House report is sharply critical of Treasury’s handling of payroll program

Ultimately, the subcommittee concluded that instead of preserving jobs, the Trump administration’s implementation of the Payroll Support Program “significantly weakened the Program’s impact on job preservation.”

The subcommittee’s assessment comes in stark contrast to how the program has played out for passenger airlines, which received the bulk of the more than $25 billion that was allocated to pay front-line workers. Airline and union leaders say the program saved tens of thousands of jobs until it expired Oct. 1 and have been aggressively pushing to extend it through the end of March.

“The Payroll Support Program has supported hundreds of thousands of aviation industry jobs, kept workers employed and connected to their healthcare, and played a critical role in preserving the U.S. airline industry,” the Treasury Department said in a statement. “Implementation focused first on the largest employers to help stabilize an industry in crisis and support as many jobs as possible for as long as possible. Treasury provided over 80% of the requested funds supporting over four hundred thousand jobs within 26 days of the enactment of the CARES Act.”

The subcommittee’s report also slammed contractors for laying off workers even as they sought to secure government aid.

“Documents uncovered during the Select Subcommittee’s investigation show that aviation contractors sought to avoid ‘unnecessary costs’ by terminating employees before executing [Payroll Support Program] agreements,” the report said.

The report found that aviation contractors laid off or furloughed nearly 58,000 employees before applying for assistance through the Payroll Support Program, 17 times the number reported by passenger carriers. At least 16,655 employees were laid off or furloughed between when the application period opened and when companies finalized their agreement with the Treasury Department.

The subcommittee said briefings with Treasury officials and contractors as well as its review of tens of thousands of documents found that the agency knew that companies were conducting layoffs, even as their applications for payroll support were pending, but failed to raise objections or require that furloughed employees be rehired once the funds were received. The subcommittee alleged that led companies to “urgently” fire employees before signing agreements.

“Treasury’s decision to allow layoffs while applications were pending, in conjunction with the delay in executing agreements, meant that many companies paused layoffs for far shorter than the six months Congress intended,” the report said.

The report noted that although Treasury officials have maintained they did not have the ability to lower payroll support awards to reflect the size of a company’s current workforce, the subcommittee argued that is not in keeping with the provisions of the Cares Act.

The report also said that in not imposing a deadline on when the funds had to be spent, Treasury gave companies little or no incentive to rehire workers.

“Many chose not to rehire workers and instead to use the funds to cover payroll for the remaining workers over a period of many months,” the report said.

The Payroll Support Program was created as part of the Cares Act to prevent massive

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The White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold critical information about Trump’s health, even after he contracted a deadly virus



a close up of a person: Getty


© Getty
Getty

  • The White House has consistently lacked transparency when it comes to President Donald Trump’s health, especially since he contracted COVID-19.
  • Multiple officials have refused to say when the last time Trump tested negative for the virus was, raising questions as to what they could be hiding.
  • The White House has also been opaque about a mysterious trip Trump took to Walter Reed last November.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There has been an extreme lack of transparency from the White House when it comes to President Donald Trump’s health, even after he contracted COVID-19. 

The Trump administration has consistently dodged questions on when Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test was, which is vital information in terms of who the president may have exposed and precisely when he was infected. The White House has said Trump was diagnosed on October 1, but the administration’s refusal to say when the president’s last test was has raised suspicions about what they could be hiding.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” White House physician Sean Conley said on Monday when asked about Trump’s last negative test. Conley was the target of media criticism last weekend after he initially avoided other questions on Trump’s health, including whether the president had received supplemental oxygen. 

Prior to Trump’s diagnosis, the White House routinely announced when the president tested negative for the virus, but now it’s treating the matter as if it’s top secret. White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah on Thursday said the information was Trump’s “private medical history.”

“The doctors would like to keep it private since it’s his private medical history,” Farah said.

On Thursday night, Trump was asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity if he’s tested negative for COVID-19 in the time since he was diagnosed. The president did not answer the question, making it unclear whether he’s still COVID-19 positive as he pushes to get back on the campaign trail and hold rallies. 

In an MSNBC interview on Friday, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern would not answer when pressed on when Trump’s last negative test was and contended the information is not valuable to the public.

“The president doesn’t check all of his HIPAA rights at the door just when he becomes president,” Morgenstern said. “The doctors obviously share fulsome information with the president. The president shares a great deal of information with the American public.”

“There is a reason to share certain information. It is to prevent further transmission of the virus, it’s public health purposes, and that’s what we’re doing,” Morgenstern added. 

As Insider previously reported, the last time Trump said he tested negative for COVID-19 was in May.

Insider’s Jake Lahut and Oma Seddiq asked the White House repeatedly on Thursday how often the president is tested, when his last test was, and if it had disclosed any tests taken since May 21.

“The president is tested regularly,” a White House

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Dems in Key House Races Fear Loss of Critical Student Votes With College Campuses Empty

In a COVID-less world, Dylan Taylor would be in East Lansing now, spending his free time at a table outside the dorms at Michigan State University beckoning fellow Spartans to register to vote. Instead, the 19-year-old treasurer of the MSU Young Democrats is stuck living with his parents in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights, attending classes via Zoom and trying to replicate election-year campus activism remotely with concepts like “Friend Banking.” “You text people you know and ask them, ‘Are you registered to vote?'” he says. “It is a skewed sample. Everyone says, ‘I’m already registered.’ And then I’m done. It is a lot less effective than being on campus.”



a group of people sitting at a park: Sparsely populated college campuses due to COVID limitations on in-person learning could prove problematic for some Democratic Congressional candidates who rely on student votes and campaign volunteers to help them get elected.


© Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Sparsely populated college campuses due to COVID limitations on in-person learning could prove problematic for some Democratic Congressional candidates who rely on student votes and campaign volunteers to help them get elected.

For Democrats in tough House races across the nation who were counting on students from nearby colleges to work as campaign volunteers and to vote, not having Dylan and people like him on campus is a looming political problem. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, nearly half of American college and universities are offering entirely or mostly virtual classes this fall according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, thereby scattering millions of students who might have been cajoled into voting for the first time and then motivated to support Democrats through peer pressure and appearances from big-name campaign surrogates. Polls consistently show college students skew Democratic by a 70-30 percent margin—the exact percentage, in fact, who said they planned to vote for Joe Biden in a poll of 4,000 students enrolled in four-year colleges by the Knight Foundation this August. So the absence of on-campus organizing is widely seen as an advantage for Republicans.

“That’s a really big deal for my

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Socially-distanced ‘Sip ‘n Stroll’ raises critical funds for the Ballard House

Updated


The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the Ballard House from offering free housing to patients seeking medical treatment in the area. It did, however, leave the nonprofit critically low on funding.

The Ballard House, a 501(c)(3) charity, has 40 living suites. Each suite is fully-furnished and features a private bath and kitchenette.

In an effort to raise funding for their mission of providing temporary housing free of charge for the individuals or caregivers seeking medical treatment in Katy, the Ballard House resumed its most popular fundraising event, the Katy Sip n’ Stroll at The ARK event center on Sept. 12.


Safety precautions abounded at the event as visitors sampled wines and bites from top wineries and local restaurants. The crowd was limited to 200 people. Each vendor wore masks and gloves. Visitors were asked to remain with their group and practice social distancing. Masks were required and could only be removed to eat or drink.



“Our biggest goal was to keep everyone safe,” said Kathy Alt, executive director of the Ballard House. “So we’ve taken every precaution, but it’s still a fun event.”


While funding fell short of the event’s typical $20,000 income, founding board member Chris Hiller was quick to note that any income from the event is beneficial to the charity. In addition to ticket sales, the Ballard House generated income from vendors, and the event featured a “wine pull” whereby guests could purchase a mystery bottle of wine for $10.


“This event is so important to us, because the Ballard House never shut down,” explained Alt. “We continued our mission throughout COVID. We have people there that are still pursuing their life-saving treatments, and without fundraising events, our funding is depleted.”

For the extra-cautious wine lover, the Ballard House also offered a “Virtual Sip n’ Stroll” on Sept. 11. Sommeliers live-streamed tastings for patrons who sipped along from the comfort of their homes.

While Alt hopes that fundraising events for the Ballard House will start to gain momentum as the community reopens, she emphasized that the organization is struggling to maintain operations as a result of financial setbacks from the pandemic.


“Donations are so important for us so we can continue to offer a

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Trump’s White House says critical race theory is anti-American. Here’s the truth.

Just before Labor Day, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought began a memo to federal agency heads with these words: “It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.” I doubt that President Donald Trump or Vought know specifically, but the memo apparently is referring to talking about “diversity training” or anti-racism training common in the private sector and for public employees. The memo singled out training in “critical race theory” and “white privilege” as examples of ideas “that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country.”

The memo singled out training in “critical race theory” and “white privilege” as examples of ideas “that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country.”

As a co-founder and current head of the nation’s first established program in critical race theory, the UCLA Law School Critical Race Studies Program, while dismayed at the caricature the memo represents, I recognize a teachable moment when I see it. Critical race theory is not racial demonization. Far from being anti-American, as Trump’s administration alleges, critical race theory aspires to the ideal of equality represented in our post-Civil War Constitution, an ideal we are far from achieving even 150 years later.

Critical race theory is a field of scholarship that arose in the legal academy in the 1980s, when a critical mass of African American and other law professors of color first coalesced. This first generation of critical race scholars sought to distinguish their ideas from those of liberal constitutional law scholars who put great faith in anti-discrimination laws and of far-left critical legal theory scholars who believed all law reform was designed simply to maintain the status quo.

Critical race theory both borrows from and departs from the liberals and the leftists in the legal academy. While the field is diverse, with many conversations and disagreements within it, critical race scholars rejected the nihilism that characterized the leftist critics who argued that equal rights served to legitimate ongoing subordination. Instead, critical race theory embraced the transformative vision of the long civil rights movement, replete with partial victories won through painful, protracted struggle, including the Reconstruction amendments to the Constitution after the Civil War and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of the 1960s.

Like the liberals, we recognize that those laws made a difference in the lives of those subordinated on the basis of race and national origin and represented the fruits of resistance to white domination. At the same time, we are more critical than the liberals about the limits of law to create institutional change. American history teaches us that white supremacy has a way of shape-shifting in response to law reforms, even when they are well-meaning.

This nation’s policing and police violence against Black and brown people illustrate what we mean. First, the roots of American policing are in militia-style slave patrols that

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The White House Is Right To Ditch Critical Race Theory

On September 4, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Russell Vought sent a memo instructing the heads of all executive departments and agencies to terminate programs “training government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”



a man wearing a suit and tie: OMB Director Russell Vought


© SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
OMB Director Russell Vought

Taken at face value, this directive seems like it should be uncontroversial. Sadly, nothing is uncontroversial in our sharply partisan society. Thus, the almost comically knee-jerk New York Times headline, “Trump Moves to Cancel Contracts for Government Sensitivity Training,” over an article referring to the canceled programs as “efforts that often focus on promoting awareness of racism.”

Critical theory is a belief system that has come to dominate academic social science; critical race theory applies it to racial issues. The fundamental idea guiding critical theory is that all existing social structures—family, employment, faith, government, etc.—represent exercises of raw power.

In critical theory, an individual’s actions and beliefs are insignificant. Your lot in life is determined by the group to which society has assigned you and the power relationships governing that group. Social structures emerge when one group declares its right to dominate or exploit another group.

Thus, for example, the Marxist class struggle between bourgeoisie (i.e., capitalists, or the rich) and proletariat (i.e., labor, or the poor) is a natural outgrowth of the way that economic structures preserve a manager’s right to exploit workers. And, according to critical race theory, the structures defining American society were all developed to preserve “white privilege.”

The OMB memo is absolutely right. Critical race theory is inherently divisive. It splits American society into racial groups and insists that the tension between them cannot disappear until we’ve eliminated all existing social structures. Thus, the platform of Black Lives Matter—a movement nominally focused on race-based police brutality—demands the end of the nuclear family; in critical theory, the family is a tool of exploitation.

Where Are Protests Against Racism And Police Brutality Going On In The US? Kenosha, Rochester And More

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Critical race theory is also inherently anti-American. It rejects the Judeo-Christian morality and the Anglo-American legal tradition that underpin our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It rejects the centrality of individual liberty and personal responsibility to the human condition. It concerns itself with power relationships among groups, rather than the actions of individuals.

When used as the basis of human resources training—like the programs OMB director Vought ended—critical theory teaches that all “white people,” “cisgendered males,” Christians and Jews are oppressors, while all “people of color,” women, Muslims and anyone under the LGBTQ umbrella are oppressed. “Justice,” in critical theory, requires elevating members of oppressed classes while denigrating, defaming, disadvantaging and debilitating oppressors.

In a twist that feels both ironic and inevitable, Jews—consistently the American minority most targeted in hate crimes—are held in particular contempt. College campuses, where critical theory reigns supreme, have become the epicenter of the anti-Semitic “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement, shockingly hostile to Jewish students and faculty.

Critical theory has determined

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Former officials critical of Trump are ‘disgruntled employees’

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday in an exclusive interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that her former colleagues who have criticized President Donald Trump after leaving their positions were “disgruntled employees” who “have tried to push their own agenda.”



a woman wearing a purple shirt: Sarah Sanders appears on "Good Morning America," Sept. 8, 2020.


© ABC News
Sarah Sanders appears on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 8, 2020.

Sanders, whose memoir was published Tuesday, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the cacophony of negative comments from former officials — including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — contrasted sharply with her own account because hers was “honest.”

“It’s really simple,” Sanders said. “I think mine is actually the honest account. You’re looking at people who have left as disgruntled employees, people who have tried to push their own agenda.”



a woman wearing a purple shirt: Sarah Sanders appears on "Good Morning America," Sept. 8, 2020.


© ABC News
Sarah Sanders appears on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 8, 2020.

Sanders’ book, “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House,” covers her years in the White House. She said it was “very candid, very authentic and shows you a different side of the president.”


MORE: A message for President Donald Trump from his niece: ‘Resign’

One voice critical of Trump — Retired Gen. John F. Kelly, a former White House chief of staff under Trump — has remained silent in the past several days after a report in The Atlantic last week said Trump had made disparaging remarks about members of the military.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos on why Kelly had not spoken out to defend the president, as Sanders and numerous other current and former officials had, Sanders said, “That’s a question you’d have to ask General Kelly.”

Sanders said she was present on the day Trump reportedly called fallen service members “losers” and “suckers” and that “those comments didn’t happen.” ABC News has not confirmed The Atlantic’s account.

In a later interview on “The View,” Sanders sidestepped a question from co-host Meghan McCain about Trump’s past “incendiary” comments about her father, the late Sen. John McCain, and other members of the military — and how that makes these allegations more believable even though they come from anonymous sources.

She said she “witnessed firsthand the president’s respect and admiration for the men and women of our armed forces.”

Pressed by McCain, Sanders later added, “There’s no denying the fact that not only did Donald Trump dislike your father, your father disliked the president.”

“I’m not saying that there weren’t some moments that were heated, that were not of the highest level of respect,” Sanders said, “but when it comes to who this president is, at his heart, and how he feels about the men and women of our armed services, I can say for my own experience he has a great level of respect.”

She said she was not present for an incident in 2017, when, according to The Atlantic, standing beside the grave of Kelly’s

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White House memo calls for ban on federal agencies conducting training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege” with taxpayer dollars

President Trump is ordering federal agencies to stop funding training on topics including “critical race theory” and “white privilege” with taxpayer dollars, according to a memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought that was released on Friday. 

“It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” Vought wrote in a letter to the heads of executive departments and agencies. 

Citing press reports that agencies have conducted training where employees are told that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” or that racism is “embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity,” Vought said trainings of that nature “run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our nation has stood since its inception.” 

In the letter, Vought told the agency heads to identify contracts or other spending related to training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” 

He further instructed the leaders to find ways to cancel the contracts and move federal dollars away from “these un-American propaganda training sessions.” 

Source Article

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Critical Analysis of the Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges is an acclaimed author of Latin American Fiction. He is known for the style of presenting his works through the literary device of magic realism. Throughout his works, he is fascinated with incoherent magical gaze of time, the multiple realities existing in labyrinths and he is adept to write commentaries on imaginary books which do not exist.

In the Garden of Forking Paths, the protagonist is a spy and the story is written on the backdrop of World War 1. His task is to transmit a secret message to his German counterparts. He is being pursued by Madden. He takes a journey by train to the house the renowned Sinologist Dr. Stephen Albert. There the discussion revolves around an unfinished book written by the Father of the protagonist. In the book multiple plots exist. For example: in one situation a man is a friend and in another an enemy and then rivals meet and shoot each other and then escape. The surprising part of the story is that the protagonist shoots Albert and then gets arrested by Madden. Borges reveals in the end that he is able to deliver secret of the bombing of a certain town by the Germans.

The narrative structure of the story is a straight forward one, going from the beginning to the end. The story follows the traditional lines of storytelling. The plot is not a very convincing one and reveals the struggle of the literary author to create it.

The protagonist who is a spy rather than being true his tradition is portrayed as a person who is interested in Literature. He is constantly contemplating about and incoherent manuscript of his ancestor, a created labyrinth. The author's interest in labyrinths is a paradoxical fictional ambiguity. Is there a 'trace' of meaning when one over throws or delves into the semantic structure of meaning. One comes to the emptiness of sign and what alone rests is a literary adornment. The writing of the authors resembles more of a commentary than a work of fiction.

The meaning of time is contemplated fictionally. Borges attributes multiple conjectures of time. First of all, there's time in the book which is linear one. Then there are many time zones of fiction where time is a made into an antic comic gesture of literary playfulness. For Borges, time is like Zeno's arrow, though moving, is stationary at every path. Yes, Borges has given to us the literary aspect of time, the internalized one that revolves around the ontology of being a human one of experiences. The time of Borges resembles that of the surreal painter Dali's melting clocks.

Though not many tropes are created, Borges goes to the extent of suggesting the metaphor. The whole story revolves around the symbolism of a metaphor. People, birds, sun rise, labyrinths and even time become metaphoric intrusions of the author's creativity. The story becomes an imaginary encyclopedia where fictional space is imaginary as well as resting on an exaggerated hyperbole …

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