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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}


Pfizer Vaccine Could Begin Distribution Next Month

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Nov. 7, Pfizer released a kind of sneak preview of the first batch of data from phase 3 trials of the vaccine developed in partnership with German firm BioNTech. The news that the vaccine appeared to be 90 percent effective was a huge relief, as it showed the basic idea of targeting COVID-19's "spike protein"—an approach taken by many of the vaccines in development—was valid. It also spawned some satisfying outrage from Donald Trump supporters, who accused the pharmaceutical giant of holding off on announcing results until after the election.

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Foreign Leaders Rush To Congratulate Biden And Harris

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Remember when America wasn't constantly standing alone? When we weren't the only nation to withdraw from the Paris Agreement? When we weren't the only nation to destroy the treaty that prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons? When we weren't the absolute worst nation in the world when it comes to our response to the COVID-19 crisis?

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Biden Pulls Ahead In Georgia And Pennsylvania To Secure Victory

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

For those who sat up all night alternating refreshing data from the Georgia secretary of state and checking the latest releases from Pennsylvania, searching for that magic moment … it was a long night. But magic did arrive in the early hours of Friday as Joe Biden pulled ahead in Georgia. Best of all, it pulled ahead when the votes from Clayton County—John Lewis' former district—were reported. Just another reminder that the nation owes a tremendous debt to the Black voters who are once again set to deliver a victory that has leaned far too hard on their support.

Not only was it the heavy turnout of Black voters in Georgia that has flipped the state blue, not only was it the tireless organizing of Stacey Abrams who has again illustrated an unmatched understanding of her home state, but it was the protests following the police murder of George Floyd which sparked, not just marches, but a surge of new Democratic voter registrations. Black voters took their concerns to the polls. And this time they damn well get something to show for it, if the nation and the party expect a next time.

During the early morning hours, a batch of just over 30,000 votes came in from the Philadelphia area. Those votes completely erased Trump's 18,000 vote lead at that time and put Biden ahead 3,295,304 to 3,289,717.

Biden's lead in Pennsylvania is expected to grow significantly.

In other contests:

Alaska: Donald Trump still leads after no new votes were reported overnight.

Arizona: Joe Biden is still holding onto a 47,052 vote advantage after a 75,000 vote update from Maricopa County and several small updates came in overnight. About 275,000 ballots are still thought to be outstanding. To win the state, Trump would have to take those votes by around 56%, which is pretty much on track with what has happened so far in post-election tallies. However, there are reasons to believe that the votes remaining are less Trump friendly. In any case, it's likely to be close.

Georgia: Biden has pulled out to a 1,096 vote advantage. There are roughly 10,000 ballots remaining, however these might not include around 7,000 military ballots and expat ballots that could arrive as late as today. In any case, Biden's advantage here will likely grow, but don't expect a call on the state until things are a little more definitive.

Nevada: Biden has an edge of 11,438 votes. About 51,000 votes remaining from highly Democratic Clark County, which is why so much legal attention from Trump's team is focused on the pretense that the voting there is somehow "illegal." That includes an illegal use of the postal database to suggest that there are voters who have changed residence but still voted in Clark County, and the use of a woman who claims to be a victim of voter fraud, but may be the only known case of someone actually trying to vote twice in the whole state. In any case, expect Biden's edge to grow when more votes are added around 2PM ET—at which point the state may be called.

North Carolina: No change overnight, with Trump still holding a 76,000 vote advantage. There's no reason to believe what's still outstanding in the state will add it to team blue, though some people are feeling more hopeful after seeing the slow trend toward Biden in Georgia.

Pennsylvania: This state is, of course, the ballgame. Biden could lose all the other remaining states if he took home Pennsylvania. With Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Nevada, Biden would lock up a substantial victory that rebuilt the "blue wall," made a foray into the South, and added a new wall across the Sunbelt from California to New Mexico. Overnight, Biden added about 43,000 votes to Trump's 13,000. A similar ratio is expected across the remaining votes, which should easily reverse the 18,000 vote edge Trump currently holds. The status of Pennsylvania really could change … any minute now.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service has increased its protection over Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Like the FAA's setting of a protective circle around Biden's home, this isn't an official confirmation. But it is a sign that behind the scenes the people who are responsible for protecting the president believe that title is going to go to Biden.

Oh, and also Donald Trump made a speech that was all lies, horribly corrosive to the nation, and openly encouraging of authoritarian actions and violence. As expected.

Trump’s Super-Spreader Rally Tour Caused At Least 30,000 COVID-19 Cases

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It's been clear from the beginning that Donald Trump's no-mask, no-social distancing, no-common sense rallies were a very bad idea. Trump's very first COVID-era event in Tulsa took that city to record numbers. It also marked the very last public appearance of former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain before he died of the virus. But then, Trump probably thinks that Cain had the wrong kind of genes.

There's been a lot of reporting about individual cases and clusters of COVID-19 associated with Trump's events. The number of cases associated with the Amy Coney Barrett introduction event, including Trump's own, was a vivid reminder of just what an awful idea it is to gather even a smaller group of people at a time when the pandemic is exploding across the whole nation.

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Fake Hunter Biden File Promoted By Bannon Has A Completely Fake ‘Author’

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The story of the big Republican October surprise goes like this: Sometime in April last year, someone walked into a Delaware computer repair store and dropped off not one, but three waterlogged laptops. The store owner is legally blind, so he couldn't identify the person. And his security camera was on the fritz, so no pictures. The store owner also failed to collect a name, phone number, address, or a payment for any of these laptops. However, he's pretty sure that the computers belong to Hunter Biden, who lives in California, because one of them has a sticker for a local charity that has trained at least 2,000 people in the Wilmington area alone.

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Why Rudy Giuliani’s ‘October Surprise’ Blew Up In His Face

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

There's a basic problem with the story that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been pushing about Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine: It's a lie. Of course, this is politics, and the fact that the story is simply lacking in any facts isn't necessarily an issue. The real problem with this lie is that it's an obvious lie. An extremely obvious lie. One that they've been trying to pass off for more than a year.

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New COVID-19 Infections Explode As Trump Says We’re ‘Turning Corner’

At the debate in Nashville on Thursday evening, Donald Trump once again insisted that the nation had turned the corner on coronavirus, and that COVID-19 was going to "go away." But if any corner has been turned, it's the one leading to Disaster Street. Because as Trump was speaking, the last states were reporting in—bringing with them what could be a single-day record for new cases.

According to NBC News, Thursday's tally was 77,640 positive test results. That breaks their previous day record of 75,723 set back on June 29. The number comes as part of a "third surge" of cases in the U.S. However, unlike the peaks that were reached in April and July, this rise isn't driven by a wave of cases in a single region. Instead, COVID-19 cases are rising sharply in a number of regions.

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Trump Hotels Reap Hidden Profits From State Department

Donald Trump makes a big show of giving away his annual paycheck to some agency each year. He can afford to, since the Secret Service has rewarded him with two years' worth of pay just in the money it has spent on golf carts. Really. And then there's the money that the Air Force has dropped at Trump's Scottish golf resort. And how Trump has doubled the dues at several of his clubs so that people wanting insider access have to pony up at least $200,000 to bend his elbow in the buffet line (for the buffets that they are still having despite COVID-19).

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Following Week Under Intensive Care For Covid, Christie Admits He Was 'Wrong' To Shun Mask

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

What do you get if you take people who enjoy how white privilege gives them advantages in society, how male privilege lets men dictate the lives of women, and how social privilege buffers the wealthy from economic misfortunes that beset millions of Americans? The Republican Party. And at the top of the Republican Party is a reliable layer of wealth, white males whose privilege on top of privilege on top of privilege has left them so isolated that their empathy muscles have atrophied away to dust.

Take Chris Christie. In addition to being the man who famously thought it would be hilarious to punish thousands of commuters to demonstrate his power over a local mayor, the most recent appearance of Christie in the news came following questions over whether he encouraged Donald Trump to try and make Joe Biden stutter. Then he got sick. Now, after spending a solid week in the ICU, Christie has been gifted an epiphany: COVID-19 is bad.It might seem that having 220,000 Americans die—including 16,300 in New Jersey—would be enough of a signal that COVID-19 was serious business and every step should be taken to avoid catching it or spreading it to others. But there's that empathy problem again: For guys like Christie, it's not an issue until it happens to them.

So on September 26, as Trump was rolling out Amy Coney Barrett to a superspreader event featuring over 100 Republican "stars," Christie was right there, walking around without a mask, shaking hands, getting in people's faces, and sucking down coronavirus. Inside and outside on that day, Christie seemed to operate with the same general disdain for the disease that Trump and his followers have demonstrated both before and after that day. That was, as Christie now admits, a bad idea.

In a statement to The New York Times Christie wrote, "I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team." And Christie goes on to write, "I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others."

It would be nice if part of his next debate prep for Trump included having him repeat that message, because on Thursday night, Trump once against refused to say that he had been wrong about not insisting on masks and explained that "85% of people who wear masks catch coronavirus." When NBC host Savannah Guthrie attempted to correct him, Trump steamed on, saying, "That's what I heard and that's what I saw."

Actually, the 85 percent survey comes from a questionnaire in which patients who have contracted COVID-19 were asked about their habits. And 85 percent said that they "always" or "usually" wore a mask in social distancing situations. But then … what are they going to say? Any other box on the form might as well be labeled "Nope, I got this disease through my own foolishness or by following the example set by Donald Trump."

How effective is wearing a mask in real life? Winding back the clock to early summer, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey enthusiastically threw off social distancing guidelines and became one of the most vocal supporters of Trump's calls to "reopen" everything. When cities and counties in his state issued mask mandates, Ducey even issued a order blocking all such regulations. Which is how by early June, Arizona has sailed to the top of the charts on new COVID-19 cases. As hospitals filled and death rates raced up, local officials begged Ducey to relent.

Finally, on June 18, after weeks of refusing to issue a mandate, Ducey relented and allowed local authorities to create mandates in their areas. Which they did. So how is that going? As Arizona Central reports, the rate of COVID-19 zoomed up after Ducey removed restrictions at the end of May. But for those areas that implemented mask mandates, new cases of COVID-19 fall 75% in the following six weeks. That number is almost perfectly in line with what experts have predicted if there was a general mandate to wear masks.

Christie, who received both first-rate care and yet another of those experimental monoclonal antibody "cocktails" unavailable to normal COVID-19 patients, is now feeling better. But if he wants to show that he's actually grown a heart at least one grinch-size larger, he needs to convince Trump to issue a national mask mandate.

Friday, Oct 16, 2020 · 1:08:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time · Mark Sumner

From a Christie statement released on Friday.

"No matter what you're doing, you should have a mask on and you should try to remain socially distant from folks. I did it for seven months and I stayed healthy. I didn't do it for four days and I wound up in the ICU."

Giuliani’s Big Biden Scoop Looks Like A Kremlin Frameup

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Wednesday morning, the New York Post broke the genuinely unbelievable story about a soggy laptop with a hard drive that contains emails suggesting that Joe Biden had a previously unreported meeting with a Ukrainian businessman … and video of Hunter Biden having a crack-laced party with a sex worker. Because, sure, if you're going to have illegal drugs while engaging in illegal sex, you have to be sure to film it, right after the email that's a threat to your father.

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White House Virus Outbreak Brings Confusion And Deception

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

It's now clear that Donald Trump lied to the nation about when he received a positive test for COVID-19. Trump was known to be ill, showing symptoms, and receiving treatment over a day before publicity around Hope Hicks' diagnosis forced Trump to admit even a sliver of the truth. But if Trump trotting off to Minnesota and New Jersey to get his infectious face up close with supporters seems bad, what's going on at the White House since then seems even worse.

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Three Steps To Stop McConnell From Replacing Justice Ginsburg Now

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Of course we're crying. A woman who held us all up for so, so long has finally laid down her burden after the literal fight of a lifetime. We're hurting. We're afraid. We miss her already.

But Republicans are already celebrating the death of pioneering Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an opportunity. Donald Trump is calling on Republicans to act quickly to confirm whatever nominee he puts forward. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is contemplating whether a no-witnesses impeachment can be topped with a no-hearings confirmation. Ted Cruz is thinking about nothing except what he won't be wearing under that black robe. Tom Cotton is speeding through his collection of KKK-approved all-white handkerchiefs mopping up all of the drool. And Josh Hawley is … probably shooting something.

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Scientific American Makes First Presidential Endorsement In 175 Years

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Scientific American was first published in New York on Aug. 28, 1845. Articles included one on the properties of zinc, another on improving railroad cars to make them both safer and more comfortable, and one was on a horse that navigated to the city to find its own way to a blacksmith. That was in the early days of the James Polk administration. Since then, the publishers of Scientific American have not felt compelled to make an endorsement in any election, including those involving a candidate named "Lincoln." But after 175 years, the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States has decided that there's an existential threat to both parts of its title; a threat to "America" and "science" great enough to take a step into politics.

For the just released October issue, Scientific American has endorsed Joe Biden for president of the United States, and they don't hold back on explaining why.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September.

Trump's handling of the pandemic is spectacularly bad. How bad? If Trump had achieved the same rate of infections and deaths as Justin Trudeau in Canada, the death toll in the United States would be 80,000 instead of 200,000. Had Trump tackled things as well as Angela Merkel did, with overrun France and Italy on her borders, the U.S. toll would have been 37,000. And had Trump genuinely taken to heart the lessons that South Korea learned when fighting COVID-19 weeks earlier and done things as well as Moon Jae-in, the number of dead would have been just 2,300. Nothing was going to stop COVID-19 from entering the United States, but Trump really could have prevented it from being a national disaster. He didn't. On purpose.

Scientific American points out just some of Trump's lies and shortfalls during the pandemic, including his repeated downplaying of the threat, his failure to develop a national strategy, and his repeated lies and distortions concerning masks. But the major thrust of their outrage against Trump's failure comes back to the enormous mistakes around testing. Trump didn't just fail to come up with a federal system of testing and case tracing, he refused to do it even when a plan was presented to him because Trump believed more people would die in states with Democratic governors, and that would be good politics for him. The editors at Scientific American skip over that part, focusing on how testing is absolutely vital to controlling the disease and how Trump opposed both funding and implementation of testing.

These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.

It's not just Trump's lies and purposeful mismanagement of COVID-19 that caused the magazine to break with their own extremely longstanding tradition. They provide a catalog of other areas in which Trump has harmed the nation, including on environmental protections and medical care. Perhaps most importantly, they caution that Trump has attacked both researchers and science in ways that prevent America from being prepared to face the challenges that are already here, and the new challenges that are right around the corner.

As the magazine notes, Trump has tried to end the Affordable Care Act while providing no alternative and lying to the public about the outcome. He has proposed a billion-dollar cut to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—all of which makes it likely that the nation will face another pandemic while being even less prepared.

Measuring Trump’s Pandemic Malfeasance By Comparison With Other World Leaders

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Donald Trump's response to handling COVID-19 is the worst in the world. The United States both tops the charts in the number of cases, and before Trump can claim that this is because there's "too much testing," it worth noting that the U.S. also beats all comers when it comes to deaths. With the U.S. sadly set to cross the 200,000 deaths line in the coming week, it's far ahead of even Brazil, where would-be Trump Jair Bolsonaro has done seeming everything possible to spread the disease.

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Trump Is Trying To Panic White Voters — About Black People

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Wednesday, Donald Trump confessed that he had lied to the American public—over, and over, and over, and … you get the idea—about the danger posed by COVID-19. By doing so, and by purposely refusing to provide coordinated testing, or a national strategy, Trump deliberately condemned 200,000 Americans to die and 6 million others to suffer through the disease.

But, says Trump, there was a reason: He had to keep the country "calm." He had to "avoid panic." Except, in the case of COVID-19, telling people the truth would have allowed them to understand that this was far worse than the flu, that it wasn't going to go away, that it would be months before the situation improved, and that reopening schools and businesses was not safe. Telling people the truth would have kept tens of thousands more Americans alive.

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Trump Again Mocks Biden For Wearing Mask, Protecting Others

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have repeatedly called on Americans to wear a mask in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities," said the CDC director. Wearing a mask doesn't primarily protect the mask-wearer—it protects others. As Joe Biden has made clear, wearing a mask isn't just a symbol, it's an active part of good citizenship.

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What The Republicans Who Renominate Trump This Week Really Think About Him

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A new video from Act TV sets the perfect stage for the upcoming Republican National Convention by showing what Republicans really think of Donald Trump. Every single speaker who appears at the RNC next week should be confronted with what they said about Donald Trump before they buckled under to his bullying and abandoned their last shred of dignity.

#TheyKnew who Trump Really Was All Along. Conservatives in their own words.