You are browsing the archive for 2020 December.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Trump is summoning supporters for a 'wild' time on the day the electoral vote will be finalized

December 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner

On Jan. 6, Mike Pence is scheduled to sit down in front of the Senate in his role as president of that body. Pence will open up the box of votes. Then Joe Biden officially wins. It’s an absolutely ceremonial role, defined under the Twelfth Amendment in these terms:

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;-The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President.

Despite the lawsuit filed by … sigh … Louie Gohmert, there is absolutely nothing in this amendment to suggest that Pence has a choice about opening that box, or any agency in determining what states get counted. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 only serves to underline this fact. Meanwhile, outside the doors of the Senate, Donald Trump has declared that the Wild Rumpus must begin! And really, there is no doubt that he is king of the monsters. What’s concerning is that Trump has spent weeks urging his supporters to come to Washington on that date for a protest that he insists will be “wild” and is definitely yet another swing at defeating democracy.

It’s recently become clear that some people who have had COVID-19 emerge from the disease with severe psychosis. But it’s hard to blame Trump’s actions on the virus. He was always this way.

As Rachael Maddow notes at MSNBC, Trump hasn’t made it clear exactly what he expects when he gathers together every white supremacist Proud Boy, every Hawaiian shirt wearing Boogalooer, and every other variety of neo-Nazi in one place. But Washington insiders are worried that Trump is leaning into the suggestion by disgraced former general Michael Flynn that he dust off the Insurrection Act, declare a national emergency, and order up a revote until the states he doesn’t like get it right.

As CNN reported back on Dec. 20, even Trump’s own staff is worried that he’s taking Flynn’s nonsensical suggestion too seriously. And as the last of the equally ridiculous lawsuits and challenges in state and federal courts fizzle out, getting Pence to simply not count the votes seems like the only move left in the Subverting …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Federal judge halts voter purges in Georgia ahead of Senate Runoffs

December 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Officials in two rural counties in Georgia late Monday were ordered by a U.S. district judge to stop invalidating voter registrations due to so-called “unreliable” change of address information, a ruling that could protect more than 4,000 Georgia residents from voter suppression.

After two Georgia residents challenged the voter registrations of people in Muscogee County, which President-elect Joe Biden won by a wide margin in November’s election, and Ben Hill County, which was won by President Trump, Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner ruled (pdf) that the counties are “enjoined from removing any challenged voters” ahead of two U.S. Senate runoff elections scheduled for January 5.

Earlier this month, the election boards in Muscogee and Ben Hill Counties voted 3-1 and 2-1, respectively, to remove voters from registration lists despite little concrete evidence that the voters had moved out of state.

In Muscogee County, a voter named Ralph Russell alleged that publicly accessible voter registration lists and U.S. Postal Service change-of-address records showed that about 4,000 voters had moved away and should be purged from voter rolls.

Russell did not attend the board’s meeting on December 16 and presented no additional evidence of his claim, yet the board ruled that voters he had raised concerns about would have to vote via provisional ballots and provide additional evidence of residency at polling places.

Fitzgerald, Georgia City Council member Tommy Roberts presented a challenge of about 150 voters’ names in Ben Hill County, also relying on the post office’s change-of-address data, which he said included names on the county’s voter list.

Against the advice of the county attorney, the board supported Roberts’ effort.

Both boards violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) by initiating the voter purges, wrote Gardner, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, siding with the national group Majority Forward. The group is led by Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias.

“It does not appear that the Boards received written confirmation from the Targeted Voters that they had changed their addresses,” wrote Gardner. “Section8(d)(1)(A) of the NVRA clearly states, in relevant part, that a ‘State shall not remove the name of a registrant from the official list of eligible voters in elections for Federal office on the ground that the registrant has changed residence unless the registrant…confirms in writing that the registrant has changed residence to a …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Democratic Party leadership is already expressing worries about AOC challenging Sen. Schumer for his seat

December 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

With more than a year to go until Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer faces a potential primary challenge for the seat he’s held for nearly two decades in New York, the state’s Democratic leadership is already expressing concern that progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will run against Schumer.

In an interview with the New York Post, state Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs said Saturday that a challenge by Ocasio-Cortez would be driven more by the congresswoman’s “ambition” than a need for new representation for New York in the U.S. Senate.

“She has a constituency that admires her and supports her, and they’re in her community, and I think it would be a loss for them if she were to do that,” Jacobs told The Post, despite the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s current constituents in The Bronx and Queens would still be represented by her in the upper chamber should she win Schumer’s seat.

Ocasio-Cortez has not directly expressed a desire to challenge the four-term senator, but has been vocal since she first ran for office in 2018 about her belief that the Democratic Party must better represent working people by embracing policy proposals that Schumer and other centrists reject.

Earlier this month, the congresswoman told The Intercept that while she is “not ready” to take over the role of House Speaker from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), she believes “we need new leadership in the Democratic Party.”

She directly criticized establishment Democrats’ embrace of the Affordable Care Act and their insistence that the law—which has left nearly 30 million Americans uninsured and healthcare spending on the rise—should be “strengthened” instead of replaced with Medicare for All.

“For me personally, it was when I was waitressing and I would hear Democrats talk about why the Affordable Care Act was so amazing all the time and how this is the greatest thing ever and the economy is doing wonderfully,” she told The Intercept of how she decided to run for Congress in 2018. “Frankly, it is the same trick that Trump pulls, which is, you know, people touting the Dow as a measure of economic success when we’re all getting killed out here.”

Although Jacobs described Schumer as “a progressive force,” he has not embraced Sen. Bernie Sanders’ …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Medical expert details why the vaccine rollout is a mess: 'They are again setting states up to fail'

December 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

During his appearances as a medical expert on MSNBC, Dr. Ashish K. Jha has expressed his excitement over the arrival of vaccines for COVID-19. But in a Twitter thread posted this week, Jha — a dean at the Brown University School of Public Health in Rhode Island and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute — expresses something else: frustration. As Jha sees it, the rollout of the vaccines in the United States is both too slow and too disorganized.

“Personally, I’m incredibly frustrated,” the 49-year-old Jha writes. “Did we not know that vaccines were coming? Is vaccine administration a surprise?”

Jha notes that in October, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar promised that 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of December — but by November, Azar was saying that 40 million doses would be ready to ship by that point. And earlier this month, Azar adds, Operation Warp Speed was promising 20 million doses by the end of the year.

“Now, we’ll miss (the) 20M deadline but might be able to get to 20M by sometime in early January,” Jha explains. “But this is really not the worst part. The worst part is no real planning on what happens when vaccines arrive in states. No plan, no money, just hope that states will figure this out.”

Jha goes on to voice his concern that underfunded health departments in individual states will have a hard time “adding vaccines to their plate.”

“Most are super stretched, and they are trying to make a plan,” Jha observes. “They are trying to stand up a vaccination infrastructure. Congress had given them no money. States are out of money. So many are passing it on to hospitals, nursing homes.”

Hospitals, Jha adds, are now “trying to figure out where to set up vaccination sites.”

Jha notes although “we have about 11.5 million doses distributed” and “about 2.1 million given,” the frustrating part is that “there appears to be no investment or plan in the last mile” and “no effort from feds to help states launch a real vaccination infrastructure.”

“Public health has always been a state/federal partnership,” Jha notes. “States are stretched. Feds are supposed to help. But (the) same folks who blamed states for (the) testing mess (are) now ready to blame states for vaccine slowdown. They are again …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The appalling reality is what Trump may get away with

December 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Robert Reich’s Blog

Most of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump – 46.8 percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election – don’t hold Trump accountable for what he’s done to America.

Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy.

Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message: Do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it.

The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in poor communities. But America’s most privileged and powerful have been breaking big windows with impunity.

In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the members of the Sackler family who own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.

Here, too, they’ve got away with it. These windows remain broken.

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all – American democracy.

The message? A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake media” and “enemies of the people,” and make money off his presidency.

And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his reelection.

A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of evidence – and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those who voted for him.

Trump’s recent pardons have broken double-paned …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Biden warns the Trump administration is endangering national security in the transition period

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

President-elect Joe Biden made it clear Monday that his incoming administration will be operating from a disadvantage on day one if the Trump administration didn’t start cooperating immediately.

“From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation … from others, most notable, the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department,” Biden said in remarks delivered after a briefing with his national security and foreign policy advisers.

“Right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the hand-off between administrations,” Biden said. “My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies.”

He then added, “We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit.”

Biden then called out the current administration for their “irresponsibility” in protecting the nation.

“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” he said. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility. Rebuilding the full set of our instruments of foreign policy and national security is a key challenge that the Vice President-elect Harris and I will face upon taking office, starting with our diplomacy.”

Watch the video below.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Laid-off worker says the new coronavirus relief bill is 'almost insulting'

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

After threatening to veto the coronavirus relief package that Congress recently passed, President Donald Trump relented and signed the bill over the weekend. Matthew Cox, an Indianapolis-based worker who has been slammed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed the bill during a CNN appearance on Monday — and told host Brooke Baldwin that it doesn’t do nearly enough to help someone in his position.

Trump implied he might veto the bill and said its direct payments of $600 per person were insufficient; the president wanted $2,000. And while Democratic leaders in Congress would have preferred $2,000, they agreed to $600 because congressional Republicans refused to increase the amount. In addition to that $600 direct payment, the bill includes $300 per week in jobless benefits, as well as additional funds to businesses and specific government programs.

Baldwin noted that Cox has been “unemployed since August” apart from some food delivery work and “lost his job and his savings after the pandemic hit.” Cox had been living in South Florida, where he was making $90,000 per year as a manager in the service industry. But after losing his job, he moved to Indianapolis because the cost of living is lower and his wife’s family lives there.

Cox told Baldwin, “It’s been hard. It’s been real hard. After things happened, I had to come home. I went through my entire 401(k). I went through everything I had.”

When Baldwin asked Cox to weigh in on the coronavirus relief bill that Trump has signed, he told the CNN host, “With what’s going on, honestly, it’s a kick in the pants….. We looked at $600 again — that’s really not going to help anybody. It’s kind of almost insulting…. For those of us who are making less money or no money, it doesn’t really do a whole lot for us.”

Cox, who has two children, added that he had been doing some deliveries for the food delivery service DoorDash — and his wife has been receiving disability funds. Cox said he has been making about $300 per week compared to the 90K he was making before the pandemic.

“I’ve had to borrow money from my family,” Cox told Baldwin. “I’ve …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The 'moderate' rot at the top of the Democratic Party

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Sometimes a couple of nominations convey an incoming president’s basic mindset and worldview. That’s how it seems with Joe Biden’s choices to run the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department.

For OMB director, Biden selected corporate centrist Neera Tanden, whose Center for American Progress thrives on the largesse of wealthy donors representing powerful corporate interests. Tanden has been a notably scornful foe of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing; former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota calls her “the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States.” Who better to oversee the budget of the U.S. government?

For Secretary of State, Biden chose his longtime top foreign-policy adviser, whose frequent support for U.S. warfare included pushing for the disastrous 2011 military intervention in Libya. Antony Blinken is a revolving-door pro who has combined his record of war boosterism with entrepreneurial zeal to personally profit from influence-peddling for weapons sales to the Pentagon. Who better to oversee diplomacy for the U.S. government?

“With few exceptions, Biden’s current policy positions are destructively corporate, deferential to obscene concentrations of wealth, woefully inadequate for meeting human needs, and zealously militaristic.”Standard news coverage tells us that Tanden and Blinken are “moderates.” But what’s so moderate about being on the take from rich beneficiaries of corporate America while opposing proposals that would curb their profits in order to reduce income inequality and advance social justice? What’s so moderate about serving the military-industrial complex while advocating for massive “defense” spending and what amounts to endless war?

Unless they fail to get Senate confirmation, Tanden and Blinken will shape future history in major ways.

As OMB director, Tanden would head what the Washington Post describes as “the nerve center of the federal government, executing the annual spending plan, setting fiscal and personnel policy for agencies, and overseeing the regulatory process across the executive branch.”

Blinken is ready to be the administration’s most influential figure on foreign policy, bolstered by his longstanding close ties with Biden. As staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden chaired the panel’s mid-2002 crucial sham hearings on scenarios for invading Iraq, Blinken helped grease the skids for the catastrophic invasion.

Overall, purported “moderates” Tanden and Blinken have benefited from favorable mass-media coverage since their nominations were announced several weeks ago. Most …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Republican congressmen go to war with each other over Trump's bogus fraud claims

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Far-right Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has joined President Donald Trump in refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect and pushing debunked claims of voter fraud. But another Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, is slamming Brooks’ voter fraud claims as nonsense, sparking a feud between the two GOP congressmen.

Kinzinger, according to Newsweek’s Jason Lemon, “has suggested that those backing the president’s conspiracy theories are doing so to raise money and garner more attention on social media” — and Kinzinger has dismissed the voter fraud claims as a “scam.”

When Brooks appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning, he accused the Illinois Republican of being soft on voter fraud.

“If he would do his homework,” Brooks told the “Fox and Friends” hosts, “he would understand the evidence is overwhelming. He can either surrender to the people who support voter fraud, election theft — or he can fight for his country on this particular issue.”

In truth, the wild claims Trump and his allies have pushed to back up the assertion that the election was stolen have been repeatedly debunked.

Brooks, on “Fox and Friends,” claimed that “dozens” of House Republicans might join him in objecting to the Electoral College results when Congress meets for a joint session on January 6.

“There are dozens in the House of Representatives who have reached that conclusion, as I have. We’re going to sponsor and co-sponsor objections to the Electoral College vote returns of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and maybe more depending on where we collectively want to go,” the Alabama lawmaker said.

Lemon, however, notes, “In order for the objections to be considered, a Republican senator must also sign on to a written objection. Although the effort is widely expected to fail, several GOP senators have suggested they may be open to supporting objections.”

Kinzinger, in contrast to Brooks, acknowledges Biden as the United States’ legitimate president-elect and has said that there is no proof of the type of widespread voter fraud that Brooks alleges. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Kinzinger stressed, “I grew up as a Republican because I believe in smaller …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

This Walter Reed doctor was ousted after criticizing Trump: 'I regret nothing'

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

An emergency room physician at Walter Reed Medical Center said he has no regrets after being ousted from his position following his public criticism of President Donald Trump’s bizarre joyride while hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Dr. James Phillips, who worked at Walter Reed during Trump’s hospitalization at the medical center in October, slammed the president for driving in a car with Secret Service agents to greet supporters while he was sick.

“Every single person…in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater,” Phillips tweeted in October before removing the post. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” he added in another tweet. “The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”

He later upped his criticism in an interview with NBC News, arguing that the president sent a message to “people who are sick that it’s okay to go out.”

“The reality is that this was a dangerous move,” he said. “There is no medical benefit for this to have taken place. It violates CDC guidelines that come from the president’s own administration.”

Phillips, the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, was removed from Walter Reed’s schedule beginning in January earlier this month, according to CBS News.

On Sunday, Phillips seemed to suggest his ouster was politically motivated.

“Today, I worked my final shift at Walter Reed ER,” he tweeted. “I will miss the patients and my military and civilian coworkers – they have been overwhelmingly supportive. I’m honored to have worked there and I look forward to new opportunities. I stand by my words, and I regret nothing.”

Officials at Walter Reed told CBS News that the hospital did not make the decision to remove Phillips from the schedule and said it “provides requirements for contract positions” and “schedules are determined by the contractor.”

Phillips’ contractor, GW Medical Faculty Associates, did not say whether it removed him from the Walter Reed schedule.

“While we cannot comment on the scheduling assignments of our providers, we can confirm that he continues to be employed at the GW Medical Faculty …read more

Source: ALTERNET