You are browsing the archive for 2020 December 31.

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Trump and McConnell are finally breaking up

December 31, 2020 in Blogs

By BillMoyers.com

December 29, 2020

There is definitely a feeling of change in the air. For all his continuing insistence that he won the 2020 election, Trump is a lame duck.

Today’s complicated fight in the Senate over the one-time stimulus payment of $2000 illustrated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), not Trump, now controls the Republican caucus. Trump originally refused to sign the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the bill that contains the coronavirus relief measures, because he claimed he objected to its meager $600 stimulus payments. Six hundred dollars was the amount his negotiators had demanded, but he suddenly said he wanted them to be $2000. Democrats in the House jumped on Trump’s demand for the higher payment and they passed a measure on Monday to increase the payments to $2000.

Trump had attacked the bill largely because he is angry at McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) (a whip keeps party members in line behind the party leader) for acknowledging Biden’s victory in November. He was trying to illustrate his power by refusing to sign the bill at all. But Sunday night he gave in without winning anything, and yet continued to say he wanted higher payments. The House was happy to give him what the Democrats had wanted all along, but today Trump lost the showdown in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the measure, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) killed it. This enabled the two embattled Republican Senate candidates from Georgia both to support Trump and to claim they wanted higher payments, all without actually having to vote for the higher payments. McConnell bested Trump all around: he had no intention of raising those payments no matter what Trump tweeted… and he didn’t.

Trump’s influence in Washington is waning in other ways, too. Yesterday, the House repassed the National Defense Authorization Act over Trump’s veto. Trump claims to object to the bill for a number of reasons, including that it will require that military bases currently named for Confederate generals be renamed, but this is the measure into which Congress put the Corporate Transparency Act I wrote about a few days ago. It will undercut the country’s plague of so-called shell companies, which enable money laundering and other criminal activity because they are owned and operated …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A pro-Trump lawyer is under fire from ex-colleagues accusing him of assault and severe delusions: report

December 31, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Far-right attorney L. Lin Wood has been in the headlines a great deal in recent weeks because of his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and his unhinged tweets, including a December 1 post in which he predicted that the United States is “headed to civil war” and called for President Donald Trump to “declare martial law.” But according to some former law partners, Wood’s behavior was unhinged long before the election.

The ex-partners are Nicole Wade, Jonathan Grunberg and Taylor Wilson, who left the firm L. Lin Wood, P.C. and formed their own firm, Wade, Grunberg & Wilson, LLC.

Law & Crime reporter Adam Klasfeld explains, “The former partners claimed that their relationship with Wood spanning roughly half a decade started deteriorating late last year as Wood began to exhibit ‘erratic, hostile, abusive and threatening’ behavior.”

In a legal brief, they allege that the Atlanta-based Wood physically attacked Grunberg and Wilson. The attorneys wrote, “In the fall of 2019, defendant Wood also committed assault and battery on Grunberg in an elevator of a hotel during an out of town deposition. In both assaults, there was essentially no reason whatsoever for the attack, and defendant Wood later acknowledged and apologized for this violence.”

The attorneys also allege, in the complaint, that “Wood has admitted to these assaults on multiple recordings” and that he has made anti-Semitic comments. On February 17, 2020, they allege, Wood left a voicemail for Grunberg saying, “You look in the mirror, and you’re gonna see a Chilean Jewish fucking crook.”

Wood’s clients have ranged from Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse to the late Herman Cain (who ran for president in 2012) to Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won a congressional race in Georgia this year and is known for promoting the QAnon conspiracy cult. And Wood has allied himself with Sidney Powell, another far-right pro-Trump attorney, on some of her election lawsuits.

Wood’s ex-partners allege that he has a history of comparing himself to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump goes on delusional New Year's rant as coronavirus deaths spike to highest level ever

December 31, 2020 in Blogs

By Raw Story

Donald Trump on Thursday celebrated the end of 2020 with an upbeat video message where he used xenophobic language to describe the novel coronavirus and claimed that he is receiving calls from around the globe thanking him for his response to the pandemic.

Trump’s comments came one day after the United States set a new record for COVID-19 deaths.

“3,927 people died of Covid-19 in 24 hours in the US, according to a count released by Johns Hopkins University, a new daily record for fatalities from the virus,” AFP reported Wednesday. “That brought the US total to 19,715,899 infections and 341,845 deaths since the pandemic began.”

The surge in death comes against the backdrop of the Trump administration failing to meet their own goals for vaccinations.

“Nearly 2.8 million people in the U.S. have received 1st dose of #covid19 vaccine. 20 million vaccinations were promised until recently. Before that, 100 million,” Dr. Leana Wen noted on Thursday. “We need to ramp up speed ASAP.”

Nevertheless, Trump declared victory.

“They said it would take a medical miracle and that’s exactly what it is,” Trump argued.

“Years from now they’ll be talking about it, they’ll be talking about this great, great thing we did with the vaccines,” he predicted.

“We’ve already begun a nationwide vaccination program and we’re sending the vaccine all over the world,” Trump said, despite the shortages of the vaccine in America.

“The world will benefit, we’ll benefit, and everybody is calling to thank me,” he claimed.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why the mutant coronavirus is ‘a potential catastrophe’: report

December 31, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Many health officials are being asked whether or not they believe that the new COVID-19 variant that has been spreading rapidly in the U.K. could reduce the efficacy of the vaccines now being distributed. Socoiologist Zeynep Tufekci notes that so far, “many scientists” believe that this variant “will not decrease vaccine efficacy much, if at all.” But Tufekci, in an article published by The Atlantic on the last day of 2020, also warns that even if the variant slamming the U.K. doesn’t limit the vaccines’ efficacy, the variant’s arrival is still terrible news.

“A more transmissible variant of COVID-19 is a potential catastrophe in and of itself,” explains Tufekci, a native of Istanbul, Turkey who now lives in the United States. “If anything, given the stage in the pandemic we are at, a more transmissible variant is, in some ways, much more dangerous than a more severe variant. That’s because higher transmissibility subjects us to a more contagious virus spreading with exponential growth — whereas the risk from increased severity would have increased in a linear manner, affecting only those infected.”

Tufekci adds, “Increased transmissibility can wreak havoc in a very, very short time — especially when we already have uncontrolled spread in much of the United States. The short-term implications of all this are significant, and worthy of attention, even as we await more clarity from data. In fact, we should act quickly, especially as we await more clarity — lack of data and the threat of even faster exponential growth argue for more urgency of action.”

Some cases of the new COVID-19 variant have already been found in the U.S. And Tufekci stresses that even though this variant doesn’t appear to be any more likely to kill the infected person than the familiar COVID-19 strain that has been raging in the U.S., the fact that it is so infectious is major cause for concern.

“Severity increases affect only the infected person,” Tufekci explains. “That infection is certainly tragic, and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Disappointing': Fauci admits the Trump administration's vaccine rollout is not living up to its promises

December 31, 2020 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is not pleased with the Trump administration’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

During an appearance on “The TODAY Show,” Fauci expressed concern about the slow distribution of the vaccine as he shared details about the year-end goal he had in mind.

“We would have liked to have seen it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today by the end of the 2020, which was the projection,” Fauci said on Thursday, Dec. 31. “Obviously, it didn’t happen, and that’s disappointing.”

Fauci went on to discuss the additional effort needed where resources are concerned. According to the nation’s top infectious disease expert, there will likely need to be serious changes in the coming weeks to effectively vaccinate a substantial number of Americans.

“There really has to be a lot more effort in the sense of resources for the locals, namely, the states, the cities, the counties, the places where the vaccine is actually going into the arms of individuals,” he said.

However, he did admit that there is a silver lining. Despite President Donald Trump’s continued efforts to undermine science and the recommendations regarding public health, Fauci believes science will ultimately prevail as more vaccines will likely be made readily available over the next few months.

“The good news is that science has and will come to the rescue getting us vaccines,” he said. “More than one vaccine, hopefully, five, six, seven or more vaccines throughout the world, that will get us out of this and put this in the rear-view mirror, behind us.”

As of Thursday, Dec. 31, the United States has reported a total of 20,260,964 positive coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 351,697 Americans have also died due to complications of coronavirus.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET