Republican efforts to undermine Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman apparently failed to persuade the audience in the impeachment hearing room.
The National Security Council staffer was showered with applause after reading the closing portions of his opening statement for a second time at the request of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).
“Can you read the last paragraph for me again, the second-to-last one, can you read that again for me?” Maloney said. “I think the American public deserves to have it again.”
Vindman agreed, and said his father would probably appreciate that.
“Dad, my sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” Vindman said. “Do not worry, I’ll be fine for telling the truth.”
Maloney asked if he understood the risk he was taking coming forward to testify against President Donald Trump.
“You realize when you came forward out of sense of duty, that you were putting yourself in direct opposition to the most powerful person in the world,” Maloney said. “Do you realize that, sir?”
Vindman agreed that he understood that risk, and Maloney asked him about another portion of his opening statement.
“I’m struck by the word, that phrase, ‘do not worry,’ you addressed to your dad,” the lawmaker said. “Was your dad a warrior?”
Vindman said he had served in another country’s military, and he would have worried about his son taking on such a huge risk.
“He deeply worried about it,” Vindman said. “In his context, there was — there was the ultimate risk.”
Maloney asked why the lieutenant colonel felt confident enough to assure his father.
“Congressman, because this is America,” Vindman said. “This is the country I have served and defended, that all of my brothers have served and here, right matters.”
Maloney thanked him, and the crowd broke into about seven seconds of applause.
Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead
There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.
This article first appeared in Salon.
What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.
As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode
This article first appeared in Salon.
There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)
The GOP is a suicide cult
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.