Tuesday, August 4, 2020

“I believe that all the way in my aorta.”

HHS assistant secretary and former GlaxoSmithKline executive Michael Caputo says the media doesn't want a vaccine to succeed before the election. According to the official HHS podcast, reporters want a failed vaccine because they are “so deeply unethical and so filled with hatred.” He believes that "all the way in his aorta." But not, interestingly, in his inferior vena cava or his common hepatic artery.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The forced ketamine injections at Hennepin Healthcare have not stopped

Deja vu? Back in the summer of 2018, Hennepin Healthcare came under fire for a research protocol in which ketamine was forced on unsuspecting patients without their consent, sending many of them to the ICU. Another report linked the forced ketamine injections to collaboration with the police department. We were assured by Hennepin Healthcare officials that it was all just a big mistake.

And now, we have a new report:

For the second time in two years, Hennepin Healthcare and the Minneapolis Police Department are facing public backlash for the use of ketamine, this time over allegations that paramedics sent a man to intensive care for two days after needlessly injecting him with the powerful sedative.

The patient, Max Johnson, suffered a diabetic seizure on July 26, according to a Facebook post from his girlfriend, Abby Wulfing. Minneapolis police and Hennepin Healthcare paramedics responded to Wulfing’s 911 call and repeatedly pressed her on Johnson’s drug use, unconvinced of Wulfing’s explanation that low-blood sugar caused the seizure, according to the post. Experts and advocates called Johnson’s ordeal “stunning” and evident of a systemic problem despite calls for reform.

“This happened because Max is a 6’ 5” Black man,” wrote Wulfing, a therapist in Prior Lake. “My whiteness was not enough to save him from the Hennepin Healthcare EMS and MPD’s egregious racism and life-threatening decisions.”

Even more astonishing is the fact that this latest episode has taken place in the wake of international outrage of the death of Elijah McClain, who died after a forced ketamine injection by paramedics in collaboration with the police in July of 2019.

“Universities encourage students to think that the universities they are enrolled in are benevolent towards them, that they care about them as people,” she said. “You cultivate a climate of trust, and in the context of a deadly disease, you’re busy laying the groundwork for your litigation defense.”

Here's a new level of shamelessness. American colleges and universities are using "consent forms" to protect themselves from lawsuits by students who contract the coronavirus when they return to campus this fall, according to Inside Higher Education. Bates College is the poster child, but Bates far from alone. Here's what an litigation expert thinks:

Heidi Li Feldman, a Georgetown University Law Center professor who is an expert on legal liability and negligence law, advises against students signing such agreements. Feldman said she has received several calls and messages from students, parents and faculty members across the country who are trying to better understand how signing the agreements affects their rights.

While many of the people who sought Feldman's advice found the agreements “surprising,” she found them “appalling.”

“Universities encourage students to think that the universities they are enrolled in are benevolent towards them, that they care about them as people,” she said. “You cultivate a climate of trust, and in the context of a deadly disease, you’re busy laying the groundwork for your litigation defense.”

Agreements that require students or faculty members to acknowledge or assume the risk of returning to campus are attempts by institutions to protect themselves against negligence claims in state courts, Feldman said. The intent is to relieve colleges of their “duty of care” over students and make even “reasonable” attempts to protect students from harm unnecessary in order to disprove a negligence claim, she said.

Even without requiring risk assumption or liability waivers, colleges that adopted “hybrid” course models for the fall have a compelling legal defense against negligence claims, because students appear to have the option to take classes fully online, Feldman said. This may even be a more “clever” approach for colleges to take, she said.

“You can make an argument from circumstances to claim someone was knowingly and responsibly assuming risk and relieving you from your duty of care,” Feldman said. “If they come to campus and fall ill, say, ‘Everyone knew that congregating on campus could create excellent circumstances for transmission of infectious disease, and we gave you a choice.’”

Friday, July 31, 2020

I knew Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was a friend of mine. President Trump, you're no Richard Nixon."

In the New York Times, John Dean says Donald Trump is wrong to compare himself to Nixon. He writes:

Richard Nixon closeted his authoritarianism behind closed doors, and only because he taped himself do we have a good understanding of it. Donald Trump, however, has paraded his authoritarianism in the Rose Garden and at rallies. He wants to be seen as a demagogue.

Nixon did not have an authoritarian Republican Party to support his imperial presidency and was forced to prematurely resign. Mr. Trump has a G.O.P. that seeks to expand his authoritarian presidency. Militarizing federal forces to perform state and local police functions is merely another norm-shattering example.

Mr. Trump’s latest threat is that he will not leave the presidency if he loses. He is making Nixon’s authoritarian behavior look tame.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The ghost of George Wallace speaks

The New York Times is reminded, once again, of the similarity between Donald Trump and George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama whose third-party run for the presidency in 1968 helped bring us President Nixon. An excerpt:

To go back and read or listen to Wallace’s speeches and interviews from that seminal 1968 campaign is to be struck by language and appeals that sound familiar again, even if the context and the limits of discourse have changed. 

 Like Mr. Trump, Wallace denounced “anarchists” in the streets, condemned liberals for trying to squelch the free speech of those they disagreed with and ran against the elites of Washington and the mainstream media. He vowed to “halt the giveaway of your American dollars and products” to other countries. “One of the issues confronting the people is the breakdown of law and order,” Wallace said at his campaign kickoff in Washington in February 1968. “The average man on the street in this country knows that it comes about because of activists, militants, revolutionaries, anarchists and communists.” 

 Just last week, Mr. Trump framed the current campaign in similar terms. “So it’s a choice between the law and order and patriotism and prosperity, safety offered by our movement, and the anarchy and chaos and crime and socialism,” he told a tele-rally in North Carolina. In tweets this week, he promised “all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.”

Like the pugnacious Mr. Trump, Wallace enjoyed a fight. Indeed, he relished taking on protesters who showed up at his events. “You know what you are?” he called out to one. “You’re a little punk, that’s all you are. You haven’t got any guts.” To another, he said, “I may not teach you any politics if you listen, but I’ll teach you some good manners.”

Recalling the time protesters blocked President Lyndon B. Johnson’s motorcade, Wallace insisted that he would never let that happen to him. “If you elect me the president and I go to California or I come to Arkansas and some of them lie down in front of my automobile,” he said, “it’ll be the last thing they’ll ever want to lie down in front of.”