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Trump pushed to shutter pandemic monitoring program even as he received reports of COVID-19: report

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According to CNN, President Donald Trump’s administration pushed ahead with its plan to shutter a major agency tasked with identifying new sources of potential pandemics, even as the first reports of the novel coronavirus appeared in China — then frantically tried to reverse the decision as the crisis worsened.

“As early indications of China’s coronavirus outbreak emerged in late December, the Trump administration notified Congress it would still follow through with its plan to shutter a US Agency for International Development surveillance program tasked with detecting new, potentially dangerous infectious diseases and helping foreign labs stop emerging pandemic threats around the world,” reported Zachary Cohen.

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“The administration ultimately backtracked nearly three months later, granting an emergency six-month extension for the program known as PREDICT on April 1. The extension allowed the US to provide ’emergency support to other countries for outbreak response including technical support for early detection’ of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, according to a notice posted by University of California-Davis, one of the project’s implementing partners,” continued the report. “But by that time, the coronavirus outbreak had already been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and had claimed the lives of more than 4,300 people in the US.”

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‘It’s always Republicans’: Conservative bashes his own party’s hostility to democracy

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Conservative David Frum blamed the Republican Party for undermining U.S. democratic institutions.

The former speechwriter for George W. Bush told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that President Donald Trump's hardcore base was hostile to democracy, and both they and the president pose a real threat to constitutional law even if he loses in November.

"I think he'll issue a spate of pardons to his intimates, relatives and to himself," Frum warned, if Trump loses the election. "We've never had to test the question, whether a president can pardon himself. I imagine, I expect that we will be testing that question."

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These psychological motives have shaped right-wing conservatism in America ever since the Civil War

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Many people who see little rational basis for supporting Donald Trump ask themselves: Why is he so popular?  Relatedly, why did so many people support Richard Nixon, Adolf Hitler, and other avatars of popular right-wing conservatism?  There are, of course, many different reasons for each situation.  But there also key commonalities that have been identified in meta-analyses of the topic written by the psychologist John T. Jost and colleagues.  In relation to Jost’s work, I have examined aspects of the antebellum South in order to better understand its political culture, especially aspects of that culture that prompted many Southerners to become more emotionally receptive to the appeals of “fire-eater” secessionist conservatives.  More broadly, this historical lens can help illuminate the mass appeal of conservatism in general, focusing particularly on the psychological factors that tend to underlie this appeal.

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Big Pharma ignored EU’s plea in 2017 to fast-track virus vaccines prior to pandemics: report

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According to a report from The Guardian, major pharmaceutical companies threw up roadblocks to a plan by the European Union to push forward with a major vaccine research effort well before pandemics hit.

The report notes that back in 2017, the EU's executive branch pushed a proposal to put the development of vaccines on the fast-track only to have major drugmakers reject the suggestion.

"The commission’s argument had been that the research could 'facilitate the development and regulatory approval of vaccines against priority pathogens, to the extent possible before an actual outbreak occurs'. The pharmaceutical companies on the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), however, did not take up the idea," the report states.

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