‘Freedom’: Pence Offers First Defense Of Rose Garden Superspreader Event

Vice President Mike Pence offered up the first direct defense of the Rose Garden COVID-19 superspreader event to unveil Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, casting it as a matter of freedom of choice.

During Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Pence cast the Rose Garden event, where dozens are thought to have been infected with the virus, as an epiphenomenon of the larger pandemic.

Pence said that the story of both that pandemic and the Rose Garden event is not one of incompetence, or dangerous negligence on the part of the government. Rather, it’s a divide between those who love freedom and liberal statists who want to impose yet another mandate on the tired millions, yearning to breathe free.

“President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence said. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care.”

“We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people,” Pence added.

Pence framed that response not just as a defense of the Rose Garden event, however.

Rather, he teed up that divide as a way of accounting for the whole pandemic – and as a way of painting criticism of the Trump administration’s response as just another whine from the meddlesome left.

Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force since February, argued that when New York City, New Orleans, and Detroit were hit hard with COVID in March and April, the Trump administration “told the American people what needed to be done.”

“And the American people made the sacrifices,” Pence added.

In theory, those sacrifices have been made in part to allow the Trump administration to organize a coherent response to the virus, which would then allow us all to return to normalcy on a faster timeframe.

That did not happen.

Rather, as Pence pointed out, the Sun Belt was hit next.

“Americans stepped forward,” Pence intoned. “But the reality is, the work of the President of the United States goes on.”

And it was then, Pence added, that “a vacancy in the the Supreme Court has opened up.”

So, the Rose Garden superspreader event wasn’t just an expression of the Trump administration’s love of freedom. Rather, Pence implied, it was yet another milestone in the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of 210,000 Americans.

And in the world of Pence’s reply, that’s not a failure. It’s a simple result of the fact that the “work of the President of the United States goes on.”

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‘Smoke With Freedom’: Mexicans Get High in Marijuana Garden Outside Senate | World News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A cannabis ‘garden’ sprouting next to Mexico’s Senate building has become a smoker’s paradise, with Mexican stoners lighting up joints without fear of arrest.

The cannabis seeds sowed in a plaza by Mexico’s Senate by pro-marijuana activists in February have mushroomed into strikingly large plants, and become symbolic of a drive to legalize marijuana in a nation riven by drugs-related violence.

“Being able to smoke here (in the garden) in freedom is very important to me,” said Marco Flores, a barista sitting on a bench overlooking the Congress building.

“I no longer go out on the streets in fear”.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that laws prohibiting cannabis use are unconstitutional but the government is yet to draft legislation that would formally legalise marijuana, leaving pot-smokers facing criminal charges if caught smoking.

But in the garden run by pro-marijuana activists, people are allowed in for 30 minutes at a time and can light up in peace. So far police appear to be turning a blind eye to the practice, though it’s unclear how long that will last.

“It’s great that they have opened a space for people who are open to new experiences, or who want to find out a little bit about this subject,” said Carlos Diaz, another smoker. “They can come and check it out.”

For Jose Rivera, a cannabis activist, the garden is a tool to educate and offer ‘human rights’.

“We want (Mexican lawmakers) to understand that we are smoking quietly and that we are not a risk to anyone,” he said. “Enough of the mistreatment.”

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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A Burmese Kitchen That Combines Fidelity and Freedom

Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant that opened in Brooklyn this year just in time for the pandemic, is not precisely the place that its owners, Myo Moe and Daniel Bendjy, envisioned. Still, you should go.

Ms. Moe, the chef, would build her plates with more contrast and complexity if the world weren’t upside down. The rice noodles she serves in a spicy, salty, dark sauce of fermented black beans should be fatter, she says, but supply disruptions have forced her to settle for a narrower gauge. Try them anyway, along with the tea-leaf salad, even though the lotus root it should contain isn’t always available.

Takeout and delivery have kept Rangoon afloat since March, when the restaurant had to close its dining room while it was still in soft-opening mode. A number of dishes have been stripped down, made simpler and sturdier so they can be packed in disposable containers. Order them nevertheless.

For those whose mind wanders during Zoom meetings to thoughts of getting lost in the scent of lemongrass rising from the steam on a bowl of mohinga, the city can be a frustrating place, seemingly incapable of sustaining more than one or two Burmese restaurants at a time. The scarcity of the cuisine alone should make Rangoon a compelling destination, but it would be an exciting one even if tea-leaf salad were as common here as Jamaican beef patties.

Ms. Moe, who grew up in Myanmar, interprets the country’s cuisine with a blend of fidelity and freedom that seems new to the city. She doesn’t turn the knobs all the way up on fermented flavors, chile heat, pork fat and other intensifiers in an effort to to be heard over New York’s background noise, the way some chefs do. Instead she emphasizes the subtlety and freshness that Burmese cooks prize. Her ingredients demand attention — the rich, marbled pork shoulder she stews with tamarind pulp is one of the nicest pieces of meat I’ve had in a restaurant this year — and her seasonings repay it.

Ms. Moe and Mr. Bendjy, working with a Brooklyn architecture firm called Outpost, spent months transforming the dark shell of a defunct bodega into a minimalist white dining room. Early in the evening, pink light sifts in through a facade of hinged white metal panels perforated with a design taken from Victorian wallpaper. On the walls are old tinted photographs of Ms. Moe’s family in Myanmar, taken long before she and her parents emigrated from Yangon in 1992. Tables and counters are notched into corners and nooks of the compact space.

You won’t sit there. Even after Sept. 30, when they will be allowed to open their dining room again, Ms. Moe and Mr. Bendjy are going to keep seating everybody who comes to Rangoon in the back garden or out front, where a small street-dining platform built under the arching canopy of trees on a wide, stately block of Prospect Heights tries gamely to mirror the design of the interior: It’s

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Freedom Caucus pushing McCarthy to back long-shot effort to remove Pelosi as House speaker

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are trying to convince House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to back an effort to remove Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the chamber, an unrealistic long-shot effort happening less than seven weeks before Election Day.

McCarthy, R-Calif., on “The Ingraham Angle” Wednesday night said he is not interested in pursuing the move against the speaker, essentially dashing any hope the Freedom Caucus members — who occupy just about 40 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives — would have had of gaining traction in their effort.

“What I’m in favor of is defeating Nancy Pelosi and [Jerry] Nadler and all the others,” McCarthy said as he made his pitch for Republicans deposing Pelosi, D-Calif., the old-fashioned way — by winning elections on Nov. 3. “If we were able to remove Nancy Pelosi you’d have another Democrat. The real challenge would be we’re … four weeks away from [the] election, or 40-some days. These Democrats could actually vote against Nancy Pelosi, use it in their campaigns to say they’re not with her, even though they vote with her 95% of the time.”

MODERATE DEMOCRATS PRESSURE PELOSI, HOUSE LEADERSHIP TO MOVE ON NEW CORONAVIRUS BILL: ‘STOP THE STUPIDITY’

But if the vote is forced it could put moderate Democrats in the uncomfortable spot of backing the controversial Pelosi on the record or publicly spurning their caucus’ leader. The Freedom Caucus is known for its rabble-rousing antics in the House. Its members previously mounted an effort against former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, which was unsuccessful.

“I don’t think it’s the best move at this moment,” McCarthy continued. “I think the best move is win 218 seats and that defeats Nancy Pelosi.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., however, prodded Republican leadership to engage with the long-shot effort to remove Pelosi in a Wednesday night tweet.

REP. ANDY BIGGS: NANCY PELOSI NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM HER POST AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

“Isn’t it past time for Rep. Nancy Pelosi to leave her office as Speaker of the House?” he said. “I call upon our leaders in Congress to put forward the Motion to Vacate the Chair that has been prepared and merely needs to be brought to the floor.”

Biggs linked to a Sept. 7 Fox News op-ed in which he made the case for removing Pelosi — though the op-ed does not acknowledge the nearly nonexistent chance of success such a motion would have. Every Republican could vote for it, as well as double-digit Democrats in a campaign stunt that McCarthy says could help them in moderate districts, and Pelosi would still hold onto the speaker’s gavel.

“Pelosi recently referred to members of Congress who support President Donald Trump as ‘domestic criminals,'” Biggs wrote. “The left hates President Trump and the Americans who voted for him. In and of itself, it is a most despicable statement designed to divide the nation, but it shows a disregard for the institution itself.”

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