Trump’s Use of Misinformation Has Dangerous Consequences for American Public

Donald Trump is trying to roll back his comments about how ingesting disinfectants could potentially cure the coronavirus and now claims he was simply being sarcastic, but his remarks were heard by millions of people and many people assume the president wouldn’t put forward a potential treatment unless it was safe. As a result, poison control centers have seen a large increase in actual cases involving ingesting disinfectants and even more calls related to the topic.

This shows how the president’s rhetoric and incompetence has devastating consequences for the American people. Perhaps realizing this, even Republican governors have been speaking out and calling for Trump to stop spreading misinformation and behaving in a reckless manner.

“People listen to these press conferences,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said according to Politico. “They certainly pay attention when the president of the United States is standing there giving a press conference … when misinformation comes out or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message.”

On the local level here in Fairfax County, the chairman of the County’s Board of Supervisor, Jeff McKay, ended up including a warning during a COVID-19 update that drinking bleach would be dangerous and wouldn’t actually kill the virus. In other words, our local officials are having to spend time stopping the spread of misinformation that’s coming out of the White House instead of discussing legitimate options for progress.

All of this also comes as Trump is also constantly promoting the use of an anti-malaria drug to combat the coronavirus even though scientists and public health officials have raised concern about moving forward with this treatment plan. What this all means is that the public is constantly receiving false information during a public health crisis. And since Trump’s press conferences have received a lot of viewers, news reports breaking down the dangers of his remarks aren’t seen by nearly as many people.

With all this in mind, the question has now become whether or not television stations have a responsibility to air Trump’s press conferences live. Considering the importance and newsworthiness of what the White House says during a public health crisis, it’s understandable that news outlets want to air the remarks. But airing a live press conference doesn’t allow experts to debunk all the falsehoods currently being promoted by the White House.

The increase in cases poison control has seen shows this could have devastating consequences. With resources like c-span and the internet, there will always be a place for the public to consume the raw material without added commentary. But news outlets have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of blatant falsehoods that could actually put the public at risk.

Fortunately, we’ve received a bit of a reprieve this weekend as even Trump’s closest advisors have been pushing for scaling back media appearances and the president didn’t speak the last couple days. There’s no firm reports on how long this will actually last, but we’ve at least had a brief break from the constant spread of false information.

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Fairfax County Declares Local State of Emergency

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic. During that meeting they passed a resolution declaring a local state of emergency. According to Chairman Jeff McKay, “this declaration streamlines and expedites Fairfax County Government’s access to emergency disaster funding and it allows the county to use its authority to procure goods to address the emergency.”

Of course, this move comes after the Commonwealth of Virginia has declared a statewide state of emergency and other localities in the region have passed similar measures. The local state of emergency can still prove extremely valuable, however, as it provides some flexibility and authority for the county to quickly respond to needs that are specific to Fairfax County. Supervisor Kathy Smith addressed this in an email she sent out to constituents earlier today.

“The local emergency declaration is primarily a financial mechanism that provides greater flexibility and authority for the county in purchasing hard to find resources and supplies,” Supervisor Smith said. “It also increases the authorities granted to the county to protect the health and safety of the community and provide emergency assistance in such a rapidly evolving incident.”

Since it seems like there’s constantly updated information related to state and local action related to the coronavirus, it’s worth noting that Fairfax County does have a text alert system set up to help provide the public with any info they might need. To sign up, you can text FFXCOVID to 888777.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Northam Announces Ban on Gatherings With More Than 100 People

NorthamIn a conference call with reporters earlier today, Governor Ralph Northam announced a ban on gatherings with more than 100 people in Virginia. The announcement comes as 45 people have tested positive for COVID-19, but many people likely have the virus but simply haven’t had their cases confirmed due to a lack of available testing.

The peninsula region of the Commonwealth has been hit especially hard and a ban on gatherings with more than 50 people has been implemented in that region. This development came the day after Virginia’s first coronavirus related death was announced by the Department of Health and it appears as though it was a resident of this region who passed away.

According to Rep. Rob Wittman, it was one of his constituents from the James City and reports suggest it was a man in his 70’s who acquired the virus from an unknown source. There is now an effort to track down the 284 people he is believed to have had contact with since getting the virus in order to ensure they are tested and take needed precautions.

Although a complete quarantine hasn’t been mandated, the governor did urge Virginians to practice social distancing as much as possible. He suggested the public avoid church services, social activities, going out to bars and restaurants, and any other activities that involve relatively large amounts of people gathering.

Health officials from the Peninsula Health District have announced public buildings in the region have also been closed through the end of the month, but police and fire services will continue during that time.

Localities outside the peninsula are also taking extra precautions. In a text message sent out to the community today, for instance, Fairfax County announced “senior centers and adult day health care centers are closed effective immediately.” Moving forward, it’s likely we’ll see even more steps taken designed to help protect residents who are most at risk for contracting the virus.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rep. Gerry Connolly Calls Out Trump Administration for Politicizing Coronavirus

Over the course of the last several years, the Trump Administration has constantly tried to limit access to the healthcare system and is still filing lawsuits trying to challenge the Affordable Care Act. If the president is successful in his efforts to do away with Obamacare, it could have a devastating impact on the country as we’re facing a deadly worldwide pandemic.

Of course, this is on top of how Trump has disbanded the National Security Council’s global pandemic team and his latest budget has drastically cut funding to the Center for Disease Control. And as if doing away with critical programs wasn’t enough, the president has declared the coronavirus a “hoax” and was extremely slow to actually address the issue. These are just some of the several ways in which the administration has mishandled the situation.

Now that it’s become abundantly clear that COVID-19 represents a major issue that’s already having large ramifications all across the country, the president has insisted he doesn’t “take responsibility at all” for the mistakes his administration has made. This is a far cry from Harry Truman’s the buck stops here remarks, but sadly isn’t terribly surprising to many people.

With all this in mind, it was good to see Rep. Gerry Connolly calling out the administration for politicizing the pandemic and being extremely unprepared. Trump needs to be held accountable for his actions and we quickly need to have leadership put doing what’s best for the American people ahead of the president’s political interest.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Northam Closes Schools Throughout Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency yesterday in response to the coronavirus outbreak and today announced that all schools in Virginia will be closed for at least two weeks. Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 and localities have the authority to potentially extend the length of time their schools will be closed.

“We are taking this action to keep Virginians as safe and healthy as possible, and to minimize exposure to COVID-19,” said Governor Northam. “I recognize this will pose a hardship on many families, but closing our schools for two weeks will not only give our staff time to clean and disinfect school facilities, it will help slow the spread of this virus. This is a fluid and fast-changing situation. We will do everything possible to ensure that students who rely on school nutrition programs continue to have access to meals, and that the disruption to academics is as minimal as possible.”

The good news is officials realize this could potentially impact families who depend on receiving free and reduced price meals during the school day and the Department of Social Services is taking steps to ensure students still have access to these meals. In a statement announcing that Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed through April 10, for instance, the school system highlighted that both breakfast and lunch will be available for students.

There are currently five sites for students to pick up meals, but that list is likely to expand as it could be difficult for students to travel to schools outside of their normal district. Not only will these meals be free for students, but adult meals will be available for the low cost of two dollars.  Just today, FCPS announced they served over 1,500 meals at the five locations since schools were closed.

Of course, this development comes after many colleges and universities have closed their campuses and will be holding online courses. UVA, for example, is encouraging students who live on campus to return home, has canceled in person classes, and will begin holding online classes on Thursday in a manner that will also allow staff to work remotely.

Over time, this could present an interesting dilemma for some families as parents have to deal with an unexpected need for childcare. Many employers have fortunately implemented remote work policies that could prove beneficial, but this won’t be feasible for all workplaces. Medical professionals, for instance, will still have to present at their facilities in order to treat patients and many are expressing concern about who will care for their children while they’re working.

According to Fairfax County, they evaluating how to deal with SACC programs for families that already utilize the program, but these sites will be closed for the next two weeks and they will only operate at consolidated sites for the week of March 30. There hasn’t been much discussion about how local families who don’t take advantage of SACC will be able to move forward.

Despite all the issues that are coming up as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s still important that communities are taking steps to help slow the spread of the pandemic. For those who are interested in receiving local updates on the situation from Fairfax County, you can text FFXCOVID to 888777.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Amy Klobuchar Discusses Foreign Policy at Rally in Falls Church, VA

With Virginia holding it’s primary on Super Tuesday, we’ve seen many of the presidential candidates making appearances in the Commonwealth. That includes Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who held a campaign rally at the State Theatre in Falls Church.

The Senator covered a wide variety of topics, but the following video are of her remarks on foreign policy and how we need to help restore America’s reputation. The clip also includes remarks about how we cannot afford to have another four more years of a president who believes he’s above the rule of law.

If nothing else, the clip is worth watching to hear the story of how “a weird cult of Danes” followed her around “with flags” after she made remarks at a campaign event in New Hampshire about Trump blaming Denmark for everything.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Pete Buttigieg Holds Rally in Arlington, VA

Pete Buttigieg held a campaign rally on the football field at Washington Liberty High School in Arlington, VA yesterday that was attended by almost 10,000 people. The line to get into the event was filled with extremely energetic people even though it stretched for over a mile as it weaved its way through the neighborhood surrounding the school.

This video features some footage from the event, including some of his speech. While he covered a wide variety of topics during a speech that lasted almost 45 minutes, the video features a portion that addressed economic justice and housing discrimination.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Video: Del. Karrie Delaney Provides Legislative Update

While there are obviously a number of issues Virginia’s General Assembly is dealing with that have received a fair amount of media attention, attending legislative town hall meetings during session is a great way to learn about some of the issues being addressed that aren’t featured on the evening news. That was certainly the case during a town hall meeting that Del. Karrie Delaney held with Sen. Dave Marsden on Saturday.

A couple dozen people gathered Saturday afternoon in the cafeteria of Cub Run Elementary School to updates from the General Assembly members. While a variety of issues were discussed throughout the meeting, Del. Delaney focused in on two issues during her opening remarks.

Up first, Karrie provided some in depth information about her efforts to make sure forensic nurses are available at hospitals throughout Virginia. For those who don’t know, forensic nurses are medical professionals who can not only provide treatment but also help collect evidence that could be used in a court of law if a criminal case moves forward. The Delegate also spoke about other ways she’s working to help ensure victims of domestic violence receive the treatment they need.

Del. Delaney also highlighted her work surrounding special education issues and making sure the school systems are communicating with parents about some of the work their students are doing in the schools.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Sen. Dave Marsden Provides Update on Legislation to Help End Gun Violence

Measures to help end gun violence have been one of the biggest topics of discussion during this year’s session for Virginia’s General Assembly, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it came up during a town hall forum that Del. Karrie Delaney and Sen. Dave Marsden held at Cub Run Elementary School in Centreville this afternoon.

In a crowd of 20 people or so, about a dozen people showed up wearing “guns save lives” stickers that the Virginia Citizens Defense League have been handing out and made it clear this was essentially the only issue that even remotely cared about. Sen. Marsden therefore took time to address the issue during his opening remarks and that portion of the statement can be seen in the following video.

It should be noted that while this group was largely civil during the debate, that has been far from the case at many community forums. Not only have anti-gun violence prevention people showed up wearing military tactical gear and weapons of war to community events in order to intimidate people, but they have constantly been demeaning others and have made deaths threats to politicians and activists alike. Sen. Marsden, for example, told the audience he’s received threats and I personally have as well.

It’s with that in mind that I was pleased to see Sen. Marsden end the forum by addressing the divisiveness that’s been happening and calling for a more civil discussion. The following is video of those remarks.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fairfax County School Board Supports Collective Bargaining for Public Employees

With Democrats gaining control of both chambers of the General Assembly after last year’s elections, one of the be issues being considered this session is workers’ rights. A higher minimum wage looks to be well on its way to being signed into law, for instance, and several other measures are being discussed.

What’s unfortunately faced some difficulties down in Richmond is support for allowing public employees to have their voices heard in discussions in their workplace through collective bargaining.

In hopes of making it clear that Fairfax County supports workers, the Fairfax County School Board voted to express support for legislation allowing public employees to participate in collective bargaining. This will be added to the legislative agenda the board presents to the General Assembly every year.

In the past, previous school boards have actually specifically included opposition to collective bargaining in the agenda. Realizing this is the wrong position to take, Karl Frisch made motions to remove the board’s opposition and express support for public employees having the right to collectively bargain.

The motion ended up passing unanimously and, after hearing from several speakers during citizens participation time, it was clear the board was proud to support the measure as members went into details about why they’re supportive of the teachers and other public employees being able to have their voices heard.

The following video is just a glimpse of what they had to say.

Posted in Education, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment