White House dismisses criticism of persistent coronavirus supply chain problems as work of ‘useful idiot’

WASHINGTON — The White House is objecting to a new report from the Government Accountability Office that concludes that seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. continues to struggle with supply chain logistics that have led to shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.

The authors of the nearly 400-page GAO report were concerned that not only did those issues continue to persist, but that the Trump administration did not take them seriously enough. “As supply constraints continue,” those investigators wrote, “we found that [the Department of Health and Human Services] and [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] have not developed plans outlining specific actions the federal government will take to help mitigate remaining medical supply gaps needed to respond to the pandemic.”

Those challenges could soon be joined, and supplanted, by an even greater one: that of delivering a coronavirus vaccine to millions of people. The report warned that “without clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the federal response structure may be unable to respond to new supply chain challenges that could emerge.”

The report called for a “national plan” for vaccine distribution. No such plan exists. The lack of such a plan for diagnostic tests through the spring and summer led to competition, replication and confusion.

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House, however, painted the agency’s findings as an attack on the administration. “It is well-known that the GAO is neither non-partisan or independent but simply a useful idiot for the Democrat Party and Big Labor,” White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told Yahoo News in a response forwarded by the White House communications department. “Its bureaucrats lean heavily left and contribute equally heavily to Democrat candidates. In this election season, this new ‘report’ is without merit and simply an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign.”

GAO is an independent agency that reports to Congress, producing frequent reports on a wide range of government activities.

In response to the White House criticism, the GAO defended its report and conclusions. “For nearly a century GAO has been a source of non-partisan, fact based work for both sides of the aisle in Congress. We do work specifically at the request of both Congressional Chairs of Committees and the Ranking Members, and both turn to our subject matter experts when they are looking for facts,” Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Yahoo News. “The CARES Act was no exception, since it was passed with a high level of bipartisan support, and with mandates for GAO to look at how the law was being implemented. Also in this report, the agencies we looked at all got a chance to comment on our recommendations and in many cases, agreed with them. We followed the facts in this report, as we do in all our work, and we will continue to take that

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Peer Lord Bethell heard swearing in House of Lords after suffering tech problems



James Bethell wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building


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A health minister was heard swearing during a House of Lords coronavirus debate after suffering technology problems.

Lord Bethell mumbled “oh for f***’s sake” when his second attempt to deliver a speech on Covid-19 regulations via the internet was disrupted.

The House adjourned for five minutes to see if the technical problems could be resolved but the minister did not fare better on his second attempt.

His final words to the chamber were: “May I say something about local restrictions.

“Over the summer recess we have combined tightening restrictions in areas with outbreaks with the easing of business restrictions…. oh for f***’s sake.”

“Peer heard swearing during coronavirus debate”

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At this point, Lord Bethell cut out and Tory whip Baroness Penn completed his speech.



a room full of people: The peers were discussing Covid regulations at the time of the faux pas (HOL)


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The peers were discussing Covid regulations at the time of the faux pas (HOL)

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Baroness Jolly later joked: “It’s not always helpful to have a minister with dodgy connections.”

The Government also came under fire from all sides for taking so long to bring forward the regulations for debate given they were implemented in July and August.

They included the reopening of certain types of businesses and £10,000 fines for illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.



James Bethell wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Lord Bethell was plagued with technical issues during a Covid discussion (PA)


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Lord Bethell was plagued with technical issues during a Covid discussion (PA)

Conservative former minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, contributing virtually, said: “We are witnessing the strange death of parliamentary democracy in this country – there is no other way to describe the charade which we are involved today.

“Many of these regulations, as so many colleagues have pointed out, have long since taken effect. What are we meant to do?

“It’s government by press release… why are we not discussing the rule of six regulations today? This is the issue of the day. Why are we not discussing that?”

Lord Forsyth said the minister did “not have the courtesy to turn up to the House itself” and accused him of not answering questions.

He also added he could not visit his grandchildren in London but they could travel to see him in Scotland.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, another Conservative former minister, said: “I very much regret the retrospective nature of this debate.

“It is sad but reflects an all too cavalier attitude to the law which seems to be permeating thinking at present and it needs to stop.”

Non-affiliated peer Lord Mann warned nights drawing in could affect the public mood to new lockdown restrictions.

He said: “Our lockdowns and big wave of the virus was as we came into warm weather, into spring, every night was lighter.

“I put it to Government that the public mood was much easier then than it will be going into winter when every night gets darker, and particularly the effect on children will be quite different when there are no gardens or open spaces that people particularly

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Use these common kitchen ingredients to fix your digestion problems

There have been a lot of changes in our daily routine post the COVID-19 outbreak, including our eating habits, mealtime, sleep cycle, etc. All these can affect your gut health. Indigestion is one of the common problems people are dealing with right now. But it won’t be a good idea to take pills every time you have a digestive problem, instead, we suggest you go for natural remedies. Below are some simple ingredients from your kitchen that can help you fix your digestive issues. Also Read – Gastrointestinal disorders: 4 common types and how to treat them at home

Ginger

Ginger contains antioxidants and gingerols that help relieve indigestion and nausea. The phenolic compounds in ginger can reduce gastric contractions and relieve gastrointestinal irritation. This common kitchen ingredient can also help reduce inflammation in the stomach. If you’re suffering from indigestion, drink a cup of ginger tea or ginger ale. Also Read – From easing digestive issues to beating depression, cardamom can fix many health problems

You can also prepare a concoction using a teaspoon of fresh ginger or dried ginger, a pinch of rock salt and lime juice. The combination of these three ingredients works wonders for an upset stomach. Drink it before your meal. Also Read – 5 drinks to boost digestion after weekend overeating

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and other minerals that are essential for digestion. For years, people have been using this common kitchen ingredient to treat digestive issues like indigestion, gas, and bloating.

ACV can stimulate digestive juices and help combat constipation. As it is naturally acidic, it helps break down fats and prevents acid reflux or heartburn. For people with low stomach acidity, it may help raise stomach acid levels to aid digestion and prevent gas and bloating. Dissolve some vinegar in warm water and drink it before a meal.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea has been consumed for centuries as a natural remedy for a wide range of health issues, including indigestion, sleep disorder and anxiety. It can soothe gut discomfort and cure indigestion by reducing stomach acid in the gastrointestinal tract. It is also an effective remedy for irritable bowel syndrome. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties help stop stomach pain.

Put chamomile flowers into a teapot and add hot water. Cover the teapot and let it infuse for 2 to 3 minutes. You can also add sugar or honey to enhance the taste. Strain and serve.

Baking soda

This easily available kitchen ingredient is one of the best home remedies to boost your gut health and tummy woes. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water and drink this mixture every morning. This will help maintain a healthy pH balance throughout the digestive system for optimal digestion, neutralize stomach acid and relieve indigestion, bloating, and gas.

Carom seeds

Carom seeds, also known as ajwain, are used as Ayurvedic medicine to cure various digestive conditions. Thymol, a chemical compound

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Battleground states ‘face risk of serious problems’

WASHINGTON — Key battleground states “face the risk of serious problems” in the Nov. 3 presidential election, House Democrats warned on Wednesday. The warning comes ahead of a House hearing on electoral integrity, and amid worries over how millions will vote across the nation in the midst of the pandemic.

The new report, from the coronavirus subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee, examined election preparedness in Texas, Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin. Florida and Wisconsin, in particular, are crucial to the electoral prospects of President Trump, who may need to win them both to fend off a challenge from Joe Biden, his Democratic rival. 

Democrats, meanwhile, would like nothing more than to make inroads in Texas and Georgia, longtime Republican strongholds where Democratic overtures have been increasingly successful in recent years.

The new report, which was obtained by Yahoo News ahead of its public release, warned of “inadequate polling places and shortages of poll workers.” It also noted that “these risks are exacerbated by state policies restricting mail-in voting and early voting.” Trump has railed against voting by mail as a fraudulent exercise that helps Democrats, though there is no evidence that is true.

Rep. James Clyburn and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote a report warning that battleground states face a risk of serious electoral problems. (Graeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. James Clyburn and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote a report warning that battleground states face a risk of serious electoral problems. (Graeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images)

The subcommittee is headed by Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., a member of the House Democratic leadership, and whose endorsement of Biden was crucial to helping the former vice president secure a victory in the Democratic primary. As head of the coronavirus subcommittee, Clyburn has been an unsparing critic of virtually every part of Trump’s pandemic response, including preparations for the presidential election.

In recent weeks, Clyburn and other Democrats have trained their attention on Trump and the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a longtime Republican operative with no prior experience in the federal bureaucracy. Democrats say DeJoy is trying to make it more difficult to vote by mail in order to help Trump, who could benefit from lower voter turnout. DeJoy, who votes by mail — as do Trump and many top administration officials — has denied subverting postal operations to meet the president’s political needs.

Shortly after the release of the new report, the coronavirus subcommittee is to hold a hearing, “Ensuring a Free, Fair, and Safe Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Among those testifying on Wednesday afternoon will be Kerry Washington, the Emmy-nominated star of the hit political TV drama “Scandal.” Her (virtual) presence on Capitol Hill will underscore the widespread concern about voting in what many Americans, including Trump himself, are describing as the most consequential presidential election in the nation’s history.

The report, issued on Wednesday morning, highlights several problems in the four states the coronavirus subcommittee chose to examine. And it calls on governors to take charge on the issue, instead of simply leaving those problems for county-level officials to resolve. 

Texas, Florida and Georgia all became coronavirus hot spots

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Problems Selling Your House? Here Are the Reasons Homes Don’t Sell

If your house has been on the market for many months without receiving any offers, what might be the problem? Of course when the economy is down, houses do not move as quickly. But right now the housing market seems to be coming back. Many houses are moving quite quickly. If you are frustrated by the lack of interest shown in your house, perhaps you should consider the following suggestions.

Is your house competitively priced? Today many houses are selling quickly because prices are still down and interest rates are at an all time low. This is not a good time to be asking more for your house than its true market value. Buyers have many house options and most couples will not overpay for a house — even yours!

How do you know if your home is priced fairly? The method used by most real estate agents is to compare your house with similar homes that were sold in your neighborhood. It is important not to compare apples with oranges. If your house is a ranch you cannot compare it to a two story home. Comparable houses should have approximately the same square footage and lot size, the same number of bathrooms and bedrooms, and should be approximately the same age and construction.

Oftentimes the homes that sold did so for a range of prices. For instance, your agent may tell you one house sold for $200,000, while another sold for $250,000. When that happens you should look at the two homes and compare other features. For instance, the higher priced house may have had an updated kitchen with new appliances, new hardwood floors and perhaps a finished basement.

The lower priced house may have had none of those. You may think you can automatically price your house at the high end of the price range. If your house has all the same new features you probably can. However, if your house is more like the lower priced house, then you need to face reality.

Should you make improvements on your home to bring up the price? Yes and no. You don’t want to spend $50,000 on a new kitchen and a finished basement if all you are going to get back is your initial investment. However, there are improvements you can make that offer you a good return.

Curb appeal is very important. Make sure your lawn is in tip top shape and it is mowed and edged. Flower beds should be weed free and freshly mulched. Bushes and hedges should be trimmed and no debris should be found in the yard.

Fresh paint is an inexpensive improvement, but will make a big difference. Also, make sure you deep clean hour house from top to bottom. If for some reason you are not able to do this, spend a few hundred dollars and have professionals come in and thoroughly clean everything.

If your house is priced right, and everything is sparkling, fresh and clean, your house will sell. …

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How to Sell Your House to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor – Can They Really Solve My Problems?

So you need to sell your house but you are on short time constraints. By you being stuck in a bad economy and Realtors selling houses slower than ever how in the world are you going to be able to sell an unwanted house? Well welcome to the New Year ladies and gentleman. In the new decade you have several options selling your house. Now you can sell your house to your local We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor that will put cash in your pocket within 30 days.

Selling your house to a We Buy Houses Investor is a fast, hassle free, straight forward, no strings attached a way to sell your house in any market. Selling to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor can be the answer to all of your real estate problems. It does not matter if you live in Baltimore, Virginia, Prince Georges County, Washington DC, Florida, California or surrounding areas. We Buy Houses Real Estate Investors can buy your house in any area / any condition. You will literally get a offer within 24 hours.

When you sell your house to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor you will benefit because …

1. You can sell your house usually within 30 days

2. You sign a short, no hassle, straight to the point contract and as soon as you sign that contract you will find yourself at the closing table collecting your check in no time.

3. You can sell your house in its as-is condition. We Buy Houses Investors love to do the dirty work. They deal with houses filled with trash, cracked windows, damaged roofs, fire damaged, inherited houses, any situation, they know what its like to be in a messy situation! A + Neighborhood Homebuyers is a full service real estate investment company based in Baltimore, MD that buys five to ten houses a month. They have helped homeowners in Washington DC, PG County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Woodlawn, Randallstown, Owings Mills, Fort Washington, District Heights, Northern Virginia, Toledo, Ohio, and Harrisburg, PA.

4. You can sometimes avoid unwanted fees. Liens, property taxes and code violations are no problem for We Buy Houses Real Estate Investors. They successfully buy houses and usually pay all the unwanted fees at settlement to put more money in your pocket at settlement. We Buy Houses Investors mission is to help you put your problems behind you they will do anything in their power to make the process easier for you. It does not matter if you live in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC, in most situations they will pay off any unwanted or hidden fees that were placed on your house.

We Buy Houses Investors are the right people to call if you just want to get rid of your Maryland, DC or Virginia House. If they agree on a price you will be at the closing table collecting your check before you can even blink your eyes. This is a straight to …

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