You are browsing the archive for 2020 December 11.

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This scathing Georgia ad nails GOP Sen. Perdue for fighting stimulus checks

December 11, 2020 in Blogs

By Daily Kos

Jon Ossoff makes things crystal clear for Georgians in this new ad: Any help coming from this Senate is not going to be for the people who are hurting the most. “When this pandemic hit, millions of Georgians like me had to file for unemployment,” the Georgia worker on camera says. “We needed our senator’s help. But for David Perdue we weren’t the priority. Senator Perdue voted to give hundreds of millions to big corporations, even if if they lay people off. But he fought against the $1,200 stimulus check for workers and supported cutting our unemployment benefits. Even at a moment like this, David Perdue is there for his donors but not for us.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with the full backing of Perdue, is blocking a COVID relief deal that had support from Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, and even the White House. Without his majority, he can’t hold the nation hostage. If you want help, if you want a $1,200 or $2,000 check, make sure Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff get elected. If McConnell stays in charge, no money, no help. If Democrats take the Senate, money.


“Priority” | Jon Ossoff for Senate

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Source: ALTERNET

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Trump's loyalty test exposes the GOP's hatred for democracy: 'Seditious abuse of the judicial process'

December 11, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

When Texas attorney general Ken Paxton first filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court demanding that all the votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — 10.4 million votes in total — be thrown out completely, the general media response was to call it a stunt. Paxton is under investigation for an alleged bribery scheme, and observers speculated that, by filing this ridiculous lawsuit, he is trawling for a presidential pardon from Donald Trump, whose recent pardon of his crony Michael Flynn has instilled hope among other GOP lowlifes that they can bribe Trump to do the same for them.

Yet even though this suit is widely dismissed as a joke, a slew of other elected Republicans joined the lawsuit on Thursday, lending support to Paxton’s argument that red states should be able to overturn the results of an election that didn’t end well for Republicans. So far, 17 Republican state attorneys general and 106 Republicans in the House of Representatives — more than half the GOP caucus — have signed onto amicus briefs supporting Paxton’s absurd demands that all the votes of the residents of these four states be destroyed. Six states have asked to join Paxton’s lawsuit directly. On Monday, only a couple of House Republicans — mainly Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — were willing to openly support Trump’s efforts to steal the election. Now it’s the majority of the House GOP caucus.

In doing so, these Republicans have outed themselves as opponents of democracy. There is no other way to read this, and no wiggle room to pretend otherwise. This isn’t about “voter fraud” or any of the other bad-faith gambits that Trump and his supporters are throwing out as distractions. It’s about throwing out entire state elections because they favored a Democrat.

And while Republicans in the Senate have not formally signed onto this assault on the concept of democracy, many have done so informally.

Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, Georgia’s two Republican incumbents who are competing in runoff elections on Jan. 5, have also publicly sided with Paxton. In other words, these two senators are literally asking Georgians to vote for them, while simultaneously demanding …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Delusions of fools': Conservative slams the GOP for 'beclowning itself' with a Supreme Court election case

December 11, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

More than 16 Republican attorneys general in states that President Donald Trump won in this year’s presidential election have signed onto Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the election results in four battleground states that Biden won: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin. But some on the right are attacking the lawsuit as deeply flawed, including radio host/blogger Erick Erickson — who has been a Trump supporter this year — and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Erickson is a far-right social conservative and evangelical Christian fundamentalist who endorsed Trump’s reelection campaign, not a Never Trumper, a libertarian or one of the people on the right who crossed party lines and supported former Vice President Joe Biden. But on his blog, Erickson slams Paxton’s lawsuit unmercifully, denouncing it as “one of the stupidest bits of performative leg humping we have seen in the last five years.”

“These attorneys general are willing to beclown themselves and their states all to get in good with the losing presidential candidate,” Erickson argues. “The suit is absurd on its face. These states seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other states when those states are not actually electing the president, but allowing their voters to choose members of the Electoral College. Were this to succeed, which it will not, the states will start suing each other at every election as a bit of theater.”

Erickson goes on to list a variety of reasons why the lawsuit is “absurd” — for example, “Texas alleges the other states changed election laws due to the pandemic without the legislature’s blessing. You know one state not being sued that did that? Texas.”

Erickson notes that the states that have joined the lawsuit “allege it is illegal to count ballots received after Election Day” — even though “several of the states making that claim also do that.” And Erickson points out that the lawsuit “argues (that) a sign of voter fraud is that it is not likely Trump 2016 voters would vote for Biden in 2020.”

According to Erickson, “Texas could not even get its solicitor general — the man who argues on behalf of the state before the Supreme Court — to sign onto the lawsuit. That’s how frivolous it is.”

He added:

I’m really tired of the Republican Party beclowning itself for a losing candidate out …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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White House threatens to fire FDA chief if the vaccine isn't approved fast: report

December 11, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

The White House has reportedly threatened FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn with the possible loss of his job if he does not approve the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the day.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke with Commissioner Hahn (photo, right) by phone on Friday, Axios reports, saying Meadows “hinted” that Hahn’s “job security might be in jeopardy.” Hahn has since denied pressure from Meadows.

The Washington Post first reported the exchange, saying “White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine by day’s end.”

Trump himself pressured Hahn very publicly Friday morning, tweeting for him to approve the “dam” vaccine “now.”

Axios calls it “one more example of the White House putting political pressure on the FDA to expedite its green light on a coronavirus vaccine.”

There’s essentially no chance that the vaccine will not be approved, after an FDA advisory committee on Thursday recommended approval.

But any suggestion that the FDA is rushing approval or cutting corners could have extremely negative affects on some, especially conservatives, who already are opposed to taking the vaccine.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Prosecutors zeroing in on Trump are 'escalating' their investigation: report

December 11, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Many articles have been written about the pardons that President Donald Trump is likely to grant during his final weeks in office, including perhaps a preemptive pardon for himself. But presidential pardons only exist at the federal level and not at the state level, which means that a preemptive pardon would have no effect on any charges that might come from a state prosecutor like Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. In an article published in the New York Times this week, journalists William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and David Enrich report that Vance’s office has been “escalating” its investigation of Trump’s financial activities.

The reporters explain that prosecutors in Vance’s office, according to sources, have interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank and insurance broker Aon — both of which the Trump Organization has had extensive dealings with. According to Rashbaum, Protess and Enrich, those interviews “are the latest indication that once Mr. Trump leaves office, he still faces the potential threat of criminal charges that would be beyond the reach of federal pardons.” Vance’s office, they report, has “stepped up its efforts, issuing new subpoenas and questioning witnesses, including some before a grand jury, according to the people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.”

However, the Times journalists note, “It remains unclear whether the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., will ultimately bring charges. The prosecutors have been fighting in court for more than a year to obtain Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, which they have called central to their investigation. The issue now rests with the Supreme Court.”

Rashbaum, Protess and Enrich explain, “Employees of Deutsche Bank and Aon, two corporate giants, could be important witnesses. As two of Mr. Trump’s oldest allies — and some of the only mainstream companies willing to do regular business with him — they might offer investigators a rich vein of information about the Trump Organization. There is no indication that either company is suspected of wrongdoing.”

Vance’s prosecutors, according to Rashbaum, Protess and Enrich, recently “questioned two Deutsche Bank employees about the bank’s procedures for making lending decisions, according to a person familiar with the interviews” …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why the 1918 Flu Pandemic Never Really Ended

December 11, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

After infecting millions of people worldwide, the 1918 flu strain shifted—and then stuck around.

An unthinkable 50 to 100 million people worldwide died from the 1918-1919 flu pandemic commonly known as the “Spanish Flu.” It was the deadliest global pandemic since the Black Death, and rare among flu viruses for striking down the young and healthy, often within days of exhibiting the first symptoms. In the United States, the 1918 flu pandemic lowered the average life expectancy by 12 years.

What’s even more remarkable about the 1918 flu, say infectious disease experts, is that it never really went away. After infecting an estimated 500 million people worldwide in 1918 and 1919 (a third of the global population), the H1N1 strain that caused the Spanish flu receded into the background and stuck around as the regular seasonal flu.

But every so often, direct descendants of the 1918 flu combined with bird flu or swine flu to create powerful new pandemic strains, which is exactly what happened in 1957, 1968 and 2009. Those later flu outbreaks, all created in part by the 1918 virus, claimed millions of additional lives, earning the 1918 flu the odious title of “the mother of all pandemics.

LISTEN: HISTORY This Week: The Deadliest Pandemic in Modern History

Deadly Virus Struck in Three Waves

The Spanish Flu Was Deadlier Than WWI (TV-PG; 5:42)

WATCH: The 1918 Flu Was Deadlier Than WWI

Jeffrey Taubenberger was part of the pioneering scientific team that first isolated and sequenced the genome of the 1918 flu virus in the late 1990s. The painstaking process involved extracting viral RNA from autopsied lung samples taken from American soldiers who died from the 1918 flu, plus one diseased lung preserved in the Alaskan permafrost for nearly 100 years.

Now chief of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Taubenberger explains that genetic analyses of the 1918 flu indicate that it started as an avian flu and represented a completely new viral strain when it made the leap to humans shortly before 1918. Lab tests of the reconstructed 1918 virus show that in its original form, the virus’s novel encoded proteins made it 100 times more lethal in mice than today’s seasonal flu.

The 1918 pandemic struck in three distinct waves over a 12-month period. It first appeared in the spring of 1918 in …read more

Source: HISTORY