want that double checked? You sure? Did you see what happened today in Arizona?


Nevertheless, within hours, because he told them to, Republican leaders in Texas obliged. Late last night, the Texas secretary of state's office announced that they had begun a comprehensive forensic audit, but not in the whole state, only in the state's four largest counties -- Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin Counties, three of which were won by President Biden. This despite the fact that the Republican appointed secretary of state who oversaw the 2020 election had previously said it was smooth and secure. Well now Trump wants it reviewed anyway, and so - sir, yes, sir.


Now, exactly who ordered the election audits of these 4 Texas counties does remain something of a mystery. The Texas secretary of state's office has technically been vacant since May. The news was announced in a two-sentence press release from the secretary of state's office. So the office decided? What part of the office?


The largest county in the state of Texas is Harris County. It's home to Houston. That county's elections administrator told "The Houston Chronicle" she was surprised by the announcement, seeing as she had spoken with staff from the secretary of state's office just hours earlier and nobody mentioned anything about this.


Nevertheless, today, the chief executive of Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo, had this response to the news."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Yesterday, President Donald Trump urged Governor Abbott to investigate the Texas election results. And within hours, an investigation was announced... In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, politicians who've lost all decency are pursuing similar audits.


Texans are smarter than this. Sling politics with the integrity of elections threatens our democracy. Every time you cry wolf, every time you yell fraud, every time you run a phony audit, you are tearing down our democracy brick by brick, and I'm speaking to every person who is playing a part in this...


This does not deserve to be treated as a serious matter or a serious audit. It is an irresponsible political trick. It is a sham. It is a cavalier and a dangerous assault on voters and on democracy."
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Rachel Maddow: "This does not deserve to be treated as a serious matter or a serious audit. It is an irresponsible political trick. It is a sham. It is a cavalier and dangerous assault on voters and on democracy.


Joining us now is Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. She is the chief executive of the county, the most populous county in the great state of Texas.


Judge Hidalgo, it's an honor to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much for your time."


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Thank you."


Rachel Maddow: "So, we learned today that you had no heads up about this. You found out in the secretary of state's office press release just like everybody else. Since that mysterious announcement late at night, have you or the county been given any additional information as to what this is going to entail?"


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "We have not. And that just tells you how nakedly political all of this is, how obviously fraudulent all of this is. We have to remember we had incredibly successful elections here in Harris County in 2020. We had innovations that led to record turnout from both parties, the highest in 30 years. I mean, it was beautiful.


And since then, no evidence has come out that would in any way cause the need for this kind of audit. All we've seen is President Trump exhorting the state -- or Abbott to have this audit. And you ask, you know, okay the office sits vacant, and so who really did this?


The governor appoints the secretary of state, so that gives you a clue, and the reality of it is - Texas is being run from Mar-a-Lago. And that is dangerous. And it's not appropriate.


It's -- it's frankly it is dangerous and it's extremely, extremely concerning."


Rachel Maddow: "You spoke very passionately about this today. You said what Republicans were doing with audits across the country, and indeed in your county now, you said it's the strategy of one party to burn it all to the ground when their candidate doesn't win.


Now that you're up against that, and that is about -- that is -- that's your county in which you are the highest elected official, what is fighting that look like? What does standing up to that look like? We've been talking about not underestimating the corrosive impact of these things and not appeasing people who want to go along with these things when we understand the danger of them, but what does confrontation look like? What does fighting it look like?"


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "There are different pieces to it. First, it is seeing this for what it is. We heard about the Cyber Ninja audit in Arizona. This similar thing is happening in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Now here.


So recognizing that trend, recognizing in the state of Texas, it's not just this audit. The state just passed legislation that creates this veil of criminality around election, basically it sets traps so that innocent mistakes that routinely happen and routinely are dealt with by offices of elections administration, that those are sort of pegged as purposeful fraud and prosecuted as such. And now, we see this.


So, on the one hand, obviously, it's pandering. The folks who are doing this know that it helps with their base. But there's something more sinister there and more concerning, which is that this tears down trust in the elections systems, and in doing that, it conveniently sets Republicans up to question the results of elections they don't like.


So we have to call that for what it is. And we have to make sure that we don't create some sort of false equivalency. You know, on the one hand, there is this audit. On the other hand, counties oppose it.


No, all of us have to recognize this is a cynical effort, a tragic one at that, and it tampers with democracy. As far as what specifically we can do, I have our county attorney here looking at legal options. It's not clear to us that there is a statute under which the state can conduct this audit, but we also recognize that the state Supreme Court will be very friendly to whatever claims the state makes. We also are calling on legislators not to fund this.


This is the time where they should look at their moral compass. Look at who they are as public servants. The legislators in Austin cannot fund this audit because they will need to approve the funding for it.


And, finally, we need the federal government to act. I mean, this has gone too far. We had legislators break quorum - functionally move to D.C. for over a month. I've been fighting tooth and nail since the election. Remember they closed our mail ballot locations. They've interfered every step of the way, and so this should be another call to action that we've got the writing on the wall. We've got to get off our chairs and get moving on all of this."


Rachel Maddow: "Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo, I really appreciate you being here tonight, and that's all really concrete and interesting information. I'm going to try to make sure that we can post this entire interview online tonight. I think officials around the country who are facing these same kind of threats are going to take some inspiration or at least some points of thought, points of order, from the way you and your colleagues are approaching this. Thanks for helping us understand."


Judge Lina Hidalgo: "Thank you."

_______

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

Matthew Dowd, MSNBC political and current affairs consultant and author of the forthcoming book 'Revelations on the River: Being a Prophet for Your Own Path', speaking with Nicolle Wallace of the MSNBC show "Deadline Whitehouse" regarding abortion rights in Texas:

Matthew Dowd: "...I’m somebody that was raised Roman Catholic. I’m a Christian. I go to church every week, and the idea that these folks think that the word pro-life belongs in their mouth - it outta be ripped out of their mouth, because these are folks that constantly talk about pro-life and want nothing to do with doing anything about guns; want nothing to do with doing anything about capitol punishment; want nothing to do with doing anything about funding healthcare of the people that may be born because of this. They’re not pro-life, they’re pro-birth. That’s who these people are. The words pro-life of the people that support this ought to never come out of their mouth again, and the idea that you’re going to use faith as an attack on this, when the President of the United States and other Democratic legislators are actually trying to protect harm from occurring to half of our population in the midst of this is offensive to me that he would try to use faith as a way when every single other aspect - taking care of immigrants: they want nothing to do with immigrants. They want nothing to do with taking care of the population that is hungry or is homeless: they want nothing to do with this. But, oh, by the way, we got this special thing that we want to get done, it’s offensive to me, and Democrats ought to push back on this. The GOP today is not the pro-life party. The GOP today is the pro-autocracy party that whatever they want done by a tiny segment of the population, is gonna get done. And, as was just said, it’s not gonna stop in Texas. It’s gonna happen in red state after red state after red state, and if this is not enough to get us off of our seats and onto an election and fight for this - we have to fight for the rights of every single person, and today, that’s fighting for the rights of half the population of this country."

_______

SEPTEMBER 1, 2021

Kate Bolduan of the CNN news program "At This Hour with Kate Bolduan" speaking with Paxton Smith, the Texas valedictorian who used her graduation speech to protest the new Texas abortion law:


Kate Bolduan: "More on the breaking news today: a ban on most abortions taking effect in Texas right now after the U.S. Supreme Court did not intervene overnight. The law bans abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy; a time when most women don't even know that they're pregnant.


No exceptions for rape or incest. It also allows anyone to sue those who help a woman get an abortion, and that could even mean an Uber driver giving a woman a ride to the doctor. That is what is new and especially unique about this law, and this is exactly what 18-year-old Paxton Smith feared. She's a Texas valedictorian whose high school graduation speech went viral over the summer when she tossed out her prepared and planned remarks to instead take on the state's abortion law. Listen to this."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Paxton Smith: "And I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights; a war on the rights of your mothers; a war on the rights of your sisters; a war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent."
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Kate Bolduan: "Paxton Smith is joining me now. Paxton, thank you. What is your reaction to learning of this news today?"


Paxton Smith: "It's very upsetting to see, and it is so heart wrenching to know that so many people in Texas have had a fundamental human right taken away from them today."


Kate Bolduan: "You know, you'd said, I remember in your speech, in your graduation speech, that you were terrified about this law and you laid out what scared you so much about it, I want to remind everyone what you said at the time."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Paxton Smith: "I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail, I am terrified that if I am raped, then my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter."
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Kate Bolduan: "How are you feeling today?"


Paxton Smith: "It's very surreal. I'm very upset that this law has been able to go into effect, and I know that a lot of people share that sentiment and the idea that if we do face ourselves with an unplanned pregnancy, then that life changing decision of whether or not you carry that pregnancy determine what happens afterwards is no longer up to us."


Kate Bolduan: "You feared that this would - this law would take effect, of course. Did you have some belief that it wouldn't - that it wouldn't come to this? Obviously, you feared it enough to speak out about it, but you call it kind of surreal, which of course means that, you know, like outside of this reality. But now knowing that it is the law of the land today, and that we're hearing from clinics that they're turning patients away today, how does that impact you?"


Paxton Smith: "In the same way before. It's kind of unbelievable that in a place in a state in the United States, a place that values freedom and liberty from person to person, then the freedom of deciding what happens with your body, and subsequently, what happens with your life is being taken away from people. That's very upsetting, and it's upsetting that the only people that can help people who do get pregnant are no longer allowed to. They are constantly under threat from outsiders."


Kate Bolduan: "And you took such - you took a risk this spring when you put aside your prepared remarks in your graduation speech and decided to use the platform to speak out against the ban. Now that it is officially law in the state, how do you look back on that decision?"


Paxton Smith: "I'm glad that I did it. I think a lot of times, some of the most important voices in the issue are the ones that are not listened to. It is stories like mine, and stories of other people who do have the ability to get pregnant, but are not the ones being told. And the abortion issue is so often looked at as this outside issue, when the reality is that it is a human issue and it deeply affects every person differently and very personally. And I think that's something that needs to be brought to light. And so I'm glad that I gave that speech because I think that's something that needed to be talked about."


Kate Bolduan: "You're now just starting college and you've clearly got lots of time to decide what to do in the future, but how was this speech that you gave it really kind of was - I mean, it went viral in the definition of the, you know, the most basic sense of the word by definition. How has this experience impacted kind of what you're thinking about that with your future?"


Paxton Smith: "I don't think that this has really impacted my future at all ultimately. My goal is to become a musician and that is still the plan."


Kate Bolduan: "Has it - has this decision, this law, this ban in effect in Texas - does it make you question living in Texas?"


Paxton Smith: "It definitely does. Yes, I worry about the state of my rights and the state where the value of my voice, the value of being able to decide what happens with my life and my body if I get pregnant is not taken into account."


Kate Bolduan: "Paxton, thank you so much."


Paxton Smith: "Thank you so much."

_______

AUGUST 18, 2021

Mehdi Hasan on the MSNBC show "All In" discussing a school district in Paris, Texas that found a way around the banning of mask mandates by instilling masks as a part of their dress code:

Mehdi Hasan: "Now, another Texas School District is finding its own way to protect students by using the school's dress code. It's a dress code which already includes no hats or sunglasses, no house slippers or noisy footwear. It mandates that girls tops must fall at least one inch below the waist, whether standing or sitting. Boys shirts that fall below the bottom of the buttocks must be tucked in.


This district, like a lot of others I would imagine, is very explicit about what you can put on your body in the name of decorum and hygiene. And so, it seems like a no-brainer to just add masks to the dress code. As they put it - for health reasons, masks are currently required for all employees and students to mitigate flu, cold, pandemic and any other communicable diseases.


In announcing the change, the district basically told the governor to back off, writing the Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees' exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district. Nothing in the governor's executive order states he has suspended chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code and therefore the board is elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.


All this begs the question though - what have we come to as a country where nearly 630,000 people have died from a deadly disease, and the tried and tested method to prevent that disease from spreading is wearing a mask, and because the Republican governor of a state, for some inexplicable reason, does not want to 'force masks', a small covering on your face to save lives, schools have had to come up with these bizarre outside the box solutions - the dress code. Is there any more damning indictment of how parts of America have lost their collective minds?"

_______

AUGUST 18, 2021

Stephanie Ruhle of the MSNBC show “Stephanie Ruhle Reports” discussing Texas Governor Abbott’s actions after testing positive for COVID with Dr. Peter Hotez:

 

Stephanie Ruhle: “So the Governor’s office isn’t acknowledging yes or not whether or not he had that third booster two weeks ago, but they are communicating with the media. They are saying he’s doing well and he’s on Regeneron. It’s pretty peculiar. Dr. Hotez, how do you explain this? He’s tested positive after at least two, maybe a third vaccine dose.”

 

Dr. Peter Hotez: “Well honestly Stephanie, I can’t really explain any of it. First of all, if he did get a third immunization, why is he being tested on a daily basis? I don’t really understand that. If he did test positive, could it be a false positive? And if he’s asymptomatic, why is he getting monoclonal antibodies? So, there’s pieces missing here. Hard to speculate. We’re not getting a lot of information, and all I can say is I wish the Governor well. It sounds like he’s doing well, and I’m glad for that, but we do have an incredible humanitarian tragedy unfolding here in Texas, and I think that’s where the emphasis has to be.”

 

Stephanie Ruhle: “It’s also a reminder to those who are saying they don’t want to take the vaccine because it’s not fully FDA approved - neither is Regeneron, which is what the Governor is on right now.”

_______

AUGUST 17, 2021

Joy Reid discussing the news of Governor Abbott contracting COVID and his mask policies with MSNBC political analyst Julian Castro on the MSNBC program "The ReidOut":

Joy Reid: "What has happened to the Afghan people over the past several decades is a global tragedy. The images of people desperate to flee are truly heartbreaking. But... it should come as no surprise that the Republican Party has seized on these moments to score political points.


Take, for example, Texas Representative Michael McCaul, who told CNN that Biden will, quote, have blood on his hands for what they did. This is the same man who represents a state where more than 54,000 people have died from COVID.


Tell me, Congressman, does Governor Abbott have blood on his hands for his abandonment of the people of the Lone Star State?"...


(...)


Joy Reid: "The office of Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced that he has tested positive for COVID. Abbott is vaccinated and his office says he's isolating and receiving antibody treatment. NBC News reports he's told people that he's received a third booster dose of the vaccine. His office did not respond to requests for comment.


Last night, his reelection campaign tweeted video of Abbott addressing a large maskless crowd at a Republican club outside Dallas. The news about Abbott comes as Texas is seeing a surge in COVID cases, with the governor standing firm on his ban on masks and vaccine mandates.


Multiple regions across Texas are completely out of ICU beds, including in the Austin area, the state capitol. And just last week, a Dallas County judge warned of zero beds available, zero, for children in the days before the start of school.


Over the weekend, the Texas Supreme Court sided with Governor Abbott, blocking lower court rulings allowing districts to implement masks rules. But, thankfully for Texas children, some school districts are defying the governor, defying his order, despite the court ruling, including Dallas and Harris County, home to Houston, and Bexar County, where San Antonio is located.


Joining me now is Julian Castro, former HUD secretary and former mayor of San Antonio. He's now an MSNBC political analyst.


Thank you for being here.


It is helpful that you're also a former mayor. Your thoughts on the governor now testing (positive for) COVID, the fact that he's still holding maskless events and refusing to allow schoolchildren to be protected with mask mandates?"


Julian Castro: "Well, it's absolutely maddening, Joy. It's the height of hypocrisy.


You put out the stats there. Texas right now has one of the worst COVID-19 situations, only 314 ICU beds left in a state of 29 million people, more pediatric cases of COVID, I think, right now than any other state, or right around the same amount as Florida, and it's surging here.


And, at the same time, the governor is in a tug of war with communities across the state and school districts that want to do everything that they can to protect children and businesses that want to protect customers by requiring vaccination, or at least requiring masks, school districts that want to require masks. They're fighting that out in court.


The governor has said, no, you can't do that. You can't take the safety precautions that you think are in the best interests of the community and to protect children and, at the same time, acting so irresponsibly.


You saw the video of the event within the last 48 hours in Collin County, and then, when he gets COVID, does everything that he possibly can to make sure that he's OK, gets access to Regeneron, and perhaps a third booster shot, things that ordinary Texans, everyday Texans would not have access to.


It is the height of hypocrisy."


Joy Reid: "And I try - I struggle to understand it, because spreading more sickness and death doesn't strike me as smart politics.

Here's just a couple headlines out of your state. In West Texas, a school district is going to close for two weeks due to COVID a week after classes started, began August 10 and has about 380 students, serving the town of Sheffield.

'TIME' magazine reporting a superintendent says they're mandating Austin schools must be masked. Stephanie Elizalde wrote: 'What if a child dies on my watch? How do I say to you, I'm really sorry, we did everything we could, except for masking, because the governor's executive order prohibited me from doing so? What does that do for a parent? How does that bring them comfort or solace?'

Do you - can you get inside the heads of these Republican governors like Abbott who are saying schools may not prevent COVID from coming in? Because I don't get it."

Julian Castro: "I don't, except to say that he's trying to appeal to a very vocal small Republican primary base because he's in the middle of the Republican primary with two people that are seen as even further to the right than him.


Parents are feeling it all over the state. The other day, my 6-year-old brought home this note from his public school that says that two individuals at the school tested positive for COVID. Mind you, he'd only been in school for about four days at that point."


Joy Reid: "Yes."


Julian Castro: "The lack of the ability of a lot of school districts to do everything that they can to protect these children is bad for the children. And it's making parents very angry toward the governor and the Republican Party here."


Joy Reid: "Well, speaking of anger, there's this other side of it too, where people are getting violent about masks - about masks, period, and even getting violent toward people who are making their own decision to wear masks.


Here's a 'Fort Worth Star-Telegram' article in which a parent ripped the face mask off a teacher in a confrontation at school district - a school in Austin.


In a statement to parents, the superintendent wrote: "In addition to one parent physically assaulting a teacher by ripping the mask off her face, others yelled at a teacher to take off her mask." This was at a meet-the-teacher event. School starts there tomorrow.


I mean, it's bad enough that people are dumb enough to believe that it's somehow better to get COVID than wear a mask. But on top of that, we're seeing this around the country, anti-maskers assaulting people because they want to wear a mask.


Your thoughts?"


Julian Castro: "I mean, it's nonsensical. It's become a proxy war for something else, something deeper.


This is part of the Trump Republican Party that basically says, it's my way or the highway, that sees this, I think, as an extension of a culture war, of a changing America that they absolutely reject. It goes beyond just not wanting to wear a mask or thoughts of freedom.


This goes to that deep frustration, that anxiety that they feel that the census numbers the other day probably shot up their blood pressure. I think all of this goes together.


And, in the end of the day, as we're seeing here with the governor, COVID doesn't care whether you're super conservative or you're super liberal. You're going to get it if you act irresponsibly, like the governor and others have. And, obviously, we wish him well.


But once they do, they end up taking one of those hospital beds that are in very short supply right now. And everybody has an interest in doing what they can to take safety precautions and to allow schools and businesses and others to do the same. And, in the least, let people protect themselves if you're not going to do it."


Joy Reid: "Right, and their idea is, there is your body, my choice, that I get to make decisions for you. I can tell you what you need to wear on your body, and that they think they have the right to do it. I mean, they also think that with abortion.


But let's go on to one more..."


Julian Castro: "I was going to say, this is not new for that - that faction."


Joy Reid: "Yes, they think in general - right."


Julian Castro: "Yes."


Joy Reid: "It's sort of a - you wonder how slavery existed for so long. People really do like to control other people.


So, let me ask you as a public policy matter. Having worked on a federal level, do you think that we need federal mandates at this point to try to push it, federal and corporate mandates to get around these governors?"


Julian Castro: "Yes, I think that the federal government should exercise more authority, in the least as other nations have done, on airplanes, on other types of transportation, other public spaces.


We really -- with the exception of states like California, we haven't even dipped our toe into that federally. So, depending on what happens with COVID and this Delta variant in the days and weeks to come, that may become more and more necessary.


I know that that was not the first reaction or inclination of a lot of folks out there."


Joy Reid: "Yes."


Julian Castro: "It hasn't been of the president."


Joy Reid: "Yes."


Julian Castro: "But the worse this gets, the more serious it gets, I think the stronger measures you have to consider."


Joy Reid: "Yes. When you have got people who are literally pro-COVID and want COVID to spread, I don't know if they still believe in the Scott Atlas herd immunity thing, but they obviously want COVID to spread. I think you got to do something in a federal level at this point, because that's their desire, is to make COVID spread. It's bananas. Julian Castro, thank you very much. I really appreciate you."

_______

AUGUST 17, 2021

Nicolle Wallace of the MSNBC show “Deadline Whitehouse” speaking with Tim O’Brien, Bloomberg Opinion Senior Columnist, about Governor Abbott testing positive for Coronavirus and the GOP’s masking and school policies affecting the death count:

 

Nicolle Wallace: “Tim, we have some really complicated debates in this country and we have some really stupid ones. This is the choice. If you want your kid in in-person school, and I actually don’t know anybody who doesn’t believe that is the best setting for their kid, if they’re under 12, there’s one way to do that. There’s actually six ways, but there’s only one way that’s really easy and universally available, and that’s masks, full stop.”

 

Tim O’Brien: “My thirteen year old son is going to go to school. He will wear a mask. We are happy to put a mask on him if that helps him get an education. It is not a burden to him, and this idea that vaccines and masks are an infringement on personal liberties and is imprisoning our children and is forcing us to live under the boot of an oppressive government is ridiculous, and the weaponization of this and the substitution of sound policy making for human sacrifice rituals is really a hallmark of our time. And people like Doug Ducey, Greg Abbott, Ron Desantis all know better, and I think it’s tragic what’s happening in Texas, and the fact that the Governor who’s vaccinated and who’s also getting Regeneron treatments, which we I think need to find out more about that, given that Regeneron is given to people who are in danger of developing severe COVID symptoms or have auto immune deficiencies, it would suggest there’s more going on there with the Governor. Be that as it may, he has thumbed his nose repeatedly at the idea of the state playing a proactive role in protecting the health and well being of its own citizens, and hospitalizations have surged, they are sending trailers around the state now to be prepared to pick up more dead bodies as the death count surges, and when is the GOP, because this is essentially a GOP ploy, going to learn that it’s not worth ruining people’s lives simply to win elections ? How deeply do we have to get into that before we change course?”

Nicolle Wallace: “It is an unbelievable state of affairs. Perfectly put. Tim O’Brien, thank you so much.”

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AUGUST 12, 2021

An excerpt from the Molly Jong-Fast Daily Beast article "Republicans’ New Safe Space Is Letting People Die To Fight ‘Democrat Overreach’":

"It took at a lot of stupid to get Florida and Texas to this dark place, which is why the MAGA propagandists are trying to suggest, without much evidence, that this is about an unvaccinated wave at the border—when it appears to be about unvaccinated Americans, in a country with enough vaccine doses to go around, harming their own health and spreading the virus and helping it continue to mutate in the process."

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AUGUST 11, 2021

Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler, discussing the current state of low ICU beds and Central Texas healthcare concerns surrounding COVID on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports":

Austin, TX Mayor Steve Adler: “...We’re trying to get out the information that the vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people have taken it at this point. We’re telling people - sharing with them - what’s happening in our hospitals right now, where virtually, everyone there are people that are not vaccinated - almost everyone in our ICU’s. We’re talking to our community about the fact that even if they don’t get COVID, if they end up on an EMS, an emergency vehicle, right now, they’re having trouble unloading non-COVID patients in our hospitals because so much space is being taken up with COVID patients. The choices that people are making not to get vaccinated for themselves are not choices just for themselves. The choices that they’re making to leave themselves more vulnerable for ending up in a hospital is impacting everyone. That’s why it’s important to especially protect our children. A parent can make a choice for their child, except that the choice that they make impacts everybody else in the classroom, and people should have a right to make a choice to be able to be in a classroom that keeps their children the most safe, and we’re going to do everything we can. As we said from the very beginning - we’re going to follow the doctors and the data, even when we have a Governor that seems to be following the donors and not the doctors.”

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AUGUST 9, 2021

Don Lemon of CNN's "Don Lemon Tonight" highlighting a portion of the Austin ISD school board meeting featuring Austin ISD teacher Caroline Sweet:

Don Lemon: "Breaking news tonight, a Dallas County judge is asking a Texas court for a temporary restraining order against the governor over his ban, while in the state capitol of Austin, a teacher pleads with her school board to defy the governor and the mask requirements."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Caroline Sweet, Austin ISD teacher (voice-over): "For many years, you've asked me to be brave. You've asked me to be brave as I practice getting 24 fourth graders into a bathroom. You've asked me to locate in our hiding spot anything with which I might fight off an active shooter. You've asked me to be brave as I think about what would happen if there was some sort of extreme danger and my class is on the playground.


I've discussed with kids how we would run into the woods and hide by the creek, all of us together, avoiding danger. You've asked me to be brave and come back to work during a pandemic after surgery and six months of chemotherapy for stage three cancer. And I've done it. And I will do it. And I will show up. And I will get in that closet. And I will look for the path to the woods.


Board members, you don't have to do these things. But just as I will be brave and think about how my body might shield children from danger, I ask that you be brave today. You know what you need to do to protect children. Do it. Implement a district-wide mask mandate and vaccine requirements for students and staff."
(END VIDEO CLIP)

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JULY 15, 2021

Rachel Maddow of the MSNBC program "The Rachel Maddow Show" detailing Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-TX) and her history, plus her current pursuit with fellow Texas Democrats to ensure restrictive voting rights in Texas are abolished via federal voting rights:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Texas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson: "I'm not up here to take a vacation in Washington, D.C. ... I'm not going to be a hostage, that my voters - my constituents' rights will be stripped from them. We have fought too long and too hard in this country. These Republicans in this legislature may have changed the messiah. Jesus to Trump, but I haven't.


And I'm going to make sure that everything that I can do that my constituents' rights will not be stripped from them because of what they believe in is a lie. Trump lost the election. And they need to tell the people of this country the truth. And if they won't, I'm going to."
(APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)


Rachel Maddow: "'And if they won't, I'm going to.' I believe her.


She is the Dean of the Texas State Democratic Caucus. Her name is Representative Senfronia Thompson. She was elected to the Texas State House the year before I was born, in 1972. At the time, she was a single mother of three.


She managed to put herself through law school while also serving in the legislature. She became a lawyer. She opened her own solo practice. "Houston Chronicle" recently wrote about her in her nearly 50 years of lawmaking in the Texas House, Representative Thompson has been at the forefront of historic change. She led successful efforts to raise the minimum wage in her state. She helped ban racial profiling by police.


She forced insurance companies to cover advanced mammograms and HPV tests. She was the driving force behind the passage of Texas's first alimony law, as well as a hate crimes bill in her state. Representative Senfronia Thompson is the longest serving African American woman in the history of the Texas legislature. She's the longest serving woman of any race to ever serve in that body.


But this week, she has left Texas. She is a Texas institution who has left Texas along with her colleagues to slow down Republican efforts to restrict voting rights back home by denying them a quorum, and to push in Washington for federal help for new federal protections that would stop Republicans from what they're trying to do to voting rights, what they're trying to do to election administration, not only in Texas but everywhere."

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JULY 14, 2021

Hallie Jackson of the MSNBC show "Hallie Jackson Reports" speaking with Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer regarding bypassing the filibuster and ensuring voting rights for all citizens in America:

Hallie Jackson: “And you’re saying, only change the rules for this specific instance, right? Just for voting rights. You’re not asking for wholesale change?”

 

Trey Martinez Fischer: “We do not need a shotgun. We need a laser. We need a laser on voting rights. We gotta laser in. We gotta put that tool in the bucket and we have to use it.”

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JUNE 30, 2021

Matthew Dowd on the MSNBC show "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" talking about democracy and the state of affairs in Texas:
 

Matthew Dowd: "... There's only one actual Democratic Party today - a party that believes in democracy today - and that's the Democrats. I want two political parties that believe in democracy. We don't have them today. We have one that's autocracy and one that's democracy... one that doesn't care about holding an insurrection accountable, one that wants to hold it accountable... And those two things, at that point, have nothing to do with Donald Trump in 2022 and 2024..."

 

Matthew Dowd: "... I'm in Texas. Let me give you an example of Greg Abbott, the governor here. Greg Abbott took money out of the Texas budget, to which states aren't normally doing, put it on the border, and you know what he didn't do? He didn't fix the electric grid that went down here for a week and a half, and everybody was out in the cold and lost their water. So he's paying for a border wall, but not fixing the electric grid in Texas. It is just so out of whack, but it has to do with the changing diversity of the country and a layer of white populations that is aggrieved by that, and that is what fundamentally, the Republican Party is today..."

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JUNE 5, 2021

Tiffany Cross discusses improper representation of the People of the State of Texas by Governor Greg Abbott on her MSNBC show "The Cross Connection":

Tiffany Cross: "Alright, listen up everybody. Houston, we have a problem, because in Beyonce’s state of Texas, the Republican Governor’s uniform should really be a cross between a Darth Vader costume and a confederate flag. Where to even begin with Greg Abbott?

For starters, this personification of Jim Crow is actively doing everything he can to keep the path to the ballot box as narrow and as white as possible. As Texas lawmakers are trying to pass a piece of legislation that’s one of the worst voter suppression bills in the country, this political anachronism threatened to cut payment for Dems who walked out trying to preserve democracy. Don’t agree with your political positions? No problem, he can just defund them.

Then in May, the real life version of every villain in the Handmaid’s Tale signed legislation banning abortions in the state as early as 6 weeks into a pregnancy. Now as you guys know, at 6 weeks, most women don’t even know they’re pregnant, but clearly, the Governor did this, because obviously, he must _really_ care about children. Right? Wrong. This week, Abbott ordered state childcare regulators to pull licenses from the 52 facilities that housed unaccompanied minors who’ve crossed the Southern border. Now by doing this, Freddy Kruger is creating a nightmare impacting facilities that the federal government contracts with to provide safe environments for children. So right now, it’s not even clear yet what will happen to the roughly 4,000 children housed in these facilities, or better yet, what’s going to happen to the unaccompanied minors who cross the border in the coming months. But he doesn’t care.

So Greg, miss us with your faux pro-life spiel. These are frightened children who have been through hell to pursue the American dream that so many have been promised.

Now, let’s be honest, if these were white babies, I bet you’d find some sympathy and humanity somewhere in that dysfunctional electrical grid you call a heart.

Seriously, what kind of monster delights in robbing kids of safety, or people of their voting rights, or women of their liberty?

Maybe you should focus your energy a little further West… as in, Allen West. Another guy with the most nutty of ideas, who just resigned as the Chair of the Texas Republican party, while hinting that he may challenge you in the Gubernatorial next year.

This evil vs. evil matchup should be the political equivalent of Freddy versus Jason.

You know, Bun B and Pimp C of UGK once asked, 'Whatchoo know about them Texas boys?'

And I’ve got to say, lately, a lot more than I care to, but if child cruelty is the mantra of the right, then I offer this rallying call to the voters of Texas from someone who does a much better job repping the state than the MAGA moron they have now.

To the left, to the left, put everything Abbott owns in a box to the left, and please, Texas voters, in 2022, tell him, ‘Boy, bye!’."

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APRIL 5, 2021

Don Lemon of "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" speaking with Houston, TX Mayor Sylvester Turner regarding voting rights in the State of Texas:

Don Lemon: "What do you need from the federal government?"


Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, Texas: "Well #1, hopefully the federal government is paying very close attention to what's happening across the country, as you indicated. These bills have been filed in about 43 different states, and it's a part of a national campaign to restrict voting. In Texas, Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 6 are moving quickly through the legislative process. There is no problem here that these bills are intended to fix. These bills are intended to restrict access to the voting booth, and hopefully, the federal government, and people in Congress and the United State Senate are taking note, and surely will not allow - I hope they will not allow the filibuster rule to remain in place, that as the Senator from Georgia said, that would protect the minority in the Senate, but at the same time will protect the people's right to vote in all 50 states."

Don Lemon: "Give me your reaction to seeings businesses speaking out against these efforts to restrict voting."

Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, Texas: "Let me applaud them. Let me applaud the MLB for standing up and for taking definitive action. Voter suppression is not good business. Ok? Voter suppression is not good business. It is important for corporations and businesses to protect their employees that are diverse, to be sensitive to their customers, the people who are doing business with them, and Don, I can remember what Martin Luther King said years ago, that in the end, people will not be remembered - enemies will not be remembered - for the words that they spoke, but what will be remembered will be the silence of our friends. And so, this is not a time when people can be on the sideline. This is not a partisan battle. Voter suppression is not partisan. It's not Democrat, Republican, Independent. Voter suppression is wrong, and these bills represent Jim Crow 2.0, and everyone has an obligation, especially businesses and others, to speak up and say no. This is a defining moment in the history of this country, and I think down the stretch people will ask, 'Where did you stand, and what did you do when these bills were going through these legislative chambers?'"

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FEBRUARY 21, 2021

Comments from the Reverend Al Sharpton with regards to the Texas winter storms and electric power grid reliability on his show "Politics Nation" during the latter portion of his "I Gotcha" segment on MSNBC:

Rev. Al Sharpton: "…Almost no one has come to the defense of Ted Cruz - not even his own Republican colleagues, who in the past have had this to say about the Senator: (Lindsey Graham) ‘If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.’ But don’t be fooled - this story is bigger than Ted Cruz. Another Republican, the mayor of a small town in West Texas, had to resign this week after telling his residents to ‘stop whining’ about the cold and power outages, suggesting, ‘only the strong would survive’. The same attitude prevailed up and down Texas state government, which is controlled by Republicans at every level. Texans were warned a full decade ago about its power grid could not withstand severe weather like we’re seeing this week, and Republicans ignored the warning, kicking the can down the road in favor of deregulation and ever growing oil profits. The state’s so called leaders, including Governor Greg Abbott, have been blaming renewable energy for the crisis, even though the state runs primarily on fossil fuels. And this dereliction is hardly new. Texas Republican leaders have been mocking other states for their natural disasters for years. Their favorite scapegoats include a second term Congresswoman from Queens, and a green new deal that doesn’t exist yet anywhere in the country, but it turns out the joke was on them. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually was involved in this crisis, doing the hard work Republicans wouldn’t do. While Senator Cruz was ‘dropping off’ his family at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, the New York Congresswoman raised over three million dollars for relief efforts in the Lone Star State. So to Senator Cruz and his fellow sink or swim Republicans in Texas, let me say this - the time for hypocrisy and victim blaming is over. You have spent years ridiculing the idea that government can help and protect people even as you have seized the levers of power to enrich yourselves, and now, even in the middle of rolling blackouts, millions of Texans and hundreds of millions of Americans can see the light and connect the dots. Texans are smart enough to know who has abandoned them in their time of need, and in the next election cycle, they will abandon you at the ballot box. I Gotcha!"

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FEBRUARY 20, 2021

Tiffany Cross of the MSNBC show "The Cross Connection" discussing the Texas winter storms and how they disproportionately impacted Black and Latino Texans:

Tiffany Cross: "… Some scientists are saying climate change may have played a role in causing the (Texas winter) storm. It may seem counterintuitive that winter storms could be linked to global warming, but experts say that rapid heating can push arctic winter storms much further south, and that appears to be what happened here, and the damage done by the storms to low income families and communities of color provides a cautionary tale for the climate crisis to come. In Houston, for example, environmental groups are saying that areas such as … predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood(s), were among the first to lose power. Now, mind you, these are areas that are already struggling. The US Census Bureau estimated that in Texas, Black and Hispanic families are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line than White families, and on the southwest border, where migrants await their asylum hearings in Matamoros, Mexico, hundreds are huddled in makeshift tents amidst freezing cold temperatures. Imagine living like that. If the crisis in Texas has revealed one thing, it’s that when disasters strike, it’s the country’s most vulnerable who are hit the hardest.

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FEBRUARY 17, 2021

Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC's "Stephanie Ruhle Reports" speaking with News Correspondent Morgan Chesky:

 

Stephanie Ruhle: “You gotta talk about this power grid issue, because the Governor is now calling for an investigation into the state’s electric agency, but that same Governor is blaming the green new deal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and let’s remind our audience - the green new deal was never passed federally or in Texas. AOC has nothing to do with that state. What in the world is he talking about and why is this power grid failing so badly?”

 

 

Morgan Chesky: “I want to make a couple of key clarifications here, Steph. So one of the things that’s come under fire here recently over the last several days is the renewable energy here in Texas, particularly the one that’s driven by the wind. Those massive turbines around in West Texas - they did suffer some issues due to the cold. Those massive turbine blades had ice built up on them, and then because of incredibly cold temperatures, the batteries that store power there to be disbursed whenever we do have events like this actually drained faster than anticipated, because of the incredibly cold weather. Now, that having been said, that only makes up a small portion of the massive sources of energy that Texas has at its disposal. Also a serious issue is we saw natural gas pipelines that froze up because they’re being built without any insulation, and we saw a nuclear plant that provides energy actually have to temporarily shut down due to a safeguard caused by the cold. So, it depends on who you ask, but as it stands right now, the equipment that provides so much of the power to so many Texans was not properly winterized, and some people would point to the fact that Texas had its power supply deregulated back in the 90’s, and you would say critics say that because of these businesses who are focusing on profits, they were not necessarily concerned with maintenance and/or winterizing the equipment to prepare for worst case scenarios like we’re experiencing right now. In all, it was not built to sustain this many people turning to heat their homes, to try to heat up water at the same time simultaneously. This winter storm caused the first winter storm warning over the entire state of Texas - all 254 counties - for the first time in history.”

 

Stephanie Ruhle: “It’s a really important reminder that it’s not regulation good, regulation bad - it’s about smart regulation, and the reason regulation is put in place is to protect everyday individuals, and when you have mass deregulation in an emergency situation like this, you’ve got millions and millions of individuals who aren’t protected.”