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Black Women Died From Coronavirus At Far Higher Rates Than White Men: Study

Black Women Died From Coronavirus At Far Higher Rates Than White Men: Study

Black women died from COVID-19 at much higher rates than white men in Georgia and Michigan, per a new study.

Harvard researchers looked at data in COVID-19 death rates in the two states through September 2020 and found that Black women died at 3.8 times the rate of white men in Michigan and 1.6 times the rate of white men in Georgia.

While other studies had previously found that men overall are dying of COVID-19 at higher rates than women, and Black people are dying at higher rates than whites, this study looked at how both race and gender intersect to create further disparities.

The study’s findings were “consistent with what we would expect, although it’s always devastating to see such results and unfortunate that this is what we expect,” said study co-author Tamara Rushovich.

“Black women sit at the intersection of both gender and race oppression,” the Ph.D. student at Harvard’s school of public health added. “So it wasn’t surprising to see these high rates among Black women become more visible.” 

The study relied on only two states, as other states did not at the time have complete data for COVID-19 deaths disaggregated by race, gender and age.

Neither Michigan nor Georgia had data for coronavirus deaths broken out by ethnicity, so the study could not include findings around Latinx people, who as a group nationwide — like Black people — are being hospitalized at three times the rate of whites and dying twice as much. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has only released some data on race and ethnicity of people infected and killed by the virus, after a push by Democratic lawmakers last year. But the data does not break down by race, ethnicity, gender and age across all states in a way that would enable the same kind of analysis nationwide as these researchers did in Georgia and Michigan. 

Rushovich said she “wouldn’t be surprised to see similar patterns” of Black women dying at far higher rates than white men across the country, though she is wary of generalizing too much as each state had different surges of cases and policy responses, such as mask mandates and shutdowns. 

“Because of the long history of racism and structural, gendered racism, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar patterns that exist across the country, but there might be different degrees of magnitude,” the researcher said, noting that it would be critical to get similar data on COVID-19 deaths from all states.  

Over 558,000 people have died so far from the coronavirus in the U.S.  

Part of the factors that explain Black women dying at such higher rates than white men is what the researchers called “occupational exposure,” or how much people’s jobs exposed them to the virus. Women of color are disproportionately represented in essential work, from home health aides to nurses, who were particularly at risk on the front lines of the virus. Other factors, like evictions, disproportionately placed women of color at risk of catching the virus. 

Having data on the disparities in deaths from COVID-19 specifically around intersections of race and gender, like this study, is important in terms of how the government responds in designing relief bills, vaccine distribution and more, Rushovich noted. 

Democratic lawmakers have been calling for the CDC to release data on the race and ethnicity of those vaccinated to be able to track disparities and better address inequities. 

“Collecting data and reporting is one step — it doesn’t solve the issue, but it allows you to know where inequities lie,” Rushovich said. “It’s a first step that is important to at least make visible vulnerable groups and what resources should be devoted.” 

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Trump Will Be Able To Keep His ‘Save America’ PAC’s Spending Secret Another 3 Months

Trump Will Be Able To Keep His ‘Save America’ PAC’s Spending Secret Another 3 Months

WASHINGTON ― Former President Donald Trump, who raised some $76 million after last November’s election under false pretenses, will be able to keep how he is spending that money secret until mid-July, thanks to Federal Election Commission rules.

Trump claimed in dozens of texts and emails to his small-dollar donor list that money he was collecting for his “Save America” committee would be used to challenge the results in states he had lost to Democrat Joe Biden and also to help the Republican candidates in two Georgia Senate runoffs.

In fact, he spent none of that money for those purposes and instead kept it for his committee, which can spend it on almost anything he wants, including paying his personal expenses or even giving him an eight-figure salary.

FEC rules allow “non-candidate committees” to file as infrequently as every six months, and with the quarter deadline passing Thursday, it appears both Trump’s committee and the related Trump Make America Great Again Committee have chosen to file semiannually rather than quarterly, as they had been doing.

Trump raised “several million” for his PAC in the days after telling his supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in late February that they should not donate to GOP committees, but instead give their money to Save America, according to an associate who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Among the information that will remain under wraps until July 15 is how much Trump is paying his PAC’s employees, including top aide Jason Miller, who is in a long-running child support battle with the mother of their son, Miller’s former subordinate on the 2016 Trump campaign.

On the 2020 campaign, Miller was “chief strategist,” but his name never showed up in the campaign’s FEC filings. Instead, his $35,000-a-month salary was funneled through Jamestown Associates, a former company of his, potentially making it more difficult for the Florida family court to determine how much he was earning.

The former president was impeached a record second time for inciting a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in his last-ditch attempt to hold on to power.

Trump spent weeks attacking the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election after he had lost, lying that it had been “stolen” from him and that he had actually won in a “landslide.” Those falsehoods continued through a long string of failed lawsuits challenging the results in a handful of states. After the Electoral College finally voted on Dec. 14, making Biden’s win official, Trump began urging his followers to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to intimidate his own vice president and Congress into overturning the election results and installing Trump as president for another term anyway. The mob he incited attempted to do just that as it stormed the Capitol. His supporters even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after Pence refused to comply with Trump’s demands.

A police officer died the day of that insurrection, and two others took their own lives soon afterward.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced a letter mistakenly cited by the Federal Election Commission.

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Trump EPA Official Blocked Warning About Carcinogenic Pollution In Illinois: IG Report

Trump EPA Official Blocked Warning About Carcinogenic Pollution In Illinois: IG Report

A former top Environmental Protection Agency official appointed by former President Donald Trump withheld warnings to an Illinois community about a toxic gas linked to several cancers that was being emitted by local plants, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General revealed in a news report.

Bill Wehrum was the assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office for Air and Radiation in 2018 when EPA officials in Illinois became concerned about elevated levels of ethylene oxide at the Sterigenics sterilizing plant in Willowbrook.

The federal government has linked the gas to lymphoma, leukemia, and stomach and breast cancers. The local administrator “wanted to immediately release” air monitoring results to the public by posting them on the agency’s website to “avoid another public health emergency like the Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis,” according to the IG report, which was released Thursday.

But Wehrum, who had been an attorney for gas, oil and coal companies, ordered officials to “not release monitoring results to the public,” said the investigative report, which was requested by Congress.

When one local EPA official apparently ignored Wehrum’s directive and posted the air quality results online, the website was shut down by another official apparently loyal to Wehrum.

“The fact that senior Trump administration EPA officials impeded the release of information to communities regarding the health risks of ethylene oxide exposure is about as contradictory to the agency’s mission of protecting the public as you can get,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate committee overseeing the EPA, said in a statement.

Wehrum could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Wehrum resigned in 2019 amid an ethics investigation. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce had launched a probe just two months earlier into allegations that he and a top deputy used their EPA posts to aid utilities they had previously represented at a law firm.

While at EPA, Wehrum met with a former client, the Utility Air Regulatory Group, an umbrella organization funded by several companies that opposed stricter limits on pollution from coal-fired plants, investigators found.

He also worked on an EPA directive that direct affected DTE Energy, a top utility company his former firm had represented in a case against the agency, according to The Washington Post

Sterigenics shut down in 2019.

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‘Nativist Crap’: Critics Erupt In Fury Over New Conservative ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Caucus

‘Nativist Crap’: Critics Erupt In Fury Over New Conservative ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Caucus

Stunned critics erupted in anger Friday amid reports of the pending creation of a congressional Frankenstein with a Third Reich mustache: An “America First Caucus” aimed at pushing “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

“The America First Caucus (AFC) exists to promote Congressional policies that are to the long-term benefit of the American nation,” says a caucus document circulating among lawmakers and the media.

The group aims to “follow in President Trump’s footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation,” according to its platform.

“History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country,” the document notes.

The caucus calls for limiting legal immigration “to those that can contribute not only economically, but have demonstrated respect for this nation’s culture and rule of law.” It bizarrely supports infrastructure “that reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), an immigrant, pointed out to reported caucus organizers Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) that he served in the military to “defend your right to say stupid stuff.” Nevertheless, he added, “Take your nativist crap and shove it.”

Surprisingly, the new group was quickly bashed by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (and quickly endorsed by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida). McCarthy is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Greene and her “traditions” right from the start. But McCarthy slammed Greene’s proposed caucus as a “nativist dog whistle.”

In a striking indication of what could be a devastating division among the hard-right Republicans in Congress, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) slammed the “hatefulness” of the new group’s perspectives.

Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said flatly: “Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil.” Republicans, she tweeted, “believe in equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all.”

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) pointed out that Republicans’ current favorite author, Dr. Seuss, connected “America first” (a phrase long associated with the Ku Klux Klan) directly to Hitler’s Nazi Party.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) warned the nascent caucus to not “dare” contact him to support any of its legislation. “Wouldn’t want my non Anglo, Colombian, Mexican indigenous blood to corrupt you,” he angrily tweeted.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) demanded that anyone who joined the caucus should be stripped of their committee positions. “While we can’t prevent someone form calling themselves Republicans, we can loudly say they don’t belong to us,” he said on Twitter.

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‘Climate Change Doesn’t Have a Political Party.’ Conservative Environmentalist Benji Backer on Crossing Partisan Lines to Solve The Climate Crisis

‘Climate Change Doesn’t Have a Political Party.’ Conservative Environmentalist Benji Backer on Crossing Partisan Lines to Solve The Climate Crisis

The conservative environmentalist Benji Backer wants to change how the climate movement has long been synonymous with the liberal movement. The president and founder of the American Conservation Coalition, a non-profit organization working to mobilize young conservatives around environmental action, Backer is working to engage members of the Republican Party on climate change.

“Climate change has been seen as a democratic issue while Republicans have been seen as the denialist party,” Backer tells TIME in a TIME100 Talks interview debuting Friday. “And while that has been painted that way, it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Far-right Republicans and outspoken climate deniers have “dominated the airwaves,” says Backer, noting how in 2015, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe presented a snowball to the senate floor as evidence against climate change, and pointing to former President Donald Trump, who has referred to climate change as a “hoax invented by the Chinese.”

“While there are some very loud voices on the right who have been denying climate change for many years, there have also been a lot of quieter voices who I believe represent the majority of conservatives behind the scenes working towards a brighter future,” Backer says.

In 2019, Republican Indiana Sen. Michael Braun and Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons formed the Bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, in hopes that both parties could find common ground to address climate change.

According to the Pew Research Center, 52% of millennial and younger Republicans think that “the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change” compared to 31% of older Republicans. The study also found that 78% of young Republicans were in favor of the development of alternative energy sources compared to 53% of older Republicans.

“As a young person, I believe that our generation will solve climate change,” Backer, 22, says.

Backer hasn’t always been an environmentalist. At age 12, he didn’t consider climate change as a serious topic, he says. “I, in fact, thought that climate change might not even be real,” he says. “I thought that climate change is just a political tool.”

“It wasn’t until I was exposed to the science and exposed to the dangers of not fighting climate change, that I truly engaged on the topic,” Backer says.

Backer notes that some of the “most climate friendly states,” in regard to reducing their carbon footprint, are led by Republicans, including Vermont, New Hampshire and South Dakota, which are governed by Phil Scott, Chris Sununu and Kristi Noem, respectively. These states have some of the lowest CO2 emissions in the U.S. Between 2005 and 2017, Maryland, led by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, saw the largest decrease in CO2 emissions in the country, reducing emissions by 38%.

“We honestly are just focused on finding common ground on climate change solutions,” Backer says. “Just because we have a different approach to solving climate change doesn’t mean that we are the bad guys, or that we’re evil. It just means that we have a different set of principles that we’re applying to solving the climate crisis.”

As a college senior at the University of Washington in 2019, Backer testified in front of Congress alongside environmental youth activists Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin, and Vic Barrett. “It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Backer says. “I felt incredibly honored to be sitting next to three incredibly influential activists on a different political spectrum than my own, and to be able to present at Congress with a right-of-center and three left-of-center voices saying the exact same thing, which is that we need to do something about climate change. It was a perfect example of how powerful uniting in this generation can be.”

Backer, along with the American Conservation Coalition, has drafted a conservative, market-focused response to The Green Deal — the American Climate Contract.

He’s also looking forward to working with President Joe Biden’s administration on climate policy, “in whatever way they want to cross ideological and partisan lines.”

“Climate change is a decade-by-decade long issue, and it doesn’t have a political party,” he says. “With innovation and bold youth action, we can solve the climate crisis across partisan boundaries.”

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Business PAC Donations Tanked To Republicans Who Challenged Biden Vote: Report

Business PAC Donations Tanked To Republicans Who Challenged Biden Vote: Report

Political action committee contributions from businesses, industry groups, trade associations and unions plunged about 80% to Republican politicians who objected to certifying states’ Electoral College votes for Joe Biden as president, a Wall Street Journal analysis found.

PACs for those groups gave $1.3 million in the first quarter of the year to the campaigns of the 147 Republicans who objected to counting every states’ electoral votes for Biden on Jan. 6, according to the Journal’s examination of quarterly reports filed by Thursday’s deadline.

That was down about 80% from the $6.7 million donated by the same groups to the same lawmakers in the first quarter of 2019, a comparable postelection quarter, according to the newspaper.

The same contributions to both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who voted to certify the results were down about 35%, and contributions to Democrats dropped 30%, the Journal reported.

Donations often slack off the first quarter after a national election. But the figures indicate that most companies and trade groups that threatened to suspend donations after the siege of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters “have done so,” the newspaper noted.

Some high-profile lawmakers who challenged the Electoral College count — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — don’t rely heavily or at all on PAC business contributions. But the significant drop in the donations is a strong indication of where business stands on the upheaval and divisiveness driven by the GOP.

Check out the entire Journal PAC contribution story here.

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Justice Department Sues Trump Crony Roger Stone For Alleged $2 Million In Unpaid Taxes

Justice Department Sues Trump Crony Roger Stone For Alleged  Million In Unpaid Taxes

Longtime political operative and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone has been sued by the Department of Justice for alleged millions in unpaid federal income taxes.

The suit, filed Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says Stone and his wife, Nydia, used a limited liability corporation called Drake Ventures to “shield their personal income … and fund a lavish lifestyle despite owing nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties,” Reuters reported. 

In January 2019, Stone and his wife used Drake Ventures funds to purchase a home in Florida’s Broward County, and registered it under another entity, The Hill reported. According to the lawsuit, the couple was in “substantial debt” to the IRS at the time of purchase.

Stone could not immediately be reached for comment.

Stone, a longtime GOP political operative and confidant of the former president, served as Trump’s 2016 campaign adviser. His actions leading up to the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are reportedly being investigated by the FBI. Videos show Stone in the company of members of key extremist groups who stormed the building. 

In a Washington rally a month before the storming of the Capitol, Stone, surrounded by members of the violent extremist Proud Boys, urged the crowd to “never give up and fight for America” — in other words, by overturning the democratic election. The night before the Capitol attack, Stone spoke at a Washington rally and called the conflict a battle between the “godly and the godless,” between “good and evil.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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